Severn News

Teaching for Who Our Students Want to Be

What does the world need from young people today? How can we empower them to make choices that lead to a better tomorrow? Questions like these fuel our professional development program, inspiring teachers to think deeply about how best to meet the needs of every student. This year's lineup of Severn Summer Institute classes reflects our faculty's understanding that education at Severn is so much more than what you know. It's about being agile and embracing innovation, developing emotional intelligence and a sense of responsibility toward others, and participating fully in the communities of which we are a part.
Severn School teachers take notes during a professional development session.

The 2021 Severn Summer Institute

The Severn Summer Institute is a series of workshops to help our faculty develop new practices and strategies to use with students. The classes are developed and taught by Severn teachers to share what they’ve learned in the classroom and through outside professional development opportunities.
Severn School teacher talks during a professional development workshop.
This year, we offered 17 workshops shaped by six often overlapping professional development strands: Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion, Pedagogy & Curriculum Design, Technology & Innovation, Environment & Sustainability, Research & Information Literacy, and Health & Wellness.
  • Broadening Your Horizons: 3 powerful strategies to increase empathy and perspective-taking.
  • Check Your Privilege: Insights on what it means to be white or non-white and strategies to repair misunderstandings about race and intentionally disrupt racism.
  • Crafting Research Assignments That Discourage Plagiarism: Teaching students to better paraphrase, understand common knowledge, use an outline well, cite their sources, and find sources that they can understand.
  • Curriculum Design: How to develop new curricula or redesign an existing course.
  • Getting Things Done for Teens and Adults: Practical strategies to manage time and resources to pass on to students, advisees, and players.
  • Honoring and Engaging Introverts: A toolbox of classroom activities to promote participation from introverts without placing extroverted students at a disadvantage.
  • Innovation Lab 101: Exploring tools in the Graw Innovation Center through hands-on design and engineering projects.
  • Mastering iMovie: How to create movies for class, teach students how to use the software, and what to look for in evaluating student work.
  • Mindfulness in the Classroom: Strategies to create the calm, relaxed, yet enlivened classroom environment that children need to learn while encouraging students to stay focused on their present experience with non-judgmental awareness.
  • Misinformation and Disinformation in the Classroom: Building discernment skills in students to encourage them to be more critical consumers and creators of information.
  • mySevern 2.0: Advanced techniques for setting up classes online.
  • Nuts and Bolts of Long-Range Planning: Research-based strategies for breaking down the scope of an entire course into smaller units.
  • The Self-Directed Classroom: Tips and strategies to empower students to drive their own learning in the classroom.
  • Student-Centered Learning: Ways to maximize student engagement in a variety of activities, from discussion to feedback to choice.
  • Using Podcasts in Your Curriculum: How to find audio materials that match your curriculum and desired learning outcomes, and create accompanying activities or assessments.
  • A Walk on the Wild Side: Incorporating nature into your curriculum.
  • Writing Recommendation Letters: A workshop on writing effective letters of recommendation by Severn college counselors.
Severn School teachers work on a computer in the innovation lab during a professional development session.

Our Professional Development Philosophy

As a student-centered institution, we believe that we should model the qualities we wish to see in our students. To that end, we engage in professional development as a community of learners. Adults learn best in collaborative situations where professional growth is valued. We provide built-in professional development opportunities throughout the school year and summer, support faculty travel to conferences, and offer grants for personal and professional growth. We hope that faculty will engage frequently in professional development to remain nimble for change in our evolving world.

Lower School

Upper School