As a part of our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice, we recognize observances and holidays that center the voices and experiences of historically excluded peoples in the United States. Today, we mark Juneteenth–its second Federal recognition, following more than 150 years of observance in Black communities
As an educational organization, we want to lift up the words of others who share our commitment to learning. As a predominantly white organization striving toward antiracist practice, and working to build equity and inclusion, we believe that the observance of Juneteenth should amplify Black voices and the Black experience.
Learn about the history of Juneteenth: At the Zinn Education Project, Christopher Wilson, Experience Design Director at Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, writes “Very often, Juneteenth is presented as a story of ‘news’ of the Emancipation Proclamation ‘traveling slowly’ to the Deep South and Texas, but it was really a story of power traveling slowly, and of freedom being seized.”
Recognize Juneteenth at your school: The National Museum of African American History and Culture provides a framework and resources for teaching elementary-aged children about the context, meaning, and celebration of Juneteenth.
One voice: In this photo essay, Elroy "EJ" Johnson, a middle school history teacher in Dallas, documents Juneteenth celebrations and depicts “both Black joy and Black resistance in neighborhoods that have a long history to the Black community in Dallas.”
At the Association for Academic Leaders, we’re committed to helping independent school leaders with top of mind issues and concerns. Paramount for all of us this year is student mental health. That’s why we are so pleased to be able to work with our longtime friend and collaborator, Dr. Lisa Damour, on addressing the topic.
Lisa’s new book, The Emotional Lives of Teenagers, is powerful and eminently helpful. I had the pleasure of working with Lisa on our exclusive online course that guides educators through the book, and I get to act as a course facilitator. We just completed the first session of the course, and it was awesome.
The course stretches over two weeks. In each week, we take a chapter-by-chapter look at Lisa’s books. Lisa and I talk through the chapter and point educators to key learnings for advisory conversations, parent education, student support, and classroom management. We then ask participants to share a practice that they plan to change as a result of the book, videos, and related resources. Trust me, you want to be a part of those discussion boards — the ideas shared are amazing and will have an immediate positive impact for kids at participants’ schools.
At the end of every course is a live Q&A where we take questions from course participants and ask them live to Lisa. Here’s a look at some of the questions Lisa answered in April:
My guess is that you may want Lisa’s advice on one of those questions too, and/or you may want to get (and share) great ideas for supporting mental health at your school. So, I hope you join us for one of the summer sessions of the course:
June 19 - 30, 2023, live Q&A with Lisa on July 11
July 17 - 28, 2023, live Q&A with Lisa on August 22
August 7 - 18, 2023, live Q&A with Lisa on August 22
Rest is the work we do to restore–to come back to wholeness. During the Academic year, it’s all too common for Academic Leaders to decide they can put their own rest on hold until they solve others’ problems. Missing out on rest, however, can start to chip away at your ability to attend to details, encode memories, and think creatively. Summer is the perfect time to consider your restful practices: what they are, why they matter, and how you can make more time for them. In this excerpt from our course, Wellness for Academic Leaders, we share strategies and practices that can help you to restore and retain energy. Want to learn more? Wellness for Academic Leaders launches June 12. Registration is included in Association membership. Learn more about membership.
Did you know there is more than one form of rest? As a society we conflate sleep with rest, but sleep alone can't always restore us to the point that we feel rested. According to physician Saundra Dalton-Smith, M.D., rest should equal restoration in seven key areas of your life:
If you are getting enough sleep and still feel exhausted, you may potentially be struggling with a rest deficit. Being deprived of sleep and rest takes a toll on the body physically and emotionally. This could show up as decreased attention, impaired memory, slowed processing and retention, worsened sequential thinking, and reduced creativity.
Rest doesn’t require a long vacation–it just means finding moments for “restorative, restful activities in the middle of a busy day,” says Dalton-Smith. “It’s those little things that we do to keep pushing us back to a place of restoration, and a place of feeling better in our bodies.”
Interested in learning more? Join us for Wellness for Academic Leaders with Leslee Frye and Rebecca Plona, beginning June 12.
Want to make sure your community has access to all of these great, members-only resources? Learn more about Association membership and join today!
At One Schoolhouse, we’ve long believed that empowering learners is essential to their success. That foundational belief is true at the Association for Academic Leaders, too.
This summer at the Association for Academic Leaders, we’re presenting 14 distinct courses in 21 separate offerings. (For the full list, see our website here.) We’re also presenting webinars, articles, resources, and much more–an ecosystem of support for Academic Leaders
With so many resources, a PD playlist can offer you a path that’s designed to get you to the learning that matters most. What’s a PD playlist? It’s a collection of Association offerings curated for a specific role, purpose, or topic.
To get you started, here are three suggested playlists. Please note that our lists should not be interpreted to imply that any particular course is or is not a match for any specific individual or role. We make suggestions, you make decisions as one of my favorite Peloton instructors likes to say.
Whether you select one of our playlists, or build your own, you’re making an intentional choice about the kind of Academic Leader you want to be. We’re here to support you in that growth!
Playlist: I’m an assistant head for academics working with a new head of school
Playlist: I’m a new department leader
Playlist: I’m a seasoned division leader
The Quest for Clarity: Why Families Dive Into The Details and How Online Courses Can Help
In NAIS’s April 2023 snapshot survey of independent school admissions officers, two thirds of respondents said they had not yet met their total enrollment goal. For most independent schools, enrollment is now a year-round process, and admissions offices are enrolling students into the summer and throughout the school year.
In the traditional enrollment cycle, applicant families typically apply to multiple schools. In effect, they’re choosing among multiple possible visions of their future, asking “Who will this student be if they attend Fictional Country Day School?” Families considering schools outside of the traditional cycle have a different dilemma: “I know what will happen if my student stays at their current school… but what could happen if they attend Fictional Country Day?”
When families choose between a known option and an unknown option, risk assessment often comes into play. Students who are in high school now had their key developmental years interrupted and impacted by the global pandemic, and the long term effects are unknown. In other words, there’s already a lot of unknowns for our current students, even before they reach the perennial unknown of college admissions. Families know that college admissions offices at highly selective schools demand that students take the most rigorous courses available. What’s the best way to manage risk here? Ensuring that a student has the same kind of courses available if they transfer to Fictional Country Day.
At One Schoolhouse, we’ve noticed a shift over the past three years in the kind of questions parents and guardians are asking. Phone calls and emails now ask for increasing levels of detail: not what textbook but which chapters, and when they’re covered. We know from our consortium schools that this is happening on campuses too, and especially in middle and high school admissions offices. So many factors should go into school selection–but in these days of increased risk and uncertainty, concrete details like course offerings can assume outsized importance.
With that in mind, the strategic school will do their best to make sure they can affirmatively answer questions about details like course content and syllabi. One way to do that is to make the course catalog offerings as broad as possible. On campus, schools are limited by finite space, staff capacity, and the boundaries of the school day. When schools have online partners, however, they can add online course titles to their catalogs. By expanding their offerings, especially in languages, computer science, and higher mathematics, they can help prospective students and families feel more confident and comfortable about the opportunities in front of them–and about enrolling.
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Brad Rathgeber (he/him/his)