A Culture of Excellence

Defining a Culture of Excellence

Our leadership team is committed to identifying, designing and refining what it takes to put students on the path to success. Together with their teams, our principals use their exceptional strengths, skills and passions to bring the learning environment to life. Here are a few outstanding characteristics of the culture of excellence that our schools share:

In The Classroom

Positive Philosophy

Female teacher answering a students question

All MSS teachers share the fundamental belief that all students can learn. Their task is to find and draw out the potential in each and every student that walks through our doors.

Differentiated Instruction

Female teacher sitting a desk playing a game with students

Our teachers know that the only way to reach all students is to differentiate .... adjusting instruction to meet the needs of our highest achievers, our struggling learners and everyone in between.

Responsive Classroom

Students standing quietly in line

Culture in our schools is grounded in the practices of Responsive Classroom, an evidence-based approach to teaching that focuses on the strong link between academic success and social-emotional learning. Teachers manage their classrooms by starting their day with an Opening Circle, and by using reinforcing and reminding language to support students throughout the school day.

Research-Based Curriculum

female student sitting at her desk with a worksheet

We put the most compelling, research-based curriculum in the hands of our teachers; empowering them to develop optimal strategies for executing each lesson and achieving 100% student comprehension.

Two Teacher Model

Teacher at the front of the classroom reading out loud to her class while another teacher sits with the students

All of our core classrooms are staffed with two experienced teachers or an experienced lead teacher and a new-to-teaching fellow. In this way, we maximize student success while building the talent pipeline.

Teaching Fellow Program

female teacher reading out loud to her students in the classroom

Novice teachers begin their teaching jobs with us as Teaching Fellows, allowing them to gain first-hand experience from a successful senior teacher before leading a classroom of their own.

Social-Emotional Emphasis

female student holding up an award certificate

The “Path to Success” traits are part of the regular vernacular of our students. We provide daily activities and constant reinforcement of the qualities of grit, gratitude, optimism, empathy, citizenship, integrity, self-control and curiosity.

Schoolwide Modus Operandi

smiling children standing in a neat single file line

Visitors to our schools often marvel at our calm classrooms and orderly hallways and cafeterias. We spend a full two weeks at the beginning of each school year exclusively teaching and practicing rules and procedures, thus firmly establishing an environment that is highly conducive to learning.

Behavior Support

teacher in a grey shirt kneeling talking to a smiling young boy wearing a green hoodie

Each school's Response to Intervention team uses student data to determine when it may be necessary to provide additional support for students. Behavior interventionists work with individual students needing support both inside and outside of the classroom, redirecting and resetting behavior so that the student may successfully return to learning.

Among Our Teachers

Promoting Joy

man sitting at a desk high-fiving a young female student

Our team of inspired educators understands that joy in the classroom is paramount to student success. Our teachers genuinely cherish our students and delight in their accomplishments.

Teacher Coaching

two female staff sitting at a desk talking

Teachers receive real-time, customized coaching via weekly or bi-weekly observations and one-on-one sessions with their administrators. This constant feedback is a crucial driver of both positive outcomes for students and professional growth for teachers.

More Professional Development

group of teachers with their hands in a huddle

Mastering a teaching job takes work. We provide 20 full days of professional development, including an intensive two weeks at the beginning of each year. In addition, weekly staff meetings embed cutting edge learning for teachers. Topics range from creating positive classroom culture to providing effective feedback for students.

Meaningful Performance Reviews

Female teacher in an orange shirt reviewing a document with a woman in a pink shirt

Our principals form deep connections with our teachers as they observe, coach and co-teach with them throughout the year. We solidify this feedback loop with bi-annual performance review conversations, featuring deep data review and actionable insights for professional growth.

Rewards for Excellence

teacher helping two male students with their work

High performing teachers are financially rewarded via a flexible teacher salary scale that allows our best teachers to advance in compensation at an accelerated pace.

Retention Bonus

woman sitting at a desk helping a young female student with her classwork

We recognize and reward the long term dedication of our teachers with a $10,000 Retention Bonus for every five years of continued full-time employment in teaching jobs.

At the Leadership Level

Data-Driven Instruction

man sitting at a desk working on a laptop

Continuous data review drives our instruction. Our goal is for 85% or more of our students to reach the 85th percentile of performance by the time they finish 5th grade. The 85th percentile correlates with college readiness and higher secondary course success rates.

Team-based Problem Solving

group of adults sitting at a table working together

Leaders and teachers meet regularly to problem-solve issues such as school culture trends and curriculum alignment issues, and to analyze authentic student work.

Instructional Leadership

man standing at the front of a classroom teaching a group of five adults

MSS principals are the instructional leaders of their schools, spending virtually all of their time in classrooms and with teachers. All administrative and bureaucratic issues are separately managed by the schools' Director of Operations.

Growth Mindset

two woman sitting in chairs having a conversation smiling

We live by a growth mindset; we believe that not only are our students on their own journey to learn and grow, but that all of the teachers, staff and administrators are as well.

Visiting Excellent Schools

Teachers and administrators regularly visit excellent schools across the country to learn and share best practices.

Cooperative Leadership Among Schools

Group of adults sitting in a conference room

All of our principals and top executives gather monthly at a selected school to immerse themselves into the learning environment alongside teachers. We believe the magic happens in the classrooms, and our leaders grow by spending time where it matters most.

With Our Families

Family Communication

Parents with their young child meeting with school staff

Parent/caregiver support is a primary determinant of student success. Our teachers visit every family in their home prior to the start of each school year, and maintain that connection throughout the year via regular phone calls, emails and in-person meetings.

Medical Care

nurse using a scope to examine a young boys mouth

Medical services, dental checkups, vision screening, hygiene clinic and mental health support services are all provided within our schools, including the first of its kind onsite medical clinic operated by MUSC at Meeting Street Elementary @ Brentwood.

Report Card Conferences

report card sitting on a table

Our principals and teachers ensure a 100% parent/caregiver attendance rate at report card conferences.

Volunteer Program

Man posing with a group of students in a classroom

Our families enthusiastically participate as mentors, literacy volunteers, field trip chaperones, focus group participants, field day helpers, report card night helpers and more. We believe in Team AND Family!

Friday School Assemblies

Group of students and adults celebrating in a large classroom

All families are encouraged to attend our Friday assemblies where the week’s accomplishments of students, teachers, staff and families are all celebrated.

Educational Family Events

teachers on stage presenting a tee shirt to a young student in front of an audience

We regularly conduct seminars on topics such as resume writing, interview skills, preparing meals on a budget, reading with my child, test taking skills, college savings fund, and supporting students with special challenges.