Skip To Main Content
Professional Development: Teachers Enjoy Spring Break Internship
Jessica Fiddes

Delbarton actively encourages its educators and staff members to take advantage of professional development opportunities, including workshops, conferences and earning graduate degrees; Many take advantage of this employment benefit...even when an opportunity occurs over Spring Break.

Recently, two Delbarton faculty members, Jack O'Reilly '14 and Michael Benz '14, both members of the English department (Jack also teaches Math) and Delbarton alumni from the Class of 2014, traveled to Edgecomb, Maine for an internship opportunity at the Center for Teaching & Learning (CTL).  CTL is a well-respected Pre-K to 8 demonstration school that is renowned for its adoption of the Workshop Model.

Founded in 1990 by Nancie Atwell, the first recipient in 2015 of the $1 million Global Teacher Prize and author of In the Middle: New Understandings About Writing, Reading, and Learning,  CTL is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and draws students from more than twenty communities in Maine’s midcoast region.  CTL faculty members conduct research, develop practices and help other educators better understand what is possible for their classrooms and schools. The CTL Internship Program invites visiting teachers to participate in a four-day experience where they observe CTL's research-based programs designed to match intentions, beliefs, knowledge, and experience.

Benz says, "At its core, the Workshop Model provides students with the power of choice. At CTL, for example, students can pick the books they wish to read and choose the type of writing project they will engage in afterward.  The teacher then conferences with students individually in tailored reading and writing workshop sessions."

Other members of the Delbarton English department have previously participated in CTL internships. In fact, the English department actively emulates the CTL Workshop Model and Benz says, "Witnessing its application firsthand at CTL was invaluable.  There is really no replacement for seeing this teaching method in action at the school where it all started."

Michael and Jack even made an appearance the March 29 CLT Newsletter, photographed with two CTL faculty members and showing their Delbarton colors...

Concepts acquired through professional development opportunities like the CLT Internship can immediately be implemented in the classroom, and the program's methodology continues to be woven through the Delbarton English curriculum. Developing a lifelong love of reading and a habit of intellectual curiosity are gifts that keep on giving, and Delbarton is committed to these basic concepts. 

Under 'Academics' in the Delbarton strategic plan From Strength to Strength: A Strategic Plan for Delbarton School, 2023-30, the School commits to "support and steer our educational community to meet the emerging needs of twenty-first century learners." Experiencing the CTL Internship, and bringing its valuable lessons into Delbarton classrooms, exemplifies that intention. 

Benz says, "Jack and I are excited to take the lessons we learned from this internship and apply them to our own classrooms—transforming the learning environment at Delbarton for the better."