As a school dedicated to providing an exceptional elementary education, Tenacre seeks to nurture and challenge students over a broad range of academic subjects. 
Every child at Tenace is a full participant, a valued contributor to our vibrant community. In classrooms, on our playing fields, in art, music, and drama, our students are actively engaged in their own education. It is our belief that when every child has multiple opportunities to succeed, every child can and will succeed.

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  • The Schoolhouse: Tenacre's Earliest Years

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  • Public Speaking: Finding Your Voice

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  • Individualized Instruction: Small, Flexible Academic Groups

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Faculty Professional Development

This was a banner year for the GwinnLandry Summer Grants, with ten approved grants involving 25 faculty and some participating in more than one grant. Summer Grants continue to be one of the most powerful forms of professional development. These homegrown projects harness teacher creativity and ingenuity to design curriculum, solve problems, and work collaboratively. Since the project ideas stem from school experience, they have direct relevance to day-to-day work and result in tangible gains for students. Summer grants can also provide an opportunity for in-depth curriculum review and revision. Grants that involve curriculum review and revision are overseen by the Reading and Math Coordinators and the Assistant Head of School. Below please see a summary of this year’s grants. 

Note: Grant proposals are submitted in the spring and must be approved by the Head of School and Assistant Head of School. Administrators participating in summer grant work do not receive stipends.

List of 10 items.

  • Creating a Professional Development Portal

    Faculty Participants: Jenzi Reed and Lou Anne Collins

    A variety of documents are used to chart professional development, instructional development, and evaluation. The purpose of this grant was to review all of the documents and house them in one easy-to-access portal rather than in separate folders on Google Drive. Step one involved meeting with Ounce IT consultants, Susan Morgan and Tom Corbin to review commercial products and homegrown alternatives. After weighing options, it was decided that creating a Faculty Professional Development Google Classroom would be a user-friendly, no-cost solution. Jenzi and Lou Anne revised and consolidated the documents in each of the aforementioned categories, which were migrated to the new Classroom. Housing all of the forms/templates in the classroom will streamline access and distribution. Teachers have begun using the Classroom this fall and will be asked to offer feedback on the ease and efficiency throughout the year. Using the same model, Jenzi created a Google Mentor Classroom, where all staff participating in the Mentor/Mentee program can access materials.
  • Creating a Spanish Website

    Faculty Participant: Merce Garcia

    Spanish teacher Merce Garcia used her summer grant to begin an ambitious project of creating a Spanish website where each grade can go to practice vocabulary and grammar structures in a fun way beyond the classroom. The website design is a Pirate Ship titled "Spanish Explorer.” When the student clicks on the pirate representing their grade, the pirate's cabin opens. Each of the objects around the cabin leads to games in a vocabulary unit or into grammar concepts. The website allows students to have the agency to learn more and advance their learning of the language by practicing outside the classroom.
  • Creating User-friendly Library Space and Displays

    Faculty Participant: Sam Kane

    Librarian Sam Kane worked throughout the summer to create a library space that encourages engagement and exploration. Focusing on flexibility and “dynamic shelving,” Sam added new student-friendly tables that can be moved and reconfigured for projects. Removing the fixed tables opened up the space for better access to books and increased areas for collaborative projects. The new dynamic shelving approach includes more outward-facing books and displays to engage student interest. Sam also created a series of book bins, which will rotate topics and genres. Another new feature is programming stations, where students can choose from a variety of activities, including monthly required reading and research stations.
  • Earth Week: Beyond a One-Day Celebration

    Faculty Participants: Leah Staffier and Sam Kane

    Science teacher Leah Staffier and Librarian Sam Kane created a series of activities and a list of resources that can be used in both library and science classes and by interested homeroom teachers. The week-long focus will heighten awareness of sustainability issues throughout the school. The lessons/ activities will have all-campus action steps to foster personal and group stewardship. Leah and Sam will kick off the week with an assembly, and students will create a display made from recycled materials collected throughout the school. Each day of the week will focus on a different theme, for example, pollution police and plant producers.
  • Focus on Phonics

    Faculty Participants: Christina Grace, Lou Anne Collins, Megan Delaney, Tatiana Cochis, Margo Portnoy, Megan Swift, Kate O’Toole, Susan Doering, Lauren Howard, Sabrina Santinello, Casey Connelly, Erin Wong, Liz Amory, Jenzi Reed, Rachel Sullivan, Denise Daoud

