From the Head of School
March 14, 2014
Dear Pebblecreek Montessori Parents,
The Pebblecreek Montessori community prides itself on serving the North Dallas community of families who value and support a truly authentic Montessori education. Founded in 2001, PCM has emerged as a recognized leader in Montessori employing a faculty dedicated to fulfilling the mission of the school and actively participating in the International Montessori Council’s leadership programs.
Dr. Montessori never copyrighted or trademarked the Montessori name. Nor did she legally protect her approach and what business people would call her “trade secrets”. She was interested in one thing: educating children, not creating a lucrative business.
As a result, with no central regulation of Montessori education, this entire industry has suffered; vulnerable to interpretations of the broadest terms and dilution of the best practices Montessori dedicated her life to perfecting. Anyone, regardless of experience, education or practice can legally use the Montessori name and many have right in our own back yards. Many are running lucrative businesses using a name luring uneducated parents into believing they are getting a “deal” in Montessori education. No other industry would allow such a mockery of a profession and methodology and be able to survive.
For the last 7 years Pebblecreek has worked diligently towards the achievement of IMC full accreditation. This status will put PCM among the elite 7% of Montessori schools in the north Dallas area to achieve such a status. Of the 50 plus Montessori schools in the radius of 25 miles of PCM, only three have pursued and achieved full accreditation and we are excited and honored to join them.
We have partnered with the International Montessori Council to accredit us. The team will be arriving at our school on Sunday, March 30 and spending four days (April 1-4) evaluating our school community against standards for accreditation.
During the team’s visit, they will be interviewing both students and parents. Please be aware you and /or your child may be called upon to answer questions relative to a specific area of an accreditation standard. We have compiled a list of parents whom we believe will be able to speak openly with the team based on their level of involvement, longevity and age of children in the school. The council is not limited to that list; they have access to the entire parent community. You will be notified, in advance, if your presence is requested during their visit.
I have include the following information directly from the IMC for your reference and review. If you have any question or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me. These are the most important visitors the school has ever hosted and we appreciate your support of our efforts to showcase our school.
Head of School
IMC Accreditation Team Visit
Sunday, March 30th, 7am to Thursday, April 3rd, 12pm
600 Old Custer Rd
What is the IMC?
The International Montessori Council (IMC) is a global community of Montessori schools, teacher education programs, school administrators, educators, trustees, parent leaders, and friends of the Montessori movement. Members of the International Montessori Council are dedicated to enriching the lives of children and adults through Montessori education by promoting Dr. Maria Montessori's insights into the human potential to the general public. The International Montessori Council is a non-profit, non-governmental educational organization with members across the United States and a growing number of other countries around the world. Its members represent a diverse constituency of school owners and heads of schools, teachers, Montessori teacher educators, educational consultants, psychologists, school support staff members, volunteers, students, retirees and others associated with the operation of Montessori schools. The International Montessori Council is an international organization that offers accreditation to the entire community of Montessori schools.
Click on the link below to visit their website.
Purpose of the IMC School Accreditation Program
The primary purpose of the International Montessori Council school accreditation program is to educate the administrators and trustees of Montessori schools in the Best Practices basic to the development and leadership of Montessori schools. Schools that are authentically Montessori in their practice are effective in their work with children and are worthy of public trust and confidence. The Best Practices place particular emphasis on the administration of key aspects of school operation, particularly those related to the quality and integrity of the school's educational program and the health and safety of students and staff. The standards establish guidelines for policies, procedures and practices. The school is responsible for ongoing implementation of those policies which are consistent with Best Practices. A second purpose of the International Montessori Council School Accreditation Program is to provide the public with information which will assist in the selection of schools that meet recognized standards of excellence in Montessori educational practice.
