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

Marketing With The Mission Of Seeing Each Customer

James Gilbert is the Head of Global Marketing at CloudCherry. In this Forbes post, he offers three key lessons to design a marketing strategy that values each individual customer. The first lesson is to do less selling and more storytelling: "how is your product going to change people's lives? More importantly, what is your brand's social consciousness? Establish your target demographic and finetune your marketing to make that demographic feel optimistic about the positive impact your product will have on their lives and the role they'll play in your company's bigger mission." The second lesson is to harness technology for personalization, and the third is to prioritize wellness.

#2: Co-Curriculum & Learning Environments

Playing Teen Sports May Protect From Some Damages Of Childhood Trauma

A new study by pediatrician Molly Easterlin published in JAMA Pediatrics finds that participation in team sports as a teen may help protect against the long-term mental health effects of childhood trauma. While the study doesn't pinpoint exactly why sports may help, Easterlin thinks teamwork may be a key.

Also worth a read: How Movement and Exercise Help Kids Learn

Harrison K-8 School students collaborate for 'Spirit Mural'

More than 200 students at Harrison K-8 School worked together, with the guidance of a professional mural artist, to design and create a "Spirit Mural" for the front of the school that reflects the school's culture.

#3: Academic Program

Can "playful assessments" tell us whether maker education works?

Advocates of project-based learning and maker education believe that these activities deepen understanding of academic content and also bolster creativity, persistence, problem-solving and related skills. To better assess these skills the MIT Playful Journey lab has developed "playful assessment" tools with the goal of blending mini-evaluations into learning activities while collecting evidence about student choices and behaviours throughout the process, rather than focusing on just the final result.

Tech recycling or refurbishing? Schools must decide on devices

Since electronic devices make up the world's fastest-growing waste stream, school districts are increasingly adopting new approaches to tech recycling and replacement. This District Administration article includes five steps for schools to help them decide whether to refurbish, recycle or replace outdated hardware:

  1. Evaluate current technology
  2. Develop long-term objectives
  3. Develop a tech recycling plan
  4. Partner with a refurbishing service or trade-in company
  5. Engage students with the process

#4: School Leadership

Thinking Differently About an Upset Parent

Jimmy Casas is the CEO and President of an educational leadership company. In this blog post, he writes about how he has refined his approach in dealing with parents who are unhappy with an unfavourable decision that impacts their child. Casas stresses that parents get upset because they care and schools should worry when they become apathetic and no longer care. He writes, "if all we have left is 'that parent is crazy' or 'they aren't ever going to change so why bother', then we are the ones in my opinion who are reluctant to change."

#5: Human Resources

Making Empathy Central to Your Company Culture

Jamil Zaki is a professor of psychology at Stanford University whose research shows that empathy is contagious. He is the author of the book The War for Kindness and in this Harvard Business Review article he elaborates on these ways leaders can build empathy in the workplace: acknowledge the potential for growth, highlight the right norms, find culture leaders and co-create with them.

#6: School & Community

Let's Make School Events More Inclusive

Writing for School Leaders Now, teacher Elizabeth Mulvahill stresses the importance of making school events more inclusive and provides tips to do so: Don't limit invitations to a certain gender or specific relationship
Tell kids how many people they can invite without designating who can or cannot attend
Simply call your event what it is, e.g. Ice Cream Social, Game Night, rather than trying to come up with a fancy title

#7: Enrolment Management

A Comprehensive Plan Can Drive School Growth

In this blog post, Rick Newberry writes that schools need a comprehensive plan to grow enrolment, and elaborates on these components of a comprehensive strategy: goals, budget, staffing, lead generation strategies, lead nurturing strategies, events, retention, tuition and financial aid.

#8: Governance

CoSN releases checklist to prepare school IT for natural disasters

Since severe weather can impact technology in schools, it is important to have an IT continuity plan in place before a disaster hits. The Consortium for School Networking released the IT Crisis Preparedness Countdown, a free resource that includes a suggested timeline for preparations.

#9: Finance

What happened when a small liberal arts college stopped raising tuition

In November 2017, as of a larger shift toward a philanthropy-centered financial model, St. John's College decided to cut its tuition by 33%. According to this Education Dive article, St. John's plans to make up the tuition revenue by making careful cuts and through a $300 million capital campaign that will depend heavily on alumni support.

#10: Physical Plant, Health & Safety

Making driving near schools safer for everyone (audio)

Linda Rothman is a Senior Research Associate at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto. She spoke to CBC news about new research into driving behaviour at schools across the country. Rothman advocated for getting kids out of cars and walking or biking to school and offered some suggestions to fix the environment around schools including designated drop off areas, traffic calming and reducing traffic.

Make Way for Trenches! A College Plans to Scrap Its Entire Heating System

Two years ago, Philip J. Hanlon, President of Dartmouth College set a 2025 deadline for cutting greenhouse-gas emissions in half, and also for replacing No. 6 fuel oil with renewable fuels. To do so, the school is partnering with a private partner and replacing the steam system with a hot-water network.

#11: Commitment to School Improvement

'Personalized success plans' are the next big thing

According to this eSchool News article, personalized success plans are a promising strategy to support children both in and outside of school. The article offers the following five recommendations for personalized success plans:

  1. Create a cross-sector governance/management structure
  2. Establish networks of support
  3. Designate community, district, and/or school coordinators to facilitate the development and implementation of plans
  4. Use digital tools that adhere to strict data security practices
  5. Embed equity and access in every aspect of the work

#12: Boarding Program

Brexit Is Sending Students Packing, Straining Private Schools on Both Ends

Enrolment in British boarding schools is declining with Brexit, according to this article in the New York Times. A subscription is required to read the entire article, but the key points are:
  • Schools are changing their business models to have more pupils from non-EU countries
  • Some schools are finding themselves to be an appealing acquisition for overseas buyers.
  • Some schools have hedged their bets by opening campuses overseas.
  • Private schools in Frankfurt and Amsterdam have had a lot of interest from families who might leave after Brexit but parents have yet to confirm spots.

How Wayne State University harnessed virtual reality for student recruitment

To meet its goal of recruiting out-of-state students who were not likely to visit its campus, Wayne State University built a successful VR smartphone app. According to this EAB blog post, the school filmed key spots around campus with 360-degree cameras which prospective students viewed using branded Google Cardboard headsets. The headsets cost $2 each.

Back to Most Recent Top 12