Each of these articles is weighty and fascinating in its own way, about the meaning of high school, the nature of educational reform and the psychology behind the college scandal. Also, the wide range of professional growth experiences that faculty have done recently continues to be impressive to see.
Jal Mehta and Sarah Fine, “High School Doesn’t Have to Be Boring,” New York Times
This piece, based on a seminal new book (In Search of Deeper Learning: The Quest to Remake the American High School), argues that classroom teachers should take a page from the exuberant dedication that extracurriculars can inspire.
The truly powerful core classes that we found—and at every school there were some—echoed what we saw in extracurriculars. Rather than touring students through the textbook, teachers invited students to participate in the authentic work of the field.
Michael Brosnan, “The Evolution Is the Revolution,” Well-Schooled
This piece (featured on a new storytelling site for educators) was inspired by the recent passing of legendary educator Pearl Rock Kane, former director of the Klingenstein Program at Teacher’s College. In it, the author distills Kane’s ideas from years of Independent School articles and applies them to educational reform today.
What struck me in re-reading Pearl’s article is that she was describing a kind of leadership I see in more and more schools. Her insight on intraorganizational alliances was particularly timely. Pearl felt that the independent school leaders of the 1990s were too insular. “To be on the forefront of education,” she wrote, “independent school leaders will need to encourage pooling resources to share knowledge of successful practices and to investigate problems and concerns of common interest.”
Caitlin Flanagan, “They Had It Coming,” The Atlantic
This is perhaps the best article that has been written about the college admissions scandal.
The new job meant that I had signed myself up to be locked in a small office, appointment after appointment, with hugely powerful parents and their mortified children as I delivered news so grimly received that I began to think of myself less as an administrator than as an oncologist.
California Teacher Development Collaborative, a variety of local workshops
If you’re looking for a shot in the arm but don’t want to travel far, the CATDC is holding local summer seminars on a variety of topics, including “Leading and Facilitating Positive Change,” “Sexuality Education Summit” and “Design and Making: Tools, Applications and Strategies to Foster Student-Led Creativity and Innovation.”
Faculty Professional Growth Conferences
- This month Global Studies Coordinator Ingrid Herskind participated in the Global Education Benchmark Group’s annual Global Educators Conference in Atlanta.
- This month Assistant Librarian Reggie Ursettie flew to Boston for the Association of Independent School Librarians annual conference, Revolutionary Possibilities.
- Visual Arts Department Chair Tim Bradley finished a four-part yearlong program for department chairs in Los Angeles last month through the California Teachers Development Collaborative.
- Spanish teacher Cari Banning finished a five-part yearlong series of workshops last month on Best Practices in Assessment for the World Language Class at the Stanford World Language Project in Palo Alto.
- Director of Student Technology Services Sylvie Andrews went to Palm Springs in March for the Spring CUE Conference focusing on technological and educational innovation.
- Dean of Studies Sarah Cooper participated in the Private Schools with Public Purpose annual conference in New York City last month.
In this month’s newsletter, check out three articles investigating different aspects of innovation, a one-day summer seminar aiming for student wellness and the recent travels of many faculty for professional development.
A.J. Juliani, “3 Mistakes I Made Trying to Be an Innovative Teacher & Leader”
A well-respected commentator and author admits that trying to be innovative can sometimes seem overwhelming, and he cautions against common mistakes.
Don’t get drowned out by the massive amount of information (which is really good) and not make time for creating. Let it be the inspiration for innovative work instead.
Debbie Freed, “Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast,” Independent School
An organizational development and leadership consultant applies Peter Drucker’s famous quotation to school culture and change.
How do you seek to ensure that culture doesn’t eat strategy for breakfast? Knowing is the brass ring. It is the essential first step in all successful leadership, in personal development as well, and ultimately forms the foundation for all potential organizational growth and transformation.
Liz Kolb, “Smart Classroom-Tech Integration,” Educational Leadership
An associate professor of education technologies at the University of Michigan provides a helpful framework of nine questions to guide meaningful tech use, including “Does the technology cause a shift in the behavior of the students, where they move from passive to active social learners?”
