Spring 2010


I hope you enjoy this issue of the SabbaticalHomes.com newsletter. We are trying a slightly

different format this time and the issue is packed with articles we hope you find interesting and informative. Be sure to read the piece on our Notable Member, Dr. Katherine Merseth and her work with charter schools. We have two great articles on unique connections that have been made between SH.com members; also, if you are in the job market, be sure to give our an article on Job Search a read.   


With the summer months ahead of us, and fall sabbaticals being approved,  we have included a short piece on how to maximize your listing presentation just in time for this busy season. Lastly, if you haven't been on the SH.com site lately, take a cruise around and see how you like the upgrades we have made "behind the scenes." Take a moment to update your listing and perhaps search for the perfect spot for your next travel adventure. I think you will enjoy the improvements we have made to make it easier to navigate the site.

Have a wonderful spring season.



Nadege Conger, Founder 

Notable Member
Kay Merseth investigates charter schools


SabbaticalHomes.com is eager to feature the accomplishments of its members on its website. So many of you are doing exciting things that are of interest to our diverse community. We also hope that SabbaticalHomes.com has been helpful in the successes our academics, writers and artists.


Our Notable Member for this issue of our newsletter is Dr. Katherine K. Merseth, Senior Lecturer, Harvard School of Education, and long-time SabbaticalHomes.com member.


"This site has helped me immensely. Honestly, I have lost count on how many tenants I have had, but I would estimate something like seven or eight."


Merseth thinks the success of SabbaticalHomes.com is tied to its unique demographic. "Academics are easier to work with since they often have the same schedule I do," explained Merseth. She sends lots of pictures to her prospective tenants and uses former tenants as references. "It's relatively simple."


The National Association of Charter School Authorizers recently honored Dr. Merseth for Excellence in Advancing Knowledge, primarily for her work on her current book, Inside Urban Charter Schools.


"It is an honor to be recognized by this group because it represents the gate keeper for high quality charter schools," said Merseth. "I have been interested in the charter school movement since it began in 1993. It offers real opportunities as well as possible perils for reforming K-12 education."


Charter schools are center stage in the debate about the state of education and school reform across the United States. Perhaps no one is more qualified to speak to the successes of charter schools than Dr. Merseth. 


The next step in her work is to investigate low-achieving charter schools to determine if the factors that were important for high achieving charter schools, as identified in her book, Inside Urban Charter Schools, are missing from the low-achieving ones.


SabbaticalHomes.com is proud of Dr. Merseth's accomplishments and looks forward to her continued input on the changing face of education. We will keep you all posted on her findings. If you have a suggestion for a Notable Member, please contact us at SabbaticalHomes.com.



Behind the Scenes

At SabbaticalHomes.com, we are constantly striving to bring you the best possible resource. Since our last newsletter, we have implemented a number of changes to our site. We upgraded our Browse by Country feature which allows our members to see how many listings are available in each country (don't you love the flags)? We also added a Top Destinations page. The most popular locales are in the larger type and this is continuously updated based on where all of your are traveling. Among other things, each page of the site was edited for the most current information and additional landing pages were added to ease navigation. Our web master, Constantin Philoupou made all of these changes appear to be quite easy and we hope you enjoy our enhancements. Stay tuned for a new look in graphics and colors.

SabbaticalHomes.com Makes Connections
From the Niger River to Cape Cod
People meeting by chance who happen to be from the same city is interesting but not all that uncommon. Two people meeting who spent time in the same tribal area along the Niger River in West Africa is certainly a bit of a coincidence though.


That's exactly what happened to Aylette Jenness, author and long-time SabbaticalHomes.com member, when she leased her Cambridge, MA apartment last year. In her discussions in getting to know her tenant, she learned he had lived in Nigeria, in the same general region that her family had.  Aylette and her family were there for three years, and she worked on her writing and photography, capturing the African way of life. This led to her third published children's book, Along the Niger River- An African Way of Life.


Both families, not knowing each other then, returned to their lives in the United States, only to find one another by chance through SabbaticalHomes.com.


"The people who use SabbaticalHomes.com are so simpatico. I always meet interesting people but this was such a wonderful connection," said Jenness. "My tenant was about the same age as a boy living there that my own son had been."


This encounter was the beginning of a happy friendship between Aylette and her tenant-family. She later learned that the tenant's mother was also an author of children's books, and had worked in the field of photography as well. In fact, when Aylette needed to return to Cambridge, yet her tenant's young daughter still had two weeks of school left, the group decided to be housemates and now, of course, are lifelong friends.


Her latest tenant is no exception. Again through SabbaticalHomes.com, she has rented her apartment to a family and they have become friends. They are new to the Massachusetts area and are delighted to live in her Cambridge home but all are already planning on joining her at her winter home in Cape Cod for a weekend soon. "They have never been out to Cape Cod and we get along so well, it was very natural to invite them to stay with me."


Currently, she is hard at work on her first adult book, a photographic memoir of her time in Nigeria during the Nigerian civil war. Aylette is an accomplished author of 13 children's books, many of which have been used in classrooms across the United States. Her last children's book, All About You -- An Adventure in Self Discovery, is on display in the Boston Children's Museum.

Looking for a Change at Work?
A few resources

SabbaticalHomes.com wants to be a valuable partner to the community, not to just find housing, but to provide information to the academic community as well. Toward that end, we are working on articles and developing resources to assist educators with new opportunities.


While the economy seems to have stabilized somewhat, jobs are still a hot-button topic. Academics struggle with finding jobs that are both rewarding and pay a reasonable salary. Advancement often requires gaining additional experience teaching on sabbatical for a semester or summer either in the U.S. or abroad. Sometimes, it means taking a full-time position at a new school altogether.


To assist our members with such a search, we have compiled a short list of web sites that offer assistance with job searches geared strictly for academics. If you are in need of a change, check these sites out first.


The Chronicle of Higher Education: This site is one of the most wide-ranging sites available for college educators. Not only does it provide job search, but also offers a variety of news, articles, commentary, forums and advice. Its Job Search is free, however there is a fee to subscribe for weekly delivery via electronically or to your mailbox.


Three additional sites are more concentrated on job search. The first of these is AcademicCareersOnline. The site not only has faculty and teacher assignments for viewing, but also research, postdoctoral, adjunct, library and administrative possibilities. The site is worldwide with an emphasis on the US, Asia and Europe. There is no fee to search the job listings but you must register with the site if you wish to submit a resume. There is a fee to post an available job.


For those wanting to stay primarily in the United States, Teachers-Teachers.com is the site for you. It is free to join and offers a recruitment service for teaching, administrative and related education careers. Job seekers can post an application, create, attach and send cover letters (even to employers outside of Teachers-Teachers.com) and track their job searches.  


EducationAmerica.net has listings in all 50 states for both college and K-12. Its Resource Center is complete with information about state certifications, salaries, resume and cover letter writing, professional development, networking and job fairs. This site is also free for users. The site also has partner networks in Canada and Australia. It has a link to The International Educator (TIE) which features teaching jobs abroad, primarily teaching English. TIE charges a small yearly fee to be a member.


If any of you have additional resources such as these to share with our SabaticalHomes.com community, please send them to Editor@SabbaticalHomes.com. Also, check our "Resources" link frequently for updates and new information. 

Summer Preview
Professors need vacation too...

SabbaticalHomes.com has set up a special section on its website for summer exchanges. This section makes it easier to search the site for properties available during the summer months.
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