Enhancing Academic Excellence Through Performing Arts

By Supriya McDonald, Head of Lower School

Academic Excellence is one of the three main pillars of our School, together with Positive Character Development and Creative Self-Expression . Academic achievement is one of the five core values of an MMS education. These words are found in the mission statements of most schools, and also heard in political speeches during election season. But what does academic achievement and excellence look like at MMS? How do we demonstrate it and how do we measure it?

Global, Creative and Entrepreneurial: Scholar and Author Dr. Yong Zhao to Speak in Aptos

Dr. Yong Zhao, an internationally known scholar, author and speaker, will be the featured presenter at an upcoming public lecture in Aptos. Dr. Zhao, author of more than 100 articles and 20 books, including Catching Up or Leading the Way ; American Education in the Age of Globalization and World Class Learners: Educating Creative and Entrepreneurial Students will be addressing an audience of parents, educators and others interested in the topic of education trends and innovations.

Making A Difference: Third Graders Study ‘Moral Heroes’

Visitors to the third grade classroom on a recent afternoon were greeted by an array of modern day and historical figures, including: former President Abraham Lincoln, Mother Teresa, Pocahontas, Benjamin Banneker, Dr. Temple Grandin, and Eleanor Roosevelt. Each third grader chose an individual as a “moral hero” to study and later personify for the classroom presentation.

Honoring and Remembering: First Graders Celebrate the Day of the Dead

A glue stick in one hand, and a brightly-colored silk flower in the other, the dark-haired girl purses her lips in concentration and carefully applies glue to the flower bottom before placing it on the mask before her. The girl, a first grade student at Mount Madonna School, is working with her class on decorating skull masks as part of their Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) studies and celebration.

Constructive Learning: Fourth Graders Build Holiday Houses

With his dad nearby to lend assistance, Mount Madonna School fourth grader Sammy Caudill lines up the pieces of pre-cut wood and carefully hammers in a nail, successfully connecting the first two walls of the small house he is constructing. This action is repeated again and again – a symphony of hammers and light-hearted chatter – as 14 students around the classroom build their houses.

Pilgrims, Politics and Immigration

Student artwork and educational posters adorn the walls in the classroom next to the Farmhouse Office, alongside shelves filled with literature and non-fiction books and neatly-organized desks. This inviting space is where Mount Madonna School’s (MMS) first grade class spends time each school day, writing, reading, discovering and learning together. The curriculum is rich and varied, and recently involved lessons on the pilgrims, geography, politics, immigration and family heritage.

Students Share Interest in Burrowing Owls

Cabrillo engineering student, Eric Wells, met with Mount Madonna School (MMS) math and science teacher PD Rohan and MMS 6th grade students and their families at the Watsonville Wetlands Watch Open House on Sunday, Nov. 4. Wells shared with the MMS group about building burrowing owl nests as part of his Eagle Scout project.. The students who attended were reminded of the Western Burrowing Owl, a bird which their class focused on for their award-winning “Give A Hoot” project last year.