Many tools that ask students to use their creation or synthesis skills are not content-specific; rather, they are more general tools that allow students to create or produce something such as a podcast, video, book, or poster. Examples of these types of tools are Seesaw, Google Slides, Padlet, EdPuzzle, Flipgrid, and Book Creator.
Challenge Success Summer Leadership Seminar, one-day workshops around the country
Always striving to enhance student well-being, Challenge Success is hosting three short seminars this summer in Palo Alto, CA; Evanston, IL; and Tarrytown, NY. Goals include “learning research-based strategies to improve student health, motivation and engagement” and “networking with other leaders from across the nation seeking to achieve a climate of care at their schools.”
Faculty Professional Growth Presentations in February
- STEAM Coordinator and math teacher Nick Ponticello presented a one-hour workshop at the National Association of Independent Schools annual conference in Long Beach. The topic was “Orienting New Faculty: A Snapshot of the Induction and Mentorship Programs at an Independent School,” based on Nick’s capstone research in a master’s program in school leadership at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education last year.
- History teacher Will Bellaimey and his dad, John Bellaimey, the Chaplain at Breck School in Minneapolis, presented a workshop together at the Minnesota Association of Independent Schools annual conference. Their topic was how the wisdom of different world religions can help with the issue of anxiety in independent schools.
Faculty Professional Growth Conferences in February
- History teacher Kurt Hofer and History Department Chair Josh Perlman attended the Palm Valley Project Based Learning Institute, led by the Buck Institute for Education, in Palm Springs.
- Headmaster Peter Bachmann and Dean of Student Life Barrett Jamison spent several days at the Learning & the Brain conference in San Francisco, which focused on “Educating with Empathy: Cultivating Kindness, Compassion, Cooperation and Good Behavior.”
- Performing Arts Department Chair Rob Lewis attended “All the World’s a Stage: The Creative Arts as a Tool for Character Development and Transformation,” a one-day workshop sponsored by the Center for Spiritual and Ethical Education in San Francisco about diverse communication styles, classroom climate and more.
Summer Professional Growth Extravaganza!
If you are still looking for the just-right summer professional growth experience, here are some opportunities to tempt you.
Close to home, there’s also Prep’s Curricular Innovation Grant pilot program, with details in your email. Applications are due Feb. 20.
A number of Prep faculty and deans have found this intensive Colorado workshop transformative. It helps “K-12 teachers and administrators from across North America learn how to develop the leadership competencies of their students. Participants are exposed to the latest research about brain science, social and emotional intelligence, and group dynamics; and they participate in extensive exercises designed to develop their awareness, personal reflection and effective action in order to learn the pedagogy of leadership.”
The Global Education Benchmark Group, of which Prep is a member, is offering five fascinating summer symposia. Topics include “Wellness in Traditional Japan,” in Japan and “Border Studies and Immigration,” in El Paso, Texas.
Creating Innovators Through Design Thinking 2019
The Science of Teaching and School Leadership Academy 2019
The well-regarded Center for Transformative Teaching & Learning at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School just outside Washington, D.C. offers both of these workshops. The center “promotes innovative, research-driven teaching that develops each student’s potential as a learner.”
Both of these conferences take place at the Nueva School in the Bay Area, a “private school with a public purpose” known for its commitment to providing professional growth. A couple of Prep faculty attended interesting conferences there last summer.
This two-day workshop through Independent School Management (ISM), an excellent organization, “focuses on understanding how cognitive learning research can help develop lifelong learners. Participants will apply principles of cognitive learning theories to evaluate and develop course curricula and lesson plans.”
These international programs for K-12 teachers, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, are focused on India (K-8) and Poland (9-12) this summer. The website says that applications should be available soon.
Faculty Professional Growth Conferences
- English teacher Genevieve Morgan traveled to Florida in January for the Key West Literary Seminar, from which she received a teacher scholarship. The conference featured writers including Margaret Atwood, Madeline Miller and Emily Wilson.
- Also this month, Math Department Chair Lesley Fox and math teacher Maddie Martin participated in the California Teacher Development Collaborative’s “Making Math Class Matter,” a one-day workshop on keeping math engaging.
Choose groups to clone to: