Independent Schools Association of the Southwest

Education News


How Men Can Be More Inclusive Leaders

By David G. Smith, W. Brad Johnson, & Lisen Strombert, Harvard Business Review
(from May 12, 2021)
Note to men: Your father's approach to leadership won't work for you. In fact, it's a recipe for failure. With the global pandemic, searing evidence of social injustice, the rise of employee activism, and the changing role of the corporation (success is no longer just about shareholder value), we are witnessing a fundamental shift in the workplace.
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6 Enrollment Trends to Watch

By Heather Hoerle, Independent School Magazine (Summer 2021)
A January 2021 Independent Ideas blog post curated some NAIS staffers' predictions about the future of independent schools. One such prediction explored how the admission process will look different, explaining that: Many schools have eliminated admission testing requirements during the pandemic, and many will abandon them altogether to advance equity or will invest in different testing approaches. The move will be a key component in a reimagined process that will step beyond the traditional timeline in favor of a rolling admission process embracing midyear enrollment, rapid decisioning, and more tuition support.
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The Dark Side of Rigor

By Olaf Jorgenson & Percy L. Abram, Independent School Magazine (Summer 2021)
The word "rigor" is like catnip for so many independent school parents. It's all over school websites, viewbooks, glossy marketing materials, social media campaigns, and parking lot conversations. Parents ascribe value and credibility to any course, program, or school labeled "rigorous." Rigor is seen as fundamental to effective academic preparation for young people and is associated with favorable outcomes ranging from high standardized test scores and weighted grades to the grand prize, admission to elite colleges and universities. But what exactly do we mean by rigor? How is it delivered in classrooms? How is it measured? And is rigor—however we define it—good for children?
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16 Books for Your Summer Break

By Richard Barbieri, Independent Ideas Blog (from June 8, 2021)
Almost everyone has read Emily Dickinson's "There is no Frigate like a Book," if only on a free bookmark. The poem reminds us that books have the capacity "To take us Lands away." It is that sentiment that inspired me  when putting together this annual summer reading list. The picks I share here will take you to lands and times away, as well as on inner journeys.
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GOA's Summer Playlist: 15 Resources for Reflection and Inspiration

By Global Online Academy Staff (from June 10, 2021)
As many of us head into what we hope will be a restorative break, we offer a playlist for rest, relaxation, and recalibration. We hope you get the chance to restore yourself and spend time with loved ones. Whether you are on the road or at home, here are 15 ideas for listening, watching, and reading this summer.
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When We Talk about Grades, We Are Talking about People

By Sean Michael Morris (from June 9, 2021)
I was very proud of the grades I got as an undergraduate. My wife at the time used to say that my transcript was very pointy. I earned a 3.98 GPA, which means that across those four years of education, I received only two Bs. One in geology. One in jazz dance. The latter of those was due to one too many absences, rather than anything to do with my performance in the class. (I'm actually a pretty good dancer.)
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Six Ways School Teams Can Reflect on Pandemic Learning

By Becky Green & Bonnie Lathram, Global Online Academy (from April 26, 2021)
As the academic year winds to a close, school teams will want to consider reflection as a way to conclude the year, offering protocols or frameworks to reflect on what has been accomplished and to share enduring learnings from over a year in pandemic learning. This year, perhaps more than any other in most teachers' careers, brought shifts that have potential long term impact, requiring teachers to respond flexibly and continuously upskill, all while managing unknowns at school and at home.
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The Academic Concept Conservative Lawmakers Love to Hate

By Emma Pettit, The Chronicle of Higher Education (from May 12, 2021)
Around New Hampshire, yard signs have popped up, telling passersby to "Save Our Children." How? By not allowing "critical race theory" in our schools, they say.  The signs, paid for by No Left Turn in Education, an organization started by a Pennsylvania parent to push back on the "leftist agenda" sweeping public education, are similar to another, paid for by FreedomWorks, a Washington, D.C.-based conservative advocacy group, which tells viewers to "Stop Racism. Stop Hate. Stop Critical Race Theory."
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A New Definition of Rigor

