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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

Inside the $28,000-a-year private school where children of tech workers learn to become the next Mark Zuckerberg or Elon Musk

This Business Insider article looks at Basis Independent Silicon Valley (BISV). Each student at BISV takes a minimum of six Advanced Placement courses and completes their graduation requirements before senior year, when they embark on capstone classes and independent research. In 2016, ninth-graders at BISV who took a worldwide exam had higher test scores in math, reading, and science than the averages of 15-year-olds in China, Korea, and Singapore.

Oracle's Silicon Valley campus is now home to a high school - here's what it's like inside

Last month, Oracle opened the doors of a brand new $43 million high school building built on its Silicon Valley campus. The building is the new home for Design Tech - also known as d.tech - a public charter school that works closely with the Oracle Education Foundation, a nonprofit organization funded by the company.

Also worth a read: WSU defends Koch-funded private school being built on campus

#2: Co-Curriculum & Learning Environments

Helping Strangers May Help Teens' Self-Esteem

This Mind Shift article looks at a recent study which shows that when it comes to helping others, teens may benefit psychologically from spending time helping strangers. According to the article, "the study, published in the Journal of Adolescence, suggests that altruistic behaviours, including large and small acts of kindness, may raise teens' feelings of self-worth." The researchers also found that adolescents who helped strangers reported higher self-esteem one year later.

Taking Playtime Seriously

This New York Times article stresses the importance of play for children. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, a professor of psychology at Temple University says, "we're trying to train our kids to be better computers, but our kids will never be better computers than computers." She stresses that we should look to strengthen their human skills, which play can help to develop.

How to help kids create media, not just consume it

This Washington Post article is written for parents, but it also has a lot of great resources for educators who are looking to build their students' creative skills while sharing their stories, opinions and ideas.

#3: Academic Program

How To Value Wisdom Over Knowledge In Your Classroom

The author of this article believes "Wisdom is knowing what's worth understanding, understanding the value of ideas, and always placing knowing in the context of not knowing- seeing the limits of knowledge and our own understanding." He provides the following statements of affirmation for valuing wisdom over knowledge in your classroom:
  • We value our questions over our answers.
  • We see how our perspective impacts everything-"reality," for example.
  • We instinctively compare what we believe we know with what there is still to learn.
  • We see the relationships between ourselves and those around us as complex, important, and constantly changing.
  • We (try to) grasp the significance of what we learn.
  • We know that our own understanding begins with knowing what's worth understanding.
  • We seek to find the bias first in our thinking, then in others.
  • We value our time and our place.
  • We accept uncertainty.
  • We minimize the separation between what we know and how we live

The importance of teaching youth to guard against energy "fake news"

In this article for The Conversation, David Taylor, Instructor, Faculty of Education at the University of Winnipeg writes, "in terms of energy, public relations ploys by the oil, coal and nuclear industries can be convincing, and can lead our youth down the proverbial garden path. Being able to critically evaluate such claims is part of scientific literacy."

#4: School Leadership

How to be a collaborative leader

The author of this article defines collaboration as, "the presence of opportunities for shared leadership, educator ownership, and sharing of instructional and pedagogical ideas." In this article he elaborates on some of the steps he recommends for moving to a collaborative-leadership model:
  • Establish group goals and norms.
  • Use discussion and dialogue.
  • Work through conflict.
  • Develop problem-solving and decision-making strategies.
  • Assure all voices are heard.
  • Ask, "What if?"
  • Communicate openly.

How to Be Friends with Someone Who Works for You

The author of this Harvard Business Review article acknowledges that navigating manager-employee friendships is tricky and elaborates on the following five tips on how to manage a friendship with one of your employees:
  1. Choose your friends carefully.
  2. Set expectations at the start.
  3. Be clear about your roles in conversation.
  4. Be transparent with others.
  5. Do your job.

Also worth a read: 10 Things All Great Principals Do

#5: Human Resources

Five Steps to Minimize Your School's HR Risks

Human Resources and employment practices are two sources of risk for many independent schools. This ISM article recommends implementing the following five-step plan to dramatically reduce your school's human resources-related risks:
  1. Conduct an Audit
  2. Negate Immediate Risk
  3. Address Long-Term Risk
  4. Professionalize HR Functions
  5. Monitor HR Practices

#6: School & Community

Email marketing metrics: what results to look at

It is important to review and analyze the effectiveness of each email campaign to ensure that it has been successful and to determine what improvements you can make to improve future campaigns. This article recommends that school marketers pay attention to the following five email marketing metrics to help measure the success of email marketing campaigns:

  1. Click-through rate
  2. Conversion rate
  3. Open rate
  4. Bounce rate
  5. Churn rate (list growth)

How to Engage Alumni Effectively | 4 Flawless Best Practices

Prospect research is the practice of collecting and analyzing alumni data to better know your community of prospective donors. Your school can leverage this data into more effective engagement techniques and help boost your school's fundraising success. The article focuses on four prospect research best practices that schools should consider:
  1. Maintain meaningful prospect profiles for your alumni.
  2. Clean your alumni prospect profiles regularly.
  3. Leverage your alumni engagement survey to improve prospect research.
  4. Use alumni prospect research to plan more impactful fundraising events.

