Atrium School

Excellence with Joy

Atrium Faculty Receive Professional Recognition

Five Atrium faculty members have recently been recognized for their teaching achievement in the form of admission to institutes, partnerships and fellowships run by highly respected organizations. In competitive fields, these Atrium teachers have been selected as being some of the most skilled, committed and talented educators in the country. In the coming months, they will continue to develop their teaching skills and deepen their expertise.

Second grade teacher Jill Ferraresso and Kindergarten teacher Merry Murray Meade have been selected as members of the 2018 Boston Writing Project Summer Institute: Exploring Cultural Identities Through Writing. As part of a cohort of only 10 people, Jill and Merry Murray will participate in a two-week summer institute in which educators will explore the themes of race, culture, gender issues, language, and the immigrant experience as they connect to their own identities and to the teaching of writing. "Every human being is important and valuable. By learning more about cultural identities outside of our own experience, we can deepen our knowledge about others and in turn, grow our empathy and deepen our understanding that we are all one human family," Jill said.

The Institute will build on the work Merry Murray and Jill have already done with Boston Writing Project as part of its partnership with Atrium this year. Merry Murray said, "It was so amazing working with BWP [this year]. I surprised myself with how much I enjoyed writing and sharing with them over the year and when they offered a chance to work offsite this summer to explore cultural identities through writing, I wanted to be a part of it. I am excited to spend time with other educators sharing and writing together." 

L–R: Merry Murray Meade, Liz Caffrey, Jill Ferraresso, Mia Bullock, Jaleesa Anselm, Paul Capobianco

L–R: Merry Murray Meade, Liz Caffrey, Jill Ferraresso, Mia Bullock, Jaleesa Anselm, Paul Capobianco

Middle School math teacher Liz Caffrey has been selected as a member of the 2018 Desmos Fellowship cohort. Out of more than 400 applicants, Liz was one of only 40 selected. Accepted applicants had to demonstrate a deep knowledge of how technology can support student learning, as well as strong communication skills via video and in writing. Desmos will fund Liz's travel and participation to San Francisco for the annual meeting at Desmos HQ, during which she will further explore math, teaching, and technology.  She will also become a lifetime member of the Desmos Fellowship

"Desmos has basically stolen a bunch of really hot shot math teachers to come develop their graphing program," Liz explained. "I cannot wait to nerd out with the nerdiest nerds, and to meet other teachers in the fellowship from around the country to who love teaching math and who are committed to constantly improving their pedagogy. Once you are a Desmos fellow, you are part of a supportive, responsive community of teachers who actively reach out (via Twitter, conference presentations) to teach others about what they know. It's like a cult for math teachers!" 

Kindergarten teacher Jaleesa Anselm has been selected to join the 2018 cohort of the Kingswood Oxford Leadership Institute for Educators of Color. Kingswood Oxford has an expressed mission to develop and enhance leadership in independent schools by helping educators of color explore, prepare for, and position themselves for leadership. Jaleesa is one of few applicants chosen to participate in this summer's Institute: recognition of both experience and clear potential for present and future leadership.

"While there are many quality leadership institutes nationally, few adequately capture and prioritize the particular challenges that exist for people of color aspiring to leadership positions," Jaleesa said. "I feel incredibly lucky to work at an institution where the administration also understands those challenges and works strategically to counteract them. Joining the KO cohort for this year seemed like a natural fit for an Atrium teacher, being that Atrium is a place that encourages having hard conversations and supporting the community through them. Institutes like this one are critical to the development of quality leaders and I am very excited to share what I learn this summer with my colleagues and our entire Atrium community." 

Middle School social studies teacher Paul Capobianco has been designated as an Atrium liaison working with Dustin Tenreiro of Facing History and Ourselves, and he will be joined by PreK teacher Mia Bullock. As a member of the Partner Schools Network, not only will Paul participate in relevant professional development, but will also co-construct, with Dustin and also in collaboration with the ABE committee and Atrium faculty, a learning plan for all of Atrium. Thanks to Paul's leadership, Atrium is now part of a nationwide network that will further extend our diversity work, social justice curricula, and capacity for civil discourse.

Paul explained, "This spring, Atrium was chosen from a long list of applying schools to join FHAO's Partner School Network. This provides Atrium with a trove of resources and an opportunity to allow these important topics to permeate through the rest of the school. As liaison to our partner, I will help both Atrium faculty and FHAO representatives facilitate faculty professional development, consider social justice benchmarks for our students, and begin the process of building this curriculum throughout grades 4-8. Throughout this year with the help of PreK teacher Mia Bullock as co-liaison, we will be learning how best to carry this work to the younger grades of PreK-2 in the following year. This will be a multi-year effort that will hopefully benefit all of our students as they progress through their learning at Atrium."