HEADS OF SCHOOL:
Masters of Time Management
2018 SAIS SUMMER INSTITUTES
A Curriculum to Help Teens Address WELLNESS in These Key Areas:
REST AND PLAY
CARE OF THE BODY
SCHOOL AND WORK
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How one school is improving student learning â€¦ and its city
20 10 11 12 Heads of School: Masters of Time Management
IN BRIEF A RECIPE FOR SUCCESS
Students compete in Cutthroat Kitchen, middle school style
COLORING OUTSIDE THE BOX An anti-bias approach for young children
BUDDY PROGRAMS THE ARK OF KNOWLEDGE READY TO SOAR
School research trip reveals necessary life skills
SAIS SUMMER INSTITUTES PERSPECTIVE: A FAREWELL MESSAGE
The mission of SAIS is to strengthen member schools by providing high quality accreditation processes, comprehensive professional growth opportunities, and visionary leadership development programs. The SAIS Magazine is published twice annually. Contact Christina Mimms, Director of Communications, with any comments (404) 883-5369. SAIS | 6050 Peachtree Parkway, Suite 240-199 | Norcross, GA 30092 | www.sais.org
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BY CHRISTINA MIMMS, SAIS
or the past seven years, the 8th graders at Episcopal School of Knoxville (ESK) in Knoxville, TN, have enjoyed the opportunity to delve into a year-long study of their own choosing. In the process, they complete a research paper, create an artifact related to their subject, perform a service project, and present their findings in a live presentation. The portfolio project not only allows the students to pursue a passion or interest area, but it also serves as a capstone of their graduating year and school careers at ESK. Early in the fall term, 8th graders must decide on their focus area, although in the past few years, Middle School Language Arts Teacher Susan Lancaster has found that many students start planning their projects in 7th grade. She and other teachers help them to focus their plans. “They come in with a gigantic idea that we have to help them narrow down,” she said. For example, baseball is too big of a topic, but the history of baseball or how bats are built can work. “The beauty of it is they get to choose something they’re passionate about,” Lancaster said. Past topics have included: The Benefits of Equine Therapy, History of Nintendo, Using GPS to Track Elephants, History of the Guitar, Lego Marketing, History of the Appalachian Trail, Fly Fishing, and The Imagery and Symbolism of African-American Quilts. To start their projects, students receive a calendar of all deadline dates, with checkpoints spread throughout the year. A faculty advisor meets with each student at the checkpoints and at other times if needed. For the paper due in the first term, students conduct independent research and interview experts in the field of their subject area. Students can be intimidated by the interview process. “Students think, ‘I’m a kid and I’m supposed to call Ft. Knox?’,” Lancaster said. “We help them understand that they are just as worthy of getting the information as any adult.” For interviews, a student studying Snow in Science and Art interviewed professors of meteorology and weather science. Another student learning about the history of the Appalachian Trail spoke with an executive at Orvis, the retail company that sells fly fishing, hunting, and sporting goods. Another student reporting on the musical Hamilton tried desperately to interview creator Lin-Manuel Miranda but instead reached a few people involved with the production, including one cast member. She later sent Miranda her completed paper, which he autographed and returned to her. Students receive a language arts grade for their paper and for meeting the deadlines. For the second term’s component of the project, students must produce or build an artifact related to their subject. Students may create a short movie, Prezi, Continued on p. 4 artwork, or model.
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Congratulations to Grant Recipients SAIS is delighted to announce the 2018 recipients of the Stephen P. Robinson Collaboration Grant Program. Each school will receive $5,000 to pursue its program. Trinity Presbyterian School, Montgomery, AL The school will partner with Valiant Cross Academy, an all-boys school in Montgomery, to work with Maxwell Air Force base and the Civil Air Patrol to develop students certified in cyber security so they can go forth and serve in defense efforts to protect individual, corporate, and national assets. Episcopal School of Knoxville, Knoxville, TN The school will partner with the University of Tennessee Knoxville’s Early Learning Center to create a collaborative gardening project for kindergarten students and teachers. The two schools will engage in a comparative study of urban and rural gardening plots and techniques. Oak Mountain Academy, Carrollton, GA The school will launch the flagship West Georgia Regional Science fair this spring and begin collaborations with the University of West Georgia, local public schools, and local STEM-related business. St. Luke’s Episcopal School, Mobile, AL The school’s goal is to create 25 fully functioning, three-dimensional (3D) prosthetic hands to ship to children around the globe. Working with the eNABLE Community Foundation, the school will locate individuals who need a hand and match them with students who are willing to create them at no cost to the recipient. Clayton-Bradley Academy, Maryville, TN The school will partner with Maryville College in Maryville, TN, to launch the Summer STEM Training Collaboration to train pre-service teachers in project and problem based learning STEM activities. Classroom teachers will be leading sessions with college professors to allow pre-service teachers to experience PBL projects, learn how to plan lessons, connect to standards, and score mastery. The recipients will share their stories in articles to be published in SAIS HeadLines in early 2019.
Water World BY CHRISTINA MIMMS, SAIS By the fourth quarter of the school year, many students and faculty get a case of spring fever and would do almost anything to get outside. Clayton-Bradley Academy located in Maryville, TN, found a great way to take advantage of the good weather and bring the classroom outside with studies of a nearby creek. Pistol Creek, a 13-mile long tributary of the Little River, flows onto the school campus, giving easy access for classes. Because the creek takes runoff from two cities and meets a dam, it has been designated an impaired stream by
the Tennessee Department of Natural Resources. Good or bad, the students have a lot to analyze in the creek’s water. They examine temperature, pH rating, and creatures such as salamanders, amphibians, and micro-invertebrates. Students record data each year and compare past findings with current reports. They have held a public event to present their findings and also written papers for a combined English/science grade. In a hands-on service project, students tackled widespread privet (a fastgrowing shrub) that was growing near the creek. They weeded and then burned the privet and
replaced it with healthy, native plants that they initially started growing in their classroom. “I really liked cleaning up Pistol Creek and working together as a community to make an impact on our environment,” said 8th grader James Camacho. Clayton-Bradley also organized a school-wide event related to the creek and brought in community groups to speak about different aspects of the creek’s ecosystem. Students rotated through different stations at the event. “We want to be friends with the creek,” said Kendall Terry, assistant director at Clayton-Bradley. “We want to be a voice in our community for the creek and make our waterways better for everyone. Our students have seen how they can impact their environment in a positive way through their work.”
