Friday, February 14th was all about the love at Severn School — our love of lifelong learning! While students enjoyed the day off, faculty and staff gathered on Teel Campus for a morning of workshops to develop new strategies to use in the classroom. These classes were taught by our teachers, for our teachers and included everything from design and computational thinking to mindfulness and inclusivity. Our professional development program supports personal enrichment, encourages collaboration, and provides a platform for our entire community to benefit from the wide-ranging expertise of our exceptional faculty.
The elements of choice and relevancy are important to any successful learning, for students and teachers alike. To ensure that these sessions were both meaningful and useful for teachers, our professional development team (Ms. Mary Carrington, Ms. Julia Maxey, Mr. Jason Salinas, Ms. JoAnna Josey, Ms. Vicki Dabrowka, Ms. Sherri Hoyt, and Ms. Kelly Wilson) structured the morning like a conference with rotating sessions, community lunch, and reflection “unconference” time. Teachers chose from an array of classes based on previous professional development work and Severn Summer Institute offerings. We were also pleased to welcome guest instructors Brooke Carroll, Ph.D. from the Association of Maryland and D.C. Independent Schools and Gail Martinez Waters, M. Ed., LCPC, NCC from Anne Arundel County Public Schools.
Critical Conversations (guest Instructor Brooke Carroll): Using role-play and real-life scenarios to put effective conversation strategies into practice.
Inclusivity, Birds of a Feather Session: Exploring diversity, equity and inclusion in the elementary grades. Based on a successful AIMS workshop held at the Lower School in November.
Self-Directed Classroom: How to create a self-directed lesson or unit along with tips and strategies to modify existing curriculum.
Thinking Routines: How to increase student engagement with protocols that make thinking visible, flexible and accessible.
Mindfulness for Educators: Teaching students about mindful practices to help with focus and emotional regulation including breath and body awareness, mindful eating, mindful speech, interconnection, and gratitude.
Using Drama in the Classroom: Using a variety of drama techniques to encourage creativity and increase student engagement with academic content.
Library Professional Development: Exploring the Zimmerman Library’s extensive collection of professional development books
mySevern: Setting up class pages and assignments in mySevern to support students.
Explorations in Math & Science: Learning tech tools and techniques relevant to both scientists and mathematicians to encourage student success in the classroom.
Infusing Environmental Education Into the Classroom: Creative ways to use Severn's outdoor spaces to help students unplug from tech and connect to the curriculum.
Mental Health Literacy, Language Matters (guest instructor Gail Martinez Waters): Exploring the interrelated components of mental health literacy, why a strong mental health literacy foundation is needed in our classrooms today, and how we can start by changing our language around mental health.
Conversations on Gender: Advancing and strengthening knowledge about gender, gender diversity, and gender inclusion in an independent school setting. Based on the 2019 NAIS Inclusive School Network Institute in June.
Getting Things Done for Teens and Adults: Practical, research-based strategies to process, organize, and accomplish the vast number of things we all need to get done.
Crafting Assignments to Reduce Plagiarism: Examining the different types of plagiarism that can occur at Severn and developing strategies to minimize pitfalls for students.
Book Tastings for Adults: Exploring new library titles with “tastings” grouped by topic, a successful technique our librarians use to introduce students to a wide variety of books.
Those Kids: Designed for faculty to gain a better understanding of the day-to-day lives of students with disabilities, develop an empathetic perspective, and explore tools to address their students' needs.
Weaving Coding, Computational Thinking, and Fun Tech Into Your Curriculum: How to use basic coding and computational thinking in a variety of lessons and nearly any subject.
Design Thinking and Creativity in the Classroom: How to use design thinking and innovative ideas to cultivate student creativity and close the gap between what students know and their ability to solve problems.
Scroll through the photos below for a look at our PD sessions in action!
A Community of Professional Education and Support
As a student-centered institution, we believe that we should model the qualities we wish to see in our students and to that end, we engage in professional development as a community of learners. And we believe that adults learn best in collaborative situations where professional growth is valued.
To support that mission, we provide built-in professional development opportunities like this throughout the year, support faculty travel to conferences, reimburse tuition, and offer grants for personal and professional growth. This is made possible by our community's philanthropic support of the Severn Annual Fund. Your generous donations enable us to budget $200,000 for professional development each year.