In August 2017, the Intrepid Philanthropy Foundation hosted its fourth annual Convening honoring the newest cohort of LIGHT Awards grant recipients. The meeting brought together an inspiring group of 35 teacher awardees along with members of Intrepid Philanthropy Foundation’s board and advisory team.
Learning About Mindfulness Practices for Classrooms
After a day of team introductions and community building, the second day of the event kicked off with a session led by Amber Lancaster and René Peña-Govea, two Cohort 3 LIGHT Awards team members from June Jordan School for Equity in San Francisco. Their project is focused on the development of a mindfulness curriculum and practice throughout their school to help foster a culture of emotional and interpersonal health. Amber and René shared strategies and lessons learned over the first year of their two-year project. Their insights were relevant to not only teachers looking to implement similar programs in their schools, but also to those who’d like to better understand the practice of mindfulness or even simply to those who’d like to know more about the experience of working with the LIGHT Awards. Explore resources from their presentation here.
Navigating Different Leadership Styles
Participants at each year’s Convening also participate in professional development activities as a group. Maria Reitano and Michael Russo, experienced educators who have both led programs at the New Teacher Center, built on the day’s theme of mindfulness with a session on team development and learning. As a framing exercise, attendees assessed their own leadership styles, which were classified into the following categories:
- NORTH: likes to act, try things, and plunge in
- SOUTH: likes to know that everyone’s feelings have been accounted for before acting
- EAST: likes to look at the big picture and consider all possibilities before acting
- WEST: likes to know details (who, what, where, when) before acting
Naturally, each style comes with unique strengths and limitations that impact how we work with others in a group setting. An understanding of these dynamics provides a strong foundation for more effective leadership, facilitation, learning, and agenda-setting. The team development session as a whole provided helpful tools and approaches to support teachers in developing these useful skills.
Each summer, recipients of that year’s LIGHT Awards will be invited to a Convening like this one. Below, you can see some of our favorite moments from this year’s gathering. (click to enlarge)
Images by Danielle Tsi Photography