SAIS President Dr. Kirk Walker to Retire June 2019 SAIS President Dr. Kirk Walker has announced his plans to retire from his position effective June 30, 2019. Reflecting on his tenure, Dr. Walker commented: “It has been an honor to represent SAIS and a joy to work with our wonderful staff and with the hundreds of talented and dedicated educators in our schools. Ours is a community committed to people, to learning, and to the future. And in our remaining months together, we will continue to work toward our shared mission and toward enhancing our support of quality education.” Dr. Byron Hulsey, chair of the SAIS Board of Trustees, stated: “Kirk has provided exemplary leadership for SAIS, and we will miss his wisdom, thoughtfulness, and deep understanding of our member schools. On Kirk’s watch, SAIS has grown stronger and even more responsive to the challenges and opportunities we face in schools. And while we’ll miss Kirk acutely, we’re eager – from a position of strength – to launch an open, national search for his successor. Our goal is to serve member schools and advance the SAIS mission through a thoughtful, deliberate search with Kirk at the helm through the transition.” A search committee has been formed and details will be shared with the membership once the process has been finalized.
IN MEMORIAM Dr. Stephanie Balmer Head of Harpeth Hall Nashville, TN Dr. Don Roberts Retired Head of Lee-Scott Academy Auburn, AL
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The Amazing Shake Do your students have what it takes to master “The Gauntlet” or to succeed in the “Circle of Doom”? No, they’re not auditioning for the latest HBO show. This is a chance to compete in the Amazing Shake, a competition to test students’ abilities in interviews, debates, sales, and, of course, the proper handshake. For the past several years, The Ron Clark Academy (RCA) in Atlanta has hosted the Amazing Shake locally but this year turned it into a national event, welcoming 130 students from 17 U.S. states and Honduras the weekend of February 9-11. The contest was created to educate students about the nuances of professional and social interaction with an emphasis on displaying manners, discipline, and respect. Beginning Friday afternoon, students encountered several practice rounds to help prepare them for the first official round of the competition. In the evening, the competition officially kicked off as students faced a challenging interview session. On Saturday, all students journeyed through Round 2: The Gauntlet, a unique maze consisting of 23 stations in which each student had 60 seconds to respond to a new situation in the best manner possible. Stations included corporate interviews, debates, a cooking demonstration, a golf putting green, a sales pitch, a fashion runway, speeches, and other scenarios created to catch students off-guard. In the subsequent challenges, the top 40 students “worked the room” by engaging in conversation with a room full of 70 business professionals, including sports broadcaster
Rick Kamla, who volunteered their time at the event. The top 27 students who qualified answered compelling questions with more than 30 executives in a roundrobin style “Circle of Doom” challenge. The top 13 students then engaged in an on-stage interview with CNN anchor and correspondent Melissa Knowles. On Sunday morning, the remaining six finalists were tested on their conversation skills during a breakfast with several judges. In front of hundreds of spectators, the final three students participated in an arduous on-stage interview with Atlanta media personality Ryan Cameron. In the end, Ron Clark Academy 7th grader Keanen Andrews earned the votes to be named the first National Amazing Shake Champion. “After a grueling yet exciting weekend of challenges, we all left inspired by each one of these competitors,” stated school co-founder Ron Clark. “We’re so excited to plan the
second annual national competition in 2019.” The National Amazing Shake Competition is open to any student in 5th through 8th grades during the 2018-19 school year. Schools are encouraged to have local Amazing Shake competitions and to send their top performers to nationals. The 2019 National Amazing Shake will be held at the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, February 22-24, 2019. Registration will open in spring 2018 at www.ronclarkacademy.com/ nationals. Videos from the event are available at facebook.com/RonClarkAcademy and on Instagram @ronclarkacademy.
community service related to their portfolio project. Service is a hallmark of ESK and while many projects are organized by the school, in this program the 8th graders have an opportunity to design and lead their own service work. Students have held a river cleanup, led trail maintenance work in the Smoky Mountains, volunteered at the Knoxville Museum of Art, and built a Little Free Library. Students receive a science grade both for their artifact and their service project. The grades are based solely on the punctual completion of each component.
Toward the end of the third term, the school holds Portfolio Night for families and friends to visit with the 8th graders and learn about their completed projects. Rising 8th graders also attend so they can learn what to expect the following school year. “The project really teaches kids to develop ownership of their own work,” said Head of School Dr. Jack Talmadge. “They learn how to embrace it from all different directions – the research, the interviews, and building their artifact. By the end of it, they are so proud of what they have accomplished. It gives them great confidence going into high school.”
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Live demonstrations also are an option. The school holds the Artifact Fair where students display their creations for the school community. For example, a student whose topic was dressage brought her horse to campus and performed a demonstration on the school’s lawn. Another student who learned about surgical sutures modeled and taught suturing techniques at the Artifact Fair. Other past artifacts included a model of FDR’s wheelchair, a robotic hand, a fivefoot double helix, and a hand-made tennis racquet. In the third term, students conduct
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A Recipe for Success BY CHRISTINA MIMMS, SAIS What happens when you put four groups of students, a professional chef, two recipes, and a timer in one gymnasium? It’s Cutthroat Kitchen (CTK), middle school style. Four schools in the Charleston, SC, area – Charleston Collegiate School, Charleston Day School, Heathwood Hall Episcopal School, and Porter-Gaud School, came together on November 8, 2017, for the first-ever CTK Competition. Sponsored by FLIK Independent School Dining and hosted by Chef Jet Tila, the event also served as a charity fundraiser. Earlier last fall, each school selected a team of four to five students through a lottery. Gathering after school and on Saturdays, the teams practiced making the two recipes for the competition – chicken fettuccine Alfredo and fried rice. Tila, chef at local restaurants The Charleston and Pakpao Thai, has appeared on numerous shows on the Food Network. He visited the schools prior to the competition and served as host at the event. As happens on the actual CTK TV show, he also “sabotaged” the teams during
the event – for example, when he asked one team a question and they answered incorrectly, they had to halt cooking and assemble a puzzle on the floor. Attendees paid a suggested donation of $5 for students and $10 for adults and enjoyed refreshments while taking in the action on the cooking floor. The gym was set up with four stations that included cooktops and prep areas for each team. A regional chef from FLIK served as the judge to evaluate flavor, presentation, and creativity of the dishes. He ultimately awarded the honor to Porter-Gaud School. The $800 collected at the admission table was matched by FLIK and donated to the school’s chosen charity of One80 Place,
a residence for homeless veterans and others that provides meals, healthcare, and employment and educational services. “This event taught the kids their way around the kitchen and how to put dishes together with some wow factor,” said Danny Avenel, director of dining services for FILK at Porter-Gaud. “It was an experience that middle schoolers won’t forget.” The event was reported on a Charleston TV news broadcast in which Tila said, “Cooking is a life skill I think everyone should have. These kids are well on their way.” Sharpen your knives and bone up on your cooking skills, because FLIK plans to host two to three CTK events in other cities later this year.
