From Parents during the 2019 Staff Appreciation Week

Being a part of the MC2 community that is created here has been life changing for my son.  He is able to be who he is and while I would not consider him an extrovert he is passionate about MC2 and tells anyone he meets that it is the best place for him.  He enjoys the acceptance he feels from his peers and the teachers at this school go above and beyond that of a traditional high school. And I am not just talking about the core classroom teachers.  The adults who support students are respectful, interested and the students feel like they are listened to. Many days my son comes home talking about a guest speaker or how one teacher knows about this game or how he learned about a new country from someone else.  His thirst for knowledge is fulfilled by the eclectic group of adults and students he comes in contact with daily.

I feel that adults at MC2 are looking out for my son.  I am in regular contact with his advisor. The core teachers give more than any other teachers I have worked with. Oh and I am a teacher who has worked with many different teachers at different grades.  The teachers here know their students in an intimate and special way. The students feel this and many thrive with all of the support they are given.

Teachers are able to meet students where they are and challenge them enough to encourage and not discourage.  They feel capable because they know they have support if they need it. End of day reflections are read regularly by all staff and daily by advisors. Teachers have less planning time and are expected to create their own materials. The classes they develop are engaging and I feel they try to cater to the needs of the students in their classes.  All of these characteristics are what make MC2 a great place for high school students who may need a different placement (for whatever reason) than a traditional public school.

I am and will forever be grateful for the respect, kindness and genuine interest in my son’s development.  He is growing by leaps and bounds and I know it is the commitment and patience of this wonderful staff who are guiding him to be the best he can be.

Thank you so much for all that you do!

 

You folks are doing a very hard job and seem to be doing it with immense understanding, patience and grace. Your students come from a wide range of backgrounds and with a wide range of needs, and you seem to be willing to meet each one of them where they are. This requires so much of you and yet you keep doing it and keep doing it better as you go. Thank you for all your efforts on behalf of our kids, who are making their way along their individual paths with your enduring support. Go team!

 

The staff at MC2 always goes above and beyond what is expected of a teacher.  In our experience, they have encouraged our kids when needed and given them space when they need to take a break.  They are great mentors! The teachers and staff are often available for questions and communicate well with us, the parents.  We are thankful for such dedicated teachers. We are thankful for such positive role models for our kids.  What a blessing for our kids and family! THANK YOU!!! 

 

My student’s advisor has been the biggest inspirational and motivational teacher that our student has had since starting at MC2. She has helped our child to become accountable through “tough love”, and is always keeping us in the loop of what is going on through emails, Learning Team Meetings, and through EOD’s responses. These little check ins are helpful not only for us as parents, but also for our child to understand that nothing good or bad goes unnoticed. We are thankful for the time that she was able to spend working with our child over the past year to grow and evolve as a student!

 

The community created and delivered by the staff at MC2 helps guide and nurture every students’ strengths to help them succeed not just in their academic life but also in their social and young adult life – these are life changing impacts and important features often missing from many other teachings.

 

The support and encouragement provided to the students on a regular basis to help them see where their strengths are and really emphasize those natural gifts is interwoven into the fabric of the school and these teachers help deliver that message to students with every connection they make with their students; not only in the times of their greatest needs but on an ongoing basis. Through these warm, encouraging, and very real connections it helps students see the truth that lives within themselves and helps facilitate and reinforce their personal growth even through challenging situations that might make growth seem like a difficult thing to achieve.

 

The positive change I’ve seen in my son since attending MC2 is not just a result of his natural growth and work that he has accomplished, but is also a direct result of the staff at MC2 providing the right learning environment to help foster the growth that was always within him but simply waiting to be unlocked by teachers possessing the right key. Our family and my son are both very grateful for the staff that make up our learning team. 

   

Thank you each for your unending energy and presence.

 

From the moment our child entered school…and through and beyond some rather challenging personal times…you have offered continuous opportunities for growth and thoughtful encouragement.

Thank you—Thank you—Thank you!!!

