Academic Preparedness

“The greatest sign of success for a teacher… is to be able to say, ‘The children are now working as if I did not exist.’”

- Maria Montessori

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Meet Julia!

A question we hear often is how do GSMS students do as they transition from Montessori into a more traditional school environment?

Today one of our graduates, Julia McKenna, is taking over the blog to tell us about her LAGS (life-after-Good-Shepherd) experience. Take it away, Julia!


Transitioning from the GSMS community to John Adams High School – a traditional public school with around 1900 students – was not nearly as daunting as I had envisioned. I thought I would get lost, be behind, and have no real connections to people. I could not have been more wrong. GSMS prepared me so well for high school that I was able to immediately start creating another home among my new friends and teachers.

Not only was I prepared academically for the highest level classes, but I was largely ahead of where the 9th grade curriculum. My reading, writing, analytical, Spanish, math, and science skills were all compatible with honors, advanced, and AP classes. Later, as I entered the International Baccalaureate magnet program, I recognized so many cross-class connections that allowed me to be a very thoughtful and independent learner.

What I found even more valuable were the skills I learned as a GSMS student; I was a curious, driven, organized, self-motivated learner who was ready to tackle big questions and devote time to studying not because I had to, but because I genuinely enjoyed it. The new introductions of assessments and class schedule were minute compared with the advantages I brought with me from a school that encouraged not only my enthusiasm but also my ability to absorb and ponder new information.

As a senior (ahh!) I am on my way to a university of some sort next year. I recently applied for Stanford University early decision, but also have plans to apply to the University of Notre Dame, Yale, and other high level institutions. I owe so much to what I learned as GSMS student and cherish not only the community that I have, but also all the tools they have given me to go further in life. I cannot stress the value of GSMS education enough and how it allowed me to flourish in the person I am today.

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