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Faculty Newsletter

November Faculty Newsletter

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.

Upcoming Conference

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

Fall Faculty & Staff Professional Growth

Posted by rfeliciano on Wednesday November 20 at 08:55AM
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October Faculty Newsletter

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. 
Posted by rfeliciano on Wednesday October 23
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September Faculty Newsletter

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 articlesplease 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

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.

Posted by rfeliciano on Wednesday September 25
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