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CAIS Top 12 - Archived

#1: Vision, Mission, Values & Strategy


In this blog post, Katie Martin, VP of Professional Learning at Altitude Learning, opines that this is the time to "invent new structures, tear down ineffective ones and awaken hidden talents and passions in our children." She encourages educators to "focus on connection and learning instead of recreating ineffective structures and routines of school that breed isolation and disengagement at home."


#2: Co-Curriculum & Learning Environments


5 Ways to Help Teens Manage Anxiety About the Coronavirus

In this New York Times article, Lisa Damour, a psychologist and the author, writes that adults should do the following five things to help teens manage anxiety about the Coronavirus:

  1. Help them appreciate that healthy anxiety has a purpose: It alerts us to potential threats and helps us move toward safety.
  2. Make sure they don't overestimate the dangers or underestimate their ability to protect themselves from those dangers.
  3. Help them turn their attention to supporting others.
  4. Encourage them to take a break from seeking, or even accidentally encountering, information about the virus.
  5. Model a level-headed response.

Writing for the Association for Middle Level Education, Phyllis L. Fagell, who is a school counselor, therapist and the author of Middle School Matters, suggests four ways educators can support students during this changing and uncertain time:

  1. Infuse humour into as many interactions as possible.
  2. Don't neglect ordinary middle school concerns.
  3. Help kids minimize drama and conflict.
  4. Model emotion self-regulation.


#3: Academic Program


The Shift to Online Teaching

For this article, Usable Knowledge has compiled practices and strategies from higher education institutions that can translate into the K-12 classroom, a few of which are:
  • Let your pedagogy inform the technology you choose to incorporate.
  • Rebuild your classroom community in a digital space.
  • Develop new ways of encouraging engagement.

Also worth a read: 'The education world has been turned upside down: Online learning may reshape the classroom


#4: School Leadership


Are You Leading Through the Crisis ... or Managing the Response?

For nearly two decades, Eric J. McNulty and Leonard Marcus, who lead the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative at Harvard, have researched and observed public and private-sector executives in high-stakes, high-pressure situations. In this Harvard Business Review article, they write that the actions of leaders and their teams in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis will significantly determine their organization's fate. They caution that crises are most often over-managed and under-led; leading involves guiding people to the best possible eventual outcome by focusing on what is likely to come next and readying to meet it.

5 questions every president should consider when responding to COVID-19

In this article, David Attis, Managing Director, Research with EAB, recommends five questions that every president should be asking right now. The article is written for post-secondary but applies well to independent schools:
  1. How can we minimize the equity impact that emergency changes might have on different groups of students, faculty, and staff?
  2. Are we communicating in ways that inform and reassure our many stakeholders?
  3. Do we have contingency and succession plans in place for administrators and faculty who are unable to continue to perform their job duties?
  4. How can we best meet our broader social responsibility to support our local communities in a time of crisis?
  5. What are the medium- and long-term consequences of the pandemic for our institution?


#5: Human Resources


Educator Stress Is a Leadership Challenge. Here's What Leaders Can Do About It

Believing that education leaders have an ethical obligation to reduce stress for educators, the author of this ASCD Express article recommends that leaders take the following actions:
  • Be supportive and aware of the power you have in both increasing engagement and reducing stress.
  • Stop trying to do so much: "Instead of prioritizing to-do's, which makes it seem as though some things are less important than others, think about sequencing: Be realistic about everything that needs to be done and arrange in a temporal order."
  • Build collaboration and trust across the system.
  • Communicate clarity about organizational focus and what this means for educators' daily work; offer specific appreciation for staff members who are doing their jobs conscientiously and with care and concern for students; and provide information about what is going on behind the scenes and why.
  • Listen well and get into the habit of asking for feedback in every conversation.


#6: School & Community


Creative Connections While Apart

For this article, Usable Knowledge asked Harvard Graduate School of Education faculty and staff to share creative ways to come together as families, schools, and communities while keeping your (social) distance. Some ideas include video recess and playdates via Zoom, character-inspired workouts, story-time lunches with grandparents, online charades, and virtual spirit weeks.

Hospitals Urgently Need PPE To Fight COVID-19. Several CAIS schools have already donated nitrile gloves, goggles and other safety equipment. If your school has theses items to spare, please consider donating.


#7: Enrolment Management


Why Virtual Admissions is More Than a Virtual Tour

In this blog post, David Willows, Director of Advancement with the International School of Brussels, writes that the two weeks since they closed their campus have provided the opportunity to focus on other factors: "What do we truly value as a learning community? What is our vision for the future of learning? How do good teachers accompany students on their personal learning journey? And how do we know our students eventually grow up to become happy, successful and ethical?"


#8: Governance


Boards Supporting Heads in a Crisis

As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds, Eric Peterson of Wickenden Associates suggests some ways that Board Chairs might support their Head:

  1. Establish a regular check in call for the duration of the crisis to focus on the most immediate issues/actions facing the Head and the school.
  2. Focus on a few key elements in supporting the Head during the crisis: ensure the Head has the appropriate resources to manage the crisis, demonstrate care and concern for the wellbeing of the Head, and avoid any involvement in operational decision making.
  3. Run interference for the Head, which may involve helping them access outside resources.
  4. Ensure the Board is seen as engaged and informed while following the Head's lead. (The article has suggestions for managing this balance through communications).
  5. The Head and leadership team should create agile, short term plans, which the Board should review.


#9: Finance


Six Recommendations for Independent School Business Officers During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Recognizing the crucial role that Business Managers will play in helping schools navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, this ISM article elaborates on these 6 recommendations to help them do so:
  1. Be Well-Informed
  2. Create a Tuition Strategy
  3. Maintain Current Salaries
  4. Set Board Expectations
  5. Be Flexible
  6. Only Allow Essential Employees on Campus

Also worth a read: What you need to know about the new COVID-19 benefits program, thank you to Ed Kidd, Head of Ridley College for sending this along!


#10: Physical Plant, Health & Safety


Maintaining Trust, Boundaries and Community Through Remote Learning

Brooklyn Raney, author of One Trusted Adult, writes that as we shift to meeting students needs virtually, we cannot lose sight of the importance of explicit teacher to student boundaries. On her blog she offers two resources:


#11: Commitment to School Improvement


The coronavirus exposes America's misplaced educational values

Michael Horn, co-founder and distinguished fellow at the Clayton Christensen Institute, writes that the COVID-19 pandemic provides an opportunity to rethink the time-based educational model. He advocates moving to a mastery-based system that acknowledges that all students don't take the same amount of time to master concepts.


#12: Boarding Program


Canada provides update on exemptions to travel restrictions to protect Canadians and support the economy

The Government of Canada is providing an update on travel restrictions put in place to stem the spread of COVID-19. Exemptions to the air travel restrictions will apply to foreign nationals who have already committed to working, studying or making Canada their home, and travel by these individuals will be considered essential travel for land border restrictions.




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