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Professional Development at CDS

Monday, March 20, 2017

Professional Development is essential for practitioners in every field, and here at CDS it is an important way we ensure program coherence, effective teaching, and a culture of inquiry. These high-quality opportunities to reflect, learn, and connect are also a significant reason why our teachers love to teach here!

Last year’s Fund-a-Need at Fiesta impressively bolstered the funds that we use to support our professional development work, and we are enormously grateful to our parent community for this investment. These additional funds have enabled us to send teachers to a variety of practice-enhancing workshops, bring outside experts and guest speakers to the campus, and plan programming for the two full-professional development days we host during each school year.

At our first PD day in October, the entire faculty and staff participated in a thought-provoking workshop facilitated by the nonprofit organization Gender Spectrum. Today is the second of those professional development days for the 2016-2017 school year, and this time our faculty members met in divisions to engage with the following topics:

  • The Early Childhood Program welcomed an outside expert to facilitate a workshop about enhancing math and literacy education within a project-based learning model.
  • The Lower School dove into a discussion of the Teaching Tolerance framework, then spent time reflecting on and developing their skills in classroom co-teaching strategies.
  • The Middle School engaged in team-building activities and curriculum work.
  • Our specialist teachers from all grade levels met together to refine their curricular alignment and goals.

In addition to today’s workshops, other ongoing Professional Development at CDS includes:

  • Our Lower School faculty members have been meeting together in monthly book groups to discuss Choice Words by Peter Johnston, and they are also engaging in Teacher Instructional Rounds, a process through which educators develop a shared practice of observing, discussing, and analyzing student learning and teaching methods. CDS is implementing this practice as a way to support a habit of professional reflection and growth within an open culture of collaboration.
  • Two separate teams of teachers, one in the ECP and one in Lower School, have been taking an online “Making Learning Visible” course together through Harvard’s Project Zero, which focuses on strategies for group learning. We are also delighted to announce that CDS has been accepted for a Project Zero classroom workshop which is scheduled to take place at the Harvard Graduate School of Education this July. 
  • All CDS teachers continue to work with expert math coach Alison Fox Mazzola on the concept of “Mathematical Mindsets,” structured upon the work of Stanford mathematician Jo Boaler.
  • The faculty Committee on Inclusion and Diversity hosted a menu of faculty-led workshops for us last month on topics ranging from “Gender Inclusion – From Theory to Practice” to “Expelling Islamophobia – A Text-Based Discussion.”

Our teachers have also individually benefited from the additional professional development funds by attending a range of conferences centered around topics such as Mindfulness, Technology/Innovation, Yoga Instruction, and more.

We want to thank everyone who contributed to Fund-a-Need last year, and for the adjustments they made so that these important experiences of connection, reflection, and learning can be available to our faculty and staff!