Dissecting Differentiation:
How does Sacred Heart Do It?


Teachers at Sacred Heart know from experience that every student comes into the classroom with a range of skills and abilities, strengths and areas for growth. A student may excel in one area of learning and feel challenged by another. That's why the goal of differentiation in teaching is to meet each student where he or she is and help each child to flourish.


At the most recent "Coffee and Conversation" gathering, held on March 28, parents gathered for a presentation titled "Dissecting Differentiation: How Does Sacred Heart Do It." Marjie Murphy, Director of Curriculum and Instruction; Karen Uselman, Student Services Team Coordinator; and Paula Fusco, Enrichment Coordinator, introduced the topic of differentiation with this definition by renowned educator Carol Ann Tomlinson: "Differentiation can be defined as a way of teaching in which teachers proactively modify curriculum, teaching methods, resources, learning activities, and student products. The needs of individual students and/or small groups of students are addressed to maximize the learning opportunity for each student in the classroom."


Teachers Amanda George, Hardey 4b; Caitlin Coyne, Hardey 2b; Julie Perona, Academy 2a; and Hollis Babbles, MS Humanities, were on hand to give specific examples of a few ways they practice differentiation in their classrooms. Creating a safe, positive and multi-functional learning environment, adjusting content depending on student needs, giving students a choice in learning activities, providing access to books across genres and ability levels, and using assessment tools and different teaching methods to both support and challenge students at varied levels were some of the approaches discussed.


The group stressed the importance of teamwork in determining how best to serve student needs. Sacred Heart's Learning Center specialists assist faculty in enriching the experience of students who are excelling or supporting students who are struggling. Teaching assistants in the Primary and Lower School provide additional attention to individual students or small groups. And the two instructional coaches are invaluable resources in helping teachers to refine their teaching methods. Ms. Fusco remarked, "We're always looking at children as individuals. We're constantly asking ourselves 'How do I further engage this student?' "


At the session's end, Nat Wilburn, Head of Schools, said, "We have this conviction, rooted in the Goals and Criteria, that we are a learning community. All of us. We learn from students. And it's exciting to be able to have the resources to reach a broad range of students."


The "Coffee and Conversation" series highlights the programs and facilities made more robust thanks to the Masterpiece Campaign.

Save the date and RSVP for our final Masterpiece Coffee:
"The Third Teacher"
Wednesday, May 2, 2018, 8-9 am, Driehaus Center


Learn more about our new and planned learning environments to support education and play, including this summer's work on the Sheridan Road and interior playgrounds. Primary School Division Head, Lisa Zimmer, will share about innovative learning in the STEAM Lab.

If you have questions about the Masterpiece Campaign or fundraising at Sacred Heart, please contact Anne Marie Tirpak (773.681.8401), Director of Institutional Advancement.


6250 N. Sheridan Rd., Chicago, IL 60660

Unsubscribe from this eNotice.