Want to hear a silly confession? I began researching preschools for my daughter before she was even born. By the time she was a year old, I had narrowed our choices down to three. But maybe you’re thinking, “That’s not so silly!” because Duluth may not be an overly competitive schooling community like say, Manhattan, but we are a city flush with incredible educational options and, as parents, it’s our job to make sure we’re finding the best fit we can for our children.
My daughter started Kindergarten this year and now my thoughts have turned to the remainder of her school career. Her elementary days are going to pass quickly (more quickly than I want them to, I’m sure!) and soon her dad and I will be facing new questions about our goals for her education, and just as importantly, the place where we want her to spend the majority of her days as she grows into herself, her confidence, and her potential.
Confidence is Key
I recently caught up with Kimberly Majkozak, the new Director of Marketing and Associate Director of Enrollment at Marshall School, and we had a candid conversation about our young girls and our hopes for their futures.
Kimberly grew up in a military family and her parents taught her the importance of self-discipline and personal integrity. Nevertheless, Kimberly didn’t like school; she struggled to connect to the things she learned in the classroom. When she thinks about her daughter and her future school career, she says,
“I want nothing more for my daughter than for her to love herself–to be confident in being her authentic self, and be it every single day.”
That cultivation of confidence in every child is just one part of the goal Marshall School has in place for the success of its students. Marshall encourages a strong student-teacher bond; when learners feel like their teachers are invested in their lives, they, in turn, feel comfortable taking bigger academic risks and engaging more in the classroom.
The school also boasts of some impressive stats around extracurricular activities: over ninety percent of students participate in the fine arts and ninety percent are also involved in one or more of Marshall’s twenty offered sports. These extracurricular activities are supplemental in bolstering self-esteem; students learn that things like practice and teamwork can be rewarding, and confidently apply it to their academic pursuits, too.
Engaged Students in the Classroom
Of course, even the most confident student can sometimes struggle to enjoy their classwork. Marshall knows this and seeks to counterbalance it by providing active, choice-based learning experiences for their students. Part of Marshall’s mission is to encourage intellectual curiosity and Kimberly animatedly told me that she sees the pride radiating from students daily–in the way the engage with each other socially and how they throw themselves into working through new hands-on experiments in the classroom. She tells me,
“Students’ minds are enriched every day here; they are constantly doing and they are truly engaged in their learning.”
As parents, we well know the struggle of getting our kids to open up to us about school. Even my 5 year old has a hard time sharing what she’s learning with her dad and I. She regularly tells me her day was “good” and if I want any bonus information, I practically have to pry it out of her! Recently, Marshall hosted a New Parent Dinner to give parents of new students a chance to sit down and chat about their kids reactions to the first few weeks of school. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Students are open and excited to share news of day with their families; they are animated and interested in what they’re learning every day.
But Can We Afford It?
I’ll admit that one of my hesitations with sending my daughters to an independent school is the same one most of us face: are we going to be able to pay for it? I was stunned to discover that forty-nine percent of Marshall students receive some sort of financial aid assistance. The financial aid team works privately and discreetly with families to provide need-based financial aid to prospective students.
Marshall encourages families to reach out to their admissions office about financial assistance as early as they can. 3 out of 4 students who apply for financial aid end up attending the school; the financial aid resolution makes it possible to afford a Marshall education.
Check Out the Open House
I could write for ages about Marshall’s impressive successes and statistics, but sometimes seeing is believing. RSVP for Marshall School’s Open House on November 11th from 1-3 pm to walk around and ask your questions. Teachers, administrators, and current students and their parents will be on hand to chat. I didn’t realize until recently that Marshall starts at grade 4, earlier than I had assumed. My Kindergartener may have a few years yet, but if your kiddo is entering fourth grade in 2018 or 2019, then mark your calendar!