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National Leaders Conference

The 2019 National Leaders Post Conference Call for Workshop Proposals are open until December 7. Apply here.

Strengthen Your School Leadership

CAIS values the constant and deliberate quest for excellence, and we recognize the vital leadership role that governors play, in partnership with Heads, in the success of our schools. We want all of our schools to have strong Heads who focus on supporting the students of the present, but we also want strong Boards that focus on supporting the students of the future.

The Governance Guide include new learning on a number of areas, including Human Resources, Risk Management, Head Transitions, and Consent Agendas.

CAIS members and non-members can purchase a hard copy here. And CAIS members can also view the full PDF in CAIS Connect here.

2051 Resources

Think like The 2051 Project's Advisors and Coordinators!

To prepare for The 2051 Project we have gathered and shared articles to further our knowledge on key issues surrounding independent school education.


How Independent Schools Can Ward Off Disruption
The prospect of disruption looms on the horizon for many of America’s independent schools. They face difficulties not unlike those of the country’s higher education system, where the increasingly burdensome cost of the postsecondary experience is causing the traditional college business model to break at its seams at the same time that disruptive entrants are gaining traction.

One More Way Independent Schools Can Ward Off Disruption
As many independent schools struggle and face potential threats from the emergence of disruptive micro-schools, what they should do to survive and thrive is an increasingly important question. Last week I wrote about two possible responses independent schools could take: creating an autonomous unit to launch a disruptive innovation themselves and using online learning as a sustaining innovation. There is also a third option open to independent school leaders to ward off disruption, which is admittedly more speculative.

You need an innovation strategy
Disruptive.... Radical....
Despite massive investments of management time and money, innovation remains a frustrating pursuit in many schools. Innovation initiatives frequently fail and successful innovators have a hard time sustaining their performance. Why is it so hard to build and maintain the capacity to innovate?

The eight essentials of innovation
Innovation is a complex, school-wide endeavor that requires a set of crosscutting practices and processes to structure, organize, and encourage it. Read the eight essentials on how to prioritize innovation to create meaningful value for overall school performance.

Inside The School Silicon Valley Thinks Will Save Education
The AltSchool is a decidedly Bay Area experiment with an educational philosophy known as student-centered learning. The approach, which many schools have adopted, holds that kids should pursue their own interests, at their own pace.

How Are Our Schools Engaging with OSG
Schools are asking how to begin engaging in online and blended learning or how other schools have navigated their journeys. The Online School for Girls has compiled five different snapshots from five of their consortium schools that highlight how exactly some independent schools have engaged strategically.

Proof Points: Blended Learning Success in School Districts
Here are six case studies of how traditional district schools improved learning outcomes after implementing blended learning. Read the key details in the schools' blended-learning strategies, the tools used, and promising results in the form of test scores and graduation rates.

Lessons Learned from a Chalkboard: Slow and Steady Technology Integration
Thank you Brad Adams, formerly from IBSC, for this commentary that compares Japanese and US approaches for integrating technology in K-12 classrooms. While many schools are consumed by a haphazard race to adopt the latest gadgets and new innovations, often these devices function as little more than expensive and colorful accessories with minimal influence on existing instructional methods. Good words of caution on change management.

Active Learning in an Intercultural Online Environment at Wilfrid Laurier University
Using active learning pedagogies, Wilfrid Laurier University professor, Gavin Brockett, created a global classroom, through videoconferencing technology, to connect 34 students in Waterloo with 9 students in Istanbul. How is your school engaging students from around the world to create a global classroom?

Stanford president John L. Hennessy considers future of HE
"When I think about MOOCs, the advantage - the ability to prepare a course and offer it without personal interaction - is what makes them inexpensive and makes them very limited." says John L. Hennessy, President of Stanford University. Hennessy states, "they were the answer when we weren't sure what the question was." He now advocates for hybrid courses, based on a relatively small set of top-quality digital lectures, enhanced by simulations, known as large selective online courses (LSOCs).

