Learning From Great Schools

I had the opportunity today to visit the Independent Day School (IDS) of Tampa, Florida. Dr. Jennifer Morrow was kind enough to give me an hour-plus of her time to tour the campus and in the process talk about their philosophy of education and professional development.

IDS is an expensive, private, International Baccalaureate school. Many educators from public and parochial schools (like mine at St. Philip Lutheran Church and School in Chicago) might dismiss such a visit as a “pipe dream” because either they can’t charge tuition at all or because they would never be able to charge that level of tuition. One response to this borrows from sports: If I can pick up a couple of golf tips by taking a lesson from a PGA tour professional, why not? If I want to improve, why not learn from the best?

That’s what this visit was all about: consulting with a master administrator and witnessing the work of master teachers. My initial response to the visit is that there are two significant ideas that any school can emulate:

  1. Each child is uniquely intelligent, and excellent teaching, like excellent coaching, adjusts to make best use of the talent and learning style of each student. 
  2. Professional development of teachers is essential. Excellent school administrators understands that each teacher is uniquely intelligent and provide regular opportunities for each teacher to learn and grow; further, they expect each teacher to practice what they learn in and out of the classroom.

It is always a great pleasure for me to be around people who are excellent in their craft. That was my treat today. Thanks, Dr. Morrow, for the gift of your time and wisdom. The visit has my brain abuzz with thoughts about how I can help and encourage the administrators and teachers who serve Christ at St. Philip.

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