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Community Conversation

with Letty Rising, Jennifer Kepesh & Jess Gagne

Guiding Elementary Environments During Pandemic Times

Guiding Elementary Environments During Pandemic Times

Are you an elementary teacher who is still in the throes of distance learning, and trying to get a handle on how to facilitate a Montessori environment within a virtual setting?

Or, are you a teacher who is now back in the classroom or in a hybrid situation, and want to know how to support elementary students and parents at home during pandemic times? 

Join this panel of experienced elementary teachers who will offer some tips and tricks on how to integrate authentic Montessori practices into virtual teaching strategies, as well as some ideas on how to support the elementary child's need for socialization during a time when it can be a challenge to safely gather together.  

Letty Rising

Letty Rising earned her B.A. in Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, obtained her State Teaching Credential through the California State University, San Marcos, and participated in AMS Montessori training for ages 6-9, before earning her AMI elementary diploma for ages 6-12 and M.Ed from Loyola University in Maryland.

Ms. Rising moved into her first administrative role because she wanted a Montessori school for her daughters and there were none in existence where she lived, so she started one! She has held positions as a Homeschool Education Specialist, Montessori Elementary Teacher, School Director, Principal, Montessori Coordinator, and Consultant with several different Montessori communities over the years, throughout the United States and worldwide.


Jennifer Kepesh

Dr. Jennifer Kepesh earned a Ph.D. from the University of California, Irvine, with research on the cognition of reading. She was a Research Fellow at Carnegie Mellon University, taught at Albion College, and at Georgia Institute of Technology taught and did research in Problem-Based Learning, before changing careers.

She earned her AMI 6-12 diploma and Master of Elementary Education in Montessori Teaching at Washington Montessori Institute/Loyola University, Maryland. She taught at a private Montessori school before moving to a public Montessori school, Montessori of the Rio Grande Charter School in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she has been an Upper Elementary Guide for seven years.

Jess Gagne

In her eight years as an educator, Jess Gagne has worked with children of almost all ages in a variety of settings to facilitate holistic growth and the building of a strong and supportive school community. After graduating from the University of Connecticut's Neag School of Education with her B.S. in Elementary Education and her M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction, she completed her AMI Elementary Diploma at Montessori Northwest.

She loves learning and reading both in and outside of the classroom, and finds inspiration in music, yoga, the outdoors, and great storytelling. Jess is also passionate about traveling and exploring new places and has had the privilege of international work experience in both rural Peru and London, England.

Since her academic studies have focused on engaging students in culturally responsive education, she is dedicated to challenging cultural misconceptions and promoting a deep understanding of global interdependence. As a lead elementary guide, Jess aims to cultivate an environment that inspires kindness as well as lifelong love and excitement for learning.