About Mary McDowell Friends School
Mary McDowell Friends School teaches students how to learn. It provides a highly successful alternative to mainstream schools for students who are of average to above-average intelligence and have been diagnosed with learning disabilities.
The School's innovative program combines academic work, enrichment activities, and language and occupational therapies for those who need them. A high staff-to-student ratio ensures that students receive individualized instruction to meet their needs.
Multi-aged classes consist of 10 students and two teachers for the youngest and up to 13 students and two teachers for the oldest groups. Rich, developmentally appropriate curriculum produces academic achievers and well-rounded, socially balanced students.
The School's supportive environment and inventive programming ensure that students become independent learners able to reach their full potential and to advocate effectively for themselves as they grow.
Mary McDowell Friends School is accredited by the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS) and a member of the Friends Council on Education, Independent School Admission Association of Greater New York (ISAAGNY), Guild of Independent Schools, and the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS).
Embracing a Philosophy of Heart and Mind
Commitment to Quaker values concerning the individual and the role of the individual within the community underpins all that is done at Mary McDowell Friends School. Viewing the growth of the individual as paramount, the School strives to provide each student with the cognitive tools to develop clarity of thought, express ideas and feelings, and share and test insights and make responsible decisions. The Quaker belief that true development of the individual is possible only within the context of community also shapes our school. This feeling of community starts in the classroom and extends outward in concern and commitment to the larger school, neighborhood, nation and world.
The Quaker tradition of Silent Meeting is an integral feature of daily life at the school. Regardless of one's religious practice or belief, simplicity of sitting silently in the presence of others and reflecting on a query, a question or statement that is provided, allows all individuals a time for contemplation and self-reflection in a stimulating school day. After reflection, individuals may share their thoughts. In addition, a monthly, all-school Silent Meeting is an especially important practice that helps build community among students, staff and families.
Working with Parents and Families
MMFS considers partnering with families critically important to every student's academic and personal development. Regular communication and interaction are vital to achieving this partnership. In the elementary divisions, teachers exchange a weekly notebook with each parent, providing a record of the activities, challenges and accomplishments of the prior week. In all divisions, faculty and administration are accessible by phone and email.
Parent-teacher conferences are held two times each year. MMFS also provides extensive formal written reports two or three times a year, depending on the student's division.
Additionally, the School's strong, involved Parents' Association sponsors informational meetings and social events and is a wonderful source of support for families. During the school year, MMFS sponsors a number of school-wide events and celebrations and a rich, varied outreach program through our Mary McDowell Teaching and Learning Center that involve parents, families, and professionals.