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COLORING OUTSIDE THE BOX: An Anti-Bias Approach for Young Children
BY SARAH ROBINSON, DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS, AND KIARA FAIR, STORYTELLER, THE CHILDREN’S SCHOOL, ATLANTA
n 2016, the 1st grade teaching team at The Children’s School (TCS) in Atlanta launched an anti-bias education program to discuss biases with their students. The team, which includes Wilma Pollard, Amanda Thwaits, Maryann Jernigan, and Alison Armbrecht, led an incredible, standing-room-only workshop session for educators at the 2017 National Association of Independent Schools People of Color Conference (NAIS PoCC) last November. The workshop focused on the impact of using an anti-bias approach inside the elementary school classroom and shared its mission with the group: Instill in children love and respect for others that is stronger than hate and prejudice. “What we learned is that there’s a huge need for this kind of information for younger grades because our session was packed, standing-room only,” Thwaits said. Whether related to physical abilities and characteristics, gender, race and ethnicity,
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or family structure and socioeconomic class, children begin to notice differences as early as three years old. “It’s important to do it at this age level because this is when the seed is planted. This is when we’re really talking about children developing behaviors and attitudes and personality behind what they believe and what they see,” Pollard said. “Home is the first learning place and school is pretty much the second one. Having that connection of what’s at school being transferred to home or what’s at home being transferred to school is rare. It’s all about cultural responsiveness.” With this in mind, the four teachers shared resources on how to build an anti-bias framework for early elementary educators and stories about reactions they’ve experienced from both children and parents. The team covered the process of selecting books for the classroom that are inclusive and provided the audience
with reading recommendations for educators and parents who want to learn more. The team also provided useful activities (such as making “skin syrup,” i.e., blending paint colors to match their skin), age-appropriate language, and a plethora of children’s literature to support the challenges and opportunities when approaching biases with young children at their own schools. The audience especially appreciated the team’s favorite anti-bias activities to use in the classroom and helpful tools for educators to develop their own curriculum plans. “There was a reception because there was so much engagement; engagement in listening, engagement in body language, taking pictures, etc. There were so many people who have contacted us for bits and pieces of this information,” Pollard said. In January, the team was invited to host a Skype session for the faculty at the Norwood School in Bethesda, MD, around anti-bias education.
While many schools have an overarching goal to create a climate of positive self and group identity development, many still find it difficult to develop an immersive plan that efficiently covers each anti-bias pillar while also getting parents on board. “One more thing that’s come out of the whole experience is realizing how many people are actually struggling to do this work in their places of business,” Pollard said. Anti-bias teaching in early elementary classrooms requires critical thinking and problem solving by both adults and children. “Anti-bias education has become a large part of what makes my job meaningful. I believe strongly that our children will need the benefit of anti-bias curriculum as adults to interact with the people and world around them,” Armbrecht explained. “Each lesson is joyful when you see the children connecting the meanings, repeating key phrases that help them navigate their world, or considering a situation from another’s perspective.” They get parents involved in the
are not born with bias, they conversations their “What we learned is do learn differences at a very children are having that there’s a huge young age, so before they at school through need for this kind form a bias, plant the seed “Talking Tuesdays.” On of information for to work out how to shift the Tuesdays, 1st graders younger grades.” mindset and learn to respect are sent home with a others,” Armbrecht said. topic to address with This fall, TCS will look at the their parents. For example, the 1st graders intersection of race and gender in the may ask their parents if they have ever middle school classroom with “My faced a bias of some sort in their lives. Authentic Self,” a conference for middle They report back on the conversation school students, faculty, administrators, when they return to school. and parents. Pollyanna Inc., whose Another project teachers conduct mission is to create a platform where with their kids is the family oval project groups of people can explore diversity, where parents work with their children equity, and inclusion, selected The to create their own family circle, Children’s School as its southeast partner instead of a tree. This helps children to bring the conference to Atlanta-area recognize all the important people in independent schools. their lives, regardless of what their “We are honored to be chosen to host family structure looks like. It also gives the conference,” said Morgan Darby, parents an opportunity to begin having director of student life and inclusion. meaningful conversations around family, “By bringing everyone together, we can relationships, biology, and other difficult engage in meaningful dialogue and form topics. a community of schools who recognize What may seem difficult becomes that equity and inclusion are the centers necessary and powerful when teaching our youngest learners. “Although children of education – not the periphery.”
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COLUMBIA CONNECTIONS: How One School is Improving Student Learning . . . and Its City
BY DR. GEORGE S. SCOUTEN, ASSISTANT HEAD OF SCHOOL & UPPER SCHOOL HEAD, HEATHWOOD HALL, COLUMBIA, SC
he chambers of City Hall were so jammed with people that the city of Columbia had to open up auxiliary rooms to accommodate the throng, which included seven Heathwood Hall students from Julie Firetag’s state and local government class. The students were there to propose a city walking tour based upon their suggestions for improvement. Earlier in the semester, the class met with business and arts groups, including Leadership Columbia, the Columbia Visitors Bureau, Historic Columbia, and One Columbia, an organization that promotes the arts within the city. Students learned about local government operations as well as Heathwood Hall students met with Columbia, SC, Mayor Steve Benjamin. their own city’s needs are and how In addition to their classroom instruction with their teacher they can contribute to efforts for improvement. Having laid (herself a published children’s author), students spent time in the groundwork for their proposal – both in class and on the lower school classes to learn what younger stustreets of Columbia – they were prepared to dents found engaging in children’s books. They make their pitch. Many cities pay also visited downtown Columbia to get ideas The project emerged in 2016 at the behest consultants for both the narrative and the illustrations. of Columbia’s mayor, Steve Benjamin, who had significant amounts They met with the manager of Mast General approached the school about reviving the city’s of money to do Store, where the book will eventually be sold, defunct walking tour, affectionately named this work, and yet who shared information about marketing. “Sally Salamander” for the bronze salamanders Heathwood Hall The final step of the project, which will take that marked points of interest. (The Spotstudents were able place later this spring, is the launch event for ted Salamander is the South Carolina state to work for the the new and expanded walking tour. Scheduled amphibian.) Following the acceptance of the city as part of their during one of Columbia’s Saturday markets on proposal, Firetag applied for a hospitality tax learning. Main Street, the launch will unveil the expandgrant – which was ultimately awarded – and ed walking tour, generate excitement, and inthe students had the opportunity to make a true impact. troduce the character of Sally the Salamander with the hopes That first-semester experience spread to Firetag’s other classes as well: The urban planning class would develop plans that she will become a household name in Columbia. As part of the event, students have planned a scavenger hunt for for executing an expanded tour. Computer science students residents and visitors to discover each new location, further began working on a smartphone app to help visitors understand the historical and architectural significance of locations highlighting the Main Street district. The work that Firetag and her students initiated with the along the tour. Meanwhile, students in the upper school’s creative writing class were hard at work on a children’s book. Sally Salamander project is just one piece of Heathwood
