Expect The Best


Heads & Chairs Conference

The Conference includes workshops for new Heads and new Chairs, notable Guest Speakers, separate sessions for Heads and Chairs, and the CAIS Annual General Meeting. Several other presentations and workshops take place, which vary each year. Learn more & register here.

Leadership Institute

Prepare for senior leadership roles in independent schools with our Leadership Institute. Learn More

Online PD Webinars

Each year, we host webinars on national topics that are most relevant to our leaders. Access previously recorded webinars in CAIS Connect.

New PD model

Anne-Marie speaks to moving forward with a new national PD model with the creation of one national conference. Watch the Video

2015 CAIS Accreditation Guidelines

Review the new CAIS Accreditation Guidelines that are being piloted this school year. We welcome your feedback!

CAIS Top 12

#1: Vision, Mission, Values & Strategy

Innovation and the Independent College: Examples from the Sector

Independent schools often look to smaller private colleges and universities for creative strategies and ideas for addressing significant issues. This report "Innovation and the Independent College" presents an overview of the major points of discussion held during a series of eight workshops hosted by The Council of Independent Colleges' member presidents in 2016-2017. Approximately 500 campus leaders from CIC member institutions participated in the workshops. The report references hundreds of examples of mission-driven innovations shared during the workshops and devotes one section to each of these areas:
  • Athletics
  • Career connections
  • Community engagement
  • Consortial arrangements
  • Cost containment
  • Curricular reform
  • New academic programs
  • New student populations

Are private schools really better than public schools? A look at the data.

In this post, which appears in the Washington Post, Alden S. Blodget - an educator who spent decades in independent schools - writes about the data recently published by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) and Gallup that find that their graduates may have better long-term outcomes. Blodget writes that the NAIS-Gallup report, "Seeking Critical Collegiate Experiences and Consistent Progression in Higher Education," could have "unintended consequences, the most dangerous of which is confirming a tendency to believe that education in independent schools must be better than what happens in public schools" and stresses that data can be misleading and questions how much sense it makes to compare private and public school performance when the populations of students are different.

#2: Co-Curriculum & Learning Environments

Building Skills Outside the Classroom With New Ways of Learning

The Mayfield Innovation Center's model is described as project-based, team-centered, career and industry-aligned learning. The school celebrates failure as a critical part of innovation and offers access to state-of-the-art technology, as well as partnerships with local organizations to provide those experiences. This New York Times article also looks at career academies in Pasadena, engineering innovation at Toyota, Lasell College's "Pathways to Teacher Diversity" program and City-as-School High School.

Remembering King's Perspective On Education

In this Diverse Education piece, Dr. Cornelius Gilbert, assistant professor in the Department of Educational Leadership at the University of St. Thomas, writes about Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s perspective on education. King cautioned: "We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education." Gilbert writes, "a more robust college education seemingly would be more enticing where students are encouraged to embrace the humanities, social sciences and other fields of study that promote critical analysis and generate critical thinking that cross-pollinates fields and beliefs. In doing so, we can learn not only more about ourselves, but about people who do not share the same experiences, backgrounds, identities, cultures and communities."

Today's Rebels Are Model Children

This article in The Atlantic looks at the recent upsurge of youthful activism and the young protestors, many of whom are "disclipined achievers" who prioritize mature responsibility. These kids demand that their voices be heard, but they want more adult vigilance, not less.

#3: Academic Program

Why schools should not teach general critical-thinking skills

Carl Hendrick is Head of Learning and Research at Wellington College in Berkshire. He writes that while schools have been focussed on the idea that students must learn a set of "thinking skills", called '21st-century learning skills' or 'critical thinking', with the aim to equip students with a set of general problem-solving approaches that can be applied to any given domain (an approach that is lauded by business leaders), educators have failed to apply any critical thinking to the question of whether any such thing can be taught. Hendrick believes "teaching students generic 'thinking skills' separate from the rest of their curriculum is meaningless and ineffective" and instead we should focus on subject-specific critical-thinking skills that seek to broaden a student's individual subject knowledge. Thank you to Donna Bridgeman, CAIS Board Member for sending along this article.

