Klingbrief March 2014
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Broken Windows Don't Scale
Bad to great: The path to scaling up excellence, by Huggy Rao and Robert I. Sutton

Jim Collins tells us what makes good organizations great, but he fails to deal with nagging interpersonal and behavioral dynamics that often prevent organizations from achieving greatness. In this excerpt of Scaling Up Excellence: Getting to More without Settling for Less, two Stanford University professors of organizational psychology show how negative behavior such as selfishness, nastiness, distrust, and laziness undermine efforts to develop and sustain excellence. Building on theories and research on social and organizational behavior, Rao and Sutton support leaders in eliminating destructive behavior in organizations. Several of the suggested approaches should be helpful to school leaders. The first is based on the "broken windows" theory of criminologist George L. Kelling and political scientist James Q. Wilson. Applied to organizations, its message is clear: never delay in addressing negative behavior. The second approach encourages leaders to enlist the most admired people to serve as role models in combatting widespread dysfunctional practices. Third, leaders need to perceive, recognize, and address negative behaviors such as feelings of injustice and helplessness. People are less apt to feel a situation is unfair if the reason for a change is explained to them and they are treated with dignity. Leaders who want to thrive need vision and discipline, but to achieve true excellence they also need to address those behaviors that stand in the way.

Pearl Rock Kane, The Klingenstein Center, NY

Excerpt from McKinsey Quarterly, February 2014
Klingbrief is a free, monthly publication of recommended articles, books, research reports and media selected by and for independent school educators.  The Klingenstein Center for Independent School Leadership provides graduate programs and professional development for independent school educators throughout their careers. For information about submitting to Klingbrief, please click here.
March, 2014 VOL 44

Coordinating Editor, Assistant Head, Upper School, Montclair Kimberley Academy, Montclair, NJ

PK-12 Director of Studies, The Walker School, Marietta, GA

Klingenstein Center Director, New York, NY

Head of the Park School of Buffalo, NY

Assistant Head, Albuquerque Academy, Albuquerque, NM

Principal, The Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study, University of Toronto, Canada

Principal, Bruce A. Shaw Consulting, LLC     Essex, MA        

Head of Lick-Wilmerding High School,
San Francisco, CA

Communications and Special Projects, Klingenstein Center, New York, NY

04_14_single_sex_or_COEd Single-Sex or Coed: The Debate Continues
The Effects of Single-Sex Compared With Coeducational Schooling on Students' , by Erin Pahlke, PhD, Whitman College; Janet Shibley Hyde, PhD, and Carlie M. Allison, MS

Today's educational marketplace demands that school leaders differentiate their schools from the competition. For single-sex schools, an educational program built around the needs of either boys or girls is a clear way to stand out in the crowd. For years, proponents of single sex education have argued that their schools provide an advantage in academic achievement, and they refer to a significant body of research to substantiate those claims. In this study, funded by the National Science Foundation, the authors meta-analyzed data from 184 studies on single-sex education, involving over 1.6 million students, for outcomes including math performance, verbal performance, science performance, educational aspirations, self-concept, and gender stereotyping. The authors' analysis revealed that, overall, single-sex schools do not significantly produce advantages over coed arrangements. Additional high quality studies are needed to assess the possible benefits of single-sex education for low SES students. As public schools, charter schools and independent schools look to each other and the research field for best practices in education, it is particularly important for school leaders to stay aware of the debate as it continues to unfold.

Renee Price, St. Catherine's School, VA
University of Wisconsin-Madison; Psychological Bulletin, online Feb. 3, 2014
  A Scholar of the Possible
Education and Democracy in the 21st Century, by Nel Noddings

From the title to the last word, Nel Noddings' newest work lets us know that we are getting two for one: the work of Noddings, an acclaimed and inspired Stanford education professor, drawing on the work of foundational predecessor John Dewey, the educational philosopher on whose thinking many of our schools are based. John Dewey's Democracy and Education, written nearly one hundred years ago, is still a handbook on the genuine educative possibilities of schools in the democratic tradition. Noddings' book, though not at all an attempt to pull voices from the past into the 21st century, prompts us to ask critical questions about how democratic values can be expressed in schools today. As ever, she is a thoughtful and provocative scholar of the possible. She blames no one for the shifting societal expectations of schools, but she rejects, with careful evidence for her views, the current enthusiasms for standardization and one-way-for-all solutions. In their stead she presents, in her exceptionally clear and jargon-free style, a chapter-by-chapter case for reimagining the aims and curriculum of our schools. Noddings makes her focus an informed and creative exploration of the future of education, calling for such a focus to be ours as well.

Elizabeth Morley
The Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study, University of Toronto, Canada
Teachers College Press, 2013
  Riding in Cars with Boys
Masterminds and Wingmen, by Rosalind Wiseman

Mom asks, "How was school?" Son answers, "Fine," and pulls on his earbuds for the remainder of the ride home. Such is the familiar scene all across America – parents struggling to connect with their suddenly adolescent, suddenly unreachable sons. It doesn't take a wise man to know that communicating with adolescent boys can be fraught, but in her new book Rosalind Wiseman helps parents navigate the pitfalls of "boy world." Mother of two boys and author of 2003's bestselling Queenbees & Wannabes, Wiseman returns in her new book with insights about and advice for helping boys "Cope with Schoolyard Power, Locker-Room Tests, Girlfriends, and the New Rules of Boy World." Comprised of easy-to-digest, situation specific tips for talking to boys about what matters most, Wiseman's latest installment covers a surprisingly wide range of scenarios and subjects important to boys and parents alike: sexual harassment, fighting, porn, videogames, athletics, bullying, and relationships, just to name a few. Wiseman's sensitivity and the book's practicality should earn it an enduring spot on the bookshelves of parents and mentors of boys.

