Through the year, all the group leaders have been working to move forward in the conference. A lot of progress has been made; the groups have been working with the whole staff of the school and between them to accomplish all the goals before the conference. This includes managing a budget, outreach to local and national schools, contracting artists, performers, venues, and speakers from around the world, managing hotel and transport logistics, creating curriculum for students to teach students and more!
Alysa Perreras is the Social Justice and Equity Coach at The Columbus School. Her goal as Coach is to work with teachers to impact students to become agents of positive change, which we mention in our TCS purpose. Her work leads her to build conversations around justice, equity, empathy, inclusion, within our curriculum, as well as offering teachers professional development to do this work within themselves as well.
Starting school year 19-20, the school purchasing department agreed to stop the purchase of new single-use white board markers and instead buy only refillable ones. This was a change proposed by GIN students. You may see single-use markers around school until they are used up, but all new purchases will only be refillable.
The first week back from break in August, GIN students presented the change and the appropriate way to use these markers to teachers with a video featuring Mr. Trevor.
The School received this year the Community Service Award for its leadership in the TOM Colombia project. TOM means Tikkun Olam Makers and comes from the Jewish term “Tikkun Olam,” which means “repair the world.” TOM is a global movement that brings together teams of developers, designers, engineers and students in “Makeathons” to create sustainable and affordable solutions for people with disabilities. By combining assistive technology innovations with service learning, The Columbus School is creating a valuable forum for students to use their creativity and experience to solve real-world challenges.
Again The Columbus School was the host of TOM Colombia. From October 3 to 5, the “Makeathon” of TOM Colombia 2019 was held at The Columbus School with the participation of 12 “need knowers”, that is to say people with disabilities who were sought to find a solution to a specific problem of their day to day. It should be noted that TOM (Tikkun Olam) comes from the Hebrew “repair the world.”
During those days, several students, not only from TCS, but also from other educational institutions, worked in teams to build viable solutions, in the most effective way. In addition, institutions such as the EIA University and the Antioquia Rehabilitation Committee and different sponsors contributed their knowledge in these areas of technology and science. This is a great opportunity for learning, teaching and social innovation!
From September 26 to October 5, four Columbus School teachers had the opportunity to travel to New York to experience a dynamic professional development training session. Alysa Perreras, Alejandra Villa, Ángela Patricia Muñoz and Carolina Zuluaga were the teachers selected to attend.
The objective of the program was to provide local teachers a dynamic professional development experience by learning from courses at Buffalo State University, conferences held in NY and hands-on learning through local school site visits.
The application was open to all local teachers. However, Alysa Perreras attended as a foreign teacher since she went as the faculty advisor and to attend one of the specific conferences that had a social justice focus.
All teachers who attended developed a TTT (Teachers Training Teachers) or other similar workshop to share their learning with Columbus School staff upon their return. All teachers who attended will also be able to share specific strategies learned in smaller settings, such as their grade level teams or professional learning communities.
By attending the conferences and site visits, teachers were able to build an international network of other educators to continue dialogue and learning to deepen the impact of TCS current practices as well as push the school into further innovation. Furthermore, many of the classes and workshops the teachers attended through the exchange program align with current TCS initiatives and practices, such as social and emotional learning, mindfulness, social justice and equity education and restorative justice. Therefore, teachers were able to curate strategies specific to the goals at TCS that can immediately influence the student’s experiences in classrooms.
Congratulations to all participants!
At TCS, we connect people and ideas, create pathways and opportunities for all learners to grow and inspire and are inspired by a sense of engagement and purpose.