Africa Bound

By Katie Kilroy, Director of Bands

Kwadziwai (hello), Charlotte Prep!

I am honored to be a recipient of the 2018 Summer Sabbatical Scholarship Program ! Prep recently launched this faculty scholarship program thanks to the generosity of parents of children whose lives have been deeply and positively impacted by their learning experience at our school. The family has generously committed to contributing $10,000 per year to make this program possible into the future. Angela Stefanini and Anupam Mathur are also award recipients, and we would all like to say a heartfelt thank you to the family that made this opportunity possible.

In 2012, I fell in love with an instrument called the mbira that the Shona people of southern Africa have played for more than 1,000 years. My connection with this instrument led me to earn a master’s degree in percussion performance with a focus on West African djembe and Shona, or Zimbabwean, mbira. I spent my two years of grad school traveling the U.S. building a network with teachers, cultural centers, and musicians. Although my research ended when I came to Prep three years ago, I brought my knowledge of the music with me. I have created the West African Drumming Ensembles, which the students love, and I play mbira in class and even teach Shona songs!

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Learning to be a Better Teacher

faculty - Evatt_Katherine+AE551By Katherine Evatt, Lower School 3rd Grade Teacher

NOTE: Each year the Parent Association uses the funds raised at the Blue & Gold Auction and other initiatives to support professional development for our teachers. With the PA support, Lower School teachers Janie Kendrick and Katherine Evatt attended the prestigious Summer Reading Institute at Columbia University last summer. Below, Katherine shares some of her impressions about the opportunity.

I was fortunate enough to spend a week at Columbia University’s Teacher College in New York City last summer for a once-in-a-lifetime experience every teacher should have. Thousands of teachers from all over the world apply to attend the Reading Institute, led by Lucy Calkins, an internationally acclaimed professor and author who is focused on helping young people become avid and skilled readers, writers, and inquirers. At the Institute, we joined educators from across the globe to study methods and plan curricula, revitalize our thinking, and most importantly, encourage our students to lead rich and literate lives. We listened, participated, and collaborated each day with Lucy, her team, and other teachers on best practices and how to set students up for success.

The workshop is unique because it was modeled for us, and we participated as both students and teachers instead of just listening to someone speak for five days about the curriculum. We could ask questions directly and experience what our students would experience each day. We also received feedback when we were “teaching.”  Through my week, I made connections with other teachers who inspired me and made me better.

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“What Brought Me Here”

IMG_3169By Nicole Girvan, Head of Lower School

In preparation for the Division Head’s Coffee last week, I reflected on the question, “What brought you here?” It reminded me of the letter I wrote in January of 2016 describing how I got into education in the first place. I realize not everyone chooses a profession that they intended or even like. However, I am truly fortunate to work in an environment that I appreciate. Continue reading ““What Brought Me Here””