News & Events
At ACS, we believe that learning is a lifelong process. While our school is a place for our students to grow and learn about the world, we also commit to creating an environment for our teachers to also excel and grow in their career and in the classroom. As we prepare for our 2023-2024 Academic Year, we had the pleasure to introduce consultant and trainer Bridget Doogan to our ACS community. She hosted a detailed and interactive two-day workshop on Adaptive Schools for our faculty and staff, and the training was met with positive feedback on all fronts.
“Bridget is a phenomenal facilitator, and our faculty were engaged and enthusiastic. The principles and concepts Bridget outlined in the seminar will help us create the kind of positive, supportive, and empowering community we want for students and employees,” reflects Head of School, Tom Cangiano.
Bridget Doogan has spent over 20 years working in professional development, and her focus has been on education and teaching. For several years, she was the Director of Professional Learning for the NESA region, and was also a curriculum director and director of professional learning for 12 years at a school. Before stepping into administrative roles and then consulting and training, Doogan taught for 15 years at the middle school level, which she loved. Pursuing training and support systems for teachers is a passion of Doogan’s throughout her journey in education, and she believes that Adaptive Schools is a great tool to help schools successfully navigate challenges.
“Adaptive Schools reflect the understanding that human systems are unpredictable, and constantly in flux. To be able to navigate, adapt and thrive against challenge and change takes a skill set,” Doogan says. “It offers tools, resources, principles and practices to support adaptivity and response to challenge and change,” she adds. Cangiano also agrees that these resources are necessary to constantly bettering our community here at ACS. “The key part of the training is a set of deliberate protocols and behaviors which, if we are all practicing them, will have such a positive impact on our community,” he says. Cangiano is teaching a class this year, and he is also thinking about how he can incorporate these skills into his work with students.
As so much has changed in a moving world, being able to adapt in the classroom and workplace is key. Given Lebanon’s difficult current situation, continuing to move forward while maintaining a supportive environment has been the foundation to continued success in the school environment. At the same time, maintaining a sense of community despite these challenges and resilience has also been necessary to foster a healthy dynamic between teachers, staff, and students. ACS has maintained these important components throughout the years, and Doogan herself can attest to this. “This is already an Adaptive School system,” she says. “Thriving beyond the crisis, thriving beyond the pandemic, thriving through distance learning – adapting, changing, shifting, and coming back.”
Though the school has continued to move forward throughout all the challenges presented in the country, systems like Adaptive Schools give support and offer more room to learn and grow. “Everything I heard about ACS was not just normalizing, but growing, to being as much and as strong as the school can be. So, it's an adaptive community, and I know that this work will add resourcefulness and impact to the intention to thrive,” Doogan states.
ACS prides itself on the teamwork dynamic and Doogan sees progress in this regard. “It's a learning focused community. Adults are learners as well as students. I just see a lot of intentionality around high quality learning for everybody in the system,” she says. Doogan believes that maintaining the passion for the education world is key, and in the midst of challenges, it can be hard to keep the excitement when teachers are overwhelmed. The principles and frameworks of Adaptive Schools help maintain the passion in the field, and at the same time ensure that communities are collaborative and grow together. “Teachers are learners as much as students are learners,” says Doogan. “The better they learn to collaborate and work with one another, the greater the impact it has on their learning”.
Cangiano also believes that ACS is making headway towards its goals as a collaborative community by implementing Adaptive Schools skillsets. “I think it will help us be more productive in meetings and allow for everyone to feel comfortable and heard. If we do things the right way, I believe it will also lead to better decision-making,” he states. “Initiatives like this really help us build the kind of learning community we want. It’s exciting,” he says.
Despite the hustle for back-to-school planning, our faculty and staff stayed focused and engaged. “I was so impressed with the enthusiasm and engagement level of the seminar participants,” Cangiano states. “This is a very busy time of year for people, and it was nice to see everyone so focused and excited about the training”.
“The most important thing I learned is that you really have to be very conscious of checking yourself when interacting with people, whether they are colleagues or students. You need to be less egocentric and more of an objective participant. This makes you a better listener, and it also helps to validate what other people are saying,” says Cangano.
The two-day seminar provided faculty with concrete tools and strategies to implement in their classrooms. “Because of the success of this training and the positive impact it will have on the ACS community, we are going to add another cohort of 60 participants next year. I think we all should go through the training at some point. It’s that good,” reflects Cangiano. Professional development is just one of the ways ACS commits to supporting our faculty and staff in the positive growth and a healthy work environment. We are looking forward to the follow-up of the next session of Adaptive Schools in April 2024!