Researchers calculate cost of developing and delivering MOOCs
Researchers at Brown University and Columbia University have calculated that the cost to an institution of launching a massive open online course (MOOC) may be as high as $325,000 in some cases. The study's authors interviewed 83 administrators, faculty members, and researchers at US PSE institutions and conducted case studies to determine a method for effectively calculating the cost of launching a MOOC. They found that the main factors in driving up the cost include the number of faculty members, administrators, and instructional support personnel needed; the quality of videography; the nature of the delivery platform; the programming required for special features, such as auto-graders, virtual labs, or gamification platforms; the analysis of platform data; and the technical support required by participants. Personnel costs ranged from about $29,000 to as much as $244,000 per MOOC, with total costs ranging from nearly $40,000 to over $325,000. The researchers recommend that future studies of MOOC effectiveness include cost analyses to determine whether spending on production and delivery bears any relation to learning outcomes.

Educating Minds Online
Online courses—or an online component of a traditional class—offer a way to "give students repeated, challenging practice with the concepts we want them to know and the skills we want them to master," says Michelle Miller, a professor of psychological sciences and co-director of the first-year learning program at Northern Arizona University, and author of Minds Online: Teaching Effectively With Technology, published this fall by Harvard University Press.

Minerva Schools at KGI
Award-winning documentary filmmaker, Shual Schwarz, was invited to spend time with members of the Founding Class at Minerva. Watch a short documentary and experience student life at Minerva or an interview with school founder, Ben Nelson, on reinventing the university experience. Read about the global cultural immersion in student life, their accomplished faculty, the interactive seminar experience, and why members of their Founding Class made the decision to leave traditional undergraduate programs to attend Minerva.

OESIS Blended Learning Surveys Report 2014-2015 on Learning Innovation in 450 Independent Schools
Independent schools are following an approach that amplifies their strength of close instruction through the Flipped Classroom, and cater to their focus on higher order university prep learning goals of creativity, analysis, and critical thinking through pathways like Project-based Learning. Advanced Blended Learning models are gaining traction in independent schools. These models are more focused on data-driven intervention, student agency for pacing and direction, and feature significant online programmatic elements based around competency. Read the full OESIS report as it takes an in-depth look at many blended learning strategies.

Full Steam Ahead: Part 3 - Cutting-Edge Research and Opinion for Excellent Independent Schools
ISM, in two previous white papers, discussed whether the recent recession and subsequent recovery, has impacted private-independent school enrolment. Despite data from ISM’s recent parent re-enrolment surveys and three tuition elasticity studies – all suggest that the enrolment intentions of parents remain strong, and that tuition and enrolment are not correlated – many leaders continue to question independent school sustainability. This report will explore the five major concerns surrounding independent school sustainability.

ISM's 20 Success Predictors for the 21st Century
In the 21st century, ISM expects successful private-independent schools to make radical changes in both structure and function in order to achieve and sustain stability and excellence. Here, ISM offers 20 Success Predictors; eight core success predictors and 12 correlative success predictors. The “success-look” will be driven by the interactive effects of technology, environment, and pedagogy/curriculum, coupled with a fresh set of financial and economic assumptions.

New Pedagogies for Deep Learning - A Global Partnership
“Education needs to be radically rethought partly to stop the boredom, but mostly to blow the lid off learning, whereby students and teachers as active partners become captivated by education” Michael Fullan and Marie Langworthy. New Pedagogies for Deep Learning is an international innovation partnership, involving students, teachers, school leaders, families, and education communities working together to address a key education challenge: how to design teaching and learning that leads to more successful lives for all students.

The Winter 2015 issues of NAIS’ Independent School magazine is filled with articles on Blended Learning, MOOCs and other issues in education technology.

This Atlantic article covers the increasing trend in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) and how one entrepreneur, Ben Nelson, believes he can reinvent higher education by stripping it down to its essence with his new venture, the Minerva Project.


Our Iceberg Is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions

Most of the denizens of the Antarctic penguin colony sneer at Fred, the quiet but observant scout who detects worrying signs that their home, an iceberg, is melting. Fred must cleverly convince and enlist key players, such as Louis, the head penguin; Alice, the number two bird; the intractable NoNo the weather expert; and a passle of school-age penguins if he is to save the colony. Their delightfully told journey illuminates in an unforgettable way how to manage the necessary change that surrounds us all. Simple explanatory material following the fable enhances the lasting value of these lessons. Our Iceberg Is Melting is at once charming, accessible and profound; a treat for virtually any reader.

