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Christchurch teachers attend Faculty Institute

Christchurch teachers Peter Kempe (English), Mollie Smiley (learning skills) and Steve Fluhr (geometry) learn about oysters from oysterman Irvin Spurlock of Chesapeake Bay Oyster Company LLC during the recent Faculty Institute.

The Christchurch School faculty gathered in August for more than just the usual faculty meetings.

This year, as part of the Great Journeys initiative (place/inquiry/project-based learning), teachers were treated to a week-long Faculty Institute hosted by academic dean Dr. Neal Keesee and nationally recognized place-based experts David Sobel and Julie Bartsch.

Professor Sobel is a writer and educator who has been instrumental in developing the philosophy of place-based education. Sobel is the project director at Antioch New England Institute. He is the author of numerous books and articles including “Childhood and Nature: Design Principles for Educators”; “Place-Based Education: Connecting Classrooms and Communities”; “Suddenly a Waterfall”; and “Beyond Ecophobia.”

Bartsch is an educational consultant who works with the Rural School and Community Trust. She is the author of “Community Lessons—Integrating Service Learning into the Curriculum.” While a fellow at Tufts University, Bartsch created the National Institute for School/Community Collaboration, and she developed a School Leadership Academy at the Harvard School of Education.

Sobel and Bartsch worked closely with the Christchurch faculty to develop resources, identify skills and content, establish objectives and make connections, all with the goal of making learning more meaningful for Christchurch students.

“When kids connect to what they are doing and with their teachers, they see why they are doing it,” said Keesee. “When they learn by doing, they respond.”

posted 09.04.2008

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