AGC’s founding principal, Anne Gillespie flips pancakes (whole grain and organic, of course,) for professional development breakfast this morning.
The staff is the most important asset at any school and we believe it is important to invest in the social, emotional and professional health of our professional community.
Professional development days allow us to step back from the stressors of the school day and reflect thoughtfully on our methods, growth, talents, needs and opportunities for collaboration and improvement. It is important in a school that is growing as quickly as ours, as well as in our role as an international learning laboratory, to set aside time to assess programs and practices.
Twice a month, teachers assistants and external teaching artists provide arts and academic support programming for students starting at noon, freeing teachers up for a half day of professional development. Additionally, we have one full day each month without students where teachers and staff can enjoy more in-depth professional development activities.
These days and afternoons may feature presentations from staff, workshops and activities led by external professionals, yoga or Pilates, group work, collaborative planning time and, of course, healthy food. Gathering this morning over hot pancakes and coffee, staff restored their professional brains and spirits in a cozy and relaxed atmosphere featuring more sneakers, sweat pants and smiles.
Similarly, social events, organized by a social committee, including an annual holiday party, backyard barbecues, and after-school exercise classes allow us to mingle professional communities with personal ones and learn about our lives outside of school. In a professional setting as demanding and critical as education, it is important that we set aside time to take care of ourselves, our professional community and the balance between the two.
Additionally, our faculty wellness fund supports staff in their personal wellness. Reimbursing staff for purchases towards their holistic health, allowing staff to take positive steps in their wellness encourages them to best model of wellness for our students. Wellness fund purchases have included everything from gym memberships and bicycles, organic groceries and CSA deliveries to massages and replacing bad mattresses.