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Hall’s Columbia Connections program, Finally, while a result of the school’s commitment to student learning, community-based learning. The school civic engagement, found that place-based, experiential and city well-being learning not only leverages the school’s all increase as a location and position within a comresult of a well-run munity but also empowers students to community-based become more engaged in their comlearning program, munity and develop relationships with the school also has local leaders. enjoyed an increased The Columbia Connections program public profile. The at Heathwood Hall is a schoolwide Columbia Connections program initiative; in fact, some of the richest creates a market learning has taken place in the middle Sally the Salamander marks an historic location in Columbia. distinguisher for the and lower schools. For example, with school when competthe coordination of Columbia Connecand the possibilities were great. No two tions Director Donnie Bain, 7th grade ing for prospective students. schools will have a community-based students collaborated with area artists While Heathwood Hall’s opportunilearning program that looks identical, and conservationists to create storm ties and relationships in Columbia are but that’s because no two communities drain art, highlighting the importance in some ways unique, “the program are identical. could be replicated in any city of safeguarding 2. Identify the jackrabbits in in the country,” Firetag said. waterways. your school: Every school has faculty For those schools interested As Heathwood The Columbia members who are eager to try new in creating or expanding their Hall’s Head of Connections approaches. Identifying these faculty own community-based learning School Chris program “provides members is vital not only for launching programs, a few simple steps can Hinchey noted, experiences for a new program but also for its longbe helpful: the Columbia our students that term success. At Heathwood, Bain 1. Take stock of what is Connections contextualize began his work as director by arrangavailable in your community: program “protheir classroom ing for faculty to meet with different vides experiences For Heathwood Hall, putting the education... “ potential community partners. He then for our students Columbia Connections program worked with teachers in each division that contextualinto place was made easier by who demonstrated the most interest. ize their classroom education, prepare the fact that such learning was consis3. Reach out to schools that are altent philosophically with existing work: them to be impactful citizens, and ready engaged in community-based the school had a decades-old history expose them to a variety of stimulating learning: One of the advantages of a of engaging local community members career opportunities.” Instead of just network of independent schools like inhabiting their city, students are trans- in seniors’ capstone projects; it had SAIS that connects school leaders with forming it. a long-standing practice of requiring leaders outside of their immediate City leaders have seen the benefits of every student to do a local internship; market is the opportunity to collabothe Columbia Connections program as and it has engaged in place-based serrate, visit, and share. In fact, Heathwood vice learning going back to the school’s well. For Columbia Mayor Steve Benjahas hosted other schools interested in min, such school-to-city partnerships inception. Such pre-existing programs launching similar programs. not only prime students, faculty, and are “rich in opportunity. They move us Take advantage of annual conferquickly toward our goal of creating in parents for community-based learning ences, workshops, and online commuColumbia the most talented, educated, initiatives, but also provide important nities of educators as other vehicles for and entrepreneurial city in America,” pillars for new programs. school-to-school support. he said. Regarding the Sally SalamanTaking time to examine the avail“School-to-city partnerships naturally der project, he says the walking tour able resources was important, too. exist, but must be nurtured,” Firetag will benefit the community in terms While Heathwood Hall is not located in said. With deliberate care and intenof “tourism, education, and cultural the city’s core, parent connections in tionality, every independent school has identity.” Many cities pay consultants government, medicine, museums, and the potential to engage its students significant amounts of money to do this nonprofits all provided opportunities more deeply while helping them make work, and yet Heathwood Hall students for partnerships. Add to the mix nearby an impact on their community – not just were able to work for the city as part of Fort Jackson, the University of South in the future, but right now. their learning. Carolina, and Congaree National Park, SPR ING 2 0 1 8 | SA I S.ORG
Buddy Programs Build Community BY ALLISON LESTER, 4TH GRADE TEACHER, AND MOLLY SMITH, UPPER SCHOOL ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL, CANTERBURY SCHOOL OF FLORIDA, ST. PETERSBURG, FL
role will change as the 5th graders and seniors enjoy their own Big Buddy/Little Buddy program. The Knowlton Campus buddy program is a component of educating the whole child; 5th grade students are matched with seniors who serve as friends and mentors. Fifth graders and their senior buddies enjoy monthly activities, including snacks, games, arts and crafts, and seasonal treats. The buddies first meet each year during an ice cream social a few days before senior investiture. In this ceremony, the seniors run a chapel program in which they are formally
ig Buddy/Little Buddy: Just those words get students at the Canterbury School of Florida excited because whatever comes next is bound to be good. The Big Buddy/ Little Buddy program offers fun activities as well as benefits for both the younger and older buddies. The little buddy gets a friendly face around campus, other than a teacher. This helps build a sense of a safe community for many new 4-year-old students. The big buddy gains a sense of responsibility from being in charge of a younger student. Throughout the year, students engage in a variety of small activities or just enjoy lunch together. Having buddies helps build a community of inclusion. The same thing goes for Canterbury’s Knowlton Campus where the buddy program gives 5th graders someone to look up to while navigating the hallways of the middle and upper school. Students in 3rd grade also enjoy a Reading Buddy program with 3-year-olds.
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The buddies are different every week in this program that improves literacy skills and fosters a love for reading. It also creates relationships, inspires, and improves fluency, vocabulary, and self-esteem. The youngest learners also are being inspired with good habits of reading. It is truly the best gift a student can give another student. At Canterbury’s Hough Campus, the 4th graders and 4-year-olds stand together every day at flag. This allows the big buddies to have a sense of being the “older kids” with more responsibilities. At first, conversation is hard for both sides. As time goes on, you can see a bond quickly forming between the two. Fourth grade students grow a lot through the program. Students report that they learn “to be a better role model. It is more work to do the right thing when they are watching you,” and “to be more kind, respectful, patient, and to love.” It is always sad to say goodbye at the end of the year, but when the 4th graders move up to the Knowlton campus, their
Having buddies helps build a community of inclusion.
recognized as leaders in the school. After the program ends, the 5th graders are the first to congratulate their senior buddies as they join them on stage. While the 5th graders naturally admire their older buddies and enjoy spending time with them, the seniors learn a lot as well. Seniors have said they love the program because, “It allows me to be a positive mentor,” and “We get to know younger students we otherwise would rarely interact with.” Facilitating buddy activities and interactions is one of the most rewarding parts of teaching at Canterbury. Witnessing the seniors mature into responsible, curious, and conscientious young adults provides the best possible mentorship to 5th graders. The program makes the Canterbury code more than just a school philosophy on a wall and website, and turns it into real-world inspiration.
The Ark of Knowledge BY CHRISTINA MIMMS, SAIS
elections without controversy while also raising money for a good cause. An early offer from parents to donate money for the ark was politely declined, even though it would take longer to fully fund the ark.
