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2051 Challenge

Register for the 2051 Challenge on April 7-9, 2017 in Montreal. Learn more here. And view the past work of 2051 here.

Register for the 2017 National Leaders Conference - Academics

April 9 - 11, 2017.
Register here

Leadership Institute

Register for the upcoming Spring and Summer Leadership Institute. Learn More & Register

2016 CAIS Webinar Recordings

Watch our International Fundraising, Governance Series, National Student Panel on Supporting LGBTQ+ Students, 2015 KPI Benchmarking Overview and our Review on Executing Accreditation Pilot Surveys webinars in CAIS Connect.
Access webinars here

Register for upcoming webinars here

2016 NLC Resources now available

Both the Catalytic Conversations on the Future of Education - Summary Report and the workshop material is now in CAIS Connect.
Access the Summary Report and Workshop Material

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


In this article Brad Rathgeber, Executive Director, One Schoolhouse, writes that the transition to a learner-driven school will take resources. Students and their parents will need to understand new approaches, just as the school will need to actively communicate to prospective families why this approach is effective. Faculty will need extensive professional development, and schools may need to rethink administrative structures to support faculty members in new dynamics (likely away from departmental models). Moreover, building designs and redesigns will need to accommodate and project for this new dynamic.

#2: Co-Curriculum & Learning Environments


Do little girls pick up on what their parents and teachers think about their smarts? New research states that girls as young as six start to believe that specific activities are "not for them" simply because they think they're not smart enough. Even if parents do not explicitly endorse this stereotype, evidence suggests that it affects their hopes for their children. A 2014 report found that American parents Googled "Is my son a genius?" more than twice as often as they Googled "Is my daughter a genius?"

Why the Periphery Is Often More Powerful Than the Core

This article in Harvard Ed. Magazine suggests that extracurriculars often take on a sense of purpose and vitality that all too often is missing from normal disciplinary classes. They are usually well-designed as learning environments and draw from the tradition of apprenticeship learning. Strong teachers already incorporate some of these features into their classes; if this became the rule and not the exception, perhaps students would be as excited for what happens during the school day as they are for what happens after the final bell.


#3: Academic Program


Dr. Chris Müller specializes in the promotion of international mindedness in 21st century students. In this article he elaborates on the following selective aspects, which require focus in a school striving to educate students towards international-mindedness and global citizenship.

  1. Live the school's philosophy and values
  2. Inform governance and management practices
  3. Infuse the curriculum
  4. Celebrate the school community
  5. Support families in transition
  6. Enable linguistic fluency
  7. Commit to service learning
  8. Broaden teaching practice and professional development
  9. Enrich student Life
  10. See education as the key
Also worth a read: This AP history teacher put these wise tips together to help teens spot fake news. (Added bonus: It works for adults too.)

The author of this article, which appeared in The Globe and Mail Leadership Lab, opines that Canada must develop, aggregate, and disseminate data on both the skills that are in-demand today, but also those that will be in demand tomorrow.


#4: School Leadership


The author of this blog post believes that there are five often-overlooked fundamentals of leadership:

  • Hire people who can find meaning through your business.
  • Provide clear, compelling goals.
  • Foster a positive, supportive culture.
  • Give people a path for growth and impact.
  • Lead with a higher purpose.

3 things college presidents spend all their time doing

College president serves as the leader and general representative for an entire school, but what do they do day-to-day? Here are three ways these academic head honchos spend most of their workday: fundraising, budgeting and leadership. Thank you to Michael Wolfe, Headmaster of Stanstead College for sending this along.


#5: Human Resources


According to this Harvard Business Review article a useful way to think about teams with the right mix of skills and personalities is to consider the two roles every person plays in a working group: a functional role, based on their formal position and technical skill, and a psychological role, based on the kind of person they are. Too often, organizations focus merely on the functional role and hope that good team performance somehow follows. This is why even the most expensive professional sports teams often fail to perform according to the individual talents of each player: There is no psychological synergy.


Also worth a read: No More Sink the Sub What if you brought in a musician or farmer instead of a worksheet when a teacher was out for the day?


#6: School & Community



Donor retention is so important because the cost of acquiring new donors is more than the cost of keeping current donors. This article elaborates on the following six suggestions to improve or add to your existing donor retention strategies:
  1. Make your donor's first giving experience a good one.
  2. Encourage donors to speak up.
  3. Create a donor membership program.
  4. Host stewardship events.
  5. Offer volunteer options that target donors' interests and skills.
  6. Share results with stories of success.


#7: Enrolment Management


The author of this blog post believes that schools that thrive are: mission-focused, educationally sound and business-oriented. When it comes to school marketing, schools that possess these qualities stand a much better chance of executing successful marketing strategies that can lead to sustainable enrolment growth over the long haul.


10 years ago Andover's trustees endorsed a need-blind admission policy, a decision that removed financial need as an obstacle to admission. The policy has allowed the admission team to broaden their reach, widened access to an Andover education, and further distinguishing Philips Academy from other boarding schools in the United States.


#8: Governance


Challenger Boards are those with the strength to put the hard questions to management and to poke holes in suboptimal strategies. They bring a diversity of perspective that can help management understand the company's vulnerabilities and how to overcome them. This article offers four ways Boards can become better challengers and champions of change:

  1. Confront Unwelcome News and Trends
  2. Make Sure You Have Challengers in Your Midst
  3. Stay Fresh with Term Limits and Checks and Balances
  4. Turn Courage and Candor into Core Competencies


#9: Finance


How School Leaders Make Decisions About Tuition and Compensation

This is the first in a two-part series examining tuition trends in independent schools, including schools' efforts to cut costs and generate revenue. The authors share their analysis of tuition, financial aid, and compensation trends as well as school leaders' feedback on the key factors they consider when setting tuition.


#10: Physical Plant, Health & Safety


The Rural School Poised to End Bullying

Students' interpersonal drama can quickly become a distraction from learning, which means educators have to teach young people to discriminate between healthy interactions and harmful ones. This article in The Atlantic details how one district in New Hampshire is intervening with a student-driven approach.


#11: Commitment to School Improvement


This playbook shares the findings of three researchers - all of whom are former K-12 teachers - who searched for strategies that successful managers in today's well-regarded organizations have in common. Through a series of classroom pilots, the researchers found that teachers can replicate the successes of top managers in cutting-edge workplaces by making seven specific, practical moves to introduce a similar culture into their classroom routine.



#12: Boarding Program


The Trump Administration and Independent Schools

This NAIS legal advisory gives a broad overview of the changes under the Trump administration likely to affect independent schools. Due to the nontraditional nature of Trump's campaign, however, it's difficult to predict with any certainty what lies ahead.

Keys to the Market: South Korea

South Korea has been a major source of international students for nearly 20 years now. While the number of South Korean students heading abroad has declined over the last four years, the country remains among the leading senders for major study destinations (73 students in CAIS Boarding schools).







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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