Not Finished Yet

March 11, 2015 by Bill Ivey

I was deeply saddened by the news that Sweet Briar College would be closing. My connections to the college are actually tenuous at best, but, being a strong believer in girls’ and women’s education, I can’t help but wish they had been able to find a way through their financial difficulties.

Filed Under: All-Girls, On Education, Girls Schools, All Girls Education, Women's Colleges, Sweet Briar

On the Right Path

March 08, 2015 by Bill Ivey

"The story of women's struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights." - Gloria Steinem (quoted on the “International Women’s Day” website)

Filed Under: On Education, girls' education, girls' school, International Women's Day

Facing Up

March 05, 2015 by Bill Ivey

“Not everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” - James Baldwin

I swooshed past Carolyn with a cheery, “See you tomorrow! I’ll be back by 6:15.” knowing that it was going to be tight as I had to set up Bonnie’s House for a 6:30 Rock Band rehearsal. But my virtual colleague, José Vilson, one of the best known and most respected edu-bloggers in the country, was coming to the Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley (co-sponsored by Mount Holyoke College and coordinated by Megan Marie Allen) to read from his book, This Is Not a Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, and I was simply not going to miss it.

Filed Under: On Education, anti-racism, social justice

We have no grades!

March 02, 2015 by Bill Ivey

“(...) And you should come here because we have no grades!” - from an impromptu song by Nikki ‘20

As one part of each unit designed by Humanities 7 students, each student is asked to choose a “Focus Question” to learn about on her own. She researches the question, writes an essay, and makes a presentation to the class. Every year, on the first essay, I find students who can already write effective thesis statements, students who have no idea what a thesis statement is, and everything in between. By the second draft, after conversing with me, they all have effective thesis statements for that first essay, and a few more of them than before jump right in with an effective thesis statement on the first draft of the next essay. But not all. By the end of the year, though, they’ve all got it down, and so as they move on to Humanities 8, Karen knows she can depend on them to have this skill.

Filed Under: On Education, Feminism, Assessment, Standards-Based Assessment

Necessities for Teachers' Success (Part Two)

February 27, 2015 by Bill Ivey

In Starr Sackstein’s blog post, “What Does Every Teacher Need To Be Successful?” she presents her “top 10 list” and challenges other teachers to create and share their own lists. I’m not much of a “top 10” kind of person, but here are (in the order in which I thought of them) the ten ideas that first came to me when I sat down and brainstormed. I’m sure other fundamentally important ideas could and should be added if the goal were a comprehensive list.

Filed Under: On Education

Sacred Mission

February 24, 2015 by Bill Ivey

Within moments, they had dispersed, some to seek out construction paper to make paper chains, some to the school store to get red duct tape and other supplies, some to their rooms to get other decorations, and one group… to the cubby room to finish the last shots and editing on their film. The Humanities 7 class had decided to have a special premiere celebration when they shared their original movies with each other and, after quickly convincing me to bring popcorn, cookies, and soda (which I had been planning to do anyway!), had decided to decorate the room specially and to have red carpet moments.

Filed Under: intersectionality, On Education, anti-racism, social justice, Feminism, Mission Statement

Necessities for Teachers' Success

February 23, 2015 by Guest Faculty Bloggers

By Alex Bogel, Academic Dean

In her posting, "What Does Every Teacher Need To Be Successful," Starr Sackstein invited other teachers to consider the question and come up with their own list of ten items. Alex Bogel, Academic Dean, is among Stoneleigh-Burnham faculty members who are taking up the challenge.

Filed Under: On Education

What is the point of an education?

February 20, 2015 by Bill Ivey

My Humanities 7 class is studying education now. We're continuing with Firegirl by Tony Abbott as a read-aloud book, since much of the action takes place in a school, and the students voted for I Am Malala as a group read. As always, they are researching individually chosen questions as they prepare to write essays and make a presentation, and the questions range from comparing and contrasting different groups or systems of schools (public vs. private, U.K. vs. U.S., mixed gender vs. single gender, etc.) to tracing the evolution of education over time to looking at the relative benefits and importance of a spiritual vs. a traditional education, and more.

Filed Under: Middle School, On Education, Girls Schools, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, Middle Level Education, IB School, This We Believe

Five Daily Questions for Teachers: My Answers

February 12, 2015 by Bill Ivey

In her “Work in Progress” blog at Education Week Teacher, Starr Sackstein noted “5 Questions Educators Must Ask Themselves Every Day.” They are compelling questions, so as part of #loveteaching week, I thought I would have a go at them.

Am I excited about going to school every day?

Filed Under: On Education, The Faculty Perspective


February 10, 2015 by Bill Ivey

Two seventh graders burst into the middle school office with that combination of a rush of energy and proud smiles that make me instantly put aside whatever else I might be doing. “Bill, Bill, we figured it out! Everyone’s a little bit bisexual!”

“Explain,” I said, smiling back.

Filed Under: Middle School, On Education, social justice, #loveteaching