    All teachers of lower school reading participated in a two-day phonics refresher led by Orton-Gillingham-trained instructors Mary Finnegan, MS, CAGS, ICALP, CC-SLP, and Lynda Muldoon, M.Ed, ICALP.  Mary and Lynda reviewed phonetic principles and best practices and shared hands-on activities. The refresher established common language and a framework for the second part of the grant, which was to review our current program and instruction. After study and discussion, we decided to adopt the Fundations program for phonics instruction, which will be rolled out in grades K and 1 for the 2023-24 school year. Parents were informed about the new program at Back-to-School Nights. PK will continue to use Lively Letters a multisensory program, with a strong speech component that we have found to be extremely effective for introducing letter sounds.
  • Gr. 2 Social Studies Update

    Faculty Participants: Kate O’Toole and Susan Doering

    Second-grade teachers Kate O’Toole and Susan Doering began the process of updating their social studies curriculum, which is part of a schoolwide review. The kindergarten and first-grade curriculums have been updated thus far. The goal of the updates is to ensure that all strands of elementary social studies (geography, history, culture, civics, and economics) are covered in appropriate depth. Step one of this process involved referencing the MA State Standards and the National Council for Social Studies standards, researching commercial programs, and reading K and 1 maps. Areas for revisions were identified and work will continue throughout the school year.
  • Math Scope & Sequence Refresh

    Faculty Participants: Regina Barrett & Tom Doering

    Math Coordinator Regina Barrett and Math Instructor Tom Doering fine-tuned and re-wrote portions of the math scope and sequence in grades 1-3. With new teachers in several grades and curriculum reviews on hold during COVID, it was important to have an up-to-date scope and sequence to guide instruction. The goal of the refined scope & sequence is to help teachers deliver a cohesive math curriculum that highlights the most important concepts and allows time for more projects, games, and hands-on activities. 
    The following topics were reviewed:
    • Current units and timelines 
    • The match between scope & sequence skills and report checklists
    • Telling time units were moved up to the first half of the year in grades 1-3. 
    • Pacing calendars were created and shared with homeroom teams, and learning & enrichment specialists during opening meetings week.
  • Revising the Grade 4 Writing Curriculum

    Faculty Participants: Leigh Nesky and Lauren DeLisle 

    The fourth-grade teachers revised the scope and sequence of the writing curriculum with a focus on building writing skills through the writing process rather than teaching the skills through writing projects. Their research included a review of professional resources and the 3rd and 5th-grade maps to ensure alignment. For each writing unit, they outlined the goals, objectives, essential questions, content, and skills. They also considered technology integration and added mini-lessons, learning activities, and assessments. 

    The vision statement they crafted reflects the goals of the writing program. The vision for literacy work, specifically writing, is for children to become lifelong writers who display agency and independence in their endeavors. We aim to show students how to use writing to improve themselves and their communities. In addition to creative writing, the fourth-grade units begin to familiarize students with the genres they will regularly encounter throughout school—thesis-driven persuasive essays, literary essays, and research writing. Each unit begins where the students are and then provides a progression of instruction that brings students step by step toward increasing proficiency. Unit goals reflect each phase of the writing process and include planning, drafting, revising, and editing skills. The writing curriculum sequence also considers interdisciplinary connections and is aligned with Tenacre units in social studies and other subjects. 
  • Reworking Curriculum Maps

    Faculty Participants: Katie Dubenetsky and Rebecca Goddard

    As a new teaching team, third-grade teachers Katie Dubenetsky and Rebecca  Goddard have worked to revise units of study. Instead of simply updating maps as required, they used their summer grant to conduct a complete review of the existing maps, which included revisions and the creation of new maps in several subjects. While working on new maps together, Katie & Rebecca were able to reflect on their existing curriculum and make important updates.
    Some specific work on the maps that reflect classroom instruction include:
    • Creating a Social Thinking Curriculum Map
    • Re-mapping language arts so the map was more complete and easy to follow; dividing up the scope and sequence by individual skills and adding resources and assessments to each.
    • Adding a year-long math facts unit to the math map
    • Dividing reading maps by units based on lessons and novels; linking all new teaching materials in Google Drive for every novel unit.
  • Yoga for Young Children

    Faculty Participant: Melissa Roper

    In addition to technology teaching, Certified Fitness and Wellness Instructor Melissa Roper will teach the once-a-week yoga classes for kindergarten and pre-kindergarteners (beginning in January) this year. To prepare for this new teaching assignment, Melissa researched best practices and met with instructors of youth programs. The result of this work is a dynamic introduction to Yoga and mindfulness for young students. Melissa aims to make lessons playful and fun while improving students’ balance, strength, and focus. The benefits of Yoga instruction are well documented. More than just a game: Yoga for Young Children/ harvard.edu