Continuous growth is at the core of every Episcopal education. Emblematic of our students, it also speaks to our teachers' ever-expanding repertoires and expertise. Sometimes this growth enables the entire school to advance.
When Matt Memmo, Hon. arrived at the Merion campus in 2006, the new hire became a key figure in jump-starting EA's race to technology prowess. "When I started teaching here," he recalls, "only one student wanted to take AP (Advanced Placement) Computer Science, which EA had not taught in years."Today, the same course regularly welcomes two full sections and serves as a gateway to more advanced courses like Honors Advanced Data Structures. What's more, EA is among just 30 schools in Pennsylvania, two in the Inter-Ac, where the majority of AP Computer Science Principles students are female—a critical statistic as STEM education aims to narrow its daunting gender gap. Best of all, 20 of last year's 23 students tallied a five on the AP exam, the highest possible score.
Along the way, reviving this course offering resulted in a sea change. The progressive infusion of computer science into EA's PreK through 12th grade curricula eventually led to the launch of the Computer Science and Engineering Department in the fall of 2019. "Including engineering was important," says Memmo, who chairs the department. "It's how our graduates will invent the future. At EA, we start teaching engineering in kindergarten with robotics."
This success story shows how effectively our finger is on the pulse of what's next—and how well EA's Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) works with teachers to enrich and diversify core academics.
"The CTL staff were the optimal partners to support my vision of the new department," Memmo explains. "They've always worked with my Professional Learning Practices group to design new course offerings, like the app development class I personally piloted this past summer. Plus, every year we offer workshops under the CTL banner to support colleagues in better integrating technology into their classrooms."
The robust collaboration took on greater meaning with the pivot to online learning during the pandemic. "Without CTL, we could not have transitioned so effectively. EA's teaching community understands what other schools may not: the secret to teaching online goes far beyond being tech-savvy. It's about setting optimal, achievable learning goals and expectations for all our students," Memmo says.