Head of School Bookshelf, Fiction Edition, Fall, 2015

A few times a year, I share a booklist with the Phillips Academy faculty and offer up copies of the selections on a bookshelf outside my office.  I’m going with an all-fiction Head of School bookshelf for Fall, 2015. Last … Continue reading

Recent Books: on Adolescence, Technology, Sexuality, and More

A few times per year, I have been sharing a “Head of School’s bookshelf” with community members at Phillips Academy.  It comes this time in two parts: 1) six books that are among those I’ve read in the past few … Continue reading

Remarks for Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration 2014 at Andover

I am glad to see you all back here, safe and sound, in Cochran Chapel so that we can look ahead, look to the kind of community that we want to build.  We come together today to celebrate both community … Continue reading

Bookshelf: Ideas for Secondary School Teachers, with a Bent Toward the Digital

In each of the last two academic years, I’ve made short lists of books I’ve liked, related mostly (but not exclusively) to secondary education and the digital world, to share with the faculty of Phillips Academy.  We buy a stack … Continue reading

Claude Steele’s Whistling Vivaldi: And Other Clues to How Stereoptypes Affect Us

Book page for Claude Steele, Whistling Vivaldi

Tonight in the faculty meeting at Phillips Academy, we will discuss Claude Steele’s Whistling Vivaldi.  It’s an exceptionally good book on many levels.  The social science is deep and revealing; the personal narratives are compelling; and the ideas for concrete action at schools are constructive. 

It seems fitting to be having this conversation tonight, on the 50th anniversary of James Meredith’s registration at Ole Miss.  Yesterday’s lead story in the New York Times (by Adam Liptak) also highlighted the important new challenge to affirmative action that the United States Supreme Court will hear this term.  (From the story: “On Oct. 10, the court will hear Fisher v. University of Texas, No. 11-345, a major challenge to affirmative action in higher education.”) It’s unfortunate that we are still struggling at the level of admissions of diverse communities; the discussion should be much further along than it is today.

The conversation about what schools should do once we have highly diverse communities is at the top of our access agenda.  It’s not enough to admit students from a broad range of backgrounds; it’s essential that we are intentional and effective about how we enable all students to succeed and enjoy their time at schools, including Andover.

Continue reading