Expect The Best


Register for the 2020 National Leaders Conference

The National Leaders Conference is your opportunity to interact with a range of senior-level leaders in your network. For 2020, the audience will be 200+ Academic Leaders. Learn more here.

Register for the 2020 Spring Leadership Institute

The CAIS Diploma in Independent School Leadership is designed to prepare participants for senior leadership roles in independent schools. Learn more here.

Apply to the CAIS Strategic Change Accelerator

The CAIS Strategic Change Accelerator provides the guidance and support for school teams planning important innovative change. Learn more here.

CAIS Top 12 - Archived

#1: Vision, Mission, Values & Strategy

Our Students Just Told Us What School Should Be For

David Willows is the Director of Advancement for the International School of Brussels. Two months after the Learning By Design 2019 Conference, Willows decided to re-read the Post-It Notes responses to the question "What should school be for?" and in this blog post he identifies the following themes:

  • School should be a preparation for the future, but not necessarily university life.
  • School should be a happy and safe place, a place of friendships, a place to leave but also to return to.
  • School should be a dream factory and a place where you can discover your superpower.

If you missed this on Twitter: Stop Asking Kids What They Want to Be When They Grow Up

#2: Co-Curriculum & Learning Environments

Permanent chicken coop being used to teach lessons at Morinville school

This CBC News article is about an Alberta public school that has installed a chicken coop to teach the students about biology and economics. Classes take turns taking care of coop duties and come late summer or early fall the eggs will be used to supplement the school's lunch program.

Reducing Achievement-Related Stress

To help students find a healthy balance between academic achievement and personal development, the author of this Usable Knowledge article recommends that high school educators do the following:

  • Emphasize and facilitate meaningful service experiences.
  • Focus on at-home caring, too.
  • Celebrate daily acts of character.
  • Expose students on a wide range of colleges and deemphasize selectivity.
  • Create a balanced culture.

#3: Academic Program

Should architecture be taught in grade school?

As this Big Think article states, "Many experts are suggesting we add new subjects or methods to school curriculum or revamp old ones to be more viable for contemporary students." Vicky Chan, founder of the design firm Avoid Obvious Architects and the voluntary organization Architecture for Children, believes that architecture is an excellent way to teach students STEAM, creativity, sustainability and problem-solving.

To Boost Learning, Just Add Movement

This Cult of Pedagogy post looks at the research on movement-based learning, explores six different ways to add more movement to your instruction and provides some tips for getting started.

#4: School Leadership

Productivity Isn't About Time Management. It's About Attention Management.

Adam Grant is an organizational psychologist at Wharton. In this New York Times article, he makes the case that "attention management" is preferable to "time management". Some key points to the attention management approach:

  • Prioritize the people and projects that matter, and it won't matter how long anything takes.
  • Do a boring task after a moderately interesting one and save your most exciting task as a reward for afterward.
  • Be thoughtful about the timing of distractions.
  • Notice the order of tasks that works for you and adjust accordingly.
  • Find ways to carve out "maker" moments
  • If you're trying to be more productive, don't analyze how you spend your time. Pay attention to what consumes your attention.

Also worth a read: Embracing Differences in a School Community

#5: Human Resources

Have You Considered Merit Pay for Your Faculty?

ISM's research has found that merit-pay systems will be increasingly more common in private-independent schools. This article outlines a few of the reasons why and things to consider if your school is considering a merit-pay system.

#6: School & Community

What is a parent ambassador program and why should your school have one

In this blog post, Nick LeRoy, President of Bright Minds Marketing writes that "there's nothing as powerful to a prospective parent as the personal experience of another parent." LeRoy offers seven tips to build and maintain a successful Parent Ambassador Program, which he elaborates on in the post:

  • Select the right ambassadors
  • Communicate about the program
  • Host an impactful kick-off meeting
  • Train your ambassadors
  • Connect frequently
  • Update ambassadors about issues or initiatives
  • Build your pipeline

Using Data to Develop Your Alumni Engagement Program: Lessons from UCLA

Writing for npENGAGE, Camden Morse, Senior Executive Director of Application Development and Information Services, UCLA External Affairs and Katrina Ward, Director of Strategic Outreach and Engagement, UCLA Alumni Affairs detail two ways they've used data to make better two-way engagement programs for their alums: Virtual Alumni Day and Second Act. Morse and Ward also caution against collecting too much data: "decide what information you need to make decisions and focus there."

