Welcome to our digital summer issue of Today’s Catholic Teacher. After experiencing disruptions in every aspect of our lives, let us embrace the long days of summer as time to consider the importance of our role as teachers. Take time to pause and reflect on the incredible impact teachers have on the intellectual, social, emotional, and spiritual well-being of our nation’s children. We thank you for your dedication in supporting our children during this difficult season.
One particularly appealing idea, building Professional and Personal Learning Networks, may be used by students, teachers, and administrators alike. Susan Brooks-Young highlights the difference between the more common Professional Learning Communities and Professional Learning Networks. Networks are an informal, bottom-up means for individuals to connect with those who have a similar interest or need. She provides great ideas and considerations for developing one to fit your needs. Sr. Patricia McCormack echoes the benefits of Personal Learning Networks for teens. Consider asking students to create a Personal Learning Network as a part of their academic preparation for next fall.
On a broader scale, summer provides ample time for teachers and school leaders to collaborate on possible institutional innovation. Toni Moore suggests “going to the balcony” so one can see the school from a different perspective and consider possible changes. On a practical level, Andrea Bear unpacks new Catholic-school models used to creatively increase enrollment. From blended models to hybrid learning, creative innovations can be powerful and have major impacts on student enrollment. In the School Highlight, Victoria LaFave shares the winner and finalists for the 2019 Total Community Involvement Innovations in Catholic Education Award. These awards provide a window into changes award-winning Catholic schools have implemented to better serve their entire community.
School change and innovation are not possible without support from faculty. Lori Hadacek Chaplin provides practical suggestions for building faculty bonds. Individuals who feel more connected to one another are more likely to work well together. I vividly recall my first experience changing our high school’s four-year history sequence after the state implemented new curriculum frameworks. Our department chair hosted multiple meetings for us to discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each sequence. We were asked to share our own concerns about how the change would impact our teaching. This opportunity to talk about the personal impact was important as it brought into consideration how the change would impact us as individuals.
Peace and blessings,
Dr. Lisa D’Souza
The Summer 2020 issue of Today’s Catholic Teacher is only available online. Order your copy from BayardFaithResources.com.
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