Love of Learning Never Stops: CA Faculty and Staff Summer Activities

History teachers Topi Dasgupta P’22 ’25 and Ed Rafferty P’19 ’21 taught for SEEDS—Access Changes Everything, a program that prepares high-achieving, low-income students for admission to private schools and colleges. At least one student joins CA each year through SEEDS. Dasgupta describes the program’s approach for educators as interdisciplinary and collaborative and the students as highly motivated. The instruction through SEEDS goes beyond subject matter. “In many ways, we’re teaching about the learning culture at independent schools,” she says. “We focus on reciprocity, on students feeling they’ll be listened to—this idea we have at CA that teachers are partners in learning.”

English teacher Nick Hiebert worked for the first time on the faculty at the Multicultural Teaching Institute (MTI), which aims to inspire and equip teachers to continue personal exploration of their own cultural identity and where it intersects with teaching and learning. He joined his English Department colleague Ayers Stiles-Hall P’23 ’24, who has been on the MTI faculty for a number of years.

Librarian Martha Kennedy got involved with the Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS) as a reader—of 14 books—for this year’s Peter Gomes Memorial Book Prize. (She notes some CA-MHS connections: Kennedy was asked to serve as a reader by Kanisorn “Kid” Wongsrichahanalai ’99, who is the director of research at MHS. And CA History Department Chair Claire Nelson serves on the MHS board.)

Science Department Head Amy Kumpel took two courses at Harvard Graduate School of Education this summer toward a certificate program in school management and leadership, taught in conjunction with the Harvard Business School. In one course, Leading Change, which considered challenges to equity and fostering growth mindsets, Kumpel explored findings from CA’s STEM Equity Task Force, which she chaired during the 2019–20 school year. And in the other, Leading Learning, she focused on developing school culture to support continuous improvement and foster teacher leadership. She resonated with the idea of reframing professional development as collaborative, on-the-job learning that takes place through day-to-day classroom experience. “I really connected with this reframing and hope to identify such experiences for my own department,” she says.

After a summer of playing outdoors in cotton T-shirts at local food pantries, music teacher and violist Jenny Stirling performed in more formal attire August 27 at the Hatch Shell in Boston when the Handel and Haydn Society presented Beethoven’s powerful 9th Symphony, free to the public, to celebrate the return of live performance in the Boston arts scene.

Digital music production teacher Nate Tucker finished a film score with strings and piano for a documentary film that will be premiered this year. We look forward to hearing the music when it’s released in the coming months! He also spent time getting ready to teach a new CA course combining science and music, Musical Instrument Design, in which students will explore the properties of acoustic sound and imagine and create new instrument ideas.

Chemistry teacher Will Tucker finished a project he’s been working on for some years: writing an organic chemistry textbook, designed to be accessible for any student in high school or college. He enjoyed researching references for all of the topics, including some routinely taught in organic chemistry that originated in the 1850s. Read an excerpt (PDF).

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“Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability. If you want to have change, you have to fight for it,” historian Kellie Carter Jackson told the CA community during her Martin Luther King Jr. Day keynote speech. This thought-provoking statement set the tone for a day of programming centered on social justice through group discussions, creative workshops, and a dance performance.