MBS Starts the Interdisciplinary Concentrations Program

Charlotte Sussman, Staff Writer

Last year, sophomores were given the opportunity to join a new initiative at MBS called ICP. ICP stands for Interdisciplinary Concentration Program. But what exactly is it?

“The ICP is a program that is aimed at helping students go deeper in their work and bring them into a more active conversation,” says Dr. Owen Boynton, the interim head of the Ethics, Leadership, and Justice branch of the ICP. Boynton is filling in for Mrs. Kate Muttick, English teacher. Boynton added, “we’re encouraging students to undertake projects individually, and in collaboration with other students, that touch on or draw upon what they’re doing in multiple areas of their time during their time here.”

I really enjoy listening to the speakers the program provides us.

— Vikrant Hajarnavis '24

The ICP Program is broken up into three branches – Arts & Innovation, run by Mr. Matthew Martino, Global Citizenship, run by Señora Aline de la Torre-McCloskey, and Ethics, Justice, and Leadership. Each branch looks at how their concentration is applicable to other subjects and life outside of school through activities, service experiences, and exercises.

Another part of the program is participating in guest lectures from people in relevant fields of study such as engineers in the aerospace industry and Broadway directors. “I really enjoy listening to the speakers the program provides us. Each of the speakers helps us think with an innovative mindset. They each talk about how they built their careers using a growth mindset. They also taught us about the steps to achieve success,” Vikrant Hajarnavis ‘24, a student in the Arts & Innovation program said. Erica Adu ‘24, a student with the Global Citizenship program, agrees. She said, “My favorite thing about the guest speakers so far is how they expose us to new ideas and ways of thinking about important issues.”

Dr. Howard Taylor, the executive director of the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children, was the first guest speaker for her program. Adu said, “[Dr. Taylor] came to talk to us about what it means to be a global citizen and his own personal journey to becoming one. From him, I gained a more complex and complete understanding of these issues, which makes me better equipped to engage with and find solutions to these problems.”

While MBS offers a diverse course catalog, Martino believes that students need more. “When we move into the real world, it’s not divided up the same way things are at school,” he said. “Innovation is a different format; we always have to ask questions about how [things] come about. Art can be involved in science, in math – we can put these all together in unique ways. [ICP] is general enough that it allows students room to grow, develop, and evolve their interests. [The Arts & Innovation concentration] is not fine art – I have students in writing, in graphic design, in computer programming, in building, in music and performance, and in fine arts.”

I think that [students] are going to see that ICP is just not an isolated thing.

— Señora Aline de la Torre-McCloskey

To be considered for a spot in the ICP, students were asked to not only write a short essay detailing why they wanted to be a part of the program, but also be prepared to make a significant time commitment outside of class. Currently, each group meets on Wednesdays, during both Lunch 3 and the afternoon Collaborative Period. In addition, students in each program are asked to focus their electives in the direction of the ICP concentration they chose. Later in the year, students in the ICP are asked to complete a project that brings together the work they have been doing all year during their weekly meetings and other activities.

The students are not the only ones who are excited about the possibilities the ICP will bring to their academic careers at MBS. “I’m really excited about it,” de la Torre-McCloskey said. “I think that [students] are going to see that ICP is just not an isolated thing, that they’re going to be able to see this in all of their classes. And they’re going to be able to see how Global Citizenship works in their math class and how it works in their science class and how it works in their humanities classes. It’s something where they’re going to be able to understand how it involves the whole community.”
While ICP groups have only met a few times, they are already bonding and collaborating. Alice McNamara, a student with the Ethics, Leadership, and Justice concentration, says, “So far, my favorite part is just getting to connect and discuss with other committed students who care about the topics the concentration is based on.”

Interested freshmen are encouraged to apply during the Spring semester. For more information, they can reach out to the ICP advisors Señora De La Torre, Mrs. Muttick, or Mr. Martino.