Community & Inclusion
Our school community reflects many forms of diversity, including gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, geography, religion, physical abilities, learning styles, sexual orientation, family structure, and socio-economic status. The strength of our community is fostered through core curriculum components, school-wide activities, and a tradition of experiences that bring students and families together within and beyond the school. Integrated projects, performances, and community service extend students’ learning and bring families together to engage in meaningful work and learning.
Sustaining an inclusive community is an ongoing process, and at the heart of our mission. Our culturally responsive practices provide windows and mirrors for children and adults within our community. The following efforts enhance our community:
A middle school student organization devoted to promoting appreciation, support and inclusion for all throughout the school and within the broader community.
Multicultural Planning Team
A staff team dedicated to planning activities and events to develop multicultural understandings among staff, students, and parent communities.
Identity Safety Professional Learning Group
A staff discussion group focused on helping students and staff appreciate their identities and bridge differences.
School-wide celebrations, assemblies, and events which reflect the diversity in our school and beyond.
Creating Connections Among Students and Families
The family of each new student entering MP&MS in junior kindergarten through eighth grade is assigned a buddy student/family. The families meet over the summer and often plan gatherings with other families in the grade, giving the students the opportunity to develop relationships with classmates before school opens.
Each primary and middle school class is paired with a class at another grade level, with older and younger students paired as buddies. The classes get together for different activities during the year, sit together during schoolwide community meetings, and sometimes participate together in off-campus field trips. A traditional end of year trip to the San Francisco Zoo includes the youngest preschool classes, along with first and eighth grades.
To enhance positive relationships and help students feel known within the school, students and staff from junior kindergarten through eighth grade belong to Panther PALS groups (PALS=Promoting Acceptance, Laughter and Support). These students remain with the same multiage groups through their years at MP&MS, creating another layer of connection and family. Panther PALS groups meet at least once every six weeks to create and sustain a community where students are known as learners and as individuals by students and adults from all grades in the school.
Primary and middle school students begin each week in a community meeting with all the students and teachers from their division. This is a time to talk about upcoming events and division wide topics of interest, to celebrate birthdays, recognize accomplishments in academic areas as well as in areas such as drama, music, sports, and community service. Students lead primary school community meetings, with the experienced fourth grade leading the first meeting of the year to model for the younger children. Middle school community meetings include presentations, performances, discussions of important topics, and community-building activities.
School Events and Celebrations
The school year opens with the traditional Welcome Picnic, a Sunday afternoon in September when students, staff, and families gather to celebrate the new school year and welcome those who are joining the school community. Class dinners, held in the fall for parents at each grade level, provide another opportunity for parents to get to know each other and talk informally with teachers, division directors, and the head of school. From the fall’s Harvest Festival to family community service opportunities, the Book Fair, Grandparents and Special Friends Day, International Day, and the concluding Stepping Up Day, school events help everyone feel welcome and included in the MP&MS community.