Dear MSON Community,
In just a few days, our work at MSON has grown to encompass a new project: helping our schools prepare for possible school closures related to the COVID-19 virus. So many across the network have reached out to help one another—a perfect example of our community coming together and sharing expertise. Please see the article below linking to resources we have put together, and don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly if we can be of service to your school.
And now, to other topics and updates!

MSON Courses and Enrollment

With the release of our course catalog in the first week February, we are “off to the races” with enrollment. I’m thrilled about the courses we are offering, some of which have been in our catalog for years, some of which are returning after a hiatus, and some of which are brand new.

As you continue to share information about our courses with your communities, I welcome you to check out videos some of our teachers have made about their courses.

Building Utopia
Advanced Microeconomics
Native American Literature
Sugar, Tobacco, Iron, and Silicon: An Economic History of the United States
Think Global, Debate Local
Wartime Dissent in American History
Advanced Topics in Chemistry
Advanced Applied Math Through Finance
Introduction to Organic Chemistry

As a reminder, we must receive enrollment requests by April 15th.

Professional Development

MSON is launching a forum for upper-level administrators at our schools. We are interested in offering our Academic Deans, Principals, Admissions teams, College Counseling offices, Department Chairs and others access to sounding boards, discussion opportunities, and think-tank programming opportunities included with MSON membership.

To start off and plan for programming, we are exploring the initiatives our schools have recently completed, or on which they are about to embark. We’ve just asked our member schools what projects their schools have undertaken over the past 1-5 years (like schedule changes, compensation overhauls, late start shifts, competency based education, restorative discipline initiatives, abandoning APs, you name it!), and what projects sit on their horizons.

We’d love your thoughts on this idea—feel free to write me directly or complete this survey.

As a reminder, we have two other major professional development offerings at the moment: BOLTS and our Annual Workshop. Check out for the list of upcoming sessions, including ones on standards-based grading and teaching climate change. Our Annual Workshop (June 24-26 at the University School of Nashville) will feature sessions geared at all members of our community, a day on “time and space in our schools,” and a whole lot of fun. Please register here.

Growth and Change at MSON

MSON is growing! I’m pleased to announce that two schools have joined MSON for the 2020-21 school year: Augusta Preparatory Day School in Martinez, GA, and Wichita Collegiate School in Wichita, KS. We are eager to welcome their students to our classes and, we hope, their teachers to our faculty.

Finally, MSON has undergone a change in leadership: Marjo Talbott, Head at Maret School in Washington, D.C., one of MSON’s founders, its first volunteer executive director, and chair of the Steering Committee, has stepped down from that role and handed the board leadership reigns to Doug Lagarde at Severn School.

Marjo wrote MSON’s first “vision statement,” convinced that the Malone Schools should band together to build a consortium in the online learning space. She was the driving force in fleshing out the concept of the program, its essential values and goals, and its business model. It was her tireless work and dedication that got MSON “off the ground.” Marjo is a model to so many of us in having a vision, taking a risk, bringing others on board, and revising a concept over and over until it “works.”

Please see a wonderful tribute to Marjo from Cathie Wlaschin, Executive Director of the Malone Family Foundation, below.

MSON is thrilled to welcome Doug Lagarde, Head at Severn School in Anapolis, MD, as the new chair of the Steering Committee. Doug has been an unflagging supporter of MSON since his school joined the network in 2014, and we look forward to his guiding MSON as it continues to evolve.


Food for Thought

A “grab-bag” of articles I’m reading this week:

David Brooks on how Scandinavian schools teach “the complete moral, emotional, intellectual and civic transformation of the person.”
“This Is How Scandinavia Got Great” The New York Times

Our Annual Workshop will feature a day on “time and space” in our schools. This description of “smart” school building hits on the “space” theme.
“How Smart Buildings Are Helping Schools Go (and Save) Green” EdTech

The latest in Boston’s struggle with balancing diversity and high standards at public exam schools.
“The ‘sacred cow’ of Boston’s Education Landscape” The Boston Globe