Dawson's Education Podcast

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Past Episodes

Episode 27: The Role of Schools in a Lifelong Learning Model

This is the time of continuous learning. In this episode, Assistant Head of School Andrew Bishop is joined by Donna Orem, president of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), for an in-depth conversation about the ways in which schools must evolve and innovate in the coming years. Topics include: education in this fourth industrial revolution and third education revolution; the four basic jobs of parents and what they're looking for in schools; diversity, equity, and inclusion through the lens of wellbeing and learning; and redefining the purpose of education as it relates to supporting children to develop the skillset and mindset to do anything.

Episode 26: Independent School Associations & Education with Mark Crotty

Assistant Head of School Andrew Bishop is joined by Mark Crotty, the executive director of the Northwest Association of Independent Schools (NWAIS). They discuss the essential skills students need to thrive, what they hope schools learn from this pandemic year and advice for parents looking for the right school for their child. They also talk about the necessity for independent schools to engage in diversity, equity, and inclusion conversations in order to become part of the greater solution. Other topics include the purpose of independent school associations, the in-depth accreditation process, and how Dawson uses that feedback to enhance its strategic direction.

Episode 25: Modern Learning & How Schools Can Evolve with Sanje Ratnavale

In this episode, Dawson welcomes Sanje Ratnavale, founder and president of Online Education Strategies for Independent Schools (OESIS), to the podcast! In conversation with Assistant Head of School Andrew Bishop, Sanje discusses the opportunities presented by distance education in the past year, the capacity of schools to change, and project-based learning. Topics also include thinking creatively about time and space, competency-based education, assessing for skills versus content, and more.

Episode 24: On the Similarities Between Higher Ed & Independent School Education

In this episode, Dawson welcomes Dean of UNLV's Honors College Dr. Andrew Hanson to the show! In conversation with Assistant Head of School Andrew Bishop, Dr. Hanson discusses the similarities between higher education and independent school education. Topics include active listening in the classroom, the future of standardized education, and the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion work. They also talk about the future of education and the long-term changes in the post-pandemic classroom.

Episode 23: What's the Deal with Challenge Success?

Dawson is proud to be Nevada's first and only school to partner with Challenge Success, which is affiliated with Stanford University and focuses on student wellbeing and engagement. In this episode, Assistant Head of School Andrew Bishop is joined by Challenge Success co-founder Dr. Denise Pope, Director of EC-Grade 1 Amanda Murray-Musgrave, teacher Matt Reynolds, and sixth-grade student Aarti. You'll learn how Dawson aligns with and uses the Challenge Success framework to live its Mission and Vision, the benefit of joining a partner school as a family, and more!

Episode: 22: The Empathy Advantage

Assistant Head of School Andrew Bishop and Head of School Roxanne Stansbury are joined by Dr. Mary Choi Kelly in a conversation about instilling empathy in our children. Dr. Kelly is the parent of a current Dawson student and an alumnus and manages MCK Leadership Talent Group, an organization that works with leaders in global companies and diverse industries to help individuals develop courage, drive change, and build culture. Following Dr. Kelly's Parent University presentation on the Empathy Advantage, they elaborate on how empathetic behaviors can help grow our children into more resilient, healthy, and successful adults, and share practical tools for parents. They also reference the book UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World by Michele Borba, Ed.D.

Episode 21: Parenting During a Pandemic

In this episode, New York Times bestselling author and speaker Dr. Michael Thompson joins Head of School Roxanne Stansbury and Assistant Head of School Andrew Bishop. Following a Parent University virtual session with our Dawson community, Dr. Thompson elaborates on the nuances of parenting during the pandemic and in an election year. The discussion includes the resilience of children and treating one another with respect, civility, community, and dignity.

Episode 20: Reopening Schools During a Pandemic with Dr. Douglas Harris

Assistant Head of School Andrew Bishop is joined by Head of School Roxanne Stansbury and special guest Dr. Douglas Harris, a senior fellow in the Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings and professor of economics at Tulane University. They discuss Dr. Harris' recent article, "When should schools reopen fully in-person?". Topics include Dawson's reopening plan in comparison to others around the country; navigating the decision-making process as a team; the direct and indirect effects of reopening; advice for parents making decisions about school; the things that may change because of the pandemic; and how the competencies that we're looking for in students continue to evolve.

Episode 19: Caring For Our Campus

Dawson's Chief of Security & Campus Facilities Dennis Johnson in conversation with Assistant Head of School for Advancement Andrew Bishop about caring for our campus. From the logistics of afternoon carpool to the intentionality behind the landscape and design of our campus, Dennis works to keep our school and facilities both beautiful and functional. They also discuss the process of planning, designing and building our new middle school playground, a project led by Dennis in partnership with administration and faculty that was completed in fall 2019.

