November 20, 2020

Hello Friends!

I feel like we have reached some sort of weigh station on the journey through this academic year. It is hard to believe after the many conversations that we had in the spring and summer that so many of our schools have seen as much time on campus as they have leading into Thanksgiving. I almost wish we had placed some bets.

Many of you have reported additional outbreaks in your school communities over the last couple of weeks, especially schools around larger metro areas, making this last push to Thanksgiving unusually stressful. One head of school shared that he could empathize with all of the pilots in this video. For our part, we at SAIS are thankful for all of you, particularly for the remarkable good cheer and camaraderie that we have all seen and experienced with each other over the last seven months. This is not the voyage any of us signed up for, but this has been an awesome group with which to travel. We are so grateful that you chose to spend some of your time and energy with us (and because this is the Friday email, read here for how gratitude in and of itself changes your brain).

As for this Friday email, we are all skimmers this week.

  • I hold to the theory that once Halloween hits, most schools are already thinking about January and I find that I do the same. For that reason, this podcast (and you can read the transcript) which is Bill Gates’ first on what the world will look like post-Covid is an interesting one to me. Gates is  fascinating person is many different ways, not the least of which is how much he could change the course of certain things (e.g., “Here (pick your political party) is $1 billion”), but chooses not to use his influence in that way.
  • This next one you are just going to have to trust me on. It’s about leadership lessons from a field hospital. When we get back from Thanksgiving break, we are going to need to retrench a bit to get to winter break. I love the fundamentals this piece provides. My favorite? Look after your people.
  • We all know that relationships are really what count when it comes to the quality and longevity of your life (even Harvard says so). And, I have been fascinated by how relationships play a role in the development of children. This article from the Clay Christensen Institute looks at a new tool and research that looks at the quality of relationships students have in school and in after school programs and ties together interesting threads around the importance of these relationships for developing adolescents.  
  • Speaking of development in adolescents, it appears that the benefits of extracurricular activities for these folks are getting the attention they deserve. Similar to what I included last week, check out this one from CNN.
  • Do stay safe out there. We had a great webinar last night with an economist and two doctors who spelled out a bit what the year ahead will look like and we saw some of the COVID numbers then, but this overview captures how serious things are getting out there. If the idea of closing schools makes you crazy, here is someone who agrees with you.

Finally, you might have heard that Apple was the Grinch stealing all of the Peanuts holiday specials, but they have backed off their original plan and they are partnering with PBS to keep Charlie Brown and friends on the air, at least for these holidays (November 22nd for the Thanksgiving Special).

While this holiday does not find my family flying to NY to be with my sister and various friends and family, it will find us all thankful for the peace that we can find together at home and grateful for our many gifts and blessings. Please take this upcoming holiday as a time to rest, rejuvenate, and enjoy your people and time away. Happy Thanksgiving!

Debra