This month’s pieces encourage us to watch each other teach, explore digital annotation tools and be aware of trends in college costs. Please also check out the upcoming SXSW EDU conference in Austin and colleagues’ many recent professional growth experiences.
Jennifer Gonzalez, “Open Your Door: Why We Need to See Each Other Teach,” Cult of Pedagogy
This classic and down-to-earth article about teachers spending time in each other’s classrooms might make you want to pop next door for a visit right now!
When I go over to someone’s house and it’s spotlessly clean, I feel kind of jealous and insecure. But crumbs on the counter and shoes in the hallway? On a gut level, I’m more comfortable. In this place, my psyche tells me, I won’t be judged. The same goes for your teaching: If you let someone else see you screw up, they will probably be more comfortable having you observe them. What happens next is you both start to take more risks, try new things. You cultivate a spirit of experimentation and learning together, rather than struggling to out-perfect each other.
“Top Tech Tools for Digital Annotation,” Common Sense Education
Many of us across disciplines have expressed a desire for seamless online annotation of texts. This list of 18 includes VoiceThread, Diigo, Genius, Scrible and more. If you end up using and liking one of them, please let us know.
You'll be giving students a voice as they develop close-reading skills, provide analysis and opinion, become fact-finding web detectives, engage in peer review, and practice essential research techniques. And with these tools, teachers can highlight important points, promote critical thinking through video, inspire inquiry, observe student confusion, personalize grading, and streamline the paperless classroom.
Alia Wong, “Six-Figure Price Tags Are Coming to Colleges,” The Atlantic
Some might think that tuition costs are rising largely because of expanded amenities for students, but personnel costs are a main factor driving higher prices at some private colleges.
The gap between sticker and net price is growing at colleges across the country. Data published by the College Board suggest that a typical student at a private, nonprofit, bachelor-granting institution in the United States pays roughly $10,000 less than the average sticker price, which was about $37,000 in the past school year. Much of the sticker-net gap is a result of tuition discounts.
SXSW EDU 2020 Conference, Austin, Texas, March 9-12, 2020
This exciting and highly regarded conference is guaranteed to offer food for thought, with “a diverse array of speakers, sessions, workshops, learning experiences, policy discussions and film screenings programmed to foster learning and discovery for all education stakeholders.” Thematic tracks include K-12 education, leadership, equity, global education, the science of learning, SEL & wellness, student agency and more.
Professional Growth Presentations
- Head Librarian Meryl Eldridge and Librarian Claire LaPolt presented on some of their favorite titles at a bibliotherapy panel at the Southern California Librarian of Independent Schools Fall Meeting, which focused on Social and Emotional Learning, in October in Santa Monica.
Fall Faculty & Staff Professional Growth
- Dean of Studies Sarah Cooper recently attended Overcoming Obstacles to Recruiting Minority Teachers, Administrators and Coaches through NemNet Minority Recruitment in San Francisco.
- Head Librarian Meryl Eldridge learned more about Navigating Those Tricky Conversations in Oakland through the California Teacher Development Collaborative this month.
- Math teacher Joel Ishii worked with Stanford education professor Jo Boaler at the YouCubed Mindset Mathematics Workshop in Palo Alto in October.
- In San Diego in October, Dean of Student Life Barrett Jamison attended a workshop sponsored by Independent School Management: “Summer Program: An Asset to Your School.”
- In October, Celeste McMillin, Student Community Action Council advisor, flew to New Orleans for the Council on Spiritual and Ethical Education’s Service Learning Event.
- English teacher Genevieve Morgan kept up with the latest in educational technology at the CUE Fall Conference in Sacramento in October.
- This month Director of College Counseling Gloria Ventura headed to Washington, D.C., for the annual College Board Forum.
- Associate Director of College Counseling Brooke Yoshino attended the National Association for College Admission Counseling’s annual conference in September in Louisville, Kentucky.
This month’s newsletter covers a range of immediately applicable topics in pedagogy, legal rulings and entrepreneurial thinking. Also, for inspiration, please take a look at Part 2 of a long list of colleagues’ summer professional growth experiences.
