Following our long range plan commitment to support, know and inspire all of our students, the Middle/Senior School Professional Development activities in late August were decidedly focused on how we personalize learning in the classroom.
Faculty participated in a Design Learning activity which challenged them to envision how teaching and learning will change at CDS over the next few years as we continue the work of diversifying our instructional strategies, the content of our curricula, and our support and assessment methods to create an overall approach that focuses on knowing each student and advancing how students learn.
Faculty undertook a Faculty Survey on Differentiation, which will help us identify our areas of strength, as well as our next steps for improvement. Building on work completed in the latter half of last year, departments worked collaboratively to create new Enrichment policies that will ensure our advanced learners are challenged, inspired and supported on their academic journey through CDS.
Meanwhile, the Junior School spent a morning during PD week in August with Peter Johnston, a Professor at the State University of New York at Albany. With more than 34 years of teaching experience, Peter has authored several books and research papers around the importance of oral language in the classroom. His books, Choice Words and Opening Minds are invaluable resources for any educator who believes that purposeful and accountable talk is at the heart of learning.
Peter skillfully demonstrated how a teacher’s supportive, purposeful talk can develop a child’s sense of agency (or sense of control). Of great importance to the health of the classroom community is the confidence and sense of well-being of the individuals inside that community. That lovely sense of comfort and ease which our Head of School, John Liggett, emphasized at our opening meeting this year, is embodied in Peter’s teachings. As an example: “There is something quite special about classrooms with a strong sense of community. Drawing on the support of the community creates agency, and children with agency create stronger communities.”
We encourage you to visit the CDS Faculty PD page periodically throughout the year, to see how our teachers continue to strive for new inspiration and professional development.