The Hewitt School embraces the notion of teachers as learners and offers faculty several opportunities for professional development throughout the year. A highlight of these offerings is our faculty summer grant program, which is supported by Hewitt's professional development fund and by our Parents' Association. Summer grants go beyond general professional development by acknowledging the importance of the whole person and offer funding for opportunities that may not have an explicit curricular tie. Read on to get a sense of how recipients of these grants have developed unique and personally meaningful professional development experiences.
Daniel Denver, Chair, Performing Arts Department: This summer I channeled my inner John Coltrane while studying the alto saxophone. Through a grant from the Parent's Association, I took weekly lessons and was able to study both the instrument and the jazz repertoire. I hope to use this experience to guide Hewitt students who play single reed instruments and who want to participate in Hewitt ensembles.
Kristina Podsiadly, Middle & Upper School Science Teacher: This summer, I was awarded a summer grant to attend a 200-hour yoga teacher training at Pure Yoga. Throughout the training, we studied the history of yoga, Sanskrit, yogic philosophy, asana sequencing and alignment, anatomy, restorative and therapeutic yoga, meditation, and pranayama (breathwork). As a faculty member who is currently pioneering a review and expansion of Hewitt’s existing health and wellness program, this opportunity served as the perfect extension of my work here at Hewitt.
Young Kim, Educational Technologist: My Hewitt summer grant gave me the chance to learn from professional artists and museum educators. I participated in a Craft in America Workshop, where I learned the craft of forging and pottery. I also attended the Connecting Collections week-long workshop, hosted by The Met, Guggenheim, and the MOMA, where I learned how museum educators use artifacts to engage students in viewing, analyzing and interpreting art. These experiences rejuvenated my creative spirit and connection to the arts education community.
Jackie Murray Rose, Dean of Students, Upper School Learning Resource Coordinator: Beginning in Tuolumne Meadows and ending in Yosemite Valley, I backpacked 36 miles in four days. Those four days included 14,000 feet of elevation change and climbing Sub Dome. While this experience was physically and mentally demanding, the renewal and revitalization were a key draw in seeking out this challenge. Being surrounded by nature afforded me time to reflect and contemplate what type of advisor, teacher, and person I want to be for our girls and young women.
Erik Sommer, Library & Information Specialist, Visual Arts Teacher: This summer I was given the opportunity to spend the month of July in Berlin as an artist-in-residence at the Institut für Alles Mögliche. The cement installation I created there is titled Die Chemische Reigning (The Dry Cleaner). I used cement because of the juxtaposition that it creates by being a hard, cold material that results in a soft, quiet sculpture. I arrived with only a suitcase and enjoyed the challenge of creating a piece on-site with material found in the neighborhood.
Kirsten Lindberg, Performing Arts Teacher: A Hewitt summer grant enabled me to travel to Australia and New Zealand. When I landed in Sydney, I immediately took a tour of the Sydney Opera House, which was definitely an item on my bucket list! Later in the trip, I observed music classes at three different independent schools and attended a school's choral concert. I was also able to sit in on rehearsals and performances of the Australian Girls Choir in both Sydney and Melbourne. I brought great new ideas, games, and repertoire back with me to Hewitt!
Joan Wolf, Upper School Science Teacher: This summer I went on the trip of a lifetime to southern Africa. My destinations included South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Botswana. I visited many national parks and spoke to villagers in each country about their daily life. In Zimbabwe I spent a day at the Jubulani Primary School. The seventh grade class I attended was studying photosynthesis, just like their Hewitt counterparts. As an environmentalist, it was exciting to learn how involved these countries were in environmental activism.
Leila Kaady, Middle and Upper School Spanish Teacher: Thanks to a summer grant, I had the opportunity to go to Paris and study at the France Langue language school in the heart of La Ville Lumière. Going into the program, I had what I thought was a basic knowledge of the French language. However, upon arrival, I quickly realized that I had a lot of work to do! Each day, after several hours of French, the other international students and I chatted over a cup of coffee. It was comforting and enlightening to hear the perspectives of people coming from different backgrounds from around the world. It also highlighted how special Hewitt is for that same reason, as we also strive to cultivate a diverse, welcoming, and warm community in which students feel at ease expressing their individuality.
Anna Wronsky, Chair, Visual Arts Department: This summer I set out on a journey across Europe to hunt down art to inspire Feminist Stance themed projects and curricula here at Hewitt. I wanted to find art created by women and about women. I traveled to Turkey, Finland, Italy, and France, soaking up art from the world's most prominent museums, churches, and mosques. I also spent some time exploring traditional folk arts and crafts and local street art tucked down alleys and deep into train stations. Most of the galleries I saw were dominated by male artists, and I was left feeling that our collaboration with the Met -- a celebration of art by young women, about young women -- is so very necessary. I can’t wait to see our student produced exhibition this spring.