University Partnerships

Partnering with premier graduate schools of education allows the A. Fantis School to continue to innovate and adopt best practices in education nationally and internationally. With an unwavering commitment to developing exemplary teachers, school leadership collaborates with university scientists, professors and partners to provide ongoing coaching and training both on-site and virtually. Previous partnerships include working with coaches from Bank Street College of Education. A. Fantis also maintains a strategic, ongoing partnership with St. Francis College, which includes a focus on teacher preparation and mentoring, as well as professional development and an annual advisory board meeting with SFC faculty and deans.

VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY PARTNERSHIP

Fantis is proud to partner with Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College, one of the premier schools of education in the country. As educators, it is our duty to help our students learn about themselves, their faith and the world, while also preparing them for the future. Technology, industry and entire sectors are evolving more rapidly, so determining that future is challenging. As society changes, it is incumbent on schools to adapt and reflect such change. It is our vision that this partnership will help usher in a new era of education at Fantis.

Our academic goals for students are to:

  • Think critically and flexibly
  • Analyze and solve problems
  • Be self-starters who work well in collaborative teams
  • Effectively utilize technology to enhance their understanding
  • Maintain inquisitive minds with an inherent wonder of the world so learning becomes a natural outcome of curiosity and exploration

PHENOMENAL LEARNING

As we embark on an exciting chapter with Vanderbilt University, Fantis will be at the forefront of educational best practices, which mirror some of the top performing schools and countries in the world. One key approach will be “phenomenon-based learning,” defined as:

an interesting fact or event that hooks students into exploring a longer unit of study, with the teacher helping students to develop explanations, create and answer questions, analyze the answers, and communicate their findings. By studying the phenomena, rather than isolated facts, students build understanding in an authentic manner.

Teachers will shepherd student learning across lessons, carefully sequenced within units of study, until they reach a deep understanding of fundamental concepts. They will strategically ask pointed questions, while also providing facts, information and orchestrated learning environments at key junctures to propel learning. Fantis, along with the Vanderbilt team, is also evaluating the entire curriculum holistically, with a focus on creating more engaging and relevant learning experiences for students to make connections to the real-world. The result will be for students to obtain a broader, more nuanced understanding of key concepts that crosses disciplines and subjects, with the capacity to transfer and apply their learning to new settings.

What does this mean for preschool? As we know, preschool is the age of wonder and excitement. Many scientists, authors, and artists point to those early years as the font of their inspiration. It is our job to help them discover and nurture that passion. Our early childhood team will be collaborating on how to best implement these practices acquired from the Vanderbilt partnership in their own classrooms, with an eye on enhancing the preschool experience while also preparing them for more advanced learning in primary school.