Monday, February 19, 2018




Answer Line: Longview ISD's school not accredited by Montessori

Jan. 12, 2018 at 11:43 p.m.


QUESTION: Is the Longview Independent School District's East Texas Montessori Prep Academy accredited as an official Montessori school? Also, is the Montessori name trademarked? Can anyone use it?

ANSWER: The campus is not officially accredited by any of the several organizations that have Montessori accreditation or recognition programs, but Dr. Jacqueline Burnett, the district's early childhood director, said that's because the campus isn't old enough yet. Also, she said the district couldn't have sought accreditation for its Montessori kindergarten program previously because it existed inside of other non-Montessori campuses. It was a "school within a school," she said.

She said the district intends to work toward accreditation when it's eligible, after it's 3 years old, based on requirements of one of the accrediting organizations.

The couple of organizations I spoke to have varying levels of membership, recognition or accreditation that depend, for instance, on the length of time the campus has been in operation, if the campus follows true Montessori standards about the age range of children in classes, teacher certifications, the use of official Montessori curriculum and other standards.

The district said, however, that its teachers at the East Texas Montessori Prep Academy are certified or in the process of being certified — considering it's a new campus with new hires — by the Southwest Montessori Training Center. District officials said that company is accredited by the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education, which belongs to the American Montessori Society.

As to your second question, the Montessori name is not trademarked, said Marcy K. Krever, senior director of marketing and communications for the American Montessori Society, one of the organizations that has an accreditation program.

"Any school can call itself Montessori — which is one of several reasons there's such variation in quality and authenticity. We at AMS are working hard to address this," Krever said. Membership in Montessori professional associations is voluntary, she said.

"Currently, any Montessori school may join AMS. However the level of a school's membership varies, and membership is based on the Montessori credentials held by the school's lead teachers," Krever said. (East Texas Montessori Prep Academy is not a member of the organization, although Burnett said she and some of her staff members are.)

"In addition — and very important — we strongly urge our member schools to participate in our Pathway of Continuous School Improvement (and provide coaching to help them improve the quality of their school's program)," Krever said. "The final step on the Pathway, Step 10, is AMS School Accreditation. Becoming AMS-accredited is a rigorous process and it's the highest level of recognition a Montessori school can achieve. Currently about 15 percent of our member schools are AMS-Accredited."

Q: I'm a hunter. Is it possible to donate a deer I shoot during deer season to a needy family?

A: It is, and our local game warden, Todd Long, had some suggestions for how you might go about doing that.

First a reminder: It is illegal to sell deer meat, but it is legal to donate it. He urged people who wanted to donate a deer to needy families to first contact one of two local processing firms he knows are willing to act as a go-between to ensure the stores are able to take the deer: Skinner's 2 in Longview and Deer Den in Harrison County. (There might be other processors willing to do the same thing, he said. ) Long said he also has limited ability to accept deer that he in turns gives to a needy family. (Keep in mind he doesn't process the deer, but delivers the deer or parts of a deer to families who could use it.) Contact Long at (903) 930- 5117. Skinner's is 4825 Pine Tree Road, (903) 759-5811. The Deer Den is at 10099 Texas 154, (903) 938-1527.

— Answer Line appears Thursday and Saturday. Email questions to answerline@news-journal.com, leave a message at (903) 232-7208 or write to P.O. Box 1792, Longview, TX 75606.

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