The Stone Independent School
Education is not preparation for life -- education is life itself.
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Notes From Stone

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Summer Reading at Stone

We don’t assign "traditional" summer reading here at Stone -- there just aren’t a lot of models for summer reading which incentivize “good summer reading habits” and in fact most seem to incentivize “reading poorly the night before school starts”.  That being said, we all believe summer is the ideal time of year to read meaningfully and to that end we'd like to share a few reading ideas as we hit the halfway point of the season:

  1. The End of Average by Todd Rose -- our "official" summer-reading selection for Stone parents. In it, Rose argues against the concept of “average” as a useful measuring stick for, well, anything and ultimately advocates for “mastery”-style assessment for educational institutions. It's a remarkable book, one which Stone parents discuss in late August as a way to kick off the school year..

  2. What School Could Be by Ted Dintersmith.  Dintersmith -- one of the producers of Most Likely to Succeed -- visits innovative schools in all 50 states in order to produce a fascinating meditation on 21st Century Education (including several mentions of our Mastery Transcript Consortium).  If you’re interested in learning more about ways education is changing, What School Could Be provides a terrific "birds eye view" of education in America.

  3. Loving Learning: How Progressive Education Can Save America’s Schools by Tom Little.  This is the book which helped us coalesce our thinking just as we began to construct “the TBA School” back in 2015.  Tom Little was the Head of School at Oakland’s great Park Day School, and in Loving Learning he tours 43 progressive schools across the country to consider how schools can “invigorate learning and promote inquisitiveness”.  The book is a powerful one, one we shared with our original board members, one which taught us how to speak about Stone, and is particularly poignant because its publication coincided with the passing of its profoundly inspiring author.

  4. How Google Works by Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg.   How Google Works is the official summer-reading selection for our faculty and is an intriguing look at a company that grappled with what “innovation” looks like in real time while also grappling with how to balance innovation alongside scale.  We’re excited to use it as a way to challenge how schools work, how we work, what our assumptions are, and what our opportunities are to be just a little different and a whole lot better.

  5. And, if you’re interested in an ever-growing (and pretty arbitrary) list of 30-40 books that Head of School Mike Simpson just happens to recommend, check out this unwieldy list of Potential Reading Recommendations right here.

Our community reads a lot over the summer -- in fact, we've got a running Slack channel dedicated to all the books our students, faculty, and parents are reading over the summer -- and the kind of summer reading we value is the kind of learning we value: rigorous, thoughtful, self-directed, and joyful.  Want to learn more about the ways our community works and learns (or just want to share a few summer reading recommendations)?  Email us at!

Mike Simpson