Educational Design and Innovation

Delivering a Unique Curriculum to Our Students

Pine Crest School's pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade curriculum is like no other. Based on pedagogical research and developed by Pine Crest educators, our curriculum is accelerated and modern, with critical reading, writing, and math skills at its core.

Our Department of Educational Design and Curriculum Development promotes curriculum coordination, instructional innovations, and professional development of faculty in order to best meet the needs of our students. Under the direction of two experienced Pine Crest classroom teachers and curriculum coordinators, this department manages curricular-focused projects, including:

Curricular Review

Pine Crest School’s Academic Council for Curricular Review meets regularly to discuss current pedagogical practices, investigate suggestions from strategic planning committees, and explore opportunities for new innovations. Our Academic Council Advisory Board, consisting of educators from each grade level, provides a venue for faculty feedback and makes informed decisions to promote curriculum coordination, alignment, and development. In addition, the Advisory Board makes suggestions to the Academic Council for Curricular Review on how to measure the success of new innovations.


Teachers from across the country come together each year for Pine Crest's Innovation Institute, which is a three-day intensive workshop themed around innovation in the classroom. The April 2018 event, "Focusing on the Finnish Line: Bridging the Gap Between Theory and Practice," featured keynote speakers and Finnish education experts, Elina Harju and Johanna Järvinen-Taubert. Learning objectives addressed:
  • The Finnish school system and teaching practices
  • Using robotics to teach coding (grades PK-12)
  • Developing engaging spaces for learning and innovation
  • Strategies for integrating innovation and technology into the core curriculum
  • Valuable insight into the future of education
  • Strategies for cultivating curiosity and inquiry
  • Using virtual reality to enhance instruction
  • Using entrepreneurship education as a means for getting students to think deeply about real-word problems
  • Developing an understanding of the importance of MakerEd
  • Learning how to integrate MakerEd into the core curriculum
  • Observing Innovation and Technology Specialists infuse advanced technologies into the curriculum
  • Understanding how Social and Emotional Learning is vital for students in our ever-changing world
Attendees had an opportunity to participate in two pre-conference workshops: "Using Student-Friendly Microprocessors in Classrooms and Makerspaces" and a Google Summit featuring Sylvia Duckworth, who travels the globe changing and inspiring teachers to redefine learning and creativity for their students through technology integration.

Professional Development

Great teachers thirst for great professional development opportunities, and Pine Crest teachers are no exception! One hundred percent of our faculty fulfill Pine Crest's professional development requirement annually; most go above and beyond the basic requirement. A typical Pine Crest teacher's professional development calendar is off-campus conferences and a wide variety of in-house offerings. With the help of tuition reimbursement, a large portion of our faculty pursue graduate degrees. Examples of professional development activities undertaken by Pine Crest faculty in 2015-16 include:
 
  • AP Conferences
  • Florida Council of Independent Schools Conference
  • Florida Technology Conference
  • Orton Gillingham
  • ISTE
  • NSTA STEM conference
  • National Association of Independent Schools Conference
  • Southern Association of Independent Schools Conference
  • Teachers Teaching Teachers
  • Pine Crest’s Maker Fundamentals Workshop
 
T.E.A.M.

Teacher Excellence Achieved through Mentoring, or T.E.A.M., is an onboarding program that provides teachers who are new to Pine Crest School the support necessary to facilitate a seamless transition into a successful teaching career at Pine Crest through mentoring. The program is centralized around professional learning communities that assist new teachers in further understanding procedures, requirements, and expectations of their division and/or department.

The Zimmerman Family Innovation and Technology Institute

Under the umbrella of The Zimmerman Family Innovation and Technology Institute, Pine Crest's Department of Educational Design and Curriculum Development oversees a 14-member iTeam, three fully stocked iLabs, a school-wide innovation and technology curriculum, high-quality academic competitions for students, seven librarians and library staff, and three libraries.