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NAIS Connect Blogs

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Dear Colleagues, I am about to complete my third article in a series about private-public school partnerships, and what each sector can learn from the other. From The Atlantic The Private-School Stigma I ’ m on a train one day when I overhear several teachers talking about how much they hate grades and how they wish they could throw out their grade books. I chime in, saying how much I agree. For one, even for students at an early age, grades undermine a love for learning and curiosity by imposing external motivators. But when I explain that I teach at a private school, I receive what has become a familiar, disapproving...
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As much as I love all of our schools, I can tell when everyone is rotating through spring break around the country as it’s just a little more peaceful on my end. Questions and concerns shift from time-sensitive crises (usually caused by students) to policy and procedure questions as administrative teams use the downtime to catch up a bit. Legal Questions : This is the time of the year that the employment compliance and tax questions start coming out. Some of the activity is due to schools renegotiating heads’ contracts and some is related to the hiring season more generally. On hiring, keep an eye out over the next couple of days for our new hiring guide...
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When I am on the road speaking, which is particularly often in the spring and fall, people often ask me what I am hearing, what I am worried about, or what they should be worried about. I think quite a bit about liability, obviously, but I also track a lot of other trends in education as they often relate to risks we have not thought about yet and, let's face it, there are very few things more important to most people's lives than education and it impacts our broader world in unexpected ways that are endlessly interesting. Legal Question of the Week : Two schools have actually contacted me this week asking about peanut allergies and limiting peanuts on...
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Louisville Collegiate School @TracieCatlett Do you remember your high school days when you had the opportunity to solve a medical mystery with a classmate living in Madaba-Manja, Jordan, by examining real data, drawing conclusions, and suggesting the diagnosis and treatment of patients in your Medical Problem Solving course? Or how about that period after lunch in your Bioethics course when you wrote and defended a position paper about vaccinations to your classmates at The Dalton School in Manhattan? Can’t quite recall those days in high school? Neither can I, but believe it or not, those days are here--and those days are here to stay thanks to Global...
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It makes sense to start an article about white people’s role at POCC, or anything related to POCC, with an articulation of the true meaning and purpose of the conference. However, I am limited in my ability to truly understand POCC because the conference is not meant for me. I can say that the conference is a place for people of color in independent schools to gather every year. That I know. But beyond that, what it feels like to need POCC, to be at POCC, and to return to school life post POCC, that I don’t know. I don’t know because I am not a singleton or one of few of anything at my school. I am not subjected to daily microaggressions. And I don’t feel...
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Dear Colleagues, I would love to hear your thoughts about this piece I helped a former student produce for The New York Times Learning Network. I've included the first few paragraphs below. This week we’ve been publishing wonderful Reader Ideas for using The New York Times to teach and learn. Below, something a little different: For the first time, we’re posting a piece by a student instead of a teacher. Perhaps it will inspire your students to write in ? Preston R. Michelson, now a college student studying journalism at Northwestern University, interviews his former high school teacher and journalism adviser, David Cutler, to write...
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The Private-School Stigma

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Dear Colleagues, I would love to hear your thoughts on my recent Atlantic piece, The Private-School Stigma . I've pasted the first two paragraphs below: I’m on a train one day when I overhear several teachers talking about how much they hate grades and how they wish they could throw out their grade books. I chime in, saying how much I agree. For one, even for students at an early age, grades undermine a love for learning and curiosity by imposing external motivators. But when I explain that I teach at a private school, I receive what has become a familiar, disapproving stare, as though I’m one of those teachers—privileged and misguided,...
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Dear Colleagues, I would love to hear your thoughts of my recent Edutopia article, The Ethics, Hurdles, and Payoff of Advising an Online Student Newspaper . I've pasted first two paragraphs below: Teaching journalism students print layout is akin to teaching math students how to use an abacus. It's high time that more schools accept the death of the printed student newspaper -- not mourn its passing. Instead, we should focus all our energies on teaching students how to code, maintain a website, and use an ever-growing array of multimedia storytelling tools. Take it from me. I'm an experienced journalist and journalism advisor who...
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The Gator Student Site of Brimmer and May Skip to content HOME NEWS SPORTS ARTS OPINION ABOUT State of The Gator by David Cutler December 15, 2014 News Image As the first semester draws to a close , I wanted to reflect on how far The Gator has come in just a few short months—and where I hope to help guide it in the future. It’s no easy task launching a student news site, and my students’ accomplishments thus far...
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I've covered a lot about what candidates can be doing to enhance their prospects. But not all of the onus for breaking into senior leadership is on the candidates -- so let’s talk about what schools can do (ahem, should be doing). Does your school want to diversify its faculty and staff, but ends up coming to the conclusion that “we just can’t find good candidates; they’re not out there” or “nobody good wants to come to our location”? You may think that. You may even be right about not being in the most desirable location. But Christel McGuigan of Lakeside School and Warren Reid of Nemnet Minority Recruitment are here to tell you that, honestly? They’re...
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Looking to become a head of school (or other senior leader)? Here are some things to keep in mind as you think ahead (pun possibly intended). Be aware Ara Brown will emphasize that he doesn't have the magic recipe. His research pulls out characteristics common to heads of color who were first appointed to a headship between July 2006 and July 2011, where those characteristics showed a statistically significant difference from their white counterparts. It does not mean that if you have all of the same characteristics, you will be offered a headship (ta-da!). But you probably want to know. Percentage of heads in the sample who... ...
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Greetings, all, and apologies for the extended lag between posts. Has everyone come down from the conference high, or have you managed to already put into effect some of what you took away? I know it's hard to maintain the momentum once you're back in the daily grind, but we gotta keep pushing to make some change. I'm back with a series of posts on hiring, getting hired, and moving into senior leadership. I hope they'll help push you and your school. On the second day of the conference (Friday morning), Caroline Blackwell invited heads of color onto the general session stage and asked aspiring heads and senior administrators to identify themselves in the...
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The Gator Student Site of Brimmer and May Skip to content HOME NEWS SPORTS ARTS OPINION ABOUT State of The Gator by David Cutler December 15, 2014 News Image As the first semester draws to a close, I wanted to reflect on how far The Gator has come in just a few short months—and where I hope to help guide it in the future. It’s no easy task launching a student news site, and my students’ accomplishments thus far serve as...
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Be ready. You know how to write up a good résumé, but what career choices most help your career path? Do you know what questions to ask to understand what situation you might be walking into with a new school? Let's get you started. Résumé dilemmas The Carney, Sandoe workshop drew a lot of questions about what helps on your résumé. The agency's representatives mentioned that aside from educational credentials, being promoted at least once internally is a big signal to an outside school, as it shows them that you have succeeded at your school, and that the school had (has) a lot of confidence in you. What about the Diversity Director/Coordinator...
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NAIS Well-Being Deep Dive

