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Cannon School Seeks Host Families

April 9, 2014

Cannon School’s international student program continues to attract students from around the world!

We hope your family will consider being a host family during the 2014-2015 school year.International students 2014

All of our international students are carefully screened and supported by well-established student placement agencies.

Each agency provides a local representative to support host families and the exchange student throughout the hosting experience. You may host a student for a semester or a full year.

Current host families are excited to share their thoughts on hosting with any family interested in learning more about the experience.

For 2014-2015, we are currently looking for host families for one female student and three male students. Both are in eleventh grade. These students are from China and Finland.

Interested in learning more? Please contact Bill Diskin, director of admission and financial aid, by e-mail or at 704-721-7164.

We hope you will consider becoming an international student host family today!

Cannon School is a JrK-Grade 12 independent school in Concord, NC.  Bill Diskin is Director of Admission and Financial Aid.  Follow his tweets @billdiskin.


That’s old school…

April 7, 2014

Think back to when we were in school.  Maybe think back as far as, say, 7th or 8th grade. (Was it the 1970′s? 1980′s?  If it was the 90′s please keep that to yourself!)

Now, try to make a list of 5 things that — while they seemed vital to the teaching and learning in our classrooms – have since become obsolete in today’s schools.

Did you mention filmstrips? (beep) Or card catalogs in the library? Wait — there was a library?

image courtesy of Ingvi Hranner

image courtesy of Ingvi Hranner

The point is, schools have changed.   And, thankfully,  schools are still changing.  These changes run deeper than the disappearance of black boards and dusty chalk.

Today’s best schools are learning environments (think open spaces, virtual studios, and “collaboratories”) where students and teachers explore, experiment, create, and discover.

Ingvi Hranner writes and blogs about education at his website.  One of his recent blog posts is entitled “14 things that are obsolete in 21st century schools.”

It’s fascinating to consider how schools are changing.  Just as fascinating, though, is realizing how many schools are not changing enough.

How many items that you listed are included on Hranner’s list of 14?

Cannon School is a JrK-Grade 12 independent school in Concord, NC.  Bill Diskin is Director of Admission and Financial Aid.  Follow his tweets @billdiskin.





Poetry matters

April 4, 2014

It’s April — and that means the spotlight shines on poetry!  The annual celebration of National Poetry Month in the United States presents a perfect excuse to share the joys of poetry with children.

Children's Poet Laureate, Kenn Nesbitt

Children’s Poet Laureate, Kenn Nesbitt

Over the years, I’ve enjoyed seeing students find their way with poetry.  Some children love it from the start.  Others resist it as something they don’t “get.”  Many, though, eventually do come around to an appreciation for poetry — if only because they get to play with language and try out playful forms and silly words.

Whatever other lofty curricular goals might be in play for a unit on poetry — one goal should always be for students to ENJOY it!

U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate, Kenn Nesbitt, agrees.  “Nesbitt’s poems frequently deal with humorous, relatable situations that verge on the madcap,” says his Poetry Foundation bio.

Nesbitt is the author of numerous books of poetry for children, including The Armpit of Doom: Funny Poems for Kids (2013), The Ultimate Top Secret Guide to Taking Over the World (2011), The Tighty-Whitey Spider(2010), Revenge of the Lunch Ladies (2007), Santa Got Stuck in the Chimney(2006), When the Teacher Isn’t Looking: And Other Funny School Poems (2005), and The Aliens Have Landed at Our School! (2001), among others.

Each month (even when it’s NOT April!!) Nesbitt shares lists of books at the Poetry Foundation web site.  Take a look.  Order a few from your local library or bookstore. What better way to celebrate National Poetry Month with your students and children?

Happy reading!

Cannon School is a JrK-Grade 12 independent school located in Concord, NC.


Making the most of mistakes

March 31, 2014

Over the past twenty years or so, I’ve been considering a theory that says, basically,  we learn more from losing than from winning.  18

As a parent and an educator, I believe that.  Players on teams learn a ton from being part of a losing experience. Musicians learn from hitting the wrong notes.  Students learn from making mistakes.

Last week, my son’s golf coach shared a quote from legendary basketball coach, Pat Riley, that supports this theory:  “It’s what you get from the games you lose that is extremely important.”

