New LIFT Fund Supports Teacher and Staff Action Research
mcds faculty and staff 2018

To celebrate Lucinda’s 14 years of outstanding leadership and her commitment to a learning community, last fall the Board of Trustees established the LIFT (Learn, Innovate, Formulate, Transform) Fund as her legacy. The Fund was launched by a committee of former Board Chairs and other former Trustees who asked alumni parents for their support. Current parents had an opportunity to jump in at the Community Dinner’s paddle-raise in April.

The Fund will support new initiatives in professional development for teachers and staff members working in teams to pursue a specific research question that will result in transformed practice, and will benefit students academically, socially and/or emotionally. Teams may be grade level teams, discipline or role-based teams, teams that cross disciplines and grades or teams that include both faculty and staff.

LIFT differs from other forms of professional development at MCDS in that a LIFT proposal is focused on action research and is designed to leverage internal and local resources, such as fellow teachers, peer schools (including public schools), and local experts and organizations. It will enable teachers and staff to take up to three days away from the classroom or office during the year to pursue a specific research question that will serve as a catalyst for innovation and problem-solving.

The core beliefs that underlie LIFT are:

  • Teachers and staff are professionals who have a strong desire to improve their practice
  • Teachers and staff are creative, innovative problem-solvers and natural researchers
  • Faculty and staff benefit from time away from the classroom/office during the year to work in teams and innovate
  • Action research is a powerful tool that serves as a catalyst for innovations and helps professionals solve problems
  • We have much to learn from each other and from local resources

Over the summer the Admin Team drafted detailed guidelines regarding the Fund’s purpose and the application process which were shared with everyone at the start of school. LIFT Scholars must present their findings in some way following completion of their research project, through a written piece or research compilation accessible to the professional community or a presentation at a Division or faculty and staff meeting. By sharing out, one team’s research may percolate through the community, sparking innovative and transformative approaches to problem-solving.