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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.


CAIS Top 12

#1: Vision, Mission, Values & Strategy


Are Your Ideal Graduates Their Ideal Employees?

Dr. Katie Martin is the Head of Partnerships-West at AltSchool. In this blog post, she writes "preparing kids to take notes a certain way or have the endurance to sit through a lecture or do hours of homework is a function of doing school, not necessarily preparing them to be successful in life." She then describes visiting a variety of companies in Silicon Valley with a group of educational leaders "in an effort to better understand the changing world of work, the increasing impact of technology, and what that could mean for our schools." During the visits, the group noticed some common themes:

  • Skills and motivation to solve meaningful problems are critical
  • Evaluation is based on impact, not seat time
  • Passion is central to the work, not something you just do on the weekend.


#2: Co-Curriculum & Learning Environments


Winter Break Is Hard for So Many of Our Students

Trevor Muir is the author of The Epic Classroom: How to Boost Engagement, Make Learning Memorable, and Transform Lives. He reminds us that some students do not look forward to extended breaks from school and details these tips to ease the stress for these students: be aware of how you talk about winter break, be a listening ear, connect students with resources when possible, give students an opportunity to serve and connect with students in little ways over the break.

Also worth a read: Parents should encourage girls to get angry and show it. Here's how.


#3: Academic Program


Using Student Work to Drive Decision-Making

"When we focus on the deficits first, sometimes they are all we see. When we begin with strength, we can celebrate our learners," writes Katie White in this All Things Assessment blog post. She details the process her professional learning community engaged in for their analysis of student writing, stating that their approach "to the analysis of assessment artifacts gets us to the 'heart' of effective instruction without wasting any time."

A Curriculum to Copy?

In this Inside Higher Ed article, Paul Fain writes about The Minerva Project's groundbreaking curriculum, which it hopes to export to universities around the world. According to the article, "the university bans lectures and requires that students be actively engaged at least three-quarters of the time while in their seminar classes, meaning that they must participate rather than passively listen to an instructor. By incorporating the science of learning across the curriculum, Minerva strives to improve how its students think before they move on to the specific subject matter most colleges emphasize."


#4: School Leadership


4 Ways to Support Your Teachers' Mental Health

This School Leaders Now article provides some tangible ways to support your teaching staff's mental health: modelling self-care practices, incentivizing the practice of self-care and incorporating self-care during staff meetings and PD days. The article also asks that school leaders consider how they can create systemic change to foster a culture of self-care.

Also worth a read: Simple Tips for Boosting Teacher Resilience

How to Mentor New Teachers So They Won't Quit

Sheridan Steelman has been teaching for over 30 years. In this School Leaders Now article, Steelman writes "Our mentoring should be deliberate, planned, and inclusive. Sometimes minor changes in present practices and a strong commitment to mentoring new teachers can make all the difference in the longevity of an educator's career." The article provides suggestions to mentors: teach together, meet often, encourage reflection, be vulnerable and share experiences, create positivity and ensure that new teachers feel supported and valued.


#5: Human Resources


Tips to Keep in Mind During Hiring Season

This ISM article recommends that schools create a structured hiring process in which all openings are communicated to faculty and staff before they are made public. Doing so has numerous benefits: fairness, a stronger pool of applicants, career development opportunities and legal protection. The article also has several tips for writing a job description that will attract the right candidates.

Also worth a read: How to Collaborate with People You Don't Like


#6: School & Community


Attention stressed Western students: Kind mail is coming your way

Two years ago, Western Alumni launched "kind mail" and later this week more than 1700 letters will be delivered to current students. According to this CBC article, "the idea is for members of Western Alumni to send an encouraging note to the student who lives in their old residence room or to any student who attends the university: a way to give students a boost during exams."


#7: Enrolment Management


The three questions on the application for Elon Musk's private school

At Ad Astra School, the unconventional private academy funded by Elon Musk, the students take part in a curriculum heavy on science, math, engineering, robotics and artificial intelligence. According to this Quartz article, hopeful students, who must be between the ages of 8 and 13, fill out a basic information form, an optional parent statement, an example of a project or endeavor that shows the student's "commitment, ambition, and originality," and the student's answer to one of three "synthesis" questions: "Goldilocks", "The Eleventh Painting" or "The Lake", which the article details.

Choosing a College: The Virtues of a Good Misfit

All the talk about helping prospective students find "the perfect fit" may be discouraging them from truly valuable experiences at colleges where they may thrive, writes Diana Senechal in this Inside Higher Ed opinion piece. While it is written about post-secondary education, it is an interesting read.


#8: Governance


This Is How You Should Be Networking Your Nonprofit

Writing for Forbes, Kelly Hoey, author of Build Your Dream Network emphasizes the importance of an engaged Board together with a strong staff for successful fundraising. Hoey shares examples to illustrate a better way to build relationships with donors, and three tactics to improve the network building efforts:

  1. Ensure every member of your Board remains enthused to tap their personal networks for your cause.
  2. Audit the networks of your Board along with your major donor list.
  3. Invest in training, and learn from customer service obsessed companies in other industries.


#9: Finance


10 Ways to Cultivate Up-And-Coming Finance Leaders

Thomas A. Lawson is chairman and CEO of FM Global. In this article, he recommends ten principles to help ensure that your leadership development is deliberate and productive. A few of which are: hold today's leaders accountable for the next generation, create a feedback-rich culture and give stretch assignments.


#10: Physical Plant, Health & Safety


How first-aid kits for mental health symptoms are helping Canadian university students

This article is from Maclean's magazine. After struggling with anxiety in her first year of university, Tina Chan was inspired to develop a first-aid kit for mental health symptoms. She chose items based on scientific theory and evidence of usefulness for the Panic, Anxiety and Stress Support Kit, or PASS Kit. The kits proved so helpful that faculties across the University of Waterloo began ordering them to hand out to first-year students. The kits are available online for $15.

Cleveland Heights school mandates vaccinations after measles outbreak in New York

The Hebrew Academy of Cleveland recently sent a letter to parents, telling them that students are no longer exempt from vaccinations, even for religious beliefs. In the letter school leaders wrote: "We recognize that there are families that have strong views on both sides of this issue. However, this is not an area where we can accommodate any deviation from this new protocol." The article quotes Dr. Barcuh Fertel with the Cleveland Clinic who said, "there's really no good credible science for someone not to be vaccinated."


#11: Commitment to School Improvement


Reflections on Perception

In this blog post, Mike Connor stresses the importance of conducting an Image Audit to gain actionable insights: "The Image Audit is still a powerful tool to inspire reflection and growth. Its reach goes far beyond enrollment conversions and yields and into marketing and branding's prime directive: LISTEN FIRST."


#12: Boarding Program


Employability and competition driving Indian demand for study abroad

A series of recent surveys and interviews finds that intense competition in the Indian job market is a major factor in demand for study abroad.







Recent CAIS Top 12


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