Arete Montessori Teacher Residency (Arete) is a unique initiative with the goal of forming a larger and more diverse cohort of public Montessori educators in public Montessori schools across the mid-South. Arete aims to address an acute need to identify, prepare, and support public Montessori teachers who have the skills needed to provide high-fidelity Montessori pedagogy in the public sector.
Specific goals of the program are to provide a fully integrative Montessori program that can meet both the demands of the public sector and the needs of the communities they serve by offering: (1) high quality Montessori training, (2) an integrated surround of evidence-based practices in teaching and learning focused on meeting the specific challenges of the public sector and high-need communities, and (3) support for school-based, child-centered communities of practice committed to continuous growth through reflective practice.
Arete is designed to professionally develop and support the educator formation of both pre-service and experienced public school teachers through immersion in a child-centered community of practice, where evidence-based content in teaching and learning is aligned to national, state, and Montessori educator standards. Instructors facilitate the development of residents’ teacher knowledge, skills, dispositions, and reflective practice in the context of a modeled child-centered community of practice. This is direct preparation for job-embedded clinical practice, where residents have the tools and support to develop their efficacy through consistent and regular coaching cycles throughout the academic school year.
Arete was born out of an effort to combine high-fidelity training in Montessori curriculum and pedagogy with rigorous professional development in the “surround” of practices needed to be effective in public schools serving high-need communities. The nascent Libertas Montessori Teacher Residency began at Libertas School of Memphis (Libertas), a public charter elementary school that transformed a distressed neighborhood school and redefined what a Montessori school can be for our country. Libertas has served the Frayser community of Memphis, Tennessee since 2015 and currently serves children (PreK-5) as the first public charter school in the state to offer a public Montessori education. The students in its high-poverty community have achieved significant growth in academics and character through classrooms that compare to those of leading private programs. Libertas is set apart by its rich and culturally responsive curriculum, deep family and community engagement, successful inclusion of diverse learners, and especially its teacher preparation program.
The Libertas Montessori Teacher Residency, founded initially in partnership with the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector, has since independently trained and launched the careers of many teachers who share the backgrounds of the students they serve. A primary reason for the Residency’s success has been its job-embedded, in-house teacher residency program that meets high academic standards while also meeting the needs of its community through a culturally responsive “attachment village” - a philosophy in which families, educators, and community members surround children with love and expectations of their potential greatness. Cultivating academics, sensorial / physical development, and character virtues, this is a model of education for “human flourishing.” The in-house residency has built a stable core of Montessori trained and state-certified teachers and is now expanding its residency program to other public Montessori schools in the mid-South region.
* Applicant for Accreditation status in no way determines the outcome of the accreditation decision by MACTE.