By Brian Sztabnik, Edutopia (from May 8, 2015)
You would think that it would be more prevalent than it is. But it appears only four times in the Common Core State Standards. Why has a word that is mentioned so little caused such dread, anxiety, and confusion among teachers?  I'm talking about rigor.
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Don't presume learning lost to Covid, says John Hattie

By Simon Lock, TES (from March 3, 2021)
If Professor John Hattie wants you to remember one thing when schools return to full face-to-face teaching it is this. He believes a deficit narrative about the past 12 months in terms of education is a natural position to take, but it would be an inaccurate one: the reality, he says, is much more nuanced.
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Mask-Free Schools Before Summer? A 7-Step Roadmap for Schools That Want to Ditch Mask Mandates For Fully Vaccinated Employees and Students

By Fisher Phillips (from May 14, 2021)
With less than a month left in the school year, yesterday's guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stating that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance, was met with mixed emotions from school administrators. Like all Americans, schools no doubt view this as significant progress in conquering the COVID-19 pandemic. But the CDC's announcement came in the notorious "100 days of May" as schools sprint to the finish line of another trying academic year and offered no specific guidance for schools, leaving many educational institutions unsure how to proceed. The good news is that the new guidance may offer a path forward – albeit an aggressive one – for those schools wanting to allow vaccinated employees and students to go mask-less. Such a path involves some risks to consider and hurdles to overcome, however. We have developed a seven-step roadmap for schools to get to that point.
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The country is talking about race in schools. Minneapolis offers lessons.

By Chelsea Sheasley, The Christian Science Monitor (from May 5, 2021)

High school teacher Nafeesah Muhammad decided to play a game recently with her students. In the style of the classic teenage pastime "never have I ever," she posed statements to her class for discussion. One prompt, "never have I ever been scared of the cops," resulted in students sharing times when they had felt afraid of the police.
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"As Usual, Dalton Got in Its Own Way": Inside the Antiracism Tug-of-War at an Elite NYC Private School

By Lysandra Ohrstrom, Vanity Fair (from April 15, 2021)
The public blowup came in December, splashed across the pages of the New York Post: A handful of teachers at the Dalton School, one of New York City's elite Upper East Side private schools, had written an eight-page, 24-point thought-starter document that aimed to reimagine Dalton's approach to diversity and inclusion, bringing it more in line with the progressive facade it has long worn. The document was signed by more than 130 staff members of all races, including high-ranking department heads, teachers, and administrators. After a summer of nationwide protests sparked by the police killing of George Floyd, and a widespread call to reexamine the role that institutionalized racism plays in every aspect of American life, the tidal wave had arrived at Dalton's door.
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Hospital Encounters Pushback on Mandatory Vaccine Policy: 7 Issues to Consider Before Your Company Requires Vaccines

By Fisher Phillips (from April 19, 2021)
Pushback against employer-mandated COVID-19 vaccines has stirred media attention in Texas, home to the world's largest medical complex. Specifically, a nurse working at a hospital in the Houston Methodist system has anonymously circulated a petition and spoken to the media about the employer's upcoming deadline for employees to be vaccinated unless they obtain a medical or religious exemption. She claims to speak on behalf of "everybody who is too scared to speak up" about what she characterized as threatening or bullying conduct by Methodist in its attempt to reach as close to 100% vaccination rate as possible. The controversy highlights issues that every employer should consider as you evaluate whether to require your employees to get vaccinated. The central dispute is more philosophical than legal, juxtaposing some employees' individual concerns against an employer's lawful approach to maximizing safety in a healthcare setting.
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The Weak Case for Grit

By Jesse Singal, Nautilus (from April 14, 2021)
It might surprise you to find out how little evidence there is to support the idea that boosting students' "grit"—their propensity to tenaciously attack difficult problems they encounter rather than give up—is a reliably effective way to improve their school performance or to close long-standing education gaps. After all, you've probably heard otherwise. Grit is everywhere. By the time you read this, it will have been a golden child of the world of education for well over a decade. It's a sexy, appealing idea: grit predicts success, grit can be measured, and grit can be improved.
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The Repressive Politics of Emotional Intelligence

By Merve Emre, The New Yorker (from April 12, 2021)
My parents did not often concern themselves with my moral education, but, when they did, whatever wisdom or warnings they had to impart were accompanied by books—typically, pop-psychology best-sellers. Two stand out in my memory: "Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls," by Mary Pipher, and "Emotional Intelligence," by Daniel Goleman.
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Private Schools Brought in Diversity Consultants. Outrage Ensued.

