We are delighted to share the names of the recipients of the 2022 Maguire Innovation Fund for Progressive Education—highlighting their exciting new ideas for meaningful experiences in teaching and learning. These projects align with GFS’ mission and support the fund’s goal of encouraging inventive solutions and new approaches that optimize the potential of our students and advance educational access for others in the Philadelphia area.
Thank you to Jamie Maguire, Lisa B. Miller, and the Maguire Foundation for believing in the power of GFS educators and providing funding for these important pilot projects and seed ideas.
1. Middle School Mini Courses: Year Two
- Keino Terrell, Director of Middle School
- Rachel Reynolds, Middle School Teacher
Middle School Mini-Courses are week-long, interdisciplinary deep dives that center on joy, curiosity, and rigor as students experience uninterrupted learning around a single topic. Students benefit from mixed-grade learning spaces and the opportunity to exercise choice over their education. Teachers have the opportunity to work with and learn from their colleagues and share skills they may not have room for in the core curriculum. During this program, regular classes will be suspended prior to spring break, which will invigorate learning at a time of year when energy can wane. These courses also extend the school's Quaker investment in community and operate as professional development for adult community members.
2. GFS Center for Journalism & Social Impact: Year Two
- Meg Cohen Ragas, Director of Publications & Marketing Projects and Journalism teacher
The goal of the GFS Center for Journalism & Social Impact is to develop student writing and support community engagement across divisions through journalism by building our capacity and resources, augmenting our student programming, connecting with working journalists, and collaborating with area media outlets. Through a digital hub on the GFS website, the Center for Journalism & Social Impact will officially launch this fall. The digital center will include a database of GFS alumni and connected journalists, internship opportunities, tools and resources, important works, and related readings and public events. Year two of the program will also include an inaugural speaker event, workshops with professional journalists, and a physical space for the Center.
3. Seventh-Grade Service Collaborative: Year Two
- Keino Terrell, Director of Middle School
- Hannah Jacoby-Rupp, Middle School teacher
- Dr. Zarah Adams, Director of Community Engagement
Through an advisory curriculum designed around three focus areas—food access, housing justice, and environmental stewardship—students are gaining a better and more nuanced understanding of the meaning of service, activism, and citizenship. Last year, with guidance from Director of Community Engagement Dr. Zarah Adams, students pursued collaborative relationships with local organizations to further their learning and contribute in meaningful ways. In year two, the program will focus on more frequent trips to partner organizations and bring additional guest speakers to GFS. The Service Collaborative is an extension of our institution’s Quaker ethos to engage and energize students within our surrounding community, and is designed to capitalize on the innate energy, curiosity, and engagement of our students.
4. Breakthrough of Greater Philadelphia Community Connections: Year Two
- Michelle Palmer, Executive Director of Breakthrough of Greater Philadelphia
- Robin Friedman, Upper School teacher
Breakthrough of Greater Philadelphia held a pilot program last year, Community Connections, featuring
5. GFS Environmental Trip to Costa Rica
- Bob Wein, Upper School teacher
The GFS Environmental Trip to Costa Rica will encompass two components: a trip to the pacific coast of Costa Rica as part of a J-Term course, and a collaborative relationship with a local, rural-regional high school in Costa Rica. While on the trip, GFS students will have the opportunity to place active sonar tags on migrating endangered sea turtles. The generated data will give students the opportuniy to learn about analysis and graphing skills, and develop the techniques of creating scientific questions and experiments. The figures will also be a part of a greater research effort headed by Purdue University, The University of Costa Rica, and our partner organization Seeds of Change. The community connections portion of the project, will provide the group with two internet “hot-spots,” which take advantage of the local cell-phone capabilities. GFS students will work with local learners at a high school in Costa Rica to practice language, community gardening, and climate-related science.