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Professional Day

Our Academic Department Chairs organized thoughtful and innovative retreats for their respective departments during our recent Professional Day. The idea behind this new format was in response to the needs and interests of our teachers to collaborate and learn from each other. This took the form of departments self-generating and self-designing opportunities for development according to their terms. Some departments stayed on campus and worked together and others ventured out to visit other schools or locales of inspiration. A few highlights below…

The History Department traveled to El Morro National Monument near Grants. The historic campsite site has a reliable waterhole that different peoples have used for a thousand years. Many travelers left their marks on Inscription Rock (pictured above). Over 2000 intricate petroglyphs sit alongside Spanish proclamations and signatures of early American settlers. Ceremonial kivas built by earl Puebloan people sit atop the site.  El Morro is a cultural crossroads and illustrates New Mexico’s diverse history.  Chair Nick Wirth shares, “It was a stimulating trip and so neat to spend time with colleagues.”

The English Department set out to observe English classes in other schools, which proved to be a highly informative and thought-provoking exploration. Liz Friary and Kristin Kalangis headed to Bosque School; Leslie Hale and Lisa Fisher visited Albuquerque Academy; Brother Alan Taylor observed at the Masters Program; and Rob Wilder visited New Mexico School for the Arts. Chair Lisa Fisher shares, “We all returned with valuable ideas and strategies to share with one another and to bring to our classrooms.”

For the Math Department retreat, all faculty filmed one of their classes prior, then watched each video together to analyze and critique teaching styles and classroom techniques. Each teacher tried to highlight an aspect of their teaching that mindfully used one or more teaching tricks discussed in department meetings over the years. The videos were key in demonstrating things that worked well and those that could be handled better, or in a more effective manner. Chair Doug Lynam shares, “It was thrilling to see what our classrooms looked like through the eyes of other teachers because our colleagues were able to see blind spots and errors that many of us were completely unaware of. We all came away with new ideas on how to improve the quality of teaching in our classrooms and how to serve our student better.”