LTEEC: Fostering Professional Growth and Program Development

A collaborative effort between Episcopal’s McCain-Ravenel Center for Intellectual and Moral Courage and the School’s academic department heads, the Leading Teachers in Experiential Education Cohort (LTEEC) is a professional development program, initiated in 2018, that provides our faculty with ongoing programming designed to inspire creative and innovative approaches to Washington-based experiential teaching and learning.

So far the program has connected faculty with professionals at the National Building Museum, the Congressional Research Office, CBS Studios, the Pan-American Health Organization, the Korea Economic Institute, the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, and the Hindu American Foundation, to name but a few.

As explained by Heidi Huntley, History Department Chair who co-developed the program with Jeremy Goldstein, “Increasing the connection between curriculum offerings at Episcoapl and the numerous resources of the Washington, D.C., metro region require sustained exposure and training for faculty. The opportunities in this richly diverse region are not static, and it takes
a great deal of time, motivation, and focused interest to both keep informed of the wide array of resources and maintain viable and engaged contacts.”

Dovetailing with Episcopal’s new schedule that enables classroom teachers to better integrate the resources of the greater Washington area into their respective lessons, LTEEC encourages faculty to expand their teaching toolkits in small collaborative cohort groups that take to the city for immersive experiences several times each year.

The objectives of each excursion are multi-faceted as they seek not only to expose teachers to a variety of professional institutions and businesses, but also to connect them with professionals with whom they can discuss real-world concepts and issues that connect with their respective curriculum. They also provide faculty with exposure to 21st century working environments, better equipping them to prepare students for the “real” world.

A long-time advocate for, and practitioner of, experiential learning, McCain-Ravenel Center Executive Director Jeremy Goldstein said, “The best way to understand and begin employing experiential education is to ‘live’ it, or be immersed in such experiences, with the opportunity to reflect and plan outside of the classroom. That is what makes these faculty excursions so powerful, and ultimately game-changing for our program.”

While very well received in its inaugural year, the pandemic cut short its progress in 2020. However, with a more normalized fall, this November, nine faculty members delved into the resources of Washington through an excursion titled "The Capital City: Data, Information, Politics & Persuasion" led by Huntley and Goldstein.  The program included a deep dive into the symbolic power of Capitol Hill architecture and its political geography with Tim Wright, of Attucks Adams, and a thoughtful discussion about political strategy with Chris Giblin '86, Principal at Ogilvy Government Relations.

Having participated in LTEEC since year one, science teacher Kathleen Caslow is enthusiastic about the opportunity it provides teachers to creatively implement visionary experiences for their students. “I am a big proponent of experiential learning and hands-on projects. [Our recent] trip sent us to the Congressional Research Office to understand how they process and disseminate data. We had many stimulating adventures that opened up our minds to look at teaching differently, see connections, and find new possibilities for our students. I think of these adventures as a means to…grow as educators and allow us to better connect with our diverse student population.”

This spring’s excursions for the cohort will focus on The Natural Environment: Green Spaces, Water Systems & Sustainability.