Accreditation does indicate to the public that the school has voluntarily invited its practices to be compared with the standards of Best Practice established by leaders in the international Montessori school accreditation community. At least once every ten years, an outside team of Montessori school professionals trained in the International Montessori Council School Accreditation Program visits the school to verify compliance with the standards. Unlike inspections by governmental licensing bodies, International Montessori Council School Accreditation are voluntary. The International Montessori Council does not have the authority to close or otherwise penalize an entity not meeting its accreditation criteria, except for the removal of the accreditation status. Licensing focuses on the enforcement of minimum standards. Accreditation focuses on education and evaluation of a school’s operation using criteria and standards that will normally go beyond the minimum requirements of governmental regulation. International Montessori Council school accreditation standards identify practices considered basic to the creation and leadership of an authentic and effective Montessori school. They do not, however, require all Montessori schools to look alike. The International Montessori Council’s school accreditation program has been designed to serve a broad range of programs: schools that are private/independent and those that are public/state sponsored; schools that are large and small; schools that are proprietary and those that are run as not-for-profit organizations; those that offer elementary and/or secondary programs, and those that serve primarily early childhood students. Each school addresses, in its own way, the principles of Best Practice identified by the standards. The International Montessori Council school accreditation protocol is designed to allow for the tremendous diversity among Montessori schools around the world. It is quite different from an "‘approval" model of accreditation, where accreditation as a recognized member of a particular Montessori organization requires a school to follow that association’s guidelines for teacher qualifications, curricula, etc. The International Montessori Council understands and respects that integrity of that approach. IMC’s approach, however, is based on a different perspective, while still maintaining a sound pedagogical philosophy. The International Montessori Council School Accreditation Program is based on the principle that an accredited school must be ‘worthy of public trust,’ rather than requiring that it meet the standards of one model of Montessori education. The essential issue, in addition to the question of whether a school is worthy of trust is whether a school representing itself as a Montessori school actually follows the Best Practices of an authentic Montessori school. (“Worthy of Trust” meaning: Is the school clear in what it says it offers? Does it actually do what it says? Is it operated in a sound, stable, manner that deserves public confidence?) Dr. Nancy McCormick Rambush and Dr. John Stoops in their work The Authentic Montessori School (1992 Middle States Association and American Montessori Society) identified six basic areas that have served for some time as a basic definition of those essential characteristics. The International Montessori Council School Accreditation Program incorporates the essence of those principles. We believe that they allow for tremendous diversity, while speaking to the central issue of what one should expect to find in a responsible school that wishes to represent itself as being a Montessori program.
The IMC Accreditation Self-Study Process Consists of Three Integrated Phases:
Phase 1 The school clearly defines its institutional identity, Montessori principles, enduring values and beliefs, and educational outcomes.
Phase 2 The School initiates a Self-Study, in which the school documents how it meets the basic characteristics and principles of Best Practice found in all excellent Montessori schools. This phase follows an easily understood, objective self-study approach. Each standard is carefully laid out with examples and suggested resources. In most cases, schools will have access to sample policies, handbooks, and other resources on an accompanying series of CD-ROMS that can be adapted for individual schools.
Phase 3 The School develops a written strategic plan, in which the school prepares an ongoing plan for continuing to move the entire school (educational program, faculty, administration, facilities, membership and enrollment, marketing and public relations, fund raising and capital resource development, governance, finances) closer to its ideal as set forth in its vision and blueprint.
Eligibility for IMC School Accreditation
International Montessori Council School Accreditation may be sought by any school member in good standing with the International Montessori Council, which has been in operation for at least three years. Schools applying for accreditation should meet the standards that follow, which together verify compliance with the criteria of Best Practice related to the school site, program, and operation. To be eligible to apply for candidacy for International Montessori Council School Accreditation, the school must:
- Deliver a Montessori educational program consistent with the International Montessori Council's definition of school and the characteristics of an authentic Montessori school.
- Submit an initial application and an annual Statement of Compliance with applicable mandatory standards and other criteria for accreditation as noted at the time of the visit.
- Pay appropriate dues and fees as determined by the International Montessori Council.
- Be visited by an International Montessori Council school accreditation on-site visiting team during a period when the school is in full operation.
Content of the Standards
Accredited schools are responsible not only for state/provincial and local laws, but also for those requirements defined by the standards. Those requirements include:
1. Educational Program, including characteristics of authentic Montessori programs, group size, student-teacher ratios, and curriculum
2. Human Resources, including qualifications, screening, training, and supervision of school faculty and staff.
3. Facilities, including preventative maintenance, accessibility, traffic flow, etc.
4. Administration, which includes:
a. Operational Management, including administrative practices, safety regulations, emergency procedures, and risk-management planning;
b. Health and Wellness, including supervision of health-care practices, availability of first-aid equipment and personnel, the use of health histories and health examination forms, and the use of recommended treatment procedures. Transportation standards, including driver qualifications and training, vehicle maintenance, safety procedures, and the availability of emergency transportation.
5. Governance, including roles of board or ownership.
6. Financial, including financial management, planning and reporting.
7. Recruitment/Marketing, including admissions, advertising and public relations.
8. Retaining Students/Building Community, including parent roles, communication with families, developing communication, trust, and confidence.
9. Fund Raising/Gathering Capital for Improvements, policies and practices.