CAIS Top 12 - Archived

#1: School Purpose

'Our future as humanity is in peril': UNESCO report says education should focus on these 4 problems

For this CNBC article, Abigail Johnson Hess looks at a new report by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Reimagining Our Futures Together: a New Social Contract for Education. The report identifies four main problems that all countries should centre their educational systems around: climate change, democratic backsliding, growing social inequality, and growing social fragmentation. Fernando Reimers, director of the Global Education Innovation Initiative at Harvard University and member of UNESCO's commission on the Futures of Education says, "Unless educational institutions intentionally align what they do with these four challenges, our future as humanity is in peril."

#2: School Leadership

The Omicron Variant: How Companies Should Respond

With the emergence of the Omicron variant, Jeff Levin-Scherz and Patricia Toro, leaders with the North American Health and Benefits Practice of Willis Towers Watson, have updated their guidelines for employers to reconsider their measures to protect their stakeholders. Levin-Scherz and Patricia Toro stress that businesses must keep up to date on which interventions to limit the spread of COVID are effective and which ones have limited value.

#3: Governance

The Importance of Involving Stakeholders Throughout the Strategic Planning Process

"When the future is unpredictable there's a need to build a strategic plan that can withhold resilience. We know resilience is connected to relationships," writes Kelly Freiheit, a member of the Design and Implementation Team at Education Elements, in this blog post. After recent work with a suburban school district outside of Cincinnati, Ohio, Freiheit shares three practices that helped the district continue to cultivate trust amongst their stakeholders during the strategic planning process:
  1. Define the work, before the people.
  2. Students at the centre.
  3. Look to experts who are forecasting the future for our students.

#4: Education Program Foundation

Embedding Growth Mindset Practices: The Toolkit Version

In this article, Rebecca Midles, Vice President of Learning Design at Getting Smart, writes, "Building a growth mindset culture does not stop at awareness. In order to create a learning culture that embraces a growth mindset, one must create a safe learning environment that honors all learners, experiences, and cultures; teach learners the basics of learning science so they better understand conditions, context, and thriving; and practice giving feedback in thoughtful ways." Midles also shares a downloadable Growth Mindset Toolkit for education leaders.

#5: Learning & Teaching

Khan Academy Wants to Make 'Mastery Learning' Mainstream. Will Partnering With Schools Help?

EdSurge spoke with Sal Khan, CEO and founder of Khan Academy, about his goal of changing the education system by basing it more on mastery learning, not grades. Khan says while the idea of mastery learning gets a positive response, the implementation has been more challenging than expected. Says Khan, "But I do remind folks that in other domains, like learning to play an instrument, learning a martial art or learning a sport, they have always and continue to be mastery learning. And that's why you don't see kids who are on the basketball team in college who don't know how to dribble, or someone who, if they've really been doing piano, they got their scales right. But you see that all the time in core academics, especially in math."

#6: Student Well-Being & Support

3 Benefits of Having a Comfort Dog in School

Writing for Edutopia, Jesse Pachter, Assistant Principal and Athletic Director for the New York City Department of Education, says bringing a comfort dog into your school is a great way to build rapport with students. While the article outlines how having a comfort dog has helped students and faculty deal with all kinds of stress, Pachter stresses that bringing a dog into a classroom or school requires careful consideration and training.

#7: Essential Concepts

Let's Not All Make the Same Thing

Harvard Graduate School of Education professor, computer scientist, and learning designer Karen Brennan believes, "The job of the teacher is to help create a learning environment with the right kind of structure that can help a student move their project along." In this Usable Knowledge article, Brennan says personal interests, access to others, and time are three key elements of independent work that can help enable students to participate and engage in self-directed learning.

#8: Custodial Care

Leveraging campus partnerships to nurture international student persistence

In this University Affairs article, Lyn-Marie Farley, senior manager of international student support and engagement at Ryerson University, and Yassin Sagnia, an international student advisor at Ryerson University, say that they anticipate an increase in post-pandemic international student enrolment. They stress that schools must be well-positioned to support these students and offer advice to develop an impactful student retention and persistence program.

#9: Recruitment & Community Engagement

Elite private schools find themselves caught between two sets of parents

In this Washington Post article, Matthew C. Edmonds, a history teacher at an independent boarding school in the Mid-Atlantic, looks at tensions in private education. Edmonds writes, "Parents with means have long used their purchasing power to shop for schools, leveraging their wealth to exit the public school system and exert a degree of control over whom their children go to school with and what they learn. And as parents shop, private schools compete for their share of the market. The commotion at Middlesex thus embodies how indoctrination and diversity have long been intertwined in the development of private schools and the way they market themselves."

#10: Human Resources

Substitute teacher shortages are plaguing schools during the pandemic

Writing for CBC News, Jessica Wong looks at the shortage of teachers in Canadian schools, which the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated. With many retired teachers declining to substitute, educational consultant and researcher (and CAIServices Advisor!) Paul Bennett shares some potential short-term solutions and, in the longer run, says boards should build "squads of high-quality substitutes by offering more security, opportunities for career development and potential for promotion".

#11: Finance

Finance and Operations for Everyone

Elizabeth Katz, Assistant Head of School for School Partnership at One Schoolhouse, says that since most administrators begin in the classroom, they may be missing key insights into business operations. She outlines the business model of schools and says, "Breaking down the misconceptions about school finances can help Academic Leaders communicate the reasons behind budget-driven decisions. It's time for every educator to understand how schools operate beyond the walls of the classroom."

#12: Facilities & Infrastructure

As omicron emerges, health experts urge keeping schools open

For this Education Dive article, Anna Merod spoke with Annette Anderson, deputy director of Johns Hopkins University's Center for Safe and Healthy Schools and Linda Mendonca, president of the National Association of School Nurses. While the article acknowledges that questions remain about the severity of the Omicron variant and its response to current vaccines, the health experts agreed it's important to keep schools open because of the learning loss and mental health implications for students. This means schools must stay strong on mitigation strategies, such as mask and vaccine requirements.

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