Henry R. Kravis '63 Center for Excellence in Teaching
The Henry R. Kravis '63 Center for Excellence in Teaching, an initiative launched by the school in the fall of 2010, is designed to make professional development for teachers a part of daily life as opposed to a “sometime thing.” Part of the school’s stated mission is “the formation of skilled and discerning minds in preparation for higher education and lifelong learning.” There is no better way to promote lifelong learning than to model the behavior as faculty members and continuously work to hone our craft as teachers, coaches and mentors of our students. The center is the brainchild of former Dean of Faculty Ned Parsons and Head of School Sheila Culbert and was made possible by the generosity of Henry R. Kravis ’63.
Scott MacClintic ’82, a longtime member of the Science Department, is the center’s director. Scott’s enthusiasm for this endeavor is both enormous and contagious. Working from his deeply-held conviction that “great teachers are made, not born,” Scott focuses on helping all Loomis Chaffee faculty members tap into resources not only beyond the Island, but — most importantly — within the school. Scott blogs and tweets regularly. You can follow him on Twitter @smacclintic or on his blog. Scott posts a “Friday 4” every week on his blog that includes interesting items that have come across his radar screen related to teaching and learning.
Scott MacClintic ’82
Scott, a 1982 graduate of The Loomis Chaffee School, attended Trinity College and graduated in 1986 with a BS in Biochemistry. After teaching for 4 years at The Albany Academy, Scott returned to the Island with his wife Christine in the fall of 1990 to teach full time in the science dept and live in Warham Hall. In the science dept, Scott has taught all levels of biology and chemistry and is currently teaching microbiology and molecular biology. In addition to his role as Director of the Kravis Center, Scott serves as Vice-Chair of the Commission on Professional Development for the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools and has presented at a wide variety of professional conferences on topics such as: flipped learning, the neuroscience of teaching and learning and the power of the connected educator.
In addition to the Master Teacher Program, teachers who are new to Loomis Chaffee meet regularly in the Kravis Center to explore topics and issues that are particularly germane to those who are early in their teaching careers at Loomis. Some of the topics that are perennial favorites include:
- Formative assessment: How to give quality feedback to students throughout the learning process.
- Group work: How to design collaborative assignments and activities that will allow students to demonstrate their mastery of a topic.
- Backwards design: How to design curriculum by setting goals before choosing instructional methods and forms of assessment.
While the traditional classroom is still alive and vibrant at Loomis Chaffee, we have responded to the growing presence and potential of online learning by beginning to develop our own online content. The Kravis Center recently completed work with 11 faculty members who received grants from the school to develop online learning modules for our students. The faculty-designed projects included modules in math, Spanish, and leadership training, and a project developed by two U.S. History teachers and two librarians that focused on the writing of the history research paper.
While the relationship between student, teacher, and content may be undergoing a major sea change as we mark the 100th year of Loomis Chaffee, you can rest assured that the faculty and staff remain committed to “the formation of skilled and discerning minds in preparation for higher education and lifelong learning” by continuing to be lifelong learners ourselves. Like any excellent craftsmen, we are continuously trying to hone our skills, add new tools to our toolboxes, and creatively take our craft to the next level.