Great Teaching at Beechwood – December 2, 2009

One of my personal goals as Principal is to visit each classroom, every day. Most days I am able to accomplish this goal and I am pleased to report that what I see in these classrooms is a whole lot of excellent teaching. As Beechwood parents, I hope you can appreciate what an outstanding group of instructors we have here at the school.

One of the reasons why our teachers are so outstanding is that they are committed to their own professional development. Our Librarian and Volunteer Coordinator, Mr. Getter, just returned from New Orleans where he attended a conference on Children’s Literacy (a trip that was made possible by a grant from the Parent Advisory!). Last month, our music and drama instructor, Mrs. Getter, traveled to Wisconsin for a music conference and returned with great new ideas to share with your children. Also in November, six Beechwood teachers attended an all-day lecture with Dr. Mary-Helen Immordino-Yang, on the latest research regarding the brain and how it learns. As you can see from our last month’s activities alone, the Beechwood faculty takes its commitment to professional development very seriously.

One of the things the teachers learned at the lecture with Dr. Immordino-Yang, was that each child’s brain works in its own way and that in order for a teacher to be successful with their class, they need to have a varied approach to how they present the material. Simply passing out worksheets or lecturing to students is not going to be enough. What is required instead is a more creative, thoughtful approach to teaching and it is something that I find to be in evidence as I visit each of the rooms.

If you want to see some of this teaching for yourself, I encourage you to go to the Beechwood website and visit the “Student Showcase” section. There you will see two YouTube videos of our students learning in a creative way.

The first video is of Mrs. Plow’s 7th Grade class performing skits about medieval times. You will see three of our young women performing an original skit about medieval commerce. You can see in watching it, that they have spent time researching and preparing the performance and that they are enjoying the learning process.

The second video is of Mr. John Laurance’s class learning their vocabulary words in a fun way. Two things emerge as I watch this video, the kids speak in clear, enthusiastic voices and they are having a great time learning together.

The Beechwood community treasures its teachers. They are hard-working, educated and, most importantly, they care very deeply about your children.

-Mr. Laurance