CAIS Top 12

#1: Vision, Mission, Values & Strategy


COVID Forced Schools to Innovate: Let's Build on What They Learned

Considering the COVID-19 pandemic, the authors of this Getting Smart article say, "Helping students recover—socially, emotionally, and academically—will be a years-long effort that may prove even more challenging than the pandemic itself." School leaders should consider the work of the last year and take this opportunity to:
  • Expand our view of success, focussing on whole-child outcomes
  • Adopt flexible learning schedules
  • Create a wider range of instructional roles
  • Deliver instruction in more ways
  • Strengthen partnerships with families
The article stressing that schools should not make assumptions about what worked and what didn't; they should ask students and parents for feedback.


#2: Co-Curriculum & Learning Environments


Peer Connections Reimagined: Innovations nurturing student networks to unlock opportunity

In this paper, Chelsea Waite, a research fellow at the Christensen Institute, says, "peer connections are a critical resource as K–12 schools and postsecondary programs look to support students' wellbeing and growth, enrich their learning experiences, and expand career options." Waite looks at a host of tools and programs that help peers serve as:
  • social support to foster belonging, identity formation, and social and emotional skills;
  • academic support to drive learning outcomes and keep each other on track;
  • guidance support to expand options and ease transitions;
  • and mental health support to promote wellbeing and reduce loneliness.


#3: Academic Program


How to talk to children about residential schools

Note: This article contains content about residential schools that may be triggering.
For this IndigiNews article, reporter Anna McKenzie asked educators to share teaching resources from the classroom to assist in speaking with children about residential schools. The article suggests many books and resources from Indigenous publishing companies and bookstores and recommends the following websites:


#4: School Leadership


When an Educated Guess Beats Data Analysis

The authors of this Harvard Business Review article share their recent research that suggests a strong emphasis on data and analysis can backfire under conditions of uncertainty. They focused on innovation screening decisions and found that "managers who relied on their instincts together with some simple heuristics made decisions that were just as accurate but were undertaken much more quickly. That is, heuristics and gut feelings offered a better tradeoff in terms of decision-making speed and accuracy; the inclusion of analysis in the decision-making process did not bring about any meaningful improvement in accuracy while significantly reducing speed." The article cautions that the effectiveness of a manager's intuition might rely on prior experience.


#5: Human Resources


A Research-Informed Way to Support First-Year Teachers

As faculty with the Institute for Teacher Education, Elementary Education Program at the University of Hawai'i-Manoa, Jennifer Padua and Rayna Fujii facilitate the process of guiding the next generation of educators. In this Educational Leadership article, they say that induction mentors can play a vital part in teacher retention. They share their research on the role that an induction mentor teacher should play in an educator's first year, including bridging previous and current experiences, bringing together new teachers to share ideas, regular check-ins and sharing knowledge.


#6: School & Community


How to Make Your School More Welcoming for LGBTQ Families

Writing for EdSurge, Jeremy Majeski, Elementary School Principal at the American School of Barcelona, shares what he has learned by talking to gay and lesbian parents about their school experiences. He suggests schools consider these questions: "Can every type of parent or guardian find a place for themselves in my school's documents, databases, and communication?" and "When planning this event, can every type of student, parent, or family find a place for themselves?" The article also stresses the importance of word choice, actions, and body language.


#7: Enrolment Management


5 ways elite universities can be more inclusive

MIT Sloan recently hosted the latest in a series of discussions on the inclusion innovation economy, spotlighting diversity in higher education. Stanley Litow, professor and innovator-in-residence at Duke University and a trustee at the State University of New York, cautioned that institutions that don't embrace diversity will be left behind: "There's a risk involved in any institution not getting out front on this issue. What we're finding out right now is that talented young people don't want to work for a company that doesn't understand these issues. Your ability to attract talent is going to depend on your ability to understand that failure in this regard is a risk."


#8: Governance


America's massive ransomware problem, explained

Writing for The Hustle, Jacob Cohen says that ransomware attacks are increasingly common. Last month, the Colonial Pipeline, the gas pipeline operator that supplies approximately 45% of the East Coast of the United States, paid hackers $4.4 million to restore systems. Cohen writes that every institution is a target and that 57% of all attacks in August and September 2020 were on K-12 schools.


#9: Finance


Balance Sheet? Income Statement? But I'm Not a Numbers Person!

"Far too few folks in nonprofit leadership have financial expertise," writes nonprofit governance expert Joan Garry in this blog post. Still, Garry says we must bring numbers to life, put them in context and truly learn from them. Garry offers her own friendly amendment, "After the financial statements are complete, the balance sheet need review, or the budget is ready for presentation, sit and write a 1-2 page narrative. The story the numbers tell. The headlines. The implications. The choices you are making as a result."


#10: Physical Plant, Health & Safety


School Ventilation: A Vital Tool to Reduce COVID-19 Spread

This report from the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security includes a cost-effectiveness analysis comparing ventilation with enhanced ("deep") cleaning, concluding that ventilation improvements are a cost-effective public health measure with the potential to show benefits for decades in the future. The report includes specific recommendations in order of near- to long-term priorities, one of which is, "school administrators and decision makers should stop enhanced cleaning, disinfecting, 'deep clean' days, and any other expensive and disruptive cleaning."


#11: Commitment to School Improvement


Four Key Student Support Strategies To Help Prepare For Fall 2021

In this blog post, Beta Eaton, Director of Student Support at One Schoolhouse, looks at student support systems and stresses that they must "evolve to meet the unique needs of the next few years." She details four key strategies to help schools prepare for fall 2021, emphasizing that all students are at risk of struggling. Eaton says schools must examine their practices to ensure their systems foster the collaboration of caring adults, and "this isn't the year to wait to see if kids solve their problems on their own. Instead, think about what the smallest possible intervention can be."


#12: Boarding Program


Ethical questions around Western University's move to make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for students living in residence

This episode of The Current looks at Western University's decision to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for students who want to live in residence this fall. Guests include Alan Shepard, president and vice-chancellor of Western University, and Vardit Ravitsky, a professor in bioethics at the University of Montreal. Shepard says the school has not made the vaccine mandatory for faculty, staff, and students not living in residence because they do not believe Canadian law allows them to do so, and says the school will allow exemptions on medical or religious grounds. Ravitsky has several concerns with the school's decision and believes there are alternatives to requiring vaccines.







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