“As we began the 2015-16 school year, we spent a great deal of time looking at the Growth Mindset and strategizing on how these techniques would help us to further develop our Professional Learning Community,” said Director of Student and Staff Development Chris McMorrow. “While we continue to establish internal practices that support this aim, we would be remiss if we did not take the opportunity to stretch ourselves beyond the confines of our campus to observe other successful learning communities in action.”
The schools that invited us to shadow were Sterne School, Charles Armstrong School, Compass High School, Mid Penninsula High School, Star Academy, and Sand Hill School.
“As part of a network of small ‘sister schools,’ we make a point of opening our doors to all matter of professionals in an effort to exchange ideas and resources,” said Head of Sterne High School Melissa Meyers. “We aim to keep an open mind and never stop learning; reaching out to the larger educational community is a ripe opportunity to do so.”
While on the observation, teachers and counselors were asked to take notes about what they saw and experienced in their host classroom.
“We wanted to guide the teachers as to what to be thinking about as they’re exposed,” said Chris. “We asked them to note anything that seems especially effective or useful regarding the classroom set up and environment.”
Staff shared their impressions and the information they gathered with one another at the all-staff meeting afterschool last week.
“I was very impressed with the student body and the support that staff had for each other,” said High School Teacher Travis Callan who toured Sterne School. “I definitely found at least one or two gems to bring back to Stanbridge for use in my own classroom.”
According to Chris, the goal of the program was two fold:
- That the teachers gain an increased awareness of the types of amazing local programs that exist and the different populations that they serve.
- That our teachers are inspired by different techniques, assistive technologies, and personal styles being used by teachers in such local programs.
“We definitely liked going to another school and getting to see what they do,” said Upper Elementary Teacher Teresa Calano who toured Sand Hill School in Palo Alto, CA. “They do executive functioning at the end of every school day. We’d really like to implement that in our curriculum here.”
Want to host an observation day at your school? Click here to download our Classroom Observation Form.