Then, just this morning, I read this — about mistakes —  in a post on Edutopia”s web site:

“Changing your students’ perspective on mistakes is the greatest gift you can give yourself as a teacher. Imagine having a classroom of students who are engaged and constantly improving — it’s every teacher’s dream. Instead, teachers face too many students who are disengaged and really rather surly. That surliness is years in the making. By the time students walk into your classroom, they’ve likely already internalized their mistakes as evidence that they’re just not smart. Getting a bad grade feels like a personal attack. No wonder they’re giving the deliverer of those grades the stink eye.”


It’s what we get from making mistakes that leads, ultimately, to growth and learning.  It’s what we feel after a tough loss that motivates us to reflect on what we need to do better next time.

Ultimately, failure leads to progress.

Read the full Edutopia post (by Hunter Maats and Katie O’Brien – authors of The Straight-A Conspiracy) here.

Cannon School is a JrK-Grade 12 independent school located in Concord, NC

Cannon School hosts Visual Arts Night

March 10, 2014

We hope you will join us for our annual Visual Arts Night!

Date: Wednesday, March 12

Time: 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
Location: Taylor Hall, Hallway Galleries, and Café

On Wednesday, March 12, the hallways of Cannon will become transformed with artwork of our students from JrK through grade 12. Your eyes and hearts will expand with wonder as you view all of the artwork and dance moves on display.ArtsNight

The night will not only showcase our talented artists, but programs designed to give back through art. Join us for a meal designed to do just that. Enjoy a delicious meal in a handmade bowl that you can keep—the proceeds going to a local organization in Cabarrus County working to end hunger.

(Watch a movie about our students and the Empty Bowls project here.)

Learn from our Cannon faculty, students, and neighbors how they are using art and creativity to transform their lives, the lives of orphans around the world, and the lives of those facing great challenges in our community. It is a night you won’t want to miss!

We would love you to help “give back” as well. If you can help by volunteeringyour time or by donating baked goods for the Empty Bowls Meal, sign-up and you will be doing your part!

Cannon School is a JrK-Grade 12 Independent School in Concord, NC.

Students and Teachers Matter Most

March 2, 2014

Pat Bassett, past president of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS),  believes students and teachers matter most.

In his recent article, “What Really Counts in Schools,” Bassett explains that factors like class size and test scores do not determine the quality of a school.  Instead, Bassett believes, students and teachers do.  IMG_5267

“Because kids quickly adapt to the environment they find themselves in, and because the peer culture dominates the environment from middle school on, the quality of the student body is one of the only two factors that really matters,” Bassett writes. “If the student body is serious about high achievement in academics, athletics, and the arts (the “three As”), then achievement-orientation in all undertakings becomes the norm for the school. Kids, especially from middle school on, but even in pre-school, take their cues on what’s expected of them from their peers.”

A school’s culture of high expectations is, ultimately, determined by its faculty.

“Teachers are the force that creates the intentional culture that produces students who are “smart and good,” students with the academic and character outcomes great schools aspire to produce: kids who are inventive, creative, and analytical problem-solvers; kids with character (integrity, empathy, resilience); kids who are “team players,” Bassett writes.

Read more of “What Really Counts in Schools” and other education news and ideas at


Cannon School is a JrK-Grade 12 independent school located in Concord, NC.




Failing successfully in high school

February 24, 2014

Bill Diskin:

Failure matters…

Originally posted on Cannon School Admission:

Charlotte Observer newspaper columnist Lee Bierer publishes a regular column known as “Countdown to College.”  She does a great job keeping high school students and their parents informed about the college application and placement process.
Students meet with Anne Shandley, Cannon School's Director of College Counseling

Students meet with Anne Shandley, Cannon School’s Director of College Counseling

An independent college adviser herself, Bierer understands the pace of the college search process — and her columns are always insightful and timely.

A recent Bierer column caught my attention with the headline “Who wants to talk about their failures?”

Great question!

As Bierer points out, college applicants completing the Common Application Prompt No. 2 should be prepared to respond.

Read more at “Who wants to talk about their failures?”

Cannon School is a JrK-12 independent school located in Concord, NC.

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