Oxbridge Faculty Spends Summer Abroad

Oxbridge Academy teacher Amy Jonas studied in Seville, Spain.

School was dismissed for the summer, but the learning opportunities at the Oxbridge Academy did not stop. The school continued its quest to build an environment that fosters inquiry, collaboration and personal discovery by sending faculty members to conferences and lectures at renowned universities around the world. Not only does professional development keep a teacher up to date on their field industry, but also benefits student learning outcomes and classroom experiences.

Social science teacher Marjorie Chiarolanzio traveled to Cambridge University in England for a course on governance and globalization and gained a great deal from the collaboration with fellow international educators. “International lines appear blurred in this academic community where everyone has a shared purpose,” she explained.

Two additional Oxbridge faculty members, English teacher Jennifer Bird and social science teacher Sedric Simon, also participated in courses at Cambridge, with Bird enrolling in a creative writing course and Simon taking a course in entrepreneurship. Bird described her course as “the writing Olympics: an intense, two-week seminar requiring participants to write an essay a day, writing 10 essays in two weeks.”

Oxbridge Spanish teacher Amy Jonas traveled to Seville, Spain for an intensive cultural enrichment and language immersion experience and to study best practices in teaching advanced honors courses. “Each day I was filled with awe-inspiring pasión andentusiasmo, which was only surpassed by the intellectual stimulation from my fellow educators,” she explained.

World languages teacher Francia Lamus also pursued advanced training this summer, opting for a summer educator workshop at the University of Florida on Teaching Florida’s Climate. “We were a select group of Florida’s educators from a variety of subjects taught across the humanities, science, culture and the environment,” Lamus said. “We experienced first-hand how Florida history and environment informs the decisions we must make about our future.”

Visual arts teacher Melissa Swift also stayed on this side of the pond in her pursuit of professional development, opting for courses in painting and textiles at the Savannah College of Art and Design. Oxbridge theatre teacher Kimberly Patterson spent her summer continuing her pursuit of a master’s in fine arts degree at Hollins University in Virginia.

Oxbridge Head of School Ralph Maurer said he is pleased to see so many of the school’s faculty members pursue professional development during the summer. “Our faculty is dedicated to continuing their pursuit of knowledge to share with our students,” Maurer said. “Seventy-three percent of our teachers hold advanced degrees, with nine of our faculty having earned doctorates.”

Many of the teachers’ summer experiences are shared on the Oxbridge Academy web site faculty blogs at www.oapb.org/blog/faculty-blog.