This afternoon the faculty met for the year’s third afternoon of professional development. I would be remiss if I did not mention once again how grateful we are for the support shown for these opportunities at the winter Gala with the “Paddles Up” fundraiser. The chance to come together as a faculty is so valuable in terms of connecting divisions and academic departments, working together and learning from each other.
Today, faculty moved through two sessions, each tailored for the age groups involved (ECP and Lower School / Middle and Upper School).
School Counselor Leigh Ann Hamlin addressed technology and social media in our first session. She introduced author Devorah Heitner’s TED Talk on Raising Digital Natives and led a discussion centered around Dr. Heitner’s ideas on how to guide kids thoughtfully in the “digital age.”
As we near the year’s end, we begin the process of putting together a more intentional K-12 STEM roadmap for the coming fall and beyond.
The U.S. Department of Education’s website puts the concept of STEM into perspective nicely:
“The United States has developed as a global leader, in large part, through the genius and hard work of its scientists, engineers, and innovators. In a world that’s becoming increasingly complex, where success is driven not only by what you know, but by what you can do with what you know, it’s more important than ever for our youth to be equipped with the knowledge and skills to solve tough problems, gather and evaluate evidence, and make sense of information. These are the types of skills that students learn by studying science, technology, engineering, and math—subjects collectively known as STEM.” (https://www.ed.gov/stem)
Therefore, the second session, led by Amy Bagliani and Jennifer Landry, discussed coding as it relates to the STEM philosophy. We, as educators, need to reach beyond teaching the basics of computer science and programming, and move on to provide an overall approach to problem-solving and critical thinking, using technology as a tool.
It’s never too early to begin these lessons. Our ECP-3 students were delighted to learn about coding from Mrs. Bagliani during a recent visit to their class (see more in our Crossties story). Our hope is that even our youngest students will develop an affinity for and fluency with the tools of computer science.
Both sessions, while applicable and relevant as we approach the last weeks of the school year, were designed to increase awareness and build excitement for the increased STEM / STEAM offerings planned throughout the school this fall.
These two workshops reflect the whole child approach central to the North Cross mission. Responsible, thoughtful digital citizenship embodies our core values. Building fluency with coding and other STEM concepts is only the first step; our ultimate goal is to empower our students to use these skills mindfully and responsibly when they leave our campus. We hope North Cross graduates will create real positive change. We will continue to work together as a faculty to provide your children with the tools to do so—in the real world, as well as in the digital one.