Six members of St. Margaret’s faculty took a professional-development trip to Rhode Island and Massachusetts last week, where they visited the world-renowned Rhode Island School of Design as well as several sites in Boston.
The Tartan delegation included visual arts department chair Jesse Standlea and visual arts teachers Heather Holmes and Joe Hoff, as well as Early School Director Cris Lozon and Early School teachers Jennifer Hardison and Erika Garcia.
The Tartans spent two days at RISD, where they visited several of the art and design school’s labs, collections and makerspaces, including its famed Nature Lab that explores art and design inspired by the natural world. The faculty attended lectures, had enlightening conversations with students and learned more about topics like health and wellness components that can go into art and design.
A group of St. Margaret’s teachers made a similar trip
in 2019, which led to rich curriculum enhancements across campus, including in the Early School. Last week’s trip only furthered those possibilities.
Specific to the Early School, Dr. Lozon said: “The RISD trip solidified our practices and gave us more ideas to incorporate a rich interdisciplinary study of nature, such as what basic things can we find in nature to help us build extraordinary things through our materials? For example, observing a ‘helicopter seed,’ what would we need for something to take flight? We saw a ‘materials lab’ at RISD this year and now we have a better idea of how we can incorporate a materials lab in the Outdoor Classroom so that children can make their own version of a helicopter or anything else that provokes their interest through nature.”
The visual arts teachers had similar inspiration and insight into how to further incorporate concepts like nature and health and wellness into the visual arts curriculum at St. Margaret’s.
While in Rhode Island, the Tartan delegation connected with Tartan alumni Sabrina Kim ’23, a student at RISD, and Madye Arundale ‘21, who is studying at nearby Brown University.
The professional community members also spent a day in Boston, where they visited the Museum of Fine Arts, the Institute of Contemporary Art, and also spent time at The Rivers School, an independent school in Boston with a new science and visual arts center.
The Rivers School is led by Head of School Ryan Dahlem, who spent 17 years at St. Margaret’s, most recently as assistant head of school from 2016-2023.