Professional Development for Teachers Over the Summer

At Rashi, the summertime is a vital two and a half months during which our faculty rests, recharges, and prepares for the coming school year. As a school that encourages in our students a life-long love of learning, we are proud to report that many of our faculty are participating in some prestigious summer programs that recognize their capacity to contribute to Rashi’s classrooms and to their respective fields. Here’s a look at what some of our faculty will be doing over the summer.

Deb Berlin

Deb Berlin, who taught science and math in the middle school this year, was accepted into the highly-competitive Klingenstein Summer Institute for Early-Career Teachers. This two-week program at Columbia University is completely funded and offers an opportunity for seventy-five young teachers from around the world who are committed to learning about current issues in education such as diversity and cognitive science. During this two-week session, Deb will meet with master teachers to develop curriculum and assessments to bring back to students here at Rashi.

Although the program is a two-week session at Columbia’s Lawrenceville campus in New York, her work with the program began earlier in the school year when Deb spent a day in the Middle School shadowing a student to complete ethnographic research. She will bring this experience with her as a tool to inform her studies.

Deb will also attend a workshop at EXPLO, a summer professional development program for educators, on Design Thinking.

Caroline Blair

Third-grade assistant teacher Caroline Blair is one of three recipients of the Mass Historical Society’s Swensrud Teacher Fellowships. She will join two other teachers – one from a middle school in Massachusetts and another a high school teacher from California. Over the summer, Caroline will analyze pre-Revolutionary broadsides – notices written on disposable, single sheets of paper – for messages and modes of the era to better understand what was and how messages were communicated at that time.

Caroline will also take the EmPOWER course over the summer. During this time, she will gain skills in instructing students in academic writing and problem-solving.

Corey Roberts

Third Grade teacher Corey Roberts will attend a workshop on the Cape on Language-Based Learning Disabilities.

Hanna Perkins

Fourth-grade assistant teacher Hanna Perkins transitions to her new role as Lower School Learning Specialist, she is participating in several in-depth workshops on how to adapt reading and language arts curricula to challenge all learners.

Responsive Classroom

School Psychologist Darcey Angelo, fifth-grade teacher Aaron Fischlowitz Roberts, third-grade teacher Jessica Solomon, and third-grade teacher Corey Roberts will attend a four-day Responsive Classroom workshop as we strive to bring elements of Responsive Classroom to Rashi.

Cindy Carter

Middle School Math Teacher Cindy Carter will attend a Constructionism conference in Lithuania this summer. While she is there, she will co-teach a class for mathematics teachers in a workshop supported by the European Union. Below is more information in her own words.

Constructionism 2018 in Lithuania is organized around the notion that students learn by “reconstruction rather than a transmission of knowledge” and that “learning is more effective when part of the activity a learner experiences is constructing a meaningful product.”  This is the philosophy that informs my teaching and it’s wonderful to engage with teachers and researchers from around the world who are stretching the bounds of what is possible for students to learn and teachers to teach.

Researchers and participants at Constructionism 2018 work to prepare students who are creative and sophisticated thinkers. Seymour Papert’s Mindstorms and the work of Marina Bers, who helped establish computer activities for the younger grades at Rashi, have grown out of this community. Also, the Maker Movement, which provides technological tools in a playful setting within and outside schools to foster the growth of our next generation of tech-savvy inventors, is heavily represented at this conference.

In our professional development at Rashi, we’ve thought hard about how to ensure that students’ curiosity and questions drive the work of the classroom. This conference is all about that. At this conference, I’ll have the chance to hear first hand about the active – learning environments that engage, challenge, and educate children, which others have established in their classrooms and in their schools.

Presenters and participants are highly-regarded practitioners and researchers from Europe, Israel, Asia, Oceania, Australia and the Americas.

Sessions will include Constructionist classroom experiences, curriculum, informal education (collectives and social networking), technologies, and educational robotics. I am going to see the best of what is happening around the world so that I can bring it back to Rashi. I will also discuss Rashi students’ work, which because of the sophistication, creativity, and skill of our students, is of great interest to the broader educational community.

Besides everything else, while at the conference, I will be co-teaching a class for mathematics teachers in a workshop supported by the European Union. Rashi sent me to the annual Constructionism conference a few years ago and I used a lot of what I learned directly and indirectly in my classroom.

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