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National Leaders Conference

The 2019 National Leaders Post Conference Call for Workshop Proposals are open until December 7. Apply here.

Strengthen Your School Leadership

CAIS values the constant and deliberate quest for excellence, and we recognize the vital leadership role that governors play, in partnership with Heads, in the success of our schools. We want all of our schools to have strong Heads who focus on supporting the students of the present, but we also want strong Boards that focus on supporting the students of the future.

The Governance Guide include new learning on a number of areas, including Human Resources, Risk Management, Head Transitions, and Consent Agendas.

CAIS members and non-members can purchase a hard copy here. And CAIS members can also view the full PDF in CAIS Connect here.


CAIS Top 12 - Archived

#1: Vision, Mission, Values & Strategy


Four Ways to Bring Community Support to Your School

"Kampong" is a term used to describe traditional villages in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, where members are connected not only by proximity but by a shared identity of their community. In this article, Christine Powell, a teacher and Fulbright Distinguished Teaching Award recipient, writes about how the spirit of kampong is beneficial for a school and also provides a source of pride in the community. She details four ways that educators can increase community engagement in their schools: sharing knowledge, networking contacts, volunteering experiences and sharing successes.


#2: Co-Curriculum & Learning Environments


20 Tips For Real Life Learning

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart and an advocate for innovations in learning. Writing for Forbes, he stresses the importance of planning, preparation and sustained support to make real life learning valuable for all learners, and also offers 20 tips, which he groups into these four categories:

  1. Planning And Preparation
  2. Provisioning And Managing Work-Based Learning
  3. Industry Certificate Programs
  4. Bringing The Real World Into The Classroom

Vancouver hip hop artist and high school choir make sweet music together

Hip-hop artist Keliya recently joined forces with a high school choir to create a culturally diverse music video about self empowerment. The school's choir teacher, Deanna Gestrin, believes the choir's experience with Keliya will influence them going forward.


#3: Academic Program


Video games aren't corrupting young minds - they may be building them

This CBC article looks at new science, which suggests that video games can help with social and intellectual development. Researchers are exploring the use of games, such as Minecraft, as pedagogical tools in education, and there is growing evidence that therapeutic games, such as Mindlight, could be used in therapy for a variety of mental illnesses.

'Legalized bullying': Stop playing dodgeball in schools, UBC professor urges

UBC education professor Joy Butler wants dodgeball removed from gym class. She believes the game is too aggressive for school kids and teaches them that is okay to victimize other people.


#4: School Leadership


Every New Employee Needs an Onboarding "Buddy"

Recognizing that the most important thing a new hire needs for success is support, Microsoft introduced an onboarding "buddy program", which helped new hires in three key ways: providing context, boosting productivity, and improving new employee satisfaction. This Harvard Business Review article includes some early insights and tips from the program.

Parents Gone Wild: High Drama Inside D.C.'s Most Elite Private Schooll

This article, which appears in The Atlantic, is about Sidwell Friends School, the high school of Chelsea Clinton and the Obama children. In January, the head of the school, Bryan Garman, sent a letter (included in the article) to parents of seniors in which he demanded that they stop "the verbal assault of employees" and last month, shocking behavior by parents may have led two of the school's three college counselors to leave their jobs.


#5: Human Resources


3 reasons you should stop hiring for "culture fit"

Writing for Fast Company, DeLisa Alexander, Chief People Officer and Executive Vice President of Red Hat, cautions against hiring solely for culture fit, which can reinforce a lack of diversity, cause organizations to miss out on great talent and increase the risk of passing along unintended biase. Instead, she recommends assessing for a culture-add perspective and asking the following questions to determine how a candidate's individuality and differences can make a company better and stronger:
  • Will they be effective in our environment, today and tomorrow?
  • Will they embrace our structures and processes?
  • Will they take away from the culture?
  • Does their purpose align with the purpose of the company?


