As students enjoyed one last day of Christmas break before returning to campus, St. Margaret’s professional community engaged in the next step of the school’s innovation strategy work during an in-service day last week.
“What a school devotes time to is an indication of what it values, and this in-service day reflects that,” Assistant Head of School Ryan Dahlem said. “Our professional community dedicated time to moving strategic initiatives forward in a variety of priorities, including health and well-being; diversity, equity and inclusion; experiential learning; and curricular innovation.”
Here’s a look at what each division focused on during its in-service day.
Early Childhood School
St. Margaret’s Early Childhood School collaborated with the Lower School on diversity, equity and inclusion work, then welcomed constructivist-in-residence Anne Marie Cornelison to campus for a presentation on how documentation of learning enriches constructivist practices in Reggio Emilia schools. Ms. Cornelison is an early-childhood education expert from East Tennessee State University.
Ms. Cornelison spent the entire week at St. Margaret’s, where in addition to presenting, she visited each classroom to observe and collaborate with St. Margaret’s teachers throughout the week.
The Lower School professional community collaborated with the Early Childhood School diversity, equity and inclusion work, then engaged in experiential learning implementation aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. These global goals provide a framework for the division’s thematic approach to integrating special subjects with the core curriculum at each grade level. Service learning projects were also developed within the global goals framework. In addition to discussing experiential opportunities such as field trips, Lower School teachers also met with Upper School and Middle School science teachers to further explore experiential and cross-divisional learning opportunities.
The Middle School professional community devoted their in-service day to professional development in areas of health and well-being. School counselors Dr. Janice Avalone and Derek McIntire led a session on adolescence and mental health, helping the Middle School professional community in its role of supporting the social and emotional needs of students. Time was also devoted to writing personalized narrative comments to accompany semester grade reports.
The Upper School professional community worked on refining the advisory program with a focus on creating community and connection within advisory groups. In addition to exploring new advisory activities, including testing family-style games, Upper School advisors also worked on crafting a survey for advisees to take that will inform further development of the advisory program. Time was also devoted to writing personalized narrative comments to accompany semester grade reports.
The Upper School professional community also had the opportunity to connect with incoming Upper School Principal Amy Roberts for an afternoon reception. Ms. Roberts will start her role as Upper School Principal this summer.
All St. Margaret’s professional community members had the opportunity to participate in optional affinity group meetings during lunchtime as part of the school’s ongoing commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion work.