Breakthrough Montessori Public Charter School

Breakthrough Montessori Public Charter School

Offering free, high quality Montessori education to families in Washington, DC.

Breakthrough Montessori is a public charter school in Washington, D.C., serving children from three years old through (eventually) sixth grade. Breakthrough pilots many of NCMPS’ school and teacher support initiatives including the D.C. Teacher Residency, Montessori classroom coaching, school services, and more.

NCMPS offers a range of services to organizations and school districts for launching and supporting public Montessori programs.

Many resources are available as free downloads on the Resources section of our website. Other services are offered on a consultation or contract basis.

For organizations and districts just getting started, read Getting Started with Public Montessori and consult the Resources page — many questions are answered in those documents. For further information and to contract for services, contact NCMPS at [email protected].

Start-Up Services

  • Initial consultation and landscape analysis
  • Program design
  • Financial modelling
  • Staffing development
  • Site development
  • Communication planning
  • Montessori materials procurement
  • Pre-launch staff orientation — one to four weeks

Support Services

For existing programs looking for Montessori implementation support, NCMPS offers Coaching and Leadership support as well as…

  • School Audit using the Essential Elements Rubric for Montessori in the Public Sector

Program Launch and Development

Starting a Public Montessori School

Taking the idea of public Montessori school from conception to reality
2½ hour session

This workshop, appropriate for both district and charter schools, introduces a step-by-step process for taking the idea of public Montessori school from conception to reality. Topics include assessing readiness, community engagement, financial and staffing needs, timelines, gathering a founding team, building support, navigating the approval process, and ensuring a smooth start.

Vision, Mission, and Action: Growing a Healthy Professional Community

Building a professional culture of communication and collaboration
2½ hour session

Whether building from the ground up during opening years, following a leadership transition, or developing from a foundation already in place, each year in a school’s tenure presents challenges, but also opportunities to build a purposeful, mission-driven professional community.

This workshop will help founders and leaders establish a firm foundation of operating assumptions to guide communication, collaboration, and the professional culture of a new school. Participants will hear explore case studies of success and struggles from the field and leave with an action plan and timeline.

Following the Family: Holistic Approaches to Family Engagement

Moving from involvement to engagement
2½ hour session

The school–home partnership is the cornerstone of a thriving school community. Montessori programs, with their focus on children, have the opportunity to take the partnership beyond ‘involvement’ to true engagement.

From outreach and enrollment, to orientation to ongoing parent education, this workshop offers concrete strategies for building a strong school-home community centered on the child. Participants will leave with activities and timelines for productively and effectively reaching out to parents and drawing them into the school community, regardless of who they are, what they do or how much they know about Montessori.

Effective Non-Profit Boards: Getting it Right from the Top

Board development with a Montessori perspective
Full Day Workshop

Non-profit boards play a critical role in the success of a charter or independent school, yet many board members have little training for the job. These volunteers typically care deeply for the mission of the school, and often have children enrolled there, but they need support to become a high-functioning team and avoid common missteps. Board members need a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities, in order to avoid the pitfalls of micromanaging and disengagement. Ethical considerations and legal requirements must be clear as well. Through the lens of Montessori values, this workshop explores how a healthy board functions and covers essential tasks such as hiring and evaluating a director or principal, creating policy and procedure, and board succession plans to recruit and train new members.

This workshop is suitable for schools in the early stages of board development, as well as those who find themselves in challenging times along the journey. Participants will come away with tools to apply to their current situation, as well as knowledge and skills to support moving from a founding board to a working board, and on to a well-functioning governing body.

School Leadership: Professional Community, Practice, and Parents

A full-day combination of Vision, Mission and Action, Evaluating Montessori Practice, and Following the Family
Full Day Workshop

This workshop presents a comprehensive vision of school leadership and development, from building a professional culture of communication and collaboration, through establishing and supporting high fidelity Montessori practice, to building a strong community of family engagement.

Program Assessment and Support

Evaluating Montessori Practice:
Support for School Leaders New to Montessori Education

Montessori program evaluation and assessment for non-Montessori leaders
2 ½ hour session

High quality teaching and learning are critical to school success. In Montessori schools, where instructional leadership requires a deep understanding of Montessori theory and practice of the prepared environment, heads and principals without Montessori training face unique challenges.

This workshop explains core Montessori concepts any evaluator needs to understand to effectively evaluate instruction, and introduces a range of evaluation instruments to support instructional leadership.

Participants will learn to use NCMPS’ Teacher Appraisal Instrument and Reflective Practice Inventory, collaborative tools which help teachers and leaders work together to improve school-wide Montessori practice. The workshop includes an introduction to the Developmental Environment Rating Scale (DERS).

