By Donna Milani Luther, Head of School
As Inly’s Head of School, I am often asked what sets us apart from other schools. And while there are so many things that differentiate Inly—from our Montessori foundation, to our family-like atmosphere, to our culture of creativity, to our belief in the potential of each child—our faculty and staff is at the top of the list. Below are two recent examples of Inly faculty as leaders in Massachusetts education—both in Montessori and in Independent schools.
This year, our Middle School teachers, Paran Quigley and Tschol Slade, presented at both AISNE (Association of Independent Schools in New England) and MSM (Montessori Schools of Massachusetts) conferences. In their workshop, “Fostering a Growth Mindset through Critical Self-Reflection,” Paran and Tschol facilitated a discussion about what “growth mindset” for adolescents means. They also explored why fostering a growth mindset is critical to adolescent students (both as individual learners and as members of a broader learning community), and shared many tools that they developed at Inly to help build self-reflective habits of mind and resilience in students. Both workshops were extraordinarily well received and well-attended.
Inly art teacher, Annemarie Whilton, is leaving her mark in the art world. She has joined The Sketchbook Project, a crowd-sourced, global art project and interactive, traveling exhibition of handmade books. The mission of this project, organized by the Brooklyn Art Library, is to allow anyone to be able to participate in art and to create a collection of work that represents the current state of artists worldwide. Annemarie is scheduled to be a part of the Northeast tour and she’s promised to keep us posted when The Sketchbook Project’s funky van comes to town!
In addition, Inly head librarian and literature specialist, Shelley Sommer, presented a workshop at the MSM conference called “Essential Books for the Montessori Classroom.” Shelley discussed how the Montessori classroom is a unique environment and the classroom library is an ideal space to reflect Montessori values. She explored which picture books promote peace, global awareness, and a generous spirit; the best read-alouds to inspire compassion and curiosity; and she taught participants how a well-chosen picture book can support curricular goals and inspire students. She also shared a collection of essential picture books that enrich any classroom.
As many of you know, the expectations of an Inly teacher are very high. They must be trained observers, keenly attuned to each child, and facilitators who encourage their students to find their own solutions, rather than tell them the answer. They also must strive every day to educate and challenge the whole child. As Maria Montessori once said, “the [Montessori] environment must be a living one, directed by a higher intelligence, arranged by an adult who is prepared for his mission.” Inly teachers are most definitely prepared for their mission and it is a joy to witness.
I’m thrilled that our faculty members are not only enriching the Inly community but the greater educational community as well. There is a great deal of intellectual curiosity that is fostered in an Inly classroom each day and it’s wonderful to share this passion with the rest of the world.