Benjamin Courchesne, The Roxbury Latin School, MA
Harmony Books, 2013
  The Trouble with Fixed Race Classifications
When Half is Whole: Multiethnic Asian American Identities, by Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu

By listening to, gathering, and telling people's stories, Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu highlights the challenges of being multiracial in a world that often seeks to classify people into fixed racial categories. Through the use of narratives, he works particularly to develop an understanding of the perspective of mixed race Asian Americans. According to Murphy-Shigematsu, "finding community is a common struggle, and these narratives [reveal the] challenges in being out of place and finding home." His portraits point to the discomfort within communities when they are asked to accept people who don't "look the part." If a child doesn't look Asian, does that mean the child is not truly Asian? Does passing for one identity lead to needing to prove the existence of the other? As educators strive to improve cultural competencies and create inclusive communities, reading narratives such as these will help us develop a better understanding of those who not only feel different within a school community, but who may also feel a total lack of acceptance in any community. Murphy-Shigematsu illustrates the importance of recognizing that identities can be "flexible, inclusive and multiple" and that identity is more than racial make-up; it is also related to the "connection to others."

Diana Owen, Pine Point, CT
Stanford University Press, 2012
  Math for All, All for Math
The Joy of x, A Guided Tour of Math, from One to Infinity, by Steven Strogatz

In his book The Joy of x, A Guided Tour of Math, from One to Infinity, Steven Strogatz takes his witty New York Times series "The Elements of Math" and expands on the beauty of pure and applied mathematics. Strogatz assumes minimal mathematical knowledge and draws readers into explanations and applications of math ranging from the elementary to the graduate level. He provides insight into how and why we should teach mathematics, and the importance of creativity in understanding the connections between math and everyday life. The chapters are broken up into short, mostly independent pieces, allowing readers to take their time or read all in one sitting. Strogatz reminds us that math is everywhere, and welcomes those with math phobia to see the discipline from a different angle. All that aside, as schools continue to discuss the importance of interdisciplinary work and focus on STEM or STEAM, The Joy of x gives a window into how math, from its most basic to its most advanced stages, is woven into the world (and certainly the subjects) around us.

Jeannie Rumsey, The Madeira School, VA

First Mariner Books edition 2013
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 2012
  Exhausted but Exhilarated
All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood, by Jennifer Senior

This book moves us beyond overscheduled children for a look at overscheduled parents. By the numbers, these are folks who married later in life and delayed having children until well into their 30s. The mothers work three times as many paid hours as their mothers did in the 60s, and they still manage to spend almost four hours more each week with their children. Likewise, the fathers are with their children significantly more each week than were their own fathers. As a result, these parents are exhausted but exhilarated; they can't imagine life any other way. Author Jennifer Senior notes that today's parents pour time and capital into their children in ways that would have been unimaginable even a generation ago. In an era where children, rather than parents, anchor the family, parents look to buoy the emotional preciousness they feel entrusted to nurture. Senior calls it "hyperparenting," and it stems from a conviction that children need to be more than raised well; they need to be "perfected" and "refined." This book is readable and accessible, filled with both good research and superb storytelling. Likewise, it illuminates why so many educators are fretting when it comes to parent/school interactions that increasingly feel much too charged.

Bruce Shaw, Bruce A Shaw Consulting, MA
Harper Collins, 2014
  Talking the Talk
Making the Most of Difficult Conversations, by Michael Riera

Michael Riera, Head of School at the Brentwood School, asserts that today's independent school leaders must have "the ability to define and communicate an inspiring vision." Communicating that vision, however, often involves having difficult conversations with multiple constituencies. In Making the Most of Difficult Conversations, Riera draws from recent scholarship, and an array of experiences in independent schools, to provide school leaders a concise, informative, and insightful take on "what comprises a healthy and useful conversation." In an effort to illuminate the underlying concerns and motivations that inform most difficult conversations, the book explores the developmental norms of students in a K-12 school. Likewise, it describes professional development stages for faculty. The book also provides practical and useful tips and strategies for school leaders, urging them to look for patterns in their communication styles and practices. Though "this book will not tell you what to do or what to decide," it compels educators to assess and "clarify [their] role" in difficult conversations, so that they can then make the most of them.

Link to Book Excerpt : http://www.nais.org/Magazines-Newsletters/ISMagazine/Pages/Learning-from-Difficult-Conversations.aspx

Stephen Popp
National Association of Independent Schools, 2013
  Relative Advantages
David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants, by Malcolm Gladwell

Before you could blink, Malcolm Gladwell's latest blockbuster entered the New York Times non-fiction bestseller list at the number two slot. Particularly applicable to the world of education, David and Goliath is also a compelling read. Using the biblical story of his book's title, Gladwell challenges the assumption that commonly considered advantages are always advantageous, and on the contrary, that widely agreed upon disadvantages are always disadvantageous. Presenting an interwoven series of vignettes that chronicle popular historical events and personal stories, Gladwell eloquently answers questions like "What is the tipping point for determining the best student-teacher ratio that will provide the optimal educational experience?" and "How is dyslexia an advantage to a struggling student?" and "What did Martin Luther King do to advantage his overwhelmingly disadvantaged cause in Birmingham, Alabama?" Gladwell's penchant has always been to use research to reveals threads, not outliers. Here he continues that trend, making use of studies, statistics, and narratives to weave a story of the American Dream, "uncut." Be sure to click over to Gladwell's TED Talk where he presents the book's introduction.

Dane L. Peters, New York State Association of Independent Schools, NY
Amber Berry, St. Luke's School, CT
Little, Brown and Company, 2013

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