Dear CJDS Community,
Our Educational Leadership Team members are always looking for newly published research and articles that support and challenge our field and that are part and parcel of our on-going work.
In addition to our team's myriad of teaching and administrative responsibilities and involvement in the direct service of the delivery of a dual and integrated education, grounded in best practices and the pursuit of excellence, we also search for the latest research and discuss and debate our findings.
It always seems like there is never a good time to hold a meeting when everybody can come and we wanted to share some important information with you, our CJDS Community. We decided to begin with a three-pronged approach. I am dedicating my message today to the topic of educational research that supports our educational philosophy. We are including articles to begin the conversation with you and look forward to your feedback. We are also announcing a new book club in which we hope parents, grandparents, and special friends will join us in reading particular books and participate together in an online dialogue.
What became clear to us in our most recent discussions is how what we are doing here at CJDS on a daily basis is a hands-on reflection of the research. We, the CJDS educators, always hear the surprise in visitors' voices when they observe the level of engagement of our students while on tour with Cortney. We know that research tells us that student engagement is the number one indicator of academic success for our students.
"Why are people so surprised?" -was one of our discussions. We realized that the experience of our adult community, for the most part, was drill and kill, achievement tests, lots of homework, race for grades and leveled classes, coupled with the concept that all of those things lead to Ivy League universities which leads to great jobs. That education was good enough for us; why isn't it good enough for our children? I think we could debate whether that was really good enough, and maybe it was, in a different day and age, but just as our ancestors probably wondered why we had to start using cars when a horse and buggy was good enough...
Our challenge is that the research doesn't really support that model anymore. We take pride in the fact that our curriculum and approaches to learning are grounded in educational research coming out of institutions like Stanford and Harvard's schools of education as well as Bank Street, North Eastern Faculty Foundation, and the cutting edge work being done by many fine educators like Madeline Levine and Wendy Pope, as well as Loris Malaguzzi from the villages in Italy who developed the Reggio Emilia's approach to early childhood and primary education.
In addition, companies like Google and Apple are printing articles describing what kind of people they are looking for to join their teams: collaborative and resilient team members, creative, critical, and analytical thinkers, problem solvers, and risk takers. They are also looking for team members who have a sense of social responsibility.
Starting today, we are going to be sharing many of the articles we have read, and they will serve as our invitation to you to read and share your thoughts with us. Just as the founders of CJDS began to create the school by answering the question, "What do we want a graduate to look like?" We thought we would start this conversation with a recent Washington Post article citing the recent work of Harvard educators entitled, "To get into College, Harvard report advocates for kindness instead of overachieving." If you begin by reading this research, you will also begin to see how we extrapolate out its reflection of elementary and middle school.
In addition, please look at the article written by a well-known author and child psychologist, Dr. Madeline Levine, who is also a co-founder of Challenge Success, a project at Stanford's Graduate School of Education. Dr. Levine is also an active member of this research team at Stanford.
Challenge Success believes that our increasingly competitive world has led to tremendous anxiety about our children's futures and has resulted in a high pressure, myopic focus on grades, test scores, and performance. This kind of pressure and narrow focus isn't helping our kids become the resilient, capable, and meaningful contributors we need in the 21st century. Challenge Success provides families and schools with the practical research-based tools they need to raise healthy, motivated kids, capable of reaching their full potential.
Please enjoy and let us hear your thoughts.
Ms. J (Judy)
To get into College, Harvard report advocates for kindness instead of overachieving
By: Lisa Heffernan and Jennifer Wallace
As your oldest child begins to fill out her college application, it is hard not to feel a rising panic. For the last four years she has thrown herself into her school work, taken AP classes, studied for the SAT, worked on the school paper, played on the field hockey team and tutored elementary school children.
Yet as she methodically records her activities on the application, it becomes clear that this was simply not enough. There are 10 looming blank spaces and although her days have been overflowing with homework, activities and volunteering, she has only five activities to report. There are 15 spaces to record the four AP classes she was so proud of taking.Click here to read more
Why the Needle Isn't Moving
By: Dr. Madeline Levine
Well-meaning parents want their children to succeed. For ten frustrating years, my colleagues and I have been telling parents what a monumental pile of studies consistently show to be the keys to a child's later academic, emotional, psychological, and financial success. The greatest predictor of academic success is engagement; the greatest predictor of workplace success is emotional intelligence; and the greatest predictor of emotional health is self-control. My audiences (often made up of affluent parents and always of aspirational ones, no matter what their socioeconomic level) invariably nod and applaud. Yet despite this highly persuasive evidence, parents today are not just persisting in harmful practices, but doubling down. Why?
Again and again, among the families I treat as a psychologist, I see a disconnect between the skill set that parents are pushing (compete like crazy, get good grades, over-prep for tests, go to a prestigious college, make lots of money) and the assets and attitudes that actually bring young people success in college, at work, in relationships, and in life. When I explain that teaching kids to overvalue external measures of success short-circuits their development as self-regulating individuals - the true foundation of a productive life - a shocking number of parents respond that you can't undo bad grades and low test scores, but you can always catch up on the emotional stuff later - a tragic misapprehension. No matter what I say, no matter what research demonstrates clearly, I see parents who want the best for their children clinging to a damaging M.O., compelled by their own acute anxiety. Why?Click here to read more...