What the Faculty Did While Students Were Still Sleeping

Our fine faculty gathered this morning, bleary-eyed but eager, at 7:30, for two hours of professional development (PD).

We haven't tried this model of PD before.  We have Tuesday afternoon meetings (but coaches always miss).  We have had half-day afternoons (but that's not always our best time) and we have full-day workdays (but then the students miss a whole day).

I think we had a great morning and got some important work done together.  I'm very grateful for the time.

We started with our Core Values Project.  We're aiming to discover (not invent!) the few, pithy, apt phrases that capture the heart of Trinity.  They have to be connected to the mission, but not simply a repeat of the mission.  We've been working on a draft over the summer, but today I asked the faculty to come with a "That's Trinity" story.  They all brought their laptops or iPads and we used Google Drive Forms to allow them each to type in a brief story that captured something of the heart of Trinity.

Stories are powerful and they capture and reveal really important things. I haven't had a chance to read them all, but what I have read is powerful.  I look foward to mining these and to sharing them, as appropriate.

Then we divided up.  Math, science, foreign language, fine arts, and PE departments met separately to work on their year-long projects of curriculum alignment.

And the TK-5 teachers along with all 6-8 teachers of LA, history, and Bible met to discuss writing.  We returned to the 6+1 Traits curriculum that we have been using now for several years, reviewed the basics, and then heard from three sets of teachers who shared success stories in writing.

Serena Whisenhunt shared how she and Spencer Dicks have collaborated on a project in 8th grade.  And she told moving and compelling stories of what the kids have come to call the "Stalking Project."

The sixth grade team shared about their Two Old Men project.  A wonderful example of integration across the disciplines, even including the art teacher.

Mrs. Lemke (who organized this session) shared some exciting work that the second grade had done using simple graphic organizers.

And Rita Davis and John Morganti shared what they are doing with Wordly Wise stories.  I already had a sense of the importance of this work because earlier this week four fourth graders had knocked on my door and appeared with their stories in hand.  They sat on my couch and read them to me, start to finish.  They were very proud of their work, as they should be.


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