Making Learning Visible

As the creativity and technology center nears completion, the next stage of the Thacher curriculum takes shape with the help of Dr. Kamala Qalandar.
The process of envisioning, designing, funding, and building the new GATES academic building has coincided with Thacher’s shift away from the limitations of AP courses, and toward a curriculum more in line with Thacher’s mission and vision and the interests of our students. The new space will be a center for multi-disciplinary creativity, exploration, and learning, complete with room to move and break out into small groups, as well as labs and maker spaces that support project-based, applied learning opportunities. The central focus will be on empowering the learner and encouraging intellectual risk-taking. The GATES Committee, chaired by Dr. Kamala Qalandar, helped inform the vision for the space and the curriculum that will come out of it. As it comes online and becomes the academic core of the School, Doc Q will oversee the space as the new director of programs for technology and innovation.

“This position combines my favorite parts of my work here at Thacher,” said Doc Q, “teaching STEAM, fostering innovation through hands-on experiences, working alongside teachers to implement carefully-chosen technology, and thinking about the vision and potential of the creativity and technology center.” Her vision includes several components: Learning can come to life in new and different ways. “When students ‘make’ and ‘do,’ learning becomes visible.” In this way, 2D and 3D gallery spaces and performance space will make learning visible to the community. Interactions between students and teachers will shift as learning becomes more student-centric. The structure, with glass walls, garage doors between classrooms, and The Hub, which connects to all spaces for breakout work, will encourage collaboration between classes. Strategic use of educational technology will allow us to expand our avenues for demonstrating learning and sharing it with a wider audience. We can move from a model of writing an essay at the end of a unit toward creating interactive displays, websites, animated videos, and other media.

Director of Studies Tracy Miller is excited about Doc Q’s new role: “This position will play a crucial leadership role as we open the new academic building and explore fully the many possibilities for curriculum innovation that lie ahead.” 

The building is expected to be ready for use in early 2021. For a month-by-month timeline of the construction process visit the New Peak site.

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