 

I would just like to thank all the staff for the hard work and time you take to teach and help all the students at MC2 . I am thankful everyday that I get to bring my child here to learn and grow with your help. Enjoy your week of appreciation.

 

 

VISITING FAMILIES AND TEACHERS

“At first, my son said a few vague, positive things about his visit to MC2.  Then on Saturday he started talking about how great it was and couldn’t stop! He was more excited and optimistic than I’ve seen him in a long time.  He said, “I can’t believe there’s really a school that teaches the way I’ve been talking about!” He listed many things he’d seen and heard that impressed him – one of my favorites was, “They have really intelligent conversations!” He loved the way the teachers related to the kids, loved the informality, trust, respect, and intellectualism.  We were thrilled that he felt that way – we were sold after the first 5 minutes! What a wonderful gift MC2  is to so many kids and families!”

– Visiting Family

“Thank you again for giving me the opportunity to visit MC2 . I was happily surprised to find that a community like this existed at a high school level. All of the classes I sat in on–ELA, STEAM, Social Studies–were incredibly engaging.  The teachers at MC2  succeed in making the material accessible, interesting, and practical. I really admire how the school’s approach to education is flexible and individualized while still being skill-based and career-oriented. I believe that this is what a holistic education comes down to.”  

-Teaching Candidate

“We’re very excited about MC2; Our daughter came home from her shadow-day with good color, a big smile, and stated that it was “Fun”. Further she stopped suddenly later on in the evening and said, “I just realized that life can always be fun and that she felt “light”. Thank you and everyone that makes this school possible so much- it means a lot to us to see that spark in her again.”

– Visiting Family

 

CURRENT STUDENTS AND FAMILIES

Taken from a student’s portfolio about our mission statement:

“I firmly stand by this mission statement, as it greatly reflects how this school actually is and gave me the dose of motivation to transfer to this school. I can say with complete certainty that the education I am receiving from here is a much better fit for me than any other public school setting.”

MC2  Student

“If I were to create a high school that uses the most progressive and developmentally appropriate learning techniques, I couldn’t come up with a better model than MC2 .  Having students move through the competencies at their own pace (within reason) and having internships and volunteering, are all effective ways to learn.”  

MC2  Parent

“I felt that MC2  has really helped me pushed myself out of my comfort zone. This really surprised me. I felt less afraid to be honest, not silent and to be able to really speak out. I believe MC2  has helped me achieve these skills and I am grateful for that. I really don’t like being “the silent one” and I am really proud that I can now advocate and speak for myself. I’m not afraid to talk to other students I’m not really familiar with. I also have been finding myself contributing to what we were discussing. I’m not really afraid to share my opinions even if people disagree with me. I definitely think this is a result in personal growth and I think this is a vital point to bring up in my next gateway.”

MC2  Student

“I am looking forward to wiping the slate clean next quarter now that I have found out some things about me at MC2  that I can use to really get my act together and become a more productive version of myself than ever before seen. I recognize that the adjustment period is extremely long compared to a normal school but that is not necessarily a bad thing, MC2  is an amazing model and I am so grateful that the school was benevolent enough to liberate me from the traditional school experience I was previously trapped in for most of my life.”

MC2  Student

“I cannot even put into words how awesome it is that my son’s learning light has come back on since enrolling here and when he talks about your classes I even hear bits of joy in his voice as he describes his learning to me.  I know he’s not the best at documenting his learning, but as someone who has spent more time teaching him than anyone else in his life, I can tell you that you have engaged that part of his mind that’s been lost for a while and instead of approaching his classes with distaste, he seems to be embracing the challenges and learning doesn’t feel like a chore anymore.”

– MC2 Parent

“I just want to say that no school has ever gotten me to want to learn the way that MC2 has.”

MC2  Student

“I had so much fun in the Mathematician’s War studio today. I understood the information and formulas we were working with, so I think that made it much easier. All at once everything just clicked, and I don’t think that there is any better feeling.”