“The Powerful Effects of Drawing on Learning,” Edutopia
Drawing concepts helps with retention by tapping into three different areas of the brain at the same time: kinesthetic, visual and linguistic. This appealing two-minute video offers four ways middle and high school teachers can incorporate drawing into their curriculum.
In the study, students who drew information remembered nearly twice as much as students who wrote it.
Camille Caldera and Delano Franklin, “The Harvard Admissions Lawsuit Decision, Analyzed,” The Harvard Crimson
If you’ve been wondering about the impact of a recent federal court decision on Harvard’s admissions policies regarding Asian American applicants, this excellent article analyzes what happened and which issues might be at play in an appeal.
Though she ruled that the College’s practices are lawful, Burroughs contended that the admissions process is “imperfect” and suggested a number of changes. She recommended that admissions officers participate in implicit bias trainings, maintain clear guidelines on the use of race, and monitor any race-related statistical disparities.
Seth Godin, “Open the Cookies” and “If You Want to Change Minds…,” Seth’s Blog
Entrepreneur Seth Godin writes short daily blog posts that cast a new light on business and marketing. These two recent posts showcase his memorable style that makes people think.
If you want to change the mind of a bureaucrat, bring more power. If you want to change the minds of the nerds, build something that’s new. If you want to change the mind of a teenager, amplify the other teenagers.
2019 NAIS People of Color Conference, Dec. 4-7, 2019, Seattle
This conference “is the flagship of the National Association of Independent Schools’ commitment to equity and justice in teaching and learning. The mission of the conference is to provide a safe space for leadership and professional development and networking for people of color and allies of all backgrounds in independent schools. PoCC equips educators at every level, from teachers to trustees, with knowledge, skills, and experiences to improve and enhance the interracial, interethnic, and intercultural climate in their schools, as well as the attending academic, social-emotional, and workplace performance outcomes for students and adults alike.”
Faculty Summer Professional Growth, Part 2
Please see September’s newsletter for the first half of this list of faculty and staff summer professional growth experiences. We will feature fall professional development in the November newsletter.
- AP Statistics teacher Todd Frost attended the Advanced Placement Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida.
- Dean of Student Life Barrett Jamison attended Build a Strong Advisory Program at the Independent School Management Summer Institute in Philadelphia, a workshop that “explored core concepts for focusing, enhancing and building (or rebuilding) the advisory program so that it reflects and supports the mission of the school.”
- Dean of Students Midge Kimble flew to Potomac, Maryland, for the National Association of Independent Schools’ Inclusive Schools Network Institute, which focused on “managing diversity and leveraging differences to create communities where all students are included and know they belong.”
- 12th Grade Dean Scott Myers attended a Learning & the Brain conference in Santa Barbara on Neuroscience and Classroom Engagement.
- English Department Chair Tyke O’Brien spent a week at Santa Fe Prep in New Mexico for a writing course called What’s Your Story?, at the EE Ford Summer Teachers’ Colloquium.
- Ceramics teacher Biliana Popova experimented with new materials in Sculpture: Clay, Wood & Steel, a course at Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass Village, Colorado.
- AP Calculus teacher Andrew Williams attended the Advanced Placement Summer Institute for Calculus BC, down the road in San Gabriel.
Each of these articles presents a somewhat counterintuitive point of view, creating interesting food for thought. Thanks, as always, to Richard Feliciano for making these newsletters look great on the website, and to Nicole Trevor and Cami Ryder for their excellent editing. In addition, it’s always welcome when people send in articles—please keep the ideas coming!
Peter Reuell, “Study shows that students learn more when taking part in classrooms that employ active learning strategies,” Harvard Gazette
Students absorb more from classrooms with active learning strategies, according to a new Harvard study published this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Yet students believe they learn more from lectures. Thanks to Nicole Trevor for passing this along.
“Deep learning is hard work. The effort involved in active learning can be misinterpreted as a sign of poor learning,” said lead author Louis Deslauriers. “On the other hand, a superstar lecturer can explain things in such a way as to make students feel like they are learning more than they actually are.”
