For some teachers, the summer months are a time to relax and take a break from students and school. For many teachers at Fay, summer is a time to collaborate with colleagues and reinvigorate the curriculum. Fay’s Curriculum Innovation Grants provide funding for faculty to work together to examine the current curriculum and transform it or to create new courses and resources.
This past summer, Fay awarded grants to teachers across divisions and disciplines. Upper School math teachers Janet Drake and Craig Ferraro worked with Math Department Chair Cassandra Papalilo to create a problem-based learning curriculum for Fay’s algebra classes. Pre-Algebra, Geometry, and Extended Topics in Algebra already employ problem-based learning, a holistic approach to math that dedicates class time to solving problems in a discussion-oriented, student-driven environment and that gives students the opportunity to express their mathematical thinking and explore different solutions (you can read the full story about problem-based learning on page 18).
Primary and Lower School teachers Anne Canada, Jill Gibbons, Kath Walton, Katie Farrar, Katie Buteau, and Leslie Overbye worked with English Department Chair Paul Abeln to develop phonics sequencing benchmarks for grades K–3. Phonics sequencing is the order in which sounds are taught, and the faculty worked together to create resources and assessment plans for tracking phonics sequencing.
Director of Learning Services Sally Supinski and Learning Specialist Liz Williams reorganized the Learning Center over the summer. They added reference materials for specific executive function skills and transformed the space to make it more readily available for any student who needs one-on-one help.
World languages teacher Erin Overstreet and Lower School science teacher Cecilia Owens worked together to enhance the new faculty mentorship program that pairs new faculty with experienced faculty mentors. They also created a “Year at a Glance” booklet for new faculty that highlights the significant events in the Fay calendar.
Upper School teachers Emily McCauley, Tim McCauley, Adel Collins, and History Department Chair John Beloff created a course reader for the ninth grade elective Designing the Modern World complete with essential questions and resources for the course. Tim also created a science curriculum web page for the Primary School with 60 lessons that Kindergarten through second grade teachers can follow. Adel also did double duty, working with Technology Support Specialist Kyle Cooper to learn the ropes of EcoMUVE from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. EcoMUVE is a virtual pond ecosystem that will tie into the seventh grade Life Science water quality testing unit. Adel and Kyle also experimented with the use of Vernier probeware that measures temperature, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity in water.
“With a focus on teaching and providing feedback to students, there is not always time during the school year to reflect on and redesign the program,” notes Director of the Educational Program Julie Porrazzo. “The faculty’s enthusiasm for engaging in curricular work during the summer is impressive, and the important work that they’re able to do directly impacts the quality of the program for all our students.”