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The Pursuit of Excellence

Our teaching practices and tools lay the foundations for student success in higher education and in life

Explore the Pillars of a Morristown-Beard school Education:

Excellence in Teaching and Learning

Excellence in Teaching

Excellence in teaching is sustained by innovation: innovation follows from experimentation, and experimentation in the classroom is fuelled by inspiration, new ideas, and exposure to communities of learning. To provide teachers with all three, Morristown-Beard School provides teachers with both individual and institutional professional development pathways.

Individualized Teacher Growth and Learning: 

Lifelong learning is at the heart of the MBS experience, for teachers as well as students. We believe that where teachers are supported in pursuing their intellectual passions, students reap the benefits, in innovative curriculum and programming. MBS is committed to providing teachers with opportunities and resources to pursue learning in the directions that matter most to them, in the belief that doing so will promote excellence in the classroom and beyond. 

Institutional Growth and Learning:

Professional Development at MBS aims at giving individual teachers the resources and means for expanding knowledge, skills, and interests, and also to engage the entire community on shared endeavors of learning and growth. Among the programming offered by and for the entire school are assessment workshops run by our Center for Teaching and Learning, Center for Academic Writing, and Center for Innovation and Design, a two-day Summer Educator Session, and training sessions led by outside experts. As much as individuals, institutions are capable of learning and growth, serving as repositories of knowledge, know-how, and collective wisdom. At MBS, our school-wide professional development initiatives are consistently inspired by our mission of shaping all of our students into “morally enlightened citizens of the world,” with courage and curiosity giving meaning to their lives.

Excellence in Learning

Excellent learning means “deep learning,” and “deep learning” depends on a student’s mastery of disciplinary knowledge and know-how, their eagerness to identify as intellectually committed and curious individuals, and their creative application of concepts and skills to real-world problems, products, and productions. Morristown-Beard School supports students in all three facets of their growth as learners and people:

Mastery

Morristown-Beard has the resources and programs to support any student ambitious for the highest level of mastery in a discipline--and a faculty dedicated to inspiring all students to find that ambition. Our academic Centers, rich course offerings at advanced levels (both AP and innovative, seminar-style Advanced Study and Advanced Seminar alternatives to the AP), and high density of faculty with advanced degrees and real-world expertise, set us apart in the world of education. Mastery is an ideal, never truly attained, but the faculty and resources of Morristown-Beard School allows all students to see how rich and rewarding the journey to mastery should be.

Identity

Our earned honors program, student-centered pathways through disciplines, and numerous elective offerings afford students the opportunity to discover, expand, and deepen their identities as thinkers and learners. We recognize the divergent and emergent strengths of our students, and we encourage them to take the intellectual risks that will reveal how far those strengths can carry them. It is our hope that students leave MBS celebrating and pursuing their passions for growth, discovery, and change in and out of the classroom. That, we believe, is the best preparation for college and life beyond college.

Creativity

The Center for Innovation and Design, a Makerspace, a state of the art theater, and a range of pathways in the arts speak to the value Morristown-Beard School places on creativity. But creativity does not live in the arts alone. A commitment to creating and making energizes academic life across the School, in the curriculum as well as in the extracurricular activities that fuel student growth. But creativity, though it can involve producing a work of art or organizing an event, more fundamentally means that students in all disciplines are empowered to see that they construct knowledge and understanding through active engagement with whatever materials are at hand and through collaboration with other learners.
 

Immerse Yourself in the MBS Experience

Two middle school boys in suits smiling at their desks

Immerse yourself in our unique learning experience and see our educational technology and learning tools in action on a campus visit.

Middle School student Matt talks about the hands-on, real-world learning that takes place on campus and the adjacent Frelinghuysen Arboretum.

Upper School student Trevone discusses the opportunities to discover afforded to him by his Morristown-Beard experience.

 

Curricular Philosophy

Ensuring the growth and well-being of our students lies at the center of all our decisions at MBS. We maintain a balanced approach to rigorous academics, enriching co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, and an engaging family and community life.  As students pursue their individual paths to academic success in our community of learners, they are guided by highly-dedicated teachers who are fully versed in the latest educational research, with particular emphasis on the following key practices in all subject areas:

CRITICAL THINKING facilitates greater understanding of complex topics and situations. Students learn to ask questions, identify problems, synthesize key concepts, and design creative solutions in pursuit of knowledge.
RISK-TAKING is encouraged. Our educational program recognizes this as a valid learning modality, even when an investigation does not proceed as expected. Play and a sense of fun are key components 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.
QUANTITATIVE REASONING is valued as a means of logical processing both in and beyond the math classroom. Developing a sound quantitative mindset is crucial to understanding, critiquing, and drawing conclusions in our increasingly data-intensive culture.
INNOVATIVE CONNECTIONS across disciplines inspires original approaches to solving problems and prepares students for life beyond the classroom.

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 child's education at MBS, as our teachers work quickly to incorporate new instructional approaches and learning tools into their classrooms.

Below we share a few examples of recent faculty professional development:

Kate Alderman

Kate Alderman, along with fellow faculty members Katie Pepper and Lisa Swanson, attended a School Disciplinary Conference in San Antonio last November as part of the Innovative Schools Summit. Attendees learned new insights and strategies for reaching and teaching students. 

