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National Leaders Conference

The 2019 National Leaders Post Conference Call for Workshop Proposals are open until December 7. Apply here.

Strengthen Your School Leadership

CAIS values the constant and deliberate quest for excellence, and we recognize the vital leadership role that governors play, in partnership with Heads, in the success of our schools. We want all of our schools to have strong Heads who focus on supporting the students of the present, but we also want strong Boards that focus on supporting the students of the future.

The Governance Guide include new learning on a number of areas, including Human Resources, Risk Management, Head Transitions, and Consent Agendas.

CAIS members and non-members can purchase a hard copy here. And CAIS members can also view the full PDF in CAIS Connect here.

CAIS Top 12 - Archived

#1: Vision, Mission, Values & Strategy

Four Pillars of a Meaningful Life That Could Be Part of Every Learning Community

According to this Mind Shift article, Emily Esfahani Smith "spent five years reading the research in neuroscience, psychology, philosophy, and interviewing hundreds of people to try to figure out how we can each lead more meaningful lives." She determined that meaning can be created by focusing on four pillars, which the article details: belonging, purpose, transcendence and storytelling.

#2: Co-Curriculum & Learning Environments

Engaging Our Most Challenging Students in Fine Arts

Danielle L. Iamarino is a drama, art history and creative writing teacher who believes there should be room for all students in arts programs. In this Educational Leadership article, she writes "as teachers, we have the power to open doors. As fine arts teachers, we are in an especially good position to help students access latent potential - to help them achieve a sense of self during a period of their lives characterized by growing pains. But we also have the power to close doors, sometimes without even realizing it."

Also worth a read: Bonding over bots: Hackergal teaches Canadian girls about coding

#3: Academic Program

Is Assessment Ready to Move Beyond Standardized Tests? These MIT Researchers Think So.

"Playful assessment" seeks to capture student mastery in many of the areas that are hard to gauge. In this EdSurge article, Louisa Rosenheck, MIT research manager says, "by making assessment playful, we can get closer to measuring the things we actually value."

Enough with the "Learning Styles" Already!

Scott Barry Kaufman is a psychologist at Barnard College, Columbia University. In this Scientific American blog post, he writes that research has consistently shown that catering to students' preferred learning style does not improve learning outcomes and emphasizing learning styles in the classroom can promote a fixed mindset.

#4: School Leadership

The best leaders make fewer decisions, not more

Gregg Johnson is CEO of Invoca. In this Quartz article, he writes that the best executives "make fewer decisions, not more, and instead focus on building a culture of accountability and quality decision-making throughout their organizations." To be successful, Johnson recommends that leaders spend their time on the following:

  • Aligning on values, strategy, and ownership
  • Framing decisions as hypotheses
  • Blocking off rabbit holes
  • Building in a buffer
  • Learning and evolving

Getting Past Meetings That Make Staff Want to Fall Asleep

This School Leaders Now post details five tips for administrators, department chairs, and teachers to help create an engaging staff meeting:

  1. Make time to build connections
  2. Use storytelling
  3. Play music before every meeting
  4. Get people involved
  5. Plan something unexpected

#5: Human Resources

Principals, teachers have different views on employee input

According to this Education Dive article, "surveys have shown that school climate is a leading factor in whether teachers remain at their schools. And if decisions regarding curriculum, student assignment to classrooms, teacher evaluation, assessments or other issues related to instruction need to be made, teachers want principals to value their expertise and experience." A new survey shows that while 96% of principals think that teachers are involved in making important decisions about their schools, only 58% of teachers feel the same way. The article recommends that school leaders use multiple methods to ensure that they hear from a broader cross-section of teachers.

Also worth a read: 10 Books to Read Together as a Staff to Strengthen School Culture

#6: School & Community

How to write blog school titles that get results

In this blog post, Clare Ravasini writes about the importance of having an attention-grabbing headline for your school blog posts. She elaborates on these six tips:

  1. Start with a working title
  2. Be accurate
  3. Add some sizzle
  4. Keep it snappy
  5. Focus on long-tail keywords
  6. Brainstorm with others

Also worth a read: School Communication Best Practices: 13 Tips for Newsletters

#7: Enrolment Management

Printed Instagram: The Olivet Viewbook

In this video blog post, Bart Caylor highlights a viewbook he received from Olivet Nazarene University, which he says is the perfect example of what should be done to attract Generation Z.

#8: Governance

The 12 New Year's Resolutions EVERY Nonprofit Board Should Make

Dr. Eugene Fram devised a list of Resolutions every nonprofit leader should consider in the New Year, a few of which are: improve Board recruiting, make sure your Board is "money smart", view the Head of School as a peer, develop donor relationships and eliminate ineffective directors.

Also worth a read: Company boards need at least three women before they truly begin to change

#9: Finance

Will Half Of All Colleges Really Close In The Next Decade?

According to this Forbes article, "the pool of 18-year-olds is starting to decline-with precipitous declines in certain regions forecast to begin in 2026." To remain competitive, post-secondary institutions will have to add high-cost innovations, which will further strain their business model. As well, institutions with large fixed costs that experience enrolment declines will be in peril.

Also worth a read: Business Intelligence: Markers of Sustainability

#10: Physical Plant, Health & Safety

Is Screen Time Bad for Kids' Brains

Benedict Carey is a science reporter with the New York Times. In this piece, he details what scientists know, and don't know, about the link between screens, behavior, and development. He writes that screen addiction is "probably both bad and good for the brain, depending on the individual and his or her viewing habits," and that the biggest downside of screen time is "the extent to which it can displace other childhood experiences."

#11: Commitment to School Improvement

How to Communicate Before, During, and After a School Survey Initiative

This ISM article stresses the importance of communication to ensure a successful survey initiative and provides tips for before, during, and after a survey to keep your audiences engaged as you collect data to help move your school forward.

#12: Boarding Program

International students at University of Waterloo can now stay in residence for the holidays

A new program at the University of Waterloo will now allow international students living in residence to stay on campus for ten days during the holidays - for a fee. Jennifer Ferguson, the assistant director of housing and residence at the University of Waterloo, told CBC News that students participating in the program will have access to two dons, a cooking area and a variety of activities offered throughout the break.

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