Formation of Self

Caring for your amazing mind, body and heart

How do I deal with test anxiety? Is five hours of sleep enough? What is ‘executive function?’

At Mayfield, girls don’t go it alone. Our breakthrough "Formation of Self" program, or FOS for short, aims to address essential health, wellness and developmental needs of students. The bold curriculum extends through all four high school years with age-appropriate topics addressed at each grade level. Classes meet about twice a month and are taught by our team of student support experts. At the root of the program lies one of Cornelia Connelly's powerful statements:

“Be yourself, only make the self all that God wants it to be.”

Our innovative program speaks to essential topics for teenage girls.

In a uniquely incisive approach to health and wellness education, Mayfield experts have developed year-long seminars at each grade level. Students meet twice a month with our school nurse, counselor, or education specialist to discuss teen-relevant topics, including how to navigate new environments and relationships.

At the root of the program lies one of the seven goals of Holy Child education—“to promote the personal growth and development of all who participate in the life of the school.”

List of 5 items.

  • School Counselor Erika Mastrobuono, LCSW

    takes up mental health issues, including understanding and dealing with stress vs. anxiety and navigating healthy relationships.
  • School Nurse Cathy Cota, RN

    teaches students how to stay healthy and how their body systems function. 
  • Learning Specialist Ann Bussard, LMFT

    works with girls on issues including study strategies, time management and the teenage brain.
  • College Counselors Lynn Maloney and Amy Lareau

    focus most of their attention on seniors applying to college and also begin preliminary work with other classes.
  • Justice, Diversity Equity & Inclusion Coordinator Kristina Ortega

    creates a space for students to develop a healthy, positive identity, foster belonging, develop resilience and skills to enact justice in their communities.

— Kate Morin, Head of School

This program goes above and beyond any one short-lived assembly or lesson and truly addresses the needs of our girls in a unique way. Their healthy minds, bodies and spirits are key to their growth and education and we are all about giving students the support they need.

Formation of Self topics include:

Stress vs. Anxiety
Decision Making
Organization, planning, time management
Study Skills & Learning Strategies
Self Exploration & Identity
Self Care
Self Defense
Academic Integrity

List of 5 news stories.

  • Freshmen students learn strategies to be an “Upstander”

    Cassandra Gonzales, Mayfield’s Director of Justice, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (JDEI) is putting up her slide deck in the Computer Science lab on the first floor of Strub. This is a “Formation of Self” (FoS) class, often overseen by Ann Bussard, but it occasionally welcomes guest lecturers as well. One of the first slides in Ms. Gonzales’ slide deck reads: “Upstanders vs. Bystanders.” Many in the class have been exposed to the term “upstander” before, but Ms. Gonzales helps clarify for those who aren’t familiar with it. A bystander is “someone present at an event but doesn’t take part.” Conversely, an “upstander” is “a person who speaks and in support of a person or cause, particularly on behalf of someone being attacked or bullied.” 
    Read More
  • Students embrace the financial literacy "revolution"

    When Melissa Tighe arrived at Mayfield, she had some teaching experience under her belt, but much of her professional background was in finance. Over her 27 years on campus—as a math teacher, department chair and now Director of Innovation and Community Partnerships—she has been looking for ways to share her financial expertise with Mayfield students, beyond a brief lecture during Senior transition week.
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  • Seniors learned basic self-defense techniques.

    Formation of Self helps students tackle challenges with strength and clarity

    When Formation of Self first launched at Mayfield, it was with the knowledge that “pure learning” often neglects the extenuating circumstances, irregularities, and irrationalities that are a large part of the high school experience. For every grade, the FOS courses tackle elements that could otherwise interfere with a student’s performance in a classroom, or derail other aspects of their wellbeing. As we move into the second semester, FOS teachers and students reflect on how they’re confronting challenges with strength and clarity.
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  • Formation of Self program helps students embrace their unique selves and appreciate others

    This quarter in their Formation of Self seminars, students are delving into metacognition to boost their learning skills, exploring the many facets of human identity, and developing their mindfulness practices. The cumulative four-year FOS curriculum is designed to build the kind of practical skills and knowledge—along with a solid sense of self—that lay the groundwork for success and satisfaction in college and beyond.
    Read More
  • A group of 11th-grade students after an FOS mindfulness activity

    Formation of Self seminars set students up with empowering tools, tips and techniques

    Mayfield Senior School’s innovative Formation of Self program gives students regular access to our expert FOS teaching team for the kind of practical and productive lessons that can make all the difference in high school and beyond.

    The curriculum is customized to address common grade-level concerns. For some incoming ninth graders, FOS can help put the academic challenges of high school into a healthier perspective. 
    Read More
Established in 1931, Mayfield Senior School in Pasadena, CA is a Catholic, independent, college preparatory school for young women grades 9-12. Noted for its rigorous academic program, which includes 28 Advanced Placement and Honors courses, Mayfield’s curriculum is underscored by a philosophy of educating the “whole child,” which also encourages commitment to and excellence in the arts, athletics, community service and spiritual growth. The nurturing environment at Mayfield Senior School allows each student to flourish in an atmosphere of personal attention.