August 14, 2020
Good Afternoon Fellow Pandemic Partners!
You read it right, today is lobster Friday in the Wilson household. In the mudroom, there are 20 crustaceans who recently flew in from Maine just waiting to become one of a couple of dinners. In case you are worried that I have not developed Southern roots, you will be happy to know that we steam them in the turkey fryer outside and have boiled peanuts as an appetizer. Although I am capable of eating an unmentionable number of lobsters, we will use about 8 of them to make a lobster pasta on Sunday night for my mom’s birthday. These also came with free whoopie pies, which are actually a Maine-r tradition. No, I have not decided whether to share those with the kids. Shouldn’t they just be thankful for the lobsters???
Okay, okay. Time for business. And, I really, truly am keeping this short today because those of you who have everyone back on campus are really tired. And, those of you who are not quite there yet have more fixating to do.
First, I have to say that after talking with various schools this week who have students back on campus in some capacity, I cannot tell you how proud I am of the work that you and your teams have done, and how optimistic I am feeling (yes, I knocked on wood, threw salt over my shoulder, etc.). Everyone knows there are tweaks to be made, mistakes that have happened, etc., but generally you are all pretty optimistic and, by most reports, it feels good to get the ball rolling and it is so nice to have kids on campus again. For those who have not returned to campus, we will have a survivors’ tales session next Tuesday (18th) at 4:00 Eastern / 3:00 Central. You (or anyone on your staff or board) can register here. EMA also did a podcast with Randolph Macon Academy about going back in-person, for those of us looking for a dog-walking playlist.
We did have a great heads round table on Wednesday, where we talked about everything from enrollment numbers to testing staff and students, to hospital partnerships and medical advice teams, to paradigms for recognizing phases and shifts. The slides and resources (of which there are many great ones), are here. We have been doing a survey on reopening plans and enrollment shifts. If you are one of the schools that has not completed it, please do so. It does help us get a window into what is happening, as you can see on this page.
A few quick things for you as I know you need to get back to re-opening plans and hopefully some weekend fun:
For those looking for philosophical conundrums on the horizon that will only be exacerbated in the political firestorm that is getting warmed up, start to watch what is happening around “cancel culture” – a phrase my husband hates and I understand why. It’s too loaded, and is being used to apply to too many circumstances. However, when used to refer to the notion that people (either individuals or groups) set out to call-out and “cancel” a person, a concept, business, etc., without discourse or context, I think most understand the gist. Interestingly, both political sides are troubled by it and accuse the other side of using it. As educators, we need to understand what is happening here, why it is important, and how we can work with our students to ensure that they understand how to actually engage in difficult conversations around hard ideas. We also need to know how this may continue to play out through the election and inauguration cycle. The NYT did a reasonably balanced history and overview in a two part podcast (part one, part two). There has been more than a little debate about it, including in this open letter in Harper’s in early July, and examples of the response to that letter.
For your booking pleasure… We did open the registration for the annual conference this week. We have a great lineup for you and your teams. We managed to book-end it with Sewanee people in Reuben Brigety and Jon Meacham.
Lastly, news of the weird comes from the Giant Swamp Rats in TX (everything is big in TX). I honestly don’t know what is more disturbing, the swamp rats or the fact that the video plays Dance with Me as the background music. Something more historical than horrifying? Did you know that radiators are supposed to make a room hot enough for you to open the window? Apparently they are a legacy of the Spanish Flu, designed to encourage people to open their windows and improve ventilation.
That’s all from here… stay safe out there and have a great weekend!
natives to help you appropriately support young people as they encounter and master these digital skills. The message: limiting or monitoring technology is no substitute for mentoring and engagement. Led by Devorah Heitner (Raising Digital Natives).