#1: Vision, Mission, Values & Strategy
Eight Predictions for Education in 2021
Michael Nachbar, Executive Director of GOA, writes, "2021 is the year we will— we must — act on what 2020 revealed to us about why education matters and how it needs to improve. There's no question schools are still in an unsettled state. While we're all still making sense of what will happen next week or month, however, taking time to look forward is a worthwhile endeavor." Some of Nachbar's eight predictions for education in 2021 are:
- Schools will incorporate COVID innovations into strategic plans.
- Schools will prioritize research and development through professional learning.
- Teacher and school leader preparation will change.
- Schools will offer more flexible learning opportunities.
- Online will be a core part of school.
#2: Co-Curriculum & Learning Environments
3 Tips for Building Community Online
In this blog post, Dr. Catlin Tucker writes about the importance of helping students develop their "social presence" in a blended or online learning environment. She says, "the social presence is composed of three behaviours–a) expressing feelings, beliefs, and values, b) engaging in open and productive conversations, and c) feeling connected to the other members of the learning community." She offers three suggestions to help with this ongoing work:
- Set Agreements as a Class
- Start Class with Community Building Conversations
- Go Deeper with a Dialogic Interview Format
#3: Academic Program
Do Your Assessments Improve Learning?
In this blog post, Dr. Katie Martin, VP of Leadership and Learning at Altitude Learning, details the three types of grading criteria -- identified by Tom Gutsky, author of Get Set, Go!
-- that must be distinguished in reporting student performance:
- Mastery of Core Content + Knowledge (Product) - What have I learned?
- Growth (Progress) - How have I grown?
- Habits (Process) - How do I use my skills to learn and improve?
The post includes a table that outlines what, why and how we can assess and, more importantly, how we can make students an integral part of the process.
#4: School Leadership
Teaching and Learning Through Dangerous Times
In this Usable Knowledge article, Harvard faculty member Timothy McCarthy offers his best piece of advice for teachers and students right now: "Extend grace to yourselves — and everyone else in your reach. There's not a person you know who doesn't need it." The article includes a list of things that educators should be doing in this tumultuous time, a few of which are:
- Give space for group reflection and emotional processing
- Process creatively for those who struggle to find words in the moment
- Take time — there's no need to rush or "figure it all out"
- Work to empower all members of our communities and elevate their voices
- Push yourself to be more outspoken so you can be a voice for truth
#5: Human Resources
9 Trends That Will Shape Work in 2021 and Beyond
Brian Kropp, Chief of Research for the Gartner HR practice and the author of this Harvard Business Review article, expects 2021 to be full of major transitions. He details nine forces that he thinks will shape business in 2021, including:
- Employers will shift from managing the employee experience to managing the life experience of their employees.
- More companies will adopt stances on current societal and political debates.
- Flexibility will shift from location to time.
- Employers will look to "rent" talent to fill the skills gap.
#6: School & Community
The untapped parent potential: How COVID has activated families and why schools should take heed
In this Christensen Institute blog post, senior research fellow Mahnaz Charania writes that while families have taken a much more active role in their children's learning during the pandemic, they are frustrated with a lack of guidance from schools. She provides suggestions for schools to "rethink traditional parent-school communications in order to create authentic two-way supports that offer both better visibility into how students are faring and more frequent, tailored designs to help them succeed."
#7: Enrolment Management
The Reckoning Begins
According to this Ian Symmonds & Associates blog post, the pandemic will change education forever, and the most significant impact will be on private, expensive, and selective institutions. The author says that these schools have been trying to solve the wrong problems and asking the wrong questions, such as How do we find more full pay families? How do we remain selective in our admissions process? How do we market ourselves better and be better known in our community? T
he post suggests the questions schools should be asking.
The 2021 boardroom agenda: Never let a good crisis go to waste (and more)
"2021 is likely to be a very interesting year, with a robust board agenda," write the authors of this Deloitte blog post. (the post is from the United States but is mostly applicable to Canadian boards as well). The authors acknowledge that while "the impact of 2020 on 2021 board agendas will almost certainly be extraordinary," and they discuss some of the issues that boards will likely have to contend with in the coming year:
- Risk: Crisis management, disruption, and business continuity
- Workforce strategies and well-being
- Diversity, equity, and inclusion
- Environmental, social, and governance (ESG)
Do's and Don'ts with One-Time Funds
In this Altitude Learning blog post, Drs. Devin Vodicka, Lisa Gonzales, and Kecia Ray consider strategic ways that schools might use one-time funds. They say, "Prudent use of the funds can help mitigate deficits, declining enrollment, and the safety and security costs of keeping staff and students safe during the pandemic. With carefully designed spending plans, the impacts can be far-reaching". They specifically recommend spending one-time funds on professional learning, tech infrastructure and hardware, safety and facility improvements.
#10: Physical Plant, Health & Safety
What Does a More Contagious Virus Mean for Schools?
New York Times global health reporter Apoorva Mandavilli writes about the impact that the new coronavirus variant, first discovered in Britain, might have on schools, given that it is "more contagious in each age group than previous versions of the virus". Mandavilli spoke to experts who said that schools should take the following precautions: requiring masks for all children and staff; ensuring adequate ventilation in schools, even if just by opening windows or teaching outdoors; maintaining distance between students, perhaps by adopting hybrid schedules; and hand hygiene.
#11: Commitment to School Improvement
A Daily Ritual That Builds Trust and Community Among Students
Writing for Edutopia, humanities teacher Henry Seton recommends a "daily dedication". This practice takes less than five minutes total each week and Seton says, "it's a simple, brief ritual, but one that recenters us. It reminds us explicitly and implicitly that the classroom is a sacred space, that the opportunity to come together and learn alongside one another—even virtually—is something special and should not be taken for granted. It hopefully emphasizes that our time together is precious, that we should honor it by using it purposefully."
#12: Boarding Program
Education in the UK: why more Hong Kong parents are sending their children to elite boarding schools in Britain
In this article in the South China Morning Post, writer Ed Peters says that more Hong Kong parents are sending their children to elite boarding schools in Britain. Many of them are looking for more stability and academic freedom, especially since the national security law was imposed in 2020. Writes Peters, "Some parents are now looking to educate their children in a more stable environment, especially when the curriculum is decided by the school itself."