Mount Vernon Presbyterian School’s Faculty Summer Learning

With deep and genuine curiosity, I often wonder what schools create, encourage, and orchestrate for their faculties’ summer learning — the collective learning that a faculty shares as a community of learners.

So I thought I would share what we at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School and the Mount Vernon Institute for Innovation have collaboratively crafted to invite our faculty to learn together as divisional and whole-school learning communities.


Head of Preschool Kelly Kelly shares that

At our closing, end-of-year staff meeting, we went through a few exercises to set the tone for the summer and next year.  Our focus is reflective practice:

1. Reflecting on who we are as teachers, what our beliefs are about children’s learning, and how those beliefs affect how we set up learning experiences for children.

2. Consistently reflecting on classroom practice and the effectiveness of our teaching strategies to facilitate authentic learning experiences.

As a faculty, the Preschool is reading Twelve Best Practices for Early Childhood Education: Integrating Reggio and Other Inspired Approaches. And in similar fashion as last summer, they will get together for book club discussions at Kelly Kelly’s house to collectively think through what they are learning and building in their practices together.

Lower School

A huge hat tip goes to @NicoleNMartin for concepting and bringing to life the Lower School Faculty Summer Learning plan, full of choice and full of continued guidance toward our collaborative achievement of our mission and vision. Nicole’s ideation on this doc, and her commitment to shared testing, feedback and iteration, helped the other divisions to establish their frameworks, as well.

Middle School

Chip Houston, Head of Middle School, led the creation of the Middle School Faculty Summer Learning and posted their digital flyer using Smore. The core of the Middle School exploration jumps off from The Innovator’s DNA, which is on all of the divisions’ reading radars, as we continue to work the entire PS-12 scope and sequence to nurture innovators while building deep understanding of the various learning outcomes we prioritize in the different disciplines. As a school, we believe strongly in the three-legged stool that Tony Wagner describes in Creating Innovators: 1) content, 2) skills and competencies, and 3) motivation.

Upper School

Because of the nature of collaborative creation and prototyping at Mount Vernon, @EmilyBreite crafted another interpretation of the summer learning discussions we were having among the directors of 21st century teaching and learning (now renamed the Heads of Learning and Innovation at each division), and her team helped bring the Upper School Summer Learning to life with the fabulous design work from our Creative Director Trey Boden.

Administrative Team

And with our administrative team, we received a package…

During the summer months, you have several learning opportunities.

1. Read the enclosed book, Scaling Up Excellence. Reflect on your division/department and the mission/vision of the School

2. Utilize the “low-res” materials (and only materials provided) in bag to build a prototype relating to a concept from the book. MV needs to prioritize (scale). There will be a contest.

3. Dialogue with someone (outside MV) about a key takeaway from the book. Document your conversation. Be prepared to share out.

4. Assemble the blueprint. What are your questions about the blueprint? What are your recommendations?

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[Cross-posted at #MVLearns]