#7: Enrolment Management

Admission and Ethics: A Head's Perspective

In this ISM article, Steve Freedman, Head of School at Hillel Day School in Detroit shares his perspective on the implications of the recent college admission scandal, the influence of parental donations on the admission process and legacy families.

Also worth a read: Elite Colleges Announce Record Low Admission Rates in Wake of College Cheating Scandal

#8: Governance

5 Ways to Help Your Team Be Open to Change

In this Harvard Business Review article, Edith Onderick-Harvey, Managing Partner at NextBridge Consulting, details five practices to build change agility into the heart of an organization's culture:

  1. Tell stories about others who moved beyond the status quo.
  2. Create dialogue, inviting others to ask questions and share emotions, experiences, and insights.
  3. Ask "what if?" questions in one-on-one and team meetings.
  4. Set expectations that everyone (including yourself) should acknowledge, and take responsibility for mistakes. And then, treat mistakes as opportunities for learning and growth.
  5. Champion cross-boundary collaboration and networks to open up thinking and gain new perspectives.

The Best Defense Against Cyberattacks, From a District CTO

Schools have a lot of personal, identifiable data that they must protect. When it comes to cybersecurity, Raytown Quality Schools Director of Institutional Technology, Melissa Tebbenkamp, tells Education Week that staff and students inadvertently sharing information or clicking on links put schools at the greatest risk of an attack.

#9: Finance

Companies Need to Prepare for the Next Economic Downturn

The authors of this Harvard Business Review article stress the importance for business leaders to prepare for the specific circumstances of the next economic downtown, while considering the lessons from the past and they recommend that organizations consider the following to prepare for the next downturn:

  • De-average your response.
  • Build resilience to the unexpected.
  • Invest in growth.
  • Don't lose sight of your long-term transformation agenda.
  • Focus on technological competitiveness.
  • Contribute to common problems collaboratively.

#10: Physical Plant, Health & Safety

9 in 10 Canadians believe vaccines should be mandatory for school: Ipsos poll

An exclusive Ipsos poll, prepared for Global News, found that 9 in 10 Canadians would approve of legislation to make it mandatory for all school-aged children to be up to date on their vaccinations.

All B.C. schools must provide free menstrual products for students, government orders

Under a ministerial order issued Friday, all B.C. public schools must provide free menstrual products for students in school bathrooms by the end of 2019.

The thoughtful way this Indiana non-profit is reducing food waste in schools

A nonprofit group picks up the excess food that the school has been prepared, but not served, and re-purposes it into individual and family-sized, well-balanced meals.

#11: Commitment to School Improvement

How can educators support the parents of students with anxiety?

In this eSchool News article, Christine Ravesi-Weinstein, a high school assistant principal details some practical ways educators can work with parents to help students successfully overcome anxiety.

  1. Change approaches, not schedules.
  2. Celebrate effort, not smarts.
  3. Encourage self-advocacy.
  4. Encourage extracurriculars.
  5. Implement routine.

#12: Boarding Program

From the field: Recruiting in Kazakhstan

According to ICEF Monitor ", the total number of Kazakhstani students going abroad has increased by 110% since 2012 alone and reached nearly 90,000 in 2017." This interview with Maksim Kostiuchenko, Director of Overseas Relations with the education agency TravelWorks, highlights the rapid growth in outbound mobility from Kazakhstan.

Also worth a read: Diamond Schmitt converts Montreal hotel into student residence

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