Provide Hands-on Tech Experience With a Student-run IT Help Desk

This ISM article suggests that schools consider implementing a student-run IT help desk to give students real-world experience while supporting your school's technology initiatives. The article details the following steps to get started:
  • Create formal guidelines
  • Acknowledge privacy concerns
  • Appoint an advisor
  • Refine and repeat

#4: School Leadership

7 Mistakes Managers Make That Cause Good Employees To Quit

Brigette Hyacinth is the author of The Future of Leadership: Rise of Automation, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence. In this LinkedIn post, she states, "when employees quit, the top reason for their resignation is their relationship with their manager" and she elaborates on the following seven mistakes managers make that cause good employees to quit:

  1. They are inflexible and make things difficult.
  2. Showing favoritism.
  3. They are quick to blame or punish employees.
  4. They don't show they care.
  5. They don't recognize accomplishments.
  6. Micromanaging employees.
  7. They have no interest in employees' development.

Clients Creating Change: Female Leaders Speak out

Blue State Digital spoke with six women who have achieved enormous professional success in the nonprofit, brand, and advocacy sectors to find out what they think about how far we've come and how far we need to go to increase female representation in leadership.

#5: Human Resources

An agenda for the talent-first CEO

This McKinsey & Company article is written by the authors of the book Talent Wins, which explores what it takes to build and lead a talent-driven organization. It is written for for-profit organizations, but it is worth a read.

The authors believe that leaders at talent-driven companies focus on talent as much as strategy and finance and consider talent in every major strategic decision. As well they are comfortable leading flattened organizations, often with small, empowered teams. In this article they focus on, and elaborate on, four key priorities for the CEO of a talent-driven organization:
  1. Create a central brain trust.
  2. Align the Board of Directors.
  3. Constantly develop your top talent.
  4. Unleash talent and strategy with agility.

#6: School & Community

Marketing the Why in Higher Education

The author of this article references the exceptional TED talk by author Simon Sinek (Start with why -- how great leaders inspire action), in which he stressed "people don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it" and makes the case that to truly differentiate, schools need to articulate why they do what they do and de-emphasize what they do. Understanding, internalizing and articulating the why is the foundation of a solid integrated marketing strategy.

Also worth a read: The No. 1 Reason You Should Be Live Streaming Your Education Events and Podcasting: Unicorn or Real Opportunity?

#7: Enrolment Management

How To Attract Millennial Parents To Your Private School

This blog post includes many stats on millennials (a few: they are the most educated generation in history, but they are also in the most debt; and, they're passionate, love getting behind causes that matter to them, and value adventure and travel). The article addresses common misconceptions about millennials and details the defining values and characteristics of millennial parents': pragmatism, convenience, collaboration and community, mom decides, trust is paramount and the buyer's journey.

The bottom line: "Your online presence must be pristine, comprehensive, and compelling, because that is where this new generation of parents is going to make their decision about whether to pursue a relationship with your school."

Top private schools bring in power elite (and power forwards)

With players and their families realizing that it pays to think more broadly about the kinds of ends to which basketball can be a means elite private schools, such as Sidwell, seem to be producing substantially more highly sought basketball players than they were even a decade ago.

