Benchmarks, Best Practices and Assessment: Pedagogical Leadership Mountaintop established a committee a few years ago to document a cohesive curricular framework and consistent community practices to ensure the realization of the school’s mission. The committee has identified level specific outcomes across the curriculum, best practices and methods by which the faculty holds itself accountable for quantifying student achievement. The committee defined academic, co-curricular and whole child benchmarks for each level of the program. The academic and co-curricular benchmarks include mandatory lessons and expected skills to be mastered by the end of each cycle in the disciplines of mathematics, geometry, language, history, science, performing arts, visual arts, ecology, garden to table, Spanish, physical education and technology. The whole child benchmarks are guided by an emphasis on awareness growing into action: Self, Interpersonal, Community, Local, Global. The strands of study in these holistic development benchmarks include peace and justice, grace and courtesy, social and interpersonal, and emotional and spiritual. The committee has also addressed best practices at each age level in order to ensure that students fully benefit from the Montessori pedagogy. Best practices criteria in the areas of prepared environment, teaching materials, adult practices and schedules have been formulated for each level. After developing these benchmarks and best practices, we recognized that this is an on-going task as many of these documents are “living” and subject to change as we refine and perfect our practices. Therefore, the Pedagogy Committee, which is now called the Teacher Leadership Committee (TLC), has been charged with the constant review and upkeep of the documents, staff education of best practices and ensuring accountability of school and staff in following best practices. The Teacher Leadership Committee also supports classrooms and families to ensure the success of students who face particular challenges in reaching expected outcomes or to whom expectations and/or timelines for learning outcomes need to be adjusted. The team observes and advises faculty and parents as they work in partnership to determine and follow each child’s unique learning needs and goals. The goals of the committee in these situations are the following: determine obstacles to a child’s maximum success, support teachers in implementing Individualized Support Plans for a child, facilitate guide/parent partnerships, formalize a process for identifying and supporting students and maintain a school-wide perspective of various aspects of student needs. Forms used in observations and goal setting of these children can be found in the assessment section of the curriculum. 11