CAIS Top 12 - Archived

#1: School Purpose

How to Transform Schools: Put Wellness at the Center

Writing for Education Reimagined, Chris Balme, co-founder and former Head of School at Millennium School in San Francisco says, "Life has no quick fixes, but if I could recommend one single change that would improve our schools dramatically, it would be this: build high-quality advisory programs for everyone. I mean everyone: learners AND adults. Advisory programs are how we bring wellness into the center of our learning environments." In the article, Balme offers several recommendations to make advisory the heart of your learning environment.

#2: School Leadership

5 Tips for Leaders Starting Strategic Plans

Writing for Education Elements, Denise Recinos says that "this is the perfect opportunity to start fresh," and offers five tips for school leaders who are starting to redevelop their school's strategic plans to keep in mind:
  1. Listen to the community to see what their values and goals are and include them in the process. Create with, not for, them.
  2. Be aware of the context of your school and community.
  3. Research past strategic plans and work with your Steering Team to create a list of non-negotiables of must-haves and nice-to-haves. Share this list with your community to make sure that they have the time and space to react and give feedback.
  4. Be responsive and flexible.
  5. Think about implementation and sustainability.

#3: Governance

Turning around an underperforming board

Acknowledging that working with an underperforming Board can be very challenging, Keith E. Brant, Vice President at GG+A, says there are typically three types of issues that are common with underperforming Boards:
  • Dysfunctional group dynamics
  • Disengaged Board Members
  • A lack of clarity around Board Members' roles and responsibilities
Brant offers recommendations to address these concerns and especially stresses the importance of involving Boards in the fundraising process.

#4: Education Program Foundation

How to Develop Empathetic Student Citizens

Curriculum Designer and District Tech Lead Hedreich Nichols believes that teaching students how to disagree with each other respectfully is critical for developing the citizenship skills they'll need in life. Writing for Edutopia, Nichols considers what being respectful looks like and offers suggestions for modelling and teaching those behaviours in class every day, including implementing student-led, discovery-focussed learning, teaching students to question and monitoring your own opinions as a moderator.

#5: Learning & Teaching

In this Edutopia article, Jorge Valenzuela, Education Coach, Adjunct Professor at Old Dominion University, shares a tool he has adapted during lesson/project ideation sessions: a simple table with four columns that allows educators to map their instruction in alignment with summative assessment and daily learning goals:

  1. Determine summative assessment.
  2. Compose learning goals.
  3. Develop formative assessments.
  4. Utilize instructional strategies and scaffolds.

#6: Student Well-Being & Support

Resources for School Counselors Amid the Crisis in Ukraine

With the Russian invasion of Ukraine this week, The International School Counselor Association has added the section "Events in Ukraine" to its Crisis and Grief Response resource page. The section includes resources for student discussions and lessons, including a link to the Education Week article How to Talk With Students About the Russia-Ukraine War: 5 Tips.

#7: Essential Concepts

Canada needs a blueprint for a green skills revolution

In this Globe and Mail article, John Stackhouse, senior vice-president, Office of the CEO, at RBC and Pedro Barata, executive director of the Future Skills Centre, opine that Canada may be short of the skills necessary to get to net-zero carbon emissions. Stackhouse and Barata believe that collaboration with governments, businesses, educational institutions, professional associations and labour groups is essential for this "green shift". Specifically, they think that educational institutions must create new educational approaches for a net-zero era, as Stanford University and Columbia University have already done.

#8: Custodial Care

Integrating mental health supports throughout the international student journey

According to this ICEF Monitor article, international students tend to be more hesitant to seek out mental health supports than other students. The article stresses that to maximize the chance of reaching international students in need of support, educational institutions should provide culturally sensitive counselling, have an organization-wide plan, and help international students feel engaged and connected on campus.

#9: Recruitment & Community Engagement

Beyond Honor Roll: Celebrating a Diversity of Student Achievement

Writing for NAIS, Crystal Frommert, a middle school administrator, recommends that schools reflect on their honour roll practices and the messages they send to students. First, Frommert recommends asking questions such as, "Do those standing represent the top 90% of the most dedicated, hardworking, mission-aligned students at the school? Do the remaining 10% have equitable access to achieve the honor roll criteria?" Then she says schools should make small shifts to recognize arts, community service, and other extracurricular achievements. Frommert concludes, "Your next awards ceremony has the potential to highlight the varied pathways to achievement."

#10: Human Resources

DEI Initiatives Are Futile Without Accountability

In this Harvard Business Review article, Evelyn R. Carter, a social psychologist who has conducted cutting-edge research on how to detect and discuss racial bias, writes, "Without a framework for measuring and evaluating their efforts, the resolve that many leaders and organizations have shown around improving DEI in recent years will falter when challenges arise". In the article, Carter shares a three-part framework for driving better accountability around DEI:
  1. Educate — Before telling people what to do, you have to tell them why.
  2. Listen — Invite feedback, really listen to it, and iterate.
  3. Recognize — Celebrate your wins. But nudge those who need it.

#11: Finance

Strategies: Financial Reporting in a Flash

Teresa Standard is CFO at University School of Nashville, a K-12 day school with 1,071 students in Nashville, Tennessee. Writing for NBOA's Net Assets, Standard shares that over nearly 20 years, she has developed a one-page snapshot of 19 key figures she feels the Board should see each month. The snapshot shows a picture of the school's financial health and ensures her school leverages resources for maximum impact.

Also worth a read, from BDO: How Businesses Can Mitigate Inflation Risks

#12: Facilities & Infrastructure

Donors line up to fund Canada's largest urban geothermal system at University of Toronto

According to this Globe and Mail article by Alex Cyr, approximately 100,000 geothermal systems are in operation in Canada, and the largest urban system is currently being installed on the University of Toronto's St. George Campus. Some key points from the article:
  • The system is expected to reduce the school's annual greenhouse gas emissions by 15,000 tonnes.
  • While the final cost is not yet known, the school has never had a project receive that breadth and depth of donations.
  • U of T expects to see a payback in 15 years.

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