Libby Fainsilber, Humanities Teacher at Trafalgar School for Girls
Imagine 14 action-packed days with 12 other social studies teachers, accompanied by 5 local guides, exploring 4 incredible cities in Germany. This scenario became a reality for me this past summer when I participated in one of this year’s Transatlantic Outreach Program (TOP) study tours.
These annual professional development trips are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Canadian and American social science and STEM educators. The best part? Each tour is tailored to the interests of the lucky participants. In my case, our journey took us to Frankfurt, Würzburg, Leipzig, and Berlin, and our itinerary went far beyond your typical tour. We had walking tours, museum visits, and all the usual group travel activities, but TOP also offers unique experiences the average tourist, or even local, would be unable to access. In fact, our second walking tour in Frankfurt, which focused on the rise of the parliamentary movement in Germany, may very well have been designed just for our little group of history fans!
2022-2023 has been an exciting year in the development of the CoLab partnership between Trafalgar School for Girls and McGill University’s Faculty of Education. To round off this incredibly constructive school year, I wanted to take this opportunity to recognize and celebrate the numerous accomplishments and milestones we have achieved thanks to the dedication of interested, enthusiastic, and invested collaborators from both institutions. Together, we have collectively enriched and expanded the necessary groundwork for this burgeoning project.
This year’s momentum began last June in 2022 with the formation of the CoLab Steering Committee, a core group of Trafalgar and McGill representatives who worked diligently to prepare for the upcoming school year. Over the summer, the committee mapped out a series of goals for the year, with a focus on identity, relationship-building, and research guidelines.
Amy Allison, English Language Arts Teacher and Cycle I Coordinator at Trafalgar School for Girls; Christianne Loupelle, Science Teacher and Department Head in Science at Trafalgar School for Girls; AdrianaRuffini, Mathematics Teacher at Trafalgar School for Girls
This year’s IALS (International Association of Laboratory Schools) conference was held this past April 26th-28th and hosted in Toronto by the Jackman Institute of Child Studies (JICS) in collaboration with several other Toronto area Lab Schools. Many different educators, researchers, and administrators from Lab Schools around the world were in attendance. This was Trafalgar’s first year attending, and we are the newest members of IALS.
We had two presentations at this conference. The first presentation was a workshop titled Designing Inquiry-Based Learning Experiences Through Cross-Curricular Collaboration in Middle School. Its purpose was to inform the audience about Trafalgar’s innovative inquiry projects that emphasize collaboration within departments and explain how educators can go about implementing similar work within their own classrooms and at their respective schools.
IALS Presentation: Designing Inquiry-Based Learning Experiences that Foster Collaboration in Middle School by Amy Allison, Christianne Loupelle, and Adriana Ruffini
Through an innovative and collaborative school-university partnership, the CoLab fosters dynamic learning environments and action-oriented research that advance educational practice for a rapidly changing world.