The Ridgefield Academy campus was buzzing with activity on Tuesday, August 27, as faculty and staff from all four campuses came together to engage in a day of learning and collaboration in preparation for an exciting new school year.
Head of School Tom Main addressed a packed Turner Hall and spoke about the value of the work faculty and staff engage in each day on the Landmark Preschool and RA campuses. “The work matters, even if we can’t see it at the moment...We are positioning children and giving them the tools to help them create the lives they want.”
Work on the school’s Connecticut Association of Independent School (CAIS) re-accreditation process was launched with the beginning of a self-study. Head of Preschool and Lower Schools Alison O’Callaghan, who is spear-heading the study said, “We are reflecting on the past 10 years and looking ahead to the next ten with big aspiration!” This work will continue during the school year and be completed by the conclusion of the school year in preparation for an October 2020 visit from the CAIS visiting team.
Faculty and staff also heard from Beth MacInnes, recipient of the 2019 Faculty Enrichment Grant. She presented her experience at a yoga retreat, where she engaged in her own joyful and challenging learning this spring. There she came to a greater understanding about the importance of breath work, meditation and yoga on wellness. She plans to bring what she has learned during the retreat into her classes this year.
A highlight of the day was the Future Wise activity, led by Director of the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning Basil Kolani. All faculty and staff participated in a four campus read of David Perkins’ visionary book, Future Wise: Educating Our Children for a Changing World. In his book, David Perkins, founding member of Harvard’s Project Zero, offers a toolkit for reimagining curriculum. What kinds of knowledge would be lifeworthy for the lives that today’s RA and Landmark students are likely to live in the future? Groups of faculty and staff members sought to answer that question by designing meaningful learning experiences that go beyond basic skill development to cultivating critical, creative, collaborative, leadership, and entrepreneurial skills. Groups explored topics and themes that were deemed lifeworthy and created a series of interdisciplinary learning experiences for students through those lenses. Some of the themes included how humans affect the planet and planning a virtual road trip to study landmarks, climate, and culture through geography.
The day of thought-provoking work was capped off with an outdoor reception for faculty and staff.