Current Courses - McDonogh Works - McDonogh School

Current Courses

To Kill a Mockingbird: Whose Story Is It? | Starting 9/17

Instructor: Jon Aaron
Schedule: Monday, September 17 to Monday, November 19, 2018 from 7:00 to 8:45 p.m.
Location:  Mullan Board Room, Edward St. John Student Center

The Fall, 2018 course is full. If you are interested in taking this course in the winter or spring, please contact Jon Aaron (

While To Kill a Mockingbird has remained beloved and controversial since its publication in 1960, the novel’s relevance to American culture has steadily deepened over the decades. Participants in this course take a deep dive into Harper Lee’s classic in addition to reading Go Set A Watchman, the manuscript which surfaced in 2015 and is now known to be the first draft of Mockingbird.  In tackling the core question of the course (Whose Story Is It?), we will also discuss the following as connected to the novels: the origins and proliferation of Jim Crow; thematically related poetry; a Chimamanda Adichie TED Talk; a James Baldwin essay; the art of Aaron Douglas and Norman Rockwell; music ranging from Billie Holiday to the Broadway musical Big River; and selected political cartoons by Kevin Kallaugher.

As discussions expand, we may consider excerpts from the following books and films which offer poignant connections to Harper Lee’s works:

Between The World And Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (nonfiction)
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (nonfiction)
13th by Ava DuVernay (documentary)
Moonlight by Barry Wilkins (film)
I Am Not Your Negro by Raoul Peck (documentary)
To Kill a Mockingbird by Robert Mulligan (film)

The course will meet on eight consecutive Monday evenings in the Mullan Board room. 

Please register here.

Everybody Has to Eat! Getting to the Root of Good Health | Starting 9/25

Instructor: Dr. Brooke Bussard
Schedule: Tuesdays, September 25 to Tuesday, October 16 during Upper School Lunch
Location: Mullan Board Room

What does it mean to be well? What role does nutrition play in the equation? How much is determined by our genes and how much is determined by our lifestyle?  To be sure, the world is cluttered with theories, books, diets, and “truths” about how to be—and get—well.

Join Dr. Brooke Bussard, a Food for Life Instructor with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, as well as a personal trainer and fitness nutrition specialist, who will lead lunch sessions focused on these questions and ways in which we might discover, for ourselves, the pathways to choices and habits likely to give us a life of sound mind and body.

Participants will review the scientific literature to understand what wellness can mean for them while also providing a foundation of knowledge for those wishing to pursue a health-related career. Dr. Bussard will offer insights for participants that come from years of working in this field.

Topics will include:

  • Optimal Diet for the Human Body
  • Effects of Health-Hindering Foods
  • Meeting Nutritional Needs
  • The Microbiome

Please register here.


Sprint to Solution: Entrepreneurship for the Greatest Good | Starting 9/25

Instructor: Vince Talbert
Schedule:  Tuesday, September 25 to Thursday, October 11 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays) from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Location: Mullan Board Room & Klein Lyceum

How do teams of people identify problems that matter to them and to their communities? How do teams leverage the power of their collective intelligence to design, test, and implement solutions to real challenges?

In this course, Vince Talbert will lead students and other McDonogh community members through a powerful step-by-step protocol to create actionable solutions to problems that matter. In a short, intense three-week span, you will quickly develop real-world skills and insights that you can use throughout your life.

At the end of the course, you will receive a badge of completion, which you may use on your professional resume, and you will have a portfolio of your work to share with colleges and employers.

Please register here.

Telling Your Story—Whatever It Is | One-Day Class on 11/1 (New Date!)

Instructor: Jimmy Richards ’10, Co-Founder, Bay Central Media
Schedule: Thursday, November 1, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. (New Date!)
Location: Mullan Board Room

At some point in your life, you will need to tell a story—of your business or your organization or of your personal journey. We read them, watch them, create them, teach from them, memorize them, and turn to them in times of need.

In this program, alumnus Jimmy Richards will lead participants through an interactive kick-off session where small teams will work with raw material to identify possible stories, prototype ideas, and test them with the larger group. Jimmy will coach and share insights about his work as a filmmaker and of his process.

By the end of the session, you will have made your own film!

If participants are interested, Jimmy will offer subsequent sessions of this course.

Please register here.

The McDonogh Horse Whisperer | One-Day Class on 11/7

Instructor: Streett Moore
Schedule:  Wednesday, November 7, 2018, 4:30 - 5:30 pm
Location: McDonogh Horse Barn
Limit: 10 -12 participants (other sessions will be added, as needed)

Have you ever watched the movie Buck or The Horse Whisperer? McDonogh has its own horse whisperer:  Streett Moore. Join Streett for an engaging and intimate hour-long session on horse communicating and understanding. Whether you’re a life-long equestrian or a person who has never seen the inside of a barn, this program will pique your curiosity about how we relate to other species.
Please register here.  

What is the Internet of Things? | CANCELLED

Instructor: Dwight Bues '78
Schedule: Thursday, November 15, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.
Location: Mullan Board Room

We think of the Internet as a useful tool to watch videos, listen to music, and to get all kinds of information. But how does the Internet shape our lives, our sense of place and purpose, and our relationships? Can the Internet, using the Cloud as a "backplane"—a mechanism to connect us all through technology—create a democratic and information-rich reality for humanity? Or can it irrevocably destroy our sense of humanity and rob us of our privacy?

Join Dwight Bues '78 as he poses questions and shares cutting-edge ideas about the Internet of Things. This course will provide a unique view into the world few of us see but that most all of us use! 

To register, please click here.

Rock Shop Songwriting Workshop | Starting 11/29

Instructors: Steve Martel & Beth Rausch
Schedule: Thursdays, November 29 to January 17,  from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Location: Band Room (Burck Center)
Open to adults and Upper School students

During these seven sessions we will brainstorm and work on personal songwriting, play covers, and compose original music together. We will also record all of the songs we learn and create. The last session will be a coffee house performance of originals and covers.

Typical Session Breakdown:

  • 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. Songwriting workshop
  • 8:00 to 9:00 p.m. Jam/Rehearsal

Each participant is asked to bring an idea for an original song or a cover they would like to try out.

Please register here.

The Science of Better | Starting January 9

Instructor: Colleen Hughes Driscoll, MD, University of Maryland School of Medicine

Schedule:  Wednesdays, January 9 to January 30, from 7:00 to 8:15 p.m.

Location:  Mullan Board Room, Edward St. John Student Center

Frustrated by the slowness of the cafeteria lunch line? Wanting to run faster or throw farther on the field? Interested in completing your chores more quickly?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then quality improvement (QI) might be for you. QI, the science of systematic change and evaluation to improve processes, is a vital aspect of many industries including manufacturing, automotive, aerospace, and healthcare. Effective QI work leads to better products, services, and customer experiences. Principles such as teamwork, variation, process measurement, human factors, and plan-do-study-act cycles help large organizations improve the quality of goods and services. But did you know that the same quality improvement principles used by leadership teams in these industries can be utilized in your own life?

To learn more, join Dr. Colleen Hughes Driscoll in an immersive course on QI basics. During four 75-minute sessions, participants will acquire the basic process improvement skills needed to make improvement in just about any aspect of life. Learning activities include case-based discussions, industry expert panels, and the opportunity to participate a longitudinal QI project of your choosing. Relevant areas for improvement are abundant -- they can be found at school, in your community or even your own home! Join us for any or all of the sessions to learn the best way to start making improvements in your life.

Please register here.