Also worth a read: Climbing Ivy ladder gets harder

#8: Governance

Lee Rennick is Vice President Business Development & Insights at Six Trends Inc. - a Toronto-based digital transformation business. In this Charity Village article she writes, "according to a study by IDC in 2016 only 17% of Canadian businesses had integrated a digital transformation plan into their corporate strategy, even though 60% of corporations expected the digital economy to have a major impact on their business in the next three to five years." Digital transformation has three components that interconnect to create a digital ecosystem: systems integration, enterprise solution, and user experience. Rennick also details two stages of digital transformation, which are:

  1. Reveal, absorb and learn
  2. "If we started our work today what would our programs and services look like?"

#9: Finance

How CFOs can better support board directors-and vice versa

This article is written for public companies but many of the points it makes about the relationship between the CFO and the Board of Directors also apply to non-profit organizations. The authors believe that as demands on Board directors grow, CFOs will be increasingly important as resources to support them and that the CFOs who can define value creation in context and proactively anticipate Boards' needs will excel. Those CFOs can also accelerate their own development by working more closely with Board directors and taking in their insights and experiences. Defining their relationships with the Board and managing Board interactions as a team is critical.

MacEwan University recovers $10.92 million

In August 2017, MacEwan University lost $11.8 million in a phishing attack. This week the school announced that it has concluded legal proceedings to recover $10.92 million. According to the press release, "MacEwan's administration credits the recovery of such a large percentage of the funds - just over 92 per cent - to the swift response and diligent efforts of an internal team at the university, legal counsel in several jurisdictions, fraud units at the banks involved in the transactions and law enforcement agencies. The university has put stronger financial controls in place to prevent further incidents and is implementing IT security awareness and training programs for its staff and faculty."

#10: Physical Plant, Health & Safety

"I Can't Stop": Schools Struggle With Vaping Explosion

School officials are struggling to control an explosion of vaping e-cigarettes among high school and middle school students and fear that the devices are creating a new generation of nicotine addicts. According to this New York Times article, "the 2017 Monitoring the Future survey on adolescent drug use found that 11 percent of 12th graders, 8.5 percent of 10th graders and 3.5 percent of 8th graders had vaped nicotine in the previous 30 days. Of those high school seniors, 24 percent reported vaping daily, which the study defined as vaping on 20 or more occasions in the previous 30 days, said Richard A. Miech, a professor at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan and a principal investigator of the study. Nineteen percent reported vaping on 40 or more occasions during that period."

Prep Your Campus Network for Internet of Things Devices

This EdTech article offers strategies for school IT managers trying to support the vast array of devices that students and faculty want to connect to their networks, including:
  1. Segregate Devices to Maximize Utility
  2. Bring in Firewalls to Lock Down Networks
  3. Monitor Networks to Act Proactively

Also worth a read: Using the outdoors as a classroom: Forest School approach being explored in Kenora and Use This Summer Program Checklist to Protect Your Students and School

#11: Commitment to School Improvement

Four Recommendations for Surveying Your Parent Body

Conducting a parent survey allows your school to identify and mitigate any issues that the majority of parents have with your school, as well as pinpointing the specific aspects of your school that parents value most. This helps your Marketing Communications Office improve its efforts to highlight what parents really love about your school in its materials. This ISM article recommends that you take the following steps to gain insights that will help improve your school's strategies to support students and their families:
  1. Create a survey plan
  2. Generate buzz with your parents
  3. Distribute your survey methodically
  4. Analyze your results

#12: Boarding Program

Global education and student residence firm CIBT has announced plans to build a second 'Global Education City' in Vancouver. The $230m project will build three towers, one for office space, the others residential, which will eventually house schools, education agency offices, support services, and bed spaces for domestic and international students. The site has been assigned a development budget of $600m.

Canada: ILAC bucks the tech trend

The International Language Academy of Canada is launching a pilot project that will see students and teachers go zero-tech in its Toronto schools. As part of the zero-tech pilot project, teachers will need to reduce the use of "passive" digital tools such as videos and opt for "active communication methods".

From the field: Affordability shaping Kenyan outbound trends

ICEF interviewed Amin Esmail, chief executive of the Nairobi-based education agency Univserv, who explained some of the factors that are shaping demand for study abroad in Kenya, including an interest in more affordable destinations and the much-improved availability of information on study abroad for Kenyan students. "Canada has picked up momentum tremendously," Esmail says, "this has to do partly with the cost of their education...and that it is more student friendly than many countries."

Recent CAIS Top 12

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