#1: Vision, Mission, Values & Strategy
The most important thing schools don't do
Marion Brady is a veteran educator and author of the book, What's Worth Learning
, which asks and answers the question: What knowledge is absolutely essential for every learner? In this Washington Post article he opines that there's no getting around the inherent complexity of original thought, and no getting around traditional schooling's failure to stimulate and nurture it.
How Praise Became a Consolation Prize
A new edition of Carol Dweck's book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
, updated to address false growth mindset, was recently published. In this interview Dweck talks about how she wants her ideas to be applied and stresses that helping children confront challenges requires a more nuanced understanding of the "growth mindset".
TFS - Canada's International School has a new mission, vision and direction
TFS recently launched a new strategic plan, complete with a new mission, vision and values. Thank you to Amy Morin, Executive Director, Community Engagement at TFS for sharing.
#2: Co-Curriculum & Learning Environments
Apply Chinese Philosophy to Cultivate Empathy in Schools
The author of this blog post believes that Chinese philosophy strengthens our ability to expand our perspective and to see everything in a wider context. She offers several ways for educators to bring Chinese philosophy into the classroom.
Mentoring's Promise and Limits
If you talk to successful people about what made a difference in their lives, "it often comes down to the involvement of a caring adult over time and during critical moments," said the University of Massachusetts at Boston psychology professor Jean Rhodes, one of the nation's leading experts on mentoring. However, research on the long-term effects of advisers is mixed, and some programs are now relying on video-game networks and other technology to forge stronger relationships.
Also worth a read: Don't Call It 'Guidance' Anymore: A Talk With The Nation's Top School Counselor
#3: Academic Program
How Design Thinking Became a Buzzword at School
The author of this article, which appeared in The Atlantic, writes that design thinking, which is more of a process than a lesson plan, is in danger of the same misinterpretation and poor implementation as grit and growth mindset before it.
How To Ensure Students Are Actively Engaged and Not Just Compliant
Engagement is a crucial part of learning, but ensuring students are actively engaged is more complex than whether a student is paying attention or not. When John Almarode, associate professor at James Madison University and co-director of the school's Center for STEM Education and Outreach, visits classrooms he looks for 8 different qualities that indicate students are engaged:
- Does the activity, strategy, task, or idea allow for the student to personalize his or her response? Can they bring their life experiences into the activity and make it their own?
- Are there clear and modeled expectations?
- Is there a sense of audience above and beyond the teacher and the test? Does the activity have value to someone else?
- Is there social interaction? Do students have an opportunity to talk about the learning and interact?
- Is there a culture of emotional safety? Are mistakes valued because they are an opportunity to learn?
- Do students have opportunities to choose within the activity?
- Is it an authentic activity? This doesn't mean it always must connect directly to the student's world, but it should connect to reality.
- Is the task new and novel? If kids are bored, it's hard to see engagement
Also worth a read: How Students Critiquing One Another's Work Raises The Quality Bar and School of Me: Letting students study what they want, when they want is the latest education trend
#4: School Leadership
Four Ways School Leaders Can Support Meaningful Innovation
If a school leader's goal is to implement thoughtful innovation, one way to think about school leadership, therefore, is to think about how to help teachers move through that cycle of iteration and innovation more effectively, more efficiently and more joyfully. Administrators have four powerful places where they can "grease the gears" of this cycle: creating an R&D budget, supporting opportunities for team learning, creating spaces for broader teacher sharing and learning, and building consensus around a shared vision and shared instructional language.
Also worth a read: Five School Leadership Lessons I Learned from the Seat of My Bicycle
How to Boost Your (and Others') Emotional Intelligence
Thousands of academic studies have demonstrated the predictive power of scientific EQ assessments vis-à-vis job performance, leadership potential, entrepreneurship, and employability. This Harvard Business Review article offers five critical steps for developing EQ:
- Turn self-deception into self-awareness.
- Turn self-focus into other-focus.
- Be more rewarding to deal with.
- Control your temper tantrums.
- Display humility, even if it's fake.
The Learning to Lead with Courage and Confidence
Workshop at the National Leaders Conference will explore several topics that serve as building blocks for successful and sustainable leadership, including Emotional Intelligence. Register for the NLC here.
#5: Human Resources
Personalizing Professional Development For Teachers, By Teachers
The author of this article details some insights on how to help teachers and students with personalized learning:
- Involve Learners Early and Often
- Use Time As a Resource
- Practice What We Preach (Or, How 'Meta' Can We Be?)
