Writings on the people, programs and philosophies behind BSS.

The Magazine

The Link Spring 2019

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A Hub of Learning

What makes the difference in creating powerful learners for the future? Well, it is the same as it was for all of us: great teachers and role models. If you think back to your own experience in school, it was most likely a teacher whose passion for learning, often in a subject that you also loved, and her or his interest in you as an individual, that made the difference. In my own case, it was a series of fabulous librarians who knew that I loved to read, and who would greet me at each visit with a set of books ready behind the counter. Knowing which books I loved to read, and generously putting them aside just for me made me feel very special indeed. Educational research supports our instincts: terrific teachers do make the difference, in fact, having an effective teacher can double the amount of learning that can take place in just one year.

The research in teacher effectiveness shows that there is a wide difference between teachers who have experience and those who are experts. Expert teachers are much better than just experienced teachers in a number of areas. They:

    • Are adept at problem-solving in and out of the classroom
    • Anticipate, plan and improvise easily, depending on the classroom situation
    • Create an optimal classroom climate for learning
    • Are more able to monitor student difficulties, assess individual student understandings, and give quicker, more relevant feedback
    • Have a high respect for students
    • Provide appropriate challenges and goals for all students

This research matters to us, and it matters that our teachers are challenging themselves to be experts in their particular fields.

At BSS, when we hire new staff, including teachers and other staff members, we are most concerned about finding talent that has a strong knowledge base in the area, has continued to pursue learning in a variety of ways beyond formal schooling, and has a distinctive and relentless curiosity about something, whether that be biology teaching (a teacher), social media marketing (communications), or girls’ mental health (nurses). One question that we like to ask prospective candidates in an interview is what they are currently reading. Their response gives us a small window into what they are curious about, and it sometimes brings up a whole new area of interest.

Above all, BSS is a hub of learning. In the following pages you will read about teachers who are finding relevant ways to communicate complicated and sophisticated material to our students, teachers who responded to students’ interests with clubs and activities, and our terrific alumnae who took the seeds given to them here at BSS and turned them into professional passions that are making a difference in non-traditional fields for women. From our youngest children discovering the world in our local ravines, to our alum who are helping build better electric cars for a sustainable future, we continue to push and support so that our girls are making a difference.

In this issue of The Link, we are demonstrating the expertise that our teachers bring to the classroom every day. In addition, you will learn of how our alumnae have developed remarkable expertise so that they are influencing their fields with passion, persistence and grit. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we’ve enjoyed putting this magazine together. 

 

Dr. Angela Terpstra
Spring 2019