Monday, December 02, 2019



My Four Favorite non-Fiction Reads this Year



First Book  

Reframing Organizations by Lee G. Bolman and Terrence E. Deal 


The inspirational quote: "Mistakes are made when complexity is simplified. The trick is to question your prejudices."  
There are occasions when problem-solving can be relatively straightforward, but when we’re facing more complex questions we do not need to oversimplify the complexity.  "Mistakes are made when complexity is simplified."  Individuals revert to prejudice rather than actually looking at the matter at hand.  Sometimes in the effort to make things consistent, we make rigid policies that hurt the efforts of personalized education and our enduring understanding at Webb of "Each person has unique gifts and capacities and a responsibility to develop them."

I am a forward-leaning person and I really like this quote from the founder of my school in a 1905 speech to the Southern Education Association about the purpose of a private school.  "Progress is made only by experiment manipulated by individual initiative. In this age of transition from authority to experiment, there must be somewhere an "experiment station" for children where authority in the use of tools and methods is not compulsory."  I worry sometimes about going backward from experiment and individual initiative to authority.  This may seem a curriculum domain but it is a whole child issue.

Second Book

"The Self-Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Kids More Control Over Their Lives


This book explains the benefit of giving a child or young adult control in developing self-regulation and self-drive.

“When we discovered that a low sense of control is enormously stressful and that autonomy is key to developing motivation, we thought we were onto something important. This impression was confirmed when we started to probe deeper and found that a healthy sense of control is related to virtually everything we want for our children, including physical and mental health, academic success, and happiness.”
― William Stixrud
This one also supports our Webb enduring understandings. "Self-discipline & autonomy are essential to success"

Third Book to being a leader instead of a manager [or micro-manager]

Sticking Points: How to Get 4 Generations Working Together in the 12 Places They Come Apart” by Haydn Shaw     




This book is about working with all generations and is all about flexibility.  In fact, the author often asks "can we flex on this point."  The "sticking points" the author defines are things that could most certainly come up in a school's work and classroom situations.

Twelve sticking points—places where teams get stuck:

  1. Communication
  2. Decision making
  3. Dress code
  4. Feedback
  5. Fun at work
  6. Knowledge transfer
  7. Loyalty
  8. Meetings
  9. Policies
  10. Respect
  11. Training
  12. Work ethic

Finally, Fourth Book a nod to our profession and my calling 

The Library Book by Susan Orlean



I loved this book.  It also made me very happy that I had borrowed this book from my public library.
Two favorite quotes:
“In Senegal, the polite expression for saying someone died is to say his or her library has burned. When I first heard the phrase, I didn’t understand it, but over time I came to realize it was perfect. Our minds and souls contain volumes inscribed by our experiences and emotions; each individual’s consciousness is a collection of memories we’ve cataloged and stored inside us, a private library of a life lived.”  

"it occurred to me that the large part of a city librarian's job is to be a property manager"


Wednesday, April 10, 2019

"What skills do students really need for work? Speaking Skills Top Employer Wish Lists. But [most] Schools Don't Teach Them. Is school where students should learn to speak clearly, make a 60-second elevator speech, or hold a difficult conversation?"(EdWeek)

At my school, Webb in Bell Buckle, the answer is Yes!

Emerging Voices public performance curriculum.
Writing across the curriculum and public speaking are major emphases at The Webb School. Through our Emerging Voices Program, students learn to create original ideas, assemble a body of research, and communicate those ideas effectively through writing and public speaking. Students showcase their skills each year by performing declamations, orations, performance creations and senior paper presentations. These exhibitions are developed and completed under the mentorship of the students' advisors and other members of the community. Our goal is to create confident contributors in the classroom and beyond.






Monday, April 01, 2019