#6: School & Community


Alumni Relations 101

Jill Goodman is an executive mentor and strategist for the non-profit and educational sectors. With the goal of helping schools ensure that their alumni program is as healthy as possible, Goodman interviewed 13 alumni directors across the US and in the UK to develop these top five priorities:

  • Assess your data.
  • Learn the culture of the school.
  • What's the goal of the Alumni Program?
  • Who are your Alumni Champions?
  • Evaluate programs and ask for new ideas.

Ace Your First Fundraising Campaign

In this NAIS post, David Allyn, Vice President at Graham-Pelton, a global fundraising and management consulting firm for leading independent schools, provides a guide to the critical elements for schools launching capital campaigns to consider.


#7: Enrolment Management


Turning Graduation into a School Enrollment Event

This Bright Minds Marketing blog post recommends using year-end celebrations to market your school to the next generation of graduates, and offers the following suggestions to make it clear that when students graduate from your school, they succeed:

  • High schools and grade schools should build relationships for mutual benefit
  • Showcase your end result - This is where our grads go to succeed
  • Spirit Wear (and photo shoot)
  • Touch base with the admissions directors and administration of schools your students will be attending.
  • Host a signing-day photo op for your athletes and scholarship winners


#8: Governance


Exceptional Board Members, Clear Expectations

"Every nonprofit and mission is different, but making a list of the desired qualities of the ideal board member and what you expect from your board members can help you define your needs and goals. With this 'job description,' you can clearly communicate your needs during the recruitment and on-boarding process," writes Jeb Banner, founder and CEO of Boardable. In this NonProfitPRO article Banner suggests some basic points to include in the job description, a few of which are:
  • Becoming a brand advocate
  • Bontributing personally to the organization
  • Assisting with fundraising
  • Attending all meetings
  • Thanking donors for their support

How Boards Develop Successful Business Practices In Nonprofit Organizations

"The goal of the nonprofit business plan is to maximize the achievement of the organization's mission within existing resources," writes Dr. Eugene Fram, a nonprofit governance expert. To do so, Fram recommends that nonprofit Boards focus on four business factors, which he elaborates on in his post:
  1. Seizing opportunities
  2. Focussing on clients
  3. Handling competing priorities
  4. Thinking long-term


#9: Finance


Six Tips For Success If You're New to the Business Office

As this school year comes to an end, ISM shares some advice for Business Managers to help start next school year on the right foot: Create a master calendar.
  • Get an understanding of your Office's organizational system.
  • Read your school's handbooks.
  • Create relationships.
  • Review your school's benefits packages.
  • Get a handle on the financials.


#10: Physical Plant, Health & Safety


Some worried that "13 Reasons Why" could lead to rise in youth suicides. A new study suggests it did.

This Washington Post article looks at a study that found the Netflix show "13 Reasons Why" was associated with "a 28.9 percent increase in suicide rates among U.S. youths ages 10 to 17 in April 2017." The article recommends these measures to address teen mental health:

  • Debunk negative stigmas associated with mental health.
  • Increase mental health resources at schools.
  • Social emotional learning in schools and the community.
Also worth a read:


#11: Commitment to School Improvement


Outdoor learning has huge benefits for children and teachers - so why isn't it used in more schools?

The authors of this article in The Conversation recently published a study on curriculum-based outdoor learning for children aged 9-11. They found that going outside to learn -- even just for an hour or two every week -- can have tremendous benefits for children, increasing their engagement and improving their well-being. Outdoor learning also increases teachers' job satisfaction, an important factor since teacher well-being is essential to creating an effective learning environment.

Also worth a read: Forest school raises free-range, resilient kids and happy moms


#12: Boarding Program


The New School's Leader on Global Goals and What Lies Ahead

In this New York Times interview, David Van Zandt, President of The New School, speaks about the globalization of education and the importance of offering a "high-touch full-time residential experience." About 34 percent of the school's approximately 10,000 students are from outside of the United States.




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