I am thrilled that we have offered positions in the Class of 2017 to a fantastic group of eighth graders. They are bright, talented, and full of curiosity and a desire to join our community. We are confident that they will contribute to our school and go on to do great things. Application letters went out last Thursday, and students have until today at noon to make their decisions. We are very eager to hear back!
Parents in the beginning of the admissions cycle often ask, “Why Marin Academy?” Some of the biggest selling points of our school are our small classes, our outstanding faculty, our incredible arts programs, our great athletic teams, and our beautiful campus, among other things. But many independent schools—especially in the Bay Area—can also make these claims.
When I think about Marin Academy in relation to our peer schools, one important distinction comes to mind: we allow our students wiggle room.
Wiggle room, or “room to maneuver; flexibility, especially in one’s options or interpretations” is one of my favorite expressions. It recognizes that things aren’t always black and white—and that we sometimes need room to grow and change.
At MA, the progress of our curriculum allows students to come in as they are and then allows for individual growth. Our students come from dozens of middle schools and have had very different experiences in English classes, for example. Our 9th grade English classes are designed to get a diverse group focused, involved in discussions, and interested in the course material. What happens is that students learn how to use their own voice and how to listen to their peers.
While we have a core curriculum, it is not rigid. It’s rigorous, but not without options. Students are allowed to choose topics for projects, focus on their interests, and, later in their careers at MA, select electives that excite them.
But don’t just take it from me—read about what some of our parents have to say. These are three of several dozen quotes collected for the annual faculty/staff appreciation luncheon put on by the Marin Academy Parents Association (MAPA). This year, the words were displayed on the tables while we feasted:
We are so moved and inspired by the incredible ambition and vision that drives MA’s programs. Lit Fest? Outings? Conference on Democracy? Quiz Bowl? My husband and I have given up hiding our naked envy from our daughter. We often wonder how different our own life’s trajectory would have been had we had the privilege and opportunity of learning, day in and day out, in an environment as rich, challenging, visionary, and meaningful as MA’s. I hope that every member of our administration and faculty goes to sleep at night knowing that they are part of something magical.
I have watched every one of you “turn on the light” for my son in ways that stretch well beyond the stated curriculum. Thank you for feeding his knowledge with grace and compassion!
Thank you for making my son feel challenged and competent at the same time; for inviting him to share his thoughts and opinions and waiting for him to respond; for holding him to a higher standard by insisting that he think a little harder and deeper.
Although we have a quarter of the school year left, we are already focused on the potential of the Class of 2017. We look forward to seeing them on a daily basis in August at the corner of Cottage and Mission.