• In Algebra 1, ninth grade students learn systems to solve systems

    There was nothing particularly odd about the timed quiz that was taking place on a late January afternoon in Strub 115. Students in the Algebra 1 class were focused, their pencils were moving, the SMART Board was displaying their countdown clock. The teacher, Fran Smiland, walked around the room, wearing an easy smile as she wove between desks, looking over the students’ shoulders. It was only the moments of pause that seemed out of the ordinary really. When Mrs. Smiland arrived at a student, she often uttered a simple and nearly silent affirmation like “good job” or “you got this,” before she visited another desk. And sometimes students would engage her a little longer, in conversations too quiet to hear.
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  • photo: Denise Leitner

    The hellos and goodbyes of Mayfield’s Choreographers’ Ball

    Last night, Mayfield’s Choreographers’ Ball opened to an enthusiastic audience. This annual performance highlights the talents of the Dance and Technical Theatre Conservatories, with student choreography and student lighting design. This year featured choreography by Dance Conservatory’s nine upperclasswomen. And the pithy title “hello. goodbye.” brings to mind all of the in-between spaces associated at the beginning and end of things. And these choreographers have a lot to reflect on during their high school years: from the retirement of their longtime dance teacher (Denise Leitner) to the hiring of their energetic new teacher (Sarah Alaways), from the COVID lockdowns to the anxious/exciting deliberations of imagining their lives beyond the Bellefontaine campus—and much, much more. We had a chance to sit down for a round-table discussion with several of the choreographers and their Dance Teacher, Ms. Alaways, as they opened up about parts of their creation, the bitter and the sweet…
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  • Freshmen English students “see themselves in stories” in their course material

    Outside class hours, English teacher Paula Moore remarked on a recent interaction with one of her freshmen students, as her class was working their way through Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The student bashfully questioned, “I kind of like Lady Macbeth—is that wrong?” Mrs. Moore chuckled while sharing the exchange. She had been teaching English for decades, doing instructions on “Macbeth” for more than 20 years, but she is only halfway through her first year teaching at Mayfield Senior School. “I’ve never taught all-girls,” said Mrs. Moore, but explained that she had found that her 9th graders were “so savvy picking up the gender motifs… in understanding Lady Macbeth and what her position is” and that “she is this woman who is supposed to be in the background.” As a teacher, Mrs. Moore is always trying to get students involved in the subject material, and encourage them to think of characters from multiple perspectives. For a student to feel connected to a character so often painted exclusively as a villain? That displayed a lot of critical thought and personal reflection, and Mrs. Moore couldn’t disguise her pleasure in that.
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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.