Cal Newport, “Was E-mail a Mistake?” The New Yorker
Cal Newport, prolific author of Digital Minimalism and Deep Work, travels deep into the history of computer science to wonder if we should hold more meetings instead of sending more email. This is a fascinating read about the potential perils of “hyperactive asynchronous messaging” in the workplace today. Thanks to Patrick Ferry for this piece.
As e-mail was taking over the modern office, researchers in the theory of distributed systems—the subfield in which, as a computer scientist, I specialize—were also studying the trade-offs between synchrony and asynchrony. As it happens, the conclusion they reached was exactly the opposite of the prevailing consensus.
Sylvia Allegretto, “Pay Teachers More, Because Women Have Other Options,” The Atlantic
This data-rich article by a UC Berkeley economist looks at the recent history of U.S. women’s role in the labor force and argues for stronger state funding for public school teachers.
In our earliest work, we analyzed the 1960 census to get a long look at the trend. Women, who were shut out of most other occupations, represented 73 percent of teachers. In 1960, nearly half of all employed women with at least three years of college were elementary-school teachers and secondary-school teachers.
One-Shot and Yearlong Local Seminars
The California Teacher Development Collaborative (CATDC), a go-to resource for many faculty, is offering an unusually wide range of local and Bay Area workshops this year. Many start in October, so take a look soon if you’re interested! Yearlong seminars, meeting two to four times, include Purposeful Design and Making, Transformation Coaching; Developing Your Leadership Capacity; Independent School Women’s Networking Series; Math and History Professional Learning Communities; Developing Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity; and Mindfulness in the K-12 Classroom. One- and two-day seminars include Navigating Those Tricky Conversations, Building Better Brains, and Public Speaking and Leadership Presence for Independent School Women.
Faculty Professional Growth Presentations
- In June, Spanish teacher Cari Banning presented an hourlong session on “The Power of Standards-Based Grading” at STL in STL 2019: The Summit for Transformative Learning in St. Louis.
Faculty and Staff Summer Professional Growth, Part 1
So many faculty and staff participated in professional development this summer that we’ll highlight some now and some next month. Here is the first part of the list.
- History teacher Megan Bowman flew across the Atlantic to be part of a Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History summer seminar in Oxford, England, on The Age of Lincoln.
- 8th Grade Dean Megan Burton and 9th Grade Dean Beth Pattinelli were the latest grade level deans to attend the weeklong Stanley H. King Counseling Institute in Colorado Springs, which focuses on “learning to help students navigate the adolescent passage.”
- Registrar Brenda Diaz went to Washington, D.C., in July for the Blackbaud K-12 User Conference 2019.
- Head Librarian Meryl Eldridge attended a workshop called Hell Yes/No Way! (Own Your Own Boundaries) in New Hampshire with Melissa Merris Coaching.
- Science and algorithmic thinking teacher Reid Fritz attended the Design-Based Learning Summer Institute for Teachers at ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena.
- History teacher Abel Fuentes learned more about the student-centered, discussion-based Harkness pedagogy during Exeter Humanities Institute West at the Bishop’s School in La Jolla.
- Math teacher Eric Hallett traveled to Exeter, New Hampshire, for the Anja S. Greer Conference on Mathematics and Technology, also featuring the Harkness method.
- Librarian Claire LaPolt helped put together the sixth annual conference in August for Lifelong Information Literacy, in Northridge, which focused on Creating Connections: Extending Our Instructional Reach through Collaborations and Community Partnerships.
- Math teacher Maddie Martin traveled to Chicago for a New Teacher Institute sponsored by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States.
- Prep’s Tech department—Chief Information Officer Sylvie Andrews, Technology Systems Administrator Liam Carrillo and Technology Support Specialist Simon Hershey—flew to Seattle for the Cybersecurity Conference for K-12 Schools, hosted by the Association of Technology Leaders in Independent Schools.
- As summer began, Latin and French teacher Toby Wagstaff finished a Latin Sight Reading Online Course through the Paideia Institute.
- Dean of Faculty Vanessa Walker-Oakes participated in the California Teacher Development Collaborative’s Equity as Excellence workshop in San Francisco.
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