#7: Enrolment Management

Building a Successful School Marketing Plan: 5 Tips for Re-Enrollment

This blog post has some suggestions for this reenrollment season to help you give families every reason possible to want to come back for next year, and to make the decision as quickly as possible:

  • Face Your Issues Head On
  • Rally the Troops
  • Use Stories and Video
  • Campaign Trail
  • Get Personal

Also worth a read: Are Admissions Gatekeepers Diverse Enough? and School Spotlight: The Westfield School Experiences 10% Enrollment Growth After a 10-Year Decline

#8: Governance

A Crash Course in Crisis Communication

David D. Perlmutter is Dean of the College of Media and Communication at Texas Tech University. In this article, which appears in The Chronicle of Higher Education, he writes, "for leaders who want to save people from harm and uphold the honor and reputation of their institutions, not to mention keep their jobs, now is the time to plan for crises to come." He offers a few tips:

  • Appreciate how fast issues and news develop today.
  • Differentiate a real crisis from routine.
  • Develop an intel monitoring system.
  • Insist that anybody can leap the chain of command in a crisis.
  • Prepare a plan for every type of crisis; review, revise, and rehearse.
  • Know when to go public and when to keep it private.
  • When going public, do not be led by events.

We Need to Approach AI Risks Like We Do Natural Disasters

Prashanth Gangu, is a partner in the insurance and digital practices at Oliver Wyman. In this Harvard Business Review article Gangu writes that the risks posed by intelligent devices will soon surpass the magnitude of those associated with natural disasters. The article advises that natural disasters can provide a template for how to mitigate the growing and catastrophic risk posed by AI and stresses that organizations must have worst-case scenario recovery plans.

#9: Finance

Protecting Your Non-Profit from Ransomware

Ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid. Non-Profits are particularly vulnerable to ransomware attacks because they often have less sophisticated computer defenses. This article lists some of the best techniques to protect your organization from a ransomware attack:

  • Backup your data regularly.
  • Use a Multi-layered Defense Strategy.
  • Filter e-mails.
  • Educate your users.

The Changing Business Model For Colleges And Universities

This Forbes article looks at the challenges to long-established business models in colleges and universities. With resources continually more difficult to generate, some schools have made very large changes to their business models and have recreated themselves as very different institutions from the way they began. For the most part, institutions that have been successful in increasing their revenue stream from students have broadened their missions.

#10: Physical Plant, Health & Safety

15 Things Kids or Teens Say That Could Mean "I'm Anxious" - Where They Come From And How to Respond

Anxiety can often appear in ways that don't look like anxiety. When children are anxious, it can be difficult for them to articulate exactly what's happening for them. It will be clear that something isn't quite right, but it might not be as obvious that anxiety is behind it. The article explains why kids might say the following things when they're feeling anxious:
  1. I feel sick, like I'm going to vomit.
  2. I'm not hungry.
  3. My tummy hurts.
  4. I don't want to go to school.
  5. Anything angry.
  6. 'I feel really sad and I don't know why.' (Or just tears. Lots of tears.)
  7. 'But what if .... What if ... What if.
  8. I need to pee ... again.
  9. I can't sleep.
  10. My legs hurt. My arms hurt.
  11. But I don't want to sit still.
  12. But I can't do it!
  13. I want to stay with you.
  14. I'm tired.
  15. Nobody wants to play with me.

Marijuana at school: Loss of concentration, risk of psychosis

Legalization of recreational marijuana is bound to complicate matters for Canadian high schools everywhere. Despite the fact that many people perceive marijuana as "relatively harmless" it is linked to early-onset paranoid psychosis and is damaging to academic performance.

#11: Commitment to School Improvement

Unlocking the Potential of the Data You Have

Steve Wilkins is head of school at Carroll School, Massachusetts. In this NAIS article he writes, "data can help you make the case that your students can make more progress in a wide variety of areas because your independent school is able to understand their learning profiles and design their instruction accordingly". Wilkins details how the school made the commitment to maximizing student records by analyzing the data they contained to guide educational programming and he shares what they've learned from their experience with data, which can be useful for independent schools of all types and levels. Some of the steps they took included creating a database and student data reports; conducting relevant research; providing teacher training and adjusting the daily academic schedule.

#12: Boarding Program

Boarding School, Crisis Center Partner to Promote Safety

A New Hampshire boarding school and a crisis center group have partnered to enhance student health and safety and prevent domestic and sexual violence. The agreement will provide a 24-hour crisis hotline, advocacy and support services, crisis intervention, and counselling.

KPU closes applications from international students, citing at-capacity enrolment

Kwantlen Polytechnic University has closed applications from all international students enrolled in 2018 after reaching its capacity, reports Richmond News. The article explains that KPU's international enrolment has grown 41% since last fall. "We never had these many applicants from international before," said KPU media specialist Tatiana Tomljanovic. "As of Jan 24, we received 2,519 international applications for the summer semester, compared to 1,209 international applications for the 2017 summer semester."

Recent CAIS Top 12

Please note:
Due to the links we publish being from outside sources, the older the Top 12 is in our archive, the more likely it is to find an expired link. This is beyond our control and we apologize for the inconvenience.

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