The Meridian Blog

Cultivating the Wonders of Discovery

Summer Professional Development

Summer Professional Development

As our students head off on their summer adventures, our teachers prepare for a few weeks of relaxation, travel, quality time spent with friends and family, and continued learning!

Every year, Meridian staff and faculty members participate in a myriad of professional development workshops.  We know that providing our teachers with opportunities to further explore educational best practices is one of the most important and lasting gifts we can give our students. Furthermore, we know that the quality of our students’ educational experience is reflected by the depth of our teachers’ knowledge.

Thanks to the incredible generosity of our donor community, we raised over $125,000 (to be expended over three years) to support these professional development opportunities.

2016 & 2017 summer learning opportunities include:

Columbia Teachers College Writers Workshop (summer 2016, all teaching faculty)

Columbia Teachers College Readers Workshop (summer 2017, all teaching faculty)

Social Thinking Workshops (summer 2016)

Responsive Classroom Workshops (summer 2017)

Coaching workshop facilitated by nationally renowned educational coach and consultant, Elena Aguilar (summer 2017, Customized Learning Team)

Various workshops related to design thinking, critical thinking, place-based education and other S.T.E.A.M initiatives

Each year, Faculty and Associate Faculty members are also given the opportunity to apply for an Ellen Toole grant to support special professional development opportunities. The Ellen Toole Endowment Fund was established in honor of our founding Head of School, and has been granted to faculty members on an annual basis.

This summer, two of our teachers will be traveling to Peru and Ecuador for a once-in-a-lifetime learning experience! Science Program Coordinator, Kelsey Vollmer, and Kindergarten Faculty member, Libby Bode, received The Meridian School’s Ellen Toole grant, as well as a national grant from the organization Fund For Teachers to make this adventure possible.

Their fellowship consists of three learning opportunities. The first is the Educator Academy in the Amazon Rainforest, which is a 10-day workshop at four different rainforest lodges, designed to immerse educators in inquiry and place-based approaches to instruction. Each day they will actively participate in two learning sessions about a variety of topics, including developing a sense of place, habitat and ecosystem study, biodiversity, interconnectedness, field research, inquiry and investigation, and cultural and community connections. At the end of each day, time is given for participants to discuss their learning and ideas with one another.

The second part of the fellowship involves a five-day journey through the mountains and Urubamba Valley to interact with the Quechua people and explore the Machu Picchu region, which will allow for a deeper cultural experience and contribute to The Meridian School’s work around global competency.

Lastly, the grant will allow Libby and Kelsey to experience one final destination. Following their learning in Peru, they will head to the Galapagos Islands to learn about and experience the unique, island ecosystems . They will visit the Charles Darwin Research Station as well as several of the islands to practice their field study techniques.

Throughout their month-long travels, both Libby and Kelsey will be strengthening their understanding of place-based and inquiry-based education and developing skills to promote questioning, curiosity, and connection-making in students. One of their major goals when returning to Meridian  is to implement a more cohesive and integrated scope and sequence for our science and social studies programs, with a focus on place-based education, global competency, inquiry-based projects, and STEAM. They are extremely excited for these adventures and will be eager to share their learning with our community throughout the 2017–2018 school year!