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CAIS Top 12 - Archived
#1: Vision, Mission, Values & Strategy
- Grade based on learning objectives, not course completion.
- Measure learning outcomes, not rankings or effort.
- Separate teaching and grading.
#2: Co-Curriculum & Learning Environments
Inspired by her participation in an in-depth Indigenous training course, Beth Gellner decided to teach her grade 2 students how to sing the national anthem in Ojibwe. To do so, she partnered with Gretchen Sands-Gamble, who is an Indigenous education special projects teacher. The response from students has been very positive and the Ojibwe language version, which focuses on loving the land, is now spreading throughout the school.
In this Education Dive article, Campus Technology Support Specialist, Leigh Frishman provides advice for educators looking to start a competitive coding team that engages students and helps them learn troubleshooting and analytical skills. The four foundational elements that pushed the coding team and program forward are principal backing, teacher and staff involvement, students who want to do it, and the right program.
#3: Academic Program
In this New York Times opinion piece, Emily Hanford writes about Mississippi's notable gains on the fourth-grade reading test. Through workshops and coding, the state has been making sure that all of its teachers understand the science of reading, including the simple view model of reading: decoding ability x language comprehension = reading comprehension.
Also worth a read: The Most Popular Reading Programs Aren't Backed by Science
#4: School Leadership
- The Art of Gathering by Priya Parker
- Nonprofit Management 101 by Heyman & Brenner
- Difficult Conversations: How To Discuss What Matters Most by Stone, Patton & Heen
- Messy by Tim Harford
- Free to Focus by Michael Hyatt
#5: Human Resources
For this Usable Knowledge article, Emily Boudreau interviews Henry Seton, a longtime high school teacher and department head, who has explored the hurdles that teachers face in safeguarding their mental health. They talk about how school communities can both hinder and support the wellbeing of their members and why teachers and schools need to create space to acknowledge and respond to the stress of the job.
#6: School & Community
#7: Enrolment Management
The author of this Forbes article shares a few tips on standing out when your qualifications look similar to the competition. You must have a product worth talking about since the best marketing is word-of-mouth. You must also build the right team to add to the experience you provide. Lastly, you must always nitpick ways you can improve, making sure that your improvement initiatives revolve around people. She recommends soliciting feedback from stakeholders and asking, "how could every facet of the experience serve the people better?"
According to this CNBC article, as many as 1 in 5 small private colleges are facing serious financial stress, and enrolments are declining. The article looks at schools that have survived by making difficult choices, including mergers, curriculum changes and budget cuts.
Milton Hershey School is a cost-free, private, coeducational school that offers state-of-the-art facilities, advanced technology and hundreds of extracurricular activities. The school recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with The Pennsylvania State University aimed at improving the national college graduation rates for low-income, first-generation college students. According to the article, "the formal partnership supports the school's commitment to student success following graduation. Milton Hershey School's Graduate Programs for Success (GPS) Division provides students and alumni with a multi-tiered system of support that addresses their individual needs while fostering independence."
#10: Physical Plant, Health & Safety
Believing that "the cafeteria is one of our most important classrooms", WWF looked at cafeteria plate waste and identified many opportunities for creativity, learning, money savings, student empowerment, and food waste reduction. The organization issued a report that identifies ways to foster a learning environment that teaches students a new respect for food and empowers them to take action to reduce waste, including:
- Prevention First
- Staff Up, Delegate Responsibility, Partner
- Share Table Iteration
- Explore Bulk Milk Service
- Planning and Prep for Food Waste Reduction
- Food Rescue
- Empower Students
- Tie to Material Waste
- Landfill Diversion
- Connect Students to Their Food
#11: Commitment to School Improvement
Principal and Educational Consultant, Amber Dembowski, identifies and elaborates on four mistakes that she says are common among even the best instructional leaders. The first two mistakes are focusing on student outcomes instead of the process, neglecting to spend time with and provide intentional feedback to teachers who appear to have strong instructional practices.
In this blog post, A.J. Juliani, Director of Technology & Innovation, writes about the three zones of learning: Zone of Automation, Zone of Aggravation, and Zone of Adaptation. The Zone of Adaptation is about the small 1% experiences that add up over the long-term to powerful learning and growth. Juliani stresses the importance of using tiny habits with students, and he suggests ten habits that follow the habit formation loop popularized by James Clear.
#12: Boarding Program
This Bloomberg article looks at the OECD's triennial study of 15-year-old students across the world, which found that Chinese students far out-performed their peers in every other country in a survey of reading, math and science ability.