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The 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, Pelican Ponderings.  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. Read more about director, Scott MacClintic.

The Kravis Center has become an integral part of the ongoing professional development of the Loomis Chaffee faculty from the individual teacher to the faculty as a whole. The following is a list of discussion topics, programs, and intitiatives that the Kravis Center provides as support to Loomis faculty.


The Individual Teacher

  • “I am struggling to find a way to assess class participation in a more formal way.”

  • “I would like to learn how to incorporate ‘clickers’ (Student response systems) into my lesson plans.”

  • “I need help designing a grading rubric that I can use to assess student writing.”

  • “I would like to incorporate more collaboration on student writing but am not sure where to begin.”

  • “Could you come observe my class and give me some feedback about how I could better structure class discussions to include more student voices?”

  • “I am interested in trying to incorporate some ‘flipped lessons’ into my course but do not know how to start the process.”

  • “I am struggling with designing and assessing group work in my class and would like to bounce some ideas off you.”

Groups of Teachers

  • “We would like to improve our final exam for biology. Can you perform some statistical analysis of the results and help us to design a better assessment?”

  • “We have some new software and capabilities in the language lab and would like your help in training the department and supporting the teachers who are designing new lessons using the tools.”

  • “We are unhappy with a project we are currently doing in our World History classes and would like some help coming up with a new culminating activity.”

  • “Can you facilitate a discussion in our department about the role and uses of technology  in the math classroom and share some of the current research on the topic?”

The Entire Faculty

  • “What is the role and purpose of homework and how can we better use homework to enhance student learning?”

  • “What is the best use of faculty training days and how can we tap into the collective expertise of our faculty?”

  • “How can we effectively and fairly use grades and grading to further student learning?”

New Faculty Training

In addition to the Master Teacher Program, novice teachers meet regularly in the Kravis Center to explore topics and issues that are particularly germane to those who are just beginning their teaching careers. 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.

Online Learning

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 eleven faculty members who received grants from the school to develop online learning modules for our students. The faculty designed projects include modules in Math, Spanish, Leadership Training and even a project between two US History teachers and two librarians 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.




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