Gray Matters (September 2019)
I love the rhythm of the school calendar. Summer, in my mind, is an essential element. I personally enjoy the weather, but more importantly, for those of us in schools - children and adults alike - the less structured nature of June, July, and August has value.
As Head of School, I am often asked whether I get a summer break. I do! I took a wonderful vacation on the Massachusetts coast with my extended family. But summer is a break for me, even when I am in my office. The slower summer rhythm of the school year gives me more time and space to read, to write, to think.
Summer is an important break for teachers as well, but it is a myth that this part of the year is all vacation for these professionals. In fact, one of the qualities I most admire in our faculty is their consistent commitment to professional growth and development. For Capitol Hill Day School teachers, the summer months are an essential time for curriculum review and revision. This year, teachers engaged in collaborative work related to 1st Grade literacy, 2nd Grade writing, and 4th Grade math.
Summer also provides space for more innovative and intensive professional development. For three engaging days in July, a group of 20 teachers from across the School came together for a workshop on project based learning, led by facilitators from PBL Works. Last week, during what we call JumpStart Week, educators from the Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium guided the faculty in a full-day session on child identity development. This year, project based learning and identity will be throughlines for our professional work. You will hear more about these themes as the year progresses.
JumpStart Week is the start of school for faculty. Amid the flurry of meetings, classroom setup, lesson planning, and much more, our time together is a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with colleagues. As we did, we also welcomed new members to our community, Hana Carey, Director of Admissions; and teachers Maris Hawkins (Spanish), Emna Walters (French), and Jamayca Williams (EC North).
This morning, it was wonderful to officially start the year, shaking hands at the front door. Nothing brings me joy like the energy of the first day of school!