School Guide

School Spirit: The St. Paul’s Schools

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THE ST. PAUL’S SCHOOLS

Senior AIDAN believes he has “truly taken advantage of everything St. Paul’s has to offer” in his nine years at the school. As a theatre student, a member of the varsity golf team, the head of the SP photo and video club, a pianist, travel enthusiast, and aspiring filmmaker, he feels St. Paul’s has helped cultivate and support his many talents and interests.

Which two adjectives best describe your school? 

Diverse and inclusive. We have so many different groups of people who are in our community, and yet every group is compatible with one another. Half of the kids in choir are on the varsity lacrosse team. The dance company Inertia has several boys in it. Many students taking high level classes are also heavily involved in extracurriculars. One quote that I will never forget from the middle school is this, “You are part of something bigger than yourself.” This togetherness, this sense of brother and sisterhood, is what makes me excited and happy to be a part of St. Paul’s.

School Spirit: Mercy High School

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MERCY HIGH SCHOOL

Mercy High School senior, LEANDRA, has been a school leader on and off the field. A soccer player, track runner, and cheerleader, Leandra has also served as class president during her sophomore and junior years. She shares her gratitude for her school.

What makes you feel proud to be a student at your school?

I know that this institution represents important values like compassion, hope and service–qualities known of all Mercy girls. I feel extremely proud when people say, “Oh, you are a Mercy girl!” because I know they immediately associate me as a person that lives and emulates the strong values of Mercy.

What is the greatest lesson from your school you will take away with you?

The greatest lesson from my school that I will take away is that you have to go out into the world and spread love. When you see that the world is full of poverty, sickness and disparity, you have to be that change you wish to see.

School Spirit: McDonogh School

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MCDONOGH SCHOOL

KIBIR, a junior at McDonogh, has immersed herself in the life of the upper school as a violinist in the strings orchestra, a participant in the school plays, and a member of the Comic Book Club and Fellowship of Christian Athletes.  She reflects on what makes her school so special, including Roots Farm, where she enjoys spending time.

Which two adjectives best describe your school?

One word would be supportive. I can’t count how many times teachers and administrators have reminded us that we can always reach out to them if we need any support either academically or personally.  The second word is hardworking. This describes both the faculty and the students. The teachers use different teaching strategies and ask us for feedback so they can make sure that we are all learning fully. When it comes to the students, I believe that every one of us has at least one thing that we are passionate about in school that we work hard to grow in.

School Spirit: Garrison Forest School

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GARRISON FOREST SCHOOL 

The call to “Be Spirited” is at the heart of Garrison Forest School’s mission and represents one of its five core values. Embodying this are the student leaders who rally the girls in their division to not only showcase their spirit but to compete in team events, from games to service projects. Garrison’s spirit captains, MINARAYAHLIVYMOLLY and LUCY, lead the school’s two teams, the Light Blues and the Dark Blues. Students, faculty and staff are sorted in a school-wide celebration, often to loud cheers, colorful outfits, and resounding spirit. Each captain tells how Garrison Forest has instilled her to “be spirited.”

School Spirit: Boys’ Latin

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THE BOYS’ LATIN SCHOOL OF MARYLAND

Boys’ Latin LakerJONATHAN, will serve as the school’s student body president during his senior year. He brings to this role involvement in theater, Diversity Club and Black Awareness Club as well as a great appreciation for his school and a commitment to diversity.

School Spirit: Students at Bryn Mawr, Gilman and RPCS

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Resilient, thoughtful, resourceful and spirited, today’s independent school students juggle academics, extracurriculars, service and leadership. Meet upper school students from Bryn Mawr, Gilman and Roland Park Country School whose passion for and commitment to their school communities are evident in all they do.

Our 2020-2021 Guide to Baltimore Independent Schools is out

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Our fifth annual Baltimore Fishbowl Guide to Independent Schools releases to the public today. Over the next few weeks, we’ll share on Baltimore Fishbowl stories you’ll find in the guide about the students, teachers, administrators, and programs that make up the independent school community. Check out the digital version above, and read our Notes from the Editor, below, to learn more about this year’s guide.

Our List of Baltimore Independent Schools’ Reopening Plans

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The coronavirus pandemic has left public and private schools in a state of flux with both wanting to do the best for students and teachers while offering as normal of a school year as possible.

MIAA and IAAM postpone fall sports

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Photo via the MIAA website.

The Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association and the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland, the two largest private school athletic conferences in Maryland, have postponed the start of fall athletics indefinitely.

