This story originally appeared in the fall 2013 Harker Quarterly.
Upper school registrar Derek Kameda was invited to present at the Advanced Placement Summer Institute for Administrators in June in Jacksonville, Fla. There, he gave presentations on how to improve testing performance and AP score reports. Kameda has previously lent his skills as an AP coordinator consultant to test coordinators so that they might more effectively administer AP exams.
At the National Junior Classical League Convention held at the University of Nevada – Las Vegas this July, upper school Latin teacher John Hawley received a silver bowl for attending 20 NJCL conventions. The bowl was presented by Harker alumni and former JCLers Richard Kwant ‘07 and Ruchi Srivastava ’08, who gave moving speeches about Hawley’s influence as their teacher and JCL sponsor.
In July, middle school science teacher Daniel Sommer went on a professional development trip to Hawaii’s Big Island for a five-day field course, Geosciences of the Big Island. “Fantastic class!” he noted.
The expedition, including exploration of the island’s geologic wonders, is designed especially for educators. In a range of activities, class members climbed the famous Kilauea volcano to view the summit caldera and lava flows and to the summit of Mauna Kea (the highest volcanic mountain in Hawaii) to view glacial deposits, and explored Hawaiian reef formations by snorkel.
Middle school history teacher Jonathan Brusco spent part of his summer attending a three-day, invitation-only conference at Stanford University. The event, sponsored by SPICE, an international studies program at Stanford, and the Hana Financial Group, a Korean investment company, was about incorporating Korean history into school curriculum.
“The conference was extremely beneficial and featured guest speakers and curriculum ideas,” recalled Brusco, adding that it vastly expanded his knowledge of both Korean history and culture. He said he plans to utilize many of the things he learned during the conference with his Harker students this year.
In other news, Brusco serves on the board of trustees at Gavilan College in Gilroy and recently started a new subcommittee that is going to include board members of all the college’s feeder high school districts.
“We will be tackling student success at the college with the hope that we can lower remediation rates and thus be able to offer more career-oriented programs to our students and better serve the district as a whole,” said Brusco, who was recently featured in an article about this subject in the Morgan Hill Times.
Sue Smith, library director, and Lauri Vaughan, upper school librarian, contributed an article to the journal of the California School Library Association. In the article, they detail how they have used LibGuides software to promote information literacy among students and how they have worked with teachers to provide quality resources for student research.
At press time, Harker Quarterly learned that “Growing Schools: Librarians as Professional Developers,” a book Smith had previously contributed a chapter to, has just been added to the recommended reading list of the U.S. Department of Education.
Abigail Joseph, middle school computer science teacher, ran a one- week Mobile App Entrepreneurship Camp in Oakland under the auspices of Black Girls Code, an organization dedicated to providing young and pre-teen girls of color opportunities to learn in-demand skills in technology and computer programming at a time when they are naturally thinking about what they want to be when they grow up.
“The camp focused on mobile app creation from concept to development,” said Joseph. “Students learned to use MIT App Inventor and were able test the app out on mobile phones. The camp ended with a field trip to the Facebook campus, where students pulled together their final app prototypes and a business plan for their ideas with Facebook employees. Of course the highlight was getting to meet Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook.”
Her group was 21 girls strong and Joseph noted, “The most rewarding part was seeing the girls leave the camp with a desire to learn more and continue working on their projects on their own.”
Joseph has been involved with opening technology up to girls for some time. “I have been actively involved in Black Girls Code since the spring of this year,” she said. “In addition to the summer camp, I have been the technical lead for a build-a-webpage-in-a-day workshop in the Mission in San Francisco.”
Now successful in the technology field, Joseph is committed to giving back. “As a child, I benefited from a similar program that sparked my interest in computer science, and kept me in the pipeline to pursue it and get my Ph.D. It has always been my dream to create or be a part of a program that provides the same opportunities for young people of color to know that they have choices when choosing careers, and that computer science and engineering can be among them. I am happy to provide young girls of color opportunities and paths to walk in my footsteps and the footsteps of other black female computer scientists.”