Category Archives: Curriculum

Upper Elementary Students Reflect on the World Peace Games

Last week, both Upper Elementary classrooms declared that the World Peace Game officially won. Each classroom proudly reached a peaceful conclusion.
Photo credit: Robin Chan, The Scituate Mariner

Photo credit: Robin Chan, The Scituate Mariner

World Peace Game Makes Front Page News

To see photos and read about the exciting conclusion of the games from our friends at the Scituate Mariner, click here.
Watch the exciting last few moments of the Upper Elementary UE2 game on Instagram.

Student Reflections

Inly upper elementary students in UE2 were asked to reflect on their experience playing the World Peace Games this week. The game concluded last Thursday. Below are a few of their observations.

What was the “point” or “purpose” of playing this game for you?

  • “I learned about the world and know more about myself.”—Chloe C., Grade 4, Prime Minister of P.C.O.S.
  • “[The World Peace Game] showed me that solving world peace is hard and playing the role of a professional job is also hard.”—Wesley F., Grade 5, Chief Financial Officer of the United Nations
  • “The purpose of this game for me was to understand that world peace is not easy in real life, and it takes communication to do it.”—Cameron M., Grade 6, Assistant International Arms Dealer
  • “The purpose of the game for me was learning that not everyone thinks the same and that the real world is not very easy.”—Isabel P., Grade 5, Secretary of State of P.C.O.S.
  • “The purpose of the game for me was making PEACE and learning to agree and make decisions together.”—Emma C., Grade 5, Weather Goddess
  • “Well, to me, playing the World Peace Game was about learning diplomacy, delegacy, and learning about real world problems. Also, my dream is to become the Secretary General of the real UN and this brought me a little closer to achieving that goal.”—Will M., Grade 6, Secretary General of the United Nations
  • “The purposes of playing the game for me were: Teamwork, Solving world peace, Future plans, Good time and friendships.”—Ava K., Grade 4, Chief Financial Officer of United Islands

Can there be peace without violence? Please explain your reasons for answering as you do.

  • “No. When there is violence, people die. In violence, no one likes each other. The definition of peace is: ‘The absence of war and violence.’”—Isabel P., Grade 5, Secretary of State of P.C.O.S.

Describe in detail how your thinking changed during the game from the first impressions through the end of the game. Please explain what caused your thinking to change in key moments.

  • “Well I thought if someone got me out in a game they didn’t like me. So when I started, I was going to be the nicest company leader ever. But then stuff happened and I couldn’t be like that. I decided I had to be aggressive and sometimes bossy (even though people don’t like it) and take the welcome sign off my back.”—Nora K., Grade 6, President of the International Arms Dealers
  • “At first I thought ‘Oh, this will be easy. Everyone will want peace.’ But NO. Some people wanted violence when some people wanted peace. Now I think, ‘Life is not easy.’ And I also think, ‘I want to do it again.’”—Lilja M., Grade 4, Undersecretary of the United Nations
  • “In the beginning of the game, I thought that the easiest way to get something was to claim it before the other teams got to it. But towards the end of the game, I realized that you should always make a treaty, or research about who really owns it, not just do what you think.”—Henry S., Grade 4, Prime Minister of Krellic
  • “I think this game showed me that you have to be creative.”—Peter H., Grade 4, Secretary of State of Krellic
  • “In the beginning, all I wanted was to have more nukes than everyone. Towards the end of the game, I was desperate to keep up with CFO stuff and the money.”—Jayden L., Grade 5, Prime Minister and Chief Financial Officer of Troopers
  • “At the beginning, I thought people could just wait and let the professionals do it. But in the end, I learned anyone can stand up.”—Isabel P., Grade 5, Secretary of State of P.C.O.S.
  • “When I first started, I thought it would all be sunshine and rainbows, but when the saboteur became more of a threat, my thinking changed, and so did I. I decided to use what the real UN uses, delegacy and knowledge.”—Will M., Grade 6, Secretary General of the United Nations
  • “When I started out, I was confident. ‘Yeah, I can do this,’ I thought, ‘Take care of the money.’ We had $540 billion and then the money dropped. I lost confidence. But as the game went on we gained and lost. ‘Nothing is perfect,’ I thought. Some teams helped and, I thought, ‘We are all in this together.’ We won with a total of $625 billion.”—Ava K., Grade 4, Chief Financial Officer of the United Islands

Is there a best way to solve problems between opposing groups of people?