MC2  Student

“Third block with Elizabeth was very interesting, we were measuring or reaction time and it was very cool!!! I like doing math in a hands on way!”

MC2  Student

“I just feel so motivated and successful lately!”

MC2  Student

“I just wanted to let you know that in 5 months my child has gone from being forced to come to school and feeling like it might kill her – to be intensely upset when the car won’t start or she is sick and can’t come. I am very grateful to all of you!”

MC2  Parent

I just wanted to say again how great your training was on Friday.  It was informative, well paced,  interesting, and covered the bases.  And you were awesome!  You are a great teacher!  I thought you did a fantastic job – communicative, patient, and understanding, and you presented a wealth of information in a very clear way.  Thank you!

The info I found most helpful had to do with the ins and outs of EODs and of Google Drive – including the best ways for parents to keep track, help and motivate their kids to get their work completed (with all the feedback cycles and such).  I learned more about some policy details I didn’t know before, and also I found the printouts on the Credits for each subject area on the checklists immensely helpful.  

I’m reviewing what I’ve learned so far and still have a few questions on process that I am putting together.  As things become clearer to me, I plan to think more about how we can get this essential info across to our students and parents.  

Thanks again.  As another parent said, this is “essential” information and I am so glad and appreciative of all your work in getting this information out.  I do think that this is a great start and maybe we can continue to get this information out to more of the MC2 community (in some way)!

– MC2  Parent (in reference to workshops for parents)

 

I want to bring attention of my appreciation I have for the staff here. I talked about this before, but I think it should be said a lot more than once. All of the teachers at this school have given me the determination to do my work, and have given me the motivation to actually go to school. At my last school, I never had the motivation to finish my work by myself. When I talk to the teachers here, they don’t force me to do things, but they tell me what would best help me for the future. I want to thank each and every one of you for helping me get myself together. I know I know, you probably think you didn’t do anything out of the ordinary, and you probably believe that you didn’t do much to help. But you really did help me find my way.
 
-Natalie (excerpt from an End of Week Reflection)
 
 

“At first I had a lot of “attitude” when I got here, I realized later that I didn’t have to act out for people to realize that I needed help. I learned I could just ask the teachers for help and they would respond. I now feel good about coming to school, where as I ended up getting into trouble all the time at my old school and then just not going to school at all.

I was more motivated to work on my MOLO project because I was so interested in it. At MC2 we have many opportunities that other schools don’t offer. I especially love having a bike shop. School starting later and getting out at 3 works for me. I like that we will get to do internships.”

MC2  Student

 

The following are excerpts from a student’s Gateway Portfolio for Phase 1.  This student, who has spent two and a half years in phase 1, reflects on the fact that due to MC2 not being time based he was able to cultivate lifelong learning through specific learning routines and habits and feels more prepared to tackle the upcoming phases.

“There have been quite a few accomplishments in personal growth since I’ve been in MC2. When I first started going here, I had no knowledge of the society I was living in. I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I graduated high school, I didn’t know what type of impact I wanted to have on the world. Also, I didn’t even know that it was possible to even make it as far as gatewaying into the next phase. Throughout these past two years, I’ve learned a lot about “the real world” from politics to the economy, I’ve gained leadership skills from my own summer camp and childcare opportunities. I’ve even narrowed down my options in the future to either study journalism or fashion when I graduate high school. It’s been a wild ride, but I can probably speak for my parents when I say that we’re all glad that I’ve finally gotten a grasp on the MC2 structure. Now I’m working towards the main goal of getting to the day I graduate, one checklist item at a time.

I have no doubt in my mind that I am ready for the next phase. I’ve mentioned before that I’ve had my ups and downs with figuring out this brand new structure and that I’ve overcome those challenges with the help of my parents and with the assistance of the staff overtime. I feel like I have a better understanding of the checklist and what it’s asking for, as well as the habits and how to exhibit them. I have also learned how to correctly turn in work for studios using Project Foundry, our online folder where we turn in work for credit. I’m sure there will be more challenges to overcome with studios and internships as I progress, but I now know that I need to use my voice in order for others to understand what I need in order to have the desired outcome. In fact, I actually know, to an extent, what I need to be successful and I can show that effectively in the next phase.

