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Staffulty Deepen Their Practices over the Summer and Remain Lifelong Learners

At King, we strongly believe that a top quality Professional Growth and Development (PG&D) program is a cornerstone of our success. Staffulty at King are talented, committed, knowledgeable, energetic, and passionate about their work. It is in this spirit that King has developed a comprehensive, multi-dimensional, and systematic approach to PG&D. The annual fund supports our Staffulty and many of the PG&D opportunities. This summer, nearly 50 Staffulty members attended workshops and conferences throughout the country to continue the spirit of lifelong learning.

Alex Weiner, Interim Head of Middle School, Dean of Faculty, adds, "King Faculty members are exceptionally committed to their professional growth and development throughout the year. This includes ongoing in-house collaboration through Critical Friends Groups, Departmental meetings, grade-level meetings, and Assessment and Instruction meetings, as well as attendance at various conferences and workshops nationally and internationally. This commitment to attend conferences and workshops continues throughout the summer months as many faculty deepen their pedagogical practices and their discipline subject understandings - all with significant consideration regarding how our students learn best and how we can meaningfully challenge them to be their best. We also celebrate two faculty members, Laura Bowe and Christos Galanopoulos, who experienced their sabbaticals this summer respectively in Austria and Greece."

Daniel Block, English Faculty: "This summer, I attended the 26th annual meeting of the North American Society for the Study of Romanticism, which was hosted by Brown University.

The three-day event brought together scholars and teachers of Romantic Literature. Panels addressed the interpretive, pedagogical, and theoretical challenges of reading British, French, and German authors of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Brainstorming with my fellow attendees and engaging in the Q&A sessions that followed each presentation energized my own independent engagement with the study of literature -- an excitement and seriousness of purpose I hope to pass on to my students.

Based on my experience at the conference, I would like to experiment with the format of the "mini-conference" as a vehicle for inviting student to formally present their work to a live audience and then engage in dialogue with their peers through Q&A. More broadly, my participation reminded me of the value of curiosity as an essential academic mindset -- a theme that directly relates to Warren Berger's August 30 keynote address to King faculty and staff about the power of asking questions."

Adam Boaz, English Faculty: "This summer, I attended the Exeter Diversity Institute at Philips Exeter. I had attended the Humanities Institute at Exeter in 2008, so I had a general sense of what to expect. The Institutes at Exeter provide opportunities to spend time with energetic and passionate teachers from all over the country. The morning and afternoons are spent in instructional groups led by the some of today's most accomplished and renowned educators. The discussions are Harkness-based, which models the modes of student-generated learning that are shown to help young people develop critical thinking and independent learning skills. Although I have taught Harkness for many years, it was wonderful to learn new techniques; I am excited to employ them in the classroom this year. The focus of the Institute was diversity and the diversity-related issues that present themselves in today's classrooms and today's world. Although I considered myself fairly enlightened in this area, I was stunned to learn how many issues today's students face. We discussed issues of body image, weight and size diversity, sexuality, gender diversity, race-related issues, and other difficult but necessary topics. I learned that the way I conduct myself and speak and move and think can make my classroom a place that is exclusive or inclusive on a daily basis. I have committed myself to teaching and acting in ways that make all members of the community feel safe.

Our mealtimes were filled with lively conversations on many topics. It was a joy to meet so many dedicated and passionate teachers with varying levels of experience. The food was great and the discourse challenging! The campus is beautiful, and the afternoons could be spent relaxing, working out, reading, swimming, sleeping, or whatever we wished. Evening activities included film screenings, lectures, and social activities. It was like summer camp for teachers. We lived in the dorms, so it was a great way to get back to the roots of the learning experience. I highly recommend Institutes at Exeter, and I hope to attend another one!"

Sara O'Toole, Mathematics Faculty: "This summer, I attended a week-long conference at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. The Anja S. Greer Conference on Mathematics and Technology creates an environment where middle and upper school math teachers can share ideas, ask questions, and learn new things. Having attended the conference three times already, I continued my exploration of mathematical modeling and project based learning through the weeklong courses and smaller group sessions. The best part about this conference is having the time to share ideas with other teachers, especially surrounding the use of technology in the classroom. Learning more about the TI-84 graphing calculators, Desmos, and LoggerPro will help me create lessons that are more engaging for my students at all levels. In addition, the opportunity to be a learner again is always invaluable. Putting myself in the role of student, rather than the role of teacher, reminds me how easy it is to get frustrated when encountering new material and how difficult it can be to work with new people. Every time I attend this conference, I learn new teaching techniques and mathematics that inspire me to continue planning throughout the summer in order to incorporate what I've learned into my teaching."

Becky Rabassa, Chair of Counseling Dept., Social Sciences Faculty: "This summer, Megan Yelton and I went to Chicago for the Association of Leadership Educators conference. I was lucky enough to meet Peter Northouse, the author of our textbook, get a picture, and he sent me a lovely follow up email saying how impressed he was with King's Leadership Program! This is the third year we have attended 95% of the participants are from Undergraduate or Master's level college Leadership Programs and all that we meet are so impressed with our programming and level of rigor in the Theory of Leadership course.

My email from Mr. Northouse included, 'It was nice meeting you at ALE. It is so unusual for me to have the opportunity to talk with someone who is using the black book in high school.'"

Mark Silence, Performing Arts Faculty: "Dr. Martino and I spent the better part of a week in Edinburgh Scotland attending the American High School Theatre Festival's Familiarization seminar in preparation for next summer's trip to perform a musical in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the world's largest International Theatre Festival. In addition to touring various theatre spaces and venues that we might inhabit and experiencing some of the educational opportunities that will be available to our students during the trip, we were also able to see a variety of plays and musicals from companies and producers from around the world. I personally saw twelve plays in five days! I met with the production teams and technical support staff and photographed the spaces we may inhabit. We participated in a musical theatre improvisation workshop, (Dr. Martino helped to write an original musical on the spot!), and watched several shows that we are considering for King production. It was an amazing experience which made us both more enthusiastic and prepared for our upcoming trip, and rejuvenated as teachers and theatre artists."