  • “Strategic planning is necessary. You need money, time and brain strength. You need to be alert and full attention.”—Catherine B., Grade 4, Prime Minster of United Islands
  • “COMPROMISE.”—Jayden L., Grade 5, Prime Minister and Chief Financial Officer of Troopers

 

Inly is GOING PLACES—this year and beyond

DonnaBy Donna Milani Luther

We are delighted to welcome new and returning families to Inly and to start another school year together. Inly—and the children who fill its classrooms—are going places. Last spring, our Lower Elementary students sat with one of the authors of the book Going Places and wowed him with their creativity and self-awareness. It is our students who will fly above the rest as they think, problem-solve, and not spend too much time relishing in their victories. Believe it or not, this is the first time that every student at our school was born in this century. These are the children who will shape the next generation’s medical devices, smart technology, and other things we can’t begin to imagine—and they will do it with persistence, knowledge, the ability to understand and follow directions, and confidence in their abilities to take their ideas to new heights.

We take every Inly student’s education very seriously. Not only do we pride ourselves in staying ahead of the educational curve, we are committed to delivering a rigorous, exceptionally challenging education in a Montessori way. That means every child will feel known, be a valued member of our community, and feel appreciated for who they are, while we help them work to their potential.

The Montessori way is not a process that lends itself to A, B, Cs and Ds. It is more individual and more intentional.

GoingPlaces

Image courtesy of Peter Reynolds

In order to help our parents better understand what, when, how, and why their children are learning Montessori lessons, Inly is piloting the reporting feature of our online record keeping system, Montessori Compass. This tracking software helps teachers map out the Montessori curriculum for each student against the Common Core. The Montessori Compass reports will give you a snapshot into our curriculum and the ongoing work of your child in his or her classroom.

It is important to note that this new parent communication is still a work in progress. We will continue to work with the software designers to refine the look and feel and user experience. We are slated to launch this reporting feature in October. The reports are dynamic and will allow all who are interested to read more about the lessons, materials, and rationale behind the Montessori works your child is being introduced to in the classroom.

These reports will not capture the entirety of work that is happening in the curriculum and programming, nor are they meant to be evaluative documents. The intent is to make the Montessori materials, curriculum, scope, and sequence more transparent. You will still receive full progress reports on each individual child—along with conferences—in November, February, and May.

Navigating Montessori Compass will be new for all, so we will sponsor a series of information sessions to help you understand this new system. The session dates will be posted shortly. We will also talk about this at our Parents Group meetings, create a webinar for those that can’t come in during the day, and have some “drop-in” sessions for Q&A. We will ask for your feedback as we roll this out. Our goal is to continue to improve this new communication. Please stay tuned for follow-up news on our roll-out of Montessori Compass.

How We Prepare Our Students for Life Beyond Inly

Donna Milani LutherBy Donna Milani Luther, Head of School

In my forty years of teaching, I have taught in a variety of schools and what I appreciate most about Inly (and why I landed so happily here 18 years ago) is that it is a thoughtful, intentional blend of what is developmentally appropriate for children and what prepares children for their future—regardless of what their futures hold.

We know that we are preparing our students for life beyond Inly—for high school and college where they will still encounter traditional measures of academic success, like tests and quizzes. We also know that trends in secondary and higher education are rapidly moving toward flipped classrooms, experiential learning, and more Inly methods of demonstration of mastery, like collaborative projects and presentations. As educators in an ever-changing world, we know that we are preparing our students for jobs that don’t yet exist. That’s why we talk so much about grit—we know our students must be flexible, resilient, and know how to problem solve if they want to stand a chance in their dynamic future.

Montessori “Plus”

As I mentioned in a previous R&N article, Evolving the Montessori Pyramid, at Inly we combine tried and true Montessori methods with other harmonious practices—particularly at the upper elementary level and beyond. I like to call this approach Montessori “plus.”

