Editor’s Note, Summer 2018: The Art of Flexibility

Dear Reader,

I would like to begin by acknowledging the hard work and dedication exhibited by all the 2018 Innovations in Catholic Education (ICE) Award entrants. I had the pleasure of reviewing the finalists for selection of the grand prize winners. Each award category included outstanding model innovations. You can read about the finalists in this issue and start brainstorming innovations for your school!

The longer I spend in the field of education, the more importance I place on flexibility. The art of flexibility relates to so many aspects of teaching. From working with individual students to developing assessment opportunities, the benefits are endless. Summer vacation provides ample time to reconsider your approach to being flexible.

Perhaps you have yet to consider supporting integrative technology use in your classroom. Susan Brooks-Young shares great strategies for selecting high-quality digital instructional materials. Likewise, Sara Jonckheere explains the benefits of using digital portfolios to organize students’ work, share assignments with families, and demonstrate growth across the academic year.

Another way teachers can include more flexibility in their teaching includes adding student voice and choice into the classroom. In this issue, Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur invites teachers to ask students what they might like to learn more about over vacation. In this way, teachers, parents, and students can work together to prevent the summer slide through increased academic engagement during the summer months.

I believe a strong connection exists between flexibility and creativity. Lori Hadacek Chaplin shares creative ways to hone teaching skills, just as architects strive to design unique and functional living spaces. In the article “Joy of Creativity,” Sr. Mary Ellen Tennity reminds us that teaching is like cooking: It takes time, experimentation, and reflection to develop skills and improve as a teacher. I often equate teaching to the art of making curry. Almost two decades ago, when I met my husband’s large Indian family, I experienced the diverse, delicious flavors of curry. My husband insists there is no right way to make delectable curry; it takes time and experimentation to create your own version of this dish, just as it does to grow as a teacher.

Spend time this summer relaxing and reflecting on what makes your classroom successful. Consider cooking while reflecting; your taste buds will rejoice!

May you have a peaceful and reflective summer.
Dr. Lisa D’Souza