MICDS 2018-19 Board of Visitors

MICDS Board of Visitors Makes Recommendations that Resonate

The MICDS International Board of Visitors (BOV) continues to find ways to positively impact the teaching and learning at MICDS, making recommendations to the School’s Board of Trustees and administration about ways to highlight the good work the school tackles and make suggestions for positive change.

In 1998, the first Board of Visitors was launched by Senator Jack Danforth and facilitated by Head of School Matt Gossage. The BOV tackled “case stories” of ethical dilemmas that the school was facing at the time. This past year, the BOV returned to the subject they first tackled, which leveraged “Connecting the Ethical and Intellectual in the MICDS Mission: 20 Years Later.” Members of the BOV shared with students and teachers how the MICDS Mission frames their interaction with the world and how they see their work.

The Board of Visitors offered their input and expertise in evaluating the efficacy of the MICDS Mission Statement in guiding students in both their ethical and intellectual development. Here are a few of their recommendations on how to keep the School’s Mission urgent and evergreen:

  • Consider how to consistently and formally weave ethical material from the existing enrichment program into all grades and all classes across all divisions. Use age-appropriate case studies, simulations, and real, anonymous scenarios to make the material interesting, exciting and relevant to students.
  • Establish a standardized framework and vocabulary around ethical instruction throughout the JK-12 curriculum. Additionally, explore more deeply what is meant by “good and right.”
  • Given the importance of family and culture in setting values, engage parents in these discussions. Consider a joint workbook that parents and students must complete together. Include language that explicitly notifies parents that their child will participate in difficult conversations around ethical dilemmas at school.
  • Because MICDS is a data-driven institution, determine how to assess the success of this kind of ethical instruction.

Over the last few years, the BOV has also recommended that the School find ways to discretely teach leadership skills, examine what it means to be human in our ever-changing world, and offer opportunities for students to get “real world” and practical skills. We have tackled all three and continue to look for ways to make MICDS graduates relevant in the world they will inherit.

At the close of the second trimester, the Class of 2020 participated in Life Skills Courses ranging from financial basics and car repair to baking, sewing and more. Read the story here.

MICDS History Teacher Marshall McCurties and Head of School Lisa Lyle recently concluded co-teaching Leadership in the 21st Century. One of the life lessons from the class involved students interviewing business leaders in the community about their career journeys. The students found the theory and applied learning to be incredibly useful as they think about life after MICDS. Upper School students also took advantage of a History of St. Louis class that challenged them to dig deeper into a community many of them thought they already knew.

Finally, this year’s Erik L. Bonds ’77 Lecture was Washington University in Saint Louis professor Dr. Lerone A. Martin. While spending an entire day on campus, Dr. Martin told our students during his presentation that the purpose of education is to teach life. Read more about Professor Martin’s day at MICDS.

Although next year’s Board of Visitors topic has yet to be decided, we know that their suggestions and insight will continue to be invaluable to the Board of Trustees and the new Head of School Jay Rainey as he begins his tenure.