While Inly’s curriculum is rigorous and benchmarked with the Common Core the “plus” is that we also teach next century skills including communication, creativity, ingenuity, and critical thinking. Through all of these teachings, we try to build each student’s self confidence and love of learning.

Fostering Lifelong Responsibility

Another “plus” at Inly plays out in how we teach our students responsibility. Our students are expected to be on time, manage their schedules, finish homework assignments, take tests and quizzes, and complete research projects. They routinely set goals, keep and refine work plans, and critically reflect on their own progress.  Throughout all of these experiences, children ultimately learn how they best learn, and how to be responsible for their own learning, which is incredibly empowering and something we know they take with them in life.

Entering the Real World

Each step of the Inly journey builds upon itself, and each level brings exponential growth in our students. In our lower levels, students are mastering foundational academic skills, while they are encouraged to wonder and see themselves as part of a family, classroom, and school community. In Upper Elementary, our students expand and apply their academic skills in more challenging projects and explorations, which culminates in a sixth year intensive capstone project, and they begin to engage with their broader South Shore community through their weekly Service Learning curriculum. Once Inly students begin Middle School, the “plus” expands to include additional learning experiences that they are, by this time in their academic career, developmentally ready for. In Middle School, we give our students opportunities to go out into the real world through the Internship Program and our Montessori Model United Nations program. As a capstone experience for our 8th grade students this year, they will also participate in a two week immersion program through NuVu Studio, where they will solve real world problems using applied technology and design. Since Middle School aged children are fascinated with their roles in the larger society, all of these programs are important parts of their exploration of the world. Each of these programs offer authentic work experiences that lead our students to a greater sense of self and respect for others.

Life Beyond Inly

The most common observation I hear parents make of their children after they have graduated from Inly is that are passionate learners. They love the process of learning and take on new learning experiences with an enthusiasm that is unique from their peers. While those who graduate from Inly walk away with the more tangible academic measurements of success, this love of learning is actually the aspect of a student’s experience that is perhaps the most valuable. This sort of passion can be applied to any field of study and any career. It is invaluable. As Maria Montessori once said, “we discovered that education is not something which the teacher does, but that it is a natural process which develops spontaneously in the human being.” Our gift to our students as educators is not how many facts we have crammed into our student’s brains but rather how much passion for learning we were able to help them cultivate within themselves.

“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.”
– Albert Einstein

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
– Benjamin Franklin

“There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.”
– Jiddu Krishnamurti

What Are the Benefits of a Montessori Preschool?

“There are many who hold, as I do, that the most important period of life is not the age of university studies, but the first one, the period from birth to the age of six. For that is the time when man’s intelligence itself, his greatest implement, is being formed.
– Dr. Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind

Montessori Preschool Absorbent Mind The Absorbent Mind: The Toddler and Preschool Years

Dr. Maria Montessori coined the phrase “Absorbent Mind” to describe the child’s most crucial developmental stage: the first six years. During decades of scientific observation, she noted the remarkable sponge-like ability of the child to take in new information.

During two stages of the Absorbent Mind period—from birth to age 3, and from age 3–6 —children soak up information from their environment, learning at a rapid rate. Because the unique capacity to learn in this way—and at this rate—lasts for the first six years of life, Dr. Montessori urged educators to take advantage of this critical stage. During this time, she argued, the impressions made on a child’s mind through lessons and the classroom environment are highly formative and can have a lasting impact on their future development.

Many of Dr. Montessori’s scientific theories are now supported by brain research being done today, more than 100 years later.  Based on our own experience over the past 40 years as an innovative Montessori school, we see many of the same benefits every day as children discover the joy and wonder of learning all around them.

5 Benefits of a Montessori Preschool and Kindergarten Program

1. Developmental Approach

The Montessori philosophy behind the Children’s House (preschool and kindergarten) program is based on scientific research into the stages of early childhood development. Designed to meet the developing needs of the three- to six-year-old, the Montessori program makes the most of this period of intense mental activity.

2. Comprehensive Curriculum

The Montessori preschool and kindergarten curriculum is remarkably broad and deep. The curriculum includes Language, Math, Science, Spanish Language, Cultural Studies (history, geography, physical sciences, botany, and zoology), Practical Life, Visual Arts, Music and Movement.  It is designed to help the child build skills and absorb knowledge at an individual pace and provides a solid foundation for elementary school and lifelong learning.