The session "Teaching Kids to Think and Act Ethically” included practical advice on how to teach students to act with integrity, civility, and compassion. "Restorative Practices in Schools” provided some information on the philosophy of Restorative Practice in schools and the impact it has on school culture and climate. "Education for Transformation: A Better Vision for Teaching Diverse Learners, Cultural Differences, and Social-Economic Disparities in Education" addressed the problems that exist within these areas and how educators can address these issues in a more substantive way.

Jenifer Laviola

Jen Laviola participated in a week-long cultural immersion program at Centro MundoLengua in Seville, Spain. She lived with a local family and participated in an intensive program designed for Spanish teachers. More recently, Jen took a virtual online French language course with the Rassias Language Center at Dartmouth College, gaining firsthand experience with the renown Rassias method of language instruction. Upon completion of this course, Jen held a pedagogy workshop on the Rassias method for teachers in Morristown-Beard School’s World Language department.

Jen attended a week-long virtual conference for department chairs run by Independent School Management (ISM) last summer. Participants from independent schools around the country worked with consultants to examine issues related to leadership, diversity, equity, and inclusion, and virtual instruction. 

Natalie Marone

Natalie Marone recently attended the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Conference in Washington DC, an annual three-day conference intended to bring math teachers from all around the country together to talk shop and help transform the learning and teaching of mathematics. There she sat in on sessions about writing in the math classroom, formative assessment, projects for the BC Calculus classroom, and scaffolded activities, to name a few.

Natalie also served on the steering committee for "“Something For Everyone: Math and Science Across the Curriculum,” a conference held at Morristown-Beard School to commemorate the opening of the Math & Science Center. In that capacity, she helped screen applications for presentations, coordinate keynote speakers, and develop the schedule for the day.

Matt Martino

As a licensed architect and a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Matt Martino attends regular continuing education seminars and workshops to maintain his license. In 2020, Matt participated in 18.5 continuing education hours of seminars presented by industry leaders, professionals, and educators that included topics like "Industrial Revolution: Artifact to Architecture," "Mass Timber at the University of Denver: An Authentic Expression of Sustainability," and "Embodied Carbon Workshop" presented by the Association of Collegiate Architecture Schools (ASCA).

The ASCA conference was led by professors of architecture and design from schools of architecture, including MIT and Columbia. Professors revealed how they are integrating sustainable design and elements of carbon management into their college level design studios.

Marina Milinkovic

Marina Milinkovic has attended numerous virtual webinars over the course of the past year to bring cutting-edge technologies and practices into her classroom. She attended the webinar "How to Use Visible Body to Lecture in 3D” by Visible Body, whose apps take anatomy education far beyond written text, flat images and plastic models. With Visible Body’s 3D models and augmented reality capabilities, teachers can provide their students with glimpses into things the naked eye cannot see and an unmatched level of interactivity.

Marina also participated in a webinar by LABSTER. Educators around the globe are using Labster’s virtual labs to help motivate and engage STEM students through introducing and reinforcing concepts, preparing for wet-labs, post-lab practice to master skills/techniques and as lab replacements for online learners. Marina learned how these virtual labs can bring value to her science courses, including best practices for building virtual labs into a course.

Marina participated in the EXPLO Critical Design Making Camp for Educators held at Morristown-Beard School in 2019. This conference was a hands-on training program to help teachers integrate design thinking into the classroom and take a closer look at student roles in group work and what kinds of roles are needed specifically for science classes.

Kate Muttick

Kate Muttick recently attended the Harvard Graduate School of Education's critical inquiry workshop, "Teaching Students to Ask their own Questions”. The workshop centered on helping students become more curious, take ownership of their learning, and demonstrate greater comprehension of challenging content. 

Kate also took part in the EXPLO Critical Design Making Camp for Educators held at Morristown-Beard School in 2019. This conference was a hands-on training program to help teachers integrate design thinking into the classroom and bring curiosity, engagement, and humanity to teaching and learning.

Currently, Kate is attending the Institute for Female Leaders in Education from the New Jersey Association of Independent Schools (NJAIS). The intention of the program is to promote personal and professional growth for current and aspiring female school leaders and empower women at all stages of their professional journey.


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 students represent MBS well, and we are delighted to recognize a few of them below.

Student Achievement


MBS Centers for Learning

Decades of academic research highlight the importance of both meaningful teacher-student engagement and highly experiential learning in the intellectual growth of young people. Accordingly, Morristown-Beard School has thoughtfully created three Centers for Learning to best engender the high-level development of several essential skills in your child.

The Center for
Academic Writing

The Center for Academic Writing (CAW) helps your child embrace the writing process as well as write across the curriculum.

The Center for
Teaching & Learning

The Center for Teaching & Learning (CTL) empowers all students to better understand themselves and their own learning stories while, at the same time, developing students’ self-advocacy and self-efficacy.

Learn More about the CTL

The Center for
Innovation & Design 

Opened in 2019, the Center for Innovation & Design (CID) provides more than 8,000 square feet of flexible and innovative space where students design, build, and problem solve as they engage in multidisciplinary projects.

Learn More about the CID

Explore the Pillars of an MBS Education

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