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Dear Readers:

Welcome to our first edition of Klingbrief!

This free, monthly publication of carefully selected articles, books, blogs and videos is intended specifically for independent school educators. Eighty Klingenstein alumni have volunteered to search for good material each month. Chris Lauricella, Head, Park School, NY; Stephanie Lipkowitz, Academic Coordinator, Albuquerque Academy, NM; Elizabeth Morley, Principal, The Child Study Institute, University of Toronto, Canada; and Eric Temple, Head, The Carey School, CA are serving as editors. Peter Herzberg, consultant, Innovative Strategies for Independent Schools, is the coordinating editor. We invite comments and suggestions at

Warmly, Pearl Rock Kane
Director, The Klingenstein Center
  FEBRUARY, 2009 VOL 1


Coordinating Editor, Independent Consultant (Innovative Strategies for Independent Schools)

Head of the Park School of Buffalo, New York

Academic Coordinator, Albuquerque Academy, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Principal of the Child Study Institute, University of Toronto, Canada

Head of the Carey School, San Mateo California


Teen Suicide: facing the unthinkable in our schools
Night Falls Fast, Kay Jamison

Given the growing need for information about teen suicide (highlighted in particular an incident in a NAIS school this last week), we have bundled three sources see links below that might be of use in the face of such devastation. The first, an article under the research subsection on the National Association of School Psychologists, gives a concise overview of "postvention" tactics for schools, a particular challenge; the second, buried deep within the National Association of Mental Health website, is a thorough fact sheet on youth suicide. The third is a book recommended by NASP. Written by Johns Hopkins professor of Psychiatry Kay Jamison, it explores the complex psychology of suicide, especially in young adults. Not easy reading, but a good contribution to better understanding.

Peter Herzberg, Coordinating Editor, Klingbrief

1999 Vintage Press; ISBN: 0-375-70147-8
GlobalAchievementGap Minding the Gap in Global Education
The Global Achievement Gap, Tony Wagner

Wagner, Co-Director of the Change Leadership Group at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, is not offering a polemic about how American students are failing to keep pace with their peers in other countries. Rather, his common sense analysis of how most American schools retain outmoded practices in a changing world invites us to consider essential changes in both pedagogy and the manner in which teachers are prepared for the profession.

Peter Schmidt, Gill St. Bernard's School, NJ
The Global Achievement Gap, by Tony Wagner (Basic Books; 290
pages, $26.95, ISBN 9780465002290).
Mindset Another Important Study Challenges Notions of Intelligence
Mindset, Dr. Carol Dweck

MINDSET challenges our long held beliefs in the concept of intelligence as fixed. Dr. Dweck's book can be applied to many aspects of life: parenting, teaching, interpersonal relationships. The concepts of  "fixed"  and "growth" mindset are immediately applicable for teachers in their daily work. Our faculty at Marin Country Day, for example, has been able to examine its own teaching practices and shift its "mindset" in small and sometimes dramatic ways. This text can offer to a school community a common language to discuss developmental growth spurts and intellectual challenges in a new way. It can be an invaluable tool.

Kathleen McNamara, Marin Country Day School, CA
Random House, New York, 2006, ISBN 1-4000-6275-6
ThePowersToLead A Primer in 21st Century Leadership Skills
The Powers to Lead, Joseph S. Nye Jr.

Leaders too frequently fall on either coercive or persuasive ends of the leadership spectrum; they tend to dictate or inspire. Joe Nye, Distinguished Service Professor at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government contends that the most effective leaders apply "hard" and "soft" powers in proportion to the context of the challenge. Instructive case studies from history, business, and psychology will profit school administrators looking for a pragmatic, research-driven primer on successful leadership traits and skills.

Duncan Lyon, The Bentley School, CA
Oxford University Press (2008) ISBN: 978-0-19-533562-0
MoralCourage Ethical Literacy, Moral Courage, and Schools of Integrity
Moral Courage, Rushworth Kidder

Moral courage, as defined by Rushworth Kidder, is "the willing endurance of significant danger for the sake of principles." Through myriad case studies, Kidder, who directs the Institute for Global Ethics, returns to his previous research on ethical decision making across cultures to reinforce the validity of a set of universal ethics as well as a set of common ethical dilemmas. Kidder proposes that providing people an ongoing education in ethical literacy using these two frames of reference may allow them a better chance of displaying moral courage when the world calls on them to do so. The Institute for Global Ethics has partnered with NAIS to put this in action through their "Schools of Integrity" project and the resulting study, Tell Me What you Really Think, provides guideposts for moving this work into schools.

