Teacher Blogs

Innovative Faculty + Supportive Parent Community = Creative Opportunities for Bullis Students!
Posted 10/19/2017 05:39PM

By Lisa Vardi, Director of Cross Divisional Curriculum

October 2017

I recently read Adam Grant's In the Company of Givers and Takers (Harvard Business Review, April 2013) for the Advanced Organizational Theory and Behavior class I'm taking at Vanderbilt. Grant believes there are two types of individuals (in his Ted Talk, he adds a third, matchers!) in an organization: Givers, those who are willing to help others to benefit the organization, and takers, those who prefer to have someone else do their tasks in order to protect their own time and experience. Grant argues it is best for organizations to hire givers who will create a culture of caring; but, it is equally important for organizations to encourage these employees to advocate on behalf of themselves or to protect their time and space. In our high-performing competitive culture today, it is not easy for an institution to protect its givers; but we must do so as it will truly create a culture of caring and attract more givers to your institution.

During my weekend class, my Vanderbilt EdD cohort discussed how most educators are natural givers who are not always protected and continuously ask what they can do for others. I strongly believe this about Bullis instructional and operational staff who contribute tirelessly to ensure our students have the best education possible. I can also say the same about the Bullis Parent Association (PA) as well.

Earlier this week, the Bullis PA Faculty Enrichment Grant Committee, chaired by Patty Sanders, awarded nine grants to faculty members who proposed creative, exciting opportunities to enrich the learning environment in the 2017-18 school year. These grants are "add-ons" to what our dedicated and innovative faculty do everyday in the classroom. These individuals are givers who took the time to write professional and forward-thinking proposals for these grants.

Holistically, these grants have several themes: (1) reflection, (2) art as self-expression, (3) identity, (4) facilitation, and (5) hands-on learning.

  • Middle School teachers Rita Gerharz and Dana Bleiberg will guide students in planning, creating and monitoring a monarch butterfly garden (certified by the North American Butterfly Association). Students will track migration patterns by communicating with students in Mexico and other parts of the United States, serving as citizen scientists documenting and reflecting on the experience.
  • Lower School STEM teacher Mark Walter will host naturalist and artist Clare Walker Leslie, who will guide the Lower School community through reflective nature journaling.
  • Kelsey Donegan along with artist-in-residence Arturo Ho will guide Middle School students in creating a South Hall hallway mosaic which encapsulates the vision of the Middle School experience: Learners Today, Leaders Tomorrow. This permanent art installation will complement the Lower School mosaic created last year and which now hangs in the stairwell of South Hall.
  • Lower School 3rd-5th graders under the tutelage of Carolyn Cohen and playwright-in-residence John Morogiello will script class plays, cast their characters' roles and perform the plays for the wider school community.
  • During the Asian New Year, a local Beijing Opera Company hosted by Chinese teacher Xueying Clarke, will share the music, songs, mime, dance and acrobatics of this ancient art form.
  • To further explore the identify of their immigrant roots, 4th grade students guided by their teachers Jennifer Campbell and Liz Jacobi along with Humanities and Global Studies Director Sara Romeyn will organize a temporary photo exhibition, Building Bridges: Portraits of Immigrants and Refugees to highlight the experiences of immigrants and refugees in America.
  • Julie Finigan and Patty Topliffe have invited Dr. James Golden, Director of Education, the Mark Twain House and Museum, to speak to American history students about the history of race relations in the United States and how The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn can be an agent of change in our society.
  • Sara Romeyn and Bryan Whitford will guide Humanities and Global Studies capstone students in the publication of a first-ever diversity and culture magazine for the Bullis Upper School community to foster a true understanding of our diverse student body.
  • To assist students in evaluating fact from fiction in the news media, Brad Kosegarten and Lisa Clarke will host journalist Peter Adams from the News Literacy Project who will conduct hands-on workshops for Upper School students.

I want to honor these givers who help enrich our community of learners. I look forward to sharing in their gifts this year.

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10601 Falls Road Potomac MD 20854
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