Expect The Best


Register for the 2020 National Leaders Conference

The National Leaders Conference is your opportunity to interact with a range of senior-level leaders in your network. For 2020, the audience will be 200+ Academic Leaders. Learn more here.

Register for the 2020 Spring Leadership Institute

The CAIS Diploma in Independent School Leadership is designed to prepare participants for senior leadership roles in independent schools. Learn more here.

Apply to the CAIS Strategic Change Accelerator

The CAIS Strategic Change Accelerator provides the guidance and support for school teams planning important innovative change. Learn more here.

CAIS Top 12 - Archived

#1: Vision, Mission, Values & Strategy

Why should schools change?

Grant Lichtman is an internationally-recognized thought leader on the transformation of K-12 education, and he will be a facilitator at the CAIS Strategic Change Accelerator in July. In this eSchool News article, he writes about the reasons why schools should change, how schools are making changes and also provides his sequence of common tactics that accelerate transformation:

  • Create a sense of urgency around a big opportunity
  • Involve the community through radical inclusiveness and transparency
  • Unwrap and articulate a shared North Star
  • Grow a volunteer army of eager change agents
  • Accelerate movement by removing barriers
  • Design and test with rigid devotion to logic model progressions
  • Visibly celebrate significant early wins
  • Institutionalize changes in culture

#2: Co-Curriculum & Learning Environments

Four Research-Based Strategies To Ignite Intrinsic Motivation In Students

According to this Mind Shift article, motivational situations have four common elements: choice, challenge, collaboration, and control. The article provides examples for educators looking to improve situational motivation in their students.

School turns to the teachings of Aristotle in an attempt to boost pupil wellbeing

In an attempt to boost students' wellbeing, Colfe's School is offering a new course entitled "Eudaimonia". Taught through the lens of Aristotle, the course encourages students to live a moral life and covers topics such as mindfulness, spirituality, sex and relationships.

#3: Academic Program

How arts-based lessons improve science performance

This District Administration article looks at a recent study that found integrating the arts into science lessons helps the lowest-performing students retain more content. The article quotes study author Mariale Hardiman, who is the Director of the Neuro-Education Initiative at the Johns Hopkins School of Education in Maryland, "rather than being a victim of school reform, we suggest that the arts can be a driver."

Also worth a read: 23 Collaborative Art Projects That Bring out Everyone's Creative Side

Internships prepare students for the future

"Every education system should aspire to prepare students for real life challenges, ensuring that they have the skills needed to pursue their chosen profession," writes Kavita Sanghvi, a school principal. Sanghvi believes that internships in the private sector are essential to help connect students to the real world and prepare them for an unknown future.

#4: School Leadership

Deciding what (and when) to delegate

In this post, Naphtali Hoff, president of Impactful Coaching & Consulting, writes about tasks and projects that educational leaders should and should not delegate. He offers questions to consider before transferring work and responsibility to others as well as a list of tasks and projects that should only be handled by the leader including decisions that affect the entire school, praise and recognition and crisis management.

Why Defining Your Nonprofit's Culture Will Be the Most Important Thing You Do This Year

"If you want to build a culture that inspires people to dedicate their lives to your mission, you'll need to take the time and effort to push it in the desired direction," writes Elizabeth Chung in this blog post. Chung shares a few key questions to keep in mind while proactively working to build a positive culture.

#5: Human Resources

How to Create an Effective Teacher Induction Program

ISM recommends that schools go beyond a teacher orientation program and implement a one-to-two-year teacher induction program. The induction program is a systematic curriculum designed to integrate each faculty member not just into your school's norms and core values, but also into the faculty culture as a whole."

Your Company Needs a Process for Offboarding Employees Gracefully

In this Harvard Business Review article, David Sturt, Executive Vice President at O.C. Tanner Co., recommends giving offboarding the same care and consideration as onboarding. To do so, Sturt suggests taking the time to really listen, show appreciation and stay in touch.

#6: School & Community

Looking for marketing inspiration? Check out the ISSUU stack

InspirED School Marketers has saved examples of school marketing inspiration. This is not a curated collection, it is anything they find that's private school marketing, fundraising, communications, etc.

Also worth a read: Why Your Nonprofit Needs a Brand Book

A fun read on graduation ceremony traditions: The College That Gives Graduates the Wrong Diploma

#7: Enrolment Management

Why Your School Website Should Be Prospect-Focused

In this blog post, Ralph Cochran of Schola Inbound Marketing recommends that school websites adopt a prospect-focused approach to increase prospects' engagement. The post includes a test to see if your school's website is currently prospect-focused or if it's still using a business-centric method of marketing.

Also worth a read: Schools are using software to help pick who gets in. What could go wrong?

#8: Governance

3 Reasons Your Board Isn't Fundraising and How to Turn Them Around

This Network for Good blog post offers three suggestions to increase your Board's comfort level with fundraising:

  1. Build time into every board meeting for members to write thank you notes and call donors to thank them for their gift. The more your board members talk to donors, the more they'll want to do it. Before you know it, they'll be comfortable making the ask.
  2. Create standard talking points and an "elevator pitch" so everyone is literally speaking from the same script. This will give your board members a strong foundation for when they talk about your organization. As their comfort level grows, they can add their own reasons for giving.
  3. Coach board members on the fundraising cycle and what they can do to ensure a potential donor says yes. Cultivation is key.

Also worth a read: Choose Wisely: The Head of School Search Process

#9: Finance

Unlocking employee engagement from the business office

Brian Adesso is the Director of Business Services for the Menasha Joint School District in Wisconsin and a certified school risk manager. In this opinion piece, he shares some suggestions to build stronger connections between a district business office and staff: warm up to employee tech, step into the learning environment and attract high-performing employees.

Mission & Motivation: Who Manages Risk at Your School?

Simon Parker is the senior risk officer at Ashbury College. In this Net Assets post, he recommends that independent schools hire a risk manager. Reporting to the CFO, the risk manager can "reduce disruptions and dislocations that could hinder the delivery of educational effects, harm the reputation of the school, contribute to lost time and resources, increase stress and negativity derived from moving from crisis to crisis, and raise the spectre of legal repercussions."

#10: Physical Plant, Health & Safety

Making Playgrounds a Little More Dangerous

This New York Times article is about "junk playgrounds" which were developed by Carl Theodor Sorensen, a Danish landscape architect to help foster children's independence and creativity. The article looks specifically at The Yard, a 50,000-square-foot playground where tools and junk take the place of swings and slides.

Also worth a read: Teachers Are Great at Designing Classrooms. Let's Get Them Redesigning Schools.

#11: Commitment to School Improvement

London high school to become Canada's first carbon neutral school

To become Canada's first carbon neutral school and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to near zero, John Paul II Catholic Secondary School in London, Ontario will undergo a complete retrofit. The new design will include a geothermal heating and cooling system, solar panels, an energy microgrid and electric vehicle charging stations. The Catholic school board will also introduce a curriculum about the changes.

Also worth a read: Public school board to consider ban on one-time use plastics

#12: Boarding Program

Tracking Canada's "tremendous" growth curve

This article in The Pie News attributes the success of the Canadian international education industry to a reputation for quality education, a welcoming environment and shifts in global competition.

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