What Kenwood Teachers Do in the Summer

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What Kenwood Teachers Do in the Summer

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Adults and students alike often wonder what do teachers do all summer. Though students often find it hard to imagine a teacher’s existence outside the walls of the schoolhouse, teachers do take a little time to venture outside the school to not only relax and reboot for the next school year, but also to engage in other educational experiences to bring new and fresh ideas back to the classroom in September.

Kenwood Business teacher Ms. Althea Page said time for relaxation and traveling is a must. “First off, I think the most important part of getting ready for the next school year is relaxing with family and friends and traveling as this rejuvenates me and inspires me with new ideas for “real world” experiences,” she said.

Staff members  including Athletic Director Tony Ruocco and Ms. Teresa VanMeter also said they like to take the extra time in the summer to get in some of their own selected reading. Ms. VanMeter challenged herself to read 90 books in 2019, including those she normally wouldn’t read in order to challenge her thinking and perspectives. Summer proved the perfect time to tackle some of her picks.

When Coach Ruocco wasn’t reading and hanging out in upstate New York for his annual summer trip or working on his golf swing, he was using his twenty summer work days as  athletic director preparing for the upcoming athletic season.

He uses the summer to put in the behind the scenes work on hiring coaches, game scheduling, referee assigning, scheduling sports bus transportation and registering student-athletes for fall sports in SIS eligibility system. This summer, he also developed a KHS Athletics Hazing Policy for this upcoming school year.

Besides traveling and reading for personal and professional growth in the education field, many Kenwood teachers participated in professional development, curriculum writing, and teaching summer school or enrichment camps. Visitors to the school on about any given day in the summer likely would find a handful of teachers either planning for the next school year collaboratively around a table or individually in the quiet of their empty classroom. Here’s how others prepared for the coming school year:

3D Innovations Art teacher Ms. Ginger Cain spent part of the summer writing curriculum for Design in Clay & Mixed Media. Part of that involved making process videos for all teachers of 3D art to access. Her very own idea to make videos accessible on Safari Montage in a library called Skills Collective will be available to all BCPS teachers this fall. “Eventually, Skills Collective will contain process videos for each media to be used in conjunction with all art classroom lessons, not just 3D,” she said.

Building MYP As Kenwood prepares to add the Middle Years Programme to the school’s International Baccalaureate offerings, many of our teachers participated in various MYP training sessions and workshops this summer. Math teacher Holly Gorsuch and World Languages teacher Lacy Forman  traveled to New Orleans to participate in the IB Global Conference to learn from other IB schools and IB educators about international mindedness and the IB philosophy implemented in school classrooms.

“The best thing about the IB global conference was hearing from schools around the world about how they embrace cultural differences and infuse service into every day learning for their students. MYP teachers open so many doors for their students through the MYP program components and help them build the skills necessary to be successful in the real world,” said Forman.

In addition, the English 9 team of Ms. Single, Ms. Jannotti, and Ms. Vanmeter, along with English 10 teacher Mrs. Levy, the World Language team of Ms. Forman, Ms. Komorowski, and Ms. Jelovac, and Ms. Andrucyk of Algebra, and Ms. Jean Rodier with Social Studies all came in to write MYP units and collaborate in June to better align our curriculum for MYP. Seventeen Kenwood teachers (Ms. Spinelli, Ms. Jelovac, Ms. Komorrowski, Mrs. VanMeter, Ms. Andrucyk, Mrs. Levy, Ms. Burchett, Ms. Sittner, Mr. Payne, Ms. Rodier, Mrs. Burke, Ms. Texel, Ms. Magnuson, Ms. Jannotti, Mr. Lobo, and Ms. Forman) participated in MYP training in Bethesda, MD in June learning about their subjects and how to implement MYP units in their classrooms. Seven Kenwood teachers will be attending MYP training at Middle River Middle School in August.

Science Curriculum Kenwood’s science teachers were also getting prepared for upcoming changes this school year. They used the summer to dive into MESA prep for the new standardized high school science assessment that will begin this year, aligning their curriculum standards with the new assessment.

New STC Chair Kenwood welcomed a new School to Career Department Chair this summer, Mr. Jason Grahe. Besides acclimating himself over the summer to Kenwood and its programs, he’s been busy working with the STC team to create and maintain employment opportunities in the Foods, Business, and Work Based Learning (WBL) programs for Kenwood students. He’s also been looking for opportunities to support young people in their pursuit of Early Childhood in whatever manner they choose.

“Apprenticeship will be a personal goal for me as DC. School to Apprenticeship (STA) programs are in three different schools in BCPS and have found homes in numerous counties around MD. Apprenticeship opportunities, especially in WBL, could lead to full time jobs with great employers right out of high school. STA programs are also great ways to learn on the job training experiences with state approved employers that provide unique training, higher pay, career interests, and additional employment benefits such as healthcare, retirement, and membership to other organizations,” he said.

Kenwood Gear Another new Kenwood team member, Ms. Angela Single of the English department has spent her summer teaching summer school, attending IB MYP training and working on unit planning with members of the English team. When she’s had a chance she’s been at Kenwood preparing her new room for her students. She’s also worked with Mr. Powell and X-Grain to unveil an online store for teachers to order some new Kenwood gear during pre-service week.

