NAIS Connect Blogs

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Much like the best in any field, the best learners and teachers stress-test assumptions. The profound often hides with absurd, even heretical, experiments. Tim Ferriss AUSTIN, TEXAS Ever since childhood, my need to learn has been unquenchable. Then, a few years ago, I discovered that learner is one of my top five strengths, per the Gallup StrengthsFinder talent assessment tool . This means I exhibit a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve. In particular, the process of learning, rather than the outcome, excites me. In my third visit to the SXSWedu Conference & Festival in early March, I sought to leverage this strength by exploring ...
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Dear Colleagues, I thought to share my recent Edutopia story, which you can access by following the link below: https://www.edutopia.org/article/teaching-why-facts-still-matter-david-cutler I would love to hear your thoughts.
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Dear Colleagues, I am eager to hear any thoughts on my most recent article for Edutopia , which you can access by clicking HERE . I've included the first few paragraphs below... In Susan Cains Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Cant Stop Talking , the best-selling author raises a topic Ive been thinking about a lot lately. In the chapter When Collaboration Kills Creativity: The Rise of the New Groupthink and the Power of Working Alone, Cain quotes Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak, who endorsed working alone in his memoir : Most inventors and engineers Ive met are like metheyre shy and they live in their heads. Theyre almost like ...
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Dear Colleagues, I am eager to hear any thoughts on my most recent article for Edutopia , which you can access by clicking HERE . I am currently attending the NAIS PoCC conference and will be here until tomorrow afternoon, if folks want to meet up and chat. I certainly don't have all of the answers. I would love to hear your thoughts. I've included the first three paragraphs below: As a high school government and American history teacher, I strive to sidestep perceptions of bias in how I teach and assess by seeking to remain politically neutral. On day one, I tell my students that I dont care where they reside on the political spectrumand I really ...
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We have a generation of research documenting in endless detail the loss of sense of community and connectedness in schools and families, along with loss of core values like courage and caring. We have lost sanctioned, honored, and trustworthy ways for our youth to come of agemany drift into and through adolescence with no benchmarks beyond standardized tests. In an absence of the availability of real traditions, today many youths meet the needs for coming of age through alienation, gangs, helmet sports, drug use, and more. Coming of Age the Rite Way is the contemporary rationale for the critical process of coming of age. In providing ...
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NWEA MAP testing

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Our school is contemplating moving from the ERB CTP4 paper/pencil standardized test to the NWEA MAP on-line formative assessment next year. I would appreciate it if other schools who have made this change would share anything about your experience that may be helpful to us. Thank you. Diane Williamson Curriculum/Professional Development Coordinator St. Michael's Episcopal Day School Carmichael, CA 9560
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Carter Latendresse 8 December 2016 NAIS and the Only Responsible Stance on Anthropogenic Climate Change In our commitment to inclusivity, bipartisanship, and debate regarding climate change, the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) has paradoxically abdicated its leadership responsibility and already betrayed two generations of students. We have known since the first Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment report in 1990 that anthropogenic climate change is a real and pressing danger. We have today in NAIS a third generation of students who have lived with the known effects of anthropogenic climate change since 1990, ...
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Terminology matters. Over the past five years, our financial aid office has made the effort to eliminate the terms "award" and "awards" when discussing and writing about financial aid decisions. Our thinking -- and we welcome and encourage your feedback on this -- is that the word "award" carries with it the connotation of winning something. That connotation, we believe, can cloud a conversation with a family when we are trying to explain that our financial aid committee decisions are thoughtful and deliberate decisions based on the data and information we reviewed in their financial aid application. Frankly, telling a family that they have been "awarded" ...
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I'm honored to share my most recent Edutopia story, "Using Technology in your Humanities Classroom: When to use computers and internet resourcesand when not to." I've included the first few paragraphs below, along with a link the the rest of the story. I would love to hear your thoughts. In Neil Postmans The End of Education: Redefining the Value of School , published in 1995, the seemingly clairvoyant social critic explains how the computer and its associated technologies are awesome additions to a culture. But, he continues, like all important technologies of the past, they are Faustian bargains, giving and taking, sometimes in equal measure, ...
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Colleagues, As we brace for the 2016 Presidential election, I am sharing a letter I sent to the Bank Street community last week. I'm eager to hear how others are approaching this electoral season and how you are holding your communities through a potentially divisive time. Regards, Jed F. Lippard, Ed.D. -------- September 6, 2016 Dear Bank Street Community, I hope that you found summers final unofficial weekend to be peaceful, joyful, and fulfilling. Faculty and staff had an energizing return to school last week, and we are all excited for the arrival of the children over the next several days. The reason for this letter is to ...
