Brendan Largay, Head of School

A Window Into the Faculty Room

Since the opening of the Barn, the faculty room has returned to the Schoolhouse—moving from the trailer, affectionately known as Coolidge Cottage, that is in front of Coolidge Hall. As the crow flies, the gathering space for faculty only moved about 500 feet to what was formerly Ms. Solomon’s art classroom. However, the impact of the move has been substantial and grounding.  

The buzz that serves as one of the qualitative indicators of a vibrant educational space is back inside the building, and its energy is contagious. The faculty room is much more than just a spot for a quick cup of coffee before the next lesson or a place to get student work laminated. It is a hub of collaboration at Belmont Day.

This week alone, I have made a point to pay particularly close attention to the use of the room as a collaborative learning and planning space. I have eaten lunch there with an open ear for dialogue about pedagogy, practice, teaching strategies, and classroom observations and trends that teachers are observing with a critical perspective and willing flexibility to respond to any shifts they may see.

When I extrapolate the week out over the course of a school year, and realize that there are countless conversations happening in places other than the faculty room and that there are some seventy faculty members engaging in these conversations in thousands of different combinations, I have the true privilege of seeing the magic of Belmont Day take shape before my eyes. Everything at Belmont Day starts and ends with the experience of the students, and they couldn’t be in better care.

Of course, there’s research that reinforces why collaboration is so important—the sharing, pressure-testing, and reinventing of ideas among professionals with the common purpose of education as their guide. Collaboration is not only one of the so-called 21st-century skills alongside creativity, communication, adaptability, problem-solving, and critical thinking, it is also what we are dedicated to doing and teaching.

In the faculty room, collaboration is where it all begins. Our teachers are great problem solvers on their own, but in collaboration they are truly masterful, offering critical insights, holding up that invaluable mirror to one another, and, with students at the center, gathering to improve the learning experience every day.

Funny what a small change—500 feet—can bring into focus for a community such as ours.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

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