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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


Every School Needs a Clear Mission. Yes, Even Yours.

Is your school actively using its mission to make your school a better place? The author of this School Leaders Now article stresses the importance of having clear mission and vision statements in order to make purposeful decisions, set clear expectations, speak with a common language and navigate conflict.


#2: Co-Curriculum & Learning Environments


'Rough play' zones: Some Quebec elementary schools are letting kids shove, grab and wrestle in the yard

As as a way to let rambunctious students get their energy out, at least two elementary schools in Quebec are experimenting with supervised 'rough play' zones in the schoolyard, where students can shove, grab and wrestle in the snow to their hearts' content.

Most U.S. Teens See Anxiety and Depression as a Major Problem Among Their Peers

Anxiety and depression are on the rise among America's youth, according to a Pew Research Center survey of U.S. teens ages 13 to 17. When it comes to the pressures teens face, academics tops the list: 61% of teens say they feel a lot of pressure to get good grades. By comparison, about three-in-ten say they feel a lot of pressure to look good (29%) and to fit in socially (28%), while roughly one-in-five feel similarly pressured to be involved in extracurricular activities and to be good at sports (21% each).


#3: Academic Program


Stubborn gender gap persists in math, engineering programs

Despite significant efforts to boost female enrolment in STEM programs, women are still significantly outnumbered in several areas of study including math and engineering according to Statistics Canada.

Is it up to schools to teach students basic life skills?

How far do schools' duties stretch beyond typical academic disciplines? University of Virginia cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham believes students should be learning skills, such as cooking and doing laundry at home. Educative Dive disagrees: "adding home economics classes into a curriculum is a choice administrators could consider to ensure their students have all the abilities they may need when they graduate, not just academic ones. These can be easily combined with other academic subjects, however, from botany to biology, by weaving science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) tools into the lessons."


#4: School Leadership


11 tips on creating a positive school climate

This eSchool News article looks at two recent reports from the National School Climate Center (NSCC): Lessons from the Field and Connecting Communities of Courage. The Lessons from the Field report includes seven best practices to help create a positive school climate for all learners:

  1. Innovative, collaborative leadership
  2. Committed and trusted adults
  3. Confronting the challenge of conflict
  4. Project-based and service learning
  5. Social-emotional learning integration
  6. Representation of all student voices
  7. Peer-to-peer support structures

The Connecting Communities of Courage report identifies four themes that schools should focus on when creating a positive school climate: mission, wellness, innovative implementation of best practices and integration

Also worth a read: Snow-day procedures vary across Canada as parent frustration mounts


#5: Human Resources


Stressed at Work? Mentoring a Colleague Could Help

The authors of this Harvard Business Review article were interested to see if mentoring might help mentors who work in stressful occupations. Their experiment showed that people who served as mentors experienced lower levels of anxiety and described their job as more meaningful than those who did not mentor.


#6: School & Community


7 Tips for Building an Effective Nonprofit Annual Report

According to the author of this article from nonprofit hub, it is extremely important for nonprofits to write an effective annual report. The article provides seven tips to help, a few of which are: identify what you want to accomplish, highlight your volunteers and donors, be honest and establish need, and share your future plans and be explicit in stating your needs.

Embracing Content Marketing to Tell School Stories and Achieve Institutional Goals

In this NAIS blog post, Joanne Mamenta, Director of Communications and Marketing for Currey Ingram Academy writes that "independent schools have become their own storytellers and content creators." She writes about how to develop a content strategy and looks at various platforms: blogs, videos, podcasts and social media.


#7: Enrolment Management


Yield Season Tips For 2019 With Thayer Academy And St. Paul's School For Girls

In this Finalsite blog post, Jennifer Welch, Director of Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity and Director of International Student Enrollment at Thayer Academy in Braintree, Massachusetts, and Annie Morse, Director of Admissions and Enrollment Management at St. Paul's School for Girls in Brooklandville, Maryland elaborate on the following four suggestions to make yield season easier:

  1. Go paperless
  2. Use your website wisely
  3. Host an awesome revisit day (or three!)
  4. Take some time out of the office


#8: Governance


How to Make Sure Your Board Sets a Good Example for Your Company

Kenneth W. Freeman is dean emeritus of the Boston University Questrom School of Business. Writing for Harvard Business Review, Freeman elaborates on the following steps that Boards and CEOs can take to model exemplary behaviour:

  • Share expectations, agree on principles and put them in writing.
  • Review these expectations annually.
  • Charge the Chair with reminding Board Members and the CEO about their commitments.
  • Use annual CEO performance reviews and annual Board self-assessments to evaluate progress in meeting shared expectations.

Also worth a read: Common Practices Nonprofit Boards Need to Avoid and Why You Should Support Your School's Summer Program


#9: Finance


Avoiding the Pitfalls of Property Undervaluation: Five Steps to Ensure Your Business or Home is Covered

According to Bolton & Company, "over 70 percent of commercial buildings are undervalued by 15 percent or more" in the United States. To ensure your school is properly protected the article recommends that you work with your insurance agent to identify gaps in your coverage and then take these five steps:

  1. Get a formal replacement cost appraisal of your building.
  2. Create a detailed inventory of your school's assets.
  3. Consider adding an annual inflation endorsement to your policy.
  4. Add a blanket endorsement and/or Agreed Value Clause to your policy, which waives any co-insurance requirements.
  5. Conduct a review of all coverage, exposures, and sublimits with your agent.


#10: Physical Plant, Health & Safety


Adding Breakfast to Classrooms May Have a Health Downside

This Health Day article looks at new research that found when children in grades 4-6 were offered breakfast in the classroom the incidence of obesity more than doubled compared with kids who did not eat in the classroom.

Momo Is Not Trying to Kill Children

You may have seen a number of stories in your news and social feeds about the dangers of something called The Momo Challenge, but as Taylor Lorenz writes in this article in The Atlantic, it is just a viral hoax.


#11: Commitment to School Improvement


Using Neuroscience to Launch a Research-Informed School Schedule

All of the faculty and staff at St. Andrew's Episcopal School are trained in educational neuroscience. In fall 2018, the school implemented a new schedule designed to lighten homework loads, reduce unproductive transitions and improve student focus, among other goals. The article details the new schedule, which the school says looks to be successful.


#12: Boarding Program


Planning for success at student fairs and events

This ICEF article looks at a new QS report, Maximising Potential at Student Recruitment Events, which shows the importance of face-to-face contact when recruiting international students. The report offers tips and best practices for student fairs and other events.

Also worth a read: The Importance of Friendships, Making friendships your priority for international students




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