#1: Vision, Mission, Values & Strategy
Five Guidelines to Make School Innovation Successful
Science Leadership Academy is a public magnet school in Philadelphia that focuses on student inquiry through projects in a community that cultivates a culture of care. The school has been so successful that its founder now helps other schools get started or transform themselves. This Mind Shift article elaborates on five areas that he recommends leaders consider to ensure change is successful:
- Simplicity Matters
- Common Language Matters
- Operations Matter
- Culture, Talent and Instruction Must Align
- Startup Is Hard, But So Is Sustainability
Also worth a read: Design Thinking: The New Way To Do School
Do You Diagnose What Goes Right?
This MIT Sloan Management Review article cautions that, while it is necessary to review failures to determine where a process went wrong, organizations should not overlook the lessons that success has to offer. Indeed, we may find that answering the question, "What went wrong?" becomes just a little easier if we have already addressed a different question: "What goes right - and why?"
#2: Co-Curriculum & Learning Environments
How Social Bias Can Transfer From One Generation To The Next
A new study from the University of Washington found that children are sensitive to social cues from adults, peers, media and their surrounding environment. A closer look at adults' nonverbal signals - including their tone of voice, facial expression and body language - found that children can "catch bias" simply by observing adult actions. This Mind Shift article recommends strategies adults can use to mitigate bias including: examine your nonverbal and verbal messages, expand your circle of friendships and use books and media to prompt conversation.
New Teachers: How to Talk to Parents
This Edutopia article is written by a veteran teacher who feels like she has improved at communicating with parents over the years. She shares the main things she has learned and elaborates on them in the article:
- Be Proactive
- Don't Take It Personally
- Ask Parents for Advice
- Get Involved in the Community
- Choose Your Battles
- Admit It When You're Wrong
Gay, lesbian, bisexual teens half as likely to play sports, finds UBC study
The first study in Canada to track sports participation trends in sexual minority youth, newly released from the University of British Columbia, found that gay, lesbian and bisexual teens are half as likely to play sports as straight youth.
#3: Academic Program
In Finland, Kids Learn Computer Science Without Computers
The Atlantic often features articles on education in Finland and this one focuses on computer science. From a young age Finnish children are taught to think of coding and programming as tools to be explored and utilized across multiple subjects, rather than as an isolated skill. That mindset aims to accomplish a couple of things: to make coding and programming accessible to kids with a variety of interests, and to showstudents why understanding how technology works is relevant to their lives by linking its use to a multitude of activities.
Also worth a read: Silicon Valley teacher: Don't confuse educational technology that helps kids learn - and doesn't
Cellphones aren't leaving the classroom, but Canadian educators split on how best to handle them
Cellphones have become fixtures in Canadian classrooms. The presence of smartphones can be problematic, but a growing number of boards say they've had more success once deciding to stop fighting the technological tide and find ways to incorporate cellphones into schools.
#4: School Leadership
2017 NBOA Annual Meeting: Breaking Down Organizational Silos
According to Howard Teibel, an educational change management consultant, one of the best routes to greater productivity and efficiency begins with breaking down organizational silos and he further recommends:
- Share early efforts. Show incomplete work to a team, and iterate early.
- Take research trips.
- Set limits.
- Integrate technology and art.
- Conduct short experiments.
- Learn to see what isn't there.
- Insist on postmortems.
- Design opportunities for continuous learning.
7 Traits Of Inspiring Leadership That Uplifts Rather Than Destroys
The author of this Forbes article conducted qualitative research on what positive, inspiring leadership looks like and identified the following seven critical traits:
- They are clear about the challenges ahead, but they inspire faith, hope and collaboration, not fear.
- Blame is not in their rhetoric - they never stoop to recrimination or demeaning, belittling language.
- Their self-esteem is strong enough to take constructive criticism and critique, and in fact, they welcome it.
- Their communication style is positive, with words that inspire greatness and growth in us.
- They don't surround themselves only with people who "yes" them - they surround themselves with diversity, truth and openness.
- The success that they long for is success and opportunity for all - not just one faction, group, or organization.
- They operate at all times with integrity, truthfulness and transparency, even when that's excruciatingly difficult to do.
#5: Human Resources
The problem with annual performance evaluations
The author Robert O'Kell, a former university dean, wrote this piece in response to another opinion piece that suggests that academic underachievers must be called out. He suggests that performance reviews be used to inform and encourage, not to penalize. He recognizes that weak performance is rarely a matter of laziness or selfishness, but rather often a reflection of unhappiness. In his view the best evaluation identify problems where they exist, but also the ways and means of encouragement that can lead to improvement.
Also worth a read: How Pop Culture Misrepresents Educators The new documentary Teacher of the Year pushes against Hollywood's hack-or-hero portrayals of the profession.
