Home Heads Up: Examining Our Writing Curriculum and Academic Technology

Heads Up: Examining Our Writing Curriculum and Academic Technology

A teacher works with a fifth grade student on their laptop in their classroom.

The following message from Director of Curriculum and Assessment Chantal Balogh appeared in this weekend’s Heads Up, a weekly email for Friends Academy families.

My name is Chantal Balogh, and this summer I joined Friends Academy as Director of Curriculum and Assessment. I have enjoyed more than 20 years as an educator in high-achieving schools in New York City and international schools in Asia. Being biracial and bilingual (Japanese and English), I highly value independent school education because of its student-centered curriculum that welcomes different voices. It is my passion to partner with teachers to build and evaluate what we teach, why and how we teach it, and assess our work so all of our students receive the best possible education.

As I have already learned in my short time here, Friends Academy is a place that is always striving to learn, grow, and improve. We value curiosity and reflection – a process we emphasize for students through their learning portfolios and Student-Led Conferences. We want our systems as a school to do the same. That is why we are continuing to evaluate our school’s curriculum on an annual cycle to ensure we are providing students with a thorough, well-rounded educational experience.

Last year, we launched this work by looking closely at our math curriculum as well as examining our community’s sense of belonging. As a result of that work, we have added math instruction time across the school and are redeveloping our school-wide math curriculum, keeping an eye on the skills that secondary schools are seeking in their students. We are currently piloting a few new math programs in both Lower School and Middle School so that by late winter, we can determine whether one of these may suit our students’ needs.

Our work examining belonging showed that we need to find a thoughtful way to build content related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging into our curriculum. We are continuing the work to integrate age-appropriate equity lessons into our existing academic program, in line with our mission of respecting diversity and differences.

This year, we are also shining a light on our writing curriculum and academic technology. We will use student work samples to analyze our existing writing programs, looking specifically at teaching methodologies and assessment tools to identify both the skills that are currently strong and the concepts that are in need of reinforcement.

Lastly, we will be evaluating our academic technology by documenting the digital literacy skills that students develop from Early Childhood through eighth grade. Not only will we review our current use of devices, apps, and software, we will also analyze how we use technology to centralize learning and communicate with students and families.

I look forward to collaborating with both teachers and families as we further examine our curriculum to design innovative, hands-on, and engaging teaching practices.

Back to News & Stories