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Register for the CAIS National Leaders Conference

Register today to join us virtually on April 12-16 for the 2021 National Leaders Conference: Positive Transformation: Reframing our Relevance.

This year we are offering two distinct conference experiences - one for Academic leaders and one for Operations leaders - all for one school fee with unlimited attendees! Find out more here.

COVID-19 Resources & School Samples

CAIS members can view up to date COVID-19 resources and school samples here.

CAIS Top 12 - Archived

#1: Vision, Mission, Values & Strategy


Data Is Great — But It's Not a Replacement for Talking to Customers

To gain insights for strategy development, Graham Kenny, CEO of Strategic Factors, recommends that organizations talk to their customers rather than using surveys to gather data on how they are performing. In this Harvard Business Review article, Kenny explains that surveys are of limited value since questions are typically built on managers' perceptions of what clients need to answer rather than what clients want to express. He stresses that it does not take many interviews to gain genuine insight and explains the limitations of data, "The data is historic and static. It's historic because it's about the past. Your customers have most likely moved on from what the data captures. And it's static because, as with any computer modeling, it can never answer a question that you didn't think to ask."


#2: Co-Curriculum & Learning Environments


Focus On The Positive In Class To Get Better Behavior, Grades

In this Forbes article, education writer Nick Morrison looks at a five-year University of Missouri study into the effectiveness of a classroom behaviour management intervention called CHAMPS (an acronym for Conversation, Help, Activity, Movement, Participation and Signal). The study, which involved 1,450 students in grades 6-8, found that behaviour and classwork improved. Morrison writes, "students in classrooms where teachers used CHAMPS did significantly better in English also saw a bigger improvement in scores in English and problem solving math assessments, compared with students in classrooms where the approach was not used."


#3: Academic Program


Teaching Students How—and When—to Change Their Minds

In this Edutopia article, Sarah Gonser considers an Education Week article written by Katherine Burd, an English teacher at The Chapin School, about the importance of teaching students the skill of changing one's mind. Burd says learning to accept uncertainty and evolve your thinking "benefit[s] learners, workplaces, and society as a whole." In the article, Gonser and Burd recommend several practices to help students cultivate the ability to stretch their thinking and incorporate new perspectives and knowledge.


#4: School Leadership


Attention School Leaders: Listening is Essential. Here's How to Get Better at It.

In this EdSurge article, educational consultant Megan Collins writes about the importance of quality listening for school leaders. To start, Collins suggests shifting from a reactive to a receptive frame of mind: "For school leaders, daily conversations can often be something that requires immediate action. But when moments allow, shifting thinking from, 'what is the solution?' to 'what is this person saying to me?' or 'what emotions is this person displaying?' can provide powerful results." She also recommends focusing attention in the moment, asking questions to understand the speaker's perspective and emotions and taking a proactive approach such as "listening hours."


#5: Human Resources


What to Do When Your Employee Is Totally Checked Out

Writing for Harvard Business Review, Rebecca Knight details what managers should do when an employee mentally "checks out" and fails to meet expectations. First, gather evidence of how the employee is falling short and consider whether the requirements of the job are reasonable. Second, educate yourself about your organization's resources for dealing with situations like these. Third, have a conversation with the employee, listen and empathize, and offer individualized support. Knight cautions that employers should not be "too tolerant of a bad situation. When an employee is checked out, it could mean that the role isn't right for them."


#6: School & Community


Fundraising Campaign Metrics Template

Mighty Citizen has put together a free Fundraising Campaign Metrics Template. You do not have to provide any information to download the Excel spreadsheet, which allows you to:
  • Track important metrics like total donations received
  • Connect your growth to your goals to paint a more detailed picture of your organization
  • Determine key metrics—like "donor retention rate" and "new donor acquisition rate"
  • Identify trends across different segments of your donors


#7: Enrolment Management


Parent Fears: What Can School Leaders Do?

In this blog post, educational consultant Jill Goodman says that parents choosing an independent school for their child are assessing the risk versus reward of enrolment. She stresses, "As leaders, you can talk about your curricula, the facilities, the sports program, the campus safety plan. While those things matter to the faculty, staff, board, and lawyers, they don't matter as much to alleviating risk for a parent about the one thing that worries them most." Goodman recommends that school leaders ask parents to identify the risk that worries them most about choosing their school and then take create a strategy to mitigate this risk.


#8: Governance


At Least Three Hollywood Private Schools Had Their Servers Hacked Recently

In this Gizmodo article, Brianna Provenzano writes that several of Los Angeles' most elite private schools have had their servers hacked in recent weeks, exposing confidential teacher information and parent contact details. She says, "As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, schools have increasingly turned to digital tools like email and Zoom in order to aid online learning efforts. That rapid rollout of new tech has led to an uptick in the amount of data schools are collecting, and has also sparked concern among those who fear that the existing infrastructure for protecting students' privacy was already inadequate to begin with."


#9: Finance


More signals of a Roaring '20s rebound for Canadian economy when pandemic ends

This CBC article looks at startling new evidence for a strong rebound for the Canadian economy. According to the article:
  • New data shows that high levels of savings and government income support have bolstered the economic well-being of households — notably among the youngest groups and those with lower incomes.
  • One new measure of consumer confidence shows Canadians more willing to go out and spend than at any time since 2018.
  • The gap between the richest and poorest declined in the first nine months of last year.


#10: Physical Plant, Health & Safety


Colleges That Require Virus-Screening Tech Struggle to Say Whether It Works

This New York Times article looks at many schools that use fever scanners and symptom checkers and finds that they have not rigorously studied if the technology has slowed the spread of COVID-19 on their campuses. In the article, Saskia Popescu, an infectious-disease epidemiologist who is an assistant professor at George Mason University, says, "it's a massive data vacuum," and "The moral of the story is you can't just invest in this tech without having a validation process behind it."


#11: Commitment to School Improvement


Why Learner-Centered Education is the Key to Meaningful School Improvement

In this Getting Smart article, Katie Martin and Devin Vodicka, both of Altitude Learning, make the following arguments about learner-centred education:
  • is about a paradigm shift, not a specific methodology.
  • requires learning design that is flexible and adaptive, similar to or expanding upon the principles of Universal Design for Learning.
  • may include specific methodologies for differentiating support (e.g. Response to Intervention or Positive-Behavior Intervention Systems), but it is more likely to extend and/or replace them.
  • is additive to and inherently strengthens existing systems-level approaches.
  • is fundamentally adaptive and outcomes-focused (rather than technical and process-focused).


#12: Boarding Program


A College President Worried About the Risks of Dorm Isolation. So He Moved In.

This New York Times article is about Col. Mark Anarumo, the president of Norwich University, a military college in Vermont. Deeply concerned about the mental health risks to students who were isolated during lockdowns, Col. Anarumo moved into the dorms with them until he had to leave to travel on university business. This week, the number of positive cases on campus dropped to zero. Still, Col. Anarumo continues to worry about what students may be going through in their rooms and plans to return to a dorm this month.




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