October 2010

Resources discussed and suggested:

A note: this post comes from the St. Gregory faculty discussion Monday morning of Suzie Boss’ Reinventing Project Based Learning.  This book was one of two faculty summer reading options, and was read by about half of our teachers.

Discussion points:

1. Launching these projects is the first step, but for those doing so, the experience screams for more: more time for collaboration, and more effort at interdisciplinary collaboration.  Right now, we have fine initiatives happening independently, but we need to take the next step to interdependently. (more…)

Remarks to the Student Body.

Leadership has always been one of the core purposes of a St. Gregory education.

Your teachers have always believed that they are supporting you in developing the confidence, the thinking skills, the organization, the principles, and the character necessary that you as students can become leaders, today and tomorrow: here while you are still students and out in the larger world after you graduate.

Now I know that some of you embrace this, and want to pursue leadership.   You see yourselves as being leaders in the ways we most easily imagine: the Boss of a company, the Coach of a sports team, a General in the Army, the Pilot of a plane.  [Softly] I always wanted to Captain Kirk as a kid.

But some of you don’t envision such a future—you imagine yourself as a veterinarian, perhaps, or community service worker, or a parent, or a nurse, or  a scientist—and I fear that you think that maybe when we talk about leadership, you think we are talking only about someone else, not about you.

But I want to argue otherwise.  I think that we can and should interpret leadership very broadly and I think there are aspects of leadership which all of you can and should develop. (more…)

21st century teaching and learning should reflect research based best practices, and must provide more time for faculty professional development and collaboration.   It is my belief that “late-starts” for students, beginning school at 8:45 or 9, one or more days a week, is a handy way to advance on both these fronts.  We provide more sleep time for students, and more collaboration time for teachers.

At St. Gregory we expanded upon this practice this year, moving to twice weekly “late-starts” at 9:00 am.   This article was published on the front page of our student newspaper, the Gregorian Chant, by sophomore Olivia Larsen.

As every St. Gregory student has invariably noted, the number of late starts per week this year has doubled from one to two. Whether you get up and run, sleep in that extra glorious hour, plan on taking that new Mandarin class, or go out to breakfast, classes this year start at 9:00 instead of 8:00. Susan Heintz, Upper School Head, says there were two reasons it was instituted. “We want to be able to work together, as a faculty. . . We need some quality professional development time when teachers are awake and focused. . .the best time for that is morning.”

The other reason is, “Sleeping in a little bit is better for your brains. There’s research on that. It’s an experiment, too. . . the heavy-duty academic stuff, sitting still first thing in the morning, that’s what’s really hard on the teenage brain.” (more…)

21k12 is dedicated to celebrating, and reflecting upon, 21st century learning, everywhere and at St. Gregory.   Our new 1:1 laptop program,Wings, has launched, and our student newspaper, The Gregorian Chant, published this piece on the top of the front page, by freshman student Jafe Arnold.

For the 2010-2011 school year, St. Gregory has launched a new laptop integration program. The hope is to technologically advance students and faculty into an education experience that is exciting, promotes learning, and is engaging to students.  According to Mr. Martin’s blog, 21k12, the essential goal of the program is to “exploit the power of digital technology to collaborate, communicate, and create on-line– and develop exactly the critical skills necessary for success in our new global economy”. (more…)

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