Did You Know?! Fun Facts about Independent Schools

 

Just because it’s summer vacation for most educators doesn’t mean the learning has to end (read this article for some tips on how to beat “summer slide”)! We’ve done some digging and pulled together some facts about the history, programs, and landscape of different independent schools. The beauty of private schools is that each one is unique, with its own rich traditions, and its own distinct mission. Here at Educator’s Ally, we pride ourselves on knowing our schools and understanding what sets them apart so we can best support them with their faculty and staff hiring. This also ensures that the teachers with whom we work receive a personalized approach to their job searches in independent schools, resulting in the right fit for both our schools and candidates.

Read on for some fun facts that may be surprising or new to you!

  • According to CAPE (Council for American Private Education) there are over 33,600 private schools in the United States, serving 5.4 million PK-12 students – that means one in four schools in the US is a private school, and one in ten children attends a private school.
  • According to data from the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau, private schools produce an annual savings to taxpayers estimated at $50 billion.
  • The only zoo in this country located at a high school can be found at Millbrook School, located in Dutchess County, New York.
  • The oldest private school in the United States is Collegiate School in Manhattan, an all-boys school founded in 1628 by the Dutch West India Company and the Classis of Amsterdam.
  • The oldest boarding school in the US is West Nottingham Academy in Maryland, which was founded in 1744 by the Presbyterian preacher Samuel Finley, who later became the President of the College of New Jersey (later known as Princeton University).
  • Students at St. George’s School can choose to study on Geronimo, a 69-foot cutter that sails around various parts of the world.
  • The most expensive boarding school in the US is the Forman School in Litchfield, CT, with a tuition of $73,730 for the 2017-18 school year.
  • The most expensive boarding school in the world is Le Rosey in Switzerland – the annual tuition is a whopping $114,000!
  • The most affordable private high school in the US is Youth Initiative High School in Viroqua, Wisconsin – the tuition is just $7,000 per year.
  • Lawrenceville boasts the oldest tackle football league in the country, with its houses fielding their own teams and competing against each other. The first season began in 1892.
  • According to CAPE (Council for American Private Education), 67% of private high school graduates attend four-year colleges, compared to only 40% of public high school grads.
  • Northfield Mount Hermon has a small farm on campus where students can fulfill their work job requirement. One option includes participating in their spring sugaring operation where the school produces around 600 gallons of maple syrup per year.
  • The National Center for Education Statistics’ 2007 study revealed that over 75% of private school parents are “very satisfied” with their child’s school, compared with less than half of parents whose children attended a public school.
  • Cheshire Academy was founded in 1794, only 22 years after Connecticut joined the colonies to rebel against Great Britain.
  • Independent school classes are smaller than public school classes, with an average class size of 5 students per teacher compared with 15.4 students per teacher. By 2021, the Department of Education predicts those numbers will be 11.4 for private and 14.4 for public schools.
  • Most independent schools are set up as nonprofit organizations.
  • The sports rivalry between Phillips Academy Andover and Phillips Exeter Academy is more than just a typical high school rivalry. It’s a rivalry of historic proportions. The two schools boast of having the longest-running football rivalry of any high school in the nation, having first met on the field of battle back in 1878.
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Educator’s Ally Summer Reading List

For teachers and students alike, end-of-school chaos is (or is almost) in the rearview, which means one thing: summer vacation is finally here. Summer is the perfect season to relax, unwind, and escape from the world with a consuming book. Here at EA we’re still hard at work placing teachers and administrators, but something about the onset of summertime evokes the blissful image of getting lost in a novel on the beach, as ocean waves rumble in the background and the delicious smell of sunscreen wafts through the warm air. So to prevent our own “summer slide”, we’ve compiled our own summer reading list – a few titles we can’t wait to jump into – and hope you will consider adding to your lists, too.

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, #1 New York Times bestseller The Underground Railroad chronicles a young slave’s adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South, risking everything along the way. In a rave review Oprah Winfrey dished, “This book has kept me up at night, had my heart in my throat, almost afraid to turn the next page. Get it, then get another copy for somebody you know because you are definitely going to want to talk about this with somebody once you read that last, heart-stopping page.”

