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

Four Keys to Success at the Most Innovative Schools in the World

David Ross is a global educational consultant who works on large-scale implementations of project-based learning and 21st-century skills programs. In this Getting Smart article, he writes, "is there is a well-defined path away from the industrial-model school to the innovative schools of the future we all crave? It seems to look like this: From rigid use of space and traditional instruction to experimentation with inquiry-based learning and tech integration and from there to personalized and competency-based models in flexible space and flexible time in multi-age cohorts that place students in the real world for all or part of their day."

Guidelines to Follow This Holiday Season

This ISM article provides a few tips for schools to make sure that holiday celebrations do not isolate anyone. The article elaborates on these tips: encourage diversity, discuss holiday plans with your faculty and staff, implement gift-giving policies, plan appropriately for holiday parties, be mindful of alcohol safety and consider personal decorations.

#2: Co-