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 academic standards remain high — whether learning happens in school or remotely. Our teachers were prepared to begin online teaching immediately, 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 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.
  • 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-t0-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 have gone 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 spending 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

Will Mount St. Mary offer in-person learning in September?
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We hope that we will be able to return to face-to-face learning when the 2020-21 school year begins, but we are committed, first and foremost, to the health and safety of students and staff. We have created a Reopening Task Force, consisting of MSM administrators and teachers, current and former parents, community leaders and our own students to help us in this endeavor. Guided by local and State guidelines, the Task Force will make recommendations in a wide variety of areas to ensure Mount St. Mary and our students are ready for learning this fall.

 

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 summer?
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Yes. New York State has permitted day camps to open as of June 29, and we have re-imagined our annual Summer Sessions Camp based on current health and safety guidelines. This camp is limited to a maximum of 60 campers, and we expect to fill up. Please review the information and reserve your daughter’s space soon!

 

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 Thursday night 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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At this time we are planning ways for prospective families to look at our campus, both physically and virtually, that allow them to experience a true day in the life of a Mountie. The traditional Open House model may not be possible, and more likely, we will be scheduling appointments for family tours in order to follow all NYS health guidelines. Shadowing is an important, memorable experience for 8th grade girls, and we will do our very best to make this opportunity possible. More information will be available as the school year gets closer.

 

I have more questions. Whom can I contact?
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Please contact Elizabeth Suchan ’07 at esuchan@msmacademy.org for more information.