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by JD Vance
Hillbilly Elegy is a memoir that follows Vance’s life as he goes from poverty in a white working-class Rust Belt town to Yale Law School. Vance reminisces on the Appalachian values of his upbringing and their relation to the current social problems of his hometown. A New York Times bestseller, this book promises to be a fascinating read, especially given the political climate of late.

You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson

Stand-up comedian and WNYC podcaster Phoebe Robinson’s You Can’t Touch My Hair blends memoir and social commentary as Robinson reflects on pop culture, race, gender, feminism, and modern black womanhood. As personal as it is political, the book examines America’s cultural climate and illuminates our biases with humor and heart.

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy

Two decades after her debut novel was published to critical acclaim, Roy is back with a second novel, expected to be equally impressive. In The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, Roy spins together the lives of characters set throughout India, from the mountains of Kashmir to the alleys of New Delhi. According to Refinery 29, a must-read “if you want to be swept away.”

Startup by Doree Shafrir 

If you’re looking for a breezy, totally addictive beach read, veteran online journalist and BuzzFeed writer Doree Shafrir’s debut should do the trick. Her novel is set in the New York tech scene, where her characters are swept into the surge (and ultimate fall) of a mindfulness app called TakeOff. This hilarious work of satire proves there are some problems that cannot be solved by an app.

Want to add a few more titles to your reading list? Check out President of NAIS, Donna Orem’s, recommended summer reading, as well as Independent School’s Books Columnist, Dick Barbieri’s selections.

Happy Summer!

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End of School Chaos: Four Ways to Incorporate Mindfulness Into Your Classroom Amidst the Craze

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The last weeks of the school year are an exciting time. There are end of year ceremonies and recitals and picnics and parties, and with the warmer days and blossoming trees comes the buzzing reminder that graduation is fast approaching and summer is just around the corner. But while this time of year is precious, it can also be overwhelming and emotional for students, parents and teachers alike. Incorporating mindfulness techniques into the classroom is a great way for teachers to keep students calm and centered, and to keep stress levels at bay during this hectic time.

Anyone with a teaching job knows that students learn most effectively when they feel relaxed; this is why integrating mindfulness techniques and wellness programs into school curriculums is becoming more and more commonplace (see examples at Kent Denver, Andover, and Riverdale).

The end of the year is a time when employing these centering techniques can be more valuable than ever, and not just for students. By incorporating mindfulness into the classroom, educators will in turn reap the benefits of these practices. After all, jobs in education require calm and happy teachers, resulting in a calm and happy classroom. Here are three simple ways to teach students mindfulness amidst end of year chaos:

  1.  Breathe

Pausing to take a few unified, guided breaths tunes students into the present moment, cultivating a mindful and relaxed classroom environment. Teachers can start and end classes with collective breathing exercises, or perhaps pause to breathe in the middle of a lesson. When the attention turns to the breath, the mind naturally starts to slow down. Stopping to notice the breath is a simple and accessible form of meditation that anyone with a teaching position can use in the classroom.

  1.  Sensory Experiences 

Sensory experiences help students feel focused and calm. Playing relaxing music, classical music, or a calming sound machine during class time is a great technique that teachers can employ. Allow students to focus on their sense of smell by creating mind jars – do this by placing items with strong, familiar smells into jars (such as pencil shavings, popcorn, flowers, etc.), then have students close their eyes, smell the jars and take turns guessing the item. The same activity can be done with touch – blindfold students and have them guess what they are touching. Having students play creatively with clay or Play-Doh is also a great technique for mindfulness. To emphasize the sensory experience of sight, trying playing “I Spy” as a class game.

  1.  Movement

Movement is a natural part of human life and a wonderful way to cultivate mindfulness. Incorporate intentional movement into the classroom through techniques such as yoga or dance. Allow students to connect with their bodies and calm their minds in the process. Even if it’s just a quick ten-minute yoga session in the classroom, mindful movement can be tremendously helpful for over stimulated brains.

  1.  S.T.O.P.

Teaching can be a tough job, especially during busier times of the year. Teachers and students can both benefit from tools used to navigate big and difficult emotions. A great technique is S.T.O.P.: Stop, Take a Breath, Observe, Proceed. Teaching students to S.T.O.P. when they feel overwhelmed or anxious will allow them to notice the stress within their bodies, and encourage them to pause and reflect before acting.

