Expect The Best


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

The essential skill set for tomorrow

Noa Albelda is a researcher at the Sagol Center for Brain and Mind, a research center operating at the Baruch Ivcher School of Psychology in Israel. In this BOLD blog, she writes that educational systems should focus on helping students with regulating and managing their attention, stress management and social-emotional wellbeing. Albelda says there is growing evidence that all of these skills can indeed be taught and learned.

How AI Is Shaping Jobs of the Future: What It Means for Schools

Juvenile Cybercrime Rehabilitation Counselor, Algorithm Bias Auditor and Data Detective are just a few possible jobs of the future identified in this Education Week article. According to the article, "experts expect that over the next decade or so, about 12 percent of jobs will be lost to automation, while AI will create another 13 percent of jobs." To prepare students for these jobs, and other jobs that don't exist yet, the article recommends that K-12 schools instill life-long learning in students and continue to teach the humanities.

#2: Co-Curriculum & Learning Environments

For decades, students at an elite school published a map with seniors' college plans. This year, they decided it fed a "toxic" school culture.

After decades of doing so, the student editors of the school newspaper at Palo Alto High School in California decided not to publish a map spotlighting where graduates are heading for college this year. This Washington Post article includes the letter that the editors wrote to their school community, explaining that their decision to do away with the map was based on their belief the map reflected a "toxic" college-obsessed environment among some students. Palo Alto High is in a wealthy suburb of San Francisco, not far from Silicon Valley. A former student's parents were indicted in the college admissions Operation Varsity Blues bribery scandal earlier this year.

Also worth a read: Students speak out about the potential pitfalls of gifted testing

#3: Academic Program

Members in Action: Appleby College Bringing SEL into Reflective Practices within Outdoor Education

Writing for ISEEN (Independent Schools Experiential Education Network), Patrick O'Sullivan, Assistant Director of Outdoor Education and Rob McGuiness, Assistant Head of School, Global Education at Appleby College provide an overview of the school's Outdoor Education program (which includes a mandatory outdoor education experience on a 6-day winter camping trip in grade 10!). The Outdoor Education program has seen a positive impact from using the school's SEL framework to connect the experiences it provides back into the classroom and to students' everyday lives.

Also worth a read:

#4: School Leadership

Leadership Techniques That Build Unstoppable Teams

Alden Mills is an Entrepreneur, CXO Advisor, Navy SEAL, Author and Speaker. In this article, he offers his principles, which he calls the Unstoppable Team Fundamentals for building successful teams. The article appears in Entrepreneur; however, Mills believes that they apply to all industries and business structures.

  • Use the "swim buddy" system
  • Model the way you want your team to perform
  • Caring leads to daring
  • Hire for culture first

#5: Human Resources

How to Design an Ethical Organization

The authors of this Harvard Business Review article identify and detail four critical features to address when designing an ethical culture: explicit values, thoughts during judgment, incentives and cultural norms. The article provides hiring, evaluation, and compensation examples for leaders who are putting an ethical design into practice.

7 Rules For Implementing A Growth Mindset At Your Nonprofit

In this Forbes article seven members of the Forbes Nonprofit Council share their rules for implementing a growth mindset:

  • Trend Watching Should Be Encouraged
  • Employee Development Should Be The Focus
  • Organizational Goals Should Be Employee Goals
  • The Right Person Must Be In The Right Position
  • You Must Ask What You Can Do Better
  • There Must Be A Plan For Growth
  • Employee Ambitions Need To Be Supported

#6: School & Community

2019 Recommended Summer Reading For Advancement Professionals

If you are going to read one fundraising book this summer, the ISM team recommends Donor-Centered Fundraising by Penelope Burke. This article also recommends books for school leaders who are looking to strengthen their marketing approach, become a better mentor, asses how they're meeting their school's mission, strengthen leadership skills and discover how to ask the right questions.

