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Register for the 2017 National Leaders Conference - Academics

April 9 - 11, 2017.
Register here

Leadership Institute

Register for the upcoming Spring and Summer Leadership Institute. Learn More & Register

2016 CAIS Webinar Recordings

Watch our International Fundraising, Governance Series, National Student Panel on Supporting LGBTQ+ Students, 2015 KPI Benchmarking Overview and our Review on Executing Accreditation Pilot Surveys webinars in CAIS Connect.
Access webinars here

Register for upcoming webinars here

2016 NLC Resources now available

Both the Catalytic Conversations on the Future of Education - Summary Report and the workshop material is now in CAIS Connect.
Access the Summary Report and Workshop Material

New PD model

Anne-Marie speaks to moving forward with a new national PD model with the creation of one national conference. Watch the Video

2015 CAIS Accreditation Guidelines

Review the new CAIS Accreditation Guidelines that are being piloted this school year. We welcome your feedback!

Leveraging Our Power

Making the CAIS

Leveraging Our Power

by Martha Perry, Principal at St. Clement's School

As the product of a girls' school, I believe strongly in the presence and the nurturing of women in leadership. It is a comfort to know that CAIS believes in this as well.

Over the last four years, a module on Women and Leadership – first started by Kathy Nikidis, current Head of Trafalgar School for Girls and former Head at Miss Edgar's & Miss Cramp's School – has been included at the CAIS Leadership Institute. It has been important in fostering conversations among female colleagues about research, candid experiences, and considerations of next steps.

I have had the great good fortune to teach this course for several years now, and am always energized by the connections, insights and networking opportunities that take place. This is, in many ways, thanks to the support of CAIS in acknowledging a need.

Interestingly, though, very often at the end of the module, conversations turn to what more can be done to encourage and support women in seeking additional responsibility, and ultimately positions as Heads of School. There is much research that highlights women's reticence to put themselves forward for leadership roles unless they have all of the criteria being sought for a job, whereas men do not share this hesitation and they more readily apply.

CAIS has been very supportive in considering ways for women to stay connected, to link women as mentors and mentees, and encouraging women to take the next step. The networking is a powerful strategy to support aspiring women, and to remind them that they should "lean in" and apply for jobs regardless of whether they think they are 100 percent ready. I am pleased that this mentoring is being fostered by female and male CAIS colleagues.

I often wonder, however, whether the very nature of our schools – their independence – can sometimes have a less than favourable effect on facilitating opportunities for women's upward career trajectories.

There are currently 95 CAIS schools: 73 are co-ed, 16 are girls' schools, and 6 are boys' schools. Sixteen women lead co-ed schools, and 16 lead girls' schools, for a total of 32, or about a third of the total. Of the nine schools to have new Heads in 2016-2017, two are women.

Ultimately, when an independent school goes through the process of selecting a new Head, it is the Board of Governors and their appointed selection committee that is ultimately making a decision about leadership. I appreciate that a selection committee that knows their school the best, and has reflected on the needs of the school going forward, is paramount. But how do we ensure that our boards are aware of the research and realities of women in leadership? How do we ensure that our independent boards have a sense of the larger and more expansive landscape?

We are leveraging the power of networking and mentorship through CAIS. We should now encourage the independent boards of our schools to be aware of the power they have to afford opportunities for our women leaders.

Left to right: Helen-Kay Davy (Principal, Havergal College), Martha Perry, Brigid Schulte (author of Overwhelmed: How to Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time, and guest speaker at a Collaborative Girls' School event), Deryn Lavell (Head of School, The Bishop Strachan School), Karen Jurjevich (Principal, Branksome Hall).

Keeping Our Focus

by Laurence Kutler, Head of School at Talmud Torah | Herzliah

What will our students remember ten years from now? I think it's safe to say they won't remember individual tests and assignments – those numbers and data that sometimes are in danger of consuming all our energies and focus.

I do think they will remember the humanity of our school, the warmth of the teachers and staff, the nurturing community that we focus on creating at Talmud Torah | Herzliah ...

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Singing Our Light

by Allan Hardy, Principal at Greenwood College School

At Greenwood, we believe strongly that students should be provided with multiple opportunities to challenge their minds, their bodies and their spirits. And now we have a spectacular artwork that demonstrates these beliefs.

"Singing the Light," by Toronto artist Sarah Hall, is 60 feet high by 18 feet wide and continuously spans five floors of our school. The central tree that stretches the length of the piece, together with the birds that come to rest within the piece and then fly off on their own, are allegories for the school community ...

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Our Students are Masterworks

by Ted Spear, Ph.D., Head at Island Pacific School

At Island Pacific School we believe that when kids are given a strong foundation and the right kinds of support, they can achieve truly remarkable things.