      I couldn’t have made it to where I am now without facing the challenges I’ve had to overcome in the past two years. When I first came to MC2 I had no idea what a Phase or EK Checklist was, I didn’t know that habits were crucial to my promotion to the next phase, and I didn’t even know how I was going to progress from phase to phase. For the longest time, it felt like I had no grip on how best to start my final years of mandatory education. One of the biggest problems was that I didn’t communicate my struggles for my urge to understand and figure out this new educational structure, I was my own guide in this foreign world of education. As time went on, I slowly started understanding more of the MC2 structure, but I wasn’t making any significant progress from when I first started.

     I know that I’m ready for the challenges of the next phase because I have a better understanding of the MC2 structure and of myself. I now know how to set goals using time management, I know what the checklist requirements are for the upcoming phase and how to complete them. I also know that one of the most important things to do is to communicate with the staff in case I need help understanding a checklist requirement or an assignment. I can also figure out what I need for myself to be successful and a better understanding of how others can help me be successful.

     I’ve evolved a lot since I first started here at MC2, academically and mentally. I’ve gotten to understand myself in terms of my learning style, what I need from myself and others so I can be successful in education, and the career paths I may choose to pursue in the future. In my last Quarterly Exhibition in September, I was asked how I felt about MC2 after I mentioned that I felt better about the educational structure here. I knew that MC2 had grown on me by this point. My response was that I loved MC2, and if I had to return to traditional schooling, I would not have been happy because of all I had here, a self-motivating education where I can learn about whatever interests me. Let’s not forget an open minded community that loves to help improve the school in any way they can. I still stick by that. MC2 has helped me so much that it would seem wrong to leave it. I have so many topics I want to learn about, and I know that MC2 can help me with pursuing those topics through projects. MC2 is the school for me, and I’m not leaving unless it’s graduation day.”

 

GRADUATES AND LEADERSHIP

“MC2 School was a great fit for our daughter.  The setup of MC2 worked for her because she liked to write and was very motivated to graduate. The academic set up worked well for her learning style and all the teachers at MC2  really knew her, and she knew them. She wanted the school to compost and made that part of her education. She had an idea, and the school helped her, and supported her in pushing it forward. The school composts now, and it was a team effort. MC2  was the right school to help her get accepted into a good college.  We are grateful for the education that MC2  gave her and it was far better than traditional schooling for our daughter.”

– MC2 Graduate Parents

“In my mind, the first community in which I ever felt wholly accepted was the MC2  School.  Before I came to this marvelous school, I didn’t believe that I had a future. At fourteen, I was already tired of working in a system that didn’t seem to care about my well-being. Now, with the confidence and sense of belonging that MC2  has fostered in me, I am about to receive my Master of Arts from Yale University. Many elite and prestigious schools portend to guarantee such an experience to children who have been groomed from birth for this reason. Sometimes that works. Sometimes it doesn’t. Yet having emerged from this unassuming alternative public program in a working-class community in rural New Hampshire, I went forward with an advantage inaccessible to them: I attended a school which empowered each individual with the knowledge and skills to use their unique voices effectively, and with integrity, in co-creating our common public world. And for that opportunity, I am eternally and forever grateful.”  

– MC2  Graduate

You can leave MC2 , but MC2  will never leave you. The diploma is a tangible marker of completion, but it’s really about more than that. Kids don’t magically “get” the habits when they graduate – they’re growing in them every second of every day, in every interaction they have with each other and with staff. Those are the real bright spots and that’s why our wins are much more than our alumni count. Working with teens is a tricky endeavor. We will never be “done.” But, if we went through and looked at every single student who has walked through our doors, we would be able to see a qualitative improvement in their outlook, their proficiency, and/or their self-awareness.

– MC2 Leadership