Why is MSM the best choice for your daughter, especially now during this uncertain time with COVID?

 

The curriculum:

  • By fully stepping away from Regents exams as our final assessments, Mount St. Mary teachers have the flexibility to meet students where they are. This allows us to spend time on topics of interest, go deeper than the Regents curriculum allowed time for, and reinforce concepts as needed. In addition, faculty are able to work cross-curricularly and collaborate to create lessons that span two or more academic disciplines.
  • Our teachers were prepared to resume in-person learning in September, 2020, based on input from our Reopening Task Force that consisted of faculty and administrators, parents, health professionals, students and outside education experts. With all appropriate safety precautions being met, our school community is working together to succeed during this new normal — and we are prepared to pivot quickly if circumstances require it.
  • Our academic standards remain high — whether learning happens in school or remotely. Our teachers were prepared to begin online teaching immediately in March, and students moved ahead with coursework from March 17 through the last day of school. Our students received grades for their work (there was no pass/fail) and Mount St. Mary produced four solid academic quarters.
  • Moving into the 2020-21 school year, we are proud to expand the number of challenging courses we offer. We have added AP Computer Science, AP Macro Economics, and dual-enrollment College French. Mount St. Mary offers a robust AP program that welcomes all students to challenge themselves.
  • During remote learning time, students in the Mount St. Mary Honors Program continued their work on more than a dozen different small businesses. One student-created business was recognized as a United States champion, and all participants learned in real-life, hands-on ways how businesses had to adapt during the COVID pandemic.
  • MSM Mathletes competed virtually and succeeded in New York state and National competitions!

Last weekend, our Mount St. Mary Mathletes won second place in a statewide #Mathleague competition. Individually, Chloe…

Posted by Mount St. Mary Academy on Saturday, May 2, 2020

  • A cohort of MSM teachers provided extra reach-out to students who struggled with the transition to remote learning, offering additional, personalized academic support, just as they would have in a face-to-face learning environment. The addition of a full-time social worker will enable this support to continue for our students.

 

The technology:

  • MSM was prepared for roll out of online learning and we were up and running without missing a single day of instruction. Our teachers are familiar with technology, ready to try new things, adapt along the way. Teachers jumped in right away without question. Our teaching corp will have this same “can do” attitude as we face new challenges ahead.
  • Google Classroom platform is MSM’s primary medium and it’s one our students and faculty are fluent in. This made for an easy transition to at-home learning. Because this is a platform used by many area middle schools, we are confident our incoming students will adapt well.
  • Mount St. Mary is a one-to-one school. All students and faculty have remote learning devices — used both in school and during at-home learning every day. Our incoming Class of 2024 will begin work with the Microsoft Surface device, which is both intuitive and user-friendly. It is also a perfect fit with the Google Suite of Tools.

 

The teachers:

  • MSM teachers embrace flexibility. This was evident during the initial phases of virtual learning, when student feedback indicated what was and what was not effective. Faculty adapted based on that input. Student feedback also helped our teachers recognize that time management was a need for some students. Together, they created “Week at Glance” for students, which gave a seven day look at what was coming so they could plan their study time effectively.
  • MSM teachers work collaboratively and creatively and constantly reflect on their practice. Our school leadership team is a partner in the classroom, and they work together to boost each other up. This allows for recognition of each other’s strengths but also how we each have areas of growth.
  • MSM is proud of our readiness programs. We provide skills and support for foundational needs for students who need assistance. We plan to expand these programs this summer with the addition of Math summer bootcamp, literacy program, geometry readiness, SAT/ACT math, and study skills. The introduction of a new Renaissance Assessment program will help us recognize individual student needs and gaps.
  • Our academic centers are live — and virtual. Newly-installed Humanities, STEAM, and Languages centers will continue to be a key component of a Mount St. Mary education. Should conditions warrant a continuation of remote learning, we are ready to continue offering virtual models of these centers, which give students the chance to engage with faculty, exercise their academic curiosity, and check in with the teachers with questions. It has also proven to be a great way to build community.

