May 10, 2022
School leaders learn from book study
Upper St. Clair High School often welcomes guest speakers for a host of different subjects and topics. Experts often share their stories and experiences with students to inform and inspire the next generation of physicians, scientists, engineers, authors, artists and more. Last week’s guest lecturer faced a different audience….school leaders.
Ryan Rydzewski, co-author of “When You Wonder, You’re Learning,” addressed the high school’s leadership team, which includes curriculum leaders, department chairs and building administrators, on Thursday, May 5, 2022. His visit served as the culminating activity of a semester-long book study.
Mr. Rydzewski and co-author Gregg Behr, are based in Pittsburgh. “When You Wonder, You’re Learning,” considers the lessons of Fred Rogers in a modern-day context. The book study was a four-session experience that included a review of sections of the book, discussion questions developed by group members, reflection on how the book’s concepts apply within Upper St. Clair High School and, ultimately, a discussion with the co-author.
“Welcoming Mr. Rydzewski to USCHS was a powerful way to close our study,” Dr. Timothy Wagner, Upper St. Clair High School principal, said. “The sessions throughout the semester offered intentional time to pause, reflect and consider how we're supporting students, and the author visit was a special way to conclude this semester's work.”
Dr. Wagner explained that the purpose of the book study was to better understand how to support creative, curious and caring young people.
“Each semester the high school leadership team engages in a book study in order to think critically and grow professionally. This particular text was chosen because of its connections to Pittsburgh and its relevance for today's learners,” Dr. Wagner said. “Ensuring students feel supported and part of a 'neighborhood,' just as Mr. Rogers shared with so many of us during our own formative years, is essential in our work as educators.”
Lessons learned from the book and accompanying book study will have a significant impact on the high school as curriculum and building-level leaders focus on their vision for the school.
“It is incumbent upon us to deliver course content well, but simultaneously we must attend to the healthy development of our students,” Dr. Wagner said. “This book provided a practical intersection among what science tells us about healthy development, what Fred Rogers conveyed in his teaching, and what opportunities for application lie in our current context.”
Learn more about “When You Wonder, You’re Learning.”