This year MTS is examining how we can make our strong program even better. What can we do to Be Our Best? Here are three program changes that are already “In the Works.”
- We are changing our ERB standardized testing program. After researching when in the year and at what grade levels other Bay Area Independent Schools are testing, we met with the Bay Area ERB representative, Sarah Savage, to hear her expert advice on best practices. Guided by the work of our peers and ERB’s expertise we have decided on the following changes that will begin this school year:
- We will test grades three through seven rather than two through eight. This will give our third graders practice with testing skills before they move to the higher level testing platform in fourth grade that yields much richer longitudinal data in grades four through seven. We will also recover instructional time with our eighth graders in an already busy fall.
- We will send test results to parents in late winter or early spring, much earlier than we have in the past. Along with the raw data for your child, we plan to hold a Parent Information Evening with our ERB testing representative to help parents interpret the results.
- The school’s leadership will review the overall program data with our ERB representative as well, identifying areas of our program that need strengthening.
We are also rethinking our world language program for the 2017-2018 school year. We started the process by setting goals for what we want our graduates to know as they move on to high school. Right now we are in the midst of gathering data from our peer schools regarding what languages they offer, at what grade levels they teach those languages, and how much class time is dedicated to world language by grade level. While we are not looking to replicate any single program, we are excited to see what is happening outside of Mount Tamalapais School. This information will then allow us to dig into the nuts-and-bolts process of restructuring our world language program for the years to come.
Finally, the faculty and administration are looking to rework our daily schedule for the 2017-18 school year. This process began in a full faculty meeting a few weeks ago when we worked collaboratively to create a “Portrait of the MTS Graduate.” In groups we charted the characteristics and skills we thought were most important for our graduates. During our teacher inservice day in early October, each department similarly defined the skills and characteristics of the MTS graduate. We will use these global ideals to inform our process as we create a schedule for Fall 2017 and beyond that will grow our students to be their best selves - academically, athletically, artistically, socially, and emotionally.
All of these projects, as well as our accreditation by the California Association of Independent Schools, have our faculty working hard to “Be our Best” this year and beyond. I look forward to keeping you updated on these and other changes in the months ahead.
Associate Head of School
Dean of Curriculum