 

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Independent School Tuition: Enough Already?!

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The steadily growing annual rate of private school tuitions has many parents wondering when costs are going to level out. A recent NAIS blog post poses the question: “Have independent schools reached a price break point? Many believe they have, prompting widespread discussions about how to control school costs and more clearly identify the value of an independent school education.”

NAIS expresses the Value-Proposition Equation: “As the price of the education offer[ed] increases, the perceived outcomes must also increase for families to see the value of sending their children to independent schools.”

The fact of the matter is, many school leaders are not concerned with the public perception of tuition increases, as long as families believe in the value of the product they’re offering: a quality education, individualized attention, and dedicated and experienced teachers. If a school can offer higher quality teachers, superior amenities and an overall enhanced experience, then their perceived value will increase, and so can the price tag. Add to this the fact that schools with the highest faculty compensation are likely to be the schools with the highest tuitions.

With the hope of gaining a better understanding of the relationship between private school tuition and perceived value, NAIS conducted a study released this January in which they reviewed 25 years of historical quantitative data, surveyed 993 school leaders, and interviewed 26 of those leaders. Their research showed that school leaders overwhelmingly reported that they “set tuition based on what is required to deliver the school’s educational program, not on inflation.” Of additional note, the majority of Heads of School and Chief Financial Officers surveyed agreed that they set tuition  “sufficient to deliver our best educational program,” “based on what we believe families can afford,” and “in relation to the tuitions of peer schools.”

Surveyed school leaders also said they believe the strength of the educational program, not affordability of the tuition, to be the main differentiator in the independent school market. And good news for teachers seeking jobs in private schools (as well as teacher placement agencies like Educator’s Ally who can help connect educators to positions with competitive salaries): schools absolutely emphasized that faculty compensation was top of mind when contemplating tuition increases. Looking ahead, NAIS’ research suggests that salary and tuition increases will continue, with the objective of improving or at least upholding the offered experience.

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Educator’s Ally to Present at the NAIS 2017 Annual Conference

nais 2017

It’s here again, but are you ready?  As the hiring season is now upon us, many administrators and teachers ask Educator’s Ally how best to navigate the independent school hiring process. As announced earlier this fall, EA’s very own Lisa Lovering and Abby Glover will be presenting at a workshop at the 2017 NAIS Annual Conference on Thursday, March 2nd at 11:15AM (Block 2) to address that very issue. Together with Jennifer Zaccara (Nightingale-Bamford School), Jim Reynolds (Browning School) and Roberto D’Erizans (The American School of Sao Paulo), they’ll discuss the importance of a well-crafted hiring strategy in ensuring that schools end up with the best possible faculties. We hope to see you on Thursday in Room 324/325 at the Baltimore Convention Center!  Check out all of the 2017 Annual Conference workshops on the event website.

The EA Team will also be available throughout the NAIS conference to discuss your individual job search in private schools as well as how EA can help your school with hiring.  We will be in Key Ballroom 12 (second floor of the Hilton) throughout the conference and are looking forward to connecting with educators from around the country.  To find us, please follow these directions or email us to set up a time to speak:

From inside the Hilton: take the escalator or elevator to the second floor and follow East Foyer towards Camden Yards.  The entrance to the Educator’s Ally space is via the last door on the right hand side of this hallway.  

From the convention center: follow the North Foyer, across the sky bridge, make a left at the end of the bridge, and follow East Foyer towards Camden Yards.  The entrance to the Educator’s Ally space is via the last door on the right hand side of this hallway.



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New Year, New Job Search: Go After Your Goals in 2017

Make-things-happen

A new year offers a clean slate, a fresh chance, a sense of uncharted possibility for what’s to come in the next trip around the sun. Perhaps you’re ready for more leadership responsibilities, or it’s simply time for a change. Maybe you’re new to the industry, feeling ready and excited to dip your toes into the world of private school teaching jobs. Wherever you are is a great place to start and Educator’s Ally can help you find a job in independent schools. Here are a few ways to get organized for a new job search in 2017.

