NAIS Connect Blogs

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Dear Colleagues,  I'm excited to share my recent article, Why Student Journalism Matters.  https://well-schooled.com/2019/03/why-student-journalism-matters/ EXCERPT:  “There is so much documented benefit to working on student press that, unless your mission is, ‘We don’t want to teach, and we want them to come out incredibly compliant,’ you cannot claim that you’re living by your mission statement.” - Prof. Erica Slain
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Dear Colleagues, I'm excited to share my recent story, which includes insight and a podcast interview with Jonathan Haidt, coauthor of The Coddling of the American Mind, as well as Tim Shriver, President of CASEL. A Teacher’s Quest to Foster Resilience and Combat Fragility in Generation Z EXCEPRT: After a dozen years in the classroom, on more occasions than I can count, I have overlooked penalizing lateness, telling myself that students have enough on their plates with AP courses, after-school obligations, and college applications. As a young teacher, I also added a point or two to grades, not wanting to waste time arguing over whether an 89% is a B+, ...
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Dear Colleagues,  I thought to share my most recent piece, which I feel passionate about sharing https://medium.com/@spincutler/the-dead-or-dying-state-of-student-journalism-at-independent-schools-cfbfdb30fb1b?source=friends_link&sk=02914959ac8a70ada3673220fbf0df3b If for whatever reason you are unable to access the link , I've also included the story below:  From the fourth grade on, and now as a high school teacher at my alma mater, I’ve been privileged to belong to the independent school community. Not only have I experienced firsthand what makes our small but vibrant community special, but I’ve also connected with colleagues ...
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It's taken me awhile to process Viola Davis' stirring opening keynote. I've always respected her as a powerful actress, beautiful orator, and incredible representation of what happens when we allow folks of color to have complex roles and stories in tv and media and yet I still did not expect that I would be so moved by her talk. It was yet another example of the power of storytelling and what happens when we make room for narratives that are counter to what we hear about notions of success and heroism. When folks trust you enough to hold their stories, it is an incredible gift and the reason why I will be forever grateful for Ms. Davis. That she allowed ...
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Frans Johansson held a rapt audience during his keynote on Thursday, rolling through a visual, levity-laden autobiography which ended with him being right here at #NAISAC with us. Drawing from his writing in The Medici Effect (Harvard Business School Press, 2004) and The Click Moment (Penguin Portfolio, 2012) , Johansson began with an emphasis on diversity as a birthplace for innovation. He asserted that we have the best chance of breaking new ground when we embrace and bring together divergent teams, yet “we tend to think that deep expertise is the key to success.” The #medicieffect centers on the history of a sponsored, highly-creative ...
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Each year, I am recharged and inspired by my time at #NAISAC . In anticipation, I pack my physical and mental suitcases with care, ready to engage with others, to piece out elements and lessons to bring back to my school, and to share in the community of knowledge and colleagues. This year, I elected to attend a Wednesday session to kick off the conference: Women and Leadership: Patterns, Strategies and Tools for Navigating Your Leadership Journey , presented by Amada Torres of #NAIS and Liz Duffy of International Schools Services . Torres and Duffy shared highlights from Joan Williams work from What Works for Women at Work: Four ...
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Dear Colleagues, I thought to share my podcast with Tim Shriver, chair of the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning ( CASEL ) about SEL in general, and at private schools. https://soundcloud.com/bmgator-1/tim-shriver-interview-sel Best,
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Colleagues,  Happy New Year! I thought to share this podcast interview I just conducted with Jonathan Haidt, co-author of The Coddling of the American Mind ,  which is making quite the splash. We speak about how his book, which focuses mostly on college students, is equally applicable to high schools, and independent schools in particular. My next article will be about this subject, but I thought to share the trimmed down audio back-and-forth.  https://soundcloud.com/user-384063940/coddling-haidt Best
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Growing up, I have to admit, there weren’t too many people I looked up to that I could turn to for future life advice. My heroes were far off and admirable, but not close by and connectable. Kids who had that coach, mentor, or guide always seemed to have someone in their corner to offer advice or expand their thinking in ways they had not considered. I admit, I was fiercely independent, and eventually found my own way and sought out people who could be those mentors, but it wasn’t until college and beyond when I realized the value those people could serve, and everything I had been missing. For girls, strong female mentors can help provide role models of how ...
