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Topic Archives: School Choice

The Importance of Personalized Learning

June 16, 2016

Time for reflection is one of the luxuries of summer. Reflection is such a crucial aspect of learning. From Labor Day to Memorial Day, most of us are guilty of not taking the time to think carefully about what we saw, learned and experienced and consider how it might help us grow or change. Those relaxing afternoons in the backyard or at the beach not only provide the opportunity to catch up on our reading lists, but also afford us the luxury of time for reflection. For parents, summer offers a particularly good time to think about our children. As you watch them in those carefree moments, what do you notice? How have they grown in the last year? What aspects of their personality stand out? Where are… Read More

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What If Your Biggest Weakness Became Your Strength?

February 24, 2016

By Mindprint Staff Sunday morning on Meet the Press, Chuck Todd turned to his bi-partisan panel debating over what outrageous remark might knock Trump out of contention. He posed the question, “What if everything we thought was his weakness is actually a strength?” And then he went to commercial. Not a bad move for live TV when you don’t want to answer the question. But for the rest of us, maybe it is an important question we want to answer: Can we turn our weaknesses into strengths? And if so, what does it take? Virgin CEO Richard Branson wrote in his 2012 book that his struggles with dyslexia became his greatest strength. It taught him how to be an efficient manager which he believes was crucial to his… Read More

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American Promise: Race & Independent Schools

October 9, 2014

By Sarah Maraniss Vander Schaaff Earlier this week, I went to a screening of American Promise, a documentary that follows the path of two middle class African-American boys through The Dalton School of New York. The next day, I read Otis Lawrence Graham’s article  “The Rules: making sense of race and privilege,” in my husband’s alumni magazine. And today, as I write this, I realize how little I’d really thought about race and education in independent schools. I had assumed that the abundant resources, highly educated parents, and having teachers and administrators freed of some of the bureaucracy of the public educational system was the best of all possible environments for doing things right. And in some ways, perhaps the… Read More

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Good-bye to the Test?

October 1, 2013

By Sarah Vander Schaaff What does it take to get into college? For that matter, preschool? Two recent stories in The New York Times address changes in the admissions process for some schools and both look at efforts to take the focus off standardized tests. First, there was the attention-grabbing headline: “Private Schools are Expected to Drop a Dreaded Entrance Test.” The test, as the story states, is “commonly known as the E.R.B.” and the organization that is dropping it when a contract expires next spring is the Independent School Admissions Association of Greater New York, which represents 130 schools. E.R.B. is shorthand for many things. Officially, it stands for Educational Records Bureau, a company founded in 1927. Today the… Read More

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Disney Comes to School

July 31, 2013

By Sarah Maraniss Vander Schaaff Disney World is probably a bit crowded this time of year, but that’s not the reason some school districts have decided to bring the themes of the company to their own communities. We’re not talking about riding the spinning teacups, we’re talking about customer relations and morale. According to the Miami Herald, Broward County is one of many school districts around the country that has hired the Disney Institute to get folks a bit more enthusiastic. In my own state of New Jersey, the highly ranked Elizabeth School District was one of the first schools in the country to seek guidance from the Institute, according to a 2011 article in NJ Today. The story stated… Read More

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Tradition

April 30, 2013

By Sarah Vander Schaaff Tradition. My family does not have a lot of it, to be honest, so the events at school that fall under that category, are interesting to me. And if there was ever a season for traditions it seems spring is it. The only one I remember from my own elementary school days was track and field day, but it was big—and it was something I looked forward to, if only to see my principal play tug-of-war. My oldest daughter recently had a Maypole celebration. Her cohort of second-graders practiced for several days, learning to bow to their neighbors and then move, with a steady pace, in what became a weaving of the colorful ribbons draped from… Read More

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It’s time to meet the MOOC

February 12, 2013

By Sarah Vander Schaaff I was amazed to read that Stanford’s six Massively Open On-line Courses, or MOOC’s, reached over 300,000 people. But it wasn’t until last week that I realized the MOOC, or a future incarnation of it, would most likely be part of my daughters’ experiences, even if they weren’t pursuing something in the field of Computer Science in college. I remember when a new thing called the “Ethernet” was going to be installed in my college dorm room. But as many have said, MOOC’s not only expand knowledge, they can cut down the cost of it, an idea no parent can completely scoff at unless spending more than $300,000 for a four year private college education in… Read More

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Not Getting In

January 29, 2013

By Sarah Vander Schaaff Decisions won’t be announced until mid to late February, but Emma feels certain that her daughter won’t get into any of the schools to which they’ve applied. There are more than four times as many applicants as there are slots; she doesn’t “know anyone”; and she hasn’t waged a letter writing campaign of persuasion. So Emma is thinking about next fall and what her daughter might do if she is not in school. Her daughter is two. Emma, who asked not to be identified by her real name, lives in West LA. In speaking with her on the phone this week, this LA mother said that a few months ago she thought, “You find a nice… Read More

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