Independent Schools Association of the Southwest

Education News


Caught in a Culture War, Georgetown Day School Holds Fast to Its Mission

By Erica L. Green, The New York Times (from March 24, 2022)
WASHINGTON — A decade after the Supreme Court struck down segregated schooling in 1954, the president of a neighborhood association here wrote a letter urging leaders of local private schools to stop granting scholarships to further the cause of integration, asserting that it was "unwholesome and unwise to have a student body so miscegenated."
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5 Ways Administrators Can Support Teachers

By Michelle Blanchet, Edutopia (from March 8, 2022)
As educators, we often find ourselves acting as coaches. Teaching isn't only about the content, it's about developing people and constantly encouraging others to reach their potential. Of course, it's hard to do that if we're not OK ourselves. Sometimes, though, it's hard to pinpoint what exactly is wrong, and if we can't do that, how can we be expected to help others?
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How Admission Offices Can Partner With Teachers to Improve Enrollment Outcomes

By ISM (from March 4, 2022)
Admission and enrollment are facets of private schools that require finesse. When recruiting new families, Admission Officers are tasked with communicating their school's value proposition. The cost of private education continues to outpace inflation, and educational options are plentiful. Schools often struggle to brand their offerings in a way that resonates with parents who identify as consumers and consider a private school to be a luxury product.
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Teacher Turnover Rates Are Increasing—Will Your School Survive?

By ISM (from March 4, 2022)
Teacher retention and turnover have been conversation topics for decades. Since the 2020 school year, however, teachers are experiencing and adapting to unprecedented instruction methods, in addition to personal and global health concerns. Stress and burnout levels are high in the education profession, raising concerns about increases in teacher turnover and shortages.
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Navigating DEI in Schools: Five Crucial Considerations

By Nicole Kohlbecker, ASCD (from February 27, 2022)
Often, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts in schools fail because they lean on isolated fixes to address systemic problems. These unsuccessful efforts tend to focus on specific actions, not on solving the underlying issues that led to them. The challenge is compounded by the need to create a shared vision—crucial to the success of any systemwide initiative—yet more difficult to make a reality, in the area of equity, given our current cultural and political climate.
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Time for Spring Cleaning! Key Handbook Updates for the 2022-2023 School Year

By Caryn G. Pass, Grace H. Lee, Janice P. Gregerson, Ashley E. Sykes,
& Imani T. Menard, Venable LLP (from March 18, 2022)

Spring has arrived, which means that it is time for independent schools to consider updating their employee and parent-student handbooks for the 2022-2023 school year. As many schools experienced a surge of conduct, mental health, and behavioral issues with regard to students as the pandemic drew on, schools would be wise to pay particular attention to their harassment, mental health, and conduct policies to ensure they are consistent with the school's current practices, and with any applicable federal, state, and local laws. Below are some key issues that independent schools should consider in reviewing their handbooks.
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'Blue' suburban moms are mobilizing to counter conservatives in fights over masks, book bans and diversity education

By Annie Gowen, The Washington Post (from February 9, 2022)
Dozens of suburban moms from around the country dialed into an Ohio-based Zoom training session last month with the same goal — to learn how to combat the increasingly vitriolic rhetoric from parents whose protests over mask mandates and diversity education have turned school board meeting rooms into battlegrounds.
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When Subtraction Adds Value

by Gabrielle Adams, Benjamin A. Converse, Andrew Hales, & Leidy Klotz,
Harvard Business Review (from February 4, 2022)

Imagining ways to introduce change is an essential skill no matter one's occupation, role, or rank. To distinguish an app, a designer envisions a unique new feature. To enhance workplace culture, a manager considers new training modules or incentives. To increase corporate social responsibility, an advisory board identifies green-energy investment opportunities.
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Let Your Kids Be Bad at Things

By Heather Havrilesky, The Atlantic (from February 7, 2022)
Sometimes it feels dangerous to expose your child to the full force of your love. You allow yourself to want something small for them, and it's like a gateway drug: Suddenly you want more and more for them. In my experience, that's often when perfectionism wanders in and wrecks everything.
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Schoolkids Are Falling Victim to Disinformation and Conspiracy Fantasies

By Melinda Wenner Moyer, Scientific American (from February 1, 2022)
When Amanda Gardner, an educator with two decades of experience, helped to start a new charter elementary and middle school outside of Seattle last year, she did not anticipate teaching students who denied that the Holocaust happened, argued that COVID is a hoax and told their teacher that the 2020 presidential election was rigged. Yet some children insisted that these conspiracy fantasies were true. Both misinformation, which includes honest mistakes, and disinformation, which involves an intention to mislead, have had "a growing impact on students over the past 10 to 20 years," Gardner says, yet many schools do not focus on the issue. "Most high schools probably do some teaching to prevent plagiarism, but I think that's about it."
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Giving & Receiving Criticism

By BoardSource
Successful organizations are characterized by strong chief executive–board chair partnerships — partnerships founded on respect and trust and focused on serving as each other's sounding board, as each other's champion... and, yes, critic. Building and maintaining such a partnership takes work and intentionality. There are differences in personality and working styles to overcome — and fairly quickly, due to the fact that board chairs rotate into and out of the position on a regular basis. It is further complicated by the fact that the chief executive reports to the board, which is managed by the board chair.
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Be Well to Lead Well: Managing Compassion Fatigue

