Focusing on Great Teaching

Focusing on Great Teaching ($4 million)

Professional Development and Curriculum Enrichment Funds ($1 Million)

Gifted teachers are avid life‐long learners, who inspire students to embrace the learning process and challenge themselves and their students to seek excellence of mind, body, and spirit. Such teachers recognize the importance of rigor tempered by compassion for the learner. They balance seriousness of purpose with appropriate good humor. They foster critical thinking and open‐mindedness in their students. Above all, first‐rate teachers have an abiding faith that education will improve the lives of individuals and society.

Gifted teachers constantly strive to improve—to find better ways to reach each boy. New professional development and curriculum enrichment funds will help them succeed.

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The school’s professional development program has three components: observation and evaluation; collaboration with fellow teachers; and enrichment through coursework, attendance at conferences, and access to new teaching materials and methods. Each component is rooted in the belief that St Albans historically values excellence and is dedicated to maintaining a community in which faculty and students strive for the highest academic and personal achievement.

Each year, far more faculty apply for professional development grants than we can provide. By doubling our professional development budge through the STRIVE Campaign, we could meet this need, while strengthening our current offerings and introducing new opportunities.

We would like more teachers to work collaboratively during the summer to review and improve the curriculum by grade level, or by subject, or across disciplines. The school would also like to support teachers who wish to begin graduate-level coursework in their subject area or wish to take advanced classes to keep up-to-date in a rapidly changing discipline. We would also like be able to support faculty travel, so foreign language teachers can spend time immersed in the culture and language they are trying to impart, or a history or English teacher can better bring alive the worlds they are conveying to our boys.

Innovation Fund for Teaching in the Sciences

Fully Funded!
Thanks to a $1 million gift from an anonymous donor, the Science Department will expand its life science offerings, especially in biotechnology, genomics, and neuroscience. The fund will also enable STA to refurbish a laboratory devoted to biotechnology, and to renew and repurpose aging life science labs.

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Technology Resources Fund ($1 Million)

This fund will support the salary of a faculty position new to the school in 2016-17: an educational technology coordinator, who will focus on the use of technology in the classroom.

The educational technology coordinator is, primarily, a teacher of teachers: helping them use technology in ways that better impart skills, knowledge, and understandings; researching and demonstrating new teaching tools; and training teachers so they may fully embrace the most successful technologies in any discipline, from the sciences to the arts and humanities.

The educational technology coordinator also teaches students—about how to use technology to enhance their studies and deepen their learning, as well as how to use technology appropriately and safely outside the classroom.

Finally, the educational technology coordinator offers guidance to our faculty and families, who cherish in person, teacher-to-student conversation as the most rewarding teaching method—about when not to use technology.

St. Albans campus life on October 26, 2015. Photo by Paul Morse

St. Albans Teaching Fellows Program ($1 Million)

St. Albans hopes to begin a Teaching Fellows Program to bring to campus talented recent college graduates and to mentor and develop them as young educators. Each fellow will be paired with a current faculty mentor and will eventually be responsible for teaching one or more courses. In addition to meeting regularly with their mentors, the fellows will observe classes, meet with the deans of faculty and department chairs, and participate in other professional development activities, including coursework. Fellows will coach and take part in extracurriculars, as well as live in the dormitory and assume dorm master responsibilities. At the end of a fellow’s tenure, the deans of faculty and division heads will assist with his or her future plans. Fellows will be paid a stipend and receive room and board in the dormitory, plus faculty benefits.

Such an immersive, mentored teacher-training program will profit not only the fellows—but will also provide a number of important benefits to St. Albans:

Infusion of Energy and Enthusiasm into the School

Young teachers bring a special energy, invigorating current faculty, creating close connections with students, and serving as strong role models.

Help Meet Teaching and Coaching Needs in a Low-Cost but Potentially High-Quality Way

Targeted selection of fellows can provide a flexible way of meeting the school’s staffing needs, from departmental course offerings to specific pull-out tutoring and mentoring opportunities, subbing duties, dorm responsibilities, extracurricular positions, and especially coaching needs.

Faculty Diversity Recruitment

The program offers an opportunity to expand our reach to a younger, broader talent pool, and especially to recruit and attract teachers from underrepresented groups.

Refresh Current Faculty and Elevate the Faculty Conversation about Teaching and Learning

Through the collaborative and instructive nature of working and sharing with new teachers, faculty mentors can be reinvigorated in their own teaching. Thinking more intentionally about the art of teaching (as well as sharing graduate coursework) will help sustain and grow our high quality of education.

Contribution to the Vocation

Through this program, St. Albans can help train a new generation of independent-school teachers and leaders. Having more St. Albans people in the world of education is a good thing. (It’s worth noting that a short-lived St. Albans “intern” program in the mid-‘90s produced two headmasters, as well as teachers and connections at schools all over the country. In addition, several dozen distinguished independent schools run successful programs.)

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