Magazine article Montessori Life

Public-Private Partnerships

Magazine article Montessori Life

Public-Private Partnerships

Article excerpt

I have recently been exploring how Montessori educators might become more connected - and involved in building new models of collaboration between public and private Montessori school administrators, teachers, and students. My initial interest was sparked during a meeting in Sonoma, CA, with David Drinkwater of Wingspan Partnerships, an organization that was brought to my attention by Pat Bassett (president of the National Association of Independent Schools). Wingspan asserts that "we all have a particular responsibility for the education of the underserved/'and its mission is to develop and support partnerships between public and private schools in order to "narrow the education gap." David and I agreed to explore ways to work together.

My next step was to reach out to AMS member schools and invite feedback about how our schools were already involved in creating partnerships. I want to share with you three exciting initiatives I discovered that are already underway in the Montessori community.

* Last fall the Gerena Community School, a public school in Springfield, MA, joined with Stoneridge Montessori School, a private school in Beverly, MA, for a photography project that put cameras into the hands of 5th-graders at both schools. The project, called Viewpoint, focused on the children's personal worlds, from the North End of Springfield to the North Shore of Boston. It culminated this past spring when the Stoneridge students visited Gerena. After meeting and greeting, students spread their work out and shared the stories behind the photos. Since then, a collection of the photos have been sewn into a quilt that hangs at Gerena.

* In their recent strategic plan, the Wilmington Montessori School (WMS) committed to a visionary goal to develop collaborations between itself and public schools in the larger community of Delaware and the surrounding region. This will include sharing the work of WMS (including best practices in early childhood and elementary education) with public and charter schools and developing partnerships with local postsecondary institutions to enhance their understanding of Montessori education in the preparation of all future teachers.

* For 7 years, the Montessori School of Northampton (MSN) in Northampton, MA, a private school, and Zanetti Montessori School in Springfield, MA, a public school, have been partners in the Book Share Project. MSN collects new and lightly used books in their school lobby, which are delivered to Zanetti for the Book Share cart. …

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