#1: Vision, Mission, Values & Strategy
Why We Need To Flip The Narrative That The Pandemic Has Damaged Education
After speaking with Dr. Elise Ecoff, group education director of Nord Anglia Education, the world's largest international schools group, Forbes Education writer Nick Morrison considers whether it is time to look at how education will benefit from the pandemic. Dr. Ecoff elaborates on several pandemic-accelerated changes, most notably the use of technology for students' learning and teachers' professional development. While she is optimistic about the future of education, Dr. Ecoff cautions against rushing headlong into embracing change and stresses that it is vital to evaluate each step.
#2: Co-Curriculum & Learning Environments
Study: Therapy Dogs Helped At-Risk Students' Coping Skills
Inside Higher Ed reporter Greta Anderson looks at a new study published in the American Educational Research Association's journal, AERA Open, that found college students who were at risk of failing made significant improvements across a range of executive functioning skills after spending as little as an hour a week with a therapy dog. In contrast, students who took part in traditional stress management approaches such as meditation, deep breathing and muscle relaxation saw no change.
#3: Academic Program
Three Ways to Empower Students to Co-Design Learning
Becky Green, Associate Director of Professional Learning at GOA, says, "More than ever, a shift from educator-designed experiences to co-designed learning matters. When we talk about co-designing learning with students we are not abandoning the role of the teacher, of thoughtful planning, or of established curricula. Co-designed learning means that students are equipped with the environment, skills, and structures for taking active, empowered roles in working towards relevant learning targets." To empower students to co-design their own learning, schools must prioritize belonging, design for agency and establish and maintain structures.
#4: School Leadership
How Men Can Be More Inclusive Leaders
The authors of this Harvard Business Review article stress that male leaders must pursue gender inclusion and equity through deliberate allyship with women. They offer four inclusive leadership strategies male leaders should follow:
- Get comfortable being uncomfortable. Have the humility to know that there's much you don't know about others' experiences.
- Make inclusive leadership personal and visible. Your messaging should come from the heart, and it must be personal and authentic.
- Design transparency into your workplace by being clear about what you're doing, why you're doing it, and how you're progressing.
- Design accountability into your workplace.
#5: Human Resources
Identify — and Hire — Lifelong Learners
CEO Marc Zao-Sanders believes that the most important question one can ask of a current or future employee is "How do you learn?". Writing for Harvard Business Review, Zao-Sanders says, "Lifelong learning is now roundly considered to be an economic imperative, and job candidates or employees who consider, update, and improve their skills will be the high performers, especially over the longer term." Zao-Sanders also recommends using the question in the appraisal process to identify skills gaps and strengths to reinforce.
#6: School & Community
2020 Private School MarCom Survey Report
InspirED's Private School MarCom Survey Report provides insight into how private and independent schools are using marketing and communications to further the mission of their organizations. The 49-page report includes benchmarks information on many areas including, overall MarCom Initiatives, Taglines, Brand Messages, Enrolment Marketing, Development Marketing and Social Media and Digital Communications.
You will need to input your contact information here to download this free report.
#7: Enrolment Management
Re-Building Community while Reopening School
In this RG175 blog post, Jim Scott says that schools must plan for a range of scenarios for the next school year. He writes, "As a school community resumes in-person operations, it would do well to re-center its human relationships in their re-opening plans." Scott offers several suggestions for planning for the start of next school year, a few of which are:
- Consider extending your opening of school orientation to provide ample space, opportunity, and flexibility to honour voices that seek to express appreciation for a reconnection back to their school community.
- Welcome students back into their school community.
- Remember that parents are also rejoining their school community. They will need reassurance as they seek stability and continuity for their child's well-being and as they reaffirm their confidence in a partnership with the school.
What Attributes Qualify a High Performing Nonprofit Board?
In this blog post, Dr. Eugene Fram offers his views on how these six questions from Russell Reynolds Associates, an international executive search firm, can be applied to nonprofit boards:
- What do the various stakeholders expect from the nonprofit and the board in its oversight role?
- What does the CEO need and expect from the board and its chair in terms of functional expertise, senior team building and succession planning, strategic guidance, etc.?
- Are the board's policies and practices as rigorous and effective as they should be? Beyond the mere meeting of regulatory requirements, does the board use its experience and expertise to help drive the nonprofit's performance?
- How does the Nominations Committee assess the competencies and skills needed for the board given the (nonprofit's) particular opportunities and challenges...?
- Does the board have the strength and depth to steer the nonprofit through a financial crisis, a reputation-damaging event or a sudden CEO resignation?
- Are there well-defined boundaries between the board and the executive team so that oversight does not encroach upon operations?
Communicating Financials: Context and Clarity Matter
Writing for Net Assets, NBOA President and CEO Jeff Shields says, "In more than 20 years of working with business officers in higher education and independent schools, there is one specific skill that truly separates good business officers from great ones – the ability to effectively communicate school finances to a wide variety of constituent groups." Shields offers several recommendations for communications, a few of which are:
- Understand your audience.
- Focus on the value of your educational program.
- Be open and honest about your current situation.
- Adapt communication channels to deliver timely information and address the challenges associated with school finances and operations.
- Continue to share the stories of your school community to demonstrate your school's ROI.
#10: Physical Plant, Health & Safety
Experts divided on urgency to vaccinate teens from COVID-19 before September
Melissa Couto Zuber spoke to several experts about whether or not vaccines should be mandatory for teens. Dr. Anna Banerji, an infectious disease pediatrician with the University of Toronto, says it's reasonable to believe a COVID-19 vaccine could be added to the list of mandatory immunizations in some provinces. Dr. Zain Chagla, an infectious disease expert in Hamilton, says he doesn't see the rush to vaccinate teens right away. He says adding COVID-19 vaccines to existing in-school inoculation programs might be an option.
#11: Commitment to School Improvement
Opinion: COVID risk is only one reason to improve air in classrooms
Jill Baumgartner and Scott Weichenthal are professors in the Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health at McGill University. In this Montreal Gazette opinion piece, they write, "Most classrooms have ventilation rates much lower than those required to reduce infectious disease transmission, even with open windows." Baumgartner and Weichenthal recommend installing air cleaners with a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter and stress the health benefits of improving classroom air quality will extend beyond the COVID-19 pandemic since studies show that test performance and ability to concentrate is worse in classrooms with poor ventilation.
#12: Boarding Program
Watertown boarding school will require students to be vaccinated against COVID
The Taft School in Watertown, CT is requiring all students to be vaccinated for COVID-19 before they return for classes in the fall, assuming a vaccine is approved for 12-15-year-olds. (note: Health Canada authorized the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in children 12 to 15 years of age on May 5, link). Taft is a private boarding school with 600 students from 31 states and 44 countries. The school does not plan to offer remote courses this fall, and a letter sent to parents and guardians details the school's protocols for international students.
You can read the letter to parents here.