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Colleagues, I am honored to share my recent Edutopia story, How to Become and Remain a Transformational Teacher . I've included the first paragraph below, as well as a link to the rest of the story. I would love to hear your thoughts. " However talented, no one is a natural-born teacher. Honing the craft takes significant care and effort, not just by the individual, but also by the school at large. Though experience does matter, it matters only to the extent that a teacher -- regardless of how long he or she has been in the classroom -- commits to continued professional development to refresh his or her status as a transformational teacher. Along those ...
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MENLO PARK and PORTOLA VALLEY, CALIF. – Innovation is a learning journey — one we’re constantly co-creating and recreating to meet the needs of a world in flux. NAIS’s Innovation Task Force is at the forefront of the journey’s unfoldment in independent schools. In late June, I joined members of the task force — 10 independent school leaders, NAIS Vice President of Education Technology and Learning Services Kawai Lai, and NAIS Senior Vice President of Advocacy and Education Innovation Jefferson Burnett — in Silicon Valley for a capstone experience marking the group’s progress. Day 1: We Gather Examples of Innovation in the Field On the ...
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Colleagues, I would love to hear your thoughts about my recent article for Edutopia, "Reflecting on the Year's Accomplishments." Between final exams, calculating grades, and writing student comments -- not to mention various award ceremonies and graduation -- the end of the school year can often feel like an exhausting sprint to the finish. For better or worse, this is also when self-reflection works best, when the year's triumphs and struggles are freshest in the teacher's mind. Don't skimp on this essential practice, which can renew your sense of purpose while helping to make you an even better teacher. For the entire article, ...
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I still find it exciting to be in a new place where the cultural context is different, the menu offers veggie dishes novel to my palate, and unpredictability and flexibility are key ingredients of every day. So, I was thrilled to travel to Laos where I had never been. I don’t speak Lao and neither did my travel companion. The purpose was to scope out a couple of rural towns and communities, explore historic Luang Prabang and learn as much as we could about the UNESCO Heritage location. Could this be a suitable location for a four-week summer global service learning experience for a group of high school students? To prepare for my adventure, I had skimmed the ...
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Inspired by Shonda Rhimes’s book Year of Yes , I decided to do something radical to celebrate my birthday this year: I signed up to learn improv at DC IMPROV in downtown Washington. Yes, theater — because it isn’t how I typically put myself out there. I was intrigued to try improv after reading Yes, And: How Improvisation Reverses "No, But" Thinking and Improves Creativity and Collaboration, Lessons from The Second City . Authors Kelly Leonard and Tom Yorton, executives at The Second City comedy theater in Chicago, describe how they have used improv principles to tap into employees’ creativity and collaborative spirit — and helped ...
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Global travel is part of the DNA of our international school. "Experience the world" is our school's tagline, and we have an extensive global travel program that allows our students to do just that, through international exchanges in 5th and 8th grades and service, culture, and language trips throughout our Middle and High Schools. Like many schools, we link our travel program to classroom curricula wherever we can and hold orientation sessions for students and parents before departure in order to deepen the the experience for our students. We want global travel to be a rich learning experience, not just a vacation with classmates. Some of our trip leaders ...
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A recent book, “The worlds within” gives - in their own words - a first-hand account and around the world for young global nomads (also known as TCKs, Third Culture Kids) who grow up overseas while accompanying their globally mobile parents. They write about growing up and being exposed, every few years, to extremely different cultural backgrounds, languages or schools and starting anew every time. They are from different nationalities, speak different languages at home, their parents work for very different sectors (business, missionary, academic or diplomatic sectors are just a few) and in different countries. In spite of such differences, TCKs ...
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Dear Colleagues, I would be honored to hear your thoughts on my recent Edutopia post, Quiet: Susan Cain on Approaching Introverted Students . A great discussion has already started on how to assess introverted students, and whether class participation should count
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Many thanks to David Cutler, whose recent post on teaching Trump released me from self-imposed silence. Kudos to David, too, for the wise council on how to approach this tricky subject. I have been tying myself in knots for weeks as I puzzle over how to guide kids through this particular election season. Bursting from the pressure of trying to maintain neutrality in the face of what I consider to be pretty naughty behavior, I finally wrote a letter to my students. Never mind that I knew I would not show it to them; I include it here in the hopes of inviting conversation. Especially, I wonder how we find ways to help students live the mission ...
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As a high school American History and Government teacher, I take seriously my obligation to refrain from giving any inclination of my party affiliation. More than anything else, I don’t want my views to influence unduly what my students believe, nor do I want any of them to suspect me of grading based on my own political leanings—which I would never do. I couldn’t care less what party my students support, so long as each of them leaves my classroom with a better understanding of why they support it. During presidential election seasons, I’m especially careful to avoid sharing my personal views about any candidate. But we have never had a frontrunner ...
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