“They learned about social voice and social entrepreneurship,” Goodman said. “The teachers were incredible, and we all enjoyed it immensely.”
n pre-planning meetings in summer 2016, teachers at Greensboro Day School in Greensboro, NC, discussed ways to bring current events into their classrooms, namely the presidential election. With the temperature rising between the two campaigns, teachers were concerned about discussing the actual candidates. Their solution: put animals on the ballots instead. Each classroom in lower school researched a different animal to nominate as their candidate; in addition, they learned about voter identification, voter fraud, early voting, and the electoral college. The students held their own primary election, which narrowed the candidates to water buffalo and rabbit. The school budgeted $500 to purchase the “winning” animal from Heifer International, a nonprofit agency that works to end hunger and distributes animals and agricultural support to communities around the world. Their animals include livestock such as pigs, goats, heifers, and sheep. Students were campaigning hard for the rabbit and water buffalo, but just a few days before the final election, 4th
“There can be ‘parent heroes’ who lead philanthropy efforts, but this was student-led,” said Kate Herndon, community engagement manager for Heifer International. “The school built a foundation of giving into their daily activities and daily learning. Students had a global impact as their gift touched families all over the world.” The school ended up forming a student council with a committee dedicated to service learning. They have also set a goal to get lower school students more involved with the philanthropy council, which is led by the upper school and provides grants for worthy programs developed on campus. With the fundraising for the ark now approaching $4,000, and many valuable lessons learned from the project, the school hopes to fulfill its goal of $4,500 by the end of this school year and start a new gift ark program next year.
graders learned about the gift ark. With a price tag of $5,000, the ark included two water buffaloes, two cows, two sheep, two goats, bees, chicks, rabbits, and more. The ark was added to the ballot as a third-party candidate and won handily. Students then set about raising the additional $4,500 needed to purchase the full ark. “The kids had so many ideas,” said Gillian Goodman, lower school director at Greensboro Day. “And they wanted to earn the money themselves.” Students held a dance party and a rock-paper-scissors contest, set up donation jars, and designed T-shirts, bracelets, and buttons for sale. The message of “kindness matters” was a fixture throughout their endeavors. “They learned about social voice and social entrepreneurship,” Goodman said. “The teachers were incredible, and we all enjoyed it immensely.” Parents appreciated that their children were able to learn about Greensboro Day students have raised $4,000 toward a Heifer International gift ark.
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Ready to Soar: School Research Trip Reveals Necessary Life Skills BY JENNIFER RUNDLES, ASSOCIATE DEAN OF STUDENTS, SAINT MARY’S SCHOOL, RALEIGH, NC
t started with a conversation over dinner at the head of school’s house regarding our success in fulfilling the school’s mission: Saint Mary’s School, a community dedicated to academic excellence and personal achievement, prepares girls for college and life. We collectively agreed that evidence from college acceptances and alumnae surveys indicates we are preparing our students for college. We also recognized that this is true of most independent schools across the country. But we were left wondering how well we are fulfilling the “preparation for life” portion of the statement, and asking what skills are essential to be successful in life. Those questions became the basis of the work done by the faculty/staff Think Tank for the 2016-2017 school year. Dr. Monica Gillespie, head of school from 2012-2017, introduced the Think Tank concept as a collaborative professional development opportunity for
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all members of the faculty and staff. Each year, a group of faculty and staff from all areas would gather starting mid-fall to identify a question they wanted to answer, and then work as a group to answer the question. During fall 2016, the question was, “How effectively are we preparing our students for life?” With that question in mind, the group decided to look beyond educational institutions and incorporate businesses into the annual Think Tank field trip. Seattle rose to the top of the destination list due to the many different businesses there that were thriving and pushing society forward. After many cold calls, we secured visits to Microsoft, Amazon, Red Cloud Consultants, Boeing, and Seattle Angel Fund. From Boeing to Red Cloud Consultants, we heard the same language around necessary skills and talents needed in today’s workforce, as well as the same language around what sets apart successful employees.
These skills/characteristics included: • Effective communication skills • Teachable • “Can do” attitude/risk taker • Resiliency • Curiosity • Acceptance • Strong conflict management/ resolution skills • Active listening skills • Understanding of developing a network and how to connect to others beyond your immediate circle • Agility In the conversations with Boeing, Microsoft, and Amazon, technical skills were mentioned as a base line requirement. However, all three companies made it clear that all employees would have to relearn how to use those technical skills to fit the needs of the company. With that, agility was an essential skill. Students should continue to learn a certain set of skills and content
need to develop relationships with companies and organizations so that students have greater Saint Mary’s team visited Amazon HQ in Seattle. access to those in the workforce. She felt that developing partnerships that can support growth in mentorship opportunities would help our students. In fall 2017, Saint Mary’s students see those skills in action as well started a collaborative relationship with as start to see themselves in those places. HQ Raleigh, a co-working community The information gathered from the and organization for local start-ups and conversations and activities with the entrepreneurs. Both cohorts regularly Seattle companies started us on a path have sessions with the HQ Raleigh team to revisit our school curriculum and and are currently working on projects programs. Over the past few years, we with affiliated start-up companies. Giving have held the Habits of a Lifelong Learner our students and faculty more access to (communication, critical thinking, and real-world experiences helps develop the character) at the center of our program, understanding and the necessary skills but we recognized that wasn’t enough. to be successful beyond a test, homework We are now shifting and expanding that assignment, project, or paper. list to 10 competencies: collaboration, Starting with the basic question communication, critical thinking, crossof how we are fulfilling our mission, cultural intelligence, growth mindset, we embarked on a journey beyond new media literacy & computational the college experience to look at our thinking, self-expression, self-directed students’ success as productive members learning, servant leadership, and of the world of today and of the eversocial-emotional intelligence. This is shifting future. Although many of our paired with an intentional movement to students will not enter the workforce a new seminar program resulting in a for another five or more years, the senior year capstone project that will be companies we visited encouraged introduced in fall 2018. embedding the competencies mentioned Also, we learned from the visit that as soon as possible so they are second we need to more deeply engage our local nature as students enter adulthood. business community to develop strong At the core of the skills and competencies mentioned, however, are the human relationships we develop Need In Today’s Talent Market? with others. Our ability to connect effectively and work in the global community is crucial. Acknowledging the changing landscape in society with Acquired Skills how and when we connect with others, • Developing Relationships schools must intentionally provide • Diversity Competency opportunities for students to build • Initiative skills and competencies that support • Listening development of strong authentic connections to those both near and far. • Resiliency That is how we will successfully prepare • Curiosity our students for both college and life.
