#1: Vision, Mission, Values & Strategy
Invention Opportunity: Measuring What Matters
Writing for Getting Smart, Devin Vodicka, Chief Impact Officer and Chief Academic Officer, Altitude Learning, says "A competency-based, learner-centered approach provides opportunities to extend beyond traditional academic outcomes and take into account alternative measures of progress, including habits and skills in social-emotional learning domains that will be essential for lifelong learning." Vodicka shares an impact framework for a holistic, learner-centred model that includes measures of agency, collaboration, and real-world problem solving, which correspond (respectively) to the levels of self, others, and community.
#2: Co-Curriculum & Learning Environments
Anti-Bullying Programs In Schools May Do More Harm Than Good
Writing for Forbes, Nick Morrison looks at a new study that found school anti-bullying programs that use peer intervention to support the victim may do more harm than good. According to the author of the study, Karyn L. Healy, research officer from QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute and the University of Queensland, "Approaches are likely to be more effective if they support victims to stand up for themselves, are motivated by genuine empathy, rather than a desire to help, and do not provoke bullies or increase the visibility of victimization."
Also worth a read: See how a college's unique masks make music
#3: Academic Program
The Shape of News
Recognizing the importance of critical thinking for civic engagement, this Usable Knowledge article looks at a new resource that encourages teachers and students to consider how journalism shapes the national narrative and often defines what we see and learn, what we think, who we are. Some key takeaways:
- Focus on the "shape" of news to understand major trends and how that shaped the national perspective.
- Consider the ways in which visual representation is also a vehicle for information.
- Be sure to keep track of who is represented and who is telling the story.
#4: School Leadership
What It Takes to Lead Through an Era of Exponential Change
In this Harvard Business Review article, Aneel Chima, Ph.D., Director of Health and Human Performance at the Stanford Flourishing Project and Ron Gutman, an entrepreneur and a Stanford lecturer caution, "much as we might like to think of 2020 as an anomaly, it may not be." Chima and Gutman determined that a leadership model that relies on linear, local thinking will not work to navigate "3D change" which is perpetual, pervasive and exponential. They then gathered world-class leaders to develop a new vision of leadership, called "Sapient Leadership", which has four pillars:
- Leader humility, authenticity, and openness instills trust and psychological safety.
- Trust and psychological safety empower individuals and teams.
- Continuously learning teams enable effective navigation of 3-D change.
- Shared purpose and values enhance focus, cohesion, and resilience during 3-D change.
#5: Human Resources
Give and Take Ideas to Support Teachers
In this blog post, award-winning Principal Eric Sheniger says "as people have different needs, it is crucial to consider various options as there is not one right way to help people at any point in time." He offers several realistic ways that school leaders can provide multi-faceted support to teachers during the pandemic, including giving them unconditional time, eliminating most meetings, offering non-evaluative coaching and feedback and communicating norms to families.
Also worth a watch: In this two-minute video, district superintendent Joe Sanfelippo talks about a recent professional development day that allowed teachers to do whatever they needed to get done and stresses, "if you trust your staff with time, they will fill in the gaps with whatever makes them better."
#6: School & Community
Robinson & Rogers: Write Less to Say More — How Schools Can Communicate More Effectively With Families
Carly Robinson and Todd Rogers research the psychology of effective school-to-parent communication. They caution that more communication is not necessarily better and that schools must be mindful of parents' limited time and attention. Specifically, they recommend using fewer words and cutting all nonessential content. They also caution that encouraging people to perform a specific action can lead them to prioritize that action over others, and too many messages - even if they are short and direct - can cause people to tune out altogether.
Private school apologises for student's viral TikTok vid bragging about "living off daddy's money"
Hill House School, a private school in the UK, has apologized after a TikTok video of its pupils rapping about their wealth went viral, sparking anger on social media.
#7: Enrolment Management
Most Parents of K-12 Students Learning Online Worry About Them Falling Behind
Below are some key findings of a new Pew Research Center survey of 10,332 U.S. parents conducted October 13-19, 2020:
- Amid coronavirus disruptions, parents of young children express more concern about development of social skills than about language or physical skills.
- Most parents of K-12 students say they or someone else in their household is providing additional instruction beyond what schools are providing.
- Most parents of K-12 students attending school in person are satisfied with steps to prevent virus spread, but majority are still concerned about children's exposure.
- Majorities of parents of K-12 students are more concerned now than before pandemic about screen time, social connections, emotional well-being, access to extracurricular activities.
Also worth a read: Why we decided to homeschool our children this year
Facing the Challenge of Racial Inequity — or Avoiding It
In this BoardSource blog post, Jim Taylor writes, "I think it's essential that we do notice the small victories – victories that may seem inconsequential when they occur but are critical to our achievement of more significant wins on the road to positive change." On the issue of accountability, Taylor asks Boards to consider the following questions:
- How does your Board view its accountability to the marginalized communities that it serves? Is the Board actively engaged in helping to repair the "cracks in the foundation" of our society that are damaging to your audience?
- Does your Board have an understanding of the historical inequities that have been in place for generations – and does it understand its role in helping to stop "further deterioration"?
- Is your Board willing to use its power and voice in service to those who have historically been disenfranchised? Is your Board willing to share power with audiences that have traditionally not been included in the boardroom?
- What are you willing to do to make your Board more accountable to the communities it serves?
Colleges Slash Budgets in the Pandemic, With 'Nothing Off-Limits'
This New York Times article looks at the deep and possibly lasting cuts that universities are making to address the budget shortfalls brought about by the pandemic, including layoffs, cutting core programs, merging, abolishing athletic programs and deferring construction. While the financial trouble is systemwide, the article says that elite, well-endowed colleges will weather it with far less pain.
#10: Physical Plant, Health & Safety
A room, a bar and a classroom: how the coronavirus is spread through the air
This interactive article in El Pais offers an overview of the likelihood of infection in three everyday scenarios based on the safety measures used and the length of exposure. According to the article, in schools, "the riskiest scenario is a classroom with no ventilation and the teacher – patient 0 – as the infected person. If the room is ventilated during the lesson, either with fresh air or mechanically, and the class is stopped after an hour in order to completely refresh the air, the risk drops dramatically."
Also worth a read: Air Purifiers, Fans, and Filters: A COVID-19 Explainer for Schools
#11: Commitment to School Improvement
Classrooms Without Walls, and Hopefully Covid
This New York Times article looks at four American schools where students are learning outdoors. There are health, academic and mental health benefits to learning outdoors. Some examples in the article include a community garden used to hold science classes, socially distanced dance parties, and a roof that doubles as a classroom space.
#12: Boarding Program
University Christmas break could burst Atlantic bubble
This article in The Chronicle Herald looks at the different approaches Nova Scotia universities are taking with respect to Christmas break travel. At St. Francis Xavier, "Students will be free to head home after exams wrap up on Dec. 14. Out-of-bubble students will be required to return on Jan. 4 or Jan. 5 to begin their two-week quarantine, whether they live on or off campus. Students who live on campus but haven't travelled outside the bubble will not be allowed to return to their dorms until the first group completes their 14-day quarantine on Jan. 19. Halfway through that quarantine, all classes will begin online. In the following weeks, in-person classes will be allowed to resume."