April 2009 Archive      
Dear ESHA members,

It's membership renewal time! You may recall that we have adjusted the ESHA calendar so that membership renewal occurs in April and conference registration, in June. You'll find information about ESHA dues and finances in an article from ESHA President Lenesa Leana, below, and your renewal form in the Directories and Downloads section, below right. Please respond by May 1.

In this issue, in addition to giving you news on ESHA events, we've focused on social media including a summary of recent member discussions about Facebook, an exploration of member blogs, and a relevant book recommendation. In the spirit of "learning by doing," you now can follow ESHA on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ElemSchHeads and become a fan of ESHA on Facebook by searching Elementary School Heads Association.

Always eager to hear from you,

Claudia Daggett
Executive Director

Renewing your membership with an eye to finances and value
ESHA expanded its services significantly in 2008, reflecting our strong belief that membership is more than attendance at the annual conference and dinner. We also are aware that school budgets may be more constrained than they were a year ago. With that in mind, the Executive Committee voted in February to keep dues level for 2009-2010. To make this work, we plan to continue to build membership and to move to a conference fee that comes closer to reflecting the actual cost of that event.
Member discussion group, May 8: "Parting company positively"
Effectively "counseling out" faculty can be one of the greatest challenges for heads of independent elementary schools, particularly given the relationship-orientation of our settings. Such parting of the ways may increase in frequency in our current economic landscape and, when done well, seems to require firm grounding in priorities and a keen sense of school politics and legal issues. Join Ruth Glass, The Wesley School (CA), and fellow ESHA members for a conference call discussion of this issue on Fri., May 8 at 2 PM EDT. RSVP by April 24: info@elementaryschoolheads.org.

Annual Conference, October 17-20: Leading in an Interconnected World
Mark your calendars now for our October 17-20 conference in the nation's capital! The venue will be the Washington Marriott, in the heart of Dupont Circle and Embassy Row. Conference planners Mary Worch and Dick Ewing have lined up some great speakers on the theme "Leading in an Interconnected World," including: Robert Gallucci, Dean of the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Services at Georgetown University and Ambassador-at-Large with the Department of State since 1994; Wade Davis, National Geographic Explorer in Residence; and Pat Bassett, NAIS President. More information and conference registration materials will be sent to you in your June issue of ESHA News. In the meantime, you'll find additional details and periodic updates in the Conference section of the ESHA website.
ESHA heads gather in Chicago
The 2009 ESHA Annual Dinner, held on February 26, was a delightful evening of collegial conversation at the Catherine Cook School in Chicago. ESHA members enjoyed tours of the school with students, a wonderful violin ensemble, two videos produced by students -- as well as good food and word on ESHA projects in the works. Big thanks to ESHA member and Head of School Michael Roberts and the Catherine Cook staff and volunteers! Thanks also to Far Brook School (NJ) and St. Mary's Episcopal School (FL) for hosting colleagues. You'll find a photo gallery of the event in the Annual Dinner section of the ESHA website.
Facebook pages for elementary schools?
Tom Beazley inquired in the ESHA list-serve about schools creating Facebook pages, which led to a conference call discussion group in March including ESHA heads and key communications and technology team members. Resources, expertise, and opinions were shared.
Bloggers and tweeters
Thinking about entering the blogosphere? Check out the blogs of ESHA colleagues:
Head's Tales, Tim Bazemore, New Canaan Country School (CT)
The Headliner, Palmer Bell, Riverside Presbyterian School (FL)
Headmaster's Blog, Lee Burns, Presbyterian Day School (TN)
Peak Experiences, Michael Ebeling, Summit School (NC)
The "Mane" Idea, Wanda Holland-Greene, The Hamlin School (CA)
From the Desk of the Head of School, Fran Lukens, St. Anne's School of Annapolis (MD)
Head Master's Blog, Andy Martire, Calvert School (MD)

Several ESHA-member schools are following Twitter, but few are doing much tweeting. Fessenden (MA) is blazing that trail: http://twitter.com/fessy.
Classroom use of social media?
Here's a frontier where few U.S. schools have ventured. See this recent article by Howard Gardner, et. al, for a thought-provoking treatise: Learning: Peering Backward and Looking Forward in the Digital Era, published in the International Journal of Learning and Media (Vol. 1, No. 1, Winter 2009). Will Richardson provides a good, editorialized synopsis of Gardner's piece in his March 14 blog entry, entitled Looking Forward at Learning. The March 25, 2009 issue of The Guardian gives an overview of recent inclusion of social media in the curriculum of primary schools in England.
Building connections and membership
ESHA has begun hosting and attending regional meetings of members and prospective members with the goal of building connections and encouraging others to join. On March 31, Claudia Daggett traveled to Far Brook School to attend the regular meeting of New Jersey independent elementary school heads hosted by Murray Lopdell-Lawrence. Next up is an April 16 gathering of Massachusetts independent elementary school heads at Belmont Day School co-hosted by Lenesa Leana, Belmont Day, and Raymond Nance, Glen Urquhart School.

If you are interested in hosting a gathering in your region or would like ESHA to reach out to a particular colleague to encourage membership, please contact Claudia Daggett at info@elementaryschoolheads.org.
Spiller chairs NAIS Board
Marcia Prewitt Spiller was elected Chair of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) Board of Trustees on February 26, 2009. Congratulations to NAIS for a good choice!

Marcia joined ESHA in 2002 and has been a member of the ESHA Executive Committee since 2006. She was a conference planner, with Carol Shabe, for our 2008 conference at The Homestead. Marcia heads The Children's School, a PK-6 school of 390 students in Atlanta, GA.

In memoriam
George E. Stevens, former head of New Canaan Country School and long-term ESHA member, died on March 16, 2009. A service of celebration will be held on Friday, April 3 at 1:00 p.m at The First Presbyterian Church of New Canaan, CT. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that contributions in Mr. Steven's memory be made to the New Canaan Country School Scholarship Fund or to the Horizons Student Enrichment Program, New Canaan Country School, P.O. Box 997, New Canaan, CT 06840.
Recently published by ESHA members
Paula Carreiro, Beauvoir, The National Cathedral Elementary School (DC), co-edited Choosing the Right Educational Path for Your Child, published in July 2008 by Rowman & Littlefield Education.

Lenesa Leana's letter to the Belmont Day School (MA) community, entitled "Home Safe: Our Own Purple Crayon," appeared in the March 2009 issue of The Head's Letter (Educational Directions, Volume XXXVII, No. 6).

Kate Burke Walsh, The Willow School (NJ), published New Jersey Students Confront and Compare Cultures, an article about the value of her school's partnership with a local charter school, in the Winter 2009 issue of Independent School magazine.

John Suitor, Aspen Country Day School (CO), published A "Letter on leadership: A veteran head's advice to his son, on appointment to his first headship" in the Spring 2009 issue of Independent School magazine.
Elementary reading
In the Q & A session following Jane Smith's remarks at the ESHA conference in October, Marcia Prewitt Spiller made reference to a book by Mark Bauerlein, professor at Emory University: The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupifies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future (Tarcher/Penguin: New York, 2008). Bauerlein asserts that today's cyber-culture has inhibited growth by steeping children in a self- and peer-oriented medium, creating a generation of bibliophobes who exhibit an alarming decline in general knowledge. He supports his thesis with abundant research citations. This book provides a jarring counterpoint to much of the current scholarly writing on technology in education.

If you have member news or a reading recommendation for fellow ESHA readers, please e-mail us at info@elementaryschoolheads.org.