Friends Select’s SummerSessions program has flourished in the last 12 years to offer a wide range of courses that utilize the school’s location in Center City to offer in-depth, exploratory learning. Desiree Harmon, Friends Select’s middle school dean and director of SummerSessions, recently discussed how the program continues to evolve, and what parents and students can expect this year. SummerSessions classes run from June 10 through August 9, and registration is now available.
The overall goal of the Excellence in Teaching and Learning committee is to develop a comprehensive and contemporary teaching master plan. Already it has been instrumental in the process of hiring a Director of Equity and Inclusion and a Director of City Curriculum. These two senior administrators work with students and parents, faculty and staff, promoting cross-cultural competency and connecting the Friends Select community with the larger community of Philadelphia and our society. In addition, this committee has facilitated other committees such as City Curriculum, Student Voice and Agency, Professional Development and Ongoing Discovery, Quakerism, Wellness, Visual and Performing Arts and Athletics, and Equity and Inclusion, which reflect the school’s core principles.
This committee continues to implement a strategic plan that:
• Ensures best practice through ongoing discovery and professional development.
•Enhances cross-cultural competency and experience.
•Defines the role of athletics and the visual and performing arts in the program.
•Provides structures and leadership opportunities that elevate the student voice and agency for change.
•Sustains a strong commitment to Quaker values, social justice, and a culture of inclusion and respect.
•Leverages external partnerships to meet teaching and learning goals.
Friends Select is delightfully different from other area schools in our authentic and deep belief that students are active participants in their own learning. This participatory stance takes many shapes: student government, student-run clubs, energetic participation in classes, and an overall welcoming stance to have students make sense of and shape their experience in high school.
Becoming a teacher is one of the most humbling things you can do. In my first years, I wasn’t humble, just terrible; it was only when I became humble that I began to improve.
What do we do to help children arrive at wonderful ideas? One answer that keeps bubbling to the top is space. Give them space, and the kids will come up with ideas. Often, the space to generate ideas comes in the midst of boredom, those moments within our child’s day where there is no program, activity, or lesson to fill their time.