Lower School Faculty & Staff Connect Over Art

Our Lower School teachers and staff gathered for community and fun during late start Wednesday last week, and they were able to experience first-hand the joy our students feel when they’re learning and working in the art studio.

Lower School Art Teacher Sarah Garner invited her peers to the art studio. “We use Responsive Classroom to establish community with our homerooms and in our spaces, and we needed time to establish community for our adults, too,” she said. “It was a time for the teachers to be together in a space where they were able to take a break from their daily work.” The time was also helpful in welcoming new employees to our Beasley community.

Garner collaborated with Head of Lower School Amy Scheer and Robyn Williams, Lower School Coordinator of Instructional Technology, to design three days for teachers to connect this semester. This first gathering found teachers and staff joyfully making clay pieces of art together. Next up: some teachers will return to the art studio to glaze their pieces while others visit the LS makerspace to learn about and use our 3D printer and laser cutters. They’ll switch places for the final event this semester.

“Having time to be together as an adult community and be learners as adults in our community, learners in the art studio and the makerspace, and see things the kids get to explore is important,” said Garner.

The teachers were encouraged to connect with a partner on a different grade-level team or a specialist, working together to remember all the steps and to hold each other accountable to the two rules: use all the clay provided and have fun.

“I really enjoyed throwing the clay and watching it take shape,” said Nicole Liebman, Library Associate. “I particularly enjoyed walking around the tables to see what my colleagues created-they are very creative! Overall, it was a fun way to engage with my Beasley community.”

We’ll have to wait to see the beautiful finished pieces; Garner’s goal is to have the artwork ready for distribution at the last divisional meeting before winter break. Teachers will see a more immediate result when they spend time in the makerspace; they’ll perhaps learn how to make a pumpkin on the 3D printer or draw a fall leaf to be produced on the laser cutter.

Nearly every Lower School teacher and staff member was able to participate, except for a few who were on recess duty. Garner made sure pieces were made for them, too.

“If we could start every morning like that…it felt so good,” said Garner. “The vibe was so happy. Everybody was laughing and talking; it was good for the heart and soul.”

First Grade Teaching Associate Kara Pracht said, “Many times, we are all so busy in our day that it becomes difficult to visit and connect with other people you do not see every day. This was a great opportunity to come together and interact with the entire Beasley faculty and staff in a fun and relaxing way.”

“The element of surprise PLUS Sarah’s magical ability to cultivate relationships PLUS an engaging art mini-lesson accessible to all PLUS a big beautiful block of untouched clay PLUS a colleague who oozes warmth and compassion PLUS organic conversation PLUS carved out time to connect made my day…and made me hungry for more,” reported Meg Mottl, Third Grade Homeroom Teacher.

Williams, formerly a Middle School history teacher, transitioned to Beasley this fall in her new role as coordinator of instructional technology. She said, “It was a nice way to get to know my ‘new’ colleagues better in a fun environment. I appreciate that we took the time to slow down and have some fun on a late start morning. It was definitely a great way to start the day!”

Well done, Lower School grown-up artists!