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Faculty and Staff Focus: What We Did On Our Summer Vacation

08/30/19 04:19:pm
| Category: News

It's no secret that our faculty and staff are some of the most dynamic people you'll meet. How else would they muster the energy and enthusiasm needed to teach roomful after roomful of highly gifted (inquisitive, thoughtful, curious...we could go on) students day after day?! While our students and families were recharging their batteries over the summer months, our faculty and staff were busy flexing their lifelong learning muscles. Here are some highlights as reported to the Newsroom.

The Write Stuff
Kindergarten teacher Katy Carroll and Room 5 teacher Julie Leavitt traveled to New York to attend the Writing Institute at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Tai Chi, TED Talks, and the Travel Bug
Though the East coast is pretty far afield, it's not quite as far as where Mandarin Teacher Dan Song travelled. Back to summer, Ms. Song ventured back to China to visit her family. But it wasn't all fun and games: she was also there to learn! "
I was selected to participate in a program called The Education Training Program for Overseas Chinese Teachers from July 10 to July 27. During this training, I met about 150 Mandarin teachers and students from 29 countries," she said.

While she was in China, she continued to practice her Kung Fu skills, specifically Tai Chai. "I earned a certificate for it, and I am ready to teach our Mirman students to learn Tai Chi," she said.

Last but certainly not least, she also gave a "TED-alike speech" titled "How to help a child to develop high oral proficiency in a foreign language." She presented this talk to 500 people, and hopes to present again with a TEDx talk as her schedule allows.

Meanwhile, fellow world languages faculty member and Upper School Spanish teacher Gian Molero made her way to Half Dome in Yosemite to complete a solo hike, a long-held goal of hers. She had plenty of reasons to celebrate — she had also completed her certificate in gifted education from USC over the summer!

Flagg Works on Forthcoming STEM Series
While his colleagues traipsed the globe, Director of STEAM Jeffery Flagg was wandering the land of imagination as he consulted for a forthcoming animated series about STEM for kids. He promises to give us more details in the coming months. Visitors to campus this summer probably also espied him teaching and inspiring in his role as Academic Dean for the Johns Hopkins CTY Summer Camp held at Mirman.

Field Work in Florida
Upper School Science Teacher Dr. Jay Fisch reports that a research team he headed in Florida was published this summer in the scientific journal "Coral Reefs." You can access the full article by clicking here. He explains:

"Near the end of my Ph.D. program in Miami, Florida, I had put together a team of fellow scientist colleagues to monitor the impacts of two years of consecutive coral bleaching events on the physiology and reproduction of a coral community in the Florida Keys. Coral bleaching is most often caused by elevated sea surface temperatures which results in the coral host loosing the algae that live inside their tissue and as a result their color. These microscopic algae generally provide the coral with the majority of its energy through photosynthesis. During coral bleaching events, corals lose this primary energy source which can lead to major stress on the corals and potential mortality if the high temperatures persist for a long time. The results of our research showed that the mountainous star corals (Orbicella faveolata) on the reef we monitored showed some resilience to consecutive bleaching events, displaying less severe bleaching the second year compared to the first despite more sustained high temperature stress the second year. However, other detrimental effects of the bleaching included less reproduction and fewer babies were released from corals that bleached more severely, which makes recovery from these events in subsequent years more difficult."

Check out this photo of Dr. Fisch diving off the aforementioned reef!

From Publishing to Pubs, Kello Does it All
Dr. Fisch wasn't the only Mirman faculty member to earn a publishing credit this summer. Director of Music Programs Nicolás Kello reported that a unit he designed was published in not one, but two books. "
A book titled The Critical Media Literacy Guide: Engaging Media and Transforming Education has just been published as part of the Brill Guides to Scholarship in Education. The book was co-authored by a colleague of mine at UCLA, Jeff Share, and it includes a section that references a music unit I developed. My education work is referenced in Chapter 5, titled "Environmental Justice Is Social Justice", pages 94-97. This article discusses the book. The same music unit I developed was also written about in a book titled Teaching Climate Change To Adolescents, co-published by Routledge and The National Council Of Teachers Of English."

If you've met Mr. Kello, though, you know he doesn't just talk the talk. He was very much walking the walk as a working musician when he had the opportunity to play a show opening for Grammy Award winning artist Poncho Sanchez & His Latin Jazz Band at The Cave in Big Bear on July 29. Groovy!