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Faculty Showcase Student Outcomes from Year 2 of Innovative Interdisciplinary Studies

Teachers partnered with colleagues outside their departments to break down traditional academic barriers, make interdisciplinary connections and create new coursework that deepened student learning.
In its second year, St. Margaret’s Faculty Innovation Grants program encouraged teachers to partner with colleagues outside their academic departments to break down traditional academic barriers, make interdisciplinary connections and create new, and often experiential, coursework that deepened student learning. Grant recipients dedicated summer planning time to conceptualize and develop curricular innovations for implementation throughout the school year.

The results had Upper School students applying the mathematical Fibonacci sequence to projects in art, music, biology or architecture; exploring Latin and Greek medical terminology; and the mathematical implications of warfare and French history through visual arts. In Lower School, students problem-solved the logistics of a mission to Mars, while Middle School applied statistical analysis to a St. Margaret’s sports team.

Grant recipients recently shared their creative work with colleagues and inspired additional collaborations.  In the Upper School, 10 different interdisciplinary faculty teams presented in a speed-innovation format sharing four-minute summaries of their collaborations and the impact they had on both students and teachers. Teachers engaged in dynamic conversations and idea sharing as they learned from each other to bring new teaching methods into their own classrooms.

“It was an energetic, spirited session that showcased the outstanding creativity and innovation our faculty demonstrated in designing new curriculum,” said Assistant Head of School for Strategic Initiatives Ryan Dahlem. “Our students have expressed a desire to make their learning relevant, and the faculty responded with these interdisciplinary lessons to illustrate connections of content across subjects in a meaningful way.”

The success of the interdisciplinary Innovation Grants program has encouraged St. Margaret's educators to expand next year’s focus to interdisciplinary curriculum, experiential education and faculty collaborations across ages and divisions, a unique learning opportunity St. Margaret’s provides as a preschool through grade 12 institution.
2018-2019 Innovation Summer Grants Curriculum
Chinese and English IV Chinese Poetry Lesson (Esther Hsu, Kimberly Kim)
An Interdisciplinary Approach to AP Human Geography: Population, Migration, Culture and Physical Space in Chimamanda Adichie’s The Thing Around Your Neck (Rocky Parker, Peter Clark)
Stat This! (Lori Fava, Veronica Johns-Richardson)
Latin and Greek in Medical Terminology (Dave Tomlinson, Alexandra Jennings)
A Complex Calculus (Thomas Spellmire, Kimberly Kim)
U.S. History and The Color Line: Cultural History (Dallas Clemmons, James Harris)
Cultural Blending Through the Centuries (Peter Soderin, Kristina Taylor)
The Fibonacci Sequence and The Golden Ratio: Rock Stars of Math That Appear in Biology, Architecture, Art and Music (Kate Cunningham, Jennifer Ross-Viola)
Grade 2 Scientific and Information Writing (Christee McCarthy, David Beshk)
Cicero and the French Revolution (Simon Fellowes, Alexandra Jennings)
Mission to Mars: Integrated Solar System Unit (Melissa Fisher, David Beshk, Angela Mackenzie)
Exploring Observation Through Drawing and Writing (Beth Clemmons, Jesse Standlea)
Pioneering an Outdoor Classroom Model in Kindergarten (Mara Balak, Jessica Banks, Colleen Beshk, Erin Doyle)
Art Movements and the Movement of French History (Simon Fellowes, Phillip Griswold)
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An Independent Preschool Through Grade 12 College-Preparatory Day School in Orange County California

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St. Margaret's Episcopal School does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, color, religion, sexual orientation or national and ethnic origin in the administration of its educational, admission, financial aid, hiring and athletic policies or in other school-administered programs.