At The Ursuline School, professional development is considered a vital component of growth for all teachers. We understand that when teachers have access to continuous learning opportunities for themselves, they become better at teaching students effectively. This is also consistent with a growth mindset: the belief that abilities are not fixed, that we can train our brains with practice. We aim for the whole school community to focus on improvement, take on productive struggle, and welcome feedback.
We also know that it is important to set aside time for faculty to plan and collaborate. Our modified block schedule builds in time every Wednesday for teachers to gather, discuss, and share new ideas or best practices with each other.
During the summer, many faculty and staff seize the chance to pursue additional opportunities for their active learning. These summer experiences then enhance the teaching, ministry or other work at Ursuline.
The ISTE Conference "Bold Educators Activate Change" in Philadelphia gave Principal Rosemary Beirne, science teacher Paulette Antonicelli and Director of Technology Integration Edwinna Lucyk a chance to attend inspiring workshops in June 2019. ISTE is the International Society for Technology in Education.
One session was "Makerspaces: Students Inventing Technologies for Social Good." This was of particular interest as a makerspace will soon become part of the Ursuline campus. Participants created soluitons for specific challenges people may face in a community. Mrs. Beirne's group created a technological design for a prototype to make it easier for a blind worker to navigate surroundings at work. We look forward to the ability to create change such as this when our makerspace, the Innovation Hub, is completed. It will offer students another way to live out The Ursuline School motto "Serviam"- "I will serve."
Another ISTE session focused on Spheros, spherical robots controlled via smartphones using an app. Our math teachers introduced Spheros at Ursuline last year. Mrs. Lucyk and Mrs. Beirne were excited to learn about new ways to use the Sphero robot. Meanwhile, Mrs. Antonicelli had the "right stuff" as she explored outer space virtually, learning about the Apollo missions in a planetarium that NASA set up in their technological playground. Mrs. Lucyk and Mrs. Antonicelli also took a moment to design their growth mindset messages under the ISTE theme of #IAmMoreThanWhatISee.
Mary Quartaro, Ursuline Art Department Chair and AP Art & Design teacher, attended The College Board Advanced Placement Summer Institute at Columbia College in Chicago in July 2019. Ms. Quartaro learned about the changes to the AP Art and Design curriculum and exam.
Director of Philanthropy Cathy McCarthy '84 and Scholarship Development & Stewardship Coordinator Eileen Ring attended a valuable presentation in July 2019 entitled "The Future of Private Schools: Trends, Opportunities and Fiduciary Insights." The session was part of the Wilmington Trust Philanthropic Speaker Series. It featured three panelists who shared their perspectives on the importance of mission and vision, strategic planning and sustainability, and the role of fundraising in maintaining affordability and value.
Our campus minister Sr. Pat Schifini, Spanish teacher Sr. Brenda Buckley and staff member Sr. KM Donohue joined 180 Ursuline Sisters, Associates and colleagues in St. Louis in July 2019 for the North American Ursuline Convocation. The theme this year was "Angela's Family: Celebrating, Converging, Expanding." The assembly explored the special way of life given to us by St. Angela Merici.
In late July and early August 2019, Ursuline instrumental instructor Mark Collins taught young musicians and performed with the faculty at Rockport Music. Located in the scenic seaport village of Rockport, Massachusetts, the Rockport Jazz Workshop is a summer jazz intensive that brings together middle and high school students from all over the Northeast. Everything is taught by ear so that students internalize the jazz tradition.
Mr. Collins also performs as a member of NationBeat, a group that explores the deep-rooted connections between Brazil and North America. They have been releasing albums and touring North and South America since 2002. In summer 2019 they recorded another album. Their music has been recognized by the National Endowment of the Arts.
In August 2019, Ursuline math teacher Francine Civitano-Wolff developed and taught "Geometry in Real Life" as part of the STEAM program at Barnard College. The course examined major geometric concepts and connected them to real life situations. The class was offered at both the middle school and high school level. Students reinforced geometric concepts with activities such as creating a 3D model to study surface area.