NAIS Connect Blogs

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Dear Colleagues,  I'm honored to share my most recent Edutopia story:  Why I Teach Journalism in My History Classes In high school, I struggled to write clear, concise prose. My command of structure was minimal, and I didn’t make effective use of sources to inform my analysis. I also had difficulty differentiating between summary and analysis, much to the chagrin of my teachers, who worked diligently to help me hone my writing. However much I struggled, it was only when I found my passion for news reporting that I began to succeed as a writer—so much so, in fact, that I now teach journalism to my history students, hopeful that they too will benefit ...
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Colleagues,  I'm honored to share my most recent story for PBS NewsHour.  https://www.pbs.org/newshour/education/teaching-kids-about-thanksgiving-or-columbus-they-deserve-the-real-story
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When thinking about success for children, some of us may believe that high scores on classroom tests or standardized tests are indicators or predictors of success. In a college preparatory school such as ours, tests do matter—primarily in the sense of offering important feedback to incorporate in an effort to make corrections—and to learn from one’s errors and re-adjust. A singular focus on scores undervalues the process of learning, which is how children develop essential traits of habit and mind. Such traits of habit and mind are potentially life-long; test scores are temporary. Do we adults remember our grades from eighth or ninth grade? Students (and ...
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Veterans Day

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Standing at attention as strains of Taps drifted across the cemetery, I sifted back through the events of the past month … the early-morning phone call from the young man’s father, tearfully telling me the news that his son, a Green Beret and AOS graduate, had been killed in action in Jordan the previous night … the request to hold a memorial service on campus in his honor … meetings with his family, who, dazed, tired, and broken, were trying desperately to hold it together … the service itself, attended by over a thousand people and covered by several news stations … the speeches, articulate and heartfelt, that so accurately portrayed the young man ... his ...
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Dear Colleagues,  I thought to share this link to my most recent Edutopia story:  Rekindling Excitement for Familiar Classes https://www.edutopia.org/article/rekindling-excitement-familiar-classes
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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/blog/you-cannot-cover-everything-david-cutler Thank you to everyone who responded to my email about contributing. I apologize in advance that I couldn't include everyone's remarks
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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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