Episode 18: Innovation at Dawson

Director of Innovation Hubert Ham in conversation with Assistant Head of School for Advancement Andrew Bishop about innovation at independent schools, ways in which Dawson improves, and using esports as a gateway to curriculum, community, and STEM skills. They also discuss partnerships with UNLV, Blackfire Innovation, and Allied Esports, Dawson's esports EDU lab, an esports league for independent schools. Learn how Dawson is sharing its experiences, resources, and information with other schools.

Episode 17: Parent Education at Dawson

Three Dawson parents join Assistant Heads of School Roxanne Stansbury and Andrew Bishop in conversation about Dawson's Parent University series and Parent Education Pieces. The Alexander Dawson School hosts and facilitates Parent University workshops to provide current research in parenting and child development, as well as Parent Education Piece curriculum sessions as a means to more deeply involving each parent in their child’s educational experiences. Julio Melendez, Susan Perry, Susan Archibald reflect on the impact of the presentations in their daily lives as parents and therefore their children's lives. They also discuss the feeling of community and support at Dawson, including the sense of belonging they gain as parents.

Episode 16: Part 2: Measuring Things That Matter

Following episode 14 on measuring things that matter, Director of K-8 Chris Estrella and Director of Student Life & Diversity Meg Aumann discuss how Dawson utilizes intentionally diverse focus groups and surveys to make student-centered decisions. In this episode, you’ll learn more about their presentation from the NWAIS regional conference on Using Data to Make Student-Centered Decisions. They discuss what this looks like at Dawson—how we gather information, what we do with the data, who we share it with, and how we set strategic goals. In addition, topics include Dawson’s mission and vision on campus, the climate of care in our School, maintaining a culture of sustainability, and our value of professional development.

Episode 15: Rosalind Wiseman on Happiness, Friendship & Dignity

Rosalind Wiseman in conversation with Assistant Head of School for Advancement Andrew Bishop following her Dawson Parent University presentation. Rosalind is the author of Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and the New Realities of Girl World, and founder of Cultures of Dignity. In this episode, they discuss and define happiness, friendship, respect, and treating people with dignity. Topics also include focusing on relationships and how social media is affecting social-emotional wellbeing.

Episode 14: Dawson Head of School on Measuring Things That Matter
Dawson’s Head of School Dr. Carola Wittmann joins Assistant Head of School for Advancement Andrew Bishop in a conversation about surveying parents and students, as well as faculty and staff. As Director of Student Life & Diversity Meg Aumann and K-8 Director Chris Estrella take off to present on the topic at NWAIS this week, Dr. Wittmann discusses how small and large decisions in institutional planning can be influenced by student data at Dawson. They discuss how our students have gotten used to providing quick feedback and know that we value their voice in our decision-making processes, whether it’s about food services, recess areas, curriculum or social-emotional learning.

Episode 13: Dawson Head of School on Institutional Growth

Dawson’s Head of School Dr. Carola Wittmann joins Assistant Head of School for Advancement Andrew Bishop to talk about institutional growth. They discuss why supporting institutional growth is important, how Dawson faculty and staff will learn more throughout the 19-20 school year about the School’s growth, and how the self-study accreditation process informs the School’s growth planning going forward. Dr. Wittmann shares her goals for growth and succession planning, as well as her take on professional development.

Episode 12: A Conversation with New Dawson Teachers

Assistant Head of School for Teaching and Learning Roxanne Stansbury sits down with three new Dawson teachers during the weeklong Teacher Academy. Second-grade teacher Shane Marsan, Mandarin teacher Kirsty Lim, and first-grade teacher and Dawson alum Amanda Brazell discuss their first impressions of the School, reflect on the comprehensive interview and on-boarding process, and the overwhelm of a new school. They share thoughts on Challenge Success, the layers of support shown in the Dawson community, and what they’re most looking forward to this school year.

Episode 11: Dawson College Bound

Each summer, Dawson College Bound happens on the campus of The Alexander Dawson School! This summer summit program serves high-achieving Clark County School District middle school students and is funded by the Alexander Dawson Foundation. Learn all about this phenomenal program from Director of Admissions Andrew Bishop in conversation with DCB Director Matsuko Freeman.

Episode 10: Performing Arts at Dawson

Dawson Performing Arts Faculty Sue Boyum and Chrystal Miller join DIrector of Admissions Andrew Bishop to share more about the department programs. Topics include performance curriculum, helping students get comfortable with risk-taking in the classroom, teaching as an ensemble, the transferable skills that come from the arts program and what they’re looking forward to for next year and in the future at Dawson. 

