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CAIS Top 12 - Archived
#1: Vision, Mission, Values & Strategy
"The concept of innovation has lost most of its meaning through overuse," writes Dr. Joshua Kim, the Director of Digital Learning Initiatives at the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning (DCAL) and a CNDLS Senior Fellow for Academic Transformation, Learning, and Design at Georgetown University. Kim says "getting resources for pilot projects is usually much easier than transitioning the new practices to the normal operations of the school. Learning innovations that do not change how the institution works are ultimately useless. Learning innovation initiatives must be aligned with the strategic goals of the institution." The article is written for higher education, but many of the questions that Kim recommends schools pursuing learning innovation ask are also relevant for independent schools.
#2: Co-Curriculum & Learning Environments
#3: Academic Program
Excerpted from Just Ask Us: Kids Speak Out on Student Engagement by Heather Wolpert-Gawron this Mind Shift piece elaborates on these options for teachers who are looking to incorporate more choice in their classroom: people to work with, resources to use, driving questions, ways to use their knowledge, which rubric to be scored on and what they need to work on in regard to learning goals.
Also worth a read: 10 Ways Educators Can Make Classrooms More Innovative
In this blog post, George Couros responds to the pushback on the idea of personalized learning, writing "technology can actually be used to build face-to-face relationships, not limit them." Couros recommends asking these questions about how we use technology: Is the way we are using technology building connections or severing them?
Is this fostering deep learning as well as critical thought and creation, or promoting surface level thinking?
Are we modeling our learning, balance, and human connection through our use of technology so we can effectively guide our students?
#4: School Leadership
- Having respect for other viewpoints
- Not being intellectually overconfident
- Separating one's ego from one's intellect
- Willingness to revise one's own viewpoint
Also worth a read: Making Those Dreaded, Stressful, Parent Phone Calls
#5: Human Resources
- Designate an organizer.
- Create a topic list.
- Develop a registration process.
- Schedule your room locations.
- Emphasize to faculty that this is an opportunity to pique their interest.
- Consider this as a continuum.
#6: School & Community
- How do we listen more, rather than overwhelm families with information?
- How do we create a site that literally learns and adapts over time?
- How do we create different pathways to knowledge, respecting the fact that different people learn in different ways?
The site features a powerful search tool that allows the site to 'listen and learn', a grid that allows families to think about what's important to them when choosing a school and short stories. You can check it out here.
#7: Enrolment Management
"With creeping tuition and lower demand especially in early childhood programs, schools need to reinvent practices that used to be state-of-the-art, such as the typical open house that was primarily a sales pitch," writes Kathleen Visconti, director of enrollment management at The Elisabeth Morrow School, in this NAIS blog post. Some ideas Visconti elaborates on include a weekend event that highlights character and service, music, and STEAM; child-friendly open houses; hosting off-site information nights; and, inviting prospective parents to on-campus parent association or development events.
Also worth a read: The Key Responsibilities of the Search Committee
#10: Physical Plant, Health & Safety
This New York Times article tells the story of Matt Murphy, who at 17 years old "began a toxic relationship with an e-cigarette that would, over the next two years, develop into a painful nicotine addiction that drained his savings, left him feeling winded when he played hockey and tennis, put him at snappish odds with friends who always wanted to mooch off his Juul and culminated in a shouting, tearful confrontation with his parents." The article makes it clear that Juul is very addictive and also that "because it is so new, there is no consensus protocol for how teenagers should withdraw."
Also worth a read: The world's best building? A remote Brazilian school made out of wood
#11: Commitment to School Improvement
#12: Boarding Program