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Workshop: Department Chairs Program (LA)


Session 1

Date: November 2, 2018
Time: 8:30-12:30
Where: Windward School (map)

Session 2

Date: December 5, 2018
Time: 8:30-12:30
Where: Windward School (map)

Session 3

Date: January 17, 2019
Time: 8:30-12:30
Where: Windward School (map)

Session 4

Date: March 12, 2019
Time: 8:30-12:30
Where: Windward School (map)

Fee: $1300 Members; ($1950 Non-members)


Department Chairs Program (LA)

The role of the department chair is often one of the most complex in a school. The chair must negotiate the responsibilities of leadership within the department as a teaching colleague while at the same time work with the administrative team in addressing the larger issues of the entire school. The goal of the Department Chairs Program is to provide the opportunity for exploring the multilayered challenges of this unique position and to support its participants in becoming more effective and satisfied in their work.

With the help of readings, activities, and group work, participants will learn new skills and processes, support each other around challenges they face, and establish a strong “leadership learning community” amongst themselves. The program explores educational leadership and what it means to lead as a teacher while advancing the professional and departmental goals they have identified.

Some of the specific topics and issues we will explore are:

  • Forging a common and compelling vision/direction amongst independent-minded colleagues;
  • Meeting design and facilitation;
  • Building professional community so that teachers can discuss their practice, learn together, and support one another’s growth – including the use of structured protocols to share our teaching practice and student work;
  • Leading and managing change over time.

Central questions we will explore are:

  1. How can I support the design and facilitation of key department work?
  2. How can I support my department to collaborate and develop as a professional learning community?
  3. How can I help the department contribute to the development of the school as a whole?

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Deborah Dowling

Deborah Dowling

Deborah Dowling has been the Assistant Head for Academic Affairs at Chadwick School since 2012; previously, she was the Upper School Director at Bridges Academy, and before that, the Director of Studies and Middle School Science Chair at Harvard-Westlake School. Originally from Melbourne, Australia, Deborah holds a bachelor's degree in physics and a doctorate in the history and philosophy of science. Deborah has taught students from kindergarten through undergraduate, in subjects ranging from music and philosophy through outdoor education and information technology, but most of her work has been in middle school science and highschool physics. She has developed science curriculum materials for the Los Angeles County Office of Education, UCLA, Western Governors University, and the Victorian State Board of Studies in Australia.
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