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Notes from Amsterdam Avenue

Teaching Moments Every year, Cathedral faculty can take advantage of the Faculty Professional Development Fund, allowing them to deepen their understanding of a subject, theme, or teaching technique. Here, four teachers, in their own words, give us a glimpse into their summer professional development:

ALAN DONALDSON 4th grade Teacher Professional development, while it often means seeking out insight into a theory or method, can also mean helping other teachers work through complex situations. In July, I was on a panel at the CARLE (Critical Analysis of Race in Learning & Education) Institute with three other educators discussing what it means to be a white, anti-racist educator. We held a dialogue with 35 white teachers who were exploring the following questions: What made you realize you needed to commit to becoming an anti-racist educator? What are some of the most challenging things you have faced as an anti-racist advocate? What lessons can you share with us? How do you work in accountability to people of color? Finally, what is one quote that encompasses the way you approach anti-racist work? I chose this quote, from the white curator of the America’s Black Holocaust Museum, Fran Kaplan: “My perspective, as a white person in this setting, is to help white people understand the tremendous jigsaw puzzle that is racism in America. So they can see the picture, so that they understand the picture, so that they can dismantle that picture.” DR. MARK THOMAS Upper School Faculty Inspired by the newly developed Mindfulness Committee at


Cathedral, I was fortunate to attend a workshop entitled Mindfulness Practices for Better Classroom Learning. The instructor, Dan Lauter, demonstrated simple, time efficient techniques designed to minimize stress and promote self-awareness. I was surprised to learn that children as young as three are able to internalize the practice of mindfulness. The techniques introduced at the workshop are being honed by the Cathedral Mindfulness Committee (which I co-lead with Art teacher Kristie Valentine) to make them appropriate for all grades, K through 8. The ultimate goal is to have our students graduate from Cathedral with a toolbox of practices that facilitate centeredness and stress reduction. YOJAIRY SANDS K—2 Math Specialist I attended two workshops this summer. One was at Columbia’s Teacher’s College and was entitled “Instructional Models in the Education of Gifted Children.” In this workshop, I learned about the variety of models that have been developed for teaching more advanced students from the inception of “gifted education” to the present. I left with several great ideas for creating extensions for those students who are ready for more of a challenge in math. The other workshop was at the Windward School and was titled, “Improving Math Competence: Diagnosis and


What I did on my summer vacation: teacher edition

1st grade Associate teacher Michael Demianiuk

Remediation.” In this workshop, I learned methods for supporting students with different learning styles as well as students who may struggle to learn math concepts. MICHAEL DEMIANIUK 1st grade Associate Teacher I attended the Responsive Classroom (RC) course and a two-day workshop on Sounds in Motion, to try and deepen my teaching skills and expertise twofold: through learning how to more effectively construct and cultivate caring learning communities and through expanding my understanding of multi-sensory learning. The RC course helped me learn how to lead learning communities from their construction to end. Second, I have been fascinated by many types of multi-sensory learning and have wanted to include more in my teaching. Sounds in Motion (SIM) is a practical program to implement or supplement any language arts program. I found it quite helpful to have learned the sounds and motions for the short vowels and consonants last school year. This summer, I also took a course at Bank Street College on music and movement—and I had the opportunity to take what I learned and try it out the next day with my students at Cathedral School’s STEAM camp.


W I N T E R 2017

Profile for The Cathedral School of St. John the Divine

Cathedral Magazine (Winter 2017)  

Cathedral Magazine (Winter 2017)