Connecting Dots and Building Bridges

Isla Johnston, Staff Writer

This year MBS introduced a new program to better understand the connection between students and teachers. The program is called “Connect the Dots,” as the students must “dot” (select) teachers they feel know/get/understand them on a deeper level. This “dotting” exercise was rolled out via Google Forms. This program measures each grade’s feelings and helps the faculty know whether it is necessary for more team-building retreats or activities.

“Connect the Dots” was inspired by the 2014 People of Color Conference (POCC), in which they connected the importance of student-teacher relationships to the overall well-being of the school. When students feel they have a close relationship with their teachers, they are more likely to be engaged in their own learning.

Chantal Thornberry, Director of Student Culture and Well-Being, said, “The purpose is to add another tool to ensure that every student here at MBS feels known and has adults who support them.” Thornberry undertook the program at her previous school, and it has become “one which is used in many independent schools throughout the country.”

When students feel they have a close relationship with their teachers, they are more likely to be engaged in their own learning.”

Currently, MBS offers student support through class deans, counselors, advisories, coaches, the DEIB office, etc. The “Connect the Dots’’ program is just another means by which to ensure that students feel that support. Thornberry said, “MBS is an exceptionally well-connected community with adults who see, know, and genuinely like students.”

However, if any student doesn’t feel connected to an adult on campus, she recommends meeting with their dean, advisor, or counselor. Thornberry said, “We want every student here to feel supported and at home.”