Academic Philosophy, Support, and Laboratories
The St. Mark’s School philosophy of education is based on our mission statement and includes a demanding and diverse college preparatory curriculum which focuses on collaborative learning, where students develop their particular analytic and creative capabilities by inspiring their academic and spiritual curiosity. Because we encourage our students to explore the larger world beyond our campus our curriculum includes a focus on global citizenship (more about the academic life of St. Mark’s can be found
Our international students thrive in this rich and challenging academic setting, however, there are specific areas that will require their attention. The first is that international students should be aware of the support network in place to help them acclimate to a different educational system (see section on The Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning).
Another area that our international, as well as all, students need to attend to is a clear understanding of The St. Mark’s School academic integrity policy. Because standards of academic integrity are culture specific it is important that the international students pay close attention to the school standards of academic honesty and integrity. At. St. Mark’s academic integrity requires honesty in the submission of all work. Students are expected to be proud of their own work and to respect that of others: fellow students, writers and researchers. Any use of another persons’ work from any source in the form of words or ideas without proper attribution (citation), is considered plagiarism. This includes verbatim copying of others’ work and paraphrasing information without properly citing sources. Cheating, by asking questions about any tests, quizzes, or online quizzes, the giving or receiving of unacknowledged assistance on academic work, or submitting the same work, done at St. Mark’s or another educational institution, for more than one course without the specific permission of all teachers involved is unacceptable. At the start of the school year each of the teachers will present information on academic integrity in their class. It is important that the students look at this information carefully and review it periodically.
Of particular importance for international students is that students who are unclear about issues of academic integrity, honesty and plagiarism are responsible for asking their teachers for clarification
At St. Mark’s the class size is very small. Each class has an average of 12 students and 1 faculty member. This means that over the course of the year you will get to know your teachers very well. In addition you will find that your teachers are your coaches, your Advisors, and work in the residential houses. Teachers expect to give students extra help when needed and expect that students will ask questions if they are not clear on an assignment or on the material being taught. It will be your responsibility as a student to ask questions in class, to make an appointment for extra help if it is needed and to be clear on all the expectations of your teachers. St. Mark’s teachers understand the challenges presented to international students who are learning in an educational system and sometimes in a second or third language and enjoy helping students - so be sure to ask for that help!
Methods of Instruction
At St. Mark’s School the majority of the classes taught are taught in a discussion format. Students are therefore expected to be able to participate in class discussions about the homework. The class discussions will often be between peers in the classroom with the teacher as a member of the discussion or as an observer. Students therefore need to be able to work collaboratively with other students, and to ask questions freely of each other and of their teachers.
Class attendance – Students are expected to be present at all class meetings. Teachers will report student absences to the Deans’ Office and students who are unexcused from class will face disciplinary consequences
Class participation – Actively engaging in class discussions, asking questions and doing the homework for each class are the expectations of St. Mark’s School. We do understand that for International Students this method of teaching will be new and will feel uncomfortable. Teachers will be understanding as students learn new ways of studying.
Canvas – The online course management system at St. Mark’s School is called Canvas. The teachers post homework assignments on canvas throughout the day and it is the responsibility of the student to check Canvas several times each day.
E-mail – it is expected that students will check their e-mail a minimum of once a day and certainly at the start of study hall. Teachers will communicate important information about class, homework or changes in assignments via e-mail.
Notes – Students are expected to take notes in each of their classes and to keep an orderly notebook so that notes are available for studying for tests and homework assignments.
Homework – It is expected that all students will do all the homework for their classes. In the event that there are several major assignments due at the same time a student is able to speak with his or her teacher and ask for an extension on an assignment. Students should plan ahead and ask for an extension at least 24 hours before the due date. Students who fail to meet the homework expectation will face consequences.