The Explainer: Disruptive Innovation and Evolving Toward Openness amidst the Disruption of Higher Education
"Big players [established CAIS schools?] focus on sustaining innovation and their more profitable customers, ignoring the regular customers who want a low cost alternative. As a result they upgrade current products by adding more bells and whistles that no one wants - they over serve. A disruptor improves product to appeal to more people. They treat the project as a separate unit with its own business model and expectations". Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation, Harvard University.

Bricks and Mortar - The Making of a Real Education at the Stanford Online High School
The rise of online learning is rapidly transforming how and what teachers teach, and even who—or what—teachers are. In the midst of these changes, the characteristics that have historically defined a high-quality education are easily lost. Not only content knowledge, but also ways of thinking and habits of mind are the hallmarks of the well-educated individual, and these latter qualities are not so easily acquired online. Or are they? This volume shows how a group of online-learning believers built the best high school in the world without laying a single brick: the Stanford Online High School (SOHS). By chronicling SOHS’s distinctive approach to curriculum, gifted education, and school community over SOHS’s first seven years, Bricks and Mortar makes the case that the dynamic use of technology and the best traditional methodologies in education are not, in fact, mutually exclusive. Indeed, while SOHS has redefined what is possible online, a great education is ultimately the product of an interactive community of teachers and students.

A follow-up to the bestseller Disrupting Class by Clayton M. Christensen, Michael Horn, and Curtis Johnson, this hands-on guide expands upon the blended learning ideas presented in that book to provide practical implementation guidance for educators seeking to incorporate online learning with traditional classroom time. Readers will find a step-by-step framework upon which to build a more student-centered system, along with essential advice that provides the expertise necessary to build the next generation of K-12 learning environments. Leaders, teachers, and other stakeholders will gain valuable insight into the process of using online learning to the greatest benefit of students, while avoiding missteps and potential pitfalls.

Minds Online - Teaching Effectively with Technology
Drawing on the latest findings from neuroscience and cognitive psychology, Michelle Miller explores how attention, memory, and higher thought processes such as critical thinking and analytical reasoning can be enhanced through technology-aided approaches. The techniques she describes promote retention of course material through frequent low‐stakes testing and practice, and help prevent counterproductive cramming by encouraging better spacing of study. Online activities also help students become more adept with cognitive aids, such as analogies, that allow them to apply learning across situations and disciplines.

Anne-Marie Kee's Summer 2015 Reading List

Download as Word document

Creative Schools – Ken Robinson

blended – Michael B. Horn and Heather Staker

The Road to Character – David Brooks

The Teacher Wars – Dana Goldstein

The Test – Anya Kamenetz

Excellent Sheep – William Deresiewicz

The End of College – Kevin Carey

Teach Reflect Learn – Pete Hall and Alisa Simeral

The Big Disconnect – Catherine Steiner-Adair

Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be – Frank Bruni

Finnish Lessions – Pasi Sahlberg

schooled – Anne Lutz Fernandez and Catherine Lutz

Freedom to Change – Michael Fullan

Children Succeed – Paul Tough

The Myth of the Spoiled Child – Alfie Kohn

Schooling Beyond Measure – Alfie Kohn

On-Site Resources

The Explainer: Disruptive Innovation &

Evolving Toward Openness amidst the Disruption of Higher Education

"Big players [established CAIS schools?] focus on sustaining innovation and their more profitable customers, ignoring the regular customers who want a low cost alternative. As a result they upgrade current products by adding more bells and whistles that no one wants - they over serve. A disruptor improves product to appeal to more people. They treat the project as a separate unit with its own business model and expectations". Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation, Harvard University.

How to Build a Culture of Innovation

Sir Ken Robinson, a long standing passionate advocate of schools needing to foster individualization in the learning process and curiosity through creative teaching, discusses the three essential integrated components of innovation: imagination, creativity, and innovation. How intentional is your school about providing meaningful opportunities for students to become more imaginative, creative, and innovative?

Check out his new book Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That's Transforming Education.

The Ten Types of Innovation

The Ten Types will provide you with a useful way to start thinking about the innovation process.