Songs in the Key of Life

March 18, 2013 by Bill Ivey

(title taken from the title of Stevie Wonder's masterwork album, released in 1976)

Filed Under: Teaching, School Happenings, gender, Bill Ivey, 141 Reasons, Beautifully different, finding your voice, diversity, Rock Band, All Girls Education, Feminism, Performing Arts, performing, Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Uniquely Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Jose Vilson

One Step Further

March 15, 2013 by Bill Ivey

Rachel Simmons, the author of the ground-breaking Odd Girl Out and best-selling Curse of the Good Girl, has just co-authored along with Kate Farrar an article in the Huffington Post entitled “The Confidence Gap on Campus: Why College Women Need to Lean In.” Many readers will recognize the reference to Sheryl Sandberg's brand new book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. In the book, Ms. Sandberg argues among other things that women need to work to overcome “the stereotypes we internalize that hold us back,” (Sandberg, quoted in Adams) and “own their own ambition.” (Simmons and Farrar)

After presenting undeniable evidence that college women are not getting the leadership positions they have earned and deserve in as great a proportion as college men, Simmons and Farrar ask the women themselves what they need. Their answer? “Provide us the skills, supports and mentoring to build confidence to take risks and test our leadership on campus. College women want to be aware of and prepared for the barriers both on campus and as they enter the workplace.” (Simmons and Farrar) This sentiment echoes those expressed by many members of my 8th grade Life Skills class, namely that they are finding their voices, and they know they are being heard in our school. They want us to help them ensure they will be able to make their voices heard out in the world.

Filed Under: gender, On Education, Lean In, Rachel Simmons, Bill Ivey, Sheryl Sandberg, gender equity, Beautifully different, women in leadership, diversity, Women in media, Uniquely Stoneleigh-Burnham School

Build Your Own House

March 14, 2013 by Bill Ivey

I was all set to jump on the Sheryl Sandberg bandwagon – and I'm not normally the bandwagon type. But I was caught up in the perfect storm. Within less than 48 hours, I stumbled on the cover story in Time Magazine, found a link to a piece about her in Jezebel (standard warning about visiting this site if you mind strong language), and discovered her Twitter account as well as that of LeanIn.org, on online organization “committed to offering women the encouragement and support to lean in to their ambitions.” There was even an indirect connection to Toward the Stars, an organization I've supported since its inception, as they offer empowering alternatives to Gymboree's “Smart Like Dad” and “Pretty Like Mommy” line referred to by Ms. Sandberg when she said, “I would love to say that was 1951, but it was last year. As a woman becomes more successful, she is less liked, and as a man becomes more successful, he is more liked, and that starts with those T-shirts.” And as an educator in a progressive girls school, how could I not love the fundamental message behind Ms. Sandberg's new book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead?

And then, searching on my computer for the Jezebel article as I prepared to begin writing this blog, I found Tracy Moore's thoughtful take on what Sheryl Sandberg has to teach us about the state of modern day feminism and I was reminded that few issues are ever as simple as they seem on first blush.

Filed Under: Teaching, Hanna Rosin, gender, On Education, Lean In, Marisa Mayer, LeanIn.org, Bill Ivey, Sheryl Sandberg, Beautifully different, diversity, Gloria Steinem, Feminism, In the Classroom, Women in media, Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Uniquely Stoneleigh-Burnham School

Bikinis, Lingerie, and Women's Athletics

February 28, 2013 by Bill Ivey

When I click out of my Yahoo! email, I often scan to see if there's a news item that interests or intrigues me. The other day, I was shocked and outraged to learn of the existence of something called the "Bikini Basketball Association" through an article entitled: "Deion Sanders' daughter joins the Bikini Basketball League (sic) despite her dad being 'kind of upset'."

Filed Under: Middle School, women in sports, gender, gender stereotypes, athletics, On Education, Bill Ivey, Deion Sanders, BBA, In the Classroom, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School

Seeing the Trees Within the Forest

February 26, 2013 by Bill Ivey

Sometimes, you can't see the trees for the forest. Especially when your eyes are deliberately closed.

Filed Under: Middle School, Teaching, gender, The Girls School Advantage, On Education, Bill Ivey, diversity, All Girls Education, Feminism, Performing Arts, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, Women in media, Oscars, Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Uniquely Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Jose Vilson

Deliberate Snub

February 25, 2013 by Bill Ivey

I confess, I don't usually watch the Oscars. I don't get to movies as often as I used to, the glamour of the ceremony has worn thin with time, and at any rate I usually have at least some schoolwork left to do on Sunday nights and can't just sit on the couch and focus on the TV. Tonight, though, in case Oscar is wondering, yes, my sitting in the dining room and working on my computer is a deliberate snub. Here's why.

Filed Under: Middle School, Teaching, gender, Terry O'Neill, NOW, On Education, Bill Ivey, Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, Acceptance, diversity, All Girls Education, Feminism, In the Classroom, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, Women in media, Oscars, Catherine Hardwicke

Fight the Power

February 21, 2013 by Bill Ivey

Recently, I had the chance to touch base with Sally, our Head of School, about some of the more political blogs I've posted here recently. I wanted to thank her, because I know that by no means would every school offer me the degree of freedom that I have here. She told me she views this school as being about finding one's authentic voice, which was in one sense an eye-opening moment for me. Of course, that is a major part of our mission statement for what we do for our students, and of course, role modeling is always an important part of what we teach. But explicitly allowing and even encouraging adults to find their own authentic voices as part of a full-school holistic model? At that point, we are truly making our mission statement a way of life rather than just a lofty ideal we may or may not even be able to remember if asked.

Filed Under: Teaching, gender, Independent Schools, CTQ, Nancy Flanigan, standard curriculum, On Education, Bill Ivey, John Holland, diversity, Feminism, Malcom X, Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Uniquely Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Jose Vilson, Education

Candle in the Wind

February 18, 2013 by Bill Ivey

And it seems to me you lived your life like a candle in the wind...
- Elton John and Bernie Taupin

Filed Under: family, Bill Ivey, suicide awareness, teen suicide, loss

An Open Letter to Dr. John Chubb

February 12, 2013 by Bill Ivey

Dear Dr. Chubb,

Filed Under: Middle School, AMLE, Teaching, NAIS, John Chubb, On Education, Bill Ivey, In the Classroom, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, NAISpres, Education

Fashion Statement

January 30, 2013 by Bill Ivey

Spirit Week is always one of the highlights of the SBS year, from the traditional "Pajama Day" on Monday right through the traditional "Color Wars" skits on Friday. Wednesday is usually "Spirit Day" (we wear blue and white and/or SBS clothing). Tuesdays and Thursdays, however, change around from year to year, providing a nice blend of tradition and routine on the one hand, and freshness and innovation on the other.

Filed Under: Middle School, School Happenings, gender, On Education, Bill Ivey, community, diversity, Feminism, In the Classroom, LGBTQIA Support, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Anti-Bullying, Uniquely Stoneleigh-Burnham School