2023-24 MSON Cohort Participants joined by leadership coach/facilitator, Alexis Stern, and MSON Executive Director, Reanna Ursin.

One highlight of MSON courses is the opportunity to learn with classmates from around the country, with students frequently referencing the way their MSON interactions move them outside of their local “bubble.” While cross-school engagement is standard for MSON students, until recently, it was available to instructors and administrators only when teaching a MSON course or attending MSON’s annual workshop.

This summer, however, MSON extended the impact of the consortium by launching the yearlong Cohort for Pedagogical Inquiry and the Leadership Cohort for School Administrators. Our 12 inaugural members hail from Casady School, Columbus Academy, Commonwealth School, Maret School, The Prairie School, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, Severn School, University School of Nashville, and Wichita Collegiate School. Participants occupy a diverse range of roles from teachers, department chairs, learning specialists, and deans to division directors, director of college counseling, and assistant head of school. Their diversity is central to MSON’s particular cohort model: rather than collaborating with individuals in the same role or discipline, participants discuss and gain insights from folks with different institutional goals, experiences, and perspectives.

In order to support their collaboration, cohort members participated in a series of professionally facilitated team-building and planning sessions during MSON’s Annual Workshop at Severn School. The sessions laid the groundwork for the coming monthly cohort meetings on Zoom – from September through May – where group members will discuss resources on their respective topics of brain-based learning or change management. Members will also participate in cohort “spotlights,” during which they present to their small group a challenge or idea on which they want feedback.

When asked about the value of their initial cohort experience, one participant shared, “it’s been great to connect with other educators, leaders, thinkers with shared and distinct experiences all at once.” Leadership coach and facilitator, Alexis Stern, praised cohort members for “enag[ing] authentically and openly with one another, challenging their own perceptions, and building momentum for the year ahead.” The team-building experience was a highlight for another participant who noted that “the structure of these days has been deliberate and clear, with the focus on building collegiality, trust, and a positive excitement towards having the chance to take the next year and learn from others.”

MSON is thrilled to create a meaningful forum for colleagues across our consortium – stay tuned for information on next year’s cohorts!