Designing A Better World

In August 2019, over 2,200 schools will open doors to students in the state of Georgia. A small number of those schools will be brand new. None like this. Mount Vernon Presbyterian School opens the doors to a brand new Upper School (Grades 9-12) building after a year of construction and years of planning, dreaming, and designing. The building is the physical expression of the School’s mission and vision; innovative, flexible, and relational. Everything is on castors. All desks are stackable and nest-able. Writable walls move up and down allowing disciplinary classes to combine and become interdisciplinary or trans-disciplinary. Smart […]

Collaborative Team Teaching

Collaborative Team Teaching Amy Choi and Pam Ambler presented a compelling and highly useful workshop for team teaching pairs on the first day of pre-planning. As the Upper School scales collaborative team teaching up from Humanities 9 to Humanities 10 and several new inter/multi-disciplinary courses this year, the models and tools they provided will be key to our success. This workshop was the result of a grant that included elements of design thinking. Resources: Collaborative Team Teaching: Challenges and Rewards Team Teaching: Advantages and Disadvantages Team Teaching Benefits and Challenges

Building Our Learning Measures

Building Our Learning Measures This morning, our monthly vertical team meeting focused on building our capacity with two of our ‘expanded learning measures’ – formative assessment and e-portfolios. Here is the agenda with some data added… Essential Questions What are the limitations of numerical grades as a single measure of learning? How will we develop our understanding of e-portfolios as an effective measure ‘for’ and ‘of’ learning? Desired Outcomes Vertical Teams collaborate to implement formative assessment and e-portfolios. Learning Opportunities In advance, read Edutopia article: 11 Essentials for Excellent Eportfolios Entry Ticket: Upon arrival, write on 3 separate post-it notes… […]

Thanks for the Feedback

Thanks for the Feedback Our team has recently discovered this fabulous book, recommended by Meredith Monk from Folio Collaborative. The authors outline the 3 types of feedback we all need and receive as human beings: appreciation, coaching, and evaluation. None of these concepts are new, but the clarification of each one, as well as the interconnectedness of them are providing important insights for us. Just the summary from Chapter 1 alone has given us great fodder for discussion and reflection. “Feedback” is really three different things, with different purposes: Appreciation – motivates and encourages. Coaching – helps increase knowledge, skill, […]

To the Prankster…

To the beloved colleague and prankster who pulled every other book out on my office shelf, I only have this to say… “I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for ransom I can tell you I don’t have money, but what I do have are a very particular set of skills. Skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you put my books back in order now that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, […]

Book Insights: The Advantage

Book Insights: The Advantage A couple of years ago, our executive team read ‘The Advantage’ by Patrick Lencioni. The book is rich with insights and guiding ideas for any team or organization. Here are a few of the key takeaways. Question 1: Why do we exist? Employees in every organization, and at every level, need to know that at the heart of what they do lies something grand and aspirational. Question 2: How do we behave? If an organization is tolerant of everything, it will stand for nothing. Question 3: What do we do? a simple, one-sentence definition, something your […]

How Are Mistakes and Failures Embraced?

Teachers participated in a visible thinking routine called “Think, Pair, Share” today. They asked, “How are mistakes and failures embraced as opportunities to grow and learn?” Specifically, they applied this question to 3 key initiatives: Assessments, ePortfolios, and Student Led Conferences.Today’s Agenda – Middle School Faculty Meeting Desired Outcomes: Expand our ability to utilize assessment in new and more effective ways Advance ePortfolios by incorporating more storytelling Collaborate with vertical teams to grow in our practice Essential Questions: How are mistakes and failures embraced as opportunities to grow and learn? How are students “storytelling” their learning with ePortfolios? Learning Activities: Think, […]

Pre-Planning Template

Pre-Planning Template Pre-planning is an exciting, creative, critical, and stressful time all at once. Teachers are anxious to prep their plans and classrooms. Administrators want to give and protect teacher planning time, yet also devote team time to key initiatives and wildly important goals. In addition, there are other important groups that need time with both teachers and admin (CPR training, Advancement, Business Office, R & D), plus time to connect with “All School.” Finding the right balance can be challenging. In the spirit of sharing, here is the template we used this year. Gold represents Middle School team time. […]

Class Trip to Space Camp – Day 2

Class Trip to Space Camp via Twitter Feed Space Camp® launched in 1982 to inspire and motivate young people from around the country to join the ranks of space pioneers who persevere to push the boundaries of human exploration. Today, with attendees from all 50 states, territories and more than 60 foreign countries, the immersive program continues to challenge young people to dream of a future in space. With the U.S. Space & Rocket Center® as home base, trainees have an unparalleled environment to spur imagination. Historic space, aviation and defense hardware, along with exhibits that highlight current and future programs help […]

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