as a baseline for consideration. But the skills not easily measured by a grade or a degree would speak to a person’s ability to thrive beyond the interview. One member of the Boeing team said it best when she asked, “Do we want people to be precision tools or Swiss army knives?” Boeing is seeking Swiss army knives to build their teams, looking for people with tools and skills that might not be easily seen but prove helpful when revealed from their hidden location. The Seattle Angel Fund, a group focused on investments in Pacific Northwest growth-oriented start-up companies, emphasized the importance of network, resiliency, and being a teachable leader. When looking to invest in a start-up, they look for people who are confident but open to advice and input. The ability to accept feedback and resiliency are essential to success, but they see many young people who lack those skills – they are unable to effectively accept feedback and have an aversion to risk because of a fear of failure. Schools throughout the country promote failure as an opportunity for growth and learning. As indicated by the Seattle Angel Fund, having those types of opportunities is essential. Mentorship was mentioned by all as a great way to develop skills. In the conversation with Red Cloud Consultants, one team member discussed the growing
What Skills Do Students Learned Skills • Writing • Public Speaking • Technical Proficiency • Functional Excellence • Second Language Proficiency
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Heads of School: Masters of Time Management BY CHRISTINA MIMMS, SAIS
eader. Problem solver. Crisis manager. Ambassador. Hand shaker. Cheerleader. Meteorologist (sometimes). Chief decision-maker. Parent. Any (and probably all) of these words can easily describe a head of school in 2018. And they may well wear each of these hats on a single day – perhaps starting the day by driving their children to school, then leading a budget meeting, greeting prospective parents touring the school, later attending a sports event, and avidly watching weather reports to determine if the next school day may turn into a snow day. In a seemingly 24/7 role with a smartphone that never shuts off, how does a head of school achieve a work/life balance? The short answer is, they don’t. Time management, rather than balance, is the key, especially for school heads whose most important role in life is parenting their young children. At the 2017 SAIS Annual Conference, the first general session entitled “Finding Balance” featured several heads of school sharing their tools for survival. Dr. Autumn Graves, head of Girls Preparatory School (GPS) in Chattanooga, TN, spoke about the myth of balance. “I strive to be someone who is in harmony with myself, not in balance,” she said. “I embrace being a little imbalanced. And I am very good at outsourcing things I don’t like to do.” Graves was in a unique position as a head of school in that she signed both her original contract with the school in
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Girls Preparatory Head of School Dr. Autumn Graves and family. 2014 while pregnant with her first child and signed her contract renewal in 2017 pregnant with her second child. She attended the SAIS Annual Conference while on a modified maternity leave schedule. Graves, who lives across the street from the GPS campus, worked long days leading up to her leave. After welcoming her new daughter, she took two weeks off with virtually no contact with anyone at school, and then went back to work three days a week from 8:30 AM to 1:30 PM for the bulk of the fall semester. She attended only one evening function per week.
Graves hired both a nanny and a baby nurse. Her husband works in Atlanta during the week and commutes home for the weekends. She chose not to take a typical 12-week maternity leave because of the demands of her role. “If I took off all that time, I’d have so much to catch up on,” she said. “And because of technology, there are so many ways to stay engaged. I didn’t want the school to be impacted in any way.” She set some boundaries then that she continues to follow today. “From 5:30 to 8:30 in the evenings, you can’t get in touch with me,” Graves said. “Family
The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.
~ LEO TOLSTOY
meals are important and bedtime reading is important. I can’t say those things [to other parents] if I don’t practice them.” She aims to be at home at least three or four nights per week, and if she has to travel for more than two nights, she brings her nanny and children with her. Graves installed a landline phone at home so that in the event of a true emergency, she can be reached and walk to campus quickly. Her head of school office is probably one of few that houses a pack-n-play, but Graves figured out what worked for her and crafted a plan that also worked for the school. And that is key to success for women in education who also are parents. “Some people don’t look far enough ahead to plan for sleep training or breastfeeding when they go back to work,” she said. “Think about your partner’s role. Have open conversations
“BE OKAY WITH THE DISCOMFORT OF THINGS NOT BEING PERFECT. GREAT EDUCATION IS IMPERFECT. I’M OKAY WITH NOT MEETING EVERYBODY’S EXPECTATIONS OF ME.”
~ DR. AUTUMN GRAVES
[with your employer] about how it will work when you come back to your professional life and how you are going to change how you are going to do your job.” Graves said she is not a typical role model for other working parents because her job is so unique; plus, she has no commute to work, and she has help in her home. She also is an avid shopper on Amazon Prime for diapers and other supplies. But she does want to empower other women, especially in schools where the majority of employees are female. “There is a vast void of real conversations about pregnancy and newborns in the workplace,” she said. “We’re afraid to say anything and we’re not supposed to talk about it. I want to help professional women manage the expectations on themselves.” For example, Graves encourages women to discuss their intentions about returning to work with their supervisors prior to announcing a pregnancy, thus preventing speculation from others about their return date and their plans. Schools should always have good succession plans, but they also can be creative in finding solutions to an employee’s absence. “We’re not in a business model where two or three people can do your job,” she said. “We don’t have that flexibility.” She suggested looking at recently retired employees who may be able to step back into a short-term administrative or teaching role. Or look at other employees who may be able to serve in an interim role. “Be clear with that employee and everyone else that it is interim,” she cautioned. And when a new mother does return to work, surround her with support. Provide a private space to pump breast milk. And understand an employee’s limitations. “Be okay with the discomfort of things not being perfect. Great education is imperfect,” Graves said.
Words of Wisdom from SAIS School Heads “When I got into leadership, I realized it was not my job to solve everyone’s problems.” Josh Clark, head of Schenck School, Atlanta, GA “Have friends who do not care that you are head of school. Find your happy time – your best time to do your most difficult work. Find an indulgence and regularly indulge.” Dr. Jeffrey Mitchell, head of Currey Ingram Academy, Brentwood, TN “People will always ask for more, no matter how much you’ve given. Decide what you’re not going to get done at the beginning of each day.” Dr. Kelley Waldron, head of St. Andrew’s School, Savannah, GA “Faith, family, career, and health are my four priorities. Think about your health as part of your workday. Learn to say no.” Arch McIntosh, head of Charlotte Latin School, Charlotte, NC “Finding balance in education is difficult at best. Leave work at work. Create time for self-care during the day.” Paula Gillispie, head of Oak Mountain Academy, Carrollton, GA Watch the complete videos from the SAIS Annual Conference session “Finding Balance” at youtube.com/saistalks.
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Technology is a useful servant but a dangerous master.
“I’m okay with not meeting everybody’s expectations of me.” Working in an all-girls school, Graves also recognized the opportunity to share her journey with young women. She took her newborn daughter to chapel to introduce her to the student body and talked openly about her challenging pregnancy, sisterhood, and trying to balance her work. “What I hope in terms of any kind of role modeling is that I talk about the realities,” she said. “It’s tough, it’s challenging, but there is an amazing outcome.” Creating and sticking to boundaries will help school heads manage – and master – their time, especially to allow time for their families. Sometimes they just need to say no, or just silence their phone for a few hours. In the session at the SAIS Annual Conference, nearly all spoke about technology. “My electronics do not control my life,” said Arch McIntosh, head of Charlotte Latin School in Charlotte, NC. “People expect you to respond as fast as you respond.”
Porter-Gaud Head of School DuBose Egleston reads to students in class.
