Some AMS member schools have earned AMS accreditation, a designation that a program meets a well-defined standard of excellence. AMS-accredited schools must meet AMS School Accreditation Standards and Criteria.
Only schools that have been AMS full members for a year or more are eligible to become accredited. Applicants undergo a rigorous process that includes:
- an intensive 12- to 18-month self-evaluation involving administration, staff, teachers, and parents;
- a thorough onsite review by an AMS peer accreditation team;
- commitment to a strategic plan for long-term improvement.
Currently, about 10% of AMS member schools are AMS accredited. To maintain accreditation, a school must submit an annual report that documents continued compliance with AMS standards. It should also show that it is making progress toward its stated goals for improvement. Successful schools receive an updated certificate of accreditation.
AMS recognizes schools accredited by the Montessori School Accreditation Commission (MSAC) as being in equal standing with schools accredited by our own organization. MSAC was the accrediting body of the National Center for Montessori Education, which came together as a single entity with AMS in 2006.
Schools that choose to apply for AMS accreditation recognize that excellence in education is an ongoing endeavor. Here’s what educators from accredited schools say about the value of accreditation:
The accreditation process is one of the most significant steps we have taken in evaluating our effectiveness to our stakeholders: children, parents, board members and the Montessori community. It provided, and continues to provide, an incredible opportunity for constructive self-reflection, self-evaluation, and realistic strategic planning, which are critical elements to our school’s success in serving our children.
—Chip Delorenzo, Damariscotta Montessori School, Nobleboro, ME
The benchmarking provided by AMS standards requires us to attain, and maintain, a level of quality and professionalism that honors our mission and vision to children. Accreditation provides a roadmap for the ongoing reflection, evaluation, and improvement of programs and practices that WMS believes is essential for success.
—Mary Schneider, Woodinville Montessori School, Bothell, WA
As a public charter school network, our success is, at times, measured by standards that are not integral to the successful implementation of Montessori methodology. Accordingly, AMS accreditation provides a process, as well as guidelines, that direct our focus to the essence of our mission: providing a high-quality Montessori education to the children of California.
—Gary Bowman, California Montessori Project, Carmichael, CA
Just as we guide students in self-reflective processes, we too must be self-reflective as educators, administrators, and Board, making sure we are "walking our talk" as Montessorians. AMS accreditation supports our school in remaining current and relevant and bolsters our reputation in the community as a school of excellence.
—Jessica Thompson, Montessori Hale O Keiki, Kihei, HI
Our accreditation is a source of pride and affirmation for our entire community and assurance for visitors and prospective parents. The process led us to a stronger, more unified vision of our school and greater cohesion in our efforts toward continuous improvement.
—Nancy Davis, Undercroft Montessori School, Tulsa, OK