Professional Development: The Teachers Become The Students


Before students come back to campus ready for school, members of our Junior, Middle and Senior School faculty arrived ready and eager to learn. On Thursday September 3, SMUS hosted our fourth annual Summer Institute, a professional development opportunity where our staff members learn from one another.

“We love to bring faculty together to share in their learning. It’s all about engagement, conversation and collaboration,” says Ms. Denise Lamarche, Director of Academics. “When you look at the list this year of faculty presentations and the breadth of these presentations, as well as the number of people coming together to learn from one another and talk about how they can take their learning back to their classes – that just goes to show how powerful of a learning community we have, and that extends right to our students.”

Among the sessions offered were:

  • Designing for the school’s 3D printer and how these objects or design instructions can be used in the classroom;
  • How to further personalize student learning;
  • Weaving health and wellness – from fitness to brain health – into everyday lessons;
  • Connecting in-class lessons to hands-on learning and to real-world issues.

The SMUS Review asked some of our new and returning faculty about their experience participating in the Summer Institute:

“I always like to be involved in professional development. It’s a big part of being a professional, and not just being a teacher. This is a great day for bouncing ideas off your colleagues, and a good way to ease back into the school year.” – Mr. Richard DeMerchant (Middle School math)

“How lucky we are to have something offered to us that’s current and right here on our doorstep? It just makes sense that this is something I’d like to get to know about and here it is. It’s fortunate because you don’t have to go hunting, and the sessions are all very informative. Some of this is new for me, so a day like today opens doors to new opportunities.” – Ms. Angelina Agathoklis (Junior School art)

“This is my first year teaching at the school, so it’s not just a good opportunity to meet the staff, but more importantly, learn about what their interests are and how I can incorporate some of their ideas in my class.” – Mr. Evan Fryer (Senior School math)

“It’s a really great opportunity to connect with colleagues, learn from the different workshops, and be exposed to different concepts. I came interested in better understanding the needs of students and parents, so I’m glad I can leave with new tools for my toolkit around communicating and interfacing better with people. And really, this day’s a lot of fun!” – Ms. Laurie Piazza (Junior School admissions)

“I like having this day before the students come back to reconnect in a really positive and collegial environment. We have such talented people on staff, so it’s great hearing about the things they’re passionate about. And it’s great for me to expand the breadth of my learning. For example, I went to a 3D printing session, which doesn’t really apply to what I’m doing, but I think it’s always good to have professional development outside of your direct area of practice. Today’s a great way to get a broader understanding of 21st-century education.” – Mr. Ritch Primrose (Head of Physical Education, Senior School )


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