Maura Bradley, principal of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Mission Grammar in Roxbury, has assembled a team to develop an innovative plan to bring the focus of her school from teaching to learning, with a direct emphasis on creating a cutting-edge learning environment. Bradley’s Lynch Leadership Academy school growth project aims to direct the focus of the school from teaching to learning. It also strives to create more flexible learning environments, provide a more cost-effective model, and build a pipeline of Catholic teacher talent at Mission Grammar and across Boston.
Bradley and her team have collaborated with consultant 2Revolutions, the Lynch Leadership Academy, numerous community stakeholders, and experts from around the country to explore what is possible in service of creating high-quality, 21st-century learning environments. Over the past year, Bradley has worked closely with her Lynch Leadership Academy coach to identify how her school is preparing its scholars for success in a global world, and how it is helping to drive the future of Catholic education.
“In response to rapid progress in technology, the world economy, and society, education must also evolve to meet the demands brought on by these changes,” Bradley said. “At present, Catholic schools are not at the forefront of this innovation and are faced with a decline in enrollment and school closings all over the country. Despite these facts, Catholic schools still have a tremendous record of success and Mission Grammar School is a shining example of this. We are currently over-enrolled and have added additional seats over the past four years, have seen continued scholar growth, especially in the area of literacy, and continue to build strong community partnerships that provide unique learning experiences to the students we serve,” she added.
One effort to enhance the academic achievement of the school is to use summer as a time to grow rather than a time of rest. This summer, the school hosted a month long professional development opportunity for Mission Grammar teachers to plan their curriculum and to have time to prepare personalized lesson plans that meet students’ individualized learning needs. Teachers worked on incorporating technology to deliver their lesson plans and also to track student progress. Select students were also invited to participate in a month-long academic program to reinforce content and reduce issues surrounding summer knowledge retention.
Additionally, Mission Grammar is advancing its individualized student support by leveraging its existing relationship with Emmanuel College, offering graduate-level students the chance to volunteer and serve as student teachers, while they receive mentoring from seasoned teachers. This partnership provides cost-effective teachers and offers training and experience to aspiring Catholic School educators.
The school is also looking into “looping,” a practice that gives teachers multiple years to work with their students instead of just one. This practice allows teachers to learn the specific learning styles of every student, tailor their lesson plans to meet their needs, and measure long-term success.
“The Lynch Leadership Academy is essential in the initiation of these projects. I am able to work side by side and in partnership with talented school leaders who are dedicated to ongoing school growth and success. We serve as a network to one another supporting, pushing, and questioning our collective work,” Bradley said. “My Lynch Leadership Academy coach is an essential piece of the work with this project. She serves as a guide, supporter, and teacher to me. She provides critical feedback to me through observation, shared conversations, and a deep understanding of the work.”