Summer Learning

In between relaxing and adventuring, LREI faculty have led and engaged in a wide variety of professional development this summer:

  • A cohort of lower and middle school faculty attended the Responsive Classroom training in July.

  • Building on the success of their spring workshop for the New York State Association of Independent Schools, Lower School teachers Elaine Chu and Jessie Kirk created and facilitated a Progressive Education Network four-day workshop called the Institute for Imaginative Inquiry. Participants experienced, learned about, and explored the use of Imaginative Inquiry and drama conventions as a tool for teaching social studies.

  • Middle School Humanities teacher Amanda Goodwin was the recipient in June of a National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH) Landmarks grant to study manifest destiny and the Mormon trail in Salt Lake and surrounding areas. THe experience was offered through the University of Utah. Amanda learned a great deal about the migration patterns of white settlers to the west, as well as the conflicts and tragedies of those settlers in contact with the Native Americans in the area. She followed up that trip with a family vacation along the Oregon trail, from Montana to the Oregon Coast. It is an immersive summer of the 19th century American experience on the frontier!

  • Lower school Associate Teacher Jamelah Zidan particpated in a two-month retreat at the Abode of the Message, an Eco-Sufi village in the Berkshires, where she learned about organic gardening, sustainable farming, meditation and Sufism. 

  • Middle School Humanities teacher Megan Ashforth engaged in a 100-hour advanced yoga training on the Greek island of Paros. The training focused on the body as a vehicle for knowing ourselves and deepening our engagement with our environment. This work deepened her belief that movement is a powerful tool for learning. 

  • Lower School Librarian Stacy Dillon attended the American Library Association's Annual Conference in Chicago, IL. It was the culmination of the work she did for the Caldecott Committee. It was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the illustrators who medaled this year. At the ceremony itself, winner Javaka Steptoe gave a powerful speech that speaks to our LREI values:
    So, let us speak the truth all the time, even when it is difficult or painful, so that we do not fill our children’s bags with the weight of what we carry. Fighting racism, sexism, classism, poverty, and any of the other woes of humanity is like fighting hunger. It is not satiated with one meal. It is not solved by giving a man a fish. It is everyday work that we must teach people how to do. We cannot be satisfied with one victory and think that the battle is over. Until this struggle becomes indistinguishable from the way we live our lives, these pestilences will always be plagues. Committee members, publishing companies, everyone listening to or reading this speech, I ask that we all keep fighting, and that we take this attitude with us in our day-to-day business. Please don’t feel overwhelmed — we can all pick an individual focus, and in this way everything will get accomplished. You will become better. We will become better.

  • Lower and Middle School Dance teacher Deborah Damast taught a week-long teacher training course at West Virginia University for Pre-K-12, private sector and Higher Ed teachers. That was followed by a week-long Dance Education Laboratory teacher training at the 92Y in Early Childhood for EC classroom teachers and Dance Educators. She ended the summer teaching  5 weeks of children's choreographic workshops and conducting a teacher training at the Yard in Martha's Vineyard. 

  • Middle and High School Math Teacher Pat Higgiston attended the Anja S. Greer Conference on Mathematics at Phillips Exeter Academy early in the summer, where he particpated in week-long workshops on discussion-based learning and game theory. He also attended a three-day Standards-Based Grading workshop through STEMteachersNYC at Teacher's College, which was co-lead by High School Math teacher Manjula Nair.

  • High School Learning Specialist Jessica Prohias Gardiner was a lead teacher for two of NFTE's (Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship) BizCamps at both NYU and Rutgers.  NFTE NY Metro's Summer BizCamp offered NYC and NJ students who have never participated in the NFTE in-school programs the opportunity to learn the NFTE Entrepreneurship curriculum in a highly interactive and intensive 2-week camp setting.  Through experiential learning and engaging activities, Jssica led particpants as they learned the basics of putting together a business plan while also developing valuable academic and life skills.   

  • Lower School Associate teacher Marcus Leslie completed a two week, intensive Spanish course with The Cervantes Institute here in New York, which he hopes to put to good use during the school year with his students.

  • High School Music teacher Vin Scialla attended the Lincoln Center Jazz Band Director Academy and left inspired to submit our LREI High School Jazz Ensemble to be considered for their JALC Essential Ellington festival, which offers the opportunity for high school bands to receive feedback and critique from the directors of Jazz at Lincoln Center. In addition, he taught music improvisation at New Rochelle HS/MS this Summer and gained another perspective as a music educator in a New York school. He also continued work on his doctral studies.

  • Middle School French teacher Sharyn Hahn spent a week in July traveling in Montreal and Quebec City that proved to be a wonderful exploration of the language, history and culture. She plans to connect this expereince to our always evolving world language programs.

  • High School Media Arts teacher Vinay Chowdhry was the the filmmaker-in-residence at Reel Works, which provides free filmmaking programs for NYC Youth. Using a unique, one-on-one mentoring model, the program challenges at-risk youth to tell their stories and have their voices heard, while building vital skills of literacy, leadership, and self-confidence. This summer, he lead a cohort of students in an exploration of Experimental Filmmaking with a focus on  American avant-garde cinema. In addition, he was part of a curriculum design team that examined professional development opportunities through the Sprout Fund, and the implementation of Digital Badging for Media Arts Education.

  • Lower School teachers Elaine Chu, Tasha Hernandez, Deborah Hodge, Jessie Kirk and Bill Miller attended the Winward Teacher Training Institute in August and participated in their Expository Writing Instruction workshop 

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