Independent Schools Association of the Southwest

Education News


How youth sports became a feast or famine world — and what parents can do about it

By Kara Newhouse, Mind/Shift (from September 8, 2022)

There's a story that didn't make it into Linda Flanagan's book, but it's so appalling she has to tell me about it. It's about a family in her town whose son was on the "A" team at the local soccer club one year but placed on the "B" team the next. He was humiliated; his parents were livid. So livid that the father, who worked in a higher position at the same firm as the coach, had the coach transferred overseas.
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A New Social Contract for Teams

By Keith Ferrazzi, Harvard Business Review (Fall 2022)
Eric Starkloff was on a mission to reinvent his company. As the incoming CEO of NI (formerly National Instruments), a Texas-based automated test and measurement engineering firm, he wanted to speed up decision-making and accelerate growth. He wanted pushback and alternative directions from his leadership team but was met with conflict avoidance. One team member recalls, "We were overly polite but not necessarily kind to one another. And people certainly didn't speak their minds."
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Independent Governance in a Post-Pandemic Era

By Peter O'Neill, Carney Sandoe (from July 26, 2022)
The CS&A Consulting Team has spent much of the past two years helping heads and boards guide their schools through unprecedented times. Just about every aspect of independent education has been disrupted by a series of elements that we've described in an earlier blog post as education's "Perfect Storm." Schools have faced a plethora of challenges, but at the heart of the storm are the concomitant emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic along with intense social and political conflict and polarization. As a result, heads and boards have had to venture into new organizational territory, making numerous quick decisions about programming and policies.
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What Sets Successful CEOs and Heads Of School Apart

By Jim Wickenden, Intrepid Ed News (from September 5, 2022)
The May-June 2017 issue of the Harvard Business Review (HBR) contained an interesting article entitled "What Sets Successful CEOs Apart." As a consultant to independent schools for over 35 years, I decided to see whether or not the research done on CEOs might be applicable to Heads of Schools.  Despite the fact that not all leaders of independent schools see themselves as being in a business, they are.  That being said, the four significant behaviors mentioned in the HBR article that set successful CEOs apart are not uniformly applicable to Heads of School.  Thus, the purpose of this article is to define the following four behaviors and to explain which are and which are not relevant for Heads of School.
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What's In a Name? Being Seen.

By Monserrat "Monsie" Muñoz, Well-Schooled (from September 2, 2022)
As a student, I learned early on that my name was different. A kind of difference that was not bad, but too complicated for someone to engage with during formal introductions, let alone daily, transactional encounters. That lesson is one that I learned on my first ever day of school, and that seemed to play in a loop every first day of classes for the rest of my time as a student.
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How Nonprofits Can Close The Opportunity Gap And Prepare Youth For The Future

By Byron Sanders, Forbes (from September 1, 2022)
Every young person is born with greatness. They are unique tapestries of strengths, passions and traits that are perfect for a place in this world. Yet the opportunity to build those assets in young people is often correlated to one's demographics in life. These assignments that no young person chooses, such as race, socioeconomic status and zip code, have real impact on their options. The achievement gap is a contextual misassignment; it is, rather, the opportunity gap that acknowledges that it is society's responsibility to create the conditions for a young person's agency, for their effort and creativity to shine through. I think the opportunity gap is one of the most pressing challenges facing society today.
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How Much Will Parents Invest In Their Kids' Education? "All Bets Are Off"

By Mark C. Pena, Forbes (from August 9, 2022)
There are plenty of parents stressing a bit with the new school year looming—especially those feeling the pinch of continued inflation or fearing a looming recession. Finding room in their budgets to invest in their children's education could be a challenge.
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If Your Co-Workers Are 'Quiet Quitting,' Here's What That Means

By Lindsay Ellis & Angela Yang, The Wall Street Journal (from August 12, 2022)
Not taking your job too seriously has a new name: quiet quitting.
The phrase is generating millions of views on TikTok as some young professionals reject the idea of going above and beyond in their careers, labeling their lesser enthusiasm a form of "quitting." It isn't about getting off the company payroll, these employees say. In fact, the idea is to stay on it—but focus your time on the things you do outside of the office.
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Take Away Their Cellphones

By Doug Lemov, Education Next (Summer 2022)
After successive school years disrupted by shutdowns, isolation, and mass experiments in remote teaching, educators returned to school in Fall 2021 to find that our classrooms and students had changed.  In the first days of the return, perhaps, we didn't see the full scope of the changes. Yes, most of us knew that there would be yawning academic gaps. Most of us understood then what the data have since clearly borne out: despite often heroic efforts by teachers to deliver remote instruction, the pandemic had caused a massive setback in learning and academic progress. The costs had been levied most heavily on those who could least afford it, and it would take months, if not years, to make up the lost time.
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The most recent efforts to combat teacher shortages don't address the real problems

By Henry Tran & Douglas A. Smith, The Conversation (from August 8, 2022)
States have recently focused their efforts to reduce the nation's teacher shortage by promoting strategies that "remove or relax barriers to entry" to quickly bring new people into the teaching profession.
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Some Reminders to Schools About Their "New" Teachers