Episode 9: How Schools Can Use Esports As a Vehicle to Teach Transferable Skills

Dawson’s Director of Admission Andrew Bishop in conversation with Allied Esports International’s Chief Creative Officer Paul Chamberlain about the transferable skills and career opportunities that are opened up by the progressive entertainment industry called esports. From inside the one-of-a-kind HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip, they discuss where the industry is going and how schools can think about using esports as a vehicle to teach the important storytelling, development, business, marketing, and innovative skills needed. 

Episode 8: Why We Need Diverse Books

Director of Admissions Andrew Bishop facilitates a conversation with authors Minh Le, Axie Oh, and Aida Salazar, author/illustrator Daria Peoples-Riley, and author/librarian Brittany Thurman on why diverse books matter. The group was on campus in March for Dawson’s 2nd Annual We Need Diverse Books Day, a school-wide event with workshops, readings, a student-led panel discussion and other enriching activities. 

Episode 7: Jen Cort with Dawson Students and Parents on Navigating Tough Conversations

Education consultant Jen Cort, host of Third Space podcast, in conversation with her new Dawson Middle School colleagues about the ways that adults can approach difficult topics with children. Then, she sits down with Dawson parents to get their perspective on navigating the subjects they did not grow up talking about, and how important it is to model asking for help.  Subjects include technology, race, gender and loyalty conflicts between home and school. 

Episode 6: Why Healthy Sleep Habits Matter

The Sleep Week idea originated when a few students attended the Challenge Success Fall Conference and learned about the impacts of stress on sleep.  They returned to campus with the desire to raise awareness among the Dawson community.  In this episode, members of Dawson's Sleep Week Committee join Assistant Head of School Roxanne Stansbury to discuss the causes of irregular sleep patterns, extracurricular activity schedules, the need for unstructured time and quality family time, and the correlations between sleep and mental health.  They also share the plans for Sleep Week, including a No Homework/Electronics Night, a Late Start Day, a visit from a certified Sleep Doctor, and a pajamas and overnight diapers drive for Foster Kinship.

Episode 5: A Conversation with Head of School Dr. Carola Wittmann

Dr. Carola Wittmann joins Director of Admissions Andrew Bishop to reflect on her third year as head of school, and discuss what she sees as the Dawson Difference. 

Dawson Podcast Episode 4: The Importance of Early Childhood Education

A quality early childhood program sets the foundation for the transition to kindergarten and beyond, and a successful program should spark a love of learning and create excitement about school.  In this episode, Dawson's Director of Early Childhood Amanda Murray-Musgrave joins Director of Admissions Andrew Bishop in conversation about the importance of education for young children.

Episode 3: Redefining Student Achievement Through Challenge Success At Dawson

Dawson is proud to be Nevada's first Challenge Success school.  In this episode, Assistant Head of School Roxanne Stansbury joins Director of Admissions Andrew Bishop in a conversation about what it means to be a Stanford University Challenge Success school, the SPACE Framework and how Dawson is living its mission by re-defining traditional definitions of student achievement.

Episode 2: Jen Cort On Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice

Renowned clinical social worker and education consultant 
Jen Cort spent the morning with our parent community to engage in the important discussion around social justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. In this podcast episode, Director of Admissions Andrew Bishop dives deeper into the conversation with our special guest. 

Episode 1: What You Need to Know About Magnet/CTA High Schools

Dawson approaches the high school placement process with the same intensity as a high school's college placement program. Once your child graduates from Dawson, we know that the high school they attend will be critical in continuing their intellectual and personal growth in college and beyond. There are many options to consider, including local public magnet, career and tech academies, private schools and boarding schools. Dawson’s High School Guidance Team ensures that our families have the tools necessary to navigate this process. For those interested in learning more about local CCSD Magnet and CTAs, we recommend this conversation with Director of Admissions Andrew Bishop and Nancy West, Project Facilitator for CCSD’s Magnet Schools and Career and Technical Academies.

Mission Statement

The Alexander Dawson School at Rainbow Mountain is a nurturing learning community for boys and girls in preschool through grade eight that challenges students to achieve excellence in mind, body and character.  

The Alexander Dawson School

The Alexander Dawson School at Rainbow Mountain, an independent school located on 33-acres in the community of Summerlin, is Nevada’s first Stanford University Challenge Success partner school for students in early childhood through grade eight. Utilizing the unique Challenge Success framework, Dawson uses research-based strategies and programs that emphasize student academics, wellbeing, and a healthy school-life balance to create more engaged, motivated, and resilient learners and leaders. At Dawson, students achieve their individual potential while savoring life and meeting the challenges of the world.