Also worth a read: 14 Ways To 'Grade' Your Communications Plan Before It Launches

#7: Enrolment Management

Four Tips for Managing Summer Enrollments

During the summer months, when the campus is quieter, prospective families do not have the opportunity to see your school's mission in action. ISM provides some tips to overcome this challenge and effectively manage summer enrolment:

  • Schedule around your available administrators and teachers.
  • Create grouped encounters but do not use social events for admitted students as your prospective students' group encounter.
  • Uncover why a family applies outside of the "normal" application timeline.
  • Remember: Paperwork is the parent's responsibility.

Taglines, Taglines, Taglines!

Does your school have a distinctive, memorable tagline that boosts your brand? If not, check out these 96 responses to the 2018 Private School MarCom Survey which asked school marketers for their school tagline.

#8: Governance

How wildly expensive for-profit private schools are different from wildly expensive nonprofit private schools

According to this Washington Post article, high-end for-profit private schools are growing in number. Mike Levy, former Curriculum Director at Avenues World School in New York City and current Head of the Middle School at Presidio Knolls in San Francisco, was recently interviewed on a podcast that focuses on education-related issues, and he answered questions about these schools including who goes to them, what they offer and how are they different from nonprofit schools. The article includes a link to the podcast and an edited transcript.

5 Questions to Ask Before You Join a Board

In this blog post, Joan Garry offers prospective Board Members five good questions they can ask to help them ascertain the condition of the Board and the contribution they could uniquely make. While this post is written for prospective Board Members, it is also a good read for anyone involved in recruiting new Board Members.

#9: Finance

Effective CFOs Don't Try to "Do Everything Better"

In this CFO article, David McCann writes about a Gartner survey of more than 100 finance chiefs to asses their personal performance and effectiveness across 231 attributes. The research identified key areas that are responsible for driving personal effectiveness among CFOs and showed that personally effective CFOs followed four common practices:

  1. Announcing personal priorities publicly
  2. Practicing "zero-based" scheduling
  3. Concentrating attention more often
  4. Comparing planned and actual time allocation

#10: Physical Plant, Health & Safety

Harvard-Westlake School Partners with SyncThink to Monitor Students' Brain Health

To provide advanced medical care to its student-athletes, Harvard-Westlake School is using EYE-SYNC. This eye tracking technology "will allow the school's sports medicine staff to objectively measure brain performance to mitigate the effects of sleep deprivation, poor dynamic vision, and degraded attention that may lead to decreased cognitive function and sport-related injury."

University of B.C. food services move to sustainable seafood

Ocean Wise seafood is "sustainable seafood caught or farmed in a way that ensures the long-term health and stability of a species and the marine ecosystem." In line with its commitments to sustainability on many fronts, The University of B.C. has announced that as of July 1 it will only serve Ocean Wise seafood.

Amid measles outbreak, New York ends religious exemptions for vaccines

Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo signed legislation this week that requires schoolchildren to be vaccinated. The law, which goes into effect immediately, removes nonmedical exemptions from school vaccination requirements.

#11: Commitment to School Improvement

Mobile addiction: School's phone-free Fridays to help pupils

On "Phone-Free Fridays" at Christ College Brecon students voluntarily hand in their phones to their Head of House for the day. Teacher and Deputy Head Simon Hill told the BBC that the initiative started after the school looked at research into the addictive nature of phones.

The Power of Outdoor Group Exercise on Campus

Tyler Kyriopoulos designs outdoor fitness spaces for parks, universities and other outdoor organizations. He believes that exercising as part of a group outdoors can greatly enhance the quality of life for students and faculty on campus. In this Campus Rec article, Kyriopoulos offers several reasons why schools should encourage outdoor group fitness, a few of which are:
  • Group training has the highest level of participation among training methodologies.
  • Outdoor exercise reduces stress, improves mood and enhances self-esteem.
  • Group training participants are more motivated to continue their workouts and work toward health and wellness goals.

Also worth a read: From obesity to allergies, outdoor play is the best medicine for children

#12: Boarding Program

Former I.M. Pei-designed IBM campus in Westchester could become boarding school

For-profit developers Evergreen Ridge have proposed turning the former IBM corporate campus in Westchester County, New York, designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, into a private high school. The school will focus on a STEAM curriculum and will ultimately accommodate around 1,530 boarding and 270 day students.

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