Independent Schools Association of the Southwest

Education News


"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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Strategies: Diversifying the Senior Leadership Team

By Cecily Garber, Net Assets (from March 9, 2021)
Since its founding 50 years ago, Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences has committed to supporting diversity. At the K-12 school in Santa Monica, California, 50% of the student body identifies as people of color, as do 38% of faculty. In recent years, Crossroads has prioritized increasing the number of people of color who sit on its senior leadership team, and in the past two years, the school conducted searches for three of these positions: associate head of school, director of finance and operations, and head of upper school. For each position, all of the finalists were people of color. As of July 1, 2021, when the new director of finance and operations steps in, four out of the nine members of this team will be people of color.
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Private Schools Have Become Truly Obscene

By Caitlin Flanagan, The Atlantic (April 2021)
Dalton is one of the most selective private schools in Manhattan, in part because it knows the answer to an important question: What do hedge-funders want?  They want what no one else has. At Dalton, that means an "archaeologist in residence," a teaching kitchen, a rooftop greenhouse, and a theater proscenium lovingly restored after it was "destroyed by a previous renovation."
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With a Private School Hit Piece, The Atlantic Abandons Ethical Journalism

By David Cutler, Medium (from March 21, 2021)
Several years ago, this high school history and journalism teacher was covering anti-private school rhetoric in the mainstream press. I wanted (and still want) all school sectors to work together, not against one another, and I just couldn't take the complete lack of ethics involved in some truly horrendous reporting.
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Do Top Colleges Favor Applicants Who Are Extremely Wealthy?

By Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed (from March 22, 2021)
he ostensible topic of the article in The Atlantic is summed up in its headline: "Private Schools Have Become Truly Obscene: Elite Schools Breed Entitlement, Entrench Inequality -- and Then Pretend to Be Engines of Social Change."
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The First AAP Guidelines For 2021 Summer Camps Are Here

By Catherine Pearson, Huffington Post (from March 24, 2021)
The American Academy of Pediatrics released updated guidelines about summer camps amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, emphasizing that "safe camp participation" is possible — and can offer real benefits to children — if certain mitigation measures are followed.
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Trinity School receives a Certificate of Spaceflight Authenticity for its emblem being flown into space

By Zach Leff, NewsWest9 (from March 5, 2021)
MIDLAND, Texas — The Trinity School recently received a Certificate of Spaceflight Authenticity on March 3 for its emblem being flown into international space on three separate occasions between 2019-2020.  NASA astronaut Christina Koch flew the emblem into space for Expeditions 59,60,61 at the request of Trinity School alumna Dr. Sharmi Singh Watkins.
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What Will the World Look Like After Coronavirus?

By Adil Najam, Greater Good Magazine (from February 12, 2021)
Back in March, my colleagues at the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future at Boston University thought that it might be useful to begin thinking about "the day after coronavirus." For a research center dedicated to longer-term thinking, it made sense to ask what our post–COVID-19 world might look like.
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Taking the Long View to Eliminate Systemic Racism: A Systems Thinking Approach

By Donna Orem, NAIS (from February 16, 2021)
When john a. powell, director of the University of California, Berkeley's Othering & Belonging Institute, was leading the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Ohio State University in 2010, he wrote a compelling thought piece, titled "Systems Thinking, Evaluation, and Racial Justice." He advocated for a new approach to eliminating systemic racism, writing, "We need an evaluation approach that acknowledges what we know from a history of inadequate or failed policy interventions. We know that what works on a microlevel may not be able to be scaled up; what appears promising in the short-term may have no impact in the long-term, what helps in the short-term may in fact harm in the long-term, and even policies that are far removed from the traditional concerns of racial justice advocates can either ameliorate or exacerbate racial disparities. The efficacy of a policy can only be adequately understood by looking at how it interacts with other policies and the environment to advance desired outcomes."
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Peabody-led research report sheds light on impact of effective school leadership on student learning outcomes

By Evan Curran, Research News at Vanderbilt (from February 16, 2021)
A major new research review released today paints a detailed picture of how strong principals affect students' educational and social outcomes. The report, co-authored by Professor Jason A. Grissom at Vanderbilt University, concludes that school leaders are even more important than previously believed and that investing in their success has a very large payoff.
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Congratulations to Good Shepherd Episcopal School on their recognition in the NBOA Innovation Award program!

By Jeffrey Shields, NBOA (from February 9, 2021)
I am excited to announce, for the first time, the recipients of the Jeffrey Shields Award for Innovation Excellence in School Business Operations, as selected by the NBOA Awards Selection Committee. Schools honored with this award have "shaken up" their organizations and disrupted the status quo by implementing new ideas and transforming organizational culture. 
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Why parents should brace themselves for another uncertain summer and fall

By Elissa Strauss, CNN (from January 30, 2021)
I remember the talk among parents on my son's last day of in-person school since the pandemic began. Back in March, some of them didn't believe it might be three whole weeks until our kids could return to school here in Oakland, California.
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