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AMS School Accreditation

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Accreditation is a service provided to full-member schools by the American Montessori Society. It is a voluntary process that takes 1 to 2 years to complete.

Accreditation begins with an intensive self-study, by the school, involving the school’s entire community—students, staff, faculty, administration, board members, and parents.

During the application process, every aspect of the school is examined and documented, including governance, curriculum, fiscal and personnel policies, facilities, health and safety practices, teacher preparation, and learner outcomes.

At the end of the self-study period, a thorough onsite peer review is conducted. In addition to determining whether the school meets AMS standards, the review team evaluates the school to see how well it is achieving its own mission and goals—whether the school is what it says it is and does what it says it does.

After identifying both strengths and areas to strengthen, the school commits to a strategic plan for improvement which incorporates the recommendations of its peer review team.

All AMS accredited schools must maintain compliance with school accreditation standards and work toward continuous improvement. Each accredited school submits a yearly report outlining progress toward the objectives in its strategic plan.

We encourage schools interested in accreditation to join us for our School Accreditation 101 Webinar, presented multiple times throughout the year. The Webinar covers the basics of AMS accreditation and gives you a chance to ask your questions about the process.

Benefits

The self-study at the heart of accreditation leads to discoveries that empower the entire school community.

Accreditation encourages continual self-evaluation and improvement, including ongoing professional development.

Added visibility in our Find a School search.

AMS accreditation affirms that a school meets a standard of excellence recognized by educators and Montessorians worldwide—a powerful marketing asset.

Eligibility

AMS accreditation is a voluntary process, but we encourage all member schools to consider it as a goal. To be eligible as a candidate for AMS accreditation, a school must meet all of the following requirements:

  • At a minimum, now in its second year of AMS full membership
  • At a minimum, now in its third year of operation
  • At the time of application, must be at minimum 80% in compliance with AMS School Accreditation Standards & Criteria (and 100% in compliance at the time of Self Study submission)

Process

For details about AMS accreditation, click to download the following documents:

Other Accrediting Organizations

Various regional and national accrediting agencies accredit Montessori as well as other schools. Some AMS member schools choose to accredit with more than one agency to demonstrate compliance with school standards that also apply to non-Montessori schools.

Substantive Changes

Some changes that a school experiences are relatively minor. Others can be substantive, affecting major aspects of the school. If your school is AMS-accredited and is experiencing any of the substantive changes below, we ask that you notify us by completing and sending us the appropriate form (click on the links). We also ask that you detail the change(s) in your next Accredited School Annual Report.

AMS accreditation staff will review your report of substantive change and determine if the change warrants review by the AMS School Accreditation Commission. Some substantive changes may require a 1-day onsite visit; in these cases, your school would be held responsible for any expenses incurred.

We recognize that change is a necessary part of school growth and understand that changes affecting major aspects of a school can make for challenging times.

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