CAIS Top 12

#1: Vision, Mission, Values & Strategy

5 elements of an education brand

Your educational brand is your most valuable marketing asset. Guard and articulate it well, and you'll find greater success in your education marketing. To create the tangible brand elements, you must begin by articulating the intangible concepts that make up your education brand, which include school ethos, campus atmosphere, brand promise, audience perceptions and history, and this article provides plenty of suggestions on how to do so.

Also worth a read: The Quietly Radical Mister Rogers' Neighborhood

#2: Co-Curriculum & Learning Environments

Learning through the arts

John L. Ceschini is the Arts Integration Officer for Prince George's County Schools and the former principal of three nationally recognized arts integration schools in Maryland. He writes, "An arts integration school is a place where students learn the curriculum in and through the arts. This occurs when there is a natural connection between the skills and processes in multiple curricula. The arts are a proven strategy for accessing learning in all content areas." Ceschini elaborates on the following tips for implementing art:
  1. Start with the principal.
  2. Have a small but committed team of teacher leaders.
  3. Provide continued targeted professional development.
  4. Use arts partners to enhance support.

How to raise outdoor-loving, independent kids? Ask the Germans.

As Sara Zaske recounts in Achtung Baby: An American Mom on the German Art of Raising Self-Reliant Children, in Germany the societal consensus is that confidence and esteem are built not only on the assurance of parental support but also on problem-solving and mastering one's environment.

#3: Academic Program

Are We Killing the Confidence of Writers?

Dr. Katie Martin is the Head of Partnerships-West at AltSchool. In this blog post, she writes that while most of us use tools such as feedback and spellcheck on a daily basis, "we somehow expect that students should know and be able to do things "right" on their first try." Unfortunately, since technical skills like handwriting and spelling are what people see on the surface, students are often judged by the quality of their by handwriting or the mechanics of the writing over the ideas. Martin writes, "The truth is the technical skills matter but I would argue that developing and learning to effectively share ideas and communicate thinking matters more- especially today where you can type (and spell check) anything you want."

Also worth a read: The Key to 21st Century Classrooms Isn't Tech. It's Evolved Teaching. (Also by Dr. Katie Martin, this article appears in EdSurge).

An Innovative Quiz Strategy

This article details an interesting way to incorporate collaboration into a quizzing strategy. Students took three quizzes. First, they completed the quiz individually and indicated how confident they were in each answer. Then they discussed their answers with others seated near them and had the opportunity to change their answers. Next, correct quiz answers were revealed and once again students had the opportunity to discuss answers with each other. The authors conclude, "It is reasonable to suggest that an approach in which assessment is viewed as a learning opportunity is likely to provide greater benefits to the student than one which seeks only to quantify what has been learned previously."

#4: School Leadership

Why New Leaders Should Be Wary of Quick Wins

Dan Ciampa, writing for Harvard Business Review, stresses the importance of gaining the insight needed to understand the culture and build relationships rather than making quick changes. He recommends that new leaders control the action and slow down the pace and to do so he recommends techniques that fall into five categories: control the flow, reflect, repeat, question, and use silence.

7 Reasons Why Principals Make Positive Phone Calls Home

Aware that many students dread interacting with them, many principals are making a phone call to a parent a perk rather than a punishment. This School Leaders Now article provides seven reasons why principals are making positive calls home.

#5: Human Resources

Edcamps: The 'Unconferences' Where Teachers Teach Themselves

This New York Times article looks at Edcamps, which are an innovative form of training with no predetermined speakers or sessions, led by the participants themselves. They offer both community and empowerment and "Because Edcamps are designed to address teachers' immediate needs, the topics that bubble up there are often far ahead of where packaged development programs can be."

5 Ideas for Improving Professional Learning Experiences

The author of this blog post elaborates on the following five simple ideas that can make a significant difference in professional learning:

  1. Having students and parents participate in your professional learning day.
  2. Ensuring staff lead sessions (students as well).
  3. Giving staff time to NOT attend sessions and collaborate with one another.
  4. Look at different learning environments so teachers can try them out as learners, not only as teachers.
  5. Give time for health and well-being.

#6: School & Community

What I learned from Netflix about the future story of my school

In this post, David Willows reflects on how schools must tell their stories "with a new sense of candor, courage, and conviction." To do so, we must determine what we believe, be selective about what we believe and articulate these beliefs in ways that everyone can actually understand. This is important for marketing but also for school culture.

#7: Enrolment Management

Using the Enrollment Management Spectrum to Drive Success - Three Brutal Facts

Heather Hoerle, Executive Director & Chief Executive Officer of the Enrolment Management Association believes that schools must implement a full enrolment management system to be successful and that the best technique for long-term enrolment success is to have all revenue-focused offices working together strategically. She identifies three "brutal facts" that school leaders must address:

  1. Independent schools are heavily reliant on tuition income to fund operations.
  2. In most independent schools, enrollment management drivers are not yet well integrated.
  3. The customer is changing.

#8: Governance

Using For-Profit Language to Think Differently About Nonprofits

Patricia Q. Connolly is executive director of Drexel University's Raj & Kamla Gupta Governance Institute. In this BoardSource blog post, she recommends using the same language when discussing for-profit and nonprofit organizations. Connolly writes, "Many individuals serving on nonprofit boards are members of the business community - the same community from which for-profits draw their board members - and are familiar with the same business terminology used by their counterparts in for-profit boardrooms. So why not use this same terminology in our boardrooms? It could help our board members think about our organizations as the businesses they actually are. A common language establishes a baseline across both types of organizations and allows boards to operate and govern in a manner that can result in an improved management and oversight structure."

#9: Finance

Consider These Suggestions for Your School's Financial Aid Procedures

This ism article recommends taking a proactive, organized approach to financial aid in order to offer mission-appropriate families the right amount of aid while also preserving your school's bottom line. The article elaborates on these suggestions for financial aid procedures:

  • Choose your financial aid committee carefully.
  • Review your financial aid mission statement.
  • Review or create procedures.
  • Establish priorities.
  • Set protocols and deadlines.

#10: Physical Plant, Health & Safety

Schools lead the way to zero-energy buildings, and use them for student learning

According to this article in the Hechinger Report, "K-12 schools are leading a fledgling 'net-zero' building boom that has grown from a few proof-of-concept structures a decade ago to hundreds of buildings completed or under construction." In the process, these schools are uncovering major educational benefits as well as the authenticity of their lessons are reinforced by a schoolwide focus on sustainability. The article states, "Comparing the initial cost of building a net-zero school to that of a standard school is tough, because construction costs vary widely, as do the energy-efficiency challenges between climates. One constant, though, is that the priciest piece of a net-zero building is the solar array."

#11: Commitment to School Improvement

3 Questions To Challenge Practices That No Longer Work in Education

George Couros opines that while tradition has its place it doesn't ensure success for the future. He provides a simple exercise that can make an impact to move forward. Ask your staff to identify something that we need to rethink in our schools. Have them answer these three questions:
  1. Why did we do that practice in the past?
  2. Is it beneficial to our current students in the long-term?
  3. What could we do instead that would be better for our students?
In the post, Couros explains the two major reasons why these questions are crucial.

#12: Boarding Program

How educational institutions can capitalise on the rise in Chinese students

China remains the top country of origin for international students worldwide. This number is expected to grow proportionately to the number of China's upper-middle-class and affluent households, which is estimated to reach 100 million by 2020. This post on The Pie Blog is written for post-secondary institutions but has many points that also apply to boarding schools. The post recommends that to attract Chinese students schools should show them what their life at your school could look like and address key concerns of both parents and students, including security and cost.

Recent CAIS Top 12

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