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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


Six Must-Haves For A Great School (Spoiler: They Don't Show Up On Your Average Check-List)

In this Forbes article, Talia Milgrom-Elcott provides a list of six recommendations that, together, she believes are the true measure of an excellent school:

  1. Prioritize schools that prioritize the whole person, both children and teachers
  2. Focus on mastery, not seat time
  3. Look for schools where students are active partners in their learning
  4. Soft skills + hard skills + active learning = 21st-century success
  5. Diverse schools for a diverse country
  6. Mission Through and Through
Also worth a read: Davos 2019: Globalization in a digital age, by Dave McKay, President and CEO of RBC


#2: Co-Curriculum & Learning Environments


How Effective Sports Coaches Help Students Feel Understood at School

"For better or worse, coaches affect child development," writes Linda Flanagan for MindShift. She stresses that "the interactions with teammates often elicit powerful emotional responses at a time when the adolescent brain is highly susceptible to social cues and hierarchies" and elaborates on these ways that sports provide coaches with the opportunity to reach their student athletes:

  • Forging personal relationships.
  • Working together toward a shared goal.
  • Tailoring motivation to the individual.
  • Providing adult friendship.
  • Teaching "life lessons" that transcend the sports arena.


#3: Academic Program


Gym Class Is So Bad, Kids Are Skipping School to Avoid It

The Texas Fitness Now program required middle school students to participate in daily P.E. in the hopes of improving their fitness, academic achievement and behavior. However, researchers found that the program did little to improve the students' physical fitness and actually led to an increase in absenteeism and other disciplinary problems. The article concludes that to be effective P.E. programs should go beyond "gym class" and include healthy-living and nutrition classes, parent education, and frequent opportunities for unstructured play.


#4: School Leadership


To ensure innovation and success in your organization, you must first curb destructive habits writes Kerry Goyette, President of Aperio Consulting Group. Goyette's research has identified unconscious neglect, overprotection and devaluation as three bad habits that are holding back innovation. To overcome them she recommends that managers diagnose their team's triggers, create learning goals alongside employees and help their employees prioritize.

During his recent session at the Future of Education Technology Conference, titled "Creating a Culture of Yes," District Superintendent Joe Sanfelippo detailed three components of creating and maintaining a strong school or district culture: be intentional, open doors and build energy. Sanfelippo said that if administrators do these things, they'll "get to a place where the culture of yes just kind of takes over.


#5: Human Resources


Feeling the midyear slump? Recharge your meetings with MicroPD

"There is nothing more powerful than teachers sharing with their colleagues," writes Middle School Principal Michael S. Gaskell in this eSchool News article. To facilitate sharing and revitalize teachers mid-year, Gaskell recommends The 5-Minute MicroPD. Here's how it works: Gaskell introduces the concept and reads a team-building quote, then teachers reflect on the quote and share how it applies to their team and to conclude the session Gaskell shares his own contribution.


#6: School & Community


My Navigation Formula for Independent School Websites

Is there a navigation formula that works best for education websites? After many years of designing education websites Bart Caylor has come up with the navigation formula that he thinks works extremely well:
5a + 2c + x = Primary Navigation, which he lays out in this blog post.

6 apps for parent-teacher communication

Communication with parents is an integral part of the education process. Unfortunately, notes written on paper and sent back and forth between school and home can be easily lost or forgotten and do not allow for timely clarification. This eSchool News article looks at six apps that can help overcome these challenges, three of which are free: Talking Points, Bloomz and Remind.


#7: Enrolment Management


Research Insights: Why Parents Choose Independent Schools

In their research into what parents are trying to accomplish by sending their children to independent schools, NAIS uncovered these four jobs: overcoming obstacles, realizing a plan for a talented child, finding a values-aligned community and developing a well-rounded person. Written by Amada Torres, Vice President for Studies, Insights, and Research at NAIS, explains the Jobs-To-Be-Done (JTBD) methodology and recommends using the findings in discussions at the Board and leadership meetings.


#8: Governance


33 Interview Questions That Will Help You Find Effective Principals

According to this article in The Edvocate, Principal quality is the number one predictor of teacher turnover. Asking the right questions during the hiring process can ensure that you hire an effective leader. With that in mind, the article provides 33 interview questions, grouped in the following categories:

  • General
  • Knowledge of Students
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Personnel, Hiring, Induction
  • Facilities, Budget, School Safety
  • Public Relations, Communicating With Parents
  • Leadership, Vision, Professionalism


#9: Finance


How Will Blockchain Transform the Education System?

Writing for Dataconomy, Ryan Ayers recommends that school leaders consider the potential of blockchain technology to help administrators and students. After finance and healthcare, the education industry has suffered the most from data breaches; the blockchain can be used to help keep data safe. However, Ayers says that "the possibilities are endless" for blockchain and other possible uses could include test prep and learning, library and information services and transportation.

Also worth a read: Can AltSchool-The Edtech Startup With $174M From Billionaires Like Zuckerberg And Thiel-Save Itself From Failure?


#10: Physical Plant, Health & Safety


Student and Parent Responsibility in Reducing Sports-Related Risks

This ISM article cites some daunting statistics from the National Athletic Trainers' Association about the risk of student injury from sports: 90% of student athletes report some sort of sports-related injury; 54% percent of students say that they played while injured. The article stresses that students, parents, coaches and school leaders all play a role in reducing sports risks.


#11: Commitment to School Improvement


Worth a look: Sustainability at Exeter

With 13 student environmental clubs, a dedicated advisory board of adults from across disciplines, and a mission statement that demands thoughtful stewardship, outreach and education, Exeter's commitment to sustainability is manifold and present in every aspect of school life.


#12: Boarding Program


Temple University switches on support for iPhone campus cards

Students and staff at Temple University can now use their iPhone or Apple Watch as their campus identification card to gain entry to buildings and access facilities.




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