CAIS Top 12 - Archived

#1: School Purpose


The Problem with Annual Improvement Planning

This ASCD article is by Robyn Jackson, who is the CEO of an educational consulting firm. Instead of creating an annual School Improvement Plan (SIP), Jackson recommends that school leaders plan in 90-day cycles. Jackson says the benefits of shorter school planning cycles are:
  • They are more predictable than annual plans.
  • They allow you to take advantage of what you're learning throughout the year.
  • They allow school staff to experience "wins" throughout the year.
  • They help you focus on less so you can achieve more.
Jackson outlines the elements necessary to create a powerful short-term improvement plan.


#2: School Leadership


How Presidents Can Best Promote Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Sheila Edwards Lange is chancellor of the University of Washington at Tacoma and previously served as president of Seattle Central College. Writing for Inside Higher Ed, Lange says "No matter where they stand politically, every president must be able to provide leadership for successful DEI work on their campus." In the article, Lange elaborates on six of the most common expectations for presidential leadership and shares some personal reflections.


#3: Governance


7 Pressing Cybersecurity Questions Boards Need to Ask

This Harvard Business Review article is written by Dr. Keri Pearlson, Executive Director of the research consortium Cybersecurity at MIT Sloan (CAMS) and Nelson Novaes Neto, a Partner and CTO at C6 Bank. Pearlson and Neto stress that "Boards have a unique role in helping their organizations manage cybersecurity threats," and they recommend asking seven questions to make sure your Board understands how your organization is managing cybersecurity. Further, they stress that simply asking these questions will demonstrate the need to prioritize action.


#4: Education Program Foundation


The Power of Collective Purpose in Schools

Eric Hudson Director of Learning and Design at Global Online Academy, has written about the importance of purpose work for educators. In this blog post, he emphasizes the need for school leaders to act as stewards of collective purpose in schools. Hudson writes, "A firm grip on collective purpose allows people in a school community to make coherent decisions in the face of ambiguity and uncertainty, to create clear and empowering communications, and to prioritize the work that matters by letting go of the tasks that don't. In other words, collective purpose builds trust."


#5: Learning & Teaching


Evolving Through Connections, Feedback, and Relevancy

Dr. Katie Martin is the author of Learner-Centered Innovation and Evolving Education. Writing for Getting Smart, she says it is important for educators to "evolve" their practices: "continuously getting better through intentional reflection, but the gradual element is also critical. Not because we want to go slow, but because we want to, with great care and intention, improve our practice, not just quickly jump from trend to trend but based on what our learners need." Martin is clear that evolving is about adopting an asset-based approach, which she outlines in the article.


#6: Student Well-Being & Support


Weight Bias Hurts Kids, and We're Not Talking About It

In this Edutopia article, Associate Editor Paige Tutt says that since a growing body of evidence suggests weight-based discrimination begins as early as 3 years old, schools must make early efforts to confront weight bias. Tutt offers many suggestions to do so, starting with examining the values entrenched in the language used by staff and students.


#7: Essential Concepts


Introducing the Elements of School Experience

In this blog post, David Willows recommends that school leaders "imagine all the component parts of our school - all of the things we do each day, all of the people on campus and online, all of the systems that we manage - and think about whether each one of these experiences, the big and the small, might benefit from just a sprinkle of intentionality, as opposed to being left to chance." Willows shares a conceptual framework that he calls the Periodic Table of School Experience in the post.


#8: Custodial Care


Russian UBC student finds finances cut off as sanctions take effect

This CBC article says that since Canada has imposed sanctions against Russia, including cutting off major Russian banks from the rest of the world, many Russian students studying in Canada do not have access to their finances. The article focuses on UBC student Artemi Meshcherin, who cannot access funds from his parents. Meshcherin recognizes his uncertainty pales compared to what his Ukrainian friends on campus are feeling and the article states that UBC has emergency bursaries and other supports in place.


#9: Recruitment & Community Engagement


Christen Wilson, Vice President with GG+A's Independent Schools and Higher Education practice, encourages education leaders to consider the potential impact if your most generous donor(s) decided to no longer support your school. Wilson says that the solution is to broaden your major gifts pipeline. To do so, she recommends, "setting goals for discovery work and giving credit for both qualifying and disqualifying prospective donors" and offers metrics to encourage discovery work. Wilson also cautions against making major gifts the exclusive focus of your communications.


#10: Human Resources


Falling prey to groupthink? How to encourage healthy debate in your team

In this blog post, Leadership Development Specialist Suzi McAlpine says, "High-performing teams seek out diverse opinions. They make it a positive experience when people have the courage to disagree with each other on a way forward. They actively and regularly mine for conflict when they sense there's 'groupthink' at play. And although it might mean leaning into some courage, it's always done respectfully and with the idea – not the person – being challenged." In the post, McAlpine suggests many excellent ways to avoid groupthink.

Worth a listen: Leading in an Age of Employee Activism from Brené Brown's Dare to Lead Podcast.


#11: Finance


Why Don't Educators Design for the Marketplace?

In this blog post, Education Consultant Ian Symmonds asks, "Why is it that educators historically have designed programs that serve intrinsic organizational interests rather than the needs of the market?" Symmonds explains the difference between a program-focussed approach and a market-focused approach and opines, "it has always seemed to me that education has it backwards, placing the organization desires before the client needs. And, if strategic planning is finding the intersection between mission and market, then both inputs are needed."


#12: Facilities & Infrastructure


How Schools Can Prevent Costly Cyberattacks

In this 3-minute video, Kaylee Domzalski, Video Producer with Education Week, discusses the rising number of cyberattacks against schools. Domzalski says hackers go after K-12 schools because they have a lot of data. In addition, she says "hacktivism" is a new concern, in which schools are targeted for their stance on politicized issues, such as mask mandates. The time and money that it takes to recover from these attacks is considerable. Fortunately, Domzalski says there is a lot you can do to prevent them from happening.




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