The opening lines of McDonogh’s Academic Strategic Plan: LifeReady, state, “McDonogh School is a joyful community built on close relationships and trust. Children educated at McDonogh will emerge as people of character who are exceptional communicators, and who honor diversity in all its forms. They will learn how to pose their own questions and grapple with complex problems with creativity on their own and with others. McDonogh believes that preparing each child to be ‘life ready’ is the ultimate object of each student’s experience at McDonogh.”
The plan, developed by faculty and administrators in the months following McDonogh’s evaluation and re-accreditation by the Association of Independent Maryland Schools in 2014, speaks to McDonogh’s commitment to continuing to provide its students with an exceptional education which will prepare them to meet the challenges of a complex, uncertain, and volatile world.
When the kids are engaged and get their hands dirty, they relate to that experience and learn so much better. The kids are collaborating, being creative, and they have ownership. This is LifeReady.
—Gregg Kleiman, Middle School Faculty
In addition, the LifeReady strategic plan describes the school’s ongoing dedication to graduating young people of character who are equipped to face the future and be a force for good in it. It also defines the kind of teaching and learning that is necessary to preserve the fundamentals of a first-rate education and at the same time prepare young people for a future that is continually evolving.
As described by LifeReady, teaching must be motivational and timely; learning must be deep, authentic, integrated, and collaborative. Deep learning enlists and awakens excitement in students for the material they study so they understand concepts fully and fundamentally. Authentic learning matters to students and others, has ties to real-life challenges and questions, and is intrinsically compelling because it is driven by a specific goal. Integrated learning requires students to draw on multiple disciplines at once to solve problems, and thereby reflects real-world practices. Collaborative learning gives students the opportunity to work in teams to accomplish a goal; they must learn to create, communicate, negotiate and delegate to achieve their objectives.