The changes in teaching assignments align to new grade level teams.
Many students regarded Mrs. Beverly Gordon as “the” sophomore history teacher, but she now holds the position of Dean of Faculty Development and Coaching.
In her new role, she is now no longer teaching sophomores.
“Here is the deal with that,” Gordon said. “Two things happened in the Social Studies Department in June. One, I applied for and was awarded a new job… Now I’m Dean of Faculty Coaching and Development.”
“It’s not as though we were just assigned these roles. It was because we saw them as an opportunity for growth. It’s something we’ve wanted to do.”
-Mrs. Beverly Gordon
As a result of Gordon’s transition to her new role, her previous role as department leader in Social Studies opened up. Mrs. Harriet Lappas applied for and received that job.
“It’s not as though we were just assigned these roles. It was because we saw them as an opportunity for growth,” Gordon said. “It’s something we’ve wanted to do.”
Since her new role classifies her as Administration, Gordon can now only teach one class, junior and senior level Academic Economics.
“I can’t teach more than that because there’s too many other things that I’m required to do. I cannot do this and department leader at the same time,” she said.
Even though Gordon is excited about the new opportunities that this new role brings, she said she loved teaching US History I.
“In the purview of students that are here now, they’ve only ever known me as teaching Honors US I,” she said. “I loved it, by the way. I didn’t run away from it.”
With Lappas’ transition to a new role came a few more changes in teaching responsibilities.
“I am the government teacher at Malvern, and normally I have 2 AP classes,” Lappas said. “This year I’m still teaching my 2 AP classes, but I’m only teaching one of my academic classes.”
The other academic classes were taken over by Mr. Jeffrey Carroll, a teacher who started in Malvern’s middle school last year and moved to the high school this year.
Other than her class schedule changes, Lappas’ responsibilities as department leader for Social Studies have affected her life at Malvern.
“There was more workload,” Lappas said. “Lots of meetings to go to, and every department leader in the school is a member of the AAT, which is the Academic Advancement Team.”
“We’ve really moved much more along the spectrum of teacher-centered, so we’ve had a lot more movement based upon departmental needs and team needs.”
-Mr. Ron Algeo
The AAT is made up of all the department leaders plus Head of School Mr. Christian Talbot, Gordon, Head of Upper School Mr. Ron Algeo, and Head of Middle School Mr. Patrick Sillup. According to Lappas, their main goal is try to figure out the path that Malvern is going to take as a community. This and managing her department are Lappas’ duties as department leader.
Lappas said that Carroll and Mrs. Pam Whitney are now teaching the freshman classes. Mr. Andrew Burke, who previously taught freshmen, is now teaching all of the honors sophomore classes that Gordon used to teach.
Mr. Robert Colameco and Mr. Tom McGuire are teaching academic sophomore classes.
According to Mr. Algeo, these teacher assignments changing throughout the departments were not part of any intentional plan, and that it is not uncommon for teachers to switch classes.
“No, there was no intentional plan from the administration by any stretch,” Algeo said. “It’s not quite as rare as you would think.”
Algeo said that the faculty is focusing on building grade-level teams. “We’ve really moved much more along the spectrum of teacher-centered, so we’ve had a lot more movement based upon departmental needs and team needs,” he said.
Teachers are now in teams by grade, so that they can work together to enhance the experience of each individual grade, according to Algeo. Teams are split up into 9th, 10th and 11th together, and 12th.
“We are trying to really focus on what the students, at that point in their Malvern career, really need,” Lappas said. “That’s the biggest change that I see on campus. Everyone is really actively thinking about their grade level team and how they can contribute to that.”