Skip to Content

For 17 years, eighth-grade ELA teacher Martha Barrett has been working alongside her counterparts to ensure a strong academic foundation for middle school students, before they make the leap into high school. Ninth grade is a huge transition period for any student—academically, socially, physically, and emotionally—and MDS continuously tweaks and improves upon processes in order to better benefit the children and families it serves. One way we are doing this is by creating academic cohorts among teaching faculty across all divisions in 6th-12th grade.

In recent years, the middle school was organized in grade-level teams and high school in academic departments. This “bedrock” philosophy, while having a student-centered focus, did not leave room for curriculum growth or teacher professional development. According to Barrett, “Academic cohorts allow teachers of all grade levels to share ideas as well as monitor the flow and expectations of each class within both divisions to continue a seamless alignment of skills.” For new and veteran teachers, the cross-division cohort concept prioritizes reflection, assessment, curriculum revision, peer observation, and support from others in a teacher’s area of expertise. A summer reading and application component will kick-off the next school year for the entire MDS faculty, regardless of academic department. (Read: What’s Going on at Mount de Sales? Professional Development)

Barrett has worked in various capacities at MDS, including academic coach and religion teacher, and she is a parent of MDS graduates. She has seen the benefit of and need for collaboration across grade levels. This concept still has a focus on students. Strong, confident teachers pave the way for engaging classrooms and inspiring learners. According to Barrett, “Not only are our students able to soar socially, but they also meet our rigorous academic standards head-on. They each learn the value of hard work and grit. Our talented teachers are constantly looking for ways to help students make connections with curriculum material and the world at large.”

The future is bright for our faculty as they collaborate to create an unmatched educational experience for our students.

Watch Now: