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Register for the 2020 National Leaders Conference

The National Leaders Conference is your opportunity to interact with a range of senior-level leaders in your network. For 2020, the audience will be 200+ Academic Leaders. Learn more here.

Register for the 2020 Spring Leadership Institute

The CAIS Diploma in Independent School Leadership is designed to prepare participants for senior leadership roles in independent schools. Learn more here.

Apply to the CAIS Strategic Change Accelerator

The CAIS Strategic Change Accelerator provides the guidance and support for school teams planning important innovative change. Learn more here.

CAIS Top 12 - Archived

#1: Vision, Mission, Values & Strategy


Nurturing a Global Mind

This Usable Knowledge article looks at research that identified five learning activities that help students become global citizens: volunteering, celebrating cultural diversity, learning about other cultures and perspectives, participating in classroom discussions about world events and learning to solve conflicts. The article also includes implementation suggestions for each of the five activities.


#2: Co-Curriculum & Learning Environments


How Making A Podcast Enriched Students' Lives

This Mind Shift article is about the experiences that students had with NPR's first-ever Student Podcast Challenge. "The most amazing thing that came from the podcast experience of that class is how many of them found their passion through this project," teacher Alex Campbell says, "and how this project helped them connect to people and learn how to tell someone else's story."


See also:

Teaching Podcasting: A Curriculum Guide for Educators

Starting Your Podcast: A Guide For Students


#3: Academic Program


The Art of Slow Looking in the Classroom

To meet the challenge of holding students' attention for extended observation, Project Zero researcher Shari Tishman offers "slow looking." Slow looking is "the practice of observing detail over time to move beyond a first impression and create a more immersive experience with a text, an idea, a piece of art, or any other kind of object." This research article looks at the cross-disciplinary learning benefits of paying close attention and suggests many activities to facilitate slow looking.

Also worth a read: How to get kids to love to write


#4: School Leadership


Balancing Effort and Efficiency

As a middle school principal, Matthew Howell recognizes that time is an educator's most precious resource. Writing for Edutopia, he offers three tips to help school leaders set and achieve their goals while keeping their workload manageable: be clear about goals from the start, using target statements to guide conversations; ensure that tasks are manageable, and invest more in people than in products or processes.


#5: Human Resources


Why These Educators Meet Regularly to Align Instruction with Mind, Brain, and Education Research

In this EdSurge article, Kristin Simmers, an English as an additional language educator at NIST International School in Thailand, shares how a core group of interested staff members at her school is shifting toward practices supported by Mind, Brain, and Education (MBE) research. The group formed an informal professional learning community "committed to an iterative process of examining existing and emerging MBE research and continually learning, testing, reflecting and revising our practices to make sure they're reflective of the findings." In the article, she shares the agenda for the first meeting, the immediate key steps for this school year, and the long-term vision.


#6: School & Community


Turn Your Customers into Your Community

The authors of this Harvard Business Review article, who are also the co-authors of Get Together: How to Build a Community With Your People, have researched community-driven companies, including LEGO. They write that collaboration with customers will become easier and more important in the next decade and offer three lessons to help build communities.


#7: Enrolment Management


Parents Don't Speak Education-ese

Like every profession, education has its own vernacular and shorthand. In this blog post, Nick LeRoy, MBA, President of Bright Minds Marketing and former Executive Director of the Indiana Charter School Board, cautions that education marketers should do away with education jargon and talk to families in a manner that they understand. LeRoy has another rule: "No Acronyms. Ever."


#8: Governance


New MIT Report Details University's Deeper Relationship With Jeffrey Epstein

After facing intense scrutiny for its relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, MIT commissioned a report by the law firm Goodwin Procter. The school plans to adopt several changes in response to the report's findings, including reviewing its processes for accepting gifts, creating a procedure for making decisions about controversial donations and making it easier and safer for whistle-blowers to raise concerns. Harvard University is also investigating the extent of its relationship with Epstein.


#9: Finance


New Stanford Study: Switching to 100 Percent Green Energy Would Pay for Itself in 7 Years

This Inc. article looks at a new Stanford study that found that the cost of revamping the world's economy to run entirely on renewable energy -- while huge -- would pay for itself in just seven years. The article acknowledges that the research is contentious and some skeptics insist that some of the required technologies still need to be perfected.


#10: Physical Plant, Health & Safety


A De-escalation Exercise for Upset Students

Writing for Edutopia, High School Teacher and Professional Development Trainer Daniel Vollrath suggests a 4-6 minute simple process for educators to respond to students who are in a stressed or anxious state of mind. He recommends what to say and elaborates on each of the following stages:

  • Give the student time to regain their calm
  • Direct the student to be aware of their thoughts and feelings
  • Have the student redirect their thoughts
  • Give the student positive feedback on becoming calm
  • Give the student a little more time to refocus
  • Have the student reflect for the future


#11: Commitment to School Improvement


Ecopsychology: How Immersion in Nature Benefits Your Health

This Yale Environment 360 article looks at a growing body of research that points to the beneficial effects that exposure to the natural world has on health, reducing stress and promoting healing. One study of 20,000 people found to feel healthy and have a strong sense of well-being people need to spend two hours a week in green spaces.


#12: Boarding Program


Should colleges really be putting smart speakers in dorms?

"We're on the verge of a new era of smart speakers on campus," according to this article in the MIT Technology Review. Schools that are already using smart speakers, such as Alexa, believe they will bolster enrollment, reduce dropout rates and boost students' overall happiness. However, not everyone agrees that the speakers are a good thing.

Also worth a read: Research Alert / How Principals Can Help or Obstruct ELLs




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