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CAIS Top 12 - Archived

#1: Vision, Mission, Values & Strategy

Kids Don't Need to Stay "On Track" to Succeed

Over the past 15 years, writer and psychologist Madeline Levine has asked more than 100,000 people these two questions: "How many of you who consider yourself successful have followed the straight path? How many have followed the squiggly path?". In this article in The Atlantic, Levine says that the proportion of "straight arrows" is always, at most, 10 per­cent of the people who consider themselves successful and the remaining 90 percent have taken a meandering and unexpected path. Levine writes that those who consider themselves successful are passionate about the work they do: "the kind of passion that makes them work harder than others, welcome mistakes and even failures as learning opportunities, and feel that what they do has impact."

#2: Co-Curriculum & Learning Environments

Learning vs. Task-Completing

In this blog post, Dave Stuart Jr. writes that educators must relentlessly teach students the difference between "schoolish behaviours" and learning. Writes Stuart, "Doing the schoolish behaviors isn't all that fulfilling for all that many people. But learning is amazing. Learning can be emancipatory. Learning can open whole universes (for that's what disciplines are). Learning can deepen and shape our very identity."

#3: Academic Program

How to Teach Artificial Intelligence

In this Getting Smart article, Tom Vander Ark, author of Better Together, Smart Parents, Smart Cities and Getting Smart, writes that Artificial intelligence (AI) is likely to be humankind's most important invention and now is the time to consider teaching students about AI and information technology. Vander Ark believes every high school graduate should be able to recognize AI, have the chance to use smart tools to attack challenges they care about and, if they are interested, have the opportunity to build AI.

How to Create a Project Based Learning Lesson

In this Cult of Pedagogy blog post, educator Jenny Pieratt defines projects that reflect high-quality project-based learning (PBL) and details her seven-step flow for project planning, which embeds standards, best practices of Understanding By Design and formative assessment.

Also worth a read: How Hands-On Projects Can Deepen Math Learning for Teens

#4: School Leadership

How Humor Contributes to School Culture

For the past few years, Principal Dave Geurin has shared a joke with his entire school to start each school day. He believes the effort to find a new joke every day is worth it to get each day off to a good start, and in the post, he lists many benefits that have come from this simple routine.

Good Governance: Educating the Community

Elizabeth Speers is the Head of Tower Hill School and a trustee of Middlebury College. Writing for NAIS, she reflects on her experience talking to an economics class about governance, which left her with an appreciation for the importance of having students see the strong rapport between the Head and Board Chair. She now looks for impactful ways to show students what happens around a Board table as well as ensuring that parents understand the roles, functions, and expectations of Board Members.

#5: Human Resources

Measuring the Value of a Strong School Counselor

This Usable Knowledge article looks at a recent paper from Christine Mulhern, a Ph.D. student at the Center on Education Policy Research at Harvard University, that shows that school counsellors have a similar effect to teachers on educational attainment. Some of the research findings are:
  • Counsellors absolutely influence post-secondary achievement
  • Supporting effective counsellor practices has value even when caseloads are high
  • Counsellors can help students access information and opportunities
  • We should leverage the potential of all educators in a school

#6: School & Community

Do Big Names Really Draw Big Bucks?

Many nonprofit organizations adopt a strategy of attracting more influential/connected-to-money individuals Board members; however, a study by researchers Robert Herman and David O. Renz shows that this approach does not translate into greater revenues. This Nonprofit Quarterly article advises that smaller nonprofits "should invest their energy in seeking diverse types of board members who can provide skills and community connections and be willing to contribute in line with their resources."

Also worth a read: Don't Give Gifts to Donors

#7: Enrolment Management

Meeting Our Market

Jeff Shields, NBOA President and CEO, opines that the admissions application is an area that is ripe for innovation and collaboration to make attending independent schools easier for prospective families. Writes Shields, "When I think of the time and effort school leaders are putting into sophisticated and necessary marketing strategies and pricing models, it seems unwise to tether those models to application processes that may have survived long past their utility."

#8: Governance

Why Goldman Sachs's Push for Diversity Is Unlikely to Drive Real Change

Writing for Harvard Business Review, Katie Mehnert, Founder and CEO of Pink Petro, opines that Goldman Sachs's announcement that it will carry out IPOs only for companies that have at least one woman or non-white board member is misguided. Mehnert says, "Businesses cannot simply insert a woman into a board of directors and claim to stand for gender equality and diversity." Doing so is a fig leaf. If a company is genuinely committed to gender equality and diversity, that commitment will show up in its metrics at all levels."

#9: Finance

What Should You Do If You Exhaust Your Financial Aid Budget but Still Have Empty Seats?

According to this ISM article, schools should think of financial aid as a discount with the potential of generating revenue rather than considering it an expense. While the article acknowledges that every school's budget and funding are unique, ISM stresses that having fewer spots available helps to create demand and offers this recommendation for managing the financial aid budget: "to meet applicant needs, but not discount a penny more than demonstrated needs require."

#10: Physical Plant, Health & Safety

Coronavirus Offers Teachable Moments and Wakeup Call for All Schools

In this Getting Smart article, David Ross, who is a global education consultant, shares the stories of some of his colleagues in Asian schools about the current coronavirus outbreak in China, including Spencer Fowler, Head of School at the Dalton Academy on the campus of Peking University in Beijing. Fowler was ordered by the government to close his school a few weeks ago and, since then, he and his instructional staff had to move their entire program online. Ross expects this outbreak will shape educational policy and law for decades to come.

#11: Commitment to School Improvement

Don't discount the power of students' acquaintances to expand supports and horizons

Julia Freeland Fisher, Director of Education Research at the Clayton Christensen Institute, writes about the value that "weak ties" -- relationships with less intimacy, time, and familiarity -- can offer: "access to new information, supports, and opportunities that our stronger-tie networks lack." She encourages schools to appreciate and support these relationships and offers four ways that weak ties can provide opportunity and support for students.

Does Studying Student Data Really Raise Test Scores?

Heather C. Hill is a professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. In this Usable Knowledge article, she examines the practice of analyzing student assessment data and finds that it does not seem to improve student performance and should not be the focus of teacher collaboration.

#12: Boarding Program

Canada's K-12 schools prioritise new markets for enrolment growth

The number of international primary and secondary students coming to CAPS-I (Canadian Association of Public Schools - International) member schools to study for four months or longer grew by nearly 5% last year. China is contributing fewer long-term enrolments but now represents the #1 market for short-term enrolments. As well, several new markets are contributing to overall growth, including Vietnam.

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