3. Focus and Independence

Making choices and using coordinated movements to accomplish tasks leads the preschool and kindergarten child toward self-regulation and self-control. The Montessori classroom environment and the Montessori method encourage focus, concentration and internal self-discipline.

4. Observation and Problem-Solving Skills

Through their Montessori work, children develop strong observation and problem-solving skills. Encouraged to make decisions from an early age, children in Montessori programs are nurtured to become creative problem-solvers who can make appropriate choices and manage their time well.

5. First Grade Readiness

Students who master the Children’s House Preschool and Kindergarten curriculum are extremely well prepared for the academic, physical, and social work of first grade in Montessori Lower Elementary or traditional elementary schools.

More on the Benefits of Montessori Early Education

Exploring the Benefits of Montessori Early Education (Inly Insights)

Montessori Education and Brain Development: New research validates 100-year-old method (Inly Insights)

The Benefits of Montessori at Inly School

The Benefits of a Montessori Education at Inly School

Montessori Philosophy and Mission at Inly School

Montessori Preschool and Kindergarten at Inly School

To learn more about the Children’s House program at Inly, visit the Preschool and Kindergarten portal on the Inly website:

Montessori Preschool and Kindergarten at Inly

Summer Work at Inly

As summer approaches, it feels appropriate to spend a moment speaking about summer work for our children. Children at each level of Inly have a summer work packet that our faculty has thoughtfully prepared.  Each packet begins with the Inly Summer Work Philosophy that stresses the importance of family time and learning by doing.  If you are mindful about reading to or with your child each day, playing games together that require sequencing, logic or strategy, and are having discussions at dinner, on the beach, in the car, or during summer travels, your child will be learning and will solidify the academic gains made at school.  We encourage you to keep the joy of learning alive in your child and to embrace Montessori’s understanding of indirect preparation this summer.

Indirect Preparation

“The way nature has of preparing the intelligence. In every action, there is a conscious interest. Through this interest, the mind is being prepared for something in the future. For example, a young child will enjoy the putting together of various triangular shapes, totally unaware that because of this work his mind will later be more accepting of geometry. Also called remote preparation. The deeper educational purpose of many Montessori activities is remote in time.”  —AMI website

The summer work packets offer specific suggestions about developmentally appropriate activities, but are not mandatory and are not exhaustive. In the younger grades, they are meant as a resource to parents, in grades 4-8, there are work requirements that we hope you will encourage your child to complete a little at a time throughout the summer months.

For some children, focused time each week on specific literacy and/or numeracy skills will be required for them to retain what they have learned or to make the necessary gains to start the year feeling confident and prepared. If this is true for your child, you would have heard that from your child’s teacher at end of year conferences, and resources would have been suggested.

All Toddler through Upper Elementary students and parents were also given an Independence Guide.  We consider this the most important work for both you and your child this summer.  As the adult Montessori Guide this summer, your homework will be to prepare the environment and the time to allow your child to grow in independence. Help your child to continue the learning they do at school to complete practical life tasks independently. Create expectations and routines for care of self and care for the environment.  Invite your child to participate in the family as a contributing member—not with incentives of reward or threat of punishment, but as a natural part of his or her day.  This might be difficult and time consuming at first, but the benefits will last a lifetime.

“The essence of independence is to be able to do something for one’s self. Adults work to finish a task, but the child works in order to grow, and is working to create the adult, the person that is to be.” —Maria Montessori

Montessori Education and Nature: What’s the connection?

 

“When the child goes out, it is the world itself that offers itself to him. Let us take the child out to show him real things instead of making objects which represent ideas and closing them up in cupboards.”
– Dr. Maria Montessori

We hope that you will all able to join us for our April 3 Omran Speaker Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods and The Nature Principle. This presentation has led us all at Inly to reflect on the close match between Richard Louv’s message and our mission at Inly as Montessori educators.

