Greenwood teachers Ryan Vachon and Michael Schmidt spent two weeks this past summer participating in the Klingenstein Summer Institute
at Columbia University to enhance their skills as educators.
During this two-week-long program, most days were spent on the beautiful Lawrenceville School Campus. A typical day started at 7 a.m. and often extended past 9 p.m. During these long days, Ryan and Michael moved between plenary sessions, curriculum groups and critical friend groups where teachers spent time critiquing one another’s past projects and lessons. While Michael was in the Science curriculum group and Ryan was in Math, they both participated in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion groups where they focused on issues of race in K to 12 education.
They also spent a day in New York City, where they visited Columbia’s main campus and sat in on a lecture from Dr. Shian Beilock, author of Choke
. They also had the opportunity to see a Broadway show, To Kill a Mockingbird
. To top it all off, they had amazing locally grown food all week with guest appearances from some world-class chefs.
Ryan found the program both inspiring and energizing. He enjoyed the day-to-day intensity, the breadth of material, and even the deliberately difficult conversations because it made him challenge himself. He believes he improved his understanding of the learning process, collaboration, and diversity, as well as classroom strategies that will help balance rigor with empathy, structure with freedom and social needs with emotional needs for students.
Michael also found this program to be really inspiring and empowering as they took a deep dive into various curriculum, diversity, and social/emotional learning groups. They were given time and space to really pull back and ask the "Why" and "How" of what they do as teachers. Overall, there was an incredible amount of material to absorb and IMichael knows he will be processing it over the next few years.
They also got a chance to make incredible personal connections with like-minded passionate teachers at the same stage in their career. The tight group of Canadians were the talk of the cohort. Michael is exceptionally grateful for the experience and is looking forward to sharing everything he learned with those around him.