Professional Development

Professional development opportunities create an atmosphere of intellectual stimulation, enthusiasm and idea exchange. Tower School provides the financial resources to enable teachers and administrators to continually expand their knowledge and enrich the classroom experience for our students. 

Professional Development opportunities include conferences, workshops, webinars, speaker series' attendance and graduate study. Below are a few of the recent opportunities experienced by our teachers.

The Oregon Trail runs right through Mitchell Pass at Scottsbluff National Monument.

History teacher Sig Orne traveled the first 1000 miles of the Oregon Trail, documenting the journey through copious notes, interviews and photographs. Ms. Orne brings her seven-day, immersive education of westward expansion to life when teaching students about the mid-1800s and Westward Expansion...

 

Read More about Sig Orne, History Teacher
Webb Thompson in Greece

Through an award from the McCann Chair for Excellence in Teaching, I had the opportunity to travel to Greece to support my ancient Greek history curriculum in sixth grade. Over the eight days in Greece I traveled to Athens, Crete and Santorini. My itinerary followed my history curriculum, which focuses on the Bronze Age of Greece through the development of democracy in Athens. At the same time I was also able to support my English curriculum, which in the winter focuses on Greek Mythology, particularly the Iliad and Odyssey.

After spending the day I arrived in Athens...

Read More about Webb Thompson, McCann Chair, History and English Teacher
Deacon Chapin and 7th grade math students

This summer, Deacon Chapin reorganized the seventh and eighth grade math curricula to accommodate students who wish to move at a faster pace in class with individualized instruction, as much as possible. Mr. Chapin says, "In setting some kids free from the pace of the class, I find that their needs are better met."

His goal has been to create a tightly structured approach to...

Read More about Deacon Chapin, Math Teacher
Sound Cloud logo

In preparation for a new arts block class, Music Technology, Fred Shepard and Matt Murphy investigated several web-based programs and apps to help students create, share, and stream music. In addition, Mr. Shepard and Mr. Murphy reviewed tools for blogging and for building websites to enable students to share or present their work. 

Apps and programs they reviewed include:

  • Noteflight, an online music notation software.
  • SoundCloud, an online audio distribution platform and music sharing website based in Berlin, Germany that enables its users to upload, promote, and share audio.
  • StaffWars, a game designed to help beginning and intermediate musicians learn, practice and woodshed the note names on the grand staff, treble, alto and bass clefs...

 

Read More about Fred Shepard and Matt Murphy, Music Technology Class Teachers
mindfulness

Rachel Perrella expanded her knowledge of teaching mindfulness through a summer mindfulness workshop focused on creating mindfulness curriculum in classrooms. 

Key takeaways included:

  1. The benefits to students' attention and focus, empathy and awareness of others, impulse control and anxiety through ongoing mindfulness practice
  2. The importance of creating a dedicated mindful space in your classroom
  3. Creating mindfulness practices for students across all grade levels
Read More about Rachel Perrella, 2nd Grade Teacher
Coil Pot

During a summer-long course in ceramic coiling—one of the oldest pottery-making techniques—Stephanie Fitzgerald was introduced to clay compression as a method of attaching clay.

Ms. Fitzgerald learned to use a variety of clays such as stoneware, porcelain and terra-cotta and examined ancient methods of building with clay from all over the world. Coiling has been used for thousands of years as a way to make pots, vases and innumerable forms and vessels.

Each year Tower students revisit and build on their clay skills and hand building techniques...

 

Read More about Stephanie Fitzgerald, Visual Arts Teacher
Elaina Louisos Kramer

This course was full of practical strategies to develop social communication skills in children with language based learning disabilities.  Ms. Ellis discussed how specific social skills need to be explicitly taught, such as strategies for self-regulation and ways to deal with executive functioning issues, particularly working memory, inhibitory control and mental flexibility...

Read More about Elaina Louisos-Kramer, Learning Skills and Speech/Language Pathologist
Elaina Louisos Kramer

Using evidence-based, integrated neuroscientific data from her research, Dr Joanna Christodoulou shared information about what assessments were most effective in the early diagnosis of reading disabilities.

Additionally, she identified the negative effect of not reading during the summer as a cumulative regression that can stay with students for years.

Read More about Elaina Louisos-Kramer, Learning Skills and Speech/Language Pathologist

Nina Miller and Sarah Clark attended a four-day conference entitled, "Guided Reading to Differentiate Instruction that Works!" They spent four days collaborating with teachers and trainers from across the country to create a training plan to implement guided reading in their classrooms. 

They returned with new materials, strategies and ideas for Lower School teachers to advance the full range of readers in each of Tower's classrooms.

 

Read More about Nina Miller, Reading Specialist and Sarah Clark, First Grade Teacher