When We Grow, They Grow
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When We Grow, They Grow

October 7, 2022
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Heather Nerem, Head of Academics

As a Christian Professional Learning Community, DMC values teachers’ learning and growth because we know that our learning glorifies the Lord and has a direct impact on each child’s learning. We don’t have to look far into educational research to see that teachers, compared to any other aspect of education, have the greatest impact on student learning.  

As I thought about our culture of learning and growth, I was brought to Proverbs 1:5. A wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel. We see that in the opening statement of Proverbs, a lifetime of learning is what the wise man embraces. The wise man hears what is said and allows it to sink deep within his heart.  

Our recent professional development days were a true blessing from the Lord. I am thanking Him for the wise teachers He has placed at DMC. These days were a time to gather as an elementary, middle and high school family to increase in our learning. As a Christian school, when we increase in learning, we are not just increasing in the amount of knowledge we have. We are increasing in our ability to walk with God and discern all things from His standpoint; from His truth found in the Word of God. This is what sets us apart. It is not only head knowledge that we desire for each child; we pray that their hearts will truly love the Lord and desire to follow Him. 

Overarching Question of a Christian Professional Learning Community: What are we intentionally doing to be a disciple-making school?
To equip our teachers in this mighty call, we began our professional development days together in worship and hearing a special message from Mark Sisler on discipleship. Our teachers were reminded that all learning happens in the context of an authentic relationship where honesty, connection and grace are found. Mr. Sisler also reminded us that discipleship is caught more than taught. How are we modeling to our children our own faith walk? How are we sharing with them what the Lord is teaching us? How are we being real and sharing our struggles and weaknesses? This time together was a highlight for the staff.

Fundamental Shift of a Christian Professional Learning Community: From a Focus on Teaching to a Focus on Learning
Another highlight of the days was the time teachers were given to collaborate with each other on the question: what do we want students to learn? It is critical that we get crystal clear on the essential learning we want for each student per grade level and course, as this has a great impact on student learning. 

Essential learning standards are a carefully selected subset of the total list of grade-specific our course-specific standards within each content area that students must know by the end of the school year to be prepared for the next grade level or course. The essential learnings focus on both academic and spiritual learning. These essential learning standards are what teachers will focus the majority of their instructional time around, and we will work diligently to ensure each child learns them. This helps us to make the shift from simply teaching to ensuring learning. This work aligns our priorities across all grades and brings intentionality to the teaching and learning process. We look forward to continuing this important work in our January professional development days.