#1: Vision, Mission, Values & Strategy
Make Schools More Human
In this New York Times opinion piece, Dr. Jal Mehta, a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, offers four lessons the pandemic has revealed for schools:
- We must offer different opportunities for different types of students: introverts and extroverts, fast processors and reflective thinkers, etc.
- Our fundamental job is to partner with families to raise successful human beings.
- We must find solutions that are good for both students and adults. Teachers need to feel physically safe and supported, and they need their work to be recognized and honoured.
- With respect to work missed during the pandemic, teachers and administrators must get very specific on what needs to be made up and what does not.
#2: Co-Curriculum & Learning Environments
From Platitudes to Gratitude: A Land Acknowledgement Workshop
MYSEUM is hosting a free workshop with INDIGENizeUS facilitators Leslie McCue and Lindy Kinoshameg. Participants will learn about the history and significance of land acknowledgements and will work to explore, research, and develop a more meaningful connection when acknowledging and caring for this land. Find out more here.
#3: Academic Program
Why Students Should Write in All Subjects
Writing for Edutopia, Youki Terada looks at research that shows writing is a beneficial activity across all subjects and all grade levels. Terada writes, "While teachers commonly ask students to write about a topic in order to assess how well they understand the material, the process of writing also improves a student's ability to recall information, make connections between different concepts, and synthesize information in new ways." The article also includes five engaging writing activities to use in all subjects.
#4: School Leadership
Cross-Team Meetings Don't Have to Be a Waste of Time
To ensure that cross-division meetings are efficient and lead to strategic outcomes, leadership expert Sabrina Nawaz developed a technique that she calls "claiming". In this Harvard Business Review article, Nawaz details the five steps to the claiming process:
- To give context, open your meeting with a single summary.
- Announce the problem or opportunity by demonstrating the importance, urgency, and a specific payoff for everyone present.
- Create the exit criteria for the current meeting to be successful.
- Explain to participants how they should contribute to the objectives laid out in the previous step, whether that means to ideate, debate, decide, define, declare, or deliver resources.
- Invite their input.
Mental Health for Educators
The current issue of Educational Leadership has many excellent articles about educator mental health.
#5: Human Resources
In this Fast Company article, Sasa Ferrari, Vice President of Talent Acquisition at SurveyMonkey, provides several suggestions for building interview processes that incorporate diversity and inclusion:
- Create inclusive job postings
- Train about the dos and don'ts of interviewing and unconscious bias
- Have a diverse mix of interviewers in your panels
- Ask good questions of candidates
- Outline a process and stick to it
- Encourage virtual backgrounds for remote interviews
- Don't fixate on time-to-hire
- Survey all candidates - not just those you hire
#6: School & Community
Aligning development activities with institutional strategic plans
In this blog post, Laura Simic, Vice President at GG+A stresses "the focus of development professionals must be on the mutually-beneficial intersection between the donors' interests and the institution's plan." Recognizing that this is easier said than done, Simic recommends that advancement leaders create white papers that detail major units' key initiatives.
Looks interesting!: GG+A is presenting the webinar Independent School Fundraising During Challenging Times: Past, Present, and Future. Find out more and register here.
Check it out: Customer Spotlight With Mark Steffens, Mulgrave SchoolMark Steffens, Director of Community Development at Mulgrave School tells Graduway how the school weathered the storm of COVID-19, growing their community and intensifying relationships with their constituents.
#7: Enrolment Management
COVID-19 Messaging for Education Marketing [Part 1]
In this blog post, education marketer Bart Caylor considers the question, "How can you optimize your COVID-19 messaging so that it keeps everyone safe while boosting enrollment?" and details the following suggestions:
- Clarify your administration's COVID-19 policy.
- Determine your audiences' view of the pandemic.
- Show how much you care.
Caylor stresses that it is important to take a tone that is empathetic but also positive and forward-looking.
Also worth a read: Learning Pods Show Their Cracks
Schools Strengthen Defenses Amid Increases in Cyberattacks
According to this EdTech article, Eastern Carver County Schools (ECCS) in Minnesota has a more comprehensive cybersecurity approach than most school districts. Craig Larsen, information systems administrator at ECCS, shares five security best practices, which the article elaborates on:
- Hire an independent security firm to conduct security risk assessments.
- Regularly patch software.
- Deploy multifactor authentication.
- Implement a cloud access security broker.
- Back up data.
The next normal arrives: Trends that will define 2021—and beyond
This McKinsey & Company article looks at some factors that business leaders should keep in mind as they prepare for "the next normal", a few of which are:
- The bounce back will likely emphasize service businesses, particularly the ones that have a communal element, such as restaurants and entertainment venues.
- The crisis will likely spark a wave of innovation and launch a generation of entrepreneurs.
- The great acceleration in the use of technology, digitization, and new forms of working is going to be sustained.
- All over the world, the costs of pollution—and the benefits of environmental sustainability—are increasingly recognized.
#10: Physical Plant, Health & Safety
Still Disinfecting Surfaces? It Might Not Be Worth It
NPR spoke with several scientists who now say that the surface cleaning and disinfecting to combat the spread of COVID-19 is unnecessary and potentially harmful. Linsey Marr, an engineering professor at Virginia Tech who studies airborne transmission of infectious disease, says efforts to combat spread should focus on cleaning the air, not surfaces. Delphine Farmer, an atmospheric chemist at Colorado State University, stresses that heavy use of disinfectants, like bleach and hydrogen peroxide, can produce toxic molecules and inhaling them can negatively impact our health.
Also worth a read: Epidemiologists call for mandatory COVID-19 testing in schools amid rising case counts
#11: Commitment to School Improvement
In this blog post, Dr. Katie Martin, author of Learner-Centered Innovation and VP of Leadership and Learning at Altitude Learning, writes about the value of having a "beginner's mind" and offers five examples that she hopes will allow readers to use a beginner's mind to reimagine common practices in education.
- What if we reimagined homework and all the stuff that we require students to do to create assignments, work and accountability that aligns with our goals?
- What if we expanded options for students and provided access to a variety of courses that would meet requirements and based on their interests, challenges, questions?
- What if school was more like camp? What if we learned solving problems, tackling challenges, and having a lot of fun doing it?
- What if we create opportunities for smaller learning communities with mentors or advisors that create a sense of belonging, connectedness, and accountability for students?
- What if we created personalized pathways for students to meet them where they are and ensure they get what they need?
#12: Boarding Program
King's-Edgehill School transforms campus into home-away-from-home for the holidays
This lovely article in the Journal Pioneer tells how King's-Edgehill School made the holiday break special for students who could not travel home for the holidays. According to the article, "Staff asked what the kids usually do for Christmas and New Year's and tried to find activities that would complement those traditions."
How to engage students in civil discourse following events at the U.S. Capitol
Following Wednesday's events at the U.S. Capitol building, teacher David Cutler shares three ideas for educators looking to teach students about the importance of civil discourse to consider:
1. Encourage students to speak with political leaders
2. Encourage students to share voices online
3. Bring in Academics, Authors to Discuss History and Politics