CAIS Top 12 - Archived

#1: School Purpose

Taking best of innovations, lessons of pandemic education

Nate Herpich of the Harvard Gazette spoke with the lead members from the Harvard University's Future of Teaching and Learning Task Force about their new report, which includes several recommendations to help the University create more engaging, equitable, learning experiences. Bharat Anand, vice provost for advances in learning, told Herpich, "One of the things that we repeatedly came back to in the task force discussions is what makes Harvard special — what is it about the 'Harvard experience' that we ought to aspire to preserve in any educational experience, whether this involves 30 learners engaged in in-person classroom discussions, 3,000 learners in an online course, or 30 million learners in a virtual campus community."

#2: School Leadership

3 cognitive biases that can derail strategy work at independent schools

Writing for EAB, Sarah Manes says, "Independent school leaders need a bold vision for the future to differentiate their institution in an increasingly competitive market," and stresses the importance of the quality of strategic thinking -- free from cognitive bias. In the article, Manes outlines three specific cognitive biases and how to overcome them.

#3: Governance

Do You Understand Why Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Is So Important?

In this blog post, nonprofit governance expert Joan Garry writes about the importance of nonprofit organizations engaging in "real DEI work" and gives five reasons why it matters in nonprofits:
  1. Nonprofit leaders already have the passion to do hard things.
  2. Without lived experience crawling all over your organization — including its staff, board, and volunteers — you can't be really good at it.
  3. Homogeneous thinking and decision-making NEVER drives innovation.
  4. Nonprofit leaders need to build armies of engaged citizens across all races and identities — because BIG armies affect change.
  5. There are not enough models of organizations that are really getting it right and the nonprofit sector has the intrinsic values built into it to be the model for other sectors.

#4: Education Program Foundation

Linking Continuous Improvement and Adaptive Leadership

The authors of this ASCD article: Jal Mehta, professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education; Max Yurkofsky, assistant professor at Radford University and Kim Frumin, research director for the Deeper Learning Dozen, conducted a three-year case study on the use of continuous improvement methods in education. They found that the schools that were successfully using continuous improvement-based approaches to improve learning were all anchored by an "adaptive leader". Adaptive leaders succeed by "forging purpose; developing needed dispositions among adults; and creating the time, political space, relational climate, and culture of learning needed."

#5: Learning & Teaching

Writing for Tech & Learning, Senior Staff Writer Erik Ofgang says that while research has disproven the idea that different students have different learning styles, many educators continue to believe in learning styles and build lessons accordingly. Ofgang looks at where the concept of learning styles originated, why education researchers are confident there's no evidence to support it and offers advice for discussing learning styles with educators and students who swear by the concept to ensure that students don't establish learning limitations.

#6: Student Well-Being & Support

Concerns about bullying, anxiety follow loosening of mask mandates

Reporter Kara Arundel spoke with school leaders and school psychology experts about transitioning to mask optional policies in schools for this K-12 Dive article. Some recommendations from the article:
  • Emphasizing the need to respect individuals' mask-wearing choices.
  • Recognizing when students are kind and understanding to those choosing to wear masks.
  • Preparing to respond to bullying or harassment by helping students prepare short responses to questions or comments they may receive.

#7: Essential Concepts

Want Students to Flourish? Teach Human Ecology

Writing for EdSurge, Sandra Ericson, who chaired the Consumer Arts and Science Department at City College of San Francisco for 28 years, opines that "Schools have an educational obligation to teach people about meeting human needs and coexisting." To do so, Ericson recommends that schools should teach Human Ecology, which she says "teaches the skills needed to keep pace with and counteract contemporary forces and conditions."

#8: Custodial Care

Think Your Students Don't Care About Others?

In this Usable Knowledge article, Andrew Bauld shares some ways -- developed by researchers from the Harvard Graduate School of Education's Making Caring Common project -- educators can help K-12 students effectively understand and recognize biases and gain the skills to have constructive conversations around challenging topics. In the article, Senior Research and Evaluation Manager Milena Batanova stresses, "This work is about people and skills rather than specific content. It's about the process and what it takes to try to understand people, to learn about them, and to be generally curious to develop the skills to take that care further."

#9: Recruitment & Community Engagement

Inclusive Marketing, Front and Center

In this article, Jaime Hunt, Vice President and Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Miami University, says that if your school has prioritized diversity, equity, and inclusion, its brand guide should reflect this commitment. Writes Hunt, "Diversity has to be integrated into the start of our creative process and cannot be relegated to a checkbox. And it has to be authentic and real — not performative, and not in a way that misrepresents the reality on our campuses — while also being sensitive to cultural nuances."

#10: Human Resources

A Case for Flexible Work Hours: An Educator's Debate

This ISM article considers the possibility of flexible work schedules for schools. In the article, Crystal Frommert, an Assistant Head of Middle School, shares her experience working at a school with flexible work hours. The article addresses several questions and concerns school leaders might have and suggests a trial period to test out a flexible work schedule.

#11: Finance

In this EDC Weekly Commentary, Stuart Bergman, Interim Chief Economist and Vice-President, Export Development Canada, writes about the potential economic impact of the crisis in Ukraine. Bergman says the bottom line is, "The crisis in Ukraine will further exacerbate inflation, pressuring energy and food costs, and erode the purchasing power of consumers and businesses around the world. At the same time, uncertainties will rattle confidence and disrupt economic activity. We expect this to lead to a break between European and U.S. economic growth and monetary policy, a deviation that should play out on the currency side as well."

#12: Facilities & Infrastructure

Do We Really Want Academic Permanent Records to Live Forever on Blockchain?

In this EdSurge article, Christin Bohnke looks at the possibilities for applying Blockchain technology in education to manage student records and track progress and credits. Bohnke says that only a few education institutions currently use the technology, most notably MIT. While Bohnke recognizes several potential benefits of Blockchain, she says the benefits are also potential flaws and provides several questions that educational institutions should consider.

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