Thank you so much to all of you who have so generously donated to the Annual Fund. This year, to my delight, the Silent Auction raised more money than ever before. I wanted to take a moment to let you know exactly where your Silent Auction donation dollars are going.
I know that you choose to send your child to The Cooper School to provide them with excellent learning opportunities. I also know that again and again research shows that fancy facilities, expensive equipment, and interactive technology, while nice to have, are not the greatest influence on student achievement. The most important factor in student achievement is…high- quality teachers. Not only do high-quality teachers impact the students they have in front of them at the time, the impact is long lasting.
So, what does this mean to me? This means that if your children are my most important resource, my teachers are a close second. This means that I am dedicated to providing my teachers with robust, current, relevant and research-based professional development that will support the improvement of the educational caliber of the school.
This year, every dollar raised by the Silent Auction will go to support high-quality professional development. First, teachers will be attending Reading and Writing Institutes at Teachers College at Columbia University this summer. These institutes are developed and run by Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. The Reading and Writing Project (TCRWP) has developed state-of-the-art tools and methods for teaching reading and writing, for using performance assessments and learning progressions to accelerate progress, and for literacy-rich content-area instruction. In the week long institutes, our teachers will hear keynote addresses by celebrated authors and work with world-renowned teacher-educators, and other all-stars in the field of literacy and learning. Institutes include small and large group sections that are designed to help teachers establish vibrant, rigorous models of best practices. I have been involved with TCRWP at the leadership level, and I am pleased to extend those opportunities to our teachers.
We are also bringing a literary all-star to us. In October, Carl Anderson will be leading professional development at The Cooper School. Carl Anderson is one of the nation’s leading experts on teaching writing to students in grades K-12. He will be working with us on conferring with student writers and assessing student writing. Carl is also involved in TCRWP as a lead staff developer, and it is a great privilege to host him on our campus.
Lastly, in November and March of next year, teachers will be attending the Educator’s Institutes at The Duke School. The Duke School has worked with Lilian Katz and Sylvia Chard, founders of The Project Approach for 20 years, and is designated as a Project Approach School. I have been fortunate enough to work with and visit The Duke School often over the past 10 years. I look forward to sending some of our faculty there next year.
I hope you feel as proud as I do to be able to offer our faculty some of the richest professional development around. The Cooper School considers itself a learning community in which everyone learns – children and adults alike. Thank you for helping me make that possible.