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As our mission statement notes, Mount de Sales is a community of learners—teachers and students alike—which means that we learn and grow individually and as an institution by listening to each other. When asked what makes her proud of MDS, one of our recent graduates said, “I am proud that every student here has a voice! We can all speak our minds freely.”

Opportunities to listen are often organic, but they also can be intentional. As part of the institution’s self-examination process for reaccreditation, our administrators and faculty members chose to meet individually with every student to gain a deeper understanding of the student experience at MDS. These conversations informed the subsequent school-wide growth goals that include strategies to ease transitions between grade levels and divisions and opportunities for students to become more independent learners.

Mary Pat Dadisman, dean of students and associate head of school, also meets regularly with ninth-grade focus groups to listen to their experience transitioning from middle to high school and get feedback on changes needed. From those conversations more time was offered during freshman orientation for students to practice finding their classes, freshmen were given the opportunity to choose their locker, and they no longer have to sit on the middle school side of the gym during pep rallies. The most exciting change, at least from the students’ perspective, may be the opportunity to wear approved sweatshirts and hoodies next year!

Administration welcomes ideas from students on how to enhance their overall experience on campus. Dadisman said, “I have an open-door policy, and they will just come in and share their thoughts with me.”

The future is bright for our students as we all listen and respond to the collective needs.

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