#1: Vision, Mission, Values & Strategy
Too many schools have marshaled a "threat rigidity" response to COVID
In this blog post, Michael Horn, a co-founder and distinguished fellow at the Clayton Christensen Institute, acknowledges that it was important to initially frame the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic as a threat because people respond more energetically and commit more resources to threats than opportunities. However, Horn says, "After defining something as a threat to get resources committed to addressing it, it's then important to shift responsibility to an independent group that can reframe the threat as an opportunity—in this case, to reimagine the schooling experience."
#2: Co-Curriculum & Learning Environments
What Does Toxic Stress Do to Children?
In this episode of his New York Times podcast, Ezra Klein interviews California surgeon general Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, who Klein writes is "known for doing pioneering work in the way adverse childhood experiences — what many of us would think of as childhood trauma — end up shaping the rest of our lives, the way they compound between changing our neurochemistry, changing even our biology, which genes express, and changing our mental functioning — so changing our social conditions — in this endless ping-pong of compounding physical, and social, and behavioral impact that really ends up defining a lot about what happens later." They discuss how Covid-19 and trauma will shape the lives of young people. You can listen to the podcast or read the transcript.
#3: Academic Program
AI Is Changing the Workforce. At This District, It's Changing the Curriculum Too.
Writing for EdSurge, Bridget McCrea looks at how the Anaheim Union High School District is preparing students for future careers by providing them with access to learning experiences and internships. Writes McCrea, "They are training students to serve as cybersecurity experts and data scientists; to orchestrate teams of AI-enabled robotic chefs in commercial kitchens; or launch startups that use AI to transform healthcare delivery." Superintendent Michael Matsuda says, "Both myself and the school board feel that whether young people have access to meaningful jobs that they're interested in will be the ultimate barometer of equity and social justice in society."
#4: School Leadership
Leading through the blurry neutral zone to create a bright Post-Pandemic era
In this blog post, Devin Vodicka says that one of his favourite frameworks to understand change is the three-phase Bridges Transition Model: the ending, the neutral zone, and the new beginning. The neutral zone, Vodicka says, "is typically accompanied by a decrease in productivity and emotions associated with this phase include anxiety, confusion, a sense of being overloaded or overwhelmed, low energy, and also openness to something new. It can be disorienting and it can simultaneously be a time of great creativity and innovation. It is a time of great risk and of great possibilities." The post includes several strategies that leaders should embrace when in the neutral zone.
#5: Human Resources
Restorative Justice Isn't Just for the Students, It's for the Adults Too
In this Education Post article, former educator and consultant Matthew Guldin says that to achieve equity, schools should apply a restorative justice framework to hold everyone in the school community accountable for how the school is run. Guldin says this change to a "collective, cooperative and caring ethic will take us a long way toward uprooting the systemic prejudices that are embedded in our schools."
#6: School & Community
New Era Surveying: Low survey response rates? Try this.
In this TrustEd blog post, Dr. Gerald Dawkins, a senior vice president with K12 Insight, writes that taking a thoughtful, strategic approach to creating surveys can result in more valuable data and also build trust with your community. Dawkins outlines four key steps for building a comprehensive, long-term surveying strategy:
- Get the right people together and start with the end in mind.
- Build your calendar—keeping the seasonality of surveys in mind.
- Avoid over-surveying your community
- Make promotion planning part of your strategy.
#7: Enrolment Management
Western's virtual undergrad recruitment brings record number of first-choice applicants
Writing for The Gazette, Emma Clarke says that Western University's online Zoom events for prospective students have been a tremendous success, reaching several hundred more students -- from approximately 70 countries -- than in previous years. Prospective students also took virtual campus tours, attended mini lectures and had opportunities to connect with current students. Beyond the end of the pandemic, the school will retain elements from this year's virtual recruitment efforts.
Can Education Heal Divided Communities or Does it Contribute to a Growing Divide?
In this blog post, Ian Symmonds says research over the past 20 years has shown that many consumers choose a school because of its "community creation". Today, Symmonds wonders if schools are instead playing an active role in dividing communities and says, "We need to reconsider what the role of educational institutions will be in the future with regards to community-building. Cultural division is our current greatest threat to building safe, thriving, sustainable living communities in the world. We need to be thinking about how we thoughtfully reconstruct and redesign our educational institutions - private and public - to reflect this enormous need. Our futures literally depend upon it."
The Pandemic Posed Big Challenges for a Small Quaker College in North Carolina
This Spectrum News article is about the approach that Guilford College in North Carolina took when confronted with financial struggles. Already in debt because of some long-overdue renovations, the school was hit hard by the pandemic. "Rather than impose a top-down, inorganic decision, this process will reduce the size of our faculty by giving individuals their own agency in responding to the crisis. Some faculty will take an early exit offer; some will go to two-thirds or one-half time; some will job share," Interim President Jim Hood wrote in the op-ed in the Greensboro News & Record.
#10: Physical Plant, Health & Safety
As Adults Move Toward Herd Immunity, Could an Unexpected COVID Side Effect Be Kids Unable to Fight Off Germs Long-Term?
The author of this article in The 74 spoke with some immunologists who are voicing concern that quarantine, isolation and sanitization due to the COVID-19 pandemic may be weakening childrens' immune development. Since children are not being exposed to the usual viruses, when we return to post-pandemic normalcy, children who get the common cold may find it is more severe than usual. The article says some health experts caution against over-cleaning surfaces in response to COVID-19, which is primarily an airborne virus.
#11: Commitment to School Improvement
How to Help Students Improve Executive Functioning During Hybrid Learning
The ever-changing schedule of hybrid learning can prove especially challenging for students who struggle with executive functioning. In this Edutopia article, Dr. Kathryn Welby, director of teacher preparation and assistant professor of practice at Merrimack College, shares ideas to help students plan and prioritize, organize and track belongings and exercise impulse and emotional control. Dr. Welby's advice can also apply to the classroom and after-school home learning.
#12: Boarding Program
Canada's foreign enrolment fell nearly 17% in 2020
New data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) reveals the impact of the pandemic on Canada's foreign enrolment in 2020. The number of international students holding Canadian study permits decreased by 17% over the year ending December 31, 2020, representing the first decline in foreign enrolment in Canada in the last 20 years. The major sending markets for Canada — including India and China — also registered the sharpest declines last year.