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Teacher Leaders at Nazareth Prep

Monday, September 19, 2016

We are proud to share that two of our teachers have been selected to participate in prestigious programs focusing on innovation in education. Mrs. Kristin Alvarez, Integrated Design Lab teacher and Mrs. Jenny Lanas, Coordinator of Educational & Cultural Affairs/Cultural Literacy/Game Design teacher will be participating in two cohort programs that have both national and local connections.

Kristin Alvarez will be focusing on how to explore the promises, practices and pedagogies of maker-centered learning through the Agency by Design program, an initiative of Harvard Graduate School of Education. Supported by the Abundance Foundation, Agency by Design (AbD) is a multiyear initiative at Project Zero investigating the promises, practices, and pedagogies of maker-centered learning experiences. Kristin, along with other local teacher leaders will work to develop an understanding of the AbD research and framework utilize the framework at NCCP along with our current practice of using human centered design/design thinking for problem solving and participate in Agency by Design’s new phase of research on maker centered learning.

In collaboration with the Quaker Valley School District’s Project Zero program, the project is structured around monthly workshops and study groups, opportunities for educators to share, connect AbD ideas to their own teaching, and collaborate as a peer group of educators around formal and informal classroom-relevant practice. Kristin is eager to incorporate the AbD framework into her classroom where she helps students navigate the problem solving process and become community change agents.

Jenny Lanas is participating in the Carnegie Mellon University CREATE LAB Fluency program, funded by the Heinz Endowments. Fluency will empower teachers and students with the capabilities to participate in today’s big data movement, to find a home for inquiry, narrative, and advocacy in the classroom, and personalize problem-based learning. Fluency will build on the CREATE Lab’s experience working with teachers and schools to create a new engagement pathway for technology and data fluency.

Learners will investigate data, reconcile it with their personal experience, and influence public discourse. In addition to projects where students create technology or media in order to express the self through their learning, they can also use powerful data analysis and visualization tools to turn observations into compelling arguments. Jenny says: “The strength and viability of our culture depends upon adolescents having rich and varied learning experiences that help them to cultivate a sense of curiosity, wonder, and empathy. As a member of the Fluency Project, I am eager to equip my students with the creative confidence and understanding to make sense of real world issues that they care deeply about. This is vital if we are to educate the next generation of innovators and servant leaders who have the capacity and will to solve the toughest problems on the horizon.​”

These programs fall in line with Nazareth Prep’s teaching and learning philosophies of student centered, active and project based learning which seek to build future-ready mindsets in students that prepare them for multiple post-secondary pathways including college and careers.