January 8, 2015

A Growing Voice

Shelby Pawlina & Ed Walent, co-directors of Friends'
Teacher Preparation Program
Happy New Year everyone and welcome back to school!  Our Friends’ teachers and staff have returned from winter break rested and excited to have all their beloved students back at school this week.

Back in September I wrote a column in this space about how our teachers are “Growing Their Brains All Around the World” which highlighted the reach that our Friends’ School faculty is having on the wider world of education.

It called attention to the influence of an article co-authored by preschool teacher Christie Stanford and Shelby Pawlina, co-director of our Teacher Training Program, on teacher education in Indonesia.

Since that time, our Friends’ School educators are continuing to be a strong voice in education circles locally, regionally and across the nation.

Preschool teacher
Jessie Vanden Hogen
Christie, along with fellow preschool teacher Jessie Vanden Hogen, presented to the statewide Colorado Association for the Education of Young Children on Storytelling & Mindfulness in the Preschool Classroom in October.

This month, Christie and Jessie are presenting a workshop to the Boulder Chapter of the statewide Colorado Association for the Education of Young Children on Executive Function Skills and Mindfulness through a Storytelling Lens.

Next month, I will be in Boston presenting to school leaders from across the country, at the annual conference of the National Association of Independent Schools. I will be talking about Friends’ Gratitude Project and How to Integrate a Schoolwide  Theme on  Character (such as this year’s mindfulness theme) to Enhance School Culture.

Preschool teacher and Boulder
CAEYC Teacher of the Year
Christie Stanford
In March the co-directors of our nationally known Teacher Training Program, Ed Walent and Shelby Pawlina, will be in Chicago.  They have been accepted to present at the annual conference of the National Association for Alternative Certification.  They will be wowing their colleagues from across the country on Reflective Practices that Inspire Improved Teaching and Strengthen Student Learning.

And then in April, Jessie and Christie will be back at it again, teaching their Mindfulness Through Storytelling workshop at the Rocky Mountain Early Childhood Conference, held at the Colorado Convention Center in downtown Denver. This two-day regional conference aims to support and solidify the growing understanding of the importance of investing in our youngest children. The confluence of science, research and common sense shows that early childhood education has a positive impact on our economy, workforce, schools and communities.

Friends’ has always had a big goal of establishing the school as an educational leader.

In our strategic plan we wrote: "By creating and nurturing a position as a local and national leader in providing an exceptional, holistic education, Friends’ School will continue to bring its mission to fruition, increase its relevancy to the community, create a competitive advantage for students in rapidly changing times, and nurture our long-term sustainability."

We appear to be rocking it on a national, statewide and local level this year.  Our students and colleagues are lucky to have such educational thought leaders among us. Congratulations to all! 

p.s. We are currently accepting applications for the Teacher Preparation Program for the 2015-16 school year.  Those interested can find more information here.

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