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Your AMS membership supports our vital mission and includes valuable opportunities and benefits.

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Steps on the AMS Pathway of Continuous School Improvement

There are 10 steps on the AMS Pathway of Continuous School Improvement. Step 1 is an entry point for any AMS member school—though some will begin their journey further along the pathway. Step 10 is AMS school accreditation, the highest level of recognition granted by the Montessori community.

Schools complete a questionnaire to help AMS assess at which step they will begin their journey of school improvement; then set goals for advancing to subsequent steps. Throughout the process, AMS supports schools in achieving their goals by providing personalized coaching. 

Overview of the Steps

Each step of the pathway builds upon the previous one so that a school meets the requirements of its assigned step level, and the requirements of previous steps.

Step 1: AMS membership is the place to start
Steps 2 – 6: Integrate the core components of quality Montessori
Steps 7 – 9: Meet educational and institutional standards
Step 10: Meet the highest level of AMS school recognition: AMS accreditation!

The Steps

Step 1

Your school is a member of AMS (at any level) and has affirmed its commitment to the AMS Code of Ethics.

Step 2

Your school has a mission statement and a plan for how and when you will incorporate these 5 core components of quality Montessori education into your program: properly trained Montessori teachers, multi-age classrooms, use of Montessori materials, child-directed work, and uninterrupted work periods.

Step 3

You have incorporated any 2 of the 5 core components of Montessori education into your program. You have a plan for incorporating the other 3.

Step 4

As in the previous step, you have incorporated 2 of the 5 core components, but one of those 2 components must be that you maintain lead teachers who hold Montessori credentials for the level(s) they are teaching (AMS Full Membership). You continue to meet the requirement of an articulated plan for incorporating the other 3 core components.

Step 5

You have incorporated a total of 4 out of 5 core components of quality Montessori education into your program and have a plan for accomplishing the remaining one. Just 1 more to go!

Step 6

You have incorporated the fifth and final component of quality Montessori education into your program. Or, your school is validated as a Montessori school by a state-recognized Montessori validating organization (that includes periodic site visits).

Step 7

Your whole school incorporates the core components of quality Montessori education and at least 1 program level in your school meets AMS School Accreditation Educational Standards: Standard 3 (Educational Nature of the School) and Standard 4 (Learner Outcomes).

Step 8

At least one level of your school (starting with your youngest program level) meets all AMS accreditation educational standards and your entire school meets all AMS School Accreditation Institutional Standards. That is, Standard 1 (Mission & Vision), Standard 2 (Governance, Leadership, & Continuous Improvement), Standard 5 (Personnel), Standard 6 (Facility Resources), Standard 7 (Finances), Standard 8 (Records, Resources, & Support Systems), and Standard 9 (Stakeholder Communication & Relationships).

Step 9

Your entire school meets all AMS School Accreditation Standards, with the exception of criteria with which you are unable to comply due to state and/or local licensing requirements or other regulations.

Step 10

Your school is accredited by AMS—the highest level of recognition offered by the American Montessori Society.

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