Shady Side Academy faculty and staff gathered together for a dynamic in-service day focusing on professional development and inter-departmental collaboration on Tuesday, January 2. Centered on the "Teachers Teaching Teachers" model, the day was structured to provide a variety of workshops, encouraging participants from all departments and job functions to engage in topics beyond their immediate areas of expertise. This approach not only facilitated cross-departmental learning but also offered a platform for networking and personal growth.
Among the workshops offered, Middle School Visual Arts Teacher Kate Mason led a session on the "Critique Game - A Framework for Observation and Conversation," which provided an interactive approach to feedback and constructive dialogue.
Senior School Spanish Teacher Carolina Salazar conducted a workshop titled “Teachers’ Use of Relationship-Building Classroom Talk and Student Engagement.” This session, grounded in the Developmental Relationship Framework by the Social Institute, offered insights into fostering positive student-teacher relationships through effective communication.
Country Day School Fourth Grade Teacher Justin Rebitch shared his expertise in "Letting Go of the Reins - How Trust and Freedom Can Build Classroom Culture." His workshop emphasized the importance of student autonomy and trust in the classroom, highlighting how giving students a role in decision-making can enhance learning experiences and classroom culture.
Additionally, Country Day School STEEM Teacher Heather Capezzuti; Country Day School Senior Pre-kindergarten Teacher Hannah Rich; Junior School First Grade Assistant Teacher David D'Incau; and Senior School Wellness Teacher Elizabeth Patterson ’93 collaborated to present "Building Relationships With Words." This workshop focused on the power of language in the classroom, discussing how effective communication can establish trust, respect, and a supportive learning environment. Participants engaged in practical exercises, discussed scenarios, and received a quick reference guide to assist in applying these principles in their daily interactions with students.
The in-service day was not just an opportunity for faculty and staff to develop their professional skills but also a chance to contribute to the broader educational community. The workshops encouraged a holistic approach to teaching, emphasizing the importance of relational teaching and the creation of a balanced, informed worldview through civil discourse.