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Please pardon our dust while our website is undergoing renovations!

In the meantime, please read below to learn more about AMAC and how you can join. MEMBERSHIP IS CURRENTLY DISCOUNTED BY MORE THAN 50% UNTIL THE END OF THE FISCAL YEAR!!

Check back soon for expanded content!

WHAT IS THE ARLINGTON MONTESSORI ACTION COMMITTEE?

Montessori has been a cornerstone of education in Arlington, Virginia, since at least 1971. Through numerous Montessori institutions, including Virginia’s first public Montessori school, the Montessori community has sought to continue and build upon the child-centered, child-led principals established by Dr. Maria Montessori. The nonprofit Arlington Montessori Action Committee (AMAC) advocates for these principals within the greater Arlington community and seeks to educate local leaders and stakeholders as we pursue an academy vision for Montessori in Arlington.


Arlington values Montessori for good reasons. The Montessori pedagogy promotes self-directed learning, healthy self-discipline, and good citizenship. Montessori children learn in an environment that is community-centered, where they have strong ties to adults at school, and receive differentiated instruction from a variety of resources both inside and outside the classroom – including other children. Montessori works for children of diverse backgrounds and abilities, and Montessori classrooms throughout Arlington exhibit this diversity. Through any number of devoted private schools, the Montessori Public School of Arlington (MPSA) or satellite classrooms across Arlington Public Schools (APS), Montessori is available to welcoming of all interested families.


AMAC seeks to promote Montessori throughout Arlington in several ways. Families have a wonderful array of choices when it comes to where students go. AMAC seeks to help connect interested families with the numerous, devoted private Montessori schools in the county. AMAC also looks to support them through providing continuing education opportunities for teachers and for providing options for students to continue their Montessori education.


At the same time, the Montessori program meets several of the goals in APS’s Strategic Plan, including narrowing the achievement gap, providing responsive education, increasing diversity in the classroom, and helping to affordably absorb student growth as the APS population expands. In turn, AMAC works for continued support and expansion in APS as we seek an academy vision based on Virginia’s first public Montessori school, the MPSA located at the Career Center site on Columbia Pike.


JOIN US

AMAC’s success depends on you. There are so many ways you can be a part of the effort:

  • Join our organization and show your support at the discounted price of $5 in annual dues (down from $12 for the remainder of the fiscal year!)
  • Consider becoming an AMAC parent representative for your school
  • Join our Listserv
  • Send us an email for more information
  • Come to a meeting! We meet monthly and sponsor year-round Montessori events in Arlington
If you are committed to public Montessori education for your child or because it works for children of diverse backgrounds and abilities, and if you want our school system to expand the curriculum to its full potential, you have a voice.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Pay for Your AMAC Membership


PayPal - Credit Card or Bank Transfer

Make payments using the buttons below or log into PayPal and send money directly to treasurer@arlingtonmontessori.org.

Pay for your PayPal membership subscription by credit card or directly from your bank account. $5.00 membership dues + $0.50 convenience fee (a more than 50% discount through the end of the fiscal year!).

By Check

Please make $5.00 dues checks payable to “AMAC”.

Mail check and application to:


AMAC c/o Michael Bruno

4410 6th St. S

Arlington, VA 22204


Find AMAC on Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/arlingtonmontessoriactioncommittee



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OPEN LETTER TO THE SCHOOL BOARD
by Kelley Litzner, Vice President of the Arlington Montessori Action Committee

June 10, 2021


Members of the School Board and APS Community, my name is Kelley Litzner. I am a member of the Arlington Montessori Action Committee (AMAC), and I rise today in support of the School Board’s proposed plan to include a PreK-8 Montessori Public School of Arlington (MPSA) as part of the Capital Improvement Plan. I urge all members to vote in favor. 


I am the parent of three elementary school children, all of whom will attend MPSA this Fall. We, like the hundreds of families who currently attend MPSA and Arlington’s public Montessori satellites, are members of this community. We are your neighbors, friends, and fellow taxpayers, and all of us care deeply about the success of the entire APS school system. APS Montessori has successfully served early childcare needs in the community since 1971 – that’s 50 years and counting – and demand for this learning model continues to grow. 


While my AMAC colleagues and I have spoken with each of you individually and to the APS administration, I want to summarize five key points here for the record:

  1. Montessori is a choice program that reserves two-thirds of the slots in each Montessori classroom for children whose parents' income is at or less than 80% of the median family income in Arlington. This ensures that our program draws from a wide pool of Arlington families and enhances diversity and equitable access for children throughout the County.
  2. Despite common misperceptions, MPSA’s per-pupil cost ranks in the below the median for the 24 elementary programs in Arlington based on 2019-2020 school year data, making each additional seat a cost-efficient option for the County. 
  3. MPSA and public Montessori Satellites generate over $1.14 million in PreK tuition each year, which goes into the overall APS account and directly benefits all schools. It’s important to add that this money is not used to offset MPSA or Satellite costs-per-pupil. If it were, the cost-per-pupil would be even lower. 
  4. Centralizing Montessori learning by combining the Gunston grade 6-8 program with the current MPSA frees up seats at a neighborhood school while creating cost savings through rehab and expansion of the Arlington Career Center Campus without the need for an entirely new building. This also provides the County and neighborhood schools and communicates with flexibility in determining which classrooms remain in satellite locations and which can be absorbed into a consolidated MPSA. 
  5. The Montessori learning model necessitates one instructor and one assistant per classroom. This construct yields the ability for MPSA classrooms to absorb additional students in the face of the APS seat capacity crunch, functioning like a “thermostat” that APS can use to dial up or down in order to help alleviate neighborhood school seating issues and balance resources across the County.

While MPSA is centrally located for PreK-5th Grade students, the existing APS Montessori programs are dispersed throughout the county. The CIP does not create a new program but rather unifies some of these existing programs into a centralized location. There are cost benefits and revenue-generation benefits to doing so, not least given MPSA’s cost-per-pupil and other pedagogical efficiencies that may be gained by slight increases in class size and the fact that Montessori classroom materials are less technologically-based than standard school materials and last for years without the need for a yearly refresh.


Additionally, the existence of a unified Montessori program is critical to earning Montessori certification for the APS program because the 6th grade must be included in the upper-elementary cycle with 4th and 5th grade for full credentialing. This certification represents a public obligation on the part of APS, since the County’s Montessori classrooms trade on the premise of a fully-certified pedagogy and program when advertising this option school to prospective Arlington families. This certification also acts as a galvanizing feature for the APS Montessori community, including future families, who will see the unified MPSA as beacon for Montessori learning and student development. Certification also greatly enhances APS’s ability to recruit and retain a qualified staff of Montessori educators and assistants. 


In closing, it is worth noting that APS already has all of the Montessori elements that I’ve discussed. They are simply dispersed amongst several schools for ad hoc reasons. This CIP represents a prime opportunity for APS to capitalize on the decades-long success of these Montessori programs, gaining long-term cost savings by using a unified PreK-8 MPSA to help address larger system-wide challenges. This plan will open more opportunities for underserved APS families and free up neighborhood seats using a centrally located, existing APS facility. Simply put: this plan is the right thing to do for APS Montessori students and teachers as well as the broader Arlington Public School community. It will be successful on Day One, and it will pay back dividends in cost savings and revenue generated every year afterward. 


Thank you for your time and consideration


February 6, 2021 Letter to the School Board