The Path to Full Montessori Implementation:
Continuous Improvement with the Essential Elements Rubric

A comprehensive, detailed tool for supporting evaluation and improvement
2 ½ hour session

How is your school doing with Montessori? How can you do even better? The strongest schools take an intentional and systematic approach to self-assessment and recalibration This workshop introduces The Essential Elements Rubric (EER), an NCMPS tool to help public Montessori programs take a critical and systematic look at their programs. The Rubric is a detailed, concrete whole-school evaluation tool that gives school leaders a program for continuous strategic improvement for adults, environments, family engagement, assessment and leadership.

Serving All Children in a Montessori Environment

Following All Children: Montessori and Early Intervention

A child-centered Response to Intervention approach
full day workshop

Public Montessori schools are called on to serve all children, including the growing number with learning and behavioral difficulties. This workshop prepares public Montessori faculty and staff to follow all children with intelligence, practical expertise, and compassion.

The workshop explores early intervention models such as Response to Intervention (RTI) and Tiered Instruction, which aim to meet diverse learning needs before or instead of special education referrals. We review Montessori’s natural and historic links with special education and present an approach to RTI designed to work with the prepared environment.

Participants will learn to build a child-centered professional culture that meets the needs of all children, resolves difficulties early, and uses data to support student development.

The Dysregulated Child: Montessori Responses to Behavior Challenges

Public Montessori protocols and procedures for extreme behavior
2 ½ hour session

Public Montessori schools, which are committed to serving all students, need thoughtful and intentional protocols for handling extremes in student behavior. This workshop focuses on the components of a school-wide protocol for monitoring and supporting self-regulation in students.

In this workshop participants will extend their understanding of Child Study and the types of interventions most effective for supporting children who have experienced trauma.

Successful protocols must be reviewed, vetted and aligned with the school’s values, the student’s needs and district policies. By planning ahead, cultivating an intentional community of supports, and understanding district and outside mandates, schools and teachers can better support students and families, minimize disruptions, and respond appropriately and productively in a crisis.

Student Assessment

Measuring What Matters:Meaningful Assessment for Montessori Programs

An introduction to assessments that matter for Montessori
2 ½ hour session

Assessments for public schools typically don’t measure what Montessori does best: developing foundational executive function and social-emotional skills. This workshop introduces a collection of tools that measure what really matters: self-regulation, cognitive flexibility, initiation, collaboration, and risk-taking as well as literacy and numeracy.

Participants will learn about the importance and predictive value of these qualities and the tools that measure them, including the Developmental Environmental Rating Scale (DERS), the Minnesota Executive Function Scale (MEFS), and NCMPS’ Essential Elements Rubric, Teacher Appraisal Instrument, and Reflective Practice Inventory.

Using the Developmental Reading Assessment in Your Montessori Classroom

Using the DRA, and strategies to support reading
2 ½ hour session

Data is an important piece of the Montessori classroom and one tool for collecting data is the DRA. This workshop offers training using the DRA as a reading assessment tool with your lower and/or upper elementary students as well as concrete tools and strategies for using what you learn to support students’ reading development within a Montessori setting.

This workshop is recommended for teachers, coaches and instructional support staff and is offered as a 2.5 hour session for each level (K – 3rd grade and 4th – 6th grade).

Literacy in the Montessori Environment

Visual Thinking Strategies and Montessori: Encouraging Thoughtful Discourse

Incorporating VTS into the Montessori classroom
2 ½ hour session

While some students’ homes are rich environments for oral language, many students in the public sector depend primarily on the exposure and participation they get at school. Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) is an inquiry-based method of developing critical thinking and communication skills through facilitated discussions of works of art, and Montessorians across the country are having great success using VTS in their classrooms.

In this workshop, participants will learn how to incorporate VTS in their classrooms so that it becomes a natural part of the prepared environment rather than an add-on. We will explore applications specific to Montessori learning (oral language development, Grace and Courtesy, Cosmic Education, and Going Out).

Annie Fisher Montessori Magnet School: Authenticity and Achievement

Annie Fisher Montessori Magnet School:
Authenticity and Achievement

In the four years since opening its doors in 2008 as Hartford, Connecticut’s second public Montessori program, Annie Fisher Montessori Magnet School (AFMMS), has found a winning strategy for making Montessori a viable solution to the achievement gap.

City Garden Montessori Charter School: Radical Hospitality

City Garden Montessori Charter School:
Radical Hospitality

Since opening its doors in 2008, City Garden Montessori Charter School, St. Louis, Missouri’s only neighborhood charter school, has pursued a single-minded vision of community engagement grounded in Montessori theory and practice and animated by an unwavering commitment to diversity, equity, and love.

Breakthrough Montessori


Breakthrough Montessori is a public charter school in Washington, D.C., serving children from three years old through (eventually) sixth grade. Breakthrough pilots many of NCMPS’ school and teacher support initiatives including the D.C. Teacher Residency, Montessori classroom coaching, school services, and more.