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What I did this Summer—Faculty Professional Development

EE Ford Collage 2019

From top left: Beth Cain's visit to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi in downtown Santa Fe, NM; the entrance to ceremonial kiva at Acoma pueblo, NM. A welcome cake from Amy Clashman's host family in Vichy, France; Amy and a fellow teacher from Pennsylvania at Puy de Dome, a volcano in central France. Jim Carlson and the Caesar in Gaul group at the Maison Carree, a first century CE Roman temple in Nimes, France, and the Pont du Gard, a Roman aqueduct bridge from the same era.

In 1993, a gift from the Edward E. Ford Foundation, with additional support from members of the school community at the time, established a fund restricted for Gregory School faculty development. The fund is generously expanded every year through a gift from the families of our graduating seniors; donations provided as a thank-you to the professionals who have touched the lives of students in countless ways during a student’s tenure at TGS. The gift is presented at commencement by a parent of a graduating student.

To use the fund, faculty members submit requests for individual grants to be approved by the Head of School. This year, three faculty members received support from the fund and share their stories here!

A Hazard of the Profession
Amy Clashman

Knowing that I would be teaching a full spectrum of French students this year, from beginning to very advanced, I thought the time was right to freshen up my French. It’s good to travel to a French-speaking country periodically -- a hazard of the profession!  I am very grateful to have received the E.E. Ford grant, which allowed me to enroll for two weeks in CAVILAM, a language school in Vichy, France. There I took courses about modern French culture with other French teachers from around the world. I also lived with a host family, which led to many lively dinner conversations. I came home with ideas about new books to teach, classroom activities, and neologisms, such as “uberisation,” to run a business on the Uber model. I am so happy to have been afforded this opportunity!

Amy Clashman teaches French and has been a member of The Gregory School faculty since 1988.

Studying Willa Cather in Santa Fe
Beth Cain

In July I traveled to Santa Fe, New Mexico, for a week's study of Willa Cather's novel, Death Comes for the Archbishop. This opportunity was provided by the E.E. Ford Fund and hosted at Santa Fe Preparatory School. In my almost 25 years of teaching, I can say unequivocally that this seminar was one of the top three professional development experiences I've ever attended.  

The purpose of the colloquium was to look deeply into the novel, focusing on the importance of place in the development of the story. This was accomplished with discussion groups, field trips to significant settings from the book, guest speakers, and personal reflection through writing and study. Not only was our facilitator exceptional, but each activity presented a chance for deeper connection with the literature. I came back to Tucson excited and ready to challenge my eighth grade English students with this difficult, but beautiful, classic American novel.

Beth Cain is The Gregory School senior librarian and teaches Middle School English and Upper School journalism. She has been a member of The Gregory School faculty since 2016.

Caesar in Gaul
Jim Carlson

This summer, as a recipient of an E.E. Ford Foundation grant, I was able to travel to France and participate in a program called “Caesar in Gaul” run by the Paedeia Institute of New York. The program is designed primarily for high school teachers of Caesar, but the class also included several graduate students. The class, which was taught by Christopher Krebs of Stanford and Luca Grillo of Notre Dame, the editors of and contributors to “The Cambridge Companion to the writings of Julius Caesar.” 

We met in Paris and took the high-speed train to Aix-en-Provence, where we spent the first week. We were in lectures for 5-7 hours per day, and took field trips to Arles, Nimes, and Pont du Gard to see important Roman sites and museums. The second week, we travelled up the Rhone and had three days of lectures in Lyon, before heading to Autun to see important Gallic sites, and finally back to Paris.

I have taken from this experience a renewed appreciation for Caesar and his literary works, which I have brought back to the classroom and am sharing with my students. I would like to express my profound appreciation to the Ford Foundation, Dr. Sherrill, and to all the TGS parents who made this incredible experience possible.

Jim Carlson teaches Latin in the Upper School and has been a member of The Gregory School Faculty since 1993.

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