CAIS Top 12

#1: Vision, Mission, Values & Strategy


Nine Competencies for Teaching Empathy

Michele Borba is an educational psychologist and parenting expert. In this Educational Leadership article, she writes, "empathy is at the core of everything that makes a school caring, a teacher responsive, and a society civilized. When empathy wanes, narcissism, distrust, aggression, bullying, and hate rise-and schools suffer." Borba believes that empathy comprises nine teachable competencies a few of which are emotional literacy, moral identity and perspective taking and she looks at how empathetic schools are approaching this work. She also identifies seven core principles for effective empathy education.

Meet Iowa's Waukee Innovation & Learning Center, the High School That Apple's CEO Called "a Model for the Country"

Last fall, when Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, visited the Waukee Innovation & Learning Center (WILC) in Iowa, he called the building a "model for the country" and said he hopes every student in America has the chance to learn in a similar environment. The WILC combines education and business by housing Waukee's Aspiring Professional Experience program, where students partner with local companies across finance, engineering, technology, health services, biosciences, and added-value agriculture to work alongside businesspeople and solve problems.


#2: Co-Curriculum & Learning Environments


The Teen Brain: How Schools Can Help Students Manage Emotions and Make Better Decisions

In this Education Week article, Sarah D. Sparks writes that teens are likelier to engage in risky behaviors and disengage from school and looks at emerging cognitive and neuroscience research that suggests ways schools can help "leverage teens' strengths in this unique developmental period." While teens do evaluate the potential harm of risky behaviors, many of them engage in them anyway because they place a higher priority on social approval. Traditional anti-bullying programs that work for younger students become ineffective in grade 8 because they do not address the more complex social situations when bullying often takes less-visible forms.

A good read for parents: How to Help Kids Manage Sleep, Schoolwork and Screens

Also worth a read: The Kids Are All Right: Teens Say Social Media Makes Them Feel Better About Themselves, Less Lonely & Less Depressed


#3: Academic Program


One School's Conversation About Open Gradebook

In this NAIS post, several school leaders from Harpeth Hall, an all-girls' school in Nashville, write about how they considered - and decided against - adopting an open gradebook for their school.


#4: School Leadership


Four Tips for Successful Parent-Teacher Conferences

This article stresses that the Head has an important role to play during parent-teacher conferences and provides a few tips for helping parent-teacher conferences run smoothly:
  1. Set goals with families and faculty.
  2. Provide mentorship opportunities for new teachers.
  3. Make yourself available.
  4. Ask for feedback.

Also worth a read: 12 Ideas to Make Your School Assemblies Unforgettable


#5: Human Resources


Mission & Motivation: Recreating the Performance Measuring Stick

Renata Rafferty is Head of School at Saint Gertrude, an all-girls' Catholic high school in Richmond, Virginia. In this Net Assets post, she writes about her commitment to preparing annual "narratives" for each person who reports to her, regardless of rank or position. Rafferty acknowledges that it does take far more time to complete the assessments, but it elicits a far more effective response from recipients.


#6: School & Community


Letting the Donor Decide

This article is about higher education institutions, where gifts from wealthy individuals tend to be very generous. Fundraising experts worry that as the amounts of money donated skyrocket, so too will the demands of the donors.

MIT Campaign for a Better World propels the Institute to best fundraising year on record

MIT has announced that the MIT Campaign for a Better World has mobilized record numbers of alumni and friends in support of the Institute's work on society's most pervasive global challenges. The Institute-wide campaign is driven by five problem-solving and discovery priorities that intersect with MIT's schools, departments, labs, and centers: Discovery Science; Health of the Planet; Human Health, Teaching, Learning, and Living; and Innovation and Entrepreneurship.


#7: Enrolment Management


Tips for Ensuring Your School's Marketing Is Student-Centered

This ISM article stresses that because students are the heart of your mission and your school, all marketing must be unequivocally student-centered. The article elaborates on the following tips to accomplish that:
  • Set up times to meet with students each week.
  • Be deeply involved in your school's survey process.
  • Get feedback from students.

Also worth a read: 3 Tips For Designing a Prospect-Focused School Website


#8: Governance


Erin M. Connell is an associate consultant at CRE, a nonprofit consulting firm that provides the strategies and tools needed to build sustainable, high-performing organizations. In this Philanthropy News Digest column, Connell writes, "by introducing younger perspectives and experiences into board deliberations, governance tends to become more creative, flexible, and plugged into our rapidly changing world." She provides several good tips for Boards looking to recruit millennials.


#9: Finance


Strategic Budgeting Basics for Best-in-Class Business Officers

This Net Assets post features some tips for business officers looking to develop an optimal working relationship with their Heads of School from Peter Christian, Director of Finance at Windward School, a few of which are weekly meetings with the Head, memorizing some basic financial facts and attending school functions.

College Costs More Than Ever, But Some Schools Go Against Trend And Slash Prices

In an effort to attract more students, some colleges and universities in the United States are using a "tuition reset" strategy: slashing tuition by as much as 50%. However, according to this Forbes article, "Only 27% of schools studied by the Education Advisory Board that had employed a tuition reset as a strategy managed to sustain enrollment gains of 5% or more. In addition, only 29% of schools managed to meet a 3% revenue growth target following their tuition reset."


#10: Physical Plant, Health & Safety


Port Hope's Trinity College School "Greenest in Canada"

Congratulations to Trinity College School, who along with an Alberta school, was named the "Greenest School in Canada". TCS has a five year sustainability plan to reduce its environmental footprint, decrease natural gas consumption by 23%, and make significant efforts to manage its energy consumption.

Check it out: Anamorphic Playground by Unit Lab only looks normal in a mirror


#11: Commitment to School Improvement


6 Ways Administrators Can Reduce Teacher Stress

This School Leaders Now article provides some simple ways for administrators to lessen teacher anxiety, which include letting teachers know when you are planning to observe their classrooms, avoid saying, "I'll talk to you later" and, letting teachers know when you see them doing something good.


#12: Boarding Program


Four changes that are shaping the Chinese market

China remains the world's leading source of international students. According to ICEF, the important factors are combining to shape Chinese outbound trends include a growing proportion of younger students going abroad, a wider field of study destinations, the increasing importance of online information channels, and a stronger emphasis on counsellor qualifications.

Also worth a read: 'Huge demand' for British private schools sees more than 70 now operating abroad








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