Our Plan in Action: Exploring Stories — An Update on Professional Development at Burke's

In the week spanning the National Association of Independent School’s annual conference, members of Burke’s faculty and staff engaged in a flurry of professional-development opportunities.

Guided by the question “What’s Your Story?,” they asked questions, shared experiences and expertise, and connected with other independent school educators from around the world.
Taking advantage of the NAIS conference being held in San Francisco, Burke’s closed school on Friday, February 26, to give the entire faculty the opportunity to attend. The conference’s theme, “What’s Your Story?,” asked teachers to think broadly about their work, examining their own educational experiences, their path into the field of education, and how they shape the stories of the students they teach.

With workshops on topics ranging from differentiated math instruction to SEL curricula, a keynote speech by Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative, and a teacher makerspace, the conference offered an incredible opportunity for Burke’s faculty to learn, share, reflect, and collaborate. Burke’s took a moment in the spotlight as Jenny Howland and Mike Matthews presented a “speed innovation” session on “Designing a Future-Proofed Maker Space.” Sharing the story of the Makery, they lead educators from across the country in a conversation about how to design maker spaces that are relevant today and will stand the test of time.

While the conference wrapped up on Friday afternoon, the learning continued on Saturday as Burke’s hosted the official edcamp event that follows the annual NAIS conference. Similar to an “unconference,” edcamp is a participant-driven model for professional development that empowers educators to explore emergent topics in education. Educators from the Bay Area, across the country, and even as far away as Nigeria convened at Burke’s, discussing topics ranging from social justice to computer coding. Click here to see observations that participants tweeted about, using the hashtag #edcampIS.

As students took advantage of a late start on Monday morning, Burke’s faculty reconvened for an “Idea Lab” session — an hour of sharing, discussing, and collaborating. By asking and discussing questions inspired by the NAIS and edcamp workshops, they both unpacked all that they had learned and identified ways in which they could bring what they learned back to their classrooms to enhance the learning of their girls. Rethinking group work, plans for more deeply engaging our girls in their communities, and ideas for how to help our girls tell their stories are among the many ideas that emerged from Monday’s “Idea Lab.” Filled with excitement and new ideas, faculty returned to their classrooms, ready to write the next chapter in Burke’s story.
Burke's mission is to educate, encourage and empower girls. Our school combines academic excellence with an appreciation for childhood so that students thrive as learners, develop a strong sense of self, contribute to community, and fulfill their potential, now and throughout life.


An independent K–8 school for girls
7070 California Street, San Francisco, CA 94121
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