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Mercy Blogs is a place where interests from parents, students, and community members about Our Lady of Mercy School for Young Women are addressed honestly and succinctly by various experts within the school. Bloggers include teachers, administrators, professional staff, and others who are knowledgeable in their field, and who will provide the very best information to help you learn more about Mercy.

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The Benefits of Private over Public Education
By Terry Quinn, High School Principal

Throughout my 42 years in education (33 in public schools, nine at Mercy), it is evident to me that there are inherent benefits to public and private schooling for 6th through 12th graders. One area where private schools truly excel (and I will say the most important area), is their enhanced ability to directly control their environment, safety, and curriculum to meet the individual needs of the students. At Our Lady of Mercy School for Young Women, we have moved away from the Common Core Standards, New York State standardized testing, and Regents Exams. In place of these mandates of public school education, Mercy has embraced the rigorous and highly-effective College and Career Readiness Standards as the foundation of our academic program. It has made all the difference to our students.

Mercy has carefully and purposely aligned our curriculum to teach and assess skills our students will need for college. According to the most recent PDK International Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools, parents main concern is that “their children are prepared for life and career after they complete high school.” Mercy continuously collaborates with colleges and universities to ensure what we teach and assess covers the skills and knowledge our students will need to be successful at the post-secondary level and beyond. In college, there are high expectations – and thanks to Mercy’s academic program and world-class learning environment, our students have the strength, confidence, and ability to excel.

Why is Mercy Changing Grading for 7-12 Graders?
By Terry Quinn, High School Principal

Administrators and faculty engage in an ongoing process to continuously improve our educational program at Our Lady of Mercy School for Young Women. As an important part of this process, we routinely analyze our policies and practices to make certain they align with our mission and best practices research. When we identify a gap between what we believe or have learned and what we practice, we make changes to narrow this gap. For the past four years, the faculty and administration have engaged in a comprehensive study and discussion of the current research on grading and reporting. As a result of our work, beginning in fall 2017, we are making changes in the way we report students' grades on both progress reports and report cards.

  • We have shifted the way we report grades from numbers to letters. By limiting the number of grade categories, teachers can offer more honest and reliable evaluations of student performance. In addition, this shift in reporting student performance using letters aligns to the way colleges report grades.
  • We have revised the comments on progress reports and report cards. It is of crucial importance in the learning process to provide useful feedback to students to help them improve their academic performance. You will see that our revised comments provide feedback that is specific, actionable and growth-producing. In addition, we have added comments that articulate your daughter’s strengths. Current research is clear that articulating students’ strengths helps them build on them to increase their overall academic achievement.

These revisions in our reporting processes are a result of our deliberate focus on providing the very best educational program for our students. Click here for a more detailed explanation of these revisions.

How is Mercy Developing 'World Class Learners?'
By Colleen M. Bonar, Curriculum Coordinator

Presently, Mercy is intensely involved in the strategic planning process focused on the vision to develop world class learners who make a difference in the world. Two collaborative teams are leading the effort in the academic arena. The School Climate and Culture Team is analyzing the current learning environment, while the Academic Team is examining our academic program. These two teams - comprised of volunteers from the faculty, administration, student body, Board of Trustees, and community - are investigating, discussing, and learning about the qualities of world class schools to target areas for improvement. We continue our focus on continuous improvement as we prepare our students to be happy and successful at Mercy (and beyond!).

The 'Different' Sixth Grade Report Card
By Kendra Zaffuto, 6th Grade Teacher

The sixth grade report card at Mercy is a standards-based report card, differing significantly from the seventh to twelfth grade report card. In lieu of a traditional single number or letter grade for each class, teachers assess and report on each student’s progress on class-specific standards. Marks on the report cards are:

M (Minimal) – the student is having difficulty grasping the key concepts, processes and skills required of the standard
D (Developing) – the student is beginning to grasp and apply the key concepts, processes and skills required of the standard
P (Proficient) – the student grasps and applies the key concepts, processes, and skills required of the standard
E (Exemplary) –the student applies key concepts, processes, and skills required of the standard at a complex level

Teachers also include comments for each student in addition to the marks for the standards. These comments describe student strengths and areas of improvement not only for academic content, but also on “habits of the mind,” such as study skills, organization, participation in class, and homework completion. All in-class assessments (quizzes, tests, projects, etc.) are also assessed using the report card standards. Teachers of the exploratory classes (music, art, library skills) give only descriptive narrative feedback. The core sixth grade teachers give students this same descriptive narrative feedback on their end-of-the year final project, right on the report card.

Investing in a Mercy Education While Saving for College
By Mary Cannon, Director of Admissions

In my discussions with hundreds of our parents over the past four years, I am reminded of two things: our families value the quality of our educational opportunities and make the necessary efforts to invest in their daughters. Please keep this in mind while you consider sending your daughter to Mercy:

  • The families that chose Mercy are so grateful they did! Our biggest fans are our parents with students in college and beyond. They realize that who their daughter is today, the decisions she makes, how she sees the world and her part in it, and the opportunities in front of her, are closely linked to her Mercy experiences and the guidance and support she received while here with us.
  • Our administrative team strives to provide students and families the strongest return on their investment in education while keeping the highly valued Mercy degree accessible and affordable. We are pleased to share that the 2017-2018 sixth grade tuition is staying stable, the middle school tuition increased less than 2%, and the high school tuition increased less than 3%.
  • Each Mercy girl who graduated last year received an average of $180,000 in total scholarships from their combined accepted colleges… so the return on a Mercy investment is very real. Money spent for a Mercy education has the real potential to reduce money spent on college.

Take a deep breath and take one year at a time. In your first year, apply for our Emerging Leadership scholarships and apply for financial aid annually. During her time at Mercy, take note of your daughter’s growing confidence and connection to the community. Join her at events and reach out to our other parents as you are all in this together! You are making the right choice. As this time goes by so quickly, you will be forever grateful you gave your daughter this life-long gift.

.Qualifications of Mercy Teachers

Our Lady of Mercy is in the people business. We offer state-of-the-art classrooms but we are reminded daily that it is our people who make this experience worthwhile. We are extremely proud of our faculty. All Mercy educators either hold a graduate degree or are a fully-credentialed expert in their field. We expect nothing less. Each and every teacher is passionate about what they do and are dedicated to working with the students to help them succeed. Our faculty continues to reflect on their practice to support students in becoming globally prepared to make a difference in the world. Each school day, our teachers take whatever time is necessary to help students understand a particularly challenging concept or meet with one of the many clubs or teams at Mercy. If it is important to our students, it is important to us.