Global Ethics

Chris Lauricella, The Park School of Buffalo, NY
Harper Books, March 2006. ISBN 978-0060591564
TheCaseAgainstTheWest Western Education: Part of the Solution or part of the Problem?
"The Case Against the West." Mahbubani, Kishore

In Mr. Mahbubani's impassioned opinion piece adapted from his book The New Asian Hemisphere: The Irresistible Shift of Global Power to the East, the author states, "Unfortunately, the West has gone from being the world's primary problem solver to being its single biggest liability."  His provocative premise resonates with educators in that it asks the reader to look critically at Western culture and its role in perpetuating systems of inequality. By challenging our core beliefs in the systems originally established by Western democracies, we are forced to think about our role in the global community, thereby highlighting the importance of global education in our schools.

Eric Temple, The Carey School, CA
Mahbubani, Kishore.  The Case Against the West.  in Foreign Affairs 87.3 (May/June 2008): 111-124.
Evans Advice for School Leaders in the Current Crisis
"Surviving and Thriving in Hard Times " Robert Evans

Consulting psychologist Rob Evans offers his characteristically insightful observations and practical advice in this response to the current economic crisis. The article identifies keys for managing anxiety in the school community, offers guidelines for delivering bad news, and urges heads to take perspective and get support in these challenging times. Those familiar with Evans' work will recognize how his theories about organization and leadership are particularly relevant to the current stressors.

Elementary Heads

Claudia M. Daggett, Executive Director, Elementary School Heads Association
Evans, Robert,  Surviving and Thriving in Hard Times
PaulTough A Lecture at Teachers College about Equity
What Will It Take? Paul Tough

What will it take? Diversity directors, administrators and teachers with 10 minutes to spend hearing Paul Tough's lecture at Teachers College, Columbia University's November 2008 Equity Symposium will have more than images of inequity to consider. This New York Times education writer delivers straight talk about how a community might respond to poverty by doing "whatever it takes."  His thinking is triggered largely by his study of The Harlem Children's Zone and by further research inspired by this paradigm of a community school. This short online video is suitable for staff meeting viewing and response.

Elizabeth Morley, Principal, Institute of Child Study Lab School, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Equity Symposium 2008. Teachers College, Columbia University, November 17th, 2008
DotEarth A Useful Blog and Resource Tracks Issues of Sustainability
Andrew Revkin

This reference calls your attention to the Dot Earth Blog, brainchild of Andrew Revkin, a New York Times reporter whose Guggenheim funded blog richly documents human solutions to problems of overcrowding and diminishing resources on our planet. It is recommended as an invaluable resource for curriculum related to sustainability. It is updated weekly and contains scores of other useful links. Its style is lively, personal, yet vividly informative.


Peter Herzberg, Coordinating Editor
MostLikelyToSucceed The Conundrum of Hiring (without blinking)
"Most Likely to Succeed: How do we hire when we can't tell who's right for the job?"  Malcolm Gladwell

In this recent New Yorker article Malcolm Gladwell shares important insights into the challenges of identifying great new teachers, often summarizing others' research to make a few compelling points. Gladwell shares evidence that many of the traditional measures for identifying promising teachers, including educational background, have little correlation to effectiveness in the classroom. Importantly, he supports the insight that good teaching is more essential to learning than any other factor, including student-teacher ratios, and that a teacher's ability to provide quick, targeted feedback to individual students in a classroom setting is perhaps the most important factor in determining teacher effectiveness. Be sure to read the sections on scouting NFL talent to find the nuggets of wisdom on teaching and learning--they're worth taking the time to find.

The New Yorker

Russell H Shaw, Abington Friends School, PA
Gladwell, Malcolm, The New Yorker, December 15, 2008
WhenGirlsWillBeBoys Another Dimension of Diversity with Particular Challenges
"When Girls Will be Boys"  Alyssa Quart

A growing number of students are expressing a gender identity that differs from their biology. In turn, they are applying to colleges that provide support for transgendered students, especially women's colleges. Since most trans students begin to question their gender in early childhood and adolescence, lower through upper schools should re-examine their diversity and inclusion practices for greater accommodation and sensitivity so that we can be responsive to this growing minority in our schools.

New York Times Magazine

Ileana Jimenez, Little Red School House & Elisabeth Irwin High School, NY
Quart, Alyssa, New York Times Magazine, March 2008

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