Summers Off? Yeah, Right!

Posted by PeggyLee Wright - 02 October, 2017

IMG_2940.jpgWhat do teachers do all summer? If you were following Randolph Connect on social media you would have seen some of their adventures, from family vacations to a lot of high-octane intellectual and professional growth.

Randolph faculty and staff make the most of their two months “off” to pursue a wide variety of activities that provide personal and programmatic growth.

While 39 members of the faculty and staff participated in summer grant work, another 40+ pursued individual professional development through workshops, courses, and/or conferences.

Those who did summer grant work had submitted proposals to the grant committee, completed the proposed work, and then submitted a final grant brief reporting on the experience.

Randolph Summer Internship Pilot Program

This pilot program provided successful experiences for 20 students in their areas of interest. The program, led by Upper School teachers Tory Green ’91 and Ann Lawson, included an orientation program for students and support for the students while they gained first-hand experiences in industry. The pilot program was evaluated through feedback, student presentations, and program review with all involved. Through their leadership, Dr. Green and Mrs. Lawson were able to make recommendations for future practices of the program, to develop a better understanding of how interning enhances student learning and is integrated with curricular goals, as well as to form stronger relationships with the business community.

Classroom Educator Orton-Gillingham Training

This summer, several of our faculty members participated in Orton-Gillingham training. Orton-Gillingham is a structured, multi-sensory, phonics-based approach used to teach reading in small group and whole group instruction. It provided our teachers with essential background knowledge needed to support effective use of dyslexia-specific programs and meet the needs of struggling readers. 

Teachers College, Columbia University Reading Institute

Two Middle School teachers, Jenny Lenz and Shelly Harriman, traveled to IMG_3014.jpg New York City to attend The Reading Institute at Teachers College, the Graduate School of Education at Columbia University. Participants tackled several topics, such as: the central role of curriculum development and planning in the teaching of reading, units of study in reading workshop, comprehension strategy instruction, the importance of assessment-based instruction, the role of the read-aloud book, methods of holding our students accountable for doing their best work, helping students grow ideas about literature, and classroom structures that support inquiry and collaboration.

Advanced Placement Summer Institutes

AP Summer Institutes provide teachers with at least 30 hours of pedagogical and content-rich training designed to strengthen their AP courses.

College Board-endorsed consultants took Nate Gee, Lauren Jones, and Amy Ilsley through College Board resources such as course outlines, content-related handouts, and student samples, scoring guidelines, and commentary from the most recent AP Exam free-response questions.

Teacher Seminar from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History (Oxford)

IMG_2948.jpgPatricia Kuhn from our Upper School received instruction that will be used in conjunction with the research done in 11th grade History. In this course, “Abraham Lincoln’s life becomes a prism for exploring key aspects of his age, including slavery and the Old South, religion and politics, wartime leadership, and emancipation.”

National Association of School Nurses

Our school nurses, Deb Smith and Kim Dunar, joined others from across the country to collaborate in promoting the best nursing practices for our school. Implementing evidence-based practices that promote the health and academic success of students, also allows the school nursing staff to advance student, family, and staff health.

Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA)

The annual AHSAA Conference  hosted 12 of our school’s coaches and staff. This past summer, 12 members of the Randolph athletic program attended the AHSAA Summer Conference in July. Throughout the course of the week, coaches and athletic administrators were able to attend and participate in numerous clinics and presentations by some of the best coaches Alabama and the country have to offer. From X’s and O’s, to implementing team and program culture, nothing is left out. The AHSAA puts on a great event that offers a wide variety of opportunities for coaches and administrators to learn and grow, and Randolph’s coaches were sure to take advantage.

Truth be told, we love our work! We take it home… we dream about it. We are passionate about our profession and work each day (even in the summer) to ensure that we are doing our best to help our community raise productive citizens. But who doesn’t love summer break?! Our faculty/staff did manage to squeeze in a little R&R.



Topics: professional growth, Faculty, Community of Learners

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