Inspiration

Connecting Education to Community Impact

I am going to begin with a true and uncomfortable statement. The schools where we teach are very expensive. Crazy expensive. In fact, tuition for California independent high schools is often higher than the median income in the cities where the schools are based. Gasp. Sigh. Yet, our schools remain committed to principles of responsible…

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The Use of Being Useful

One October a few short years ago, a Midland student named Cruz was visiting a college on his application list and found himself eating alone in the dining hall. Being alone did not bother him, but he was troubled when he saw a group of students leave a significant mess for someone else to clean…

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The Growing Learning Community in Central California

What do you get when you take a dash of ocean swims at sunrise, a bushel of chopped wood to heat the water for your showers, a spot of student-led TEDx, a scoop of Getty Foundation Discipline Based Art Education, and add an owl mascot named Swoop, a live-in fellowship program for young educators, an…

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Why the Horse Remains Central to the Thacher Experience

The nature of the Thacher Horse Program and the gifts it bestows can test the limits of reason and language. As the program’s longtime director Cam Schryver says, “I don’t think that all of the lessons, the things you learn, can exactly get expressed or quantified… there are parts that go out to the limit…

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Learning by Teaching: Experiential Education in Action for New Educators

At the heart of Crane Country Day School’s mission is experiential education. Teachers are challenged with creating thought-provoking experiential lessons, which often include culminating projects and events. Similar to educators at any institution, creating successful curriculum is constantly balanced with time management and manpower. To enrich the learning environment at Crane School, more educators were…

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Adult Learning That Lasts

At the CATDC, we deeply believe in the power of bringing people together to share ideas and reflect on their learning experiences. These foundational values and practices are steeped in research and can be most vividly seen in a report compiled by The Learning Institute. Over the years, I have given a great deal of…

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Seizing the Day Inside and Outside of the Classroom: The Diamond Curriculum

Santa Barbara Middle School offers students in grades 6-9 a profound educational experience, guiding young people as they transition to adolescence. Through ancient traditions and rigorous academics combined with bicycling and expeditions in the outdoors, SBMS aims to teach compassion, kindness, and self-knowledge and solidify a foundation for a child’s self-esteem, self-confidence, and sense of…

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Supporting Great Teachers to Stay

As a former Dean of Faculty at an independent school and now Executive Director of the California Teacher Development Collaborative (CATDC), I know well the energy and resources that go into recruiting, hiring, and onboarding new faculty. Given the shortage of teachers in California as well as greater attrition and churn, I have been giving…

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A Case for Ongoing Professional Development

The CATDC’s Ongoing Programs, series of 3-5 meetings led by local educators, are some of our most agile and responsive professional development offerings and the foundation of our unique approach to growing capacity in California independent schools. Easy access to digital and print resources and online courses make continuing education within reach at all times,…

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Changing Lives Through Collaboration

Creative collaboration with teachers in the service of student learning has been a deep current running through my career. As Executive Director of the CATDC, learning with and from other educators has become not only a passion, but one of my primary job responsibilities.

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Rethinking Teacher Evaluation in Independent Schools

Working in schools is a vulnerable act. Every day can feel like a high-stakes performance review in front of an audience of young evaluators: performing effective planning, organization, pedagogy, relationship management, flexibility, patience, community building, knowledge of human psychology and all the additional skills of being an educator. It’s no wonder then that when teachers hear they’re about to be evaluated, anxiety sets in and amygdala hijack takes hold.

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Leading With the Brain in Mind

Understanding our neurobiological hardwiring plays an essential role in creating environments where teachers and schools can thrive. School leaders have the opportunity to notice the state of escalation occurring in stressful situations and model vulnerability to create space for others to do the same.

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