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Education Matters - One Head of School's reflections on education, Jewish education and the Jewish world

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My Summer Reading List 2019

In addition to the slower pace, warmer days, and time with my family, I always look forward to the summer as a period to catch up on all the reading I am not able to accomplish during the school year. I have developed an annual ritual of collecting books and titles throughout the year in anticipation of completing them during the summer months.

As I do each year, I am glad to share my summer reading list with you and invite you to share your comments and ideas with me on these works or to share books you have found recently to be interesting or important.

For this summer I will reading:

Educated by Tara Westover – The memoir of Tara Westover who did not step into a classroom until the age of seventeen. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education. Tara began to educate herself and was eventually admitted to Brigham Young University, where she studied history. Her quest for knowledge transformed her. This book has been chosen by the faculty at CESJDS as the school-wide read for 2019-20.

21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari – As technology and innovation become part of our everyday landscape, Harari addresses the challenge of navigating life in the face of constant and disorienting change. He raises questions that he suggests are crucial to ask ourselves in order to survive (and thrive) in the future.

Raising Human Beings by Ross Greene – Many educators I know read one of Greene's earlier works, Lost at School, which outlines an approach to addressing student issues called Collaborative Problem Solving that values student voice as an essential element in dealing with difficult behavior. This book investigates the parent-child relationship and asks how parents can build a better, stronger, and more empathic relationship with their children.

The Coddling of the American Mind by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt – I'd been meaning to read this book for a few years and one of my colleagues recently suggested the title for the CESJDS school-wide read. In this work, First Amendment expert Greg Lukianoff and social psychologist Jonathan Haidt explore what they write is a disturbing trend on American college campuses - scrubbing them clean of words, ideas, and subjects that might cause discomfort or give offense. They authors thesis is that in the name of emotional well-being, students are demanding protections that ultimately are disastrous to education and their mental health.

What Made Maddy Run – Observing teenage society today reveals a striking rise in depression, anxiety, and mental stress. This work details the story of college athlete Madison Holleran, whose life and death by suicide shine a light on the struggle of young people suffering from mental illness today.

Happy reading!