CAIS Top 12

#1: Vision, Mission, Values & Strategy


Social Myopia as a Threat to the Future of Education

In this blog post, David Willows, Director of Advancement, International School of Brussels, writes that it is time to "look up" from the issues of the moment to consider some of the significant issues appearing on the distant educational horizon. He recommends that Boards and leadership teams read and discuss the report Back to the future of education: Four OECD Scenarios for Schooling, which projects the different ways schools may evolve in society between now and 2040.


#2: Co-Curriculum & Learning Environments


Extracurriculars Play a Vital Role During the Pandemic

This Edutopia article stresses the importance of dedicating time to extracurricular activities during the pandemic to provide middle and high school students with a sense of normalcy and social connection. The article cites a 2020 survey of secondary students and teachers conducted by Phi Delta Kappa International that revealed teens' need for peer-to-peer connection in unstructured forums outweighed structured programs like counselling and mindfulness sessions.


#3: Academic Program


What the Research Says About the Academic Power of Friendship

This MindShift article looks at recent research that shows that social-emotional benefits and academic ones don't operate in isolation and that friendships in elementary school can be harnessed to drive academic growth. The article identifies four big impediments to friendship formation in school: lack of contact, competition, unequal status, and surface-level homophily (a.k.a., "birds of a feather flock together"). The article provides suggestions for educators to address each of these roadblocks.

Worth a look: How Simple Visual Cues Can Improve Your Teaching Materials

Address Learning Loss: Formative Assessment Tools Aid in Remote Learning

In this new report, Dr. Susan M. Brookhart takes an in-depth look at the latest research and tools for leveraging formative assessment to address learning gaps. Contact information is required to download the report.


#4: School Leadership


The Burnout Blog

After working non-stop since spring, Anne-Marie Kee, Head of School at Lakefield College realized she needed a break. In this blog post she writes, "if I am serious about supporting wellness initiatives, I also need to look at my own lifestyle and be open about my own need to hit pause and recharge. If tone is set at the top, so too is wellness."

Self-Compassion Will Make You a Better Leader

The authors of this Harvard Business Review article have trained tens of thousands of leaders on the role of self-compassion in emotional intelligence and effective leadership. They say that research on self-compassion shows that the benefits align with several essential leadership skills, including emotional intelligence, resilience, growth mindset, integrity and compassion towards others and offer a set of core practices to help leaders build their capacity for self-compassion.


#5: Human Resources


Under Pressure, Francis Parker School Reverses In-Person Teaching Mandate

When the Francis Parker School announced that teachers would have to teach in person for the second term, English teacher and department chair Chris Harrington said he would have to resign because his wife is immunocompromised. The school community was outraged that the popular teacher would have to resign after 29 years. More than 1,000 people signed a change.org petition, and some students threatened a boycott. On Monday, the Head reversed the mandate for in-person instruction, reinstating teacher guidelines from the first trimester.

Also worth a read: Google's 3-Word Plan to Help Employees Avoid Burnout Is So Simple You Should Steal It


#6: School & Community


New KPIs To Define Fundraising Success During a Tumultuous Year

In this Winkler Group blog post, Senior Consultant Sarah Evans Sprinkle suggests four KPIs to measure your fundraising success in this most unusual year:
  1. The number of times you effectively communicate with your top donors
  2. Cost per dollar raised: less events, more cultivation
  3. Donor retention: little increases have big impact
  4. Make your donors feel like they are part of the team

Have you been watching the Queen's Gambit on Netflix? Read this article to see which Ontario school has a cameo in the show!


#7: Enrolment Management


Women leaving workforce faster than men, childcare playing big role in exodus: study

This CTV article looks at a new report from the Royal Bank of Canada which shows more than 20,000 women left the workforce between February and October. Dawn Desjardins, RBC's deputy chief economist and the report's co-author says, "The pandemic and the demands of raising children are likely the cause of the exodus" and she notes that the reduction in capacity for daycares due to the pandemic has increased the pressure on women. As part of their retention and recruitment plans, independent schools should consider how they can support working families by providing a safe environment for their children during the workday.

Also worth a read: New York's 4-Year-Olds Are Mastering Zoom to Get Into Elite Kindergartens, according to this Bloomberg article, expensive private schools in New York are using a shared video assessment during the pandemic.


#8: Governance


Eight Ways New Schools Innovate

Writing for Forbes, Getting Smart CEO Tom Vander Ark says, "The sudden shift to remote learning in March exhibited the limitations and inequities of current learning models while promoting new found agility. The nine month struggle to deliver learning experiences under duress made clear to many the potential for new school models. Efforts to launch new schools and transform existing schools around these eight dimensions may be a benefit of the crisis." A few of the eight dimensions are outcomes, learning model, organization of time and staffing and diversity, equity and inclusion.

Also worth a read: School Wasn't So Great Before COVID, Either by Erika Christakis, author of The Importance of Being Little: What Young Children Really Need From Grownups.


#9: Finance


A Primer on School Finances Scenario Planning

"Scenario planning is a great tool to practice proactive strategic thinking and preparation, especially in today's uncertain environment," writes Emily Cook, CPA, in this NBOA Net Assets article. Cook says that scenario planning includes four key steps:
  1. Identify critical uncertainties
  2. Define leading indicators
  3. Assess potential impacts
  4. Prepare mitigating actions
She says that introductory plans start with three scenarios, and she provides examples of more comprehensive plans.


#10: Physical Plant, Health & Safety


As COVID-19 soars in many communities, schools attempt to find ways through the crisis

This Science article looks at ways that schools are managing the risk of COVID-19. The section "How much fresh air is enough?" looks at several ways that schools are reducing risk, including different approaches to open windows, high-quality carbon dioxide monitors (the article says they cost as little as $100), professional-grade air filters and even a system of fume hoods over desks.


#11: Commitment to School Improvement


What Inclusive Leaders Sound Like

The authors of this Harvard Business Review article examined how inclusive leaders talk and found that very few leaders have actually developed an inclusive communication style. Some key findings:
  • Inclusive leaders use language that is personalized to their audience 36% more frequently than the average senior leader.
  • Inclusive leaders also consider the opinions of their audience — not just who they are, but what they have to say.
  • The research also showed inclusive leaders use language that demonstrates subject matter expertise 21% more frequently than the average senior leader.
  • The analysis found that the most inclusive leaders are perceived as 22% more authentic relative to the average senior leader.


#12: Boarding Program


New research shows that consumers are evaluating brands differently in the pandemic

This ICEF Monitor article looks at a new report that finds that the pandemic has shifted what consumers value and that this is affecting their response to brands. Some key points:
  • Global consumers are becoming more intent on buying brands they believe are responding well to the pandemic.
  • Pandemic-related fear has increased consumers' need for brands to be concerned with their safety, budget, and the community at large.
  • Educators who deliver value for money, prove they are trustworthy, and support students through this challenging time will gain a competitive advantage that will stretch beyond the pandemic.







Recent CAIS Top 12


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