  1. Revamp your resume.

Run through your resume with a fine-tooth comb and make sure everything is accurate, up to date, and organized in a clean and comprehensible format. Add new and/or relevant experiences, but remember to be concise. Employers can get overwhelmed when they receive lengthy resumes – they don’t have time to dissect three or four pages of your past experiences trying to pick out what’s important. Don’t list every paper you’ve ever published or all the internships you’ve ever had; stick to what is most pertinent and let those experiences shine on the page.

  1. Figure out what you want

Be honest with yourself. What do you truly seek in your next role? What kinds of jobs in private schools appeal to you? Are you drawn to traditional schools, or more progressive environments? Are you open to boarding schools, or are they off the table? Are you ready to seek leadership positions? What are your favorite parts of your job and what are your strengths? Asking yourself these kinds of questions in advance of your search will help you realize what you ultimately want out of your next job, and will enable you to focus your energy on the right opportunities.

  1. Get in touch with Educator’s Ally

In the independent school world, this is the busiest time of year for hiring and as a teacher recruitment agency we’re here to help! Now that you’ve spiffed up your resume and outlined your professional priorities, we want to hear from you. The best way to get in touch with us is to submit your resume here. We’ll review your application and if we think we can be of help to you one of our placement managers will contact you to schedule a phone interview. For interview tips and additional advice, check out our recent blog post: “Tips for a Successful Private School Job Search Part I”.

 

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Tips for a Successful Private School Job Search: Part II

What to Remember When You’re Visiting Campus & Teaching A Demo Lesson

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Earlier this month, we relayed some helpful tips on how to succeed during the early stages of your search for private school jobs. After acing the initial interview, the school has now asked you to visit campus to conduct a demo lesson – way to go! Here are a few things to keep in mind as you move forward in the interview process and have the opportunity to showcase your skills as a teacher to potential employers.

  • Tailor your demo lesson. While preparing your demo lesson, the first thing to remember is to be thoughtful about the classroom you are visiting. Think about both practical things such as necessary materials, the number of students you will be working with, and SmartBoard access as well as how you will adapt your lesson based on the varying abilities of students in the classroom. Ask your contact ahead of your lesson if there are any materials you will need to bring or if any students have particular needs. Asking these insightful questions ahead of time will show that you are a thoughtful and well-prepared teacher.
  • Be interactive. Be sure to get the students involved in your lesson – just because you’re demonstrating your teaching doesn’t mean you should do all the talking. Being able to engage the students you are teaching is a positive in any school, especially in independent schools where many classes focus on lively discussions and inquiry-based learning.
  • Have a backup plan. As a teacher, you know that lessons don’t always go according to plan. Be flexible and ready to cut a lesson short or extend it if necessary to show strong time management. 
 Just as importantly, have a backup plan in case your original lesson does not work out.
  • Follow up with a thank you email after your interview. Always make sure to follow up with a personal email thanking the school administrator(s) you met with for their time, and reiterating your interest in the position and the school. Not following up will knock you out of a search. Keep your contact at Educator’s Ally informed of your progress and be in touch with any follow-up questions.
  • Be yourself! You’ve gotten this far; now all you have to do is prove you can do the work. Take a deep breath, have fun, and be yourself. And always feel free to reach out to your Placement Manager with any questions.

Educator’s Ally, a teacher recruitment agency, provides a highly personalized service for candidates looking for teaching and administration positions in independent schools. If you’d like advice throughout your job search, starting with how to get your resume to stand out, to teaching the best demo lesson, to finally negotiating job offers, contact EA today.

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Tips for a Successful Private School Job Search Part I

Helpful Hints to Keep in Mind in the Early Stages of Your Job Search & How to Impress During an Interview

 

interview blog pic

In the work we do at Educator’s Ally to recruit the best teachers and administrators for private school jobs throughout the country, including major metro areas such as New York City, Boston and Denver, we’ve learned a lot about what makes a job search successful and, on the contrary, how to really mess one up. Here are a few tips on what to do in the initial stages of a search for private school teaching jobs in order to best position yourself for success:

