Yes, that is a horrible pun to kick off this week’s blog post. And in case you were wondering, I am more inclined to the Joan Jett and the Blackhearts’ cover than the Tommy James & the Shandells’ original, probably because their drummer lived down my block in New Jersey in 1981 when it came out.
Well, I hope to find out later this month when I attend Harvard University’s Independent Schools Institute (ISI) along with a small cohort of other Jewish day school leaders as part of a new initiative by the AVI CHAI Foundation.
From the ISI page (click here for a fuller description):
Designed specifically for independent school leaders, the institute provides a practical perspective on current research about independent schools guided by expert Harvard faculty. The curriculum covers topics ranging from personal leadership to innovative instructional strategies to financial sustainability, providing a rigorous and intellectually challenging experience. You will look closely at the challenges of strategic and instructional leadership with top researchers in the field and learn how to apply these findings in your school.
The Independent Schools Institute combines large group sessions with small-group peer discussions. The smaller working groups create a forum for thoughtful discussion, helping you to synthesize new ideas and gain unexpected insights from your colleagues.
For a taste of how extraordinary this opportunity is, here is the full ISI Faculty:
Howard Gardner is the Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Senior Director of Project Zero. Among numerous honors, Gardner received a MacArthur Prize Fellowship in 1981. He has received honorary degrees from twenty-six colleges and universities. In 2005 and again in 2008 he was selected by Foreign Policy and Prospect magazines as one of the 100 most influential public intellectuals in the world. The author of twenty-five books translated into twenty-nine languages, and several hundred articles, Gardner is best known in educational circles for his theory of multiple intelligences, a critique of the notion that there exists but a single human intelligence that can be assessed by standard psychometric instruments. He has also written extensively on creativity, leadership, professional ethics, and the arts. His latest book Five Minds for the Future was published in April 2007. His latest co-authored book Multiple Intelligences Around the World was published in the summer of 2009.
Monica Higgins is Professor of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She joined the Harvard faculty in 1995. Her research and teaching focus on the areas of leadership development and organizational change. Prior to joining HGSE, she spent eleven years as a member of the faculty at Harvard Business School in the Organizational Behavior Unit. Her recent book, Career Imprints: Creating Leaders Across an Industry (2005), focuses on the leadership development of executives in the biotechnology industry. In education, her research interests straddle higher education and urban public schools. Specifically, she has a multimedia project underway on the careers and social networks of the Harvard Business School Class of 1996. In addition, Higgins is studying the conditions that enhance the effectiveness of senior leadership teams and organizational learning in large urban school districts across the United States. While at Harvard, Higgins has taught in the areas of leadership and organizational behavior, entrepreneurship, self-assessment and career development, and strategic human resources management.
James Honan is Senior Lecturer on Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Honan’s teaching and research interests include financial management of nonprofit organizations, organizational performance measurement and management and higher-education administration. Honan serves as a consultant on strategic planning, resource allocation and performance measurement and management to numerous colleges, universities, schools and nonprofit organizations, both nationally and internationally.
Susan Moore Johnson is the Jerome T. Murphy Professor of Education. She studies and teaches about teacher policy, organizational change, and administrative practice. A former high-school teacher and administrator, she has a continuing research interest in the work of teachers and the reform of schools. She has studied the leadership of superintendents, the effects of collective bargaining on schools, the use of incentive pay plans for teachers, and the school as a context for adult work. Currently, Johnson and a group of advanced doctoral students are engaged in a multiyear research study, The Project on the Next Generation of Teachers, that examines how best to recruit, support, and retain a strong teaching force in the next decade. The project, which is funded by several foundations, includes studies of hiring practices, alternative certification programs, new teachers’ attitudes toward careers, and new teachers’ experiences with colleagues. Johnson served as academic dean of HGSE from 1993 to 1999. She has taught in the school’s summer institute programs for administrators and teachers since 1989.
