Safety, Collaboration Highlight Faculty Orientation

Humanities teacher Matt Dougherty often opens Upper School meetings with a poem, and Landon's first session for the 2018 faculty and staff orientation was no different -- except the presenter was Headmaster Jim Neill who read a poem by Robert Frost called "Two Tramps in Mud Time."

Two lines in the poem read: My object in living is to unite... My avocation and my vocation.

Neill called on the faculty and staff to live by those words during the 2018-19 school year.

"I hope that for everyone here, the education of others is not only your life's work, but also your passion," Neill said. "I hope that you find in this day not just a coming back to your vocation but to your avocation – a coming back to that which you need to do but also that which love to do. In this our task is that much more beautiful."

Assistant Headmaster Charles Franklin, who organized the four days of orientation (along with two additional days for new faculty), gave each day an overarching theme: preparation, community, collaboration and growth.

Three highlights from the week include a presentation from a security firm that specializes in school safety, initial meetings for all-school committees and a day of collaboration with sister school Holton-Arms.

Educator School Safety Network (ESSN) arrived on Monday to speak to teachers and staff after auditing Landon's security procedures last spring. The two-hour session focused on the importance of several issues, including backpack storage, locked doors, and school IDs. The trainers explained that IDs not only provide a welcoming feature for the community but also a means for students and first responders to find a trusted adult in an emergency. (Landon is implementing IDs and visitor stickers this school year). ESSN, founded by a former teacher and administrator, uses an education-based approach to school safety.

Faculty and staff also spent time jump-starting all-school committee work during orientation that will continue during late start days throughout the year. The 11 committees this year include Culture and Community, Parent Partnership/Student Wellness, Social-Emotional Learning, Athletic Philosophy and a look at the school's daily schedule among others.

"The committees for this year address a wide range of important strategic priorities for the school," Franklin explained. "Faculty and staff members from all walks of school life are serving together on these committees to keep pushing Landon forward."

During a day of collaboration with sister school Holton-Arms, teachers could choose between 11 professional development sessions that touched on topics such as student leadership, best practices in encouraging creative thinking, and the social-emotional health of our students.

"Faculty were engaged and inspired by the presentations, and the collaboration only served to deepen the connections between Landon and Holton faculty," Franklin said. "Throughout the year, Landon boys engage in curricular and co-curricular activities and programming with students from Holton, and our time together this summer was a wonderful example of sharing best practices for the benefit of both schools."

Teachers also had summer reading assignments. Selections included Neuroteach: Brain Science and the Future of Education by Glenn Whitman and Ian Kelleher, Whistling Vivaldi: And Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us by Claude M. Steele and Legacy: What the All Blacks Can Teach Us About The Business of Life by James Kerr. Book discussions will take place during the school's first late start in September.