From the moment new teachers step inside the front door, the investment in their professional development begins. No matter what their experience level, they are assigned a mentor, who regularly engages them in discussions about teaching; observes them in the classroom and gives feedback; and sets and tracks goals for improvement. Mentors find that their own teaching practice improves because they’re constantly reflecting on what good teaching looks like.
Teachers also observe each other in "faculty rounds," work in study groups focusing on particular areas of teaching, and attend professional development activities outside of school. Gann encourages teachers to hone their craft in new environments, offering a travel fellowship that has taken teachers like Wilkins to Israel and others as far away as India.
Gann values its role as a pedagogical leader and as often as possible, spreads its expertise more widely. In fact, Gann is the site of TedxWalthamED, a day of education-themed talks on April 2, which will draw educators from public and independent schools throughout the state. And at the annual Prizmah Jewish Day School conference, Gann led more training sessions than any other school in the country, with six faculty and staff members presenting. This fall, Gann will launch a research program that supports additional studies on teaching practice.
Gann alum Jonathan Gould, a doctoral student in Harvard’s department of government, reflects on his high school teachers: "They made a remarkable difference in my life," says Gould, who also has a law degree from Harvard. "I got the attention and mentorship that I couldn’t have gotten anywhere else."