The faculty celebrated yesterday our final Early Release Professional Development Day. Throughout the year the Upper School and Lower School collaborated to discuss and align the curriculum from a PK to Grade 12 level. Each department presented their work to the faculty as a whole. This blog post outlines my big “take-aways” from the presentations.
- Many of the groups stressed the importance of vocabulary development. That reemphasized the importance of building vocabulary with our students.
- Most groups categorized their curriculum to look for gaps and overlaps. For example, technology had the categories of Materials, Info, Systems, and Design. Humanities divided the field into Civics, Economics, History, and Geography. Language B looked at Writing, Reading, Oral, and Visual Interpretation.
- Several departments emphasized the cyclical or spiral nature of their field. The same concepts and skills are repeated from year to year, but increase in complexity as the students get older.
- I sure learned a lot about the PYP, a program I didn’t know in depth. All of our departments do a good job in covering the curriculum, and only “tweaks” or minor adjustments were needed. For example, the Fine Arts wanted to add drama to the LS and more music to the HS. Language A (English and Serbian) wants to put more non-fiction texts into the book list.
It was a good use of our time as a school. I’ve been thinking a lot about next year’s use of the Early Release Days. I am not sure we need to collaborate PK-12 again so much next year. In the Upper School, we would use the time to more horizontally align the curriculum and look at ways teachers at the same grade level can work together. I would also try to come with a list of key vocabulary for the staff.