#1: Vision, Mission, Values & Strategy
Teresa Thayer Snyder: What Shall We Do About the Children After the Pandemic
In this blog post, Diane Ravitch shares an essay that Teresa Thayer Snyder, a former superintendent, wrote for her friends and colleagues. One particularly poignant paragraph reads, "Resist the pressure from whatever 'powers that be' who are in a hurry to 'fix' kids and make up for the 'lost' time. The time was not lost, it was invested in surviving an historic period of time in their lives—in our lives. The children do not need to be fixed. They are not broken. They need to be heard. They need be given as many tools as we can provide to nurture resilience and help them adjust to a post pandemic world."
#2: Co-Curriculum & Learning Environments
Equipping Youth To Change The World
In this Forbes article Getting Smart, CEO Tom Vander Ark writes about The Knowledge Society, a five-year-old Canadian youth accelerator for 11-17 year old learners that focuses on unlocking human potential. TKS was formed by brothers Nadeem and Navid Nathoo, who Vander Ark says "have created a vivid picture of next-generation learning, one that combines personalized learning sprints with impact projects. It's a glimpse of what high school and college of the future should be." Students all over the world can now apply to TKS's virtual, global program and scholarships are available.
#3: Academic Program
Mastery, Creativity, Identity: What Students Can Teach Us About Redesigning School
In this Global Academy Online Insight post, Andy Housiaux, the Currie Family Director of the Tang Institute at Phillips Academy Andover, writes about an immersive, term-long program called The Workshop that was designed by a group of teachers at the school during the 2019-2020 year. Housiaux identifies three elements—mastery, identity, and creativity— that lead to learning environments and assessments that inspire meaningful, sustained engagement. He also stresses the need to reimagine two fundamental aspects of schooling: time and assessment.
#4: School Leadership
A White Paper: Why We Need to Invest in Leaders Throughout a System, Leading From the Middle
This white paper by the consultants at NoTosh stresses the importance of middle leaders and laments that most middle leadership jobs remain managerial, rather than leadership-based: "Middle Leadership has been poorly used in most schools and companies, for decades. It's sometimes seen as a thankless stepping stone to senior leadership, a necessary administrative function to keep a small team organised, and conduit for senior leadership's missives." The white paper identifies six things that excellent middle leaders do to help achieve the best possible learning outcomes for every student.
#5: Human Resources
Do You Know Burnout When You See It?
In this Harvard Business Review article, Margaret M. Luciano and Joan F. Brett, both from the WP Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, say that burnout can take many forms, and the wellness surveys many companies use to identify it overlook the more active forms, such as erosive behaviors, impatience, and incivility. Luciano and Brett have developed a more comprehensive model of burnout to help identify the early warning signs and they recommend several steps to mitigate it.
#6: School & Community
A Look at How Arts Teachers Can Promote a Sense of Community
Writing for Edutopia, music teacher Peter Siegel says that since arts teachers have often known students for many years, they are uniquely positioned to build connections on an all-school level. He offers some specific ideas to help arts teachers sustain the larger learning community by fostering a sense of belonging:
- Organize all-school gatherings
- Attend classroom online morning meetings
- Encourage kids to record songs, perform dances, and display artwork
- Establish school community resources for creativity
- Create final all-school projects
#7: Enrolment Management
Retaining the 20-21 Enrollment Bump
In this blog post, consultant Dana Kirchoff offers proactive communication suggestions to schools to encourage retention of new families:
- Set up a meeting with new parents now. (The post includes several questions to ask families).
- After these conversations, record parent responses and share them with your Board, admin teams, and faculty members.
- If you don't have a re-enrollment process, establish one with a March or April deadline.
- Meet with families who are not re-enrolling.
- The most important step is to reach out early.
Seven Things That Will Happen in Education as a Result of COVID-19
Ian Symmonds and Associates first published this article in April 2020, and this week they placed it at the top of their blog thread again. The post considers the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on education and elaborates on these seven observations that will rapidly transform education as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Accelerated Change
- Ongoing Disruption
- Fluidity in Strategy
- Ongoing Scenario Building
- Normalization of Change
- Contraction and Consolidation
- Diversified Ecosystems of Delivery
Planning for 2021 Summer Programs
Writing for NBOA, Nat Saltonstall, SPARC, and Karen McCann McClelland, Sidwell Friends School, recommend some best practices for schools offering summer programs to consider to help ensure safe and successful programming. The article considers Programs and Activities, Policies and Procedures, Summer Staff Hiring, Facility and Operations, Healthcare, Marketing and Communications, Technology, and Finance and Budget.
#10: Physical Plant, Health & Safety
Alarming numbers around men's mental health indicate need for national response
In this CBC opinion piece, Rob Whitley, Associate Professor of Psychiatry at McGill University and a Research Scientist at the Douglas Research Centre looks at research that shows "a significant number of men and boys are facing substantial psycho-social difficulties, which manifest in a number of worrying statistics involving mental health, addiction and suicide." Whitley says educational dropout is one risk factor that disproportionately affects men and boys.
#11: Commitment to School Improvement
A Shockingly Simple Way to Improve Online School
Betsy Corcoran, co-founder of EdSurge, writes that giving teachers two screens is a simple way to improve how teachers interact with students in online learning because it allows teachers to see the students on the larger monitor and interact through the laptop. The article recommends that teachers line up the second monitor physically above their laptop to maintain eye contact with students.
#12: Boarding Program
Trudeau announces mandatory COVID-19 testing, three-day hotel quarantine for returning travellers
Due to concerns over new variants of the COVID-19 virus, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced new measures to discourage travel, including:
- All travellers will be receive a mandatory COVID-19 test at the airport when they land and will be required to quarantine in a Health Canada designated hotel for three days, at their own expense, while they await results (expected cost $2,000).
- Canada's main airlines will suspend all service to Caribbean destinations and Mexico starting this Sunday until April 30, 2021.
- All international passenger flights will only be able land at Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto or Montreal airports, starting new week.