By Ginia Bellafante, The New York Times (from April 23, 2021)
In the way that college football grinds the Southeast to a halt on any given fall Saturday, a private-school drama in New York flattens the attentions of the city's moneyed class for anything else, days on end. In this regard, it has been quite a season. Within a period of roughly 92 hours during the week of April 11, the news coming from the Ivy League training grounds hit observers with the pace of an angry linebacker tearing in from the blindside.
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There's a Name for the Blah You're Feeling: It's Called Languishing

By Adam Grant, The New York Times (from April 19, 2021)
At first, I didn't recognize the symptoms that we all had in common. Friends mentioned that they were having trouble concentrating. Colleagues reported that even with vaccines on the horizon, they weren't excited about 2021. A family member was staying up late to watch "National Treasure" again even though she knows the movie by heart. And instead of bouncing out of bed at 6 a.m., I was lying there until 7, playing Words with Friends.
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The Boarding-School Boom

By Ronda Kaysen, The New York Times (from March 29, 2021)
Boarding school had never been in the cards for Landon Moore. In December, he was a senior at Bloomington High School in Illinois; he had always assumed that his father, the school's principal, would hand him his diploma when he graduated, as to his older brother before him.
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Our Kids Are Not Broken

By Ron Berger, The Atlantic (from March 20, 2021)
Our kids have lost so much—family members, connections to friends and teachers, emotional well-being, and for many, financial stability at home. And, of course, they've lost some of their academic progress. The pressure to measure—and remediate—this "learning loss" is intense; many advocates for educational equity are rightly focused on getting students back on track. But I am concerned about how this growing narrative of loss will affect our students, emotionally and academically. Research shows a direct connection between a student's mindset and academic success.
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A Pointed Question: How To Ask Employees If They've Been Vaccinated Without Having To Call Your Lawyer First

By Fisher Phillips (from April 8, 2021)
Now that the country is on course to see all adult Americans eligible for COVID-19 vaccination in a matter of days, and an increasing number of employees are returning to the workplace, vaccination status is likely to be an increasingly common topic over the coming weeks and months. Which leads to these inevitable questions: when and how can employers ask their workers whether they've been vaccinated without getting into hot water? Whether it's an innocent question asked while trying to make conversation or an inquiry posed to determine whether someone can return to normal duties, you need to understand your legal rights and obligations regarding this serious topic. Missteps can easily lead to legal complications.
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A Pandemic Financial Success Story?

By Emma Whitford, Inside Higher Ed (from April 6, 2021)
Endicott College is in a better financial position now than it was before the pandemic, according to its president. After one of higher education's most difficult years, marked by enrollment declines, furloughs, layoffs and steep budget cuts, Endicott's success stands out.
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Eight Steps to Transforming School Culture: Real Talk on Race and Diversity

By ISM (from April 11, 2021)
For some schools, 2020 was the year that leaders got honest about diversity in their schools. Whether it was the first time your team dealt with challenging conversations, or another year of continuing progress, use these concrete steps to transform your school's culture.
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Parents, Stop Talking About the 'Lost Year'

By  Judith Warner, The New York Times (from April 11, 2021)
They're calling it a "lost year."  On and offline, parents are trading stories — poignant and painful — about all of the ways that they fear their middle schoolers are losing ground.  "It's really hard to put my finger on what happened exactly," said Jorge Gallegos, whose son, Eyan, is in the seventh grade in Washington, D.C.
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The Woke Meritocracy

By Blake Smith, Tablet (from April 4, 2021)
Every level of American education, from earliest grades to elite universities, is informed, to a greater or lesser extent, by two apparently contradictory forces: competition in the name of meritocracy, and identitarian notions of social justice. Meritocracy and wokeness seem to be at odds, particularly in debates about criteria for college admissions or the continued existence of selective public secondary schools. Between those who see meritocratic admissions as giving fair rewards to hard work and ability, and those who demand that schools focus on students' identities rather than individual performance, there appears little room for compromise.
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