Faculty and Staff Reach New Heights at Summit

Great Hearts America August 2, 2022

Brandon Crowe at GH Summit“The Great Hearts summit is an opportunity to kick off the year as a region,” explained Arizona Superintendent Brandon Crowe.  “We want to remind ourselves of our collective and shared calling by focusing on the core of our work in one place, together.  Gathering reminds us of our shared work and that we are not in it alone – as individuals nor as single schools. We want to encourage each other and share in the joy of beginning another year of leading students in a wonderous classical, liberal arts educational experience.”

The Great Hearts Summit took place Friday, July 29th.  This annual gathering for all Great Hearts staff serves as a kickoff event for the beginning of the school year for the academies.  It was the first time in almost 5 years that the staff of over 1,800 were all together in person.  This “homecoming” of sorts began with the energy and excitement of a pep rally, complete with fully costumed academy mascots and lively music.  The auditorium roared with laughter and chatter as colleagues reunited and new faculty were introduced.

The day moved quickly as the keynote speaker was introduced.  Francis Su, an accomplished mathematician and the author of Mathematics for Human Flourishing, spoke to the captive audience of educators about how mathematics can help our scholars flourish and cultivate rich lives with virtue.  He spoke less about the skills of mathematics and more about the transcendent beauty of helping our scholars see the big picture.  Su encouraged the faculty to fight the one-dimensional view of math.

The afternoon continued with a workshop by Francis Su, where he demonstrated how to bring more community and collaboration into a classroom during a math lesson.  Through a math exercise, he showed the smaller groups how to build an environment where wonder is created and the students learn to love the question more than the answer.

Attendees returned to the auditorium after lunch and were met with a spirited choral performance composed of faculty members and led by Cicero Prep music teacher, Elliot Liles.  The summit concluded with a heartfelt exhortation from Veritas Prep math instructor, Clifton Kiser who shared a personal experience that has shaped how he teaches and inspires wonder in his scholars.  “This is exactly what we needed to hear to begin this school year,” expressed an attendee.  “How we care for our kids is just as important as the academics that we teach them.”

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