For Many Educators, Summer Started Late
Every summer, Principia School encourages and enables at least a few teachers to attend professional development courses and conferences around the country, often investing significant resources to cover the costs of travel, accommodations, and registration fees so that, in the long run, our students reap the benefit of innovative teaching.
This summer, the opportunity for professional reinforcement was accessible to a much larger group of faculty and administrators than usual since two key events were held right here in St. Louis—the Character Education Summer Institute and the annual conference of ASCD (formerly, the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development).
“This was very fortunate,” said Jane Reider, the School’s Director of Teaching and Learning, “as it enabled us to send a significant number of faculty.” Ten administrators and teachers attended the Character Institute in mid-June, and 25 attended the ASCD conference in early July.
With more than 140 sessions at the latter, “there was something for every educator to glean from,” says Rieder. She especially appreciated hearing about new approaches to differentiated instruction (DI), which the School is already putting into practice to better serve the varied learning needs of students.
Mike Moyle, the head of the Lower School, was among those who attended both workshops and found value in each. The Character Institute validated Principia’s enduring emphasis on this priority, while helping participants gain a deeper understanding of how the larger educational community views and implements character education. At the ACSD event, Moyle and many of his Preschool, Middle School, and Upper School colleagues participated in the sessions on DI, twenty-first century schooling, curriculum development, assessment, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math.) The purposeful use of digital media and communications technologies was widely addressed throughout the conference, as was the value of interdisciplinary, project-based learning.
“It was wonderful having this conference in our backyard!” said an excited Moyle.