October 16, 2020

Hey Friends!

Alright, I am ready for the end of this week, particularly because the greater CHS area is going to act like it is fall again, and one of our dogs will be getting her splint off her front leg so that she can stop thumping around the house and our youngest will stop dressing her up in the pirate costume. I also just returned from a work trip during which I actually took planes. This was the first time I had been on a plane since March. For those who have not ventured there, planes are that much colder than they were before, things are much cleaner, there are fewer food options, everything is much quieter, and your weird Uber driver is more unusual than ever before. Maybe that last one had to do with the 5:30 hotel pick-up time this morning. Either way, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Jumping in….


First, you can still register for the Annual Conference. Article… McKinsey on when this will endoverview of research from a survey of several hundred CEOs from around the world on the future of work and what is being automated, how women are being impacted jobwise, advice for institutions under financial stress, and this new webinar series from John Gulla and Grant Lichtman. You should also listen to this podcast from Brene Brown because you are all a little bit fried.


You know that part of Space Mountain where you are going almost straight up the hill slowly and hear the click, click, click, and you know the drop is coming? That seems to be where we are with the virus. The US is experiencing much higher numbers of the virus right now. One MS public school has closed for two weeks for students to quarantine. And, there is much ink being spilt over this being the third wave and we should start to brace for a long, disrupted winter. It’s time to ready whatever plans you might have for local data or school data tipping the scales to more stringent levels if you see your local numbers heading in that direction. We have gotten used to living with this virus a bit (see plane tales above), but we should not set aside both how deadly it can be and how it might otherwise have long-term effects on our community members. For those thinking about this, we are offering a webinar in two weeks on managing a loss in the community.  Note, some colleges and the entire state of Massachusetts are mandating flu vaccines.

Looking ahead, I really enjoyed hearing from Dr. Kent Stock, an infectious disease specialist who joined us after the annual business meeting on Wednesday. He shared what he has been seeing and some of his projections around the virus. This McKinsey piece reiterates some of that insight, but also gets into herd immunity and timing. I like this piece because it talks about two end points – one relating to herd immunity and the other related to a return to some form of normalcy. Check it out.

I did want to mention the Brown data again, which shows up in a lot of places. It might be being shown to you, too, repeatedly. Remember that this data is being reported by schools and very few schools or communities have testing protocols in place that are representative of the entire school community. This doesn’t mean that schools are not doing better than expected against the virus, I suspect that we are – I just don’t want folks to get delusional particularly with this spike going on.


Not our work, but what is happening out there. The virus is important because we are going to need to understand the trajectories to plan for next year, but the economy and the future of work are going to be important to next year and beyond. This McKinsey overview of research they have done through a survey of CEOs around the work tells us that there will be more flexibility for workers who can telework going forward, but also that they are implementing things like AI, robots, and other technologies that are likely taking away jobs of certain segments as well. Note, too, that it refers to finance and other industries that may find they need fewer physical banks and similar storefronts. In short, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is arriving at – of course – warp speed, and experts are starting to predict what comes next at talks like this one coming up. Check out this World Economic Forum piece to see who has generally been predicted to be automated out… I am concerned that some of these changes might mean MAJOR ripples in some of our communities if more jobs get outsourced.

The side story I am tracking here is how this acceleration and the general impact of the pandemic have affected women. Looking at our tuition levels, for many families that second income is pretty important to being able to afford and independent school experience. This overview really struck home on this front, as did this piece about how education really is a form of child care (love the dash of history thrown into it). Not an NYT person, this one provides and overview, too, although I would not that piece references Sheryl Sanberg’s “Lean In” –  a movement and concept that agitate me as a working mom (and I am not alone on this one). The tricky thing with women, is once we leave the working track, we are unlikely to return. More on working women right now? This report from Brookings is a good one.

Higher Ed

My son has been waiting for his SAT scores from when he took the test in late September. There are not many opportunities to take the test this year, and Jeff Selingo, who will be speaking for us at the Annual Conference (you can still register) next week, is making me feel a bit better. This article goes over how test optional might really be playing out, and gives some insight into exactly how weird this particular admissions cycle is likely to be. As a parent of a senior, the colleges admissions process thus far has inspired the purchase of a new wine fridge. What that looks like if you are the president of a college or university with the numbers they are looking at for enrollment right now must be crossing into therapeutic shopping measures that even Amazon cannot meet. Looking at the numbers, there is an element of older students (getting into their 20s) putting degrees on hold, and it makes me wonder if some of this is driven by the optionality of education at that point in life. Adult learners putting learning on hold. But it is something I am watching because people might generally be hedging their bets on bigger ticket purchases, and we definitely meet that definition.

A really interesting higher ed piece from this week came from NEASC (primarily a higher ed accrediting body in New England) specifically aimed at financially at-risk colleges. His advice is no less applicable in our space.  

Quick Hits

Future Thinking

Definitely track this series that John Gulla at EE Ford is doing with Grant Lichtman. It is going to tee-up some interesting big thinking, I suspect, and is worth checking out.

Tom Vander Ark is rarely lacking for interesting things to add to the conversation, and this article on re-thinking accountability in education right now is worth the read.


  • Yeah, I know, you are tired of hearing about it. So, read about pacing yourself through approaches used when driving sled dogs. You heard me, sled dogs have to check their pace, too. How are you pacing your team, even if they want to keep the gas pedal to the floor?
  • This loosely ties into the Stockdale Paradox again. This piece is great for how it goes into the paradox, but it also points out and gives us permission to frankly be tired and provides some survival / coping strategies. It is worth the read.
  • Looking at the students, do look over this piece from our friends at Authentic Connections and everything they have learned about supporting students through your school structure now.
  • Along those lines, this big report just dropped in Australia around the impact of wellness programs on students. Spoiler alert – belonging and engagement have biggest impact on academic achievement.
  • And, CASEL just updated its definition of social emotional learning.  
  • If you are looking for more insight on supporting faculty and staff, Tracie Catlett at Greensboro Day has teamed up with Authentic Connections and the Gordon School for this open registration webinar.
  • If you are looking for more on supporting yourself, or you want to encourage your staff to engage in self-care, Brene Brown has this great listen on making sure that you “Complete the Stress Cycle” to find your renewal.


  • This article I am including because it had good communication reminders, but also because the head who posted it on twitter noted that it seemed like common sense instead of neuroscience. Alas, I am always in need of a reminder of common sense when deep in the weeds.
  • I am glad that I am not the only one worried about our enrollment agreements. Venable posted a piece this week for those of you getting ready for the next round on that document.
  • Are you struggling with coming to common ground? Loving this piece to get you over the fight, flight, or freeze instincts.

Student related pieces

  • College students are bored and are getting into the tutoring business without much of a middle man. This is a cost-effective way for students to get extra guidance if parents are looking for a tutor.
  • Charleston has a fabulous arts community, and every year we have something called Y’All Fest (you know I can’t make that up). This year it is virtual (Y’All Write!) and has some wonderful opportunities for budding authors, or just kids who are fans of the writers in this line-up. No planes required!
  • Kids need a lift because the CDC went after Halloween this week.  

Finally, news of the weird… a bunch of paleontologists were having an online conference and the profanity filter tried to ban the word “bone.” Thesaurus anyone?

That’s it for me… be careful out there, my friends. I hope you take the time to do something you love with the people or pets in your life that bring you joy. For me, that is going to involve using my Barnes and Noble coupon to purchase the Good Book of Southern Baking that recently came out. The littlest Wilson and I have a baking date, then we are going to give most of it away!

Please let us know if we can do anything at all for you!