Dear ESHA Friends,
Hopefully I'll get a response from each of you that this newsletter delivery is going into your mailbox but that the message I'll get back is that "I'm out of the office until at least August 5..." This is a typically brief summer report since it's high time for your R & R. Please get away soon if you're still at school; the dividends of rest taken now will pay off when you dig into the new academic year.
We have had a very good registration response for the October Nashville Retreat. Once you're back from vacation, if you haven't yet done so, make sure that you sign up for what will be a terrific conference before we run out of hotel rooms at our discounted rate. The information is at the end of this newsletter and on the Events page.
From ESHA President Elinor Scully
Dear ESHA Colleagues,
Following up on Chris’s note above, it's really just time for a quick hello. To the best of your ability, please enjoy a restful summer break and recharge for the approaching year. If there’s time, why not re-read one of your all-time favorite novels and enjoy the comfort of a good inspiration!
Enjoy July and August!
ESHA Past President Muddy Waters notes that the following portion of an Ideas & Perspectives article emphasizes the importance and value of our connecting flights, of which he is a group leader and ardent supporter. (Notes in parentheses are mine!)
....However, you cannot always go to your administrators with a Board problem or consult the faculty about a problem administrator, particularly concerning delicate issues that may have repercussions throughout the school if voiced openly. Special interest groups, such as parents who are also alumni and Board members, can also create difficult issues.
When you don't have a trusted administrator or Trustee to turn to, or when the problem encompasses more than one constituent group, you may feel like there is no one in the school who can help. Thus, you are effectively isolated within your own school. These are the times when you need to look for support outside the school.
Find a School Head Near You (or join an ESHA connecting flight” group!)
School Heads need at least one person (if not a group) who understands the trials of leading a private school-preferably the Head of another school. Here are a few ways to develop your peer support system. (Again: join an ESHA “connecting flight” group!)
• Meet with a fellow School Head. Ideally, you want to research nearby schools and locate a Head with whom you think you could feel at ease. While at a workshop or conference, take the time to meet other Heads and learn about their schools.
When you find someone with whom you're comfortable, exchange phone numbers or email addresses and set a date to get together.
Confidentiality is essential. Choose a Head whose school is not directly in competition with yours. Discussion can then be broad and deep without any concern over disclosing secrets. Meet regularly, perhaps quarterly, without an agenda. Try to meet outside the school environment, giving you both a chance to relax. Communicate with other Heads via computer. There are listservs and other online communication portals where Heads and other administrators at private schools pose questions and provide answers. While these venues are typically not private, this is another way to discuss problems with peers and to share your expertise. The advantage of these online settings is that you will receive a variety of replies. Eventually, you will find other Heads who share your concerns and may respond privately by email. Many mutually beneficial partnerships have been established this way. Although your first tendency may be to find someone in a school exactly like yours, don't limit yourself. Concerns about finances, fundraising, technology, and teacher evaluations are common to most schools. The most important factor in this process is finding other Heads with whom you can relax and unburden yourself comfortably.
School Heads work hard to uphold a positive school environment. A school cannot,, however,,have a positive atmosphere if the Head feels stressed and alone. Even a strong leader must know when to ask for help for the sake of self-preservation and for the sake of the school. I&P
See "The Head Support and Evaluation Committee: An Update," Ideas & Perspectives, 42-8-29. 2 See "Executive Leadership: The Relationships Between Predictability and Support, the
School Head's Well-Being, and Faculty Culture," I&P, 42-14-53. 3 See “Balancing Delegation and Operational Accountability," I&P, 35-11-44. 4 See "Finding Out-of-Office' Time for the School Head," I&P, 39-8-32.
(All good reasons to sign up for one of ESHA's "connecting flight" groups.)
What exactly are "Connecting Flight" Calls?
The monthly Flights are an intentional way of giving ESHA members an opportunity to air ideas and consider situations in a safe, knowledgeable and collegial environment. These calls affirm and strengthen leadership as participants gain insight, awareness and validation from exchanging experiences with their colleagues about successes and dilemmas. Meeting at least quarterly, if possible, has the added benefit of developing enduring professional and personal relationships over the course of a school year.
During the hour-long phone discussions, flight leaders listen carefully and guide the conversation, enabling ideas to be exchanged in ways that produce insights, affirmations and “takeaways” for the participants. Each flight normally consists of five or six Heads of varying experience. Contact Executive Director Chris Abell if you'd like to take off on a flight!)
Boardable is software to manage and engage your school's board of directors. It centralizes all board activities including meetings, documents, discussions, and committees in one easy to use portal- available via the web and mobile apps. One of our members recently purchased Boardable and is excited to start the new school year using the tool with their board. Boardable offers free trials and demos of the product if you would be interested in considering it for your school's board. Here's some more information.
Boardable Demo: https://boardable.com/schedule-a-demo/
Boardable Free Trial: https://boardable.com/free-trial/
ESHA Is Delighted to Welcome Two New Members
ESHA's Annual Retreat will be in Nashville, Tennessee, from
October 19-22, 2019.
Things to know:
Venue: The Hermitage Hotel
We're in Nashville, so come early, put yourself to work, and learn how to write a song with Grammy nominated singer Jamie Floyd. Then go to the Country Music Hall of Fame for a tour, dinner, and music on Saturday.
On Sunday, hear from Ketch Secor, lead singer of the Old Crow Medicine Show. Among other things, he knows how to put a band together and how to put a school together (he's co-founder of The Episcopal School of Nashville).
Monday we'll go to Vanderbilt University's Peabody School to hone our skills under the guidance of Patrick Schuermann, director of their Independent School Leadership Program.
Tuesday's finale will include visits to a couple of Nashville's varied ESHA schools.
Registration is open. Click here. https://www.elementaryschoolheads.org/events.html