Have You Thanked Your Assistants Today?
SAIS President's Letter
The humor section of a local paper included the responses of fifth and sixth graders to questions on a science test. While many of them reflected some creativity, all of them clearly fell shy of what the teacher anticipated. But one caught my attention. In response to the question “What is vibration?”, the student answered: “A vibration is motion that doesn’t know which way it wants to go.”

For most of my lifetime, education reform in this country could be described as “vibration.” There are many reasons, although the constantly shifting values of the “culture wars” have no doubt played a significant role. Sadly, most educational innovation has too often become the “panacea du jour” and its potential has been co-opted by the market’s next big idea before its merits could be tested and realized.

Independent schools have generally been less buffeted by these crosswinds. Why? In some respects, independent schools are traditionists and slower to change. In some respects, they are free from the governmental mandates that flip with each administration. But I would contend that independent schools have remained focused because they are driven by their missions. While it may seem ironic to suggest, independent schools may be the best laboratories for educational reform and innovation. Any new idea or approach will have a greater chance for lasting success because it will emanate from a clear values base and direction, will be developed thoughtfully (sometimes glacially), and will be given the time to succeed. Those ideas and approaches will change lives … they will have intentional motion and not merely “vibration.”
The Many Jobs of the Head's Assistant
By Christina Mimms, SAIS
At the 2017 SAIS Institute for the Head’s Assistant, attendees had the opportunity to circle the room and look at signs showing the varied jobs that they do within their roles as assistants to school heads or division heads. Each used a sticker to mark the signs if they perform that particular duty: Coordinating Administrative Travel was a popular job, while the task of Updating School Web Site did not fall to many assistants. Viewing the entirety of the workload of the assistants showed that, at the majority of schools, the assistants play a truly vital role in school operations. 

Stephen P. Robinson Collaboration Grant Report: Shorecrest Preparatory School, St. Petersburg, FL
In the upcoming issues of SAIS HeadLines, reports from the 2017 Stephen P. Robinson SAIS Collaboration Grant recipients will be published. These reports detail the programs funded by the grants.

By Jonathan Davis and Diego Duran-Medina
The origin of the Center for Service Leadership Learning and the application for the SAIS collaboration grant was more than two years ago. At that point, it was just a dream and a vision. The Stephen P. Robinson SAIS Collaboration Grant helped us move forward to make CSLL a reality. As middle school head and director of service learning, we held bi-weekly meetings to give us consistent time to touch base and keep things moving forward. At one of these meetings the conversation turned to a desire to see better training for teachers and administrators for more authentic service learning and how to best implement it at an independent school. We took a look at the landscape of service-learning professional development at both the regional and national levels and decided that we could make a compelling case for CSLL, and we are grateful that SAIS believed in our vision. 
Moving the Rock: Seven Layers WE Can Press to Transform Education by Grant Lichtman
It's no secret that our educational system is stuck.  Moving the Rock  shows the important roles all of us can play in un-sticking it by moving seven specific levers that don't require permission from the forces that have created such monumental inertia in the first place. Importantly, moving these levers and changing the focus of education from  what we teach  to  how we learn  is completely possible today. In fact, it is already happening now in many schools. 

Here's what people are saying about Moving the Rock : "My #oneword2018 is READ. The first book I have completed in 2018 is Moving The Rock by Grant Lichtman . I highly recommend this book. It outlines steps all schools should take to transform education and finally break free of doing what has always been done in schools #rethinkschool . "

Moving the Rock is now available at various book sellers.
SAIS Featured School: Saint Mary's School, Raleigh, NC
Now in its 176 th year of educating young women, Saint Mary’s School knows what girls need to learn, grow, and thrive. In today’s complex and global 21st century, Saint Mary’s School, an independent, Episcopal, college-preparatory, boarding and day school for girls in grades 9-12, guides girls in building the skills and providing the experiences they require to successfully navigate college and life.
Going to the 2018 NAIS Annual Conference in Atlanta? Stop by to see SAIS at Booth #905!

You're invited to our reception, co-hosted by Crane Marketing and Vanderbilt University-Peabody College.
Wednesday, March 7   from 6-8 PM
SkyLounge at the Glenn Hotel
110 Marietta St, Atlanta GA 30303
March 7-9, 2018
Announcing the 2018 SAIS Leadership Retreat: April 23-24, Louisville, KY
Pushing Our Horizons: How Do We Tackle the Big, Hairy Challenges of the Next 20 Years?
An opportunity for leaders to sharpen their skills in today’s evolving educational landscape that will go beyond “why” and focus on “how” change can best be accomplished in a setting that is often change-resistant.
Led by  Grant Lichtman , an internationally-recognized K-12 transformation thought leader, attendees will work together as they imagine futures that may look very different from the past and build a capacity and comfort with ongoing change. Participants will examine what it means to shift schools from being teaching organizations to learning organizations, which traditions are important to preserve, and which traditions hamper this shift to a long-term growth mindset. Register NOW at sais.org/LR .
Top Tweets
Schools on field trips near and far, more snow days, and service learning
Blog of the Week
Snowflakes, Aristotle, and New Year's Resolutions
Dr. Randy Watts, head of Brookwood School in Thomasville, GA, writes about starting new habits. 
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