New Faculty Mentorship at Forest Ridge
Molly Muller, Social Studies Department Chair, 8th Grade Dean

Goal II, Criteria 7 states “Sacred Heart educators assume responsibility for their professional growth, supported by resources and a culture that promotes life-long learning”. One of my favorite parts about working at Forest Ridge is that adults, like our students, are called to continuing learning and growing.

We have a variety of professional development opportunities at Forest Ridge. We build professional learning days into our calendar, set aside weekly time for faculty meeting, have optional book clubs to participate in, and funding available for teachers to attend conferences. This year, we have added a layer by creating a cohort for new faculty mentorship and I serve as the lead faculty mentor.

We have a wonderful group of new faculty. Some are relatively new to teaching and recently graduated from college, while others come with multiple graduate degrees and over 20 years of experience. Some of them have previously taught at other Sacred Heart Schools and others only taught in public school prior to coming to Forest Ridge. Through cohort meetings and individual support, I strive to welcome our new teachers to the community at Forest Ridge and support their professional growth. As someone who has taught at Forest Ridge for 8 years, this also provides an opportunity for me to give back to Forest Ridge and stretch my own leadership skills. Additionally, I have found myself learning from the new teacher cohort. I have been able to sit in classrooms and learn new strategies as I observe our new teachers and pick up tips as we collectively problem solve situations that people are seeing in their classrooms. I am constantly reminded that we are all learners.

This week, in our cohort meeting, we will be using an excerpt from Elena Aguilar’s book, Onward.  

In December, as the first half of the school year comes to a close and our planet cycles into winter, perhaps our school communities could gather to identify and celebrate bright spots. In partnership with parents and students, we could celebrate children and highlight their learning and development. We could name our own growth and surface the connections between our own learning and the growth of others. I might say, ‘I’m proud of myself for…’ and a colleague would add, ‘I also saw you grow when you…’ We’d look for the light—in ourselves and in others—being reminded that when the nights are long and the sun hangs low on the horizon, we just need to pay closer attention. The light is always there.

There is so much light in this teacher cohort and in the work that they do each day with our students. I feel lucky to learn alongside my colleagues. I also celebrate Forest Ridge for giving me the opportunity ad support to continue growing.