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Hi, all, This week’s NAIS Deep Dive is focused on assessing how we’re doing in terms of well-being. Eranda Jayawickreme, Professor at Wake Forest University, says we should focus on dimensions we can actually change and on those associated with positive outcomes. Ernada designed a well-being survey for Wake Forest to help track student well-being in such a way that the school can provide active responses for trends they see from the student responses. In this video he discusses the importance of giving your attention to students and being fully present to improve overall student satisfaction. How do you measure well-being...
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Temporary Interruption

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Hi folks, PoCC is still on and going strong! Fabulous presentations across the board by general session speakers Maysoon Zayid (yesterday afternoon, on the narrowness of image and/or lack of visibility for the disabled, Arabs, and Muslims), Derald Wing Sue (this morning, on microaggressions), and Jose Antonio Vargas (this afternoon, on the need to connect with everyone to form a united America). And of course dozens of workshop presenters are hitting the mark as well (or so Twitter tells me, since I haven't mastered the cloning thing yet). Unfortunately, this blogger is under the weather. Further postings delayed, but definitely not forgotten.
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Follow the full conversation at #PoCC14. @MrsFidlerSPA RT"to teachers/admins of colour: Know that you should all be working in a place where you are celebrated not tolerated. #PoCC14” #SPAKto5 :) @tucteach You work for what you love and you love what you work for. PoCC Speaks #PoCC14 @tucteach To be the best leader, you have to be the greatest follower. PoCC Speaks #PoCC14 @Dr_Brams "Inclusion is listening to what [people] need and know that they are not asking for anything the don't need because asking is so hard" #PoCC14 @racialicious A family from the Bronx may not be comfortable coming down to the holiday party you're holding at the Yale...
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Take a Deep Breath

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We couldn't be at the People of Color Conference/Student Diversity Leadership Conference and not talk about Ferguson, Michael Brown, and Eric Garner, right? Right. PoCC/SDLC14's opening session kicked off this morning, and in what fine form it was. Almost every speaker referenced and affirmed what we all know to be true: that black lives, black children, all children, ALL. Lives. Matter. That the work we do at PoCC, at SDLC, in our schools, with our students is necessary and that it matters. You know it to be true, but it's good to hear others say it anyway. PoCC is a little different than most of the professional development conferences I attend in...
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Leader, Know Thyself

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I don't have a DiSC, and I don't know my letter. But if you're in school leadership, or looking to be, you should. The PoCC pre- conference Leadership Seminar for People of Color and Women provided participants with advice on reaching the next level in their careers (and how to succeed once there), and self-awareness was at the top of the list. As an NAIS staffer, I wasn't an official seminar registrant. So when I walked into the seminar room Wednesday afternoon not having done a DiSC assessment , and having missed the explanatory morning session, it took a little while to catch on. Roughly 25 participants were discussing aspects of their leadership...
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Dear Readers: In response to continuing news reports and interest in this forum about Ebola, I post this piece on behalf of Richard Barbieri, a quarterly contributor to Independent School magazine’s books section. After 40 years working in independent schools, Barbieri is now providing mediation, communication, and conflict support to families, schools, and courts. He invites you to be in touch and can be reached at rbarbieri@singularresolutions.com One Way Schools Can Calm Parental Concerns about Ebola: Parents' Own Words By Richard Barbieri In November, I traveled to regional independent school conferences in...
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