February 2009

Amazing; it is an amazing feeling to be in the same, very crowed, room with Oprah Winfrey.  First words: “No, you are not all getting cars.” Her topic today is her school, in South Africa, the Oprah Winfrey leadership academy.    It is really affirming to hear her say things like: 

  •  “I believe in what you do!” [at independent schools]! 
  • “Now I am one of you!” [an independent school leader]
  • “It is not as easy as it looks[to lead an independent school], it is the hardest thing in the world.” 
  • “Educate a woman and change a community!” 
  • “I am certain these girls [from her students] will change Africa!” 

Oprah shows a wonderful video about her school, and there are very few dry eyes in this room. (more…)



I am drawn over to a new Marcos Antonio Torres session for this second half hour, summoned as it were by the really awesome tweets coming from it by @nandikerry on Twitter.  She tweeted that the session here was celebrating student learning via student production, this this educator’s presentation was communicating that new digital tools can empower students to produce new creative content and share it widely, and that by doing so, students will be more motivated and more engaged and more innovative.  I love it; in my recent writing on my blog I have highlighted the importance of student “product” as a key to 21st century learning. 

Here are some of Kerri Richardson’s Tweets from Marco’s session, all of which really resonate with me: 

  • Move from thinking about what type of learning are you—> what type of producer are you? (more…)

Again feeling like I ought to be at a forward-looking curricular session, but I always find it so healthy and sane to listen to Rob Evans, who offers such reassurance and support to the challenging work of leadership and coping with anxiety and people. 

The session I’d suggest others attend, highly, would be Howard Levin’s session on a truly  technologically integrated school.   The work Howard and his team are doing at Urban is, I think, really spectacular.    I am not attending because I already attended a three day symposium by Howard at Urban, last August, and I recommend it to others.

After the jump, more from Rob Evans.  (more…)

Great to be here: Love Michael Thompson, one of the best, and also because I know how important it is for me to be informed about technology and boys, and to have the topic problematized.   I say that as a school-leader embracing technology in our schools, and as a Dad of two very technocentric boys, ages 6 and 10.     Thompson gives a shout-out to Don Tapscott’s Growing Up Digital.  

Kids today, the kids we teach, are cyber-natives; it is like the gap of immigrants and their children, MT says, an observation frequently made in recent years.  MT is concerned about boy achievement, and tells us that even in best independent schools, at co-ed schools, in the last 5 graduating classes, of the top 25% in each class, 70% have been girls, 30% boys, and in the bottom 25%, 80-90% are boys.  MT says that he will send $10 to any school that can email to tell him that is not the case.  

More about this very important talk after the jump. (more…)

Back in the main reception hall, and back to the wifi hole they have in here, which is annoying.  They charge $14 for wifi, and don’t provide it to the largest meeting place here.  Also surprised to see a staff usher here yell, literally yell, at people entering the back doors of the theater.  Really? 

Pat Bassett on stage, and gives a shout-out for globalism, including the Challenge 20-20 initiative which has schools from 50 countries participating.  Myself, hoping to see St. Gregory participate in 20-20, if they are not already. 

PB shares a poem from Taylor Mali, a tribute to teaching.  Nice.  PB invites us to San Francisco next year– Adapt, Survive, Thrive: Unleashing the Super Powers Within.   After the jump: A somewhat disappointing Guy Kawasaki. (more…)

Very happy to be here to hear Carol Dweck, who has influenced me greatly (more about that later).  A quick shout-out for walking; arrived here in great spirits after walking the whole way from the Hyatt Regency on Wacker, in the company of my good friend Mike Hanas.  

Dweck’s thesis is that there are two mindsets, and all of her ideas flow out of this frame     There is the fixed mindset and the growth mindset; in the former, fixed, one believes one’s intelligence is fixed, permanent, set, in the latter, growth, one believes intelligence comes from growth and learning and forever malleable.   (more…)


Love the Military Pipe Band; they rock.  Wish my school had a military pipe band.   It is great to see boys at military schools in skirts; kilts are so terrific. 

Michelle Rhee is introduced as “Bold, dogged, even intemperate efforts to improve schools in DC.”  Results are her relentless focus.   Barstow tells of her being praised by both McCain and Obama; indeed there was even that crazy moment during one of the debates when the two senators argued over which of their plans Rhee preferred, as if she were the solomonic judge that could determine the best educational solution.  (more…)

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