Montessori Philosophy: Combining indoor and outdoor classrooms

The Outdoor Classroom, nearly one year old, is already an integral part of the Inly curriculum at all levels—from Toddler through Middle School. It’s easy to think of this addition to our campus as a progressive new idea, but it’s actually rooted in a 100-year-old philosophy. Dr. Montessori was an early proponent of experiential learning and considered the outdoor environment a natural extension of the classroom. The Montessori connection makes sense: Contact with nature affords opportunities for rich sensorial experiences, a vital element of Montessori learning. It also supports the whole child—body, mind and soul—and promotes respect for all living things.

Dr. Montessori’s vision for schools was always a combination of indoor and outdoor classrooms. This was a way to study the interconnectedness of all things, a way for children to be able to study math and science, nature and the universe.

Montessori had deep reverence for the natural world, and her cosmic education curriculum, which runs from Toddler through Middle School at Inly, stresses the importance of grounding children in an understanding of themselves as a part of the greater universe.  She believed that we best develop an understanding of self when we understand the interconnectedness of all things— that true respect for self grows together with deep respect for others and for nature.

The Outdoor Classroom at Inly School: Integrating science, language arts, music and more

Our Outdoor Classroom is used extensively at all levels for many subjects—for science, language arts, music, art, practical life. We have a low ropes course for our upper grades to engage in leadership and trust activities, and outdoor music elements to enhance listening and creativity. Students are currently constructing a “secret garden” of their own as they read The Secret Garden with our school librarian and literature teacher. Each level at Inly now has its own garden. Even the toddlers have a garden of their own.

Students in Kindergarten and Lower Elementary (grades 1—3) have classes with Ellyn, an experienced and inspired naturalist, and our Upper Elementary and Middle School programs each have a trained natural scientist to weave scientific exploration and habits of mind into the all aspects of the curriculum for grades 4–8.

Outdoor Service Learning

In addition, in Upper Elementary, students begin participating in a service learning curriculum that includes partnerships with The North and South Rivers Watershed Association and Holly Hill Farm, and Middle School students leave campus for immersion experiences with the Hull Lifesaving Museum, Ocean Classroom and Heifer International’s Overlook Farm.

Integrating nature into the Inly curriculum

“Sit spots” are a good specific example of how we integrate nature into the curriculum. In Upper Elementary (grades 4, 5 and 6) students choose a spot on campus to visit each week throughout the school year.  From this vantage point they repeatedly observe their surroundings and watch how things change with the seasons. They sit with a journal and have been taught how to observe and then how to record those observations through writing, sketching, poetry. In this way, they are developing an essential scientific habit of mind – observation, but they are also being invited to do something even more rare in this age—to be still and to be present.

In Middle School (grades 7 and 8), this training continues with formal labs and lab reports;  with involvement in The Green Committee, dedicated to student initiated and implemented activities on campus to enhance Inly’s authentic commitment to green initiatives; and with “solo time,” a common component of Montessori middle school programs that deepens the practice of stillness—which is so essential, but so difficult for teens, and for us all.

To learn more…

Watch a video of outdoor experiential learning and Montessori “sit spots” here:  A Typical Day in an Upper Elementary Science Class Means Going Outside to Learn

Read an excerpt from Richard Louv’s bestseller Last Child in the Woods here: http://richardlouv.com/books/last-child/excerpt/

Parting thoughts

“The land is where our roots are. The children must be taught to feel and live in harmony with the Earth.” – Dr. Maria Montessori

“The future will belong to the nature-smart—those individuals, families, businesses, and political leaders who develop a deeper understanding of the transformative power of the natural world and who balance the virtual with the real. The more high-tech we become, the more nature we need.” – Richard Louv

Going the Distance at Inly

The Event
Going the Distance at Inly

The Purpose
The “Forest” View: To help current Inly families understand in real terms how this investment in an Inly education will benefit their child in the long run. To hear from other people who had the same questions along the way and can now speak from the experience of being on the other side of having taken that leap of faith.

The “Trees” View: To find out how the admission process and transition to high school worked for Inly graduates and how that will translate to my child.

