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CAIS Top 12 - Archived

#1: Vision, Mission, Values & Strategy

Getting to the Point in School Mission Statements

In this NAIS article, Greg Bamford, Associate Head of School for Strategy and Innovation at Charles Wright Academy, laments that "mission statements often become long lists of everything a school aspires to be. These lists make it hard for our schools to stand out in increasingly competitive markets, and they make it hard for board members to fulfill their strategic and generative duties." Bamford emphasizes the importance of defining and clarifying a school mission and shares the lessons he learned doing so. He also says that once a mission is public, it must be put to work immediately.

#2: Co-Curriculum & Learning Environments

Normalizing a Culture of Consent on Social Media

Jennifer Casa-Todd is Teacher-Librarian and the author of the books, Social LEADia and Raising Digital Leaders (Summer 2020). In this blog post, she stresses the importance of asking for consent when it comes to posting on social media to help create a culture where kids are respectful of one another's right to (or not to) post.

Study: Skateboarding fosters 21st century, SEL skills

Some schools are beginning to add after-school skateboarding classes and even competitive teams. This Education Dive article looks at a new study from researchers at the University of Southern California that says that skateboarders have gained many 21st Century skills from their sport. The article states that "the study contributes to a shifting perception of skateboarders from loitering youth who don't respect public property to resilient problem solvers who are eager to apply their skills to areas such as filmmaking, photography, music production and apparel design."

#3: Academic Program

If We Want Bookworms, We Need to Get Beyond Leveled Reading

This Edutopia article takes a critical look at the "leveled reading" approach, which matches children with texts they can read comfortably. Some leading literacy and reading experts believe this approach is too limiting to nurture a love of reading and they cite research that suggests variety, choice and encouragement to stretch can make a difference.

Also worth a read: 5 Indicators of Empowered Readers

How Might We Create Learner-Centered Report Cards?

In this blog post, Devin Vodicka offers advice to educators looking to revise report cards to holistically focus on the learner and their learning. Vodicka says that holistic report cards include the following elements: self-referenced, criterion-referenced, and peer-referenced.

#4: School Leadership

Lead Your Business Through the Coronavirus Crisis

This Harvard Business Review article about leading through the COVID-19 crisis is definitely worth a read. Martin Reeves, who is a Senior Partner and Managing Director in the San Francisco office of the management consulting firm BCG, offers 12 lessons for responding to unfolding events, communicating, and extracting and applying learnings.

Media Training and Crisis Communications Workshop

Shirley Muir, President of the PRHouse has helped independent schools across Canada prepare and manage issues on campus. The response to her past CAIS workshops has been incredible ("The best session on this topic I've experienced. I'm not the only one to say so" ~ William Mitchell, Bishops College School 2019) , and we are thrilled that she will be facilitating the Media Training and Crisis Communications Workshop at the NLC Pre-Conference on April 4, 2020, at St. John's School. In advance of the workshop, CAIS had the opportunity to interview Shirley and find out what participants can expect from the day and how it might prepare them to speak to a wide range of audiences about all kinds of issues.

Also worth a read: Strategic Crisis Communication Best Practices For Schools From Western Academy Of Beijing

#5: Human Resources

Authentic PD: 7 Benefits of a Book Tasting Event for Your Teachers

In this blog post, David Geurin, who is a Principal, writes about a recent PD event at his school, a "book tasting" where 55 teachers sampled different books in a relatively short period of time. The post includes a "menu" with some general instructions and some questions to guide thinking. Geurin says the event was a great success and accomplished seven key aims the school has for professional learning, which he elaborates on in the post.

Managers, Take Your 1:1s to the Next Level with These 6 Must Reads

First Round Review is written for technology companies, mostly startups. Still, in this collection, they offer great advice for any manager looking to improve their 1:1 meetings from some of the most insightful leaders they've interviewed.

#6: School & Community

What's the Plan? Getting Intentional About Success in Mid-Level Giving

The authors of this essay say that organizations should ensure that their organizational structure, allocation of resources, and the way they focus their development energies day-to-day reflect the importance of mid-level giving. They write that a mid-level plan needs to articulate strategies to identify and cultivate prospective mid-level donors, support ongoing success in securing mid-level gifts and help to transition your mid-level donors to major donors.

#7: Enrolment Management

5 Way to Optimize Your Admissions Funnel With a Lead Conversion Audit for Schools

Though written for post-secondary schools, this article from Higher Education Marketing about conducting a lead conversion audit also applies to independent schools. A lead conversion audit can help schools make many improvements: by inspecting every aspect of the admissions follow-up process, schools can identify areas to optimize efficiency, personalization and effectiveness. The article details the phases of the audit, which are:

  1. Evaluate Your Admissions Funnel With a Lead Conversion Audit for Schools
  2. Assess Your Team's Workload Through a Digital Marketing Audit for Schools
  3. Boost your Admissions Strategy with Competitor Benchmarking
  4. Optimize Your Automated Lead Nurturing Processes
  5. Ensure a Sound Manual Follow-Up Process with Admissions Consulting for Schools

#8: Governance

Projections: The Milkshake and the Man

In this Net Assets article, Jeffrey Shields, NBOA President and CEO writes about how for-profit schools and alternative models have served as disruptive forces for independent schools. He urges school leaders to embrace their independence to make programmatic, financial and operational choices to meet the needs of current and prospective families. To do so, Shields says schools must first understand what they are being hired to do and must not assume that they are competing primarily against other independent schools.

Also worth a read: Who Should Serve on Your Advisory Board?

#9: Finance

Wall Street Is (Finally) Waking Up to the Damage Coronavirus Could Do

Neil Irwin, a senior economics correspondent for The New York Times, writes that while there is still great uncertainty about how widely the COVID-19 virus will spread, the financial world now realizes how much is at stake. Irwin writes about the possible impact of the virus on the service industry and says "the longer the shutdowns of Chinese production, and the more widely other countries are forced to take similar measures, the more the spread of the virus could affect the ability of global companies to do business."

Another article by Neil Irwin, Coronavirus Fears Are Driving Interest Rates Down, a Bad Omen for the Economy, is also worth a read.

#10: Physical Plant, Health & Safety

Building the Indigenous, Zero-Carbon, Mass Timber Future of Higher Education

Centennial College has announced the construction of a new building that will embody the school's commitment to Truth and Reconciliation and sustainable design. The new building is described by Centennial as "the first zero-carbon, mass timber higher-education building in the country."

#11: Commitment to School Improvement

3 Tips to Use Data Effectively

Principal Joe Mullikin believes that "data has the potential to be the key lever that leads to exceptional results for kids." Writing for Edutopia, Mullikin stresses the importance of determining what data is most essential, limiting the data collection to information that plays a role in your daily practice and collecting data that is useful to both teachers and students. Once collected, Mullikin suggests asking several questions about the data, setting goals, and using it to enhance collaboration.

#12: Boarding Program

Canada had another strong year of growth in 2019

This ICEF Monitor article looks Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) data, which shows that the number of international students in Canada grew by 13% year-over-year, making 2019 the fourth year of double-digit growth for the country's foreign enrolment. Of the 74,350 international students added to the country's enrolment base in 2019, about 65% are from India alone.

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