In August, the National Association of Independent School (NAIS) visited Gill St. Bernard's and shared "The Innovation Summit" with faculty and staff. The presentation provided a framework to consider areas—such as, curriculum, learning environment, tradition and community—in which Gill offers something unique, and then to find common threads among those offerings. By exploring those common threads, a school is in a better position to articulate its vision for programs in the years ahead.
The NAIS visit served as a reminder that independent schools have long been at the forefront of innovation in the classroom. In addition, their most significant contributions to the educational landscape—from the Harkness table to decision education and the prepared classroom—resulted from, not simply from a desire to try something new, but from thoughtful reflection about their mission and ways in which they could continue to best serve their students.
As Gill's Director of Studies Irene Mortensen said, "We can't know how education will change in the decades to come, but those schools that align distinctive programs with their mission to create a signature learning experience will lead the way."
As faculty and staff shared their insights at the presentation, it became clear that Gill already has a wealth of signature offerings, and, as important, the school is in step with its mission and core values. Head of School Sid Rowell noted, however, "Staying on course in an ever-changing world is ongoing work." He added, "Gill St. Bernard's has continued to evolve over the years in important ways. Today, our faculty is more engaged in professional development than ever before, our 208-acre campus offers unprecedented learning opportunities and the new Performing Arts and Community Center will allow us to strengthen many of our existing programs. As we look to the years ahead, our mission and core values will continue to inform our distinctive learning opportunities."
Special thanks to Jefferson Burnett, Senior Vice President for Education Innovation, and Tim Fish, Chief Innovation Officer, of NAIS for coming to Gill St. Bernard's to share "The Innovation Summit."
Gill St. Bernard’s is a private, coeducational day school for students age three through grade 12, located in suburban New Jersey. Each of the three school divisions provides a vigorous, meaningful and age-appropriate curriculum, and all students benefit from the environmental learning opportunities that exist on our 208-acre campus.