Directors of Teaching and Learning Heather Parker and Jessie Coulombe led a breakout session at the NYSAIS (New York State Association of Independent Schools) Student Support Conference on King’s collaborative approach to teaching executive functioning skills in the Middle School. The conference took place at the Mohonk Mountain Resort in New Paltz, New York, spanning three days in early February.
Parker and Coulombe reviewed King’s model of in-house collaborative discussion, planning, and program development during their presentation. They also described the process for designing and implementing executive functioning skills in the Middle School. Their methodology of infusing the scope and sequence of skill development, such as planning and time management, note-taking, and study practices, into the curriculum offered applicable information to the conference attendees.
Parker and Coulombe also underlined how the King faculty use grade level meetings for pedagogy discussions and leverage Professional Growth and Development (PGD) sessions to develop a comprehensive approach to executive functioning skills at the middle school level.
Though theirs was the last session of the conference, attendance was high and featured more than 30 actively engaged participants.
“We wanted participants to take away an understanding of how structured time for collaborative work as a faculty can be used to identify a problem and then solve for and create an answer to that problem together, thus increasing buy-in and accountability,” said Coulombe. “We aimed to have audience members leave with ideas for how to bring similar processes and structures to their own school.”
Their efforts were a success; one attendee has already reached out to meet with Parker and Coulombe for further discussion, and they anticipate hearing from more.
Established in 1947, NYSAIS is a nonprofit association of over 200 independent schools. Its founding principles include promoting professional growth of teachers, administrators, and trustees through workshops, conferences, and exchanges.