Wilson Hall, Sumter School District and Liberty STEAM to have 1st collaborative event

Professional development workshop set for April 13


Wilson Hall, Sumter School District and Liberty STEAM Charter School will kick off their first collaborative event together with a free, shared professional development workshop for teachers on Saturday, April 13.

Wilson Hall Head of School Brent Kaneft spoke Monday on the group activity, which will be an introduction into the science of learning and current research on how the brain learns best to practically implement strategies to improve student outcomes.

Glenn Whitman, a leader in mind, brain and education research and executive director at the Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning at St. Andrews Episcopal School in Potomac, Maryland, will lead the workshop, which will be from 8:30 to 3 p.m. at Wilson Hall. Also an educator, Whitman is the co-author of Neuroteach: Brain Science and the Future of Education, the co-designer of Neuroteach Global and Neuroteach Global Student and co-editor of Think Differently and Deeply, the international publication of the Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning.

According to Kaneft, Whitman's focus is primarily on sixth through 12th grades, but he will be joined at the workshop by Christine Lewis, another researcher and educator, who is an expert in early education and elementary education.

"So, this workshop will span from pre-kindergarten all the way to 12th grade for anybody who is interested," Kaneft said.

He noted that part of the center's mission is also to bring public, charter and private schools together in its work.

The school district and Liberty STEAM are handling their own registrations for the free workshop, he said, but there will be limited space for other attendees. Kaneft invites other local private school educators, homeschool parents, youth ministers, local college professors and anyone who works with kids to include parents to attend. If interested, they should contact him by email at brentkaneft@wilsonhall.org to see if space will be available.

Kaneft said he thinks the workshop will involve practical concepts for everyone.

"I have been partners with the Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning for almost 10 years now," he said. "Glenn Whitman is amazing, and Chris Lewis, his partner, she is amazing. I think whoever comes will get several strategies to use that next Monday. It will be very practical and not a lot of theory and in the clouds, so to speak. It's going to be a lot of: 'Hey, here is something that you can do to move the needle tomorrow.'"

He added he thinks the collaboration among the three entities can create an overall narrative about Sumter education that everyone is committed to improvement and willing to work together for the betterment of all local kids.

"I see this as an iron sharpens iron kind of thing," Kaneft said. "My hope is also that we break down some barriers between public, private and charter schools and that we come together and break some bread and get to know one another. I think, at least historically, there has been a divide between those three entities, and I think this is a positive way to move forward in a friendly direction."