Recent Faculty Community Engagement

CEE faculty members have been hard at work this year sharing their expertise and experience with fellow educators and students in various contexts.
As part of The Center’s commitment to lifelong learning, teachers regularly participate in professional development that takes many forms. While that often means participating in workshops and conferences, it also means sharing knowledge through presentations and publications. We are proud to share the recent work of several of our faculty members below!

Melissa Gheen“Paola
Lower Elementary teachers Melissa Gheen (first grade) and Paola Jeon (second grade) will present virtually at the 2022 RULER Implementation Conference on March 9-10, 2022. Their workshop is entitled "Games to Reinforce RULER Curriculum". It is based upon the Responsive Classroom guiding principle that "great cognitive growth occurs through social interaction." Engaging students in active and interactive games fosters a deeper understanding of RULER practices and is a strategy that many CEE teachers implement on a daily basis. Students gain familiarity and comfort with RULER principles of emotional intelligence by approaching them in many contexts throughout the week, often including a fun and playful element. Melissa also regularly conducts virtual weekend workshops on RULER that reach educators nationwide!

First grade teacher Arapaie Black presented at this fall’s virtual People of Color Conference (POCC) on "How Colorblind Racism Manifests in Independent Schools and What We Can Do to Combat It." Joined by her mother, Los Angeles-area educator Asako Kurosaka-Jost, Arapaie discussed the four facets of Bonilla-Silva's "colorblind racism concept" and how seemingly neutral "colorblindness" negatively affects BIPOC and white individuals. Kurosaka-Jost presented the key findings from her UCLA-based research study guided by Pedro Noguera that yielded strong indications of student encounters with colorblind racism at independent schools. They concluded the presentation by examining alumni of color perspectives regarding effective culturally responsive practices and strategies to combat colorblind racism. 

“AshantiAshanti Gordon recently self-published an American Sign Language (ASL) activity book and started using it with her first grade students! Ashanti studied ASL during her college years, and when a family with a parent with a hearing impairment became part of her class this year, she was inspired to make using ASL in the classroom a norm for her students. She took a refresher course in ASL this past summer and then got to work creating the “Colortopia Coloring and Activity Book” which combines her interests in art and ASL. She drew all of the images herself and designed the book before self-publishing it and printing it on Amazon. First grade students now regularly use the book to learn signs both in the classroom and in their free time at home. Teachers introduce one letter at a time, and students then share the ASL sign with a neighbor in class and complete the corresponding book exercises. Ashanti shares that she is working on an updated version of the book with even more images and activities for students to enjoy.

Aubrey Dreiling=
Fifth grade teacher Aubrey Dreiling recently completed her ten-year renewal as a National Board Certified educator. As Aubrey describes, “National Board Certification is a way to empower yourself as an educator through a rigorous process of self-analysis, critique, and demonstration of your teaching skills. The road to certification (and renewal) asks that you provide an extensive evaluation, visual aids, lesson designs, and recorded class interactions that showcase your practice. Ultimately, it requires you to step back and reflect on what you bring to the classroom every day, and through this process, you are able to articulate your strengths and areas that need growth as an educator.” Aubrey explains that while board certification is not required for most educators, she found it the best professional development she has encountered. She shared how that because the program is active and requires in-depth self-exploration, “the process strengthened both my teaching profession and individual practice and continues to impact my teaching each and every day.” For the renewal process, Aubrey focused in on four Professional Areas of Growth by reflecting and looking back at the last ten years of her teaching. Congratulations, Aubrey!
    • Colortopia

    • POCC 2022

    • RULER Implementation Conference

    • National Board

The Center for Early Education, a socio-economically and culturally diverse independent school for children, toddlers through grade six, strives to graduate students who are joyful, resilient, life-long learners. The Center embraces a philosophy of education that combines a nurturing, inclusive learning environment with an increasingly challenging academic program that addresses the developmental needs of each child.