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~ CHRISTIAN LOUS LANGE
For Ruston Pierce, head of Mount Pisgah Christian School in Johns Creek, GA, technology is a partner in school management. In addition to meeting inperson weekly, he and the seven members of his senior leadership team have an ongoing group text. Sometimes they communicate about school-related matters and other times the chat is more social. “We are also all friends,” he said. “We use group text to our advantage.” Pierce typically responds pretty quickly to texts and emails but he will set his phone aside in the evenings. “I’m not responding after hours unless it’s dire,” he said. Beyond the senior “YOU HAVE TO SURROUND leadership team, Pierce meets with other YOURSELF WITH PEOPLE departments monthly, but YOU TRUST. I ASK REALLY the faculty and staff know GOOD QUESTIONS BEFORE I they can contact him at DELEGATE, AND FOLLOW-UP any time if needed. For IS KEY.” the parent community, ~ RUSTON PIERCE Pierce holds small coffee gatherings two mornings per week – one on the middle/upper school campus and one on the lower school campus. Parents come for casual conversation or to ask questions about any issues. Those regular meetings quickly fill space on his calendar, but Pierce also leaves open times for walkabouts on campus, lunch in the cafeteria with teachers and students, and to read a daily devotional in his office. He attends many high school athletic events but does not attend middle school athletics; however, there is a school administrator in attendance at every game. He attends as many fine arts performances as possible. “I am extremely scheduled, but it’s a fluid schedule,” he said. “Something will always come up.” The biggest “must-do” on his calendar is spending time with his family. With four children at Mount Pisgah, in pre-K through 3rd grade, Pierce and his wife Aimee work together to manage their children’s school schedules as well as extracurriculars. He always attends his own children’s events and even helped coach fall flag football and summer swim teams. As a family, they enjoy getting away for long weekends and in the summertime, though he noted that school breaks are also good, quiet times to catch up on work.
Mount Pisgah Christian School Head Ruston Pierce and family. His best advice is to delegate and limit your own involvement. “You have to surround yourself with people you trust. I ask really good questions before I delegate, and follow-up is key,” he said. “You have to set boundaries on the front end. Don’t feel the urgent need to be at every event.” DuBose Egleston, head of Porter-Gaud School in Charleston, SC, embraces delegation at his school. “People take ownership of certain areas, through committees and even ad hoc groups,” he said. “Where is the passion, and are there opportunities for faculty to take some leadership roles, such as accreditation team chair?” While Egleston can hand off some responsibilities, there are many occasions that require his presence. He tries to visit each division each day; he may attend a lower school chapel and then a special event in middle school and then a high school sports event. He leaves his office at 5:00 PM every day to have dinner with his family (in his on-campus residence) and then may return to school for an evening program. “I try to set expectations with groups that I can’t be at all the parent guilds or all the games,” Egleston said. “I also don’t want to micromanage other groups. I may pop into a meeting for an update and then leave.” Egleston also relies heavily on his executive assistant to help manage (and also protect) his schedule. “That relationship and trust is really important,” he said. The head’s relationship with the board chair is significant
as well. Egleston recommends communicating with the chair about expectations and boundaries, but also establishing a regular meeting or a regular phone call. Board meetings should be scheduled well in advance; many schools schedule a year’s worth of meetings prior to the start of a new school year so that everyone can plan ahead. Taking breaks to recharge also is a priority for Egleston and his family. With three children in 3rd through 8th grades at Porter-Gaud and his wife Nancy’s active volunteering and service to the school, they need a change of scenery at times. Living on campus, “home doesn’t necessarily feel like it’s away,” Egleston said. The Eglestons have access to a family-owned cabin about an hour from Charleston, where they enjoy hiking, riding tractors, fishing, mowing, chopping their own firewood, and playing outdoors. “It’s something totally different from what I normally do,” Egleston said. “I like to be outside and I don’t sit still.” In a recent research study led by ISM, the well-being “I DON’T WANT TO of the head of school has a MICROMANAGE OTHER profound influence on school GROUPS. I MAY POP outcomes, including faculty culture, student enrollment, INTO A MEETING FOR and the head’s own career AN UPDATE AND THEN success. At the same time, LEAVE.” the study found that school ~ DUBOSE EGLESTON performance, the support the head receives, and the faculty culture can conversely influence the head’s well-being. The research shows that it is vital for heads to prioritize their wellness. Many school heads have found the SAIS Institute for Heads, which includes spouses, to be both professionally beneficial and emotionally therapeutic. Other heads may identify a trusted mentor in whom they can confide on occasion. Time management can mean different things to different people, but for a head of school whose job involves the equivalent of multiple jobs, mastering one’s calendar is vital. Making time to recharge, spending time with family, addressing one’s health and wellness, and also taking time away from school all are important to personal and professional success, and the ultimate success of the school a head leads. SPR ING 2 0 1 8 | SA I S.ORG
SAIS Summer Institutes
JOIN SAIS AT THE RENAISSANCE ASHEVILLE IN ASHEVILLE, NC, FOR AN EXCITING WEEK OF PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS.
Institute for Heads June 19-22, 2018
This energizing and nurturing retreat offers an opportunity for thoughtful dialogue and engagement with colleagues on key issues facing heads of school and their spouses. The number of participants is limited to foster connections and allow for contributions from all attendees. Featuring Rob Evans and Michael Thompson. sais.org/IH Dean of Students Symposium June 27-29, 2018
A program designed specifically for deans of students. Develop a network of peers, discuss best practices on current issues, and gather practical ideas from colleagues. Learn from experienced deans and work with focused groups to share specific challenges and solutions for middle and upper school students. sais.org/DSS Division Heads Conference June 27-29, 2018 Designed for those that lead from the middle, the new Division Heads Conference offers networking, skill building, and resources for division heads at all grade levels and years of experience. Learn together in small groups, discover new strategies, and celebrate successes around topics such as curriculum, assessment, scheduling, working with faculty, and communicating with parents. sais.org/DHC Institute for Administrative Assistants June 27-29, 2018 This program provides resources and tips for the varied tasks included in the administrative support role. Learn practical strategies for handling the types of issues related to supporting a school administrator. Network with other assistants to share time-saving tricks and proven solutions. sais.org/IAA Administrative Leadership Institute June 27-29, 2018 This workshop helps develop your leadership style and expand your management skills. Gain a new perspective on what it means to be a leader in an independent school with practical techniques and real-life solutions. Featuring Rob Evans and Michael Thompson. sais.org/ALI 18
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Schools Accredited in 2017
