Kansas City Public Schools Creates a Unique Partnership with MTCNE

Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) in Missouri has been a leader in providing public Montessori school options for decades in their district. Like many public and private Montessori schools, KCPS has struggled to find trained Montessori teachers for their district classrooms at both the primary and elementary levels. The KCPS district has frequently sponsored staff for Montessori teacher training at AMI-recognized training centers like MTCNE and has even previously hosted AMI trainings in the city.

The MTCNE AMI Elementary Satellite Cohort and Training Support Team at Holliday Montessori School, Kansas City, Missouri.

Through a bold initiative brainstormed by KCPS Executive Principal, Kalinda Bass-Barlow, KCPS has teamed with MTCNE to deliver a unique public school initiative to train local teachers and staff.  Ms. Bass-Barlow proposed an academic year training sponsored by KCPS that permitted staff to maintain their salary and benefits while taking a year-long AMI 6-12 diploma course delivered in one of the KCPS Montessori schools. In addition to maintaining the salary and benefits of KCPS employees during the training, KCPS has covered the cost of the training and provided a year-long substitute for enrolled KCPS staff. A neighboring school district in Lawrence, Kansas has sent two teachers to the training as they have just opened the first public Montessori school in the state of Kansas and are building capacity at the elementary level, as well. This new course cohort includes the KCPS and Lawrence Public School employees and a few other students from the United States, China and Nepal.

MTCNE has a long-time partnership with KCPS and has provided the public Montessori schools in Kansas City, Missouri an AMI Orientation Course and ongoing support through consultations, observations, workshops, and strategic planning.  For this particular course, MTCNE enlisted AMI Trainer, Carol Hicks and its own Associate Trainer, Lisbeth Harrison, to provide a team faculty approach to the course. After several collaborative meetings a schedule with a blended format was created that incorporated a rotating live lecture and practice time, online synchronous and asynchronous delivery, followed by classroom observation and/or practice teaching experiences. 

MTCNE KC Satellite students discover the checkerboard during Mathematics practice.

In addition to the AMI diploma course delivery that began in September, MTCNE trainers and the district were able to add additional time for participants to integrate anti-bias anti-racism (ABAR) and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) topics throughout the course.  Some of the content is integrated by the trainers while others topics, such as trauma informed classrooms, are facilitated by local KCPS experts in the field.  Additionally, the cohort will partake in a group book study using “Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain” by Zaretta Hammond, in which the students will take turns facilitating discussions following chapter readings.

KCPS and MTCNE have also invited AMI-USA and the Center for Montessori Studies at the University of Hartford to solicit some research-based feedback from students regarding this training experience.

MTCNE is very grateful to Ms. Bass-Barlow for her vision and hosting this course at Holliday Montessori in KCPS and to KCPS and LPS for the amazing opportunity it is providing professional staff, that is to be AMI trained locally, to support and sustain its commitment to quality public Montessori within their respective districts.

KCPS is one of several satellite locations in the USA and internationally that MTCNE manages. To learn more about other locations visit our website at Courses – Montessori Training Center Northeast (mtcne.org). If you are interested in a satellite course in your area please contact MTCNE Director of Satellite Programs, Tim Nee, at tnee@crec.org.

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