Messages from Marjo

Head of School Marjo TalbottI'm pleased to share the many wonderful moments that occur here at Maret throughout the year — moments that make Maret a special place.

A Year To Remember as We Look Ahead

Class of 2018 Lifers pose for their photo on Commencement day.

It all began with the launch of our Strategic Directions, which will serve as Maret’s guideposts for the coming three to five years. Before the next academic year begins, the School’s leadership – including trustees – will revisit the document’s Guiding Principles to develop strategies for implementing its goals.

The new Athletic & Wellness Center will open in August, providing significant reinforcement for one of those Guiding Principles: Supporting Our Students’ Success. By raising the profile of our expansive athletics program, the Center will underpin Maret’s commitment to the well-being of every student. Further reflecting that commitment, this summer our faculty will conduct two Case Institute programs related to wellness. One concerns ways to manage anxiety in Grades K-12; the other focuses on the Human Development curriculum for Grades 5-8.

During my time as Head of School, we have frequently examined the question of how to provide both a safe campus and a sound learning environment for our students. Steps taken over the course of this past year to further this goal include canvassing groups of parents and faculty about any concerns they may have about security; and surveying nearby independent schools about their security practices. We also hired independent security consultants, whose safety audit provided several useful recommendations for us to implement this summer. In my August message, I will review any new protocols that have been put into place.

Demonstrating our focus on another Guiding Principle, Advancing a Maret Education in the 21st Century, Maret joins with eight Washington-area independent schools to announce today our shared commitment to eliminate Advanced Placement courses from our curricula by 2022. Historically, Maret has never tied its curricula to certified AP courses and audits. As a result, we have been able to offer a rich variety of elective academic courses that exceed AP standards, while at the same time provide our students the option to take AP exams in the spring if appropriate. We now stand with our peer schools who will move in the same direction in the coming years. The joint announcement states:

One topic on which we all agree is the diminished utility of AP courses and the desirability of developing our own advanced courses that more effectively address our students’ needs and interests.

Collectively, we believe a curriculum oriented toward collaborative, experiential, and interdisciplinary learning will not only better prepare our students for college and their professional futures, but also result in more engaging programs for both students and faculty.

Finally, next year’s school theme will be connected to the concept of “Growth Mindset” defined in our Strategic Directions. Our faculty community read this summer is a fascinating book entitled Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family. Picking up on the third Guiding Principle: Connecting to Our Communities, we invite you to join us in reading this remarkable story, and we will offer a fall Evening Discussion around the topics that are raised.

I wish you all a joyful, rejuvenating, and safe summer, and look forward to seeing you in September.

Marjo Talbott
Head of School