Also worth a read: 4 Unconscious Biases That Distort Performance Reviews
#6: School & Community
Shawnigan Lake School Donor Report
Shawnigan Lake School's Donor Report features messages from the Headmaster and Chair, a report on the Foundation and Annual Fund, impressive infographics, and recognizes and thanks Lead Donors and Donors. Thank you to Rudy Massimo, Director of External Relations and Advancement for sending this along. Rudy shared strategies and inspiration in the 2016 CAIS Culture of Philanthropy Panel
Worth Watching: Wonder What We Love About SJK? (Video)
This wonderful video truly captures the feeling and emotion of SJK. Thank you to Jeff Aitken, Head of School, for sharing it with us.
4 Reasons Nonprofits Should Pay Attention to Snapchat
Snapchat has rapidly become one of the most popular social media apps, surpassing Twitter's daily users in 2016 and coming in third among millennials behind Instagram and Facebook.
#7: Enrolment Management
Strategies: The Value-Added Re-enrollment Letter
Families love the re-enrolment letter from The Bolles School. Head of School, Dave Farace writes to highlight certain successes the school and its students and graduates have had in the last year, to draw attention to further improvements to look forward to, and to thank parents for continuing to invest in the school for their sons and daughters.
Strategies for Strengthening Ties With Feeder Schools
This ISM article recommends looking at enrolment data to get a clear picture of feeder school relationships. The article contains helpful strategies to employ at your school and at feeder schools in order to remove barriers and enhance relations.
Strategy is the Art of Choice and Sacrifice
There are four essential factors that a non-profit might use to make choice among a series of strategic initiatives. Priorities must be grounded in at least one of these parameters and balance across these four priorities will help keep your strategic plan balanced:
- Missional Mandate - A strategic goal must be in the plan because your mission mandates it, regardless of marketplace or revenue opportunities.
- Competitive Imperative - The competitive environment dictates this priority if your school wishes to remain competitive.
- Revenue Driver - Our school can make revenue in this venture.
- Element of Distinction - Adding a specific strategic goal will make your school more distinctive in the marketplace of sameness.
Regulation and Funding of Independent Schools: Lessons from Australia
The Fraser Institute recently released a new study, which finds that government funding of independent schools in Australia varies between 20 and 90 per cent per student (for operating expenses) depending on the average income of the neighbourhood in which the student lives, making them more affordable for lower-income families.
Among industrialized countries, Australia is the most similar to Canada with respect to its economy, history, and culture. There are therefore opportunities to learn from one another, including in the area of regulation and funding of independent schools.
#10: Physical Plant, Health & Safety
Space for innovation: Getting a competitive edge from campus facilities
A growing number of universities are realizing that innovation-branded facilities can be competitive strengths in a landscape where many schools still struggle to break out of traditional learning models. This article provides some suggestions for schools to make their spaces feel more inviting and inspiring:
- Change classroom configurations and introduce creative, though affordable, "makerspaces."
- Integrate more collaborative projects into their courses.
- Make an effort to create more inclusive and energised events, online networks, community spaces, and extra-curricular opportunities.
- Strengthen relationships with industry leaders and ask successful entrepreneurs to speak in classrooms.
- Improve the welcoming space prospective students encounter when coming to explore the campus.
#11: Commitment to School Improvement
Why Independent Schools Should Become an Educational Research Lab: One School's Experiment
This blog post is by Emily H. Jones, Head of School at The Putney School (Vermont). Eight years ago the school embarked on a longitudinal study to answer the questions: How do schools know what makes a long-term difference in their students' lives? Which students are their schools best suited to serve? Ms. Jones believes that more independent schools should collect data, since it can provide clear feedback on what is and isn't working in its program, provide clarity for the school's admission office, and contribute valuable research to the larger educational community.
Students prioritise culture, values in 21st century HE
Asked what they required of a 21st century education, students speaking during a session of the Times Higher Education BRICS and Emerging Economies Universities Summit, placed an emphasis on culture and values and the need for human connection in a globalized, often de-personalized world.
#12: Boarding Program
Trump victory driving increased interest in Canadian universities
Universities in Canada are reporting a pronounced increase in inquiries and applications from US students, and it appears that Donald Trump's surprising victory in November's presidential election is a major factor. "Colleges from Quebec to British Columbia say applications and website traffic from the United States have been surging since Trump's victory," says the Associated Press.
Looking back on 2016: The year in review
This summary recaps the most-popular items and most-important market developments in international student recruitment covered on ICEF Monitor throughout 2016.
Also worth a read: Western University alumni send first-year students letters of support