The Panelists
One high school principal, one high school admission director, four Inly alumni parents, and one Inly Middle School graduate

The Alumni
Inly Middle School graduates representing the classes of ’02, ’04, ’10, ’11, ’12

The Alumni Parents
Representing the Inly classes of  ’99, ’02, ’03, ’04, ’07, ’08, ’09, ’10, ’11, ’12

The Audience
Current Inly parents (and one grandparent) with children ranging in age from Children’s House through Middle School

The Format
Bob and Corinne Wagner P’08, Mike Brennan (Vice Principal of Boston College High School), Annemarie Goode P’09 ’12, Jon White (Director of Admission at Thayer Academy), Stephen Hartlaub, MD, P’07 ’07, and Ali Nagle ’12 kindly took time out of their very busy schedules to be part of our panel and talk with Inly parents about their experiences at Inly or with Inly students.

There was plenty of time for questions that were fielded by the panelists, as well as the impressive number of alumni and alumni parents in the room whom we thank profusely for coming to be resources.

The evening ended with four small-group sessions for parent-to-parent conversations about:

  • Public and charter schools
  • Catholic schools
  • Independent day schools
  • Boarding schools

The Panel
My two sons went to Inly from toddler through middle school and both are now at very traditional schools [Milton Academy and Boston College High School]. What they got from Inly that allowed them to start off freshman year running was the ability to do in-depth analysis, abstract thinking, and engage in their learning process. Because they had grown up in an environment where their teachers respected them and valued their opinions, they continue to contribute. They know who they are and have stayed true to that self. They see their work as an expression of their self and of their intelligence and they own their education. —Annemarie Goode P’09 ’12

Let me give you an example that embodies what Inly does for its students. Tucker Meehan, who graduated from Inly in 2011 and is now a sophomore at Thayer Academy, is a wonderful community person. He is a tour guide for the admissions department, so if you come to visit, it’s likely you’ll see him. He plays three sports (two varsity), has joined the Model U.N. competition club, and started an organic garden at Thayer. For the first time ever we’ve had food end up in the dining hall that was grown on campus. I can’t imagine we’ll ever not have a garden at Thayer because of Tucker. What he brings to Thayer from Inly is his passion, his ability to drive his own education, and an engagement with teachers and peers. —Jon White, Thayer Academy

A lot of big terms get thrown around at Inly Middle School—proactiveness, responsibility, self awareness—and there was so much discussion around everything we did, but I was never sure how I would use this in high school. Now that I’m at Boston University Academy, there is nobody saying “be proactive” or pointing out how classes have themes, but I found I could plan ahead and make the connections on my own! All of a sudden [my Inly education] made sense. —Ali Nagle ’12 (Boston University Academy ’16)

The Questions
There’s no doubt that the creative side of Inly is strong, but what about the math program?

Math is not my strength. I wasn’t on the same level as some of my Inly classmates who were ready for pre-calculus, but that’s about Max Zotz, not Inly. I own that and I was still prepared for regular freshman math at BC High. —Max Zotz ’02 (Boston College High School ’06, Brandeis University ’11)

When my oldest daughter was in public school, I attended her first grade conference and the teacher said she was ready to start teaching her math. Start. That’s when we started looking at other schools. Gabrielle ended up loving math at Inly and is now a chemical engineer major at Northeastern University. —Kristin Hunt P’08, ’10, ’11

Inly prepared me for learning math at Phillips Exeter Academy. We’re asked to think about the problem, not just solve it, which is what we did at Inly every day. —Lucy Knox ’12 (Phillips Exeter Academy ’16)

People are worried that there aren’t enough sports at Inly so how will they do well in that arena in high school?

I played a lot of town sports and ended up playing sports all through high school plus two varsity sports in college. Not playing sports at Inly did not limit me. Kids who want to play sports are going to play sports. —Sally Meehan ’04 (Cohasset High School ’08, Colby College ’12)

I was drawn to BC High because of sports. It was easy for me to be here and still play sports outside of school. I liked having two groups of friends. —Max

Inly gave me the confidence to go out for football, a sport I had never tried before. —Mac Morris ’11 (St. Sebastian’s High School ’15)

How do you wade through all the great schools out there to find the right one?

