Dear Harbor Families,
I hope you had a wonderful four day weekend. Or, maybe it was a little shorter than that. For some of you (like for my family) it meant figuring out child care for one, or perhaps two, awkward days. Well, I’m writing this letter to say thank you. I want you to know how valuable Friday’s professional day was for our faculty - and how much the experiences we had will impact the learning experiences or our students.
Great schools function as learning communities, not just for children but for adults as well. Educators have a responsibility for continuous professional development to hone teaching practices based on new research in the field, and to serve as models for students. After careful thought and planning, we organized Friday’s professional learning with two goals in mind - to further the student-centered learning experience for our young students, and to strengthen and align practices for differentiated and individualized instruction.
Our preschool lead teachers, Diego Urresty and Kelly Kasper, along with Assistant Head Andrea Zuraf, spent Friday and Saturday at a local conference about theChildren are Citizens project. Project Zero is a set of research projects out of the Harvard School of Education focused on emerging best practices in education and professional development for teachers in schools across the globe. The two-day conference focused on ways in which teachers can empower young children to use their own voice and self-agency to make a difference in their communities. Put best by project leaders Ben Mardell and Mara Krechevsky, "The Children are Citizens project is grounded in the belief that children are not just future citizens but are citizens of the city in the here and now, with the right to express their opinions and participate in the civic and cultural life of their cities." The preschool teachers will be sharing their learning and ideas with the Harbor faculty in future days and weeks. Stay tuned for ways in which this project will build on existing student-centered learning at Harbor.
Back at school, JK though grade 2 teachers and specials teachers spent Friday exploring strategies to further individualize and differentiate learning in our classrooms, through sessions with six consultants who generously offered their time to work with our faculty. After thinking together about ways to communicate about student academic and social/emotional learning across school settings, teachers worked in small groups with specialists in reading, occupational therapy, speech/language, and behavior. In the spirit of goal-setting and reflection, we ended our day with collaborative thinking about we might implement these strategies within and across learning environments at Harbor. As the year progresses, we look forward to sharing the ways in which we will continue to personalize student learning in our classrooms, building on the strengths already in place at our school.
These were full days of focused professional learning, which we couldn’t have achieved during the busy school days. So, thank you. And, I do hope the weekend was a good one for your family, regardless of the number of days. After all, how much time to spend matters less than how you spend it. Case in point.
Head of School
The Harbor School