Archive for the ‘improvement’ Category

Kindergarten Admissions

I believe the author of this recent NY Times article would agree that the battleground for college admissions should NOT begin in preschool.

From the article: “The process itself does little to favor restraint and often less to minimize the stress that is already so acute in a situation where supply is lavishly outpaced by demand. (For the current school year, at independent schools in New York City, there was a median of seven applications for each student who eventually enrolled.)”

My evil twin may have already hung a virtual shingle to assist struggling families with the process, including grief counseling during the aftermath.


Intentional development: could I raise the next Steve Jobs?

I am continually intrigued by the questions surrounding the intentional actions we might choose in raising the young.

Carol Dweck’s Mindset taught me much about creating a fertile environment for learning. Dweck’s conclusions align with some of the advice offered in CNN’s recent article, “How to raise the next Steve Jobs.” If the celebrity headline troubles you, here’s the original article by Christina Vercelletto.

What philosophy guides our choices in raising the young? What actions result from this philosophy? If universally applied, what society would this philosophy build?

Could we intentionally grow a creative person?


This gives me pause to think of the times I’ve dismissed a new idea. Ouch.

Let’s remember to let creativity live – in our schools, homes, and hearts.

Especially when we disagree.

Teaching successful failure

Carol Dweck (author of Mindset) would completely agree with Seth Godin’s perspective on failure.

Leaders in every industry bear this truth in the shape of their careers.

Why, then, do our school cultures remain averse to teaching successful failure?





Classroom function and form

From Seth Godin, “Form and function“:

“When a change in form comes to your industry, the first thing to discover is how it will change the function.”

I wonder if we will ever have lasting change in American education while the traditional classroom form, designed for content delivery to a group, continues as the dominant physical feature of a student’s school experience.

Deep Knowledge

Seth Godin notes the value of deep knowledge.

I’m reminded (again) of Ben Carson’s story. When Ben realized he learned best by reading, he stopped going to class (save for labs & exams) and began systematically reading his way through the course materials.

To Ben, the assigned materials were just the beginning. He read the sources & cited works for the assigned reading, then read the source materials for THOSE works.

His knowledge exceeded his peers and eventually catapulted him to the chair of pediatric neurology at John Hopkins University, where his contributions redefined his field. When Dr. Carson was 36 years old, he led a team of neurosurgeons in performing the first successful separation of Siamese twins joined at the head (craniopagus twins).

Read more about Dr. Carson at the Academy of Achievement.

Dr. Carson’s story never fails to inspire me because his entire life exemplifies a person committed to doing the best work possible with the resources at hand.

My list of excuses becomes much shorter when I remember Dr. Carson’s story.

How is your knowledge of your field?

Testing as an educational experience

Educators talk about great tests assessments as a learning experience of their own.

According to new research summarized in this NY Times article, traditional knowledge tests still have a place as a learning experience.

The effective Merlyn knows every learning tool has a place in training future royalty.

Merlyn’s dreadful privilege

Tony Schwartz’s comments on the role of paradox as an ingredient of living a good life are also applicable to teaching our students.

Our future kings require both realistic assessment and unswerving faith.

We must provide realistic, accurate, and thorough assessments of our students, and teach them to assess themselves in a similar manner.

Our faith in a student’s potential must be wholehearted, passionate, and unswerving – even while providing the most sobering assessment of a student’s performance. Such faith is grounded in love, and we must teach them to love themselves & each other in a similar manner.

Managing this paradox is the dreadful privilege of every Merlyn.

Keeping time on your side

From my view of the royal court, successful people of every age manage their time well.

Heather Wolpert-Gawron shares her practical approach to replicating this phenomenon in her students.

According to Bob Pozen and Justin Fox, strong organization lasts beyond the apprenticeship.

Tony Schwartz extends time management to the leisurely hours of rest and recharging.

If counting every hour is important, this company may be just for you.

Increasing Value and Investment

Seth Godin’s comments about increasing costs in high-end services may appear counterintuitive to independent schools struggling to meet budgets & maintain accessibility. Nonetheless, the idea is worth reflection: those investing in something they value will likely increase their investment when the value provided increases.

What has your business (your school) done to increase value for your clients (your families), and what investment is your business (your school) gaining from that value?