New Ideas English teacher and co-newspaper adviser Ms. Sarah Barr attended yearbook camp and used her summer to plan for an awesome yearbook this upcoming school year. “I had a great experience learning from other teachers who have a passion for journalism and community building, and I took home many great ideas that I’m eager to share with yearbook students this year,” she said.

Others like Kenwood Social Studies teacher Craig Maki work other jobs throughout their summer. He, alongside other BCPS teachers,, worked six weeks at an All Sports Camp at McDonogh School in Owings Mills, playing different sports with kids ages 7-10 all day. Others also worked on perfecting their craft over the summer like music teacher Ms. Pennington who spent time over the summer teaching other students in musical summer camps.

Kenwood Business and Marketing teacher Ms. Althea Page attended a workshop for a revised Accounting online textbook with working papers that she’ll will be using next school year. Like many teachers  she’s been going through curriculum, organizing and revising lessons and learning activities and projects. She evaluated Virtual Business Programs to see if there would be a fit for her Business curriculum and an added learning benefit for her students. She also read “Winning the Story Wars” by Jonah Sachs this summer for her marketing class.

AP Some teachers like Ms. McNulty participated in rare opportunities like AP scoring, and Mrs. Levy attended an AP Conference. Ms. McNulty traveled to Kansas City, Missouri in June to participate in seven days of scoring AP Calculus exams. “I met some awesome calculus teachers from New Jersey, Florida, Iowa, and even Hawaii! This experience the past two years has helped me better understand more about how the exams are graded and how I can better prepare my students,” she said.

Ms. Levy attended the AP Conference in Orlando, Florida. “The best part of the conference was getting to learn new strategies for helping students to become better writers. My favorite session was on how to incorporate the New York Times Magazine into my curriculum. I can help students stay up to date on current events, which they will use in their argument essay, and also help them see a variety of different writing styles. I also got to learn about all of the changes to AP English Language that are being incorporated into the test and course for the 2019-2020 school year,” shared Mrs. Levy. Our AP teachers are up to date on the best ways to help our students ace those AP exams next spring.

GEAR Academy Ninth grade administrative facilitator Tiffany Miller — with teachers Ms. Levy, Ms. Walker, Ms. Andrucyk, Ms. Jelovac, Ms. Jannotti, Ms. Sittner, Ms. Villaran, Ms. Single, Ms. Glenn, Mr. Whitten, Mr. Donnelly, Ms. Reaves, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Mongan, and Ms. Marshall — planned and ran their first annual GEAR Academy (Growth Mindset, Enrichment, Academics and Responsibility) to help prepare ninth graders for the transition to high school from middle school.

Equity Training Several teachers- Ms. Sittner, Ms. Williams, Ms. Connelly, Ms. Smith, Ms. Jones, Ms. Levy, Mrs. Miller, and Ms. Andrucyk- participated in Equity and Responsive Instruction Training to “learn about reflecting on practices within our schools to make our building more equitable for everyone. It was presented as a personal journey with the understanding it was more about self reflection,” said Kenwood’s STAT and professional development teacher Ms. Sittner.

AVID Kenwood’s AVID teachers Ms. Komorwski and Ms. Littlejohn attended the annual AVID Summer Institute in Philadelphia for three days to make sure they’re well prepared with the best college and career ready strategies for our students’ success. Ms. Komorwski attended training on how to assist teachers within the building to bring AVID schoolwide, and Lindsay Littlejohn learned AVID strategies that she is super excited to add to her classroom. She learned about new forms of graphic organizers and how to effectively use socratic seminars and philosophical chairs and both will be able to pass that insight onto the rest of the Kenwood staff to integrate into their classrooms this school year.

World Languages Department Chair Aimee Bogrand was a coach at the World Languages New Teacher Summer Academy to support teachers learning the BCPS philosophy and instructional practices in language acquisition to be able to implement a lesson in a small group. She also along with  Ms.  Gray and Ms. Jelovac spent a few days at the beginning of summer at a workshop with the president of the national organization for world language teachers, the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. “We practiced and created examples of instructional strategies that fit with current practices in language acquisition to deepen our understanding of proficiency-based practices.”

Building Services Summer is an especially busy time for building service workers, too, as they clean out all classrooms and wax those floors to make them shine and wipe down all lockers to get them ready for their new occupants.

Department Chairs and Administration Kenwood Department chairs reported back to Kenwood in early August to get ready to greet and prepare their teachers for the new school year ahead and work with administration on leadership goals and responsibilities. Department chairs spend the summer interviewing for open positions, going over the past year’s PARCC and AP data, participating in team planning, as well as attending many of the same PDs as teachers.

The Kenwood administration — which consists of returning assistant principals Mrs. Burke, Mrs. Beaty, Mr. Taylor, and new AP but long-time Kenwood teacher Ms. Ray, all led by the returning Mr. Powell — also has been busy. Summer is peak hiring time to find the perfect matches to become a part of the #kenwoodhasgreatteachers team.

They also dive into the past year’s school data to set the next year’s School Progress Plan and make updates to the school’s instructional focus, logistics, building security, and positive school climate and cultural initiatives. They  meet with students and their families to discuss goals and make sure students are on track for graduation. They make sure they’ve locked everything in on the calendar and comb through our school budget to make sure Kenwood kids, teachers, and programs are getting the best instructional supports and opportunities.