By Peter Gow, One Schoolhouse (from July 20, 2022)
I've offered up pep talks to veteran and new teachers as they contemplate the coming year, but the experience of each new hire, especially, is as much a responsibility of the school as it is of the teacher. Assuming that the school handled its recruiting and hiring process well, the odds already favor success, but there are some key points to keep in mind to make sure things go smoothly. Remember, too, that even experienced teachers who are new to your school will be climbing a learning curve as they adjust to a new culture and new demands.
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U.S. Schools Put Covid-19 Safety Measures in Rearview, Dividing Some Parents

By Ben Chapman & Sara Randazzo, The Wall Street Journal (from August 12, 2022)
Schools nationwide are eliminating Covid-19 protocols as students return for fall, shifting resources from combating the waning virus to addressing academic crises that cropped up during the pandemic.  Districts across the country are reducing testing, de-emphasizing social distancing and dropping mask mandates that were in place for the start of classes last year.  A handful are still requiring masks or attempting vaccine directives.
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Six Truths About Leadership

By Rob Evans, Independent Ideas Blog (from August 9, 2022)
The past few years have been cruel to schools. A lethal, unpredictable pandemic, accompanied by a racial reckoning, enmeshed in a toxic political climate, has challenged school leaders in ways they never anticipated or prepared for. But although the situation has been wholly new, in many ways brutally so, it has illustrated the importance of several timeless truths about leadership.
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Title IX and Tax-Exempt Status: What Two Recent Federal Court Opinions Mean for Independent Schools

By Caryn G. Pass, Grace H. Lee, Janice P. Gregerson, & Ashley E. Sykes,
Venable LLP (from July 28, 2022)
Historically, independent schools have not been required to comply with certain federal non-discrimination laws, including Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 (Title IX), because they did not accept federal financial assistance and their 501(c)(3) status was not considered federal financial assistance. In the past two years, many independent schools accepted federal financial assistance under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), with the understanding that doing so would require compliance with certain federal non-discrimination obligations until the PPP loan was fully forgiven or repaid.
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Creative Ideas for Recruiting Gen Z Teachers

By Connor Gleason, Finalsite
Teachers are so over it … COVID has left the education sector stressed and fearful, and between debates over critical race theory, mask mandates, and the daily challenges of massive staff shortages, burned-out teachers have left schools at an unprecedented rate, joining some 4.5 million other workers in what's been called "The Great Resignation."
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Show Them More Than the Money

By Jeff Shields, Net Assets (from July 21, 2022)
The numbers alone are alarming. For a variety of reasons — the stresses and complications arising from the COVID-19 pandemic certainly included — 55% of educators say they are more likely to leave or retire sooner than planned, almost double the number saying the same just two years ago. But this is not simply pandemic-related. In a 2022 NBOA Annual Meeting presentation, "Becoming the 'School of Choice' for Faculty," we learned that nine out of ten teachers surveyed are worried about compensation and benefits.
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Flexibility Or Else: Teacher Retention In The Brave New World Of Education

By Mark C. Perna, Forbes (from July 12, 2022)
Summer is usually a time for teachers and administrators alike to reset and recharge for the coming school year. This year, however, the "slow season" doesn't feel as restful as it has in the past. On the horizon, there's a problem looming: teacher and support staff retention.
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Restoring Community in Changing Times

By Ian Symmonds & Associates (from July 11, 2022)
If "the work of the school is determined by the needs of society", as the prolific educator Francis Parker claimed, we have a deep challenge in front of us as schools and colleges rest up for a new academic year.  The frantic pace of change in the past two academic years have left educators depleted of energy and some campus communities polarized by divisive issues.  We have some restorative work to do in the future.
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How Leaders Can Escape Their Echo Chambers

By Dina Smith, Harvard Business Review (from July 21, 2022)
The higher leaders go, the more likely they are to find themselves in an echo chamber, surrounded by people who think like them and agree with them. This occurs partly because of the affinity bias, which leads us to favor, associate with, and hire the people to whom we feel most similar. This dearth of diverse perspectives is further compounded by a couple of issues: problem-solving methods that lead to groupthink and the difficulty of establishing psychological safety. Collectively, these forces can result in leaders getting stuck in an echo chamber.
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Rethinking Math Education

By Steven D. Levitt, Boaz Barak, Jeffrey Severts, & Adrian Mims,
Education Next (Summer 2022)
In 2021, California set off a national debate on the future of K–12 math education when the state unveiled new guidelines for teaching the subject. The proposed curriculum framework, though non-binding, calls for schools to: offer data-science courses in addition to algebra, pre-calculus, and calculus; have students take algebra in 9th grade rather than 8th; and ask teachers to infuse social-justice concepts into math lessons.
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The Great Attrition is making hiring harder. Are you searching the right talent pools?

By Aaron De Smet, Bonnie, Dowling, Bryan Hancock, & Bill Schaninger,
McKinsey & Company (from July 13, 2022)
It's the quitting trend that just won't quit. People are switching jobs and industries, moving from traditional to nontraditional roles, retiring early, or starting their own businesses. They are taking a time-out to tend to their personal lives or embarking on sabbaticals. The Great Attrition has become the Great Renegotiation.
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No, the Boys Are Not Doing Just Fine

By Richard V. Reeves, The Chronicle of Higher Education (from July 28, 2022)
Is there a crisis in male college-going? Or, as Carine M. Feyten argues in a recent Chronicle opinion, is it the case that "The Boys Are Doing Just Fine"
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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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