ISACS Conference (Courtesy/Dr. Jacky)
School was out on November 2nd and 3rd, much to the joy of CA students. However, faculty and staff were not exempt from work on those days. Instead of the usual three professional development days spaced throughout the year, administrators chose to put two of these days together so that the entire faculty and staff could attend the annual Independent School Accreditation of the Central States (ISACS) conference at the Columbus Convention Center in downtown Columbus.
ISACS is a Chicago-based organization that legitimizes the curriculum of private schools like CA, and as Mr. Olexio puts it, ensures that “an A in a math class is actually an A in a math class.” ISACS also hosts professional development events for private schools. Academy usually sends a select group of faculty members to these conferences in Chicago, but because this year’s conference was in downtown Columbus, they elected to send the entire faculty and staff.
Academy faculty and staff attended four sessions per day that lasted an hour and a quarter each. Sessions ranged from Get Out, Kids! Outdoor Education in K-8: Revealing 2023’s Biggest Trends with Students, Tech & Social Median to A Thematic Approach to Teaching Social Studies. Our own Mr. Bolognese and Dr. Dennet gave a workshop on Asking Students to Break the Rules Using Student-generated “What-ifs”, which discusses challenging students to ask thoughtful questions, and using these questions to enhance one’s teaching curriculum.
The social aspect of the conference is also a key component. After the first day, Mr. Olexio organized a relaxed faculty get-together for pizza and hor d’oeuvres across from the Columbus Convention Center. According to Mr. Olexio, this is important because “We do a better job of teaching you guys when we’re in a good place personally as well.” When asked about his favorite part of the event, Mr. Compton stated that “I enjoyed ISACs because we get to meet a lot of teachers from other schools and learn from each other,” which reinforces the theme of inter-community engagement.
This year’s ISACS conference was mutually beneficial for all parties involved. The students got a restful weekend, and faculty and staff were able to connect with teachers from all over the Midwest, as well as develop new ideas and teaching styles.