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STEAM Guest Speaker

January 25, 2021 | Abby Hall Choi

On Monday fourth and fifth grade students heard from Brenda Berkman.  She helped us think about being a voice for change. She fought for the right to become a female firefighter.

She shared with us important stories and work that she did. Here are some quotes that stood out especially when we think about the learning we do here and now and the changemakers we are and want to become.

“They couldn’t imagine the change [of having female firefighters] and so they opposed it.” 

The tie to our imagination is key.  In STEAM we develop our imaginations as we plan out different ways to solve a problem and then consider what might work and what might not work about our plan.

“Learning is lifelong…Nothing I learned went to waste because when you’re doing social advocacy work, you need it all. I had to understand why things work the way they do.” 

During STEAM we work to develop practices and learn how to use tools that will support and enrich our learning throughout our lives. We must know how to read a nonfiction site- how to summarize information- how to apply information to new scenarios- none of this learning goes to waste as we work to know and solve complex problems.

“We are all connected! We know this. We can’t leave anyone behind!”

In middle school, we practice and challenge our connections through partner work. Partner and group work can be some of the most complex negotiations and application of content and skills. As adults, we experience this in our own work.  And we expect (and support) students to engage around partner work with increasing sophistication and depth.

And finally, “It’s about making it better for everyone.”  Indeed.


Abby Hall Choi

Head of School

Abby Hall Choi has a Masters in Social Organizational Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a BA in Psychology and Elementary Education from Covenant College. She is also completing a Certificate in School Management & Leadership from Harvard University. As she helped lead Mustard Seed School’s NJAIS accreditation efforts and our most recent strategic plan development, she has gotten to apply and grow her learning. 

Ms. Hall Choi has worked as a fifth-grade teacher and a multi-grade fourth-fifth grade teacher. She has held several administrative roles including Middle School Director, Director of School Initiatives and Improvement, and Assistant Middle School Director.

She likes thinking about how people work together. She enjoys leading work and conversations that enable our community to thrive because we work through complex problems together.

Ms. Hall Choi values caring for the whole person. She believes it’s most important that everyone knows they are a child of God and loved all the time, no matter what. 

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