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CAIS Top 12 - Archived
#1: Vision, Mission, Values & Strategy
In this trustED article, Todd Kominiak writes that schools striving to create an excellent customer experience should focus on four elements:
- Accessible two-way communication
- Resources, with a focus on timeliness and technology
- Authentic engagement that is "positive, direct, and continuous"
- A safe, secure, and inclusive learning environment.
#2: Co-Curriculum & Learning Environments
- Why Colleges Are Betting Big on Video Games
- Planting tulips with veterans: How students in Cowansville learned about WW I
#3: Academic Program
- Use multiple forms of assessment that align with learning goals in each unit.
- Consider eliminating midterms and/or final exams.
- Allow students to self-assess and engage in peer review and revision when possible.
- Revise late work and "zero" policies.
- Allow students to do test corrections to show they understand their mistakes.
- Refrain from grading the first assignment(s) each semester.
- Diversify teaching strategies to include rigorous project/problem-based learning as part of each unit.
In this blog post, Eric Sheninger, who is a Principal, writes that effective instructional design must recognize the importance of checking for understanding. Questions are the best way to determine whether students genuinely understand the concept being addressed, and the post includes some easy to implement strategies to ensure all kids have the opportunity to respond to verbal questions.
#4: School Leadership
- Give front-line staff the tools to "WOW" every person they serve
- Empower employees to improve themselves and the organization
- Employee engagement doesn't need to be complicated or expensive
- Partner with the private sector on community revitalization
#5: Human Resources
#6: School & Community
In this blog post, David Willows, Director of Advancement at the International School of Brussels, challenges the idea -- which he says is shared even by progressive educators -- that the real 'value' of education is the future it can unlock. Instead, Willows ponders the idea that the real value could be in the memories and recollections that remain for the rest of one's life? Willows concludes by saying that the next time he tries to capture the story of his school, he will attempt to write it backwards and focus on "those traces of light that will guide and provide beacons of hope for the remainder of a life."
#7: Enrolment Management
This Finalsite blog post features six school websites that have taken a unique approach to homepage design. To ensure a great user experience, the websites all use a mobile-first approach and also have several other things in common, including simple navigation with less than eight options, call-to-action on key pages, and minimal text.
Concordia University will stop investing its assets in the coal, oil and gas sector within five years and has also committed to putting its entire endowment into sustainable investments -- those that conform to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment -- by 2025. Other Canadian universities have announced similar divestment commitments, but Concordia is the first university in Quebec to have committed to a 100% sustainable endowment portfolio within a specific timeline.
- Articulate Value Proposition
- Focus on the Future
- Perfect the Proforma
- Strengthen the Balance Sheet
This article in The Atlantic looks at some colleges that rent out their facilities for weddings. While doing so doesn't bring in a lot of extra revenue, the marginal revenues do add up, and other benefits include free PR, exposing new people to the campus, strengthening alumni's affinity to the school, and reminding students how beautiful their school is.
#10: Physical Plant, Health & Safety
To have students learn face-to-face communication skills and foster kindness, Principal Janet Behrens started 'no phone, new friends Fridays' at Iowa Valley Junior-Senior High School this year. When students enter the cafeteria, they receive a coloured card that tells them which table to sit at, and the tables also have conversation starters on them. The student response has been positive; the school is a kinder place since students have the opportunity to get to know each other at lunch.
#11: Commitment to School Improvement
- What type of school do we want to be?
- What are the values and beliefs that would support that school?
- How specifically are those values and beliefs manifested in our interactions with students, parents and with each other?
- What are we currently doing that we should keep doing in order to be that school?
- What are we currently doing that we should question and reconsider because it conflicts with our values and beliefs?
- What would be the school story of a student who is currently successful in our school?
- What would be the school story of a student who is currently struggling in our school?
- Who are the students who are struggling?
- What can we say and do differently to turn those students around and change their story?
#12: Boarding Program
According to this CBC article, Lakehead University hopes that 20 percent of its student body will consist of international students by 2023. To this end, the school has launched The Global Ambassador program in which student ambassadors volunteer to share their stories to help recruit students from their home countries. The student ambassadors will receive training in communication and presentation skills, and then they'll have the opportunity to be featured in social media campaigns and promotional videos.