#naisac 2015: “Why Should More Parents Value Your School?”

NAIS Annual Conference 2015

My 8am session on Thursday morning was “Why Should More Parents Value Your School?”  Some great advice here from Richard Hardy from Concord Academy and Ben Edwards from The Art & Science Group.

Biggest takeaways:

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.“

“Don’t take on research until you are ready to be: 1) introspective and 2) act on the results.”

Here are my tweets:

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#isedchat @ #naisac: Nothing like being face to face!

Each Thursday night at 9pm EST, a group independent school educators gather “virtually,” using the twitter hashtag #isedchat, to discuss a hot topic determined by a twtpoll or by the guest moderator.  Lots of learning, sharing and connections are made, and the hour is guaranteed to fly by.

This week, our #isedchat was in a different form– we were face to face…and it was amazing! We discussed programs at our school, successes, failures, resources, and much more. Putting that face to the twitter handle is a great thing!  This was a value added for my conference experience and I thank everyone who made it over to Summer Shack. We had an awesome time!


#naisac 2015: “Playgrounds, Parents, & Programs – Oh My! The Work of the Division Head”

 My first session at NAIS 2015 was a 3-hour workshop entitled: “Playgrounds, Parents and Programs- Oh  My! The Work of the Division Head.” It was engaging, relevant, and very informative.

Following an amazing presentation from three division heads at three different schools, the session included a “critical friends group” exercise used to unpack a challenging dilemma at our school. We were paired up and went through the process of pre-reflection, framing the dilemma, clarifying the dilemma, probing and discussing, making recommendations, and then reflecting on it. It was useful to have a peer listen, process, and then give feedback on something that was challenging for me. It was a great start to the conference!

Here are my public notes (tweets) and reflections on the session:

Don’t Miss Administrators/Teachers Unplugged!

Hope you can join us!

NAIS Annual Conference 2015

Last year, one of my favorite sessions of the conference was Teachers Unplugged.  As with most traditional conferences, sessions tend to be a speaker or panel at the front of the room, with rows of attendees sitting passively.  Ironically, this is what we are trying to move away from in our classrooms and yet the largest conference of the year for independent school educators seems to be mostly in this format. This is why I was happy to see that there was a session option in an unconference format: Teachers Unplugged.  This session exceeded all my expectations while providing me with amazing connections and thought-provoking discussions.

Read my reflections from last year here.

I remember wishing there were more of these types of sessions, and I especially wished there was one specifically for Administrators.  So, I reached out to Liz Davis, who ran the Teachers Unplugged session, along…

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GEAR UP for #NAISAC 2015 and download the app TODAY!

NAIS Annual Conference 2015

photo 1It’s almost here– NAIS AC 2015! While we have about 7 feet of snow waiting for us when we arrive, Boston is an awesome city and a great place for independent school educators to gather for this year’s annual conference:

The Design Revolution: Blending Learning, Leading and Innovation.

Before you get here, my biggest tip… DOWNLOAD the APP…Do it TODAY! Right now!

I remember feeling overwhelmed with the program book a few years back. I had a hard time figuring out my schedule, reading through descriptions and speaker info, and getting up to date information on any changes. I had to dig it out of my bag each time. Ugh!

Well… no more! The app organizes presentations by time slot, allows you to organize your schedule, track exhibitors, get info about presenters and sessions, follow conference tweets, and much more! It continues to refresh and update as presenters add speaker…

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Hamden Hall Lower School 2013-2014 ~ What a year!

Here are my remarks from the Final Lower School Assembly:

This year will always be a memorable one for me– my 20th year at Hamden Hall and my first one as Director of Lower School. Thank you for an amazing year! I can hardly believe that this is our last time together! It seems like yesterday that we were sitting here learning all about how to behave in assembly (remember Kathy and Fab’s bad manners!?) and then we heard a “Pep Talk” from Kid President about the difference we can make in the world… and guess what? We made a difference!

  • we provided socks for homeless and less fortunate people
  • we gathered food for the hungry at Thanksgiving
  • we provided gifts for families in need at the holidays
  • we sent our love through Valentines to soldiers in Afghanistan, including an alum, Matt Peterson
  • we made almost 500 rainbow loom bracelets for displaced children in Syria
  • and we sent over 200 cans of soup to the Hamden Food Pantry

If we haven’t made a difference… I don’t know who has!


We have had some guests in assembly including:

  • our lightening fast rubiks cube solver
  • Chinese Dancers
  • the Hamden PD canine unit
  • jugglers
  • poets
  • our Upper School Jazz Band
  • Taekwondo masters
  • the Jungle Jamboree
  • and much more!


And we have had some amazing performances from all of you!

In addition to our concerts and band performances we had….

  • 6th Grade in Schoolhouse Rock
  • 4th and 5th Grade Whaling Skits
  • 3rd grade in Little Red Riding Hood
  • 2nd grade at the May Pole
  • 1st grade danced through the decades
  • Kindergarten in their Halloween Assembly/ Soup Drive Commercial and Valentine Bake Sale Assembly
  • PK in the Halloween Assembly, First Thanksgiving and Valentine Bake Sale, as well!


We have shared much good news in assembly, and I have looked forward to this time together each week! Hamden Hall prides itself in its core values of: Excellence, Support, Participation, Accountability, Respect. The Lower School has worked hard at being examples of these values every day and I am very proud of you!

I’d now like to share a photo slide show highlighting this awesome school year!  I hope you enjoy it!

Sixth Graders — our fearless leaders of the Lower School— you will be graduating this afternoon… please don’t forget us in the Lower School! We all love and care about you and we wish you well!

Fifth Grade— when we return in September, you will be our new leaders. This is a huge responsibility, one that I hope you will take seriously. I know you can do it, and you have big shoes to fill!


To those of you who are moving on to a new school, we will miss you! You will always be a part of our Hamden Hall Lower School Family. To the rest of you, I will see you in September!

Have the most awesome summer EVER!   READ READ READ!!!  (and do some math, too!)

and I’d like to leave you with one final message from Kid President


It’s that simple!


Another awesome #caisct Academic Technology Retreat!

making a buzzerEach year, the CAIS Academic Technology Retreat never disappoints. It’s filled with amazing, thoughtful, forward-thinking educators who debate, discuss and explore ways in which they can improve and enhance the learning experiences for their students. This year, our Keynote was Don Buckley.  His topic was “Design and Maker Thinking.”  Don is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of  Tools at Schools.  The focus of his presentation was to investigate the teaching and learning of design and maker thinking in schools. We thoroughly enjoyed his animated and engaging presentation and I, personally, loved his break-out session where we were challenged to design a wearable technology that would change the student learning experience as we know it.

Here are my tweets from my time at the retreat. (I needed to leave early due to commitments back at school.)



Here is a link to other tweets from the event.

Here is a link to our “App Smackdown.” Feel free to add your favorite tool/app to it!

This tweet by Rush Hambleton is, by far, one of the most powerful things about this retreat, and one of the many reasons it’s not to be missed each year.  Thanks for another awesome, awesome learning experience!

Here are some additional photos from the event.

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