What a year it has been! After the tumultuous pandemic times of 2020, we entered 2021 filled with hope and eager anticipation of regaining a sense of “normal.” While the delta and omicron variants caused us to recalibrate plans once again, we are pleased to see our MACTE accredited programs doing well and continuing their dedicated work of preparing competent, caring, and qualified Montessori teachers and school leaders.
In March, we celebrated the renewal of our recognition from the United States Department of Education (USDE); this milestone came as a result of a lengthy, rigorous, and somewhat nerve-wracking process. This is all to say, we understand how you feel about writing a Self-Study! We go through this process to hold MACTE to a high standard and because we know how beneficial USDE recognition is for our programs and their graduates. In May, we announced that MACTE was accepting applications for the accreditation of the new Administrator Credential. The Center for Guided Montessori Studies (CGMS), an IMC-affiliated Teacher Education Program, holds the distinction of being the first program to submit its Self-Study for review.
The growth of Montessori worldwide did not slow down in 2021, and MACTE welcomed two new Montessori organizations as affiliates, Christian Montessori Fellowship and Montessori Australia. MACTE hosted our first virtual Asia Symposium to explain how MACTE functions as an organization, discuss the value of accreditation and answer questions from attendees. The MACTE board met five times to vote on accreditation decisions (you can view all the programs reviewed at www.macte.org/recent-accreditationdecisions/).
MACTE staff has continued to conduct much of our work virtually, maintaining home offices and conducting meetings and accreditation visits online. We are eternally grateful for our verifiers who volunteer their time to participate in accreditation visits, and in 2021, we completed 41 on-sites verification visits. If you would like to contribute your time and expertise to the Montessori community as a team member for on-site verification visits, please follow MACTE’s Facebook page and website to see when the next training webinar will occur.
2021 wrapped up with our annual board meeting and an afternoon discussion with Montessori leaders the day before our 8th MACTE Symposium. For the first time, the MACTE Symposium was live-streamed. The theme was “Channeling Difficult Times into Positive Energy,” and our keynote speakers, Peter Mishler, Dr. Craig Bailey, and Kim Phillips-Knope, all brought that positive energy to their presentations. Lively discussions at the table talk sessions followed the keynotes. IMC’s Kathy Leitch and Kitty Bravo led a table talk discussion on Assessing Adult Learners in a Virtual World: Exploring virtual strategies for assessing projects, material making, albums, and practicums. There were five other tables with topics that ranged from university program networking to preparing teachers to be trauma informed. The MACTE Symposium closed with the awards ceremony. Five in our community received the Wisdom of the Elders Award: Patricia Anne Darby, Marta Donahoe, Chandra Fernando, Barb Jens, and Eva Parrucci. We honored two Montessorians with the Dennis Schapiro Award for Innovation in Montessori Education: Kitty Bravo for 2020 and Maha Turner for 2021. We felt so blessed to have Dennis Schapiro’s widow, Jeanne Andre, and their two sons, Tokumbo and Jeremiah, present this prestigious award to both recipients. You can check out all the topics, presenter information, and awards ceremony slideshow at www.mactesymposium.org
Looking forward to 2022, we are honored to announce the induction of two new MACTE board members, Sungti Hsu, a founding member of the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP), and Kathy Leitch, Executive Director of IMC. These two new board members will bring a depth of knowledge and expertise to the MACTE accreditation process.
MACTE will increase our focus and efforts in widely sharing the importance of accreditation for our programs, their graduates, and state work efforts. MACTE will continue supporting our programs while collaborating with organizations that are part of the accreditation world, such as AAQEP, the National Association of the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), and the National Workforce Registry Alliance (NWRA). We will also continue to be engaged in and supportive of those working towards having credentials from a MACTE accredited program recognized for state teacher licensure.
At the pandemic’s start, we witnessed an outpouring of support from the Montessori community to one another. Programs worked tirelessly to continue instruction, held virtual town meetings to offer ideas and help, extended work hours well past the norm to help accommodate adult learners, and much, much more. While we do not wish to return to those dark, scary times from the start of the pandemic, we do hope everyone can continue the acts of kindness and the spirit of grace and courtesy we gave and received so freely. MACTE wishes you all health and happiness in the new year, and we look forward to supporting and being a part of the great things to come from the Montessori community in 2022.
The MACTE Staff Rebecca Pelton, Carolyn Pinkerton, Aimee Fagan, Erin Moore, Elisabeth Chidester, Stacy Seapy, and Jay Seals
Rebecca Pelton is the President of the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE). MACTE serves as the national accreditor for Montessori teacher preparation programs and is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Rebecca has been active in the area of teacher program accreditation for the past 14 years. Prior to her work with MACTE, she served as the Vice President for Membership for the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC). She has presented at many national conferences and participated in over sixty onsite visits preparing for teacher program accreditation. Rebecca earned her B.A. in Music Education from Alma College and went on to teach in public and private schools for 20 years. She earned her M.Ed. from Bowling Green State University in Education with an endorsement in Gifted Education and continued to teach, as well as develop a number of programs in gifted education and gifted enrichment. She earned her doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Delaware. Her tenure at MACTE is based on commitment to supporting Montessori teacher preparation and thereby improving the educational experience of Montessori students.