#1: Vision, Mission, Values & Strategy
Three questions every parent should be asking their school right now
In this blog post, Devin Vodicka, who is the Chief Impact Officer at Altitude Learning and the author of Learner-Centered Leadership
recommends that parents ask school leaders these three questions:
- What outcomes are you prioritizing for my student?
- How are you designing school to achieve these outcomes?
- How will you know if your plan is working, and make course corrections if not?
Vodicka provides some answers he would hope to hear and says "you can and should support educators, but you should not let us off the hook. By now, schools should have clear answers to these questions, answers that show that they too are exhibiting creativity, flexibility and resilience in these challenging times."
#2: Co-Curriculum & Learning Environments
Want to Learn More Effectively? Take More Breaks, Research Suggests
This EdSurge article looks at the latest line of research from influential learning science researcher John Sweller that offers a new insight: the human brain may need regular breaks when learning to help it refresh its "working memory" capacity. While more research is needed, Sweller specifically suggests working for 20 or 30 minutes and then taking about a 5 minute break to refresh.
This article is part of an EdSurge series about learning engineering. You can view all the articles here.
Also worth a read: What Should Recess - and Play - Look Like in a Socially Distanced World?
#3: Academic Program
4 Ways to Increase Engagement in Distance Learning (and In Person)
In this blog post, Katie Martin, VP of Professional Learning at Altitude Learning, writes, "especially now, in the middle of the pandemic, we must examine what matters most, what we can let go of and what we want to do more of and keep working to make those things the priority." Martin identifies four ways to increase engagement that apply to both distance learning and in-person learning:
- Investigate Issues That Matter
- Document and Share the Experience
- Work With Your Community to Solve Problems That Matter
- Empower Learners With Voice and Choice
Worth a look: The Global Classroom unites children across the globe and immerses them in real-world topics that matter to them. Their next event on September 22nd will focus on Health and Nutrition and will feature leading scientists, authors and innovators. They also have events scheduled in October and November.
#4: School Leadership
Six problem-solving mindsets for very uncertain times
Charles Conn and Robert McLean are the authors of Bulletproof Problem Solving: The One Skill That Changes Everything
. In this McKinsey article - both Conn and McLean are McKinsey alum - they say that after decades of problem-solving with leaders, they have determined that "great problem solvers are made, not born," and that these six mutually reinforcing approaches underly their success:
- Being ever-curious about every element of a problem.
- Being imperfectionists, with a high tolerance for ambiguity.
- Having a "dragonfly eye" view of the world to see through multiple lenses.
- Pursuing occurrent behavior and experimenting relentlessly.
- Tapping into the collective intelligence, acknowledging that the smartest people are not in the room
- Practicing "show and tell" because storytelling begets action.
#5: Human Resources
Don't Just Lead Your People Through Trauma. Help Them Grow.
Writing for Harvard Business Review, Jamil Zaki, a psychology professor at Stanford University and author of The War For Kindness: Building Empathy in a Fractured World
, says that about 50% of people actually have increased well-being, termed "posttraumatic growth", after experiencing trauma. Zaki advises leaders that "rather than aiming for a recovery or asking employees to return to normal, they should ask bigger questions about how their organizations can grow through this moment". He offers two insights from psychological science to help: affirming values and emphasizing community.
Also worth a read: 6 Things to Consider When Planning Professional Development
#6: School & Community
In a K-Shaped Recovery, Nonprofits Should Lean on Major Donors
Writing for Harvard Business Review, nonprofit consultant Alan Cantor stresses that nonprofit leaders must be strategic in approaching their donors and offers the following seven recommendations:
- Recognize that your wealthiest donors are likely to be unaffected by the economic downturn.
- Keep in mind that top donors may well be more eager than usual to make gifts that have significance.
- Approach those donors with larger requests than in the past.
- Explicitly ask your supporters with donor-advised funds and private foundations to distribute more from those funds than they have in the past.
- Don't forget to remind your prosperous donors of the larger community needs.
- Give your less-wealthy donors ample opportunities to stay involved as supporters - and be empathetic to their situations.
- Give everyone a sense of hope.
#7: Enrolment Management
How to Review Student Applicants for the 2021-2022 Academic Year
As you begin to plan for the 2021-2022 admission season, ISM offers many suggestions to help you gain a clear picture of each applicant, including:
- For students who are currently learning in an online environment, ask for recommendations from the student's last in-person teacher as well as their current online instructor.
- Request all grades available but place far greater emphasis on grades that were given before the onset of COVID-19.
- As well, place emphasis on the student's behavioral record before COVID-19.
- Schedule a one-on-one conversation with the student and a member of your admission committee as well as group conversation and, if plausible, invite applicants to attend an online class or two.
Corporate governance in COVID-19: Cybersecurity and technology considerations
In this Journal of Accountancy article, accountant Audrey Katcher stresses that cyber risk must be part of the Board's overall risk oversight and recommends that Boards ask the following questions to understand cybersecurity risk:
- What are our organizations' top five cybersecurity risks?
- How are we managing these risks?
- How is security governance managed?
- In the event of a serious breach, has management developed a robust response protocol?
As well, Katcher says the Board should also ask the several technology- and pandemic-related questions, which fall into four categories: commitments, working from anywhere, compliance, and plans.
As schools spend big on temperature check tech, experts warn: It won't work
Some schools and districts have purchased expensive body temperature screening terminals to passively mitigate the spread of COVID-19. However, according to this NBC News article, mass temperature screening systems do little to detect people infected with COVID-19 and could give people a false sense of security and lead to complacency. The article quotes Katelyn Gostic, an epidemiologist at the University of Chicago, who says, "in the context of schools, fever screening is a particularly bad idea."
#10: Physical Plant, Health & Safety
What's the best strategy to reduce COVID-19 outbreaks in schools? Let's do the math
Writing for The Conversation, Joshua Gans, Professor of Strategic Management, University of Toronto, looks at a new study by economists that could provide guidance as to how to use rotation as a tool to reduce exposure risk and mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Gans cautions, "there is a good case to be made that the optimal strategy is to either rely on rotation to reduce exposure risk or to invest in other interventions like mask-wearing and testing. Doing all of them may give fewer benefits relative to cost."
#11: Commitment to School Improvement
COVID-19's teaching challenges: 5 tips from pediatric care for teachers wearing masks
Writing for The Conversation, Laura Sokal, Professor of Education, University of Winnipeg and Ellen Reimann, Clinical Education Facilitator- Faculty of Nursing, University of Manitoba offer five strategies developed by masked pediatric nurses to help teachers meet the goals of expressing care, communicating clearly and promoting trusting relationships that foster a sense of safety:
- Amplify verbal and visual cues to expression and meaning.
- Teach children to watch for "happy crinkles."
- Consider the materials used to construct the masks.
- Keep people, rather than roles, front and centre.
- Use a microphone and rest your voice.
#12: Boarding Program
Lawn Games, Anyone?
This Inside Higher Ed article has many great suggestions for helping students socialize in lower-risk ways. The article highlights the University of Notre Dame's new "Library Lawn," which features an "outdoor lounge area with Adirondack chairs spaced around fire pits and inviting white lights, a stage for student performances and concerts, and lawn games that can be checked out. Students can also borrow lawn blankets, which are washed between uses. Mask use and social distancing are required, and gathering in groups larger than 10 is prohibited."
Also worth a read: The colleges that are getting reopening right and As Covid-19 Lingers On, Universities Are Adjusting Their Spring Semester Plans, Often Eliminating Spring Break