  • Be responsive. Check your email and voicemail frequently and respond to schools within 24 hours of a request for an interview or phone call. Make sure the voicemail on your phone is set-up and that your greeting sounds professional.
  • Proofread, proofread, proofread! We can’t emphasize this enough. Failing to check your emails, resume or writing samples for typos and/or grammatical errors is the fastest way to derail your job search.
  • Dress for success. Congratulations – you landed an interview! Whether it’s a Skype or in-person meeting, always remember to dress neatly and professionally for your interviews. No sneakers! And never arrive with a coffee cup or water bottle in your hand. If you’re having a Skype call, make sure you are sitting in a clean, professional-looking setting (i.e.: don’t Skype from your bed/couch and be sure you won’t be interrupted).
  • Be punctual. Make every effort to arrive a few minutes early for an interview. 
If you’re Skyping, make sure your computer is set up and Skype is open and ready several minutes prior to the call.
  • Bring copies of your resume. 
Have several printed copies of your resume on hand for any in person interviews. A pad of paper and pen are also useful to bring along so you can take notes during the interview.
  • Strike the right tone. Remember that as warm and collegial as most school administrators are, the interview process is a professional one. Being overly familiar and/or unprofessional in your interview or email correspondence can turn a school off. Be upbeat, enthusiastic and curious, but always err on the side of being businesslike. 
Asking about salary or benefits before a formal offer is made is premature and off-putting. Don’t do it.
  • Do your homework. Be prepared to talk about the school and the position. Researching a school’s mission on their website and understanding what they’re looking for demonstrates that you are excited about the opportunity and the school.
  • Be prepared to ask questions. Arrive with several questions in your back pocket and be ready to ask them at the end of your interview. When formulating your questions, focus on those that highlight your desire to contribute to the school, and be sure to tailor them to the specific school. 
For help in coming up with ideas, check out Education Week’s thoughts on Five Questions New Teachers Should Ask.
  • Be prepared to talk, but also to listen. Be ready to share an anecdote or two that displays that you’re highly qualified and excited about the position. Vague explanations will raise suspicion that you’re holding something back. In your interviews, be sure to listen carefully so you can learn as much as possible about the school. 
This includes listening carefully to the questions you are asked and responding accordingly.
  • Be enthusiastic and positive. Independent schools are proud of the work they do so it is important to focus on how you can contribute to their programs right now rather than talk in excess about your long-term professional goals. 
Also, always speak positively about your past experiences and career – never dwell on the aspects of your current role that are dissatisfying to you or bash your current school.

Lastly, please know that we are here to help! Why work with an agency on your private school job search? Educator’s Ally is a teacher placement agency that will work with you to create an effective resume package and connect you with positions that are the best fit for your background and professional goals. With our close-knit relationships with independent school administrators, we can connect you with confidential openings for independent school jobs that you won’t see elsewhere. As one of the leading teacher placement agencies in the country, our representation secures you the introduction that will get you noticed. To learn more about what we do and to apply, please contact us! 

Educator’s Ally’s next blog will focus on acing Step 2 of the job search process – stay tuned!

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Educator’s Ally at the NAIS 2017 Annual Conference

nais 2017

EA’s very own Lisa Lovering and Abby Glover will be presenting at the 2017 NAIS Annual Conference this year (Thursday, March 2nd at 11:15AM). Together with Jennifer Zaccara (Nightingale-Bamford School), Jim Reynolds (Browning School) and Roberto D’Erizans (The American School of Sao Paulo), they’ll discuss the importance of a well-crafted hiring strategy in ensuring that schools end up with the best possible faculties. Check out all the 2017 Annual Conference workshops on the event website. Hope to see you there!

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Race, Equity and Leadership in Schools

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A little over a year ago, Cate Gardner, Associate Director of PreK-12 Programs at Harvard Graduate School of Education, had an idea for “a professional learning institute for school leaders and educators based on a growing need in the field.” This week, the idea became a reality as Harvard’s Graduate School of Education launched the application to their new program instituteRace, Equity and Leadership in Schools.” 

Well done, Cate, and congratulations on creating a program that will most certainly have a lasting impact on the way educators teach and how students learn on these important topics. 

At Educator’s Ally, we are dedicated to helping our schools build diverse faculties that mirror their student bodies.  As proud sponsors of NAIS’s People of Color Conference, we value the work being done to increase awareness on these topics. Will you be at PoCC this December in Atlanta? If so, we’d love to connect!

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