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Colleagues,  I thought to share my recent Edutopia article .  "Teachers and schools are not guaranteed absolute protection from fair-use infringement claims. Well-intentioned teachers believe that because we are educators, we are immune to claims. It is a false and dangerous assumption." https://www.edutopia.org/article/copyright-law-and-student-journalism
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Dear Colleagues,  I thought to share my new stor y, which I wrote in reaction to having read the New York Times best-selling book. It's an edgy piece, but I hope that it will help foster civil, productive discussion about an important topic.  https://medium.com/@spincutler/teaching-the-coddled-generation-10543b873da6 Here is my favorite paragraph from the piece: I believe that providing a platform for fools to speak, even in our venomous political climate, is essential to revealing their foolishness. Could speaking engagements by hate-mongers on college campuses cause damage, contaminating impressionable young people? Maybe, but countless more young people ...
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Dear Colleagues,  I'm honored to share my recent article for PBS NewsHour, which you can access by clicking here .  https://www.pbs.org/newshour/education/opinion-what-i-want-my-students-to-know-about-metoo Here is the opening paragraph:  As an educator and a new parent of a son, I intend to do my best to raise him into a caring, responsible individual. In this endeavor, my wife and I are aware of the current political climate, especially the growth of the #MeToo movement, and what that means for treating women, and everyone else, for that matter, with respect, equality, and thoughtfulness. As I see it, my role can help to make a difference on that score.
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Dear Colleagues,  I thought to share this recent piece about my views on a sensitive and important topic. I would love to hear your thoughts. How do you approach media literacy? https://www.educationdive.com/news/how-one-high-school-journalism-teacher-guides-students-through-the-fake-ne/532886/
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Colleagues,  I'm honored to share my recent story for the HuffPost, which you can access by clicking here .  I've included the first few paragraphs below: As a high school history and government teacher, I do my best to avoid feeding into partisan humor or offering unsolicited remarks about what politicians say and do. I want students to focus on the lear ning process, not on what I believe ― though, with this administration, I have grown more open to the idea of sharing my views when asked. When it comes to teaching journalism and advising the student news site The Gator , however, I have no qualms about expressing my disappointment in ...
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Colleagues,  I'm honored to share my recent story for Medium, which you can access by clicking here .  https://medium.com/@spincutler/teachers-dont-keep-quiet-on-trump-s-sexist-xenophobic-racist-abhorrent-language-600221bf9317
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I used to begin each school year by assigning my high school juniors a hefty take-home essay, asking them to consult challenging sources to assess whether the American colonists were justified in seeking independence. At the time, I believed this “trial by fire” would let my students know that I meant business. For several reasons, that approach was flawed: Read full story her
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Colleagues,  As things heat up politically in Washington, I'm honored to share my HuffPost story: Should Teachers Share Their Political Views With Students? https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/opinion-teachers-political-views_us_5b71914ae4b0bdd0620b306f This year, I will continue refraining from making or repeating partisan humor or making off-the-cuff remarks that politically savvy students could pick up on. But I’ll also adopt a new approach as to how I handle politics in the classroom ― and I encourage other educators to consider doing the same. Instead of “appearing neutral” (a species of mild dishonesty, after all), let’s admit our ...
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Dear Colleagues,  I'm honored to share my recent story for KQED Education:  The longer I teach online journalism, the more I understand about how students learn best. They crave ownership of the learning process, and that ownership can help promote mastery of essential skills and content knowledge. Owning their learning is also significantly more meaningful than having me—or any other teacher for that matter—tell students exactly what’s expected of them. I prefer that students experiment with the learning, setting and holding themselves to their own high standards, while always striving to improve. For the rest of the story, please visit: https:// ...
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Dear Colleagues,  I'm honored to share my recent story for PBS NewsHour: I love celebrating America’s birthday, but as a history teacher I’m also committed to illuminating the holiday for those who might want to think about it in a different but equally celebratory light. So why do we skip two days? For the rest of my article, please visit: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/education/opinion-independence-day-on-july-2-john-adams-got-it-
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The first time I ran into Jesse Jackson in an Alabama hotel lobby, I was surprised. When it happened again a few weeks ago, though, I wasn’t all that shocked. After all, Reverend Jackson was just one of the many civil rights all-stars who had gathered for the Equal Justice Summit in Montgomery, Alabama to honor the unveiling of two gut-wrenchingly powerful tributes to the African American experience. As Bryan Stevenson reminded us attendees at the opening ceremony on Thursday evening, we were all in the presence of civil rights royalty— Congressman John Lewis, Elizabeth Eckford (one of the Little Rock Nine), Claudette Calvin (whose defiance of Montgomery bus ...
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