Welcome Back to Belmont Day, Associate Alumni!
Welcome to the very first edition of the Associate Teacher Program alumni newsletter! My name is Heather Woodcock. I am the current program director and couldn't be happier to have landed in such a warm and vibrant community. We are eager to reconnect with our incredible alumni to keep you informed about what we are up to at Belmont Day School. If you were to visit us today (and we hope you will visit soon), you would see that there are elements of the program—now in its 28th year—that have remained the same over time. We continue to partner with Lesley University in a one-year joint master's degree and licensure program, and the intensive classroom experience alongside mentor teachers remains the place where associates learn the most.
Associates continue to be integral members of the day-to-day life of the school, and every year it's hard to believe that we have to say goodbye.
Some things have changed as we continue to evolve and think about best practices for both associates and mentor teachers. More of our work focuses on the importance of equity and inclusion, which continues to broaden and deepen our effectiveness with all of our students. While our early childhood and elementary programs continue to thrive, we are piloting a new middle school humanities licensure program next year. Our seminars now take place in the new Barn conference room, which looks out into the woods and is outfitted with whiteboard walls to collaborate and share ideas. We have added Friday morning arts workshops for associates. Please keep reading for more details on these exciting changes! Whether you have chosen to teach in classrooms, take on leadership roles in the education field, or take another path, we hope this newsletter will serve as a welcome back and an opportunity to let us know what you have been up to since your "days on the hill."
It is so exciting to see new teachers grow and develop throughout their time here, and to learn from them as well.
As a member of the Belmont Day community since 2018, I am excited to take on the new role of alumni coordinator for the Associate Teacher Program. I graduated from a similar teacher training program in 2015, and I wholeheartedly understand the importance of and value in maintaining a community of fellow alumni. My cohort still gathers a couple of times each year, and it is always a joy to see each other and reminisce. We also find ourselves talking about where our careers have led us, asking questions, and offering each other advice. I feel lucky that we have stayed so close and can offer each other support. As the ATP alumni coordinator here at Belmont Day, I hope to create a space and a network so that all of you can come together and do the same.
In addition to my coordinator role, I also teach pre-kindergarten and reading for first and second grades. While in the classroom, I constantly think back to my time as a student teacher and pull from the wealth of knowledge I gained during that year. As I work closely with a teacher training program from the other side, I am appreciative of the presence of the associates in our school community. It is so exciting to see new teachers grow and develop throughout their time here, and to learn from them as well. I am grateful to be at a school where we value these teachers as much as we do.
Welcome Class of 2020!
In August 2019, we welcomed our current class of associate teachers. Pictured left to right, Lauren Catalano, Laurie Mills, Erin Pak, Kyla Sandock, Lindsay Fitzgerald, and Tatiana Cochis finished their first placements in January, and are now teaching in their second and final placements.
Mentor Teachers at the MFA
Program mentors took a field trip to the Museum of Fine Arts Boston for a workshop on mentorship, apprenticeship, teaching, and learning. We worked with Corinne Zimmerman, who uses VTS (Visual Thinking Strategies) to help groups of teachers, doctors, and those in the finance industry think more deeply about their professional practice by collectively looking at and discussing works of art. It was wonderful to step back as a group while our associate teachers ably took over the responsibility of our classrooms.
Art Classes in the Barn
Our tremendous arts faculty offered a series of Friday morning workshops where associates were immersed in the visual and performing arts—2D art, woodworking, music, theater, and innovation. The sessions provided a front-row seat to the student experience, allowed the cohort to bond in their first semester, and promoted understanding of the arts as an integral part of the student learning experience.
While some associates may find themselves working in well-resourced schools with dedicated arts faculty next year and beyond, some will not. The workshops provided points for reflection on ways to build the arts into their curriculum, and thereby reach and teach the whole child.
I liked being in the shoes of our students and seeing how everyone’s reactions to different arts realms can be so different!
I enjoyed hearing about practical connections to the classroom for both early childhood and elementary age children.
I enjoyed getting to see my fellow associates in a different light, and it helped us to bond as a cohort.
Alumni Spotlight—Holly Hennick '15
Holly Hennick is currently a first grade teacher at Advent School. Recently Heather Woodcock and the associate cohort had the opportunity to spend time with Holly during a site visit to Advent. Read on for highlights from their conversation.
Thank you, Holly, for being our first Associate Teacher Program Alumni Spotlight!