Community Building

In August 2018, the Intrepid Philanthropy Foundation hosted its fifth annual Convening honoring the newest cohort of LIGHT Awards grant recipients. The 1.5 day meeting brought together an inspiring group of 30 teacher awardees along with members of Intrepid Philanthropy Foundation’s board and advisory team.

An Introduction to Mindfulness during the Workday

After a day of team introductions and community building, the second day of the event kicked off with a session led by Melissa Wheeler, a teacher on special assignment in the East Side Union High School District focusing on social emotional learning and mindfulness. Melissa walked participants through several stress relieving exercises designed to build inner resources like focus, presence, awareness, emotional balance, self-regulation, compassion and inspiration. Even though teaching can be immensely satisfying and rewarding as a profession, techniques like those outlined in Melissa’s presentation can help to prevent burnout and stress during a busy workday.

Leaders for Learning

Participants at each year’s Convening also participate in professional development activities as a group. Jennifer Bloom and Michael Russo, experienced educators who lead programs at the New Teacher Center, built on the day’s theme of mindfulness with a session on team development, leadership, and facilitation. 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 members work with one another in group settings. An understanding of these dynamics provides a strong foundation for more effective leadership, collaboration, team work, and agenda-setting. The Leaders for Learning session was designed to encourage teachers to be more thoughtful, productive, and efficient as they work together on their LIGHT Awards projects.

Favorite Moments

Each summer, the most recent LIGHT Awards grant recipients are invited to a Convening like this one. Below, you can see some of our favorite moments from this year’s gathering. (click to enlarge)