Dear ESHA Friends,
Comments from our October Boulder Retreat:
“Overall, another great year. I love the retreat format and the big picture presentations. I am leaving feeling renewed.”
“Warm, friendly, collegial. Genuine and authentic dialogue. A really worthwhile time. Made some wonderful new friends.”
“I am very glad I made it to my first ESHA retreat! Restorative, inspirational, and energizing!”
“The highlight of my year as far as a great balance between rest, fellowship, and inspiration.”
“Would never miss it!”
“All IN on ESHA! Best conference of the year.”
“Well done! It was a great retreat. I truly value this time to reconnect and share with old friends and new colleagues.”
Enough said. Make sure to join us at The Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida, October 13-16, 2018.
From ESHA President Elinor Scully
Dear ESHA Colleagues,
As Chris shared, our annual retreat in Boulder, CO, this year was fantastic and a wonderful opportunity to connect with other ESHA heads. Our theme, From Head Teacher to CEO, allowed for some wonderful conversations about leadership. Recently, I read a New York Times article that made me think about our work as “CEOs” in elementary schools. In his article, “How to Be a CEO from a Decade’s Worth of Them,” Adam Bryant summarizes the qualities of senior leaders from his years of experience interviewing CEOs for his column, “The Corner Office.” Bryant says that successful CEOs share some common qualities: a habit of “applied curiosity,” a love of challenge and working outside of their comfort zone, and a commitment and focus on doing their jobs well rather than ambitiously climbing the professional ladder.
Over the course of the three days we were in Boulder, I heard many of my peers discussing these very issues. It was comforting and affirming to be in the company of the leaders who are struggling with issues similar to those I face and to be surrounded by leaders who are committed to finding creative and “out of the box” solutions to the challenges of school leadership.
ESHA is a place where I get fed and nourished intellectually and personally. My inner CEO finds a great deal of professional support and stimulation in our organization’s activities and in this network of exceptional leaders. I’m thrilled to be assuming the role of president and I encourage you to get involved.
ESHA'S Annual Dinner will be hosted by Nishant Mehta at The Children's School in Atlanta on Wednesday, March 7, 2018, when NAIS has its annual conference. Details and registration will be available in December.
ESHA salutes and thanks the following members for their generous support as sustaining members (who kindly opted to add additional funds to their annual dues). Please consider joining them next year when your membership invoice arrives!
Arvi Balseiro, The Cushman School (FL)
Tim Burns, The Forsyth School (MO)
Laura Caron, Brookwood School (MA)
Ronnie Codrington-Cazeau, Yhe Evergreen School (WA)
Robert Cooke, Community School (MO)
Nicole DuFauchard, Advent School (MA)
Angi Evans, Harbor Day School (CA)
Matthew Gould, Norwood School (MD)
Arvind Grover, The Meadowbrook School (MA)
Joan Buchanan Hill, Lamplighter School (TX)
Stuart Johnson, St. Bernard’s School (NY)
Scott Laird, St. Mary’s Episcopal Day School (FL)
Billy McMurtrie, Mater Dei School (MD)
Nishant Mehta, The Children’s School (GA)
Neil Mufson, The Country School (MD)
David O’Halloran, St. David’s School (NY)
Greg O’Melia, The Buckley School (NY)
Joe Powers, The Woods Academy (MD)
Mark Silver, Hillbrook School (CA)
David Stettler, The Fessenden School (MA)
David Trower, The Allen-Stevenson School (NY)
Clair Ward, Shore Country Day School (MA)
Jerry Ward, The Fenn School (MA)
Muddy Waters, The Pike School (MA)
MANY THANKS TO ALL OF YOU!
Once again, ESHA member Dane Peters has interesting suggestions!
Dane's Education Blog
Top Books To Read
Posted: 28 Oct 2017 01:36 PM PDT
"I stumbled upon this fascinating article "Top Experts Always Recommend These 4 Books." Author Eric Barker's Time magazine article is excellent. Even though it was written in June of 2015, I think you will appreciate what the author has presented, and I am sure you will compare what he has listed with what you have read and which books sit on your bookshelf."
Books Experts Recommend – By Topic: Leadership Gautam Mukunda, professor at Harvard Business School and author of Indispensable: When Leaders Really Matter recommends:
Also, Kim Marshall's "Marshall Memo" included this sobering post from The Wall Street Journal.
What Smartphones Are Doing to Our Minds
“The smartphone is unique in the annals of personal technology,” says Nicholas Carr in this Wall Street Journal article. “We keep the gadget within reach more or less around the clock, and we use it in countless ways, consulting its apps and checking its messages and heeding its alerts scores of times a day.” What makes the smartphone so captivating? “Imagine combining a mailbox, a newspaper, a TV, a radio, a photo album, a public library, and a boisterous party attended by everyone you know, and then compressing them all into a single small, radiant object. That is what a smartphone represents to us. No wonder we can’t take our minds off it.”
