Academics
Lower School

Professional Growth Opportunities: A Year in Review

By Jennifer Fogarty, communications content manager
Middle Schoolers dropping tennis balls off the balcony is not a part of physical education, but rather they are calculating math problems, the vertical motion model to be exact. After attending the youcubed conference at Stanford University last year, the Middle School math department was so inspired that they immediately made shifts to the math curriculum when they returned to school. Then in the 2017–2018 academic year, they implemented a full course change.
 
The conference featured Jo Boaler, professor of mathematics education at Stanford University and the faculty director of youcubed, an online resource for teachers, parents and students to inspire all students with open, creative mindset mathematics. Amy Rohrbach, Middle School math department chair and Grades 7–8 math teacher, Pam Madigan, Grade 8 math teacher and Andy D’Avanzo, Grades 6–7 math teacher redesigned the curriculum to make math more accessible and approachable to all students. Instead of teaching math in the traditional way of question and answer, they are viewing it as an open-ended task that allows students more flexibility in how they reach an answer.

Students are getting out of their seats more and learning math with hands-on activities. The teachers encourage students to look at the pattern of numbers, to see how they are growing and changing, and how to predict future cases in the pattern—even write a rule to predict future numbers or patterns in the sequence.

“This was a total mindshift in how we work with the students and how they interact with math,” says Ms. Rohrbach. “They have now gained that confidence and joy of learning math and realized that math can be fun.”

Numerous faculty and staff members participated in professional growth opportunities throughout the 2017–2018 academic year. From conferences to global excursions, these experiences allow faculty and staff to keep up with current trends, and bring new ideas and innovations back to our students. See a sampling below.
 

NameConferenceLearned
Gary Krahn, Ph.D.Professor Brian Winkel presentation at LJCDSShared his ideas on mathematics, education and problem solving and reminded us that teaching mathematics is more about humanity than numbers.
Ryan Song and three Middle School faculty membersPeople of Color ConferenceHow to better value, support and develop the diverse perspectives and experiences within a school community.
Robert GrassoFinding the Heart of LeadershipHow to lead through positivity and love as a coach, and how to help student-athletes become great leaders.
Jane Healey, Ph.D.University of Maine Institute on Quebec StudiesThe study of history, geography and culture of New France from a different perspective. How to bring the subjects alive in the classroom.
Terri ZimmermanOrton-Gillingham TrainingNew teaching methods to help struggling readers
Cindy BravoOxbow School of ArtInterdisciplinary pedagogy, art process and art fundraising for Grades 9–12
Colleen O'BoyleNational Association of Independent SchoolsCurriculum, how to give feedback and stewardship workshops
Maya TorresProject-Based LearningLearning outcomes and targets, checkpoints and instructional strategies for all learners.
Susan Nordenger and Katie SigetiCASE NAIS (Council for Advancement and Support of Education, National Association of Independent Schools)Workshops and speakers on the topics of alumni engagement, planned giving, annual fund.
Tyler HalesGlazier Football ClinicCharacter development, ideas for structuring practices and coach meetings
Meghan EdwardsWorld Leadership School ExperienceGuided students in Peru on their experiential learning as a program leader
Melanie BaierNational Association of Independent SchoolsHow to create meaningful opportunities for professional development for faculty and staff and ways to help others talk through difficult conversations
Jessica AbbondanzioNational Art Education Association National ConventionHow to incorporate art into STEM education
Kristy Johnson and Ashley MarlowWildwood School Advisory ConferenceStrategies and ideas to strengthen and improve the advisory program
Lisa BennetLearning and the BrainHow to reduce anxiety among students and raise achievement
Mike PeveichWorld Stage Design ConferenceProjection technology, augmented reality in performance, historical stage technology and eco-friendly lighting technology
Corinne BrunnNational Fastpitch Coaches Association ConventionNew drills and strategies for coaching softball
Sally KrauseCUE ConferenceEffective and impactful technology use in the classroom
Dan Lenzen, Darren Cameron, Tomas Robinson and Cindy BravoCreative Coding Conference at UCLAHow to use p5.js, a programming library that makes it easy to create interactive visual art

 
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