I am grateful to have experienced the Klingenstein Summer Institute (KSI) – it was an amazingly insightful and formative program! Prior to the institute, I’d hoped to learn things that would help me be a better teacher and a more valuable community member. I also aimed to develop a strong sense of self and a deeper understanding of independent school culture. I am proud to say that I left with all of that and so much more, and I am excited to return to Galloway in the Fall to share my KSI experience through my work.
There are a few ways I would like to apply all that I’ve learned through KSI. I am especially energized by the opportunity to improve my own teaching by introducing inquiry and design-thinking to my labs and projects. For example, during one assignment through the institute, my groupmates and I proposed a lesson where students design their own experiments and collect data that demonstrates fundamental gas laws and supports an argument for whether or not quarterback Tom Brady is to blame for the NFL’s “Deflate Gate” scandal of 2015. The purpose of this sort of project-based assessment is, of course, to increase student engagement, application, and learning.
Professional Development Work
In addition to curricular changes, I would also like to get involved with my colleagues in UL to further the developmental work we do in next year’s Professional Learning Communities. The reflection, feedback, and revision process was an important take-away from KSI. I have learned more about the value of constantly making one’s self vulnerable to criticism in order to effectively hone one’s teaching. During KSI we did this informally in group conversations, as well as formally through professional feedback protocols such as Critical Friends Group and Video Club, both of which are reflective processes that I believe could support the already deliberate reflective practices of Galloway teachers.
Diversity and Inclusion Work
Finally, I was moved personally by the diversity strand of the institute. We talked extensively about privilege, identity, and culture and about how these things can potentially impact a student’s academic performance. Considering this in the context of Galloway, I hope to build on the success of last year’s minority recruitment efforts by helping to create an environment that will foster a sense of belonging among all students. This could start with rotating affinity group sessions during our Minority Empowerment Club meetings or with a mentorship program for and by minority students across all levels. When students are involved and feel celebrated, they can truly thrive. This will ultimately result in greater retention rates for our current and incoming students of color.
I look forward to implementing all of these ideas over the course of the next school year!