From the Desk of the Director of Teaching and Learning- February 25, 2022
Dear Harding Academy Learning Community,
I am excited to join you as a guest contributor for the weekly Friday message. While Dave typically provides insight from his desk as the Head of School, I thought I might share a bit from my perspective as the Director of Teaching and Learning.
In my role I have the opportunity to connect with faculty and students from PreK through 8th grade - be it in the classroom, at arrival/dismissal, or in my office. It is a remarkable opportunity to witness the work that our teachers are doing and the ways that our students are growing on a daily basis. From our art and music rooms, to the gym, theater and classrooms, the daily energy of the Harding community is something that spreads as soon as car doors open in the morning and runs full throttle to when the last after school participant is picked up from campus.
A few moments from this week that brought me joy - and hopefully others too:
On Tuesday I spent time with Mrs. Keller’s 6th grade social studies classes as they moved into their unit on the Middle East. I shared about my experience working in the United Arab Emirates and how I came to appreciate the culture and history of the region, and then discussed the relationships between geography and politics, culture and innovation, and economics and power.
On Wednesday morning, while passing through the hall a 2nd grade student gave an impromptu presentation on his Black History Month project, which focused on James Forten, an abolitionist and businessman who ran a sail cloth company. Forten would go on to use his wealth to push for civil rights in Philadelphia and beyond during the 1800s. It was so encouraging to hear the student talk about his research and the project he had so thoughtfully constructed.
On Wednesday afternoon during study hall I had the opportunity to meet with a 7th grade student to review progress on his science project and provide feedback on his background research paper. It was encouraging to see this student reach out for feedback on his own accord, and constructively take next steps to improve his already solid draft. Who knew that measuring carbon dioxide levels from pieces of meat to gauge the most effective preservation material could be such a captivating topic for research?!
On Thursday evening I had the opportunity to lend a hand to our wonderful theater department and help behind the scenes. Seeing so many of our students engaged in the production of The Wizard of Oz, one cannot help but realize the amount of time and energy that is put in by faculty, students, and parent volunteers. By stepping into a theater production, be it as an actor, stage or tech crew, or any other capacity, it is clear that our students grow in their ability to demonstrate vulnerability, resiliency, and tenacity.
While my own highlights from this week could fill several pages, these snapshots are a glimpse into what makes our community one that I am proud to be a part of. A final memory from the past few days worth sharing is one that comes from our very own Lollipop Guild (Dr. Bell, Mr. Madden, and Mr. Downs) and the laughter of our 1st and 2nd grade munchkins - a happy reminder that there is no place like Harding.