In 2017, SAIS accredited or re-accredited 75 schools. SAIS extends heartfelt thanks to all of the team chairs and hundreds of team members who volunteered their time and service to this important process for our members. American Hebrew Academy, Greensboro, NC Arbor Montessori School, Decatur, GA B’Nai Shalom Day School, Greensboro, NC Baylor School, Chattanooga, TN Brookstone School, Columbus, GA Canterbury School, Greensboro, NC Canton Academy, Canton, MS Cedar Creek School, Ruston, LA Charlotte Jewish Day School, Charlotte, NC Charlotte Preparatory School, Charlotte, NC Christ Church Episcopal School, Greenville, SC Christ School, Arden, NC Christian Brothers High School, Memphis, TN Christian Heritage School, Dalton, GA Clayton-Bradley Academy, Maryville, TN Collegiate School of Memphis, Memphis, TN Columbia Academy, Columbia, MS Copiah Academy, Gallman, MS Cristo Rey Atlanta Jesuit High School, Atlanta, GA Darlington School, Rome, GA Episcopal School of Baton Rouge, Baton Rouge, LA Episcopal School of Knoxville, Knoxville, TN First Baptist School, Charleston, SC Franklin Road Academy, Nashville, TN Girls Preparatory School, Chattanooga, TN Goodpasture Christian School, Madison, TN Greensboro Day School, Greensboro, NC Hammond School, Columbia, SC Heathwood Hall Episcopal School, Columbia, SC Hickory Day School, Hickory, NC High Meadows School, Roswell, GA International American School of Cancún, Mexico Isle of Wight Academy, Isle of Wight, VA Jackson Academy, Jackson, MS Landmark Christian School, Fairburn, GA Linden Waldorf School, Nashville, TN Little Rock Christian Academy, Little Rock, AR Maclay School, Tallahassee, FL Mead Hall Episcopal School, Aiken, SC Mount Paran Christian School, Kennesaw, GA Mount Vernon Presbyterian School, Atlanta, GA Oak Mountain Academy, Carrollton, GA Peabody School, Charlottesville, VA Piedmont Academy, Monticello, GA Pine Crest School, Fort Lauderdale, FL Pinecrest Academy, Cumming, GA Piney Woods School, Piney Woods, MS Porter Academy, Roswell, GA
Prince Avenue Christian School, Bogart, GA Randolph School, Huntsville, AL Riverside Military Academy, Gainesville, GA Salem Academy, Winston-Salem, NC Shorecrest Preparatory School, St. Petersburg, FL Skyuka Hall, Chattanooga, TN St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, Ridgeland, MS St. Paul’s Episcopal School, Mobile, AL St. Timothy’s School, Raleigh, NC Temima High School for Girls, Atlanta, GA The Cushman School, Miami, FL The Dunham School, Baton Rouge, LA The Epiphany School of Global Studies, New Bern, NC The Epstein School, Sandy Springs, GA The First Academy, Orlando, FL The New Community School, Richmond, VA The Oakwood School, Greenville, NC The Stonehaven School, Smyrna, GA The Webb School, Bell Buckle, TN The Westminster Schools, Atlanta, GA University School of Jackson, Jackson, TN Webb School of Knoxville, Knoxville, TN Wesleyan School, Peachtree Corners, GA Westchester Country Day School, High Point, NC Whitefield Academy, Mableton, GA Windermere Preparatory School, Windermere, FL Woodward Academy, College Park, GA
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A Farewell Message BY BILLY PEEBLES HEAD OF THE LOVETT SCHOOL, ATLANTA, GA
“I worry that sometimes we forget how much we need one another as we all struggle to navigate an increasingly complex, polarized world.”
~ BILLY PEEBLES
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s I prepare to leave Lovett this June after 15 years as head, and after 37 years of teaching, many different feelings and thoughts roll across my heart and mind. But deep down, the overriding sense is one of profound gratitude. Specifically, I am grateful for: 1. The trustees, colleagues, parents, and alumni who supported me in every way and in my desire to keep teaching, who encouraged me, and who hung in there with me during good and hard times, and when I made mistakes (which were numerous!). 2. The almost 500 students I taught over 15 years at Lovett who inspired me with their energy, curiosity, kindness, and – at times – irreverence! 3. A school community always reaching for the noble purpose of our mission, celebrating our successes, and acknowledging candidly when we came up short of our aspirations. 4. A set of responsibilities that many times taxed me to and beyond my capabilities as a leader. I was frequently challenged and comforted by what John Gardner, founder of Common Cause and Independent Sector, had to say about a calling like teaching: “What could be more satisfying than to be engaged in work in which every capacity or talent we may have is needed, every lesson one may have learned is used, every value one cares about is furthered.” And while I have often been challenged by this work to the point of being overwhelmed, I frankly have enjoyed attempting to make sense of – and to respond thoughtfully to – the complexity and messiness of what we do. Many people have asked me in my final year at Lovett what concerns me most about our work as schools. Like all school heads, I naturally am concerned about the essential and pressing matters of financial sustainability, retaining and attracting great teachers and staff, and strengthening campus security. But I worry just as much, if not more, about these two issues: • Because of the hyper-connected nature of modern day life, we don’t devote enough time to true solitude. A recent Lovett graduate, in telling me that he had moved away from almost all interaction with social media, uttered these profound words, “Mr. Peebles, it is almost as if we are scared of our own thoughts.” Wow! We must be more intentional than ever about helping our students construct their own thoughts – and to be excited about these thoughts – in ways that reflect a search for truth and that speak to the depth of who they are and who they seek to be. • I also worry that sometimes we forget how much we need one another as we all struggle to navigate an increasingly complex, polarized world. My hope and prayer would be that all of our schools continue to strive determinedly in building, affirming, and reaffirming true community and the bonds of civility and friendship so essential to the health of individuals and of our society.
SAIS INSTITUTE FOR NEW TEACHERS This interactive experience will equip new teachers with the skills and understanding to guide and support their first years in the classroom.
Participants will present two brief sample lessons to a small peer group. Guided by an experienced educator, lessons will be recorded, reviewed in a small group setting. Discussion will focus on strengths and opportunities observed during the lesson. New teachers will learn best practices for lesson development, parent communication, and classroom management. They will address anticipated challenges and difficult conversations through real-life scenarios and role play. sais.org/INT ATLANTA, GA July 9-11, 2018 St. Martin’s Episcopal School
CHARLOTTE, NC July 16-18, 2018 Providence Day School
NASHVILLE, TN July 24-26, 2018 Battle Ground Academy
SAIS INSTITUTE FOR NEW TEACHERS: PUBLIC-TO-PRIVATE This program is designed for experienced public school teachers who are making the move to an independent school. Teachers attending this seminar should have at least three years of teaching experience in a public school setting. To support a smooth transition, topics include the unique culture of an independent school, working and communicating within the school community, navigating HR/legal issues, and balancing new responsibilities with a healthy home life. sais.org/P2P ATLANTA, GA July 12-13, 2018 St. Martin’s Episcopal School
SAIS SURVEY CENTER
SAIS CAREER CENTER
SAIS Value Narrative Surveys are designed to help schools understand the relationship between the value stakeholders place on a variety of characteristics and the perceived performance of the school at delivering on the characteristics. BOARD GOVERNANCE SURVEY SAIS also offers a Board Governance Survey, which is aligned with the SAIS governance workshop and measures the board and the head’s commitment to the five domains of governance. The survey results include a custom report that shows the current benchmarks. sais.org/surveycenter
SEARCH FOR A JOB Job postings are free and unlimited for SAIS member schools. The SAIS Career Center is easy to use and allows you to post, manage, and edit jobs right from your desktop. sais.org/career
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6050 Peachtree Pkwy Ste 240-199 Norcross, GA 30092 sais.org
SAVE THE DATE SAIS Annual Conference October 14-16, 2018 sais.org/AC Charleston, SC