The dialogue starts here by Mr. Zubair Kassam, Director of curriculum and instruction
Dr. Linda Lambert, Professor Emeritus from California State University, is attributed as having said, "one good conversation can shift the direction of change forever." The power of meaningful dialogue, what Lambert refers to as "one good conversation," together with research and professional development, are what Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School's (STS') Centre for Excellence in Teaching strives to capitalize on in its ongoing efforts to create and share exceptional practices and programs for innovative teaching and learning.
Our annual Experts in Education Speaker Series, having completed its fifth iteration in April of 2018, brings together STS faculty, educators from neighbouring school districts and other independent schools, parents and members of the local community to learn from and converse with leading researchers and authorities across a range of disciplines within the field of education. Each public presentation provides a wonderful opportunity for audience members to engage with the presenters, both formally, during the presentation, and informally, following the presentation, when speakers make themselves available for book signings and one-on-one conversations. Additionally, through the generosity of our donors, the Centre for Excellence is able to support the professional development of STS faculty by providing them with complimentary copies of the books written by the various Experts in Education Speakers.
During the 2017-2018 academic year, STS was fortunate to be able to host two outstanding speakers, Rosalind Wiseman and Dr. Karyn Gordon, both of whom, prior to their public presentations, engaged with STS students across the three divisions. Rosalind Wiseman, author of Queen Bees & Wannabes and Masterminds & Wingmen, focused on the central role children and teenagers' sense of self plays in all aspects of their lives. Complementing Wiseman's presentation, Dr. Karyn Gordon, author of Dr. Karyn's Guide to the Teen Years, shared thoughtful parenting strategies aimed at developing the character of their children.
The desire not only to start, but also to further "good conversations" in order to promote innovative teaching and learning extends beyond the Experts in Education Speaker Series. Each year, the Centre for Excellence awards grants to STS faculty the opportunity to pursue extraordinary professional development. Since 2014, eighteen STS faculty have benefitted from this grant and have used funds to pursue diverse learning opportunities such as the Global Online Academy's Summer Blended Learning Institute, the American Association of Physics Teachers Conference, and the Opal School Summer Symposium. Following their participation in these unique professional development experiences, grant recipients share their learnings, both in terms of their own professional growth and the positive impact on the student learning experience, with faculty during annual professional development days and division meetings to provide catalysts for further dialogue and learning.
"Through the generosity of donors, $0.8 million raised from the Inspiring Possibilities campaign will continue to be invested in attracting, developing, and retaining exceptional faculty, and positioning STS as a Centre for Excellence in Teaching with the larger goal of enhancing student learning and engagement."