Excellence in Teaching and Learning V1

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The MBS Experience: An End in Itself

At Morristown-Beard School, we are committed to the pursuit of excellence in teaching and learning. Thanks to a talented faculty and a 22-acre campus infused with advanced educational technology and learning tools like Science On a Sphere, our student experience is truly unique – something more substantial, significant, and lasting than the typical scholastic experience.

The journey at Morristown-Beard is an end in itself, an opportunity to discover, explore, and grow as a thinker, a learner, and a human being.

Dr. John Mascaro – Dean of Faculty

Teaching and learning at MBS is thoughtfully directed and experienced in ways that reflect the best attributes of a 21st Century education. With small classes that feature a 7:1 average student to teacher ratio, our instruction and curriculum emphasize critical thinking, problem solving, independent thought, and intellectual risk taking. This approach supports cross-disciplinary connections and a holistic view of knowledge, and it encourages integration of habits of intentional speaking and writing so that students may develop and articulate their ideas. MBS courses are process-oriented, and teachers’ assessment of student work reflects the means by which a student creates and learns in addition to final product. Morristown-Beard School esteems the qualitative as well as quantitative dimensions of learning and supports students' making connections to other areas of intellectual thought and the larger world.

Pursuing these principles, and ensuring their consistent application, can often be a daunting task. At MBS, this challenge is being met on several fronts: through intentional and clearly focused communication efforts both to the internal and to the external community, by robust and sustained professional development efforts which continue to train and enlighten teachers regarding research findings and emerging best practices, and above all, by the commitment made at the top of school leadership to develop the best educational model to serve our students, and to accept the challenges this commitment implies.

At MBS, we have made this commitment, and we have been steadily working through our educational practices to revise and reform them so that they are laying the foundations for student success in higher education and in life.

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Guiding Principles

To ensure excellence in teaching and learning for your student, we embrace the following principles to guide teachers in the deployment of their craft:

CRITICAL THINKING that focuses on the way a student reasons and approaches a problem or situation; the process is of more importance than the particular subject area in which the thinking is instantiated.
RISK-TAKING is encouraged. The reward structure of an educational setting should recognize this as a valid learning modality, even when an investigation does not proceed as expected. Appropriate follow-up should be encouraged. Play or a sense of fun is a key component in nurturing appropriate intellectual risk-taking.
WRITING is a means of thinking and developing thoughts, not just a way to record pre-existing ideas. Analytic and reflective writing should not be the exclusive domain of the traditional text-based disciplines, but should be actively encouraged across the curriculum.
ASSESSMENT of student learning and thinking is driven by educational objectives. It is not limited to in-class test taking, but may take many forms. Assessments attempt wherever possible to engage higher-order cognitive functions. They should themselves contain a learning component going beyond the mere recycling of information.
CONNECTIONS can be made across disciplines, more so as students mature. This includes reflections among common or connected subject areas, common approaches to solving problems, and deep-seated principles.
HOMEWORK should be germane to the educational objectives of a course and not exceed what is needed to achieve those objectives.
PROFESSIONAL AWARENESS of basic theories and modalities of learning is expected of all MBS teachers, along with understanding of the fundamental questions that drive educational research. Teachers should model the behavior of risk-taking and critical thinking expected of their students.

Learn more about the Academic Program at MBS

Middle School Curriculum Guide Upper School Curriculum Guide


Professional Development

An Everlasting Quest for MBS Faculty

Excellence in teaching and learning depends upon a passion for the pursuit of new knowledge. At Morristown-Beard School, our faculty members continually explore both the professional aspects of teaching as well as particular areas of academic interest and expertise in order to grow their skills and knowledge base. This professional development directly impacts your daughter or son’s education at MBS, as our teachers work quickly to incorporate new instructional approaches and learning tools into their classrooms.

We’re happy to share a few examples of recent faculty professional development. As a school, we’re quite proud of these impressive accomplishments in the professional development realm:

Brent Deisher

Brent Deisher (Science) earned a scholarship to attend both the Maitland P. Simmons Summer Institute for middle school science teachers and the corresponding New Jersey Science Convention, sponsored by the New Jersey Science Teachers Association. The Maitland P. Simmons Summer Institute focused on interdisciplinary science instruction, with a particular emphasis on integrating engineering practices into the science classroom. As a result of his studies, Brent created a new unit on wind energy, including an activity in which 8th graders design and build wind turbines and test their power output with Vernier sensors.

Andrea Deventer

Andrea Deventer (Performing Arts) attended a four-day “Professional Dance Teacher Retreat” near Boston, Massachusetts. Classes were held on “Classic Dance Techniques,” “Critique Your Choreography,” “Combinations Using Non-8-Count Music,” and “Progressive Warm-up Through Age Levels,” to name a few. Andrea had the opportunity to spend time with other dance teachers from around the country, exchanging ideas about her craft.

