Faculty Professional Development

Posted on: Nov 13, 2018

The Common Ground Campaign: supporting Holland Hall and Oklahoma teachers.

The Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma made a $50,000 gift to Upper School science teacher Dr. Keri Shingleton to present a free, four-day molecular modeling workshop for teachers from all across Oklahoma in June of 2018. The workshop was designed to enhance content knowledge and teaching practices centered around modeling as a tool to teach abstract molecular concepts in biology.

Forty participants from 34 school districts attended the workshop, and each was given nearly $2,000 in classroom equipment to take back to their respective schools, a benefit Dr. Shingleton couldn’t have imagined without the special gift from the Diocese. “When I first learned how to teach abstract molecular concepts through modeling, everything changed for my students,” said Shingleton. “I knew I had to find a way to help other Oklahoma teachers by training them to teach through modeling.”

In addition to the support from the Diocese, 3D Molecular Design, the small business that designs and sells the models used in the workshop, offered Dr. Shingleton a 40% discount on modeling equipment and supplies. With this discount, the original $50,000 gift provided nearly $71,000 worth of supplies to the teachers in attendance.

“I am a believer! Telling stories and modeling has changed my teaching forever. I can never go back.”

– Teacher from Henryetta Public Schools

Dr. Shingleton set up a website and Facebook page to coordinate registration, communication, and ongoing peer support for workshop participants. The teachers continue to use the forums to ask questions about modeling activities, share ideas for lab experiments, pass along professional development opportunities, and offer enthusiastic support for science education and one another.

Dr. Shingleton called the gift from Bishop Edward Konieczny and the Episcopal Diocese an unexpected and much appreciated gift. “Bishop Ed’s generous gift to science education in Oklahoma allow(ed) me to live a dream I’ve had for many years.” To her workshop participants she wrote, “To all the teachers who trusted us enough to spend your week with us: you are the true heroes of this state. I’m inspired and awed by your passion for our young people and your willingness to take risks together in this workshop. Thank you for being there with me while I lived out a dream. Time to start thinking of what our next time together should be!”

Given the current state of education funding challenges in Oklahoma, one participant summed up what Dr. Shingleton’s efforts meant to the group: You are a teacher’s guardian angel!

Thank you to the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma, Common Ground Campaign donors, and Dr. Shingleton for your ongoing commitment to the development and support of Holland Hall and Oklahoma teachers.

“This is great! Student engagement is through the roof. One student said, “Yay! I finally understand something about science!”

– Teacher from Putnam City Schools