#1: Vision, Mission, Values & Strategy
3 assumptions that derail strategic planning-and how to fix them
This EAB blog post considers the obstacles and frustrations that presidents of public and private universities across North America face when crafting and implementing a bold strategy. EAB Managing Director David Attis outlines several cognitive biases that hamper strategic planning and offers suggestions to overcome them.
A Vision of the Future of School: Posthumous Lessons from Oliver Sacks
This blog post by David Willows, Director of Advancement for the International School of Brussels, is inspired by the last essays of Oliver Sacks, who was once described by the New York Times as the "Poet Laureate of medicine." Willows often considers the future of learning on his blog, and in this post, he offers five things to bear in mind as schools re-envision learning.
#2: Co-Curriculum & Learning Environments
Do You Really "See" Your Child?
In this New York Times article, Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. and Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D. write, "Each child is an individual. When our own desires and assumptions lead us to perceive that child as something other than who they are, we are unable to see them clearly. And if we can't see our kids, then what do we really mean when we say we love them? How can we embrace them as the individuals they are?" Siegel and Bryson stress the importance of being present and aware in interactions with children, providing sensitive, supportive care by offering the "Four S's," and developing an attitude of curiosity rather than judgement.
#3: Academic Program
Gym Class Without the Gym? With Technology, It's Catching On
This New York Times article is about students who are wearing school-supplied fitness trackers to earn school credit for virtual physical education. Teachers set goals, and the trackers provide a welcome way for students who find gym class socially or physically challenging to earn the credit. Students who play sports all year may satisfy the workout requirements without doing anything extra, freeing their time up to take other elective courses.
Also worth a read: 6 Ed Tech Tools to Try in 2020Why Are Grades Important? Some Teachers Say They Do More Harm Than Good
This Teen Vogue article includes plenty of research on the benefits of going "gradeless" and details the experience of several teachers who have chosen to do so, opting instead to provide their students with high-quality feedback. While they acknowledge the challenges of going gradeless, the teachers say some of the benefits for students include better emotional health, improved self-regulation, and greater joy for learning.
#4: School Leadership
A Community Outreach Plan for Principals
Writing for ASCD Express, Principal Jen Schwanke offers many suggestions for principals and school leaders to help improve community relations. One great example shared in the article is an Athletic Director who tweeted on a snow day "Athletes! Do you have a neighbor who might benefit from a shoveled driveway? Offer to help out and show what we mean by #ShamrockPride!"
#5: Human Resources
Strategies: Developing an HR Bootcamp
Seven years ago, Dawn Lewis, Head of Human Resources at the Episcopal School of Dallas, implemented a human resources "bootcamp" at her school. In this NBOA Net Assets article, she details the program, which has the goals of ensuring a better employee experience and helping to mitigate the legal risks of having supervisors who are not properly educated on employment laws. Lewis recommends regularly scheduling the boot camp, ideally before school starts in the fall each year.
#6: School & Community
How an 8-page catalog is transforming parent engagement in Philadelphia
As part of a larger effort to engage parents and bring them to campus, principals in the School District of Philadelphia have developed Family Engagement School-Level Workshop Catalogs that offer a list of workshops that can be made available to parents upon request. The workshops are often developed with parent input, and topics include using art to reinforce students' math skills at home, transitioning to middle school, and fostering a growth mindset in children.
#7: Enrolment Management
Seven Game-Changing Admissions Developments of the Past Decade - and One Trend to Watch in 2020
This Liaison Education blog post looks at seven changes -- some welcome and some controversial -- in United States college admissions that have taken place over the past decade, including the use of big data to target students and increase yield, increasingly holistic admissions practices and the use of technology. The post identifies forming a strategic alliance with a competing school as a trend to look for in 2020.
Don't Mistake Execution for Strategy
Writing for Harvard Business Review, Graham Kenny, Managing Director of Strategic Factors, stresses that it is crucial to recognize the difference between a strategy's design and its execution. Kenny cautions, "The reason executive teams struggle with strategy design is that they don't adopt organization-level thinking at the start. They rush to execution at a strategy retreat, because they invariably arrive ready to address what they need to do. Unless the doing impulse is switched off, until design is ready, the cart gets put before the horse. This has clients leaving their retreat with a hodgepodge of actions but still no clear idea of where their organization is heading or how it differs from competitors in the marketplace."
Forging a Strong Head-Business Officer Relationship
This NAIS article recommends investing time and energy to develop a strong relationship between the Head and the Business Officer to ensure a school's long term viability and stability. The article includes 12 suggestions to help establish a strong partnership.
Lessons from the Field: Successful Nontuition Income Programs
This article, also from NAIS, offers some suggestions for schools hoping to implement new sources of revenue. The article features the annual plant sale held by the Friends School of Minnesota. The sale, which began 30 years ago, takes place on the Wednesday before Mother's Day weekend; last year, it generated $1.2 million in gross receipts.
#10: Physical Plant, Health & Safety
Installing air filters in classrooms has surprisingly large educational benefits
In this Vox article, Matthew Yglesias writes about a new working paper by NYU's Michael Gilraine titled Air Filters, Pollution, and Student Achievement that looks at the significant impact installing $700 commercially available air filters had on test scores. The findings are consistent with growing literature on the cognitive implications of air pollution, and Yglesias writes, "if Gilraine's result holds up to further scrutiny, he will have identified what's probably the single most cost-effective education policy intervention."
#11: Commitment to School Improvement
What if Children Ran the School Lunchroom?
This New York Times article looks at a new program that aims to improve the school food experience by letting students customize their meals, participate in taste tests and brainstorm ways to redesign their school cafeterias. The program is the result of a partnership between FoodCorps, a nonprofit organization that connects children to healthy food in schools and the salad chain, Sweetgreen.
#12: Boarding Program
Canada, Philippines, Malta, and Ireland increasingly popular for Japanese students
This ICEF Monitor article looks at a new report from The Japan Association of Overseas Studies (JAOS). The report shows that Japanese agents sent 9% more students to Canada and fewer students to the US and Australia in 2018 than in 2017. The Philippines, Malta and Ireland also saw substantial growth in their Japanese student population.
Also worth a read: Strong support services help to drive recommendations from international students