Darren Lovelock

Darren Lovelock (English) travelled to White Plains, New York, for a one-day Learning and the Brain training seminar entitled “Active Differentiation in Practice.” Dr. Kristina J. Doubet, a Professor of Education at the College of Education at James Madison University, advised seminar attendees about best practices in implementing initiatives in differentiated instruction, curriculum design, digital learning, and classroom assessment. Darren returned to MBS, armed with more than a dozen new ideas that he shared with the English Department.

Gorica Hadzic

Gorica Hadzic (World Languages) attended the Annual Conference “Français langue étrangère—French dual-language conference” organized by the Metropolitan New York Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of French (AATF). The conference focused on the benefits of a dual language education, as well as the growing body of research on bilingualism that confirms the lasting impact that these immersion programs will have for generations to come.

Laurie Hartman

Laurie Hartman (Visual Arts) enrolled in a one-on-one follow-up course in “Creating Digital Negatives” with professional photographer Morgan Post. Previously, Laurie studied with Post at the Center for Photography in Woodstock, New York, learning how to make enlarged negatives from digital files, as well as scanned black and white film negatives. The concentration was on adjusting those negatives specifically for platinum printing, all helpful information for Laurie to use in her “Advanced Photography” course.

Susan Speidel

Susan Speidel (Performing Arts) was selected by the English-Speaking Union of the United States and Great Britain as one of 20 English and Theater teachers to study at The Globe Theater in London. The focus of the intensive workshop was lifting Shakespeare’s words off the page and exploring the context that brought his works to life on stage, with an emphasis on producing and directing Shakespeare’s plays with teenage actors.

Michael McGrann

Michael McGrann (World Languages) attended the 20th Anniversary Celebration for SALVI (the North American Institute of Living Latin Studies). The celebration included presentations about teaching Latin and Classics at both the secondary and tertiary levels, workshops about topics ranging from specific teaching techniques to the development of the Latin language, a musical performed in Latin, and social interactions with friends and colleagues. Michael also presented at the Foreign Language Educators of New Jersey (FLENJ) Annual Conference.


Student Achievement

A Celebration of Excellence in Learning

We’re also excited to share stories that highlight notable achievements earned by our talented students. These young women and men represent MBS well, and we are delighted to recognize a few of them below.

Matthew Lindberg ’19 Announced as a National Merit Scholar Semifinalist

Congratulations to MBS senior Matthew Lindberg ’19, who was named a semifinalist in the annual National Merit Scholarship Program. The pool of 16,000 semifinalists nationwide represents less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors.

Varsity Baseball Team Receives National Recognition

Once again, our varsity baseball team received national recognition for academic excellence.

For the third year in a row, the Morristown-Beard School varsity baseball team has been selected to receive the Team Academic Excellence Award from the American Baseball Coaches Association. This year's award was presented to only 70 schools nationwide.

The 2018 Morristown-Beard School varsity baseball team was under the direction of Head Coach John Sheppard along with assistant coaches Joe DeKasar, Ken Monteith, Tom Moore, Scott Schroeder, and Eric Shea ’05.

Henry Miller '21 Receives Judge's Award

Morristown-Beard School 9th Grader Henry Miller '21 recently received one of 25 Judge's Awards at the 22nd annual Pingry Student Photography Exhibition at the Martinsville campus.

More than 300 photographs were entered in this year's show, representing the best work of students from 12 private and public high schools in the region. The work included both digital and traditional film-based printing, and was judged by New York-based photographer Peter Jennings. Henry's winning photograph (shown here) is a digital portrait of his mother using dramatic lighting to set the mood.

MBS Students Inducted into Mu Alpha Theta

Eight Morristown-Beard School students were recently inducted into Mu Alpha Theta, an international high school mathematics honor society with more than 1,500 chapters across the United States and abroad.

The principal purpose of Mu Alpha Theta is to stimulate a deeper and more effective interest in mathematics. To be eligible for induction, students were chosen based on their participation in NJ Math League contests, American Mathematics Competitions, and their solid performance in all MBS Upper School math courses.

Congratulations to this year's inductees: Hailie Cadeau '18, Emma Duffy '19, Perri Easley '19, Quiya Harris '19, Courtney Norteman '19, Emma Sombers '19, Ariana Martino '19, and Henry Miller '21.

MBS Students Join Cum Laude Society

Ten Morristown-Beard School students were welcomed into The Cum Laude Society at a special induction dinner in the lobby of the Math & Science Facility this spring.

This year's inductees are: Katharine Bernstein '18, Jennifer Blackwood '18, Elisabeth Buscemi '18, Keegan Heher '18, David Kasabian '18, Jaydn Lawrence '18, Calvin Poche '18, Sofea Stanton '18, Jill Stecker '18, and Sarah Yamashita '18.

The Cum Laude Society, modeled on Phi Beta Kappa, was founded in 1906 at the Tome School in Port Deposit, Maryland, to promote learning and scholarship in secondary schools. The Beard School received its Cum Laude Society charter in 1950, the Morristown School in 1958, and Morristown-Beard School in 1976. Each chapter elects to membership those members of the senior and junior classes who have demonstrated academic excellence, intellectual curiosity, and good character.

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