Teachers Institute on Canadian Parliamentary Democracy
Applications are now being accepted for the 21st edition of the Teachers Institute on Canadian Parliamentary Democracy, to be held in Ottawa from November 5th to November 10th, 2017.
#6: School & Community
Snow Days, Tweet Storms, and the Undead: Adventures in School Communications
After The Moses Brown School enjoyed success with their viral video "School Is Closed" the school decided to apply their creative approach to other aspects of school communications. In this NAIS blog post they share a few things they've learned about school communications:
- Twitter is your friend ... if you're a good friend.
- Humor is incredibly powerful, and like any great power, it must be handled with commensurate care.
- If you're going to do something unconventional, make it the best production you possibly can and have the support of your Head.
- Lastly, keep in mind that effective use of social media doesn't mean flooding your audience with every story on every channel every time you have something to say.
Also worth a read: 10 Ways to Design an Attractive Instagram Feed for Your School and College media relations can wield greater influence in digital age
#7: Enrolment Management
Perceived Value, not Tuition Price, Drives Private School Enrollment
NBOA, Measuring Success and ISM have collaborated on an updated study of tuition price elasticity in independent preK-12 schools, which found that there is statistically no correlation between changes in tuition pricing and enrolment demand.
Also worth a read: How to differentiate your private school
Inside the fight for admissions transparency at UBC
In 2012 the University of British Columbia became the largest Canadian university to screen all undergrad applicants using broad-based admissions, a holistic model that supplements grades with four to six short essay questions. Recently The Ubyssey newspaper published a copy of a leaked 14-page rubric used to grade 2016 applications. UBC wouldn't confirm whether the leaked rubric was authentic, but its release fuels the debate about broad-based admissions-and whether schools have the right to keep metrics hidden from students.
How a board of directors can be a major asset
This Globe and Mail Leadership Lab article is written by Chris Catliff, President and CEO of BlueShore Financial. He writes, "the focus of today's CEO must be to provide forward-thinking strategy, to embody the brand and corporate values, and to deeply understand the external environment. A strong strategic board can probe and improve that strategy, adjusting as needed for long-term success." He stresses that a the board should be able to assess an organization's mission-critical projects from all angles, review the execution of the strategy and oversee the CEO's performance.
Finding Great Directors For Your Board
The author of this Forbes article believes that strategy precedes governance. Once you have a clearly defined strategy and a target list of director skills the next question is where do you find them?
- Related Industries
- An Experienced CEO with a track record of success
- Professional Organizations
- Trade Magazines
- Local Engineering or Business School
- Local Investment Bank
Also worth a read: Strategic business planning 2017: 10 actions for directors
School Leaders Wrestle with Cutting Costs and Raising Revenue to Ensure Financial Sustainability
The steady rise in independent school tuitions has motivated NAIS to focus on the steps schools are taking to curb costs, pursue alternative sources of income, and examine other business models to ensure schools' financial sustainability. In this blog post they detail research, which shows school leaders are wrestling with how to control costs without addressing the small-class-size model that many feel characterizes independent schools.
Also worth a read: Adobe's Mark Garrett: Finance Pros Must Expand Skill Sets
#10: Physical Plant, Health & Safety
Public health officials warn Canadians to update vaccines after mumps outbreak strikes in Toronto
Public health officials and infectious disease experts are urging Canadians to check that their vaccinations are up to date as clusters of mumps are investigated in Ontario and Alberta, and measles cases are probed in Nova Scotia. Mumps spreads easily, like playing on sports teams where water bottles might be shared, living in dormitories in close conditions and sharing drinks and food.
The best trick to make kids eat more fruits and veggies at school, according to psychologists
Children don't generally choose vegetables in the cafeteria; however, researchers have found that intervention strategies - such as leaving small cups of carrots on tables, where they could be eaten before entering the line - are incredibly effective. These strategies require a permanent change to cafeteria procedures. Researchers have also found children eat more fruits and vegetables when they are presented as bite-sized slices, served up in colorful packaging, and even when they're given wacky names (such as "turbo tomatoes").
#11: Commitment to School Improvement
Hacking Teens' Desire to Impress Their Peers
Most students want to do well in school and please their teachers, but teenagers care a great deal about impressing their peers. The author provides some exercises to get students writing for and teaching each other and states that a bonus of this kind of peer-to-peer assignment is that it can be a way for introverts to shine in the classroom. Ultimately what she loves most is that students realize how great their classmates are and when they see what their peers can do they set higher standards for themselves.
#12: Boarding Program
Canada: Optimistic outlook for foreign enrolment in 2017
Industry analysts and trade officials are projecting a strengthened competitive position for Canada in international education markets. This forecast arises from stable or improving performance in visa processing, relative currency values, and other environmental factors that are expected to further boost Canada's attractiveness to international students this year.