Faculty Attends Summer Intensive at Columbia University

Many of our faculty spend the summer gaining new knowledge and perspectives to bring back to the classroom. Humanities teacher Gianna Craig is one example. She spent two weeks in June at the Klingenstein Summer Institute hosted by Teachers College of Columbia engaged in a course specifically designed for early-career independent school teachers.

“I wasn’t expecting to go and feel rejuvenated or re-energized, but I did leave with that feeling,” says Gianna, who left the day after the 2018-19 school year finished. “Going in and thinking critically about my teaching practice got me excited for what is possible this year.”

For two weeks, Gianna and her cohort explored methodologies involving assessment and curriculum unit design. Each day began at 7:30 am and often ran as late as 8:30 pm as her cohort worked with visiting professors and different experts in the field of teaching such as Dr. Sonya Horsford, presenting on “When Race Enters the Room: The Case for Racial Literacy in Education;” Dr. Nicole Furlonge, presenting on “Ways of Listening,” Dr. Sian Beilock, presenting on “Anxiety, Motivation, and Learning: Helping students Learn and Perform Their Best, Especially Under Stress;” and Dr. Kelley Nicholson-Flynn, presenting on “Teacher as Diagonostician and Designer. The cohort worked as a group and in two different tracks: diversity and equity track and curriculum.

Says Gianna: “This institute showed me how valuable it is to work and talk about teaching practices with lots of different people, in order to keep growing your ideas into better practices.”

Gianna valued the community she built within her cohort, many of whom came from all over the nation. One of her biggest takeaways from the course was the importance of building relationships, with students, teachers, and other faculty members.

“Building partnerships within your school and knowing that the work everyone does is about pushing towards our mission is really important,” says Gianna. “Both within the classroom and thinking about D.E.I. and other practices we adopt and share as teachers.”