Richard Light is the Walter H. Gale Professor of Education. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard in statistics, and in recent years has focused his work on higher-education policy analyses. Light has been invited by four Harvard presidents — Derek Bok, Neil Rudenstine, Lawrence Summers, and now Drew Faust — to lead a team of faculty and students to explore the effectiveness of undergraduate education, and how to strengthen it. His most recent book, Making the Most of College, won the Stone Award for the best book of the year on education and society. Light has been elected president of the American Evaluation Association, elected to the board of the American Association for Higher Education, and elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences; he was also appointed to the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education. Currently, Light is chairing a project at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences that explores the changing demographics at American colleges and universities. He also is currently chairing a new project at Harvard that works to help 14 distinguished colleges become “learning organizations.” Light received the Paul Lazarsfeld Award for distinguished contributions to scientific practices, and was named by Vanderbilt University’s Chancellor Lecturer Series as one of America’s great teachers.
Leah Price is Professor of English at Harvard University, where she teaches the novel, eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British culture, narrative theory, gender studies, and the history of books and reading. Price is Humanities Program Director at the Radcliffe Institute; she also co-directs the faculty seminar on the History of the Book at the Harvard Humanities Center. In 2006 Price was awarded a chair in recognition of exceptional graduate and undergraduate teaching. Price’s books include The Anthology and the Rise of the Novel and (co-edited with Pamela Thurschwell) Literary Secretaries/Secretarial Culture; she has also edited (with Seth Lerer) a special issue of PMLA on “The History of the Book and the Idea of Literature.” She writes on old and new media for theNew York Times Book Review, the London Review of Books, and the Boston Globe. Unpacking My Library: Writers and their Books was published by Yale University Press last year; How to Do Things with Books in Victorian Britain is just out from Princeton. Price is at work on a new book, Book Fetish: How Rethinking the Printed Past Can Transform our Digital Future.
Richard Weissbourd is currently a lecturer in education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and at the Kennedy School of Government. His work focuses on vulnerability and resilience in childhood, the achievement gap, moral development, and effective schools and services for children. For several years he worked as a psychologist in community mental health centers as well as on the Annie Casey Foundation’s New Futures Project, an effort to prevent children from dropping out of school. He is a founder of several interventions for at-risk children, including ReadBoston and WriteBoston, city-wide literacy initiatives led by Mayor Menino. With Robert Selman, he founded Project ASPIRE, a social and ethical development intervention in three Boston schools. He is also a founder of a new pilot school, the Lee Academy, that begins with children at three years old. He has advised on the city, state, and federal levels on family policy and school reform and has written for numerous scholarly and popular publications. He is the author of The Vulnerable Child: What Really Hurts America’s Children and What We Can Do About It (Addison-Wesley, 1996) and The Parents We Mean to Be: How Well-Intentioned Adults Undermine Children’s Moral and Emotional Development (Houghton Mifflin, 2009).
So, you can see that it would be amazing enough to have the opportunity to attend ISI. What is really exciting, however, is that AVI CHAI is sending us five Jewish day school leaders along with what they call an “LRP Facilitator” – “LRP” being “AVI CHAI-speak” for “Jewish literacy (L), religious purposefulness (R), and peoplehood (P)”. The facilitator is Jonathan Cannon, Head of School of the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville, MD, and I am very excited to have an opportunity to work with and learn from him.
Why is AVI CHAI making this investment?
Day schools have been fairly successful in the cognitive domain, seeing student learning accomplishments of high order in Jewish studies and Hebrew language. But I raise some questions:
- How can we create Jewish day schools or summer camps which truly affect students’ commitments to seeing the world through Jewish lenses (in whatever denominational form), making Jewish life and practice part of their daily lives now and in the future?
- If you are connected to a Jewish day school or summer camp, what are examples of religious purposefulness that you can see and can describe in your school or camp?
- What are the biggest challenges in cultivating religious engagement and purposefulness in the Jewish educational context you know best?
So the investment in sending Jewish day school leaders to ISI along with an LRP Facilitator is being made to begin to answer those questions. Because…
- Independent schools can address character education and values in school
- AVI CHAI is looking to see if this cohort can create an LRP wrap-around for future ISI cohorts
- We can explore how the sessions can contribute to Jewish Day School Leadership
Needless to say, I am beyond excited to be attending ISI, to be attending with other Jewish day school leaders, to be working with AVI CHAI on creating this “LRP wrap-around”, to working with colleagues to translate ISI into the field and to applying what I learn to my practice.
You can expect lots of blogs and tweets October 16-19!
We had more students (nearly 45% of the school) in attendance over Sukkot on both days! We offered a special program on each day to accommodate the large number of students. It was wonderful to see so many families in synagogue…let’s see if we can keep it up next week!