On October 24, five members of the MFS community delivered presentations to their colleagues at the 2016 New Jersey Association of Independent Schools (NJAIS) Professional Development Conference at The College of Saint Elizabeth Academy of Saint Elizabeth in Convent Station, NJ.
For Middle and Upper School educators, Coordinator for Educational and Psychological Services Susan Batastini, Math Department Chair and former Upper School Counselor Katie LuBrant, and School Nurse Michele DiMarino shared their presentation called “Concussions: Challenges, Trends, and Building Resilience.” They discussed the challenges and trends that student concussions bring to the school environment and methods to assist students with their resiliency. School policies and procedures were studied, along with accommodations that are typically implemented.
Associate Head of School and Academic Dean Chris Kimberly and Lower School Director Kelly Banik presented a session called “Professional Learning Communities: Cultivating a Connected and Expert Faculty” to answer common NJAIS administrator questions such as “How do I increase instructional consistency?” and “How do I develop my faculty’s willingness to share practices and try new teaching methods?” In their workshop, they shared how Critical Friends Groups (CFG), a collaborative system developed by the School Reform Initiative organization, at MFS has moved in recent years from a pilot program to a well-established form of professional development with little additional cost to the school. In particular, the presentation explained how MFS has experienced success reconfiguring its new faculty orientation program using CFG to undergird the process of assimilation and professional growth.