Independent Schools Association of the Southwest

Education News


Private Schools' Blueprint for Navigating National Vaccine Mandate-or-Test Rule

By Kristin L. Smith, Fisher Phillips (from September 16, 2021)
Independent and private schools are wondering how they will be affected by the impending vaccine-or-test mandate the Biden administration announced last week. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will soon issue a rule requiring employers with 100 or more employees to either ensure their workers are vaccinated or require unvaccinated employees to produce a weekly negative test result before coming to work. Employees will also have to be given paid time off to get vaccinated and to recover from any vaccine side effects as part of the forthcoming emergency rule. For some independent and private schools, this development likely means few, if any, changes. However, those schools not currently requiring vaccines or testing need to know what they will be required to do once OSHA issues the final rule. Here are a series of FAQs and a five-step plan for your school to consider.
Read more

If You Want to Get Better at Something, Ask Yourself These Two Questions

By Peter Bregman, Harvard Business Review (from November 9, 2018)
It was the last race of the ski season. My son Daniel, 10 years old, was at the starting gate in his speed suit, helmet and goggles, waiting for the signal.
"3… 2… 1…" The gate keeper called out and he was gone in a flash, pushing off his ski poles to gain momentum. One by one, each gate smacked to the ground when he brushed by. As he neared the end, he crouched into an aerodynamic tuck to shave a few milliseconds from his time. He crossed the finish line —48.37 seconds after the start — breathing hard. We cheered and gave him hugs.
But he wasn't smiling.
Read more

The Longer Game

By Mike Vachow, Knuckleball Consulting (from September 10, 2021)
Last December, I wrote a piece entitled The Long Game. December was an auspicious moment. Budget planning forced school leaders to lift their eyes from their shoe tops, where the pandemic had trained their gaze for 7 months, to the horizon of the 2021 - 2022 school year. December was also notable in that many schools had found a kind of operational equilibrium by that time. No one doubted that conditions were going to continue to change, but most school leaders had built crisis management models and communication standards that were working reliably.
Read more

The Modern Curriculum

By Seth Godin, Seth's Blog (from September 8, 2021)
We've spent 130 years indoctrinating kids with the same structure. Now, as some of us enter a post-lockdown world, I'd like to propose a useful (though some might say radical) way to reimagine the curriculum.
Read more

How to be an effective leader, according to Google's classic questionnaire

By Sarah Goff-Dupont, Work Life (from August 3, 2021)

Many people who take on leadership positions flounder in the role. The qualities that make you an outstanding accountant, developer, marketer, or customer service rep may earn you a manager title, but they aren't the same skills you'll need to do the job well. And most likely, that promotion doesn't come with extensive leadership training.
Read more 

A Professional Learning Framework: Announcing the Launch of GOA's Educator Competencies

By Global Online Academy (from September 9, 2021)
In August 2021, GOA announced an expanded vision for teaching and learning. Our vision is based on four pillars and represents our commitment to ensuring that each GOA program will be Equitable, Accessible, Global, and High-Quality. 
Read more

Defending a Teacher's Right to Disconnect

By Youki Terada, Edutopia (from August 27, 2021)
Technology is compromising the health and well-being of teachers, blurring the already-indistinct boundaries between work and home and leading to an unsustainable "always on" mentality, researchers assert in a new study.
Read more

What's the Real Plan for DEI? Part I | DEI Vital Signs Framework

By Joshua Freedman & Michael Eatman, Intrepid Ed News (from September 7, 2021)
Ask three DEI professionals for the best way to implement and you'll get five conflicting answers. Whether it's called JEDI, EDI, DEI, DIB or something else, they'll have a shared goal, but dramatically different ideas and skill sets necessary on how to move toward it. 
Read more

'Breakthrough' Infections Do Not Mean COVID Vaccines Are Failing

By Emily Willingham, Scientific American (from August 4, 2021)
Endless news cycles and viral social media warn of "breakthrough infections" in people already vaccinated for COVID-19. These reports leave the mistaken impression that protections afforded by the vaccines are not working—and they can fuel reticence among the millions of people in the U.S. who have yet to get a shot. But such infections are not only known to occur after COVID vaccination. They frequently happen following inoculation against influenza, measles and many other diseases.
Read more

Your Employees Are Your Best Defense Against Cyberattacks

By Fabian Muhly, Jennifer Jordan, & Robert B. Cialdini,
Harvard Business Review (from August 30, 2021)

According to the FBI, cybercriminals scammed $26 billion between October 2013 and July 2019 with the "Business Email Compromise" scam that, using deceptive and manipulative social engineering techniques, lured employees and individuals into divulging their credentials and eventually making unauthorized transfers or funds. In 2017, MacEwan University in Canada was defrauded of some $11.8 million when a cybercriminal impersonated one of the university's staff members and requested changing the bank account information of one of its vendors. Another report covering 31 countries — 60% of world population and a corresponding 85% of global GDP — estimated the financial loss of online scams in 2019 to be €36 billion.
Read more

Is Decision Fatigue Wearing You Out? Three Strategies to Overcome It

By Liz Katz, One Schoolhouse (from August 23, 2021)
Academic Leaders, I'm worried about you. I've been in awe watching you over the past year and a half. You balanced the needs of your students, faculty, staff, and families as you responded to a crisis that few of us had the training or expertise to handle, and you did it with grace, wit, and patience. You've been faced with decision after decision in response to circumstances and policies that were far outside your control, and far too often, it felt like even the best possible solution fell short of the ideal. And let's be honest--it took a lot out of you. 
Read more

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.
Read more

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.
Read more

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?
Read more

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.
Read more

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.
Read more

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.)
Read more

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.
Read more

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."
Read more

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.
Read more

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.
Read more

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.
Read more

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.
Read more

"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.
Read more

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.
Read more