Participants of the Brother John Johnston Institute of Contemporary Lasallian Practice gathered by District in October to explore Lasallian pedagogy and best practices.
Michael Pereira, teacher and director of the Teacher Induction Program at La Salle Academy in Providence, Rhode Island, pointed to sessions on sparking curiosity and the importance of climate and culture in Lasallian schools as elements he planned to use in his ministry.
“With the cohort of new teachers I work with, association is vital to success. Association and involving teachers in affirming each other has been a concept vital to Lasallian schools from the beginning,” shared Pereira. “In addition, [we] talked about the environment that we create within our own classrooms for our students and encouraging our Lasallian educators to create an environment in which students are encouraged to be challenged and develop grit, while providing a framework of support. This insight is vital for all teachers, but especially for new teachers who are figuring out who they are and who they need to be for their students.”
During the session that invited participants to share their own best practices, Matthew Weingartz, assistant principal at Benilde-St. Margaret’s School in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, was struck by the emphasis on community and relationships.
“With the lessons, the programs and other ideas that were shared, a common thread within those was to engage our students in an environment in which they are known, cared for and taught what it means to be part of a community,” Weingartz said. “The feeling that a student will get from a lesson will last longer than the actual content in which they learn, and especially if that lesson is taught from a place of kindness and love towards that student and the community in which the teacher is building within the classroom and school.”
Participants from the District of San Francisco New Orleans gathered October 10-12, 2019, at St. Joseph’s Camp in Duncans Mills, California. For the first time, Lasallians from the Midwest District and District of Eastern North America came together as one group October 24-26, 2019, at Pocono Manor in Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania.
Before participants gather again in March 2020, they are taking part in online sessions that began on December 2. For Weingartz, being in an online session with administrators who can discuss issues, ideas and thoughts is exciting.
“Leadership within our schools is critical, and as much as we need to professionally develop our teachers and staff, administrators cannot take that for granted and must continue to develop professionally,” shared Weingartz. “This is one of those opportunities that are critical in the development of any school administrator.”
The October gathering marked the second in-person gathering of this cohort. The Johnston Institute is a two-year Regional formation program with five District gatherings and one Regional gathering.
“The John Johnston experience has been a great opportunity to truly deepen my understanding of Saint John Baptist de La Salle his history and his pedagogy,” said Pereira. “I am looking forward to continuing to further my understanding and deepen my knowledge of the Lasallian mission in our future sessions.”
Top photo: Participants of the Brother John Johnston Institute of Contemporary Lasallian Practice collaborate during a session.