By Liz Katz, One Schoolhouse (from January 31, 2022)
t's a truism to say that the best leaders are empathetic. They build trust, create connections, and inspire confidence. Empathy, many leaders–and especially Academic Leaders–will tell you, is what drives them to lead, their greatest strength.
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Retaining and sustaining Black teachers

By Nimah Gobir, Mind/Shift (from January 4, 2022)
When Micia Mosely connected with her former student who had become a teacher, she thought, "I don't want what happened to me to happen to her." As a Black teacher in San Francisco, her former student was struggling with burnout and considering leaving the profession altogether. Like Mosely had when she was a young teacher, her former student was falling victim to what former U.S. Secretary of Education John King calls the "invisible tax" put on educators of color. "There is so much that's expected of us relative to being the liaison between Black families and schools, and really to do a lot of invisible and uncompensated work," said Mosely.
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The Forecast for Fundraising

By Donna Orem, NAIS (from January 11, 2022)
When the pandemic struck, school leaders feared the impact on long-term sustainability would be harsh and swift—enrollments would plunge, fundraising would decline, and endowments would plummet. Two years into this changed landscape, school outcomes vary, but our worst financial fears as an industry were not realized.
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A Radical Approach to Who Gets In

By Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed (from January 24, 2022)
The admissions system should be totally overhauled to make it more fair, especially for students of color, said a report issued Wednesday by the National Association for College Admission Counseling and the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.
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Prepare for Hiring in 2022

By Brad Rathgeber, One Schoolhouse (from December 13, 2021)
If your school has not yet felt the effects of the Great Resignation, count yourself lucky. 4.2 million Americans quit their jobs in October alone. We're fielding phone calls weekly from schools asking if we could handle cohorts of students in our courses because of sudden faculty departures. The 2022-2023 hiring season is poised to be the busiest we've yet to experience, as employees reassess their goals, motivations for work, and life priorities. To prepare for this hiring season, Academic Leaders should take the next few weeks to focus their efforts in four areas that will make a difference.
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How to Succeed at Failure

By Arthur C. Brooks, The Atlantic (from January 13, 2022)

You wanted it and you worked for it, but all your effort was for naught.
Maybe your relationship collapsed, your company went under, or you got fired. Maybe you failed your exams even though you'd studied hard, or couldn't find a publisher for your book, or dropped what would have been the winning touchdown pass.
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Why Education Is About To Reach A Crisis Of Epic Proportions

By Mark C. Perna, Forbes (from January 4, 2022)
We're at a major tipping point in education. According to a recent survey, 48% of teachers admitted that they had considered quitting within the last 30 days. Of that number, 34% said they were thinking about leaving the profession entirely.
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More Common Sense, Less Ideology: Modern Communications Lessons from the Critical Race Theory Debates

By Nat Kendall-Taylor, The Communications Network
Being smart and "right" is getting in the way of moving hearts and minds towards positive social change.  The debate that unfolded across America last year surrounding Critical Race Theory clearly illustrates this problem. This debate, and other cultural lightning rods like it, aren't just communications failures, they're serious, existential threats for nonprofit and foundation leaders working towards social change, justice, and equity.
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How the current COVID surge is hurting learning and kids' mental health

NPR (from January 10, 2022)
Anyone with school-age children knows the last week has been really rough. Thousands of schools around the country have shifted to remote learning, and those staying open are dealing with students and staff out sick, the burden of testing and masking and everything it takes to stay open during the midst of a pandemic. We're going to spend the next several minutes now talking about how this moment and the last two years of disruption have affected the mental health and development of children. NPR health correspondent Rhitu Chatterjee and NPR education correspondent Anya Kamenetz are here with us to talk us through all of this.
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Trends Shaping Education in 2022

By Tom Vander Ark, Getting Smart (from January 11, 2022)
It's hard to see trends in a crisis. And now layered crises–pandemic, climate, racial reckoning, economic inequity, geopolitical tension–is the new normal. We're living through a jumble of unexpected events that thwart pattern recognition.
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The Best Managers Don't Fix, They Coach — Four Tools to Add to Your Toolkit

By Anita Hossain Choudhry & Mindy Zhang, First Round Review
Think about your typical week as a manager. How many times did you help your direct reports by trying to solve their problem? The answer is probably as many times as you met with them. While that's common among managers, it's not always optimal.
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An Oft-Neglected Way to Help Restore Students' Mental Health

By Jenna Scott, Inside Higher Ed (from January 12, 2022)
In addition to the everyday stressors of college, the pandemic has significantly worsened the mental health of college students. COVID-19 has intensified student feelings of anxiety, depression and hopelessness. The percentage of students reporting anxiety, for instance, has grown from less than 20 percent in 2019 to close to 45 percent this past year. Some states, like West Virginia, are taking steps to help colleges and universities combat these trends by awarding large grants to expand mental health services for students.
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Projections: You Are the Continuity

By Jeffrey Shields, Net Assets (from January 6, 2022)
Five years ago — if you can remember back to that distant time before COVID — we in the independent school sector were worried that a high number of business officers and CFOs would retire over the next few years. I wrote about the detrimental impact this would have on schools. It turns out that our worries were for naught.
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