 

Additional supports:

  • We are focused on our students’ mental and socioemotional health. Our Wellness program is growing and will be spearheaded by a full-time social worker. Student feedback has led us to expand yoga and meditation offerings during the school day. And we continue to help our students develop their spiritual health as Campus Ministry is familied into our Wellness efforts.
  • Expanding diversity initiatives. Membership in the student group “The Voice” has been expanded, along with our Black Affinity group. Plans are already underway for Service & Justice Week 2021, which involves all members of the MSM community. Mount St. Mary faculty and staff are spent a professional development day before summer recess learning more about topics surrounding diversity, and the entire school will engage in a community book conversation on diversity in Fall 2020. Staff are being trained in Restorative Justice circles this summer, and we are working to include Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives throughout our community more fully.
  • We care for our students’ social well-being. Mounties will continue to work with teacher-mentors through our Advisory program, and our freshmen will enjoy an enhanced Big/Little Sister initiative to begin over the summer. This will harness our amazing sophomores and their faculty advisors to help our Class of 2024 feel at home right away!
  • Clubs and organizations are being re-imagined to accommodate remote learning. We’ve asked our moderators and coaches to work with students to create these clubs in new ways.

 

FAQ

Has Mount St. Mary reopened for in-person learning?
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Yes! Mount St. Mary has begun the 2020-21 school year in full in-person learning mode! We surveyed our parents and students, who strongly indicated their desire for safe, in-person learning. In preparing for this all summer and guided by local and State guidelines, we created a Reopening Task Force, consisting of MSM administrators and teachers, current and former parents, community leaders and our own students. We are committed, first and foremost, to the health and safety of students and staff, and we are dedicated to maintaining our many traditions and our commitment to academic excellence.

 

I’m worried my middle school daughter has fallen behind since the switch was made to remote learning. What should I do?
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The flexibility of the Mount St. Mary curriculum allows us to work with students who may come to school in the fall with gaps in content areas. Our faculty and guidance department recognize that course changes may be necessary and they are ready to work with students one-on-one if needed.

 

Will Mount St. Mary offer any activities for middle school girls this fall?
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Yes. We have reimagined our annual Open House to provide a more personalized visit for middle school girls and their families. Set for Sunday, October 4 and Monday, October 5, the event will offer tours by appointment only. Click here to make your reservation.

If you would rather learn about MSM from the comfort of your own home, please watch our Open House video and take a virtual tour. If you would like to make arrangements for a private one-on-one tour for your family at a later time, please contact Admissions Director Liz Suchan-Reitz ’07 at 877-1358 ext. 413 or esuchan-reitz@msmacademy.org.

Check back for information on a reimagined Fall Fun Night!

 

My daughter plans to take the entrance exam at Mount St. Mary in the fall. Will there be a prep class offered?
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Yes! We are thrilled to be hosting a free, virtual prep course, open to any 8th grade girl. We have redesigned this as an online course because we do not know what the coming months will bring in terms of face-to-face learning. The course will run for 5 weeks and will have both an ELA and a Math review each week. Participants will receive the class lessons via a pre-recorded YouTube link. There will also be a live, online 60 minute Q&A session every Wednesday evening at 4:30 p.m., hosted by our Math and English teachers to answer any questions participants may have. We are excited for this new format.

 

Will you be offering an Open House and shadow days this fall?
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We have reimagined our annual Open House to provide a more personalized visit for middle school girls and their families. Set for Sunday, October 4 and Monday, October 5, the event will offer tours by appointment only. Click here to make your reservation.

If you would rather learn about MSM from the comfort of your own home, please watch our Open House video and take a virtual tour. If you would like to make arrangements for a private one-on-one tour for your family at a later time, please contact Admissions Director Liz Suchan-Reitz ’07 at 877-1358 ext. 413 or esuchan-reitz@msmacademy.org.

Eighth graders are invited to see what life is like at Mount St. Mary Academy by spending a Shadow Day with us. We’ll match you with a “Mountie Ambassador” who will be your guide for the day. You’ll meet our students and teachers, experience classes, and be treated to a delicious lunch.

Click here to complete our “Mountie for the Day” form

 

I have more questions. Whom can I contact?
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Please contact Admissions Director Elizabeth Suchan-Reitz ’07 at esuchan-reitz@msmacademy.org or 877-1358 ext. 413 for more information.