CAIS Top 12

#1: School Purpose


Flourish 2031

Marking its 50th anniversary, Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School has just launched a new ten-year strategic plan that includes four Goal Pillars:
  1. Bold Future
  2. Deep Learning & Engagement
  3. Enduring Sense of Community & Belonging
  4. Global Hub in a Natural Setting
The school has also embraced a new mission statement: "A diverse community where students pursue lives of purpose and flourish emotionally, physically, and intellectually."


#2: School Leadership


School Leaders Can Build Realistic Optimism This Year

Amid the challenges of the past two years, superintendent Dr. PJ Caposey shares the four-step process he used to step back from his breaking point:
  1. Accept that things will not be easier anytime soon.
  2. Articulate exactly where you are currently to the people you trust.
  3. Actively seek, at both the organizational and individual levels, to clean the job's less meaningful and frustrating elements off the plate.
  4. Make a list of the five things that bring the most joy to your job and intentionally reroute your calendar for two weeks to spend as much time as possible on those five activities.


#3: Governance


Today's CEOs Need Hands-On Digital Skills

Writing for Harvard Business Review, Dan Graves, Chief Technology Officer at Delphix, stresses the importance of having a digitally literate CEO. Graves says CEOs must lead their company's digital transformation personally because, at its core, digital transformation is about "overcoming inertia and resistance to changing the way people think and work." With respect to Boards, Graves cites an MIT study that found that companies with three or more digitally savvy directors on their Boards reported 17% higher profit margins and 38% higher revenue growth than those with two or fewer directors.


#4: Education Program Foundation


How to Build Collaborative Communities

In Part Two of Global Online Academy's series on Shifts and Strategies for Teachers, Becky Green, Associate Director of Professional Learning, writes, "For many of us, in our own experiences as students and sometimes in our own classrooms, collaboration is equated with group work for project completion. While that may serve a purpose, a process-focused approach is what builds and fosters collaborative communities. At GOA, we're defining collaboration as students engaging in meaningful and transferable processes together--processes that impact learning and that promote cultures of trust, care, and high expectations."


#5: Learning & Teaching


Benefits of early math experiences add up

In this EdSource article, Karen D'Souza writes, "while literacy is often seen as a cornerstone to scholastic achievement... studies show that mathematical reasoning ability may be even more crucial as a building block for success in school and beyond." D'Souza says many parents prefer to foster a love of reading because they have anxiety towards math. However, she says it is important for everyone to know that mathematical thinking is a muscle that can be strengthened.


#6: Student Well-Being & Support


Building a Whole Child Wellness Team

In this Edutopia article, Margot Toppen, VP of Programs at the CATCH Global Foundation, encourages schools to offer a coordinated approach to whole-child health and provides suggestions to do so:
  1. Create a committee with people in varied roles to meet regularly to discuss social-emotional learning (SEL) priorities and health goals.
  2. Link physical and mental health by providing a common language and an environment that supports whole-child wellness.
  3. Integrate SEL with physical activities and health education.


#7: Essential Concepts


The Benefits of Play-Based Learning For All Ages

For this Getting Smart article, columnist Michael Niehoff spoke with Angie Nastovska of The Playmakers Institute, who said that play is a vital aspect of our overall health, well-being and lifelong success. In addition, since the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies identified collaboration and teamwork as the most important workplace skills, Nastovska says that parents who want their child(ren) to get a good job should let them play more. The article includes helpful tips for planning and prioritizing play.


#8: Custodial Care


Caring for the Whole Child: International Student Challenges

According to this ISM article, 13–20% of children ages 12–17 have a mental health disorder or suffer from addiction, and 30% of international college first-year students suffer from a mental health disorder. The article acknowledges that seeking mental healthcare can be viewed as shameful or embarrassing for some international students and identifies common warning signs -- weight fluctuations, academic performance, school attendance and strong feelings -- that a child or adolescent may be suffering from emotional distress.


#9: Recruitment & Community Engagement


Worth a Look: Ridley College's New Website

Ridley College officially launched its new website this week. The theme of the website is "Belong," and it is designed to tell the story of Ridley and celebrate the students, faculty and staff. According to Ridley's Twitter, the website is the first of its kind in Canada and was designed by Interactive Schools.

Worth a Listen: New Podcast from Paul Penna DJDS

Paul Penna DJDS recently launched the podcast The Corner of Spadina and Bloor: Exploring Paul Penna DJDS. Principal Dr. Amy Platt and Jay Rosenthal host guests connected to the school and will share these conversations every few weeks. The podcast can be found and followed on major listening platforms, including Spotify and Apple Podcasts.


#10: Human Resources


5 most meaningful questions to ask in a performance review as a leader

Claire Lew, CEO of Know Your Team, is not a fan of performance reviews. Still, Lew says that meaningful feedback can come when leaders focus on these five questions to ask in a performance review:
  1. What should I start, stop, or continue doing?
  2. What can I improve about my communication, in terms of both content and style?
  3. What more can I be doing to help you navigate uncertainty?
  4. How well have I been following through on the things I've promised?
  5. What are the things I've done that were particularly helpful or unhelpful?
Lew also recommends five questions that you should have your direct reports ask you.


#11: Finance


Stock markets roiled anew by fears about emerging coronavirus variant

In this CBC News article, senior business writer Pete Evans says global stock markets and oil prices tumbled today after South Africa identified a new, potentially fast-spreading coronavirus variant. The European Union is already proposing suspending air travel from the region, and Evans says, "anything related to energy or travel and tourism is being hit especially hard as investors digest the prospect of another round of limitations on international travel."


#12: Facilities & Infrastructure


First Look At "The Best School In America"

In this blog post, Grant Lichtman writes about his recent experience as part of a team that was challenged to design and build "the best school in America." Some of the unique features of the school include:
  • Flexible learning spaces.
  • Teacher collaboration spaces throughout with visible access to students.
  • Administrators distributed amongst the learning clusters rather than at the front entrance.
  • Indoor-outdoor access to a variety of learning spaces.







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