According to former Board Chair, Janet Hart, "part of a trustee's responsibility is to be familiar with the school's programs. One way to monitor programs is to see teachers and students in the classroom setting. Trustees get a glimpse of the gamut of program offerings at our school, from circle time on Cowper, to using abacuses in Chinese math class on Cohn, to Spanish class taught in French in Middle School. Trustees benefit from seeing our dynamic faculty in action, as well as seeing the myriad ways students are engaged in learning at ISTP."
Our trustees weighed in on the experience:
Paru Yusuf said that she always comes away "with a renewed faith in our decision to be at ISTP and a greater respect for the teachers. Over my last four years of visitation opportunities, I have observed several changes, all for the better. First, technology is well integrated into the classroom, but has not taken over. I know with SMARTBoards, laptops, etc., there were some concerns about too much technology, but what I have seen over the years is that it enhances the learning and gives teachers an additional teaching tool, one that kids relate to. Second, I think our commitment to faculty professional development energized the teachers, and you can visibly see how it's translated into the classroom. I rarely see a teacher just standing and lecturing; rather, they are moving about the class, making contact with the students, being creative in using different tools and methods to support the lesson. Third, I think the citizenship standards have truly become a part of ISTP classroom culture."
New trustee, Thierry Nivaggioli, was happy to spend time in the classrooms.
"In both classes, the students warmly greeted me, and later explained what they were working on. The art class I visited was quite interesting, and I thought the small groups the students were placed into were quite autonomous. The project they were working on was impressive. In addition to the art class, I had the chance to observe a 4th grade Chinese class. Although the language was difficult for me to follow, I thoroughly enjoyed the songs, activities, costumes, etc. I noticed how even to each other, they would speak the target language in class."
"This was a wonderful experience," Thierry claimed. "There is such value in visiting the classes, and seeing firsthand, how the teachers and students thrive in their classroom environment."
Karen Melchior, also a Trustee, had a fantastic time visiting classrooms.
"When we originally applied to ISTP, we were unable to visit the school, so this was my first opportunity to observe what happens in the classroom. What impressed me most were the teachers. Their skills at conveying their enthusiasm for the subject matter was impressive. Not only that, teachers took the time with everyone in the classroom to make sure the lessons were understood. "
She continued, "It struck me that education has changed so much! Technology is well-integrated into every class. The children's exposure to music and art not only happens during those classes, but music and art are used in other subjects as well, to convey the concepts or to aid learning. Classrooms today have a lot of energy and are vibrant experiences for our children. They are learning, being challenged, and having fun.... my pride in ISTP has increased dramatically!"
Lynette Philippe commented on how ISTP's new mission is well-incorporated into the programs, stating, "the idea of collaboration in the classroom was evident. Each class I visited had students working together and interacting/participating as opposed to merely listening to the teacher drone on. It was invigorating and impressive."