Indian Creek faculty have long been renowned for embracing innovative teaching practices for the benefit of our students, and then sharing their expertise with colleagues near and far. This year’s OESIS Boston Conference, which brought together educators from over 550 independent schools world-wide was yet another opportunity for Indian Creek faculty and administrators to lead the way in advancing educational practices to inspire students around the world.
On October 15 and 16, a contingent of four Indian Creek faculty travelled to Boston, Massachusetts, to attend OESIS Boston. OESIS, “the leading network for innovation at independent schools,” holds five annual conferences around the world to give educators the opportunity to share innovative practices and make connections with other schools on the forefront of education. At this conference, Indian Creek first grade teacher Sarah Allen ’01, Head of School Richard Branson, Pre-Kindergarten teacher Kelly Bryant, and fifth and sixth grade teacher Megan McManus, were asked to present sessions to share the work being done at Indian Creek School with other educators.
Ms. Allen, Ms. Bryant, and Ms. McManus presented a “Classes of the Future” Breakout session on “Blended Learning for Pre-K through Fifth Grade Students.” Their session shared the Indian Creek BLinc (Blended Learning at Indian Creek School) model, and its positive impact on inspiring young students to become deep and engaged learners. Their session also highlighted the positive impact that BLinc courses have had on transforming classroom curriculum throughout the entire school. The Indian Creek teachers were surprised to see that out of almost, 30 sessions, theirs was the only session geared towards the teachers of elementary grades. “Most teachers seeking innovative practices seem to teach older students. It is a testament to our school - and a great benefit to our students - that Indian Creek understands the amazing positive impact that can have on younger students as well. I see it as a personal goal to help share the amazing things that our students can do with other teachers so that more students can benefit from these practices,” shared Sarah Allen.
Indian Creek Head of School Rick Branson was invited to lead two sessions at OESIS Boston. According to OESIS, “We fire-start each day with educators, who are blazing a trail, doing a 12-minute OESIS Ignite Keynote.” Dr. Branson was chosen as a leading trail-blazing educator and was asked to open the day for conference attendees with an Ignite Keynote. Dr. Branson’s keynote topic was “Organizational Leadership and Dispositions.” In true Indian Creek fashion, Dr. Branson decided to make his keynote an active session, rather than simply lecturing to his audience. He invited the crowd to stand, move, and divide themselves into groups for a 12-minute brainstorming session on how to inspire creativity in faculty. He invited one group to discuss what personality dispositions they would look for if they were creating their team from the ground up. The second group was asked to choose one ritual currently in place at their school and consider ways that it could be adjusted to foster innovation. Dr. Branson’s keynote inspired new perspectives - and possibly ideas in attendees.
Dr. Branson was also invited to serve on a leadership Think Tank session on “Strategies for Building a New Faculty Culture.” This panel discussion, focused on design change, was one of the most attended sessions in the conference. Dr. Branson shared the Indian Creek teacher cohort model, developed by Associate Head of School for Academics Mary Mannix, with the conference attendees. This session prompted many educators from around the country to contact Ms. Mannix with requests to learn more about Indian Creek’s model for inspiring teachers through collaboration and coaching.
OESIS Boston 2017 provided Indian Creek faculty again to take the stage and share many of the innovative practices at which our teachers excel with educators from around the world.