Advancing the teaching profession.
The Center for Teaching—a partnership between Westminster and Drew Charter School—is devoted to helping teachers improve their understanding of the craft of teaching through programs and resources that facilitate their learning. We design and implement programs to support faculty professional development.
To fulfill its mission, the Center has embarked on the design and implementation of several programs to support and advance the professional development of faculty. Each program has a unique set of goals and a distinctive group that it targets, yet they all provide opportunities and teacher training to educators at all levels of experience.Program initiatives include, but are not limited to:
- Curriculum development and identification of best practices in all grade levels and disciplines. The Center supports faculty with grants during the school year and in the summer to work on designing and building new lessons, project based learning units, and integrate assessment strategies
- Mentoring and training for faculty new to the profession
- Year-round workshops, conferences, and seminars to promote professional development and to provide opportunities for faculty to interact with national thought-leaders in education
- Collaboration between faculty from public and independent schools designed to exchange information about best practices in teaching, including recent work with Atlanta K-12 Design Challenge
The Program Transformation Project (PTP) is designed to improve students’ learning experiences in academic programs at each grade level or discipline by incorporating innovative approaches to instruction and learning. This initiative aims to improve academic success through student engagement, fostering deeper learning within a discipline or program, not necessarily an individual course. The PTP will hopefully shift the thinking and practice within a program in alignment with each school’s strategic vision.
The goals of the PTP are to: (1) improve student learning at all levels in deeper, more enduring ways; (2) promote student engagement and critical inquiry in teaching and learning; (3) support development of fundamental academic skills and core content and conceptual knowledge; and (4) increase instructional efficacy and productivity. Transformative program redesign involves the identification, development, and adoption of appropriate evidence‑based approaches to teaching and learning. The Center for Teaching enrolls and partners with teachers who volunteer to consider this redevelopment project.
The goal of the Extraordinary Teaching Project is to capture “exemplary teachers” using instructional strategies that align with each school’s strategic priorities.
The CFT supports each school developing a resource library that can be used to share curriculum and instruction with other teachers as part of their ongoing professional development. The video library and associated materials of best practices are used by each school in ongoing professional development with its teachers, in mentoring programs for new teachers, and in outreach to other schools. Videotaping structure is provided by Jim Knight, outlined in his book, Focus on Teaching: Using Video for High‑Impact Instruction. In addition, using Knight’s partnership approach, we will collaborate with each school’s administration to identify and select teachers who will enroll in the project.
Teacher Seminars are semester‑long seminars on educational topics of interest to Westminster and Drew faculty. Seminars consist of groups of faculty within the same school, faculty from both schools, or groups specifically targeted at certain divisions, grade levels or disciplines. The CFT partners with Drew or Westminster “lead” teachers to facilitate or “teach” the seminar.
ResourcesThe Center for Teaching is a resource center where faculty can receive guidance, feedback, and support on various aspects of their teaching. In addition, faculty can make use of resources provided by the Center to advance the teaching profession. The Center can provide faculty with services in the following areas:
- Technology integration into the curriculum
- Design of syllabi and lesson plans
- Overall development of a curriculum plan and materials needed to implement the plan
- Review, plan, and implement new assessment strategies
- Guidance and resources around project-based learning
- Classroom observation and videotaping as a way to learn more about one’s teaching
- Student motivation and classroom management
- Learn how different teaching models can inform one’s practice and develop new instructional strategies
The Center is committed to providing faculty from member schools a comprehensive professional library that contains current books, curriculum materials, and other resources that will facilitate curriculum planning and research into new methodologies. We have nearly 3,000 volumes in our collection. The Center is open to recommendations from the faculty to purchase additional resources that meet their professional needs. See the Center For Teaching's Library Catalog.
Learn more about this dynamic program at work, review professional perspectives on educational issues of interest to public and independent school teachers, and peruse resources
One of the Center for Teaching's hallmark programs, the 2017 Summer Institute was held in June. These professional development workshops for K-12 teachers and administrators were led by faculty from private and public schools. The workshops were designed to enhance the culture of teaching, provide new strategies, and improve teaching practices.