Responsive ClassroomAs they gear up for the new school year, twenty-two Hill School teachers traveled to The Langley School in McLean, along with 180 other educators, for a four-day Responsive Classroom workshop. This approach to teaching and learning blends a set of management strategies designed to foster engaging academics and a positive community. Each day brimmed with active lessons in which teachers learned about these strategies through active participation in the very techniques that they would use with their students.

As the year unfolds, these Hill teachers will be building a stronger learning community by focusing on small building blocks: how to greet a new friend, how to pass other people safely on the stairs, how to ask a clarifying question. Through modeled activities children will build a repertoire of social and academic strategies that support Hill’s mission of building Community, Competence, and Character. Throughout the school day, as students write, sculpt with clay, and dribble soccer balls, their teachers will be using the strategies they learned at the Responsive Classroom workshop to foster the positive relationships that support active learning.

Teachers expressed enthusiasm about the potential of this approach to build social interaction skills and increase student motivation, thus enabling improved academic achievement and stronger thinking and problem-solving skills. Last May, while Rocking the Kasbah at the Moroccan themed Hill School Auction, the Hill community provided the funding for professional development opportunities such as this workshop — an investment that energizes teachers as they begin this new school year.