This belief is put into practice in our Masterworks program. Small by design – IPS has a total of about 65 students spread across Grades 6 to 9 – our school has created an intellectually creative challenge for our graduating students ...

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Neuchâtel Junior College Celebrates 60 Years

Neuchâtel Junior College - Bill Boyer, Head of School.

"We have many of the same concerns as other CAIS schools," says Neuchâtel's Head of School, Bill Boyer, "and that includes refreshing our facilities, fundraising, and ensuring a compelling education inside – and especially outside – the classroom."

"What is unique about our school is that we renew our entire student body every year. We offer Grade 12 only, and so each and every year we see a new group of students. That has its challenges and its pleasures."...

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Leveraging Our Power

by Martha Perry, Principal at St. Clement's School

As the product of a girls' school, I believe strongly in the presence and the nurturing of women in leadership. It is a comfort to know that CAIS believes in this as well.

Over the last four years, a module on Women and Leadership – first started by Kathy Nikidis, past Head of Miss Edgar's and Miss Cramp's School – has been included at the CAIS Leadership Institute. It has been important in fostering conversations among female colleagues about research, candid experiences, and considerations of next steps ...

Read more
Keeping a Stiff Upper Lip or Digging Deep?

by Stuart Grainger, Headmaster at Trinity College School

The start of an academic year brings a new energy to those of us in education – students, staff and faculty alike. A fresh beginning provides another opportunity to set short-term and long-term goals, another chance to sharpen habits and routines and, ultimately, the ability to make our lives and communities better ...

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The Importance of a Blank Page, and Some Deep Thinking

by Graham Hookey, Head of School at Kempenfelt Bay School

Since 1984 I have written a weekly column for local newspapers in the communities in which I have lived. My purposes are quite simple. First, I feel that discussions surrounding education and parenting (the main thrusts of my writing) are both necessary and helpful. I throw ideas up in the air, share the insights and research of others, and then hope some of it settles in such a way that it's helpful to parents as they take on the ever-challenging role of raising children ...

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Happiness is the Truth!

As schools begin the new academic year, CAIS wants to wish Rodger Wright a relaxing, fulfilling – and happy – retirement.

After 33 years as Headmaster – at Trinity College and Collingwood School – Rodger Wright retired in June. But he did not go without a song ...

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Can You Fly?

By Jason B. Rogers, Headmaster at Rundle College

When I was five years old, if someone had asked me this, I probably would have answered, "I might not be able to fly now! But I'm about to take off!"

I remember donning my Superman costume and running in circles in my backyard attempting to get a little bit of lift. My younger brother, who so often was the innocent bystander in need of rescue, often sat by awaiting my triumphant arrival ...

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Finding the Magic

By Paul G. Kitchen, Head of School at Rothesay Netherwood School

In 1965 I was a new grade 9 boarding student beginning what I thought would be a grand adventure. Both of my brothers had spent five years at boarding school, so I didn't ask any questions. When I was going into grade 9, it just seemed that it was my turn. Little did I know that my turn would end up lasting 46 years ...

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The Business and Joys of Education are Unlike Any Other

By Blayne Addley, Headmaster at Halifax Grammar School

The Halifax Grammar School is currently designing a new campus. It's being brought to life founded on the core principals of collaboration and group-work, and will celebrate liberal arts education, which I strongly believe will help develop the best and brightest opportunities for our current and future students ...

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The Story of Keisha (or, never underestimate the impact you can have on the life of a child)

By Dorothy Byers, Head of School at St. Mildred's-Lightbourn School

Human beings are socialized creatures: we need social interaction to thrive. Working in education enables the development of deep relationships with the children, parents, and adults with whom we work. The impact of these relationships may take years to understand or come to fruition. Let me share one that is profoundly impactful in my life ...

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Perhaps We See Some Revolutions Only in Retrospect

By Geoff Dowd, Principal of Trafalgar School for Girls

My undergraduate readings in education during the early 1970s created a fair degree of internal cognitive dissonance: they included Ivan Illich urging us to de-school society and Neil Postman disparaging systems that focused too much on how to make a living, rather than live a life. Taught by professors long removed from school classrooms (if they were ever there), I seemed to learn more about why education was not working...

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Everything Flows from Relationships

By Jim Power, Principal of Upper Canada College

Growth mindsets, 21st-century learning skills, cross-cultural competencies – these are among the important topics vigorously promoted in schools these days. But it's important to remember something that has been true since Plato first wrote about his cave: schools are, at their deepest core, about the fundamental and pivotal relationship between student and teacher...

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