But smartphones can also foster anxiety and undermine performance. “[E]ven hearing one ring or vibrate, produces a welter of distractions that makes it harder to concentrate on a difficult problem or job,” says Carr. “The division of attention impedes reasoning and performance.” One study found that when a person isn’t able to answer a ring or vibration, blood pressure spikes, the pulse quickens, and problem-solving skills decline. Researchers have found negative effects in five areas:
• Test performance – In a 2015 experiment at the University of California/San Diego, 520 undergraduates took tests of fluid intelligence and available cognitive capacity. Subjects were divided into three groups:
- The first placed their cell phones in front of them on the desk.
- The second stowed their phones in pockets or handbags.
- The third left their phones in another room.
Students whose phones were in view got the lowest scores; those whose phones were in another room did best; and students whose phones were in their pockets or handbags scored in the middle. Interviewed afterward, almost all students said they hadn’t been distracted by or even thought about their phones while taking the tests – but that obviously wasn’t true for two-thirds of them. A similar study found that students with phones in sight made more errors on a test.
• College lectures – A study at the University of Arkansas found that students who brought cell phones with them to classes and exams scored a full letter grade lower (whether or not they checked their phones during classes) than those who left phones back in their dorms. Another study came up with similar results, and revealed that the more heavily students relied on their phones in their everyday lives, the greater the cognitive penalty when they tackled mentally challenging tasks. A researcher said the areas most affected were learning, logical reasoning, abstract thought, problem solving, and creativity.
“The evidence that our phones can get inside our heads so forcefully is unsettling,” says Carr, “Smartphones have become so entangled with our existence that, even when we’re not peering or pawing at them, they tug at our attention, diverting precious cognitive resources. Just suppressing the desire to check our phone, which we do routinely and subconsciously throughout the day, can debilitate our thinking…”
• Personal connection – A study at the University of Essex in the U.K. asked 142 participants to have private one-on-one chats for ten minutes. Half of the subjects had a phone in the room, half did not. Subjects were then given an assessment measuring affinity, trust, and empathy. “The mere presence of mobile phones,” said the researchers, “inhibited the development of interpersonal closeness and trust” and diminished “the extent to which individuals felt empathy and understanding for their partners.” The effect was most striking when a personally meaningful topic was discussed.
• Memory – Studies have found that ready access to information via Google and other search engines, plus how easy it is to jot ideas into our devices, leads us to make less of an effort to remember information because we can always look it up. But the fact that we are storing less information in long-term memory is a problem. In an 1892 lecture, William James said that “the art of remembering is the art of thinking.” Carr agrees: “Only by encoding information in our biological memory can we weave the rich intellectual associations that form the essence of personal knowledge and give rise to critical and conceptual thinking. No matter how much information swirls around us, the less well-stocked our memory, the less we have to think with.”
• Gullibility – In a 2013 Scientific American article, Daniel Wegner and Adrian Ward said we may be suffering from delusions of intelligence, confident that we know stuff because we can access it so quickly. When we can quickly find information, we feel as though we ourselves generated the information. “The advent of the ‘information age’ seems to have created a generation of people who feel they know more than ever before,” said Wegner and Ward, even though “they may know ever less about the world around them.” This may be why so many Americans believe lies and half-truths spread through social media by foreign agents and other bad actors. “If your phone has sapped your powers of discernment,” said Ward, “you’ll believe anything it tells you.”
“When we constrict our capacity for reasoning and recall or transfer those skills to a gadget,” concludes Ward, “we sacrifice our ability to turn information into knowledge. We get the data but lose the meaning. Upgrading our gadgets won’t solve the problem. We need to give our minds more room to think. And that means putting some distance between ourselves and our phones.”
“How Smartphones Hijack Our Minds” by Nicholas Carr in The Wall Street Journal, October 6, 2017
ESHA Is Delighted to Welcome Its New Members
October Boulder Retreat
Boulder covered it all! Among other things, Donna Orem talked about the change in our independent school market and what millennial parents want for their children. Tim Fish challenged us to make our schools as innovative as possible. Andy Watson touched on leadership skills. Attendees met for dinners at Walnut Brewery and the Rembrandt Yards Art Gallery, not to mention the terrific St. Julien Hotel, site of the retreat. And on October 9th, it snowed! Most of all, members had a chance to connect with new friends and old and to address issues of interest both in discussion groups and in their leisure time.