Start with Donna and Julie and the folks here. They know your child and they know the high schools. Don’t forget you have leverage…we want your student. —Mike Brennan, Boston College High

As for looking at high schools, listen to your kid. And know that Donna, Julie, and the teachers will support you. —Stephen Hartlaub P’07

Start the high school search process early. Visit the schools, go the open houses, go to games or plays. Don’t leave it all to the fall of 8th grade. —Bob and Corinne Wagner P’08

How was the transition to grades?

Just for the record, we do take quizzes and tests at Inly. —Mac

Transitioning to a school that gives grades was not difficult at all. —Sally

I wrote my college essay about grades versus no grades. I preferred to learn with no grades. At the end of the day, grades can only tell you so much. —Max

Middle school and high school isn’t just about the grades. It’s about who your children become. —Karen Park P’12

Are high schools going to stop factoring grades and test scores into the admission process?

We take our cues from what the colleges are looking for. Yes, we look at test scores, but more and more we are seeing that as a narrow skill. We also factor in the narrative progress reports, recommendations, and interviews. We are looking for socially robust students to be leaders. —Jon

Try to take the competitive language out of your conversation about schools. This is an art, not a science. Think of it as a mixing board in a sound studio. You want to adjust the audio and filter out the noise so you get the right sound for your child. —Mike

How does placement into honors and AP classes work?

We use a combination of traditional assessment tools like placement tests, as well as recommendations from teachers. —Jon

Most freshmen take basic classes and then move into honors and AP courses the next year. There is always the chance to move. —Max

We call and or meet with the high schools whenever there is a question about a particular class placement. —Donna Milani Luther, Head of Inly School

Do you see a significant difference in preparation between Inly students and those coming from more traditional schools?

There is no difference in academic preparedness. High schools want a diverse student body…make a “check” in that column for Inly. —Mike

High schools are looking for a variety of students with different personal and educational backgrounds…kids who can challenge, electrify, and open up each other’s minds. —Jon

Is there an advantage to “going the distance” at your pre-K–8 school?

There is a lot to be said for staying at the same school from preschool through grade 8. To be leaders at that school is huge. —Jon

We cannot provide the leadership opportunities in middle school at BC High that they can get at Inly. There should be no anxiety about wrapping up a spot or getting ahead of the game. —Mike

The Advice
The work of education is messy work. We seem to be concerned about “branding” our children—figuring out what school name will they wear on their chest—when we should be concerned with their journey of finding themselves and figuring out who they want to be as people. —Mike

The school search should be an intensely private, personal, and family discussion, not one for the soccer sidelines. The comparisons made there are not meaningful. Have your 8th grader participate in the conversation. When they are able to articulate why they want to go to a particular high school, then you can sleep well as a parent because you know they own their learning and have become a self-aware person. —Mike

You’re going to come out [of Inly Middle School] with formed people. —Sally

You have to trust your gut and do what works for your whole family. —Tina Morris P’11

I like to tell families that this admissions process—how to take a self inventory, how to research options, how to make decisions—is one they will use many times in their lives. You will get to practice it for high school, college, and every job search. So look at it from that angle. —Jon

Further Information
Inly Middle School students have matriculated to the following high schools:
Avon Old Farms School (CT)
Beaver Country Day School
Boston College High School
Boston University Academy
Brewster Academy (NH)
Cambridge School of Weston
Cape Cod Academy
Catholic Memorial High School
Cohasset High School
Commonwealth School
Concord Academy
Dana Hall School
Davidson High School (NC)
Dublin School (NH)
Duxbury High School
Falmouth Academy
Hanover High School
Hingham High School
Hull High School
Landmark School
Lawrence Academy
Marshfield High School
Milton Academy
Newman School
Norfolk County Agricultural School
Northwood School (NY)
Norwell High School
Notre Dame Academy
Phillips Exeter Academy (NH)
Proctor Academy (NH)
Rising Tide Charter Public School
Sacred Heart High School
Scituate High School
South Shore Public Charter School
South Shore Vocational Technical High School
Stoneleigh-Burnham School
St. George’s School (RI)
St. Sebastian’s School
Tabor Academy
Thayer Academy
The Winsor School
Verde Valley School (AZ)
Vermont Academy (VT)
Woodward School for Girls
Xaverian Brothers High School