Written by Dean of Academic Affairs Dr. Laura Blankenship
Baldwin provides a wide range of support for faculty professional development, from providing funding for a single-day workshop to an extended trip. We reserve a few special awards that are more substantial and allow our faculty to immerse themselves more fully in professional development. The Reed Fellowship is an award that provides faculty with the opportunity to dig in a little deeper in their chosen field.
The Reed Fellowship is given to a faculty member who is nominated by his or her peers and is recognized for his or her excellence in teaching. He or she receives a stipend to go toward something that will benefit the enrichment of the teacher’s classroom experience. In the 2014-15 school year, Christie Reed, chair of the Science Department, was selected for the award and in the 2015-16 school year, Kathy Gates, 3rd grade teacher, was selected. Both used the funds from the Reed Fellowship to travel this past summer and explore opportunities to bring into their teaching.
Christie traveled to New Hampshire to spend a week at the Biology Institute at Exeter. She took a long course on teaching science using Harkness, and while she questioned how this could be done with such a content-laden subject, she is now a total believer in using the Harkness method. While she may not completely switch everything, there are many ways she has reorganized things to implement much of what she learned and use some of the methods.
Additionally, she had some short courses on topics such as using Vernier probeware in new ways and utilizing Google goggles for teaching purposes. She took field trips to Appledore Island, an undergraduate research facility on an island that is part of the Isle of Shoals, where they learned about the ecosystem there, including the nesting habits of several species of birds.
They visited the Harvard Museum of Natural History and had a behind the scenes tour, along with presentations of some PhD thesis work. They went tidal pooling to collect invertebrates for the tidal table, and they did lots of bird watching. Perhaps the most interesting field trip included an unexpected washed up Humpback whale on the coast of New Hampshire. The whale was enormous, very close to shore and no one was sure why or how it died. It was a full week with little sleep, a lot of collaboration, and a huge amount of professional development in terms of new ideas for how to teach biology.
Kathy Gates travelled to Boston University and attended the 2016 Poetry Institute for K-12 Educators.
Led by Boston University professor Robert Pinsky, current United States Poet Laureate, the Poetry Institute provided educators with a professional development experience based on the principles of the Favorite Poem Project. In conception, the project, with its videos at favoritepoem.org and popular anthologies, celebrates and documents poetry’s place in American culture. The Institute is devoted to improving poetry’s place in American classrooms. Teachers worked in groups throughout the week to develop lessons inspired by Favorite Poem Project materials and by the presenters, award-winning American poets: Maggie Dietz, Mark Doty, David Ferry, Louise Glück, Major Jackson, Gail Mazur, Eric McHenry, Heather McHugh, Carl Phillips and Rosanna Warren.” Learn more about the Favorite Poem Project: The Summer Poetry Institute.
In addition to her trip to Boston, Kathy recognized that this year, 2016, celebrates the National Parks’ Centennial. So, she chose to visit Arizona and explore National Parks in that area such as The Grand Canyon and The Petrified Forest, just to name a few. As a result of this amazing experience, she plans to include a research project about US National Parks in the third grade States unit this year. She also hopes to be able to connect her 3rd graders to the 9th graders through this unit as the 9th graders are traveling to The Grand Canyon in November.
These two faculty members are just two examples of our amazing team of teachers who go above and beyond for our students every day and who take time out of their busy lives to enrich themselves in ways that will benefit their curriculum and teaching. At Baldwin, our passion for learning isn’t restricted to our students. Our faculty, too, continually demonstrate their own passion for learning through experiences like these, and that passion enriches our whole community.