In a land far, far away… Well, not really.

A few weeks ago, a group from the Lower School made the trip down to New Orleans for some of the most enjoyable professional development, school visits!

Maya Buford, Jessica Farris, Kathy Vial, Mayson McKey, Sara Clark, Sarah Walker, and myself spent two days visiting schools in Metarie and New Orleans. The group visited St. Martin Episcopal School, Metairie Park Country Day, Isidore Newman School, and even got to catch up with Virginia Buchanan, a valued and treasured member of our St. Andrew’s family.

The purpose of the trip was to observe best practices for the application and integration of visual and performing arts, world languages, science, makerspace, and tech integration.

The co curricular team had wonderful and insightful tours and had numerous valuable conversations with teachers and administrators at each of the schools visited.

At St. Martin Episcopal School, the team witnessed the benefits of having departments from all divisions working together, planning, and sharing resources that enriched the students’ learning experiences both in and out of the core content classrooms, as well as fostered the growth of the community as whole from the preschool all the way to the senior class, where students parents, faculty and staff were all valuable parts of the whole.

Metairie Park Country Day was a magical experience where the team was able to observe that thinking outside the box and non-traditional classroom models can actually be a widely successful model for differentiation and student success. High expectations and relationships were the backbone of every story and interaction beheld at the school where students participated in specialized blocks of time for club and enrichment activities held by every member of the faculty and staff.

Isodore Newman welcomed us with open arms, and was excited for our group of teachers to join in their monthly assembly called the Greenie Gathering, where they infuse their monthly calendar with a critical to the educational experience, FUN! Special songs, guests from the community, celebrating success, student and event showcases, and reminders of who they are as a community shined through. 

The team saw so many things that these schools were doing well, and that there is truly not some perfect model for all schools to follow and be successful. The keys are its members, the mission, and knowing and meeting the needs of your community and students.

Although much was learned, seen, and many more ideas were brought to the forefront for future pondering, the overall take-away: There are so many things in which St. Andrew’s excels, and we are proud to be part of the St. Andrew’s Episcopal community.

Take a walk through through the halls, so to speak, by talking a look at a few of the pictures below.

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