School Philosophy

© Sarah Tew Photography http://www.sarahtewphotography.comMary McDowell Friends School changes students’ lives, expanding their sense of possibility and launching their dreams for the future. We provide highly effective educational programs for bright students who have been diagnosed with learning disabilities.The academics are intellectually challenging, the arts are outstanding, and the athletics are spirited, competitive, and fun.

Our students receive the instruction and support they need to be successful. Curricula, educational materials, technology and classroom furnishings are strategically developed to best facilitate learning for our students who struggle with sensory, motor, and/or language-based issues. Mary McDowell Friends School’s approach to educating students with learning disabilities focuses on the learning process itself. Building on each student’s strengths, we teach skills needed for learning today and tomorrow.

 

Mary McDowell Friends School: Learning Disabilities Definition*
A learning disability is a neurological condition that causes difficulties with the way the brain handles information. Information coming in or going out may become disorganized as it travels among different areas of the brain. These difficulties can interfere with important learning skills such as reading, writing, and/or math. They can also interfere with such things as receptive and expressive language, organization, planning and managing time, reasoning, long and short term memory, and attention.

Children with learning disabilities are as smart as or smarter than their peers, but they usually find it difficult to learn in a typical manner; however, with different learning methods and strategies, they can be just as academically successful as students without learning disabilities.

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Why is an MMFS education so effective? Why do our students thrive?

We are a community of learners who care about and respect each other.

Quaker values of Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality, and Service are our foundation. We are committed to being socially responsible. Teachers and students from the youngest to the oldest participate in many community service projects together.

We believe that we are a stronger community if every voice is heard. Students feel valued and are supported in advocating for their individual needs.

We celebrate our diversity. We are mixed-race, white, African American, Hispanic, Asian, gay, straight, and lesbian, with many religious affiliations and various family constellations. We all belong.

Our school is a leader in special education. The content-rich, intellectually engaging program prepares students with learning disabilities for college.

Our teachers are exceptional – experienced, talented, trained in the most current research-based methodologies – and they are enthusiastic and devoted to their students.

Small class sizes allow teachers to differentiate instruction and provide assistance so that all students in a class are learning.

We all learn differently, and at MMFS every student gets the tools he or she needs to be successful. Language and occupational therapists and counselors work with students as needed during the school day to support their learning.

A school-wide social and emotional curriculum teaches students skills to help them become more emotionally self-aware and to navigate social situations. We provide classes at each age level to educate our students about decision-making, healthy lifestyle choices, and how to advocate for themselves as they move through adolescence and become teenagers.

We offer an outstanding arts curriculum. Creative expression in the arts is especially important for students with learning disabilities who are often talented artists and musicians. The arts also strengthen a multitude of skills that bolster academic learning.

The most current educational and assistive technologies are integrated throughout the curriculum to create a dynamic learning environment that enhances multisensory learning.