Independent schools weigh scenarios before school starts in the fall

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David Dutrow has spent more than half of his life at Mount Saint Joseph High School in Baltimore – first as a student and now as an English teacher for the past 24 years.

Now, the look and feel of education is so different, as Dutrow and other educators grapple with what school will look like next fall. Despite their advantages, independent schools that rely on tuition from often well-resourced parents are unsettled by a pandemic that shows no signs of letting up. Independent school officials’ challenge is assuring tuition-paying parents that their children will continue to get a curated high-quality education online that can match in-person classes.

Peter Baily, who oversees the Association of Independent Maryland and DC schools with 120-member schools, said his association has been working to offer professional development courses and immediate support to its members, many of whom had never taught online. They also have been consulting with independent schools in California and the Pacific Northwest that are further along, for best practices and a roadmap that will lead to success for Maryland independent schools.

Because they are smaller, independent schools could quickly adjust to online learning

“This has been a complicated year for schools, but because of our size, we had the ability to be nimble and pivoted quickly by putting in place systems and protocols for distance learning,” Baily said. Responding to the immediate crisis was critical, but now the association is working with school leaders on scenarios that could get students back into the classroom in the fall. The scenarios include offering classes on campus with a limited number of students, a hybrid of on-campus and distance learning, or operating completely online.

School administrators in both public and private schools struggle to find the right balance between keeping teachers and children safe and providing in-person classes.

“I think the key point for our schools is that they are working very hard to meet students’ and families’ needs and keep everyone as safe and healthy as possible,” said Myra McGovern, a spokesperson for the National Association of Independent Schools, a membership association that provides services to more than 1,900 schools and associations of schools in the United States and internationally.

NAIS has developed several scenarios to assist independent schools as they prepare for the next school year. “Schools’ plans vary a great deal based on their locations and the age of the students they serve, but the one thing all the plans have in common is a focus on what’s best for students. While responding to COVID has been tough, many schools are trying to make the best of the circumstances,” McGovern said.

Parents have a renewed appreciation for teachers as essential workers

When schools shut down in March, parents were forced into an educator’s role, overseeing their child’s school progress, which has led to a deeper appreciation for teachers. David Dutrow, the Mount Saint Joseph teacher, said he had received emails that show his effort is appreciated. But Dutrow added that it is more important to him to see that his students have not lost ground.

“If there is one thing that parents of school-age kids have learned, it’s that teachers and schools are absolutely essential, essential to the well-being of their children, essential to their family’s well-being, and to society generally,” said Ruth Faden, a professor of biomedical ethics at Johns Hopkins University.

“How schools should open in the fall is about as important an issue as any in this pandemic response. There is no question that children are better off in school buildings, with teachers in classrooms. Getting as many children in classrooms for as many hours a week as is possible has got to be a top priority. It’s the ‘as possible’ part that is the rub. Everyone needs to be watching the numbers — the cases, hospitalizations, and death rates in their localities, as well as the evolving evidence about transmission and illness in kids. And as important as it is to get kids in classrooms, part of honoring teachers for all that they are doing on behalf of their students is recognizing that there are limits to what we can ask of teachers in terms of their own health risks,” Faden added.

Maryland school officials are looking at the risk vs. the benefits of opening school doors

Maryland public school officials are weighing options to get students back in the classroom. Following the closure of public schools in March, the state of Maryland issued its recovery plan for Maryland, which outlines a set of recommendations for reopening schools, but it has largely left reopening to the discretion of the schools and the local school system whether to open schools in a gradual fashion or open to all students, as each school deems appropriate.

“Our fondest hope is that we can open in the fall,” said AIMS Executive Director Peter Baily. “We want to see our children, and they want to see us, but we will do this only if we can be safe,” Baily added.

For now, teachers are working around the clock

“I have been more exhausted in the last three months than the six months before that,” said Dutrow, the Mount Saint Joseph teacher. “I am constantly checking emails because online students may have more questions and require more clarity.” He also has had to adjust his time to meet his students’ schedules, as some may go to bed late and wake late or to make adjustments for students who may need more time to work on an assignment.

Dutrow said students may turn in work at all hours and he wants to be there for his students no matter what time it is.

“Our expectations have to change to a new normal. My hope and dream would be that we somehow miraculously find a cure, but until then, while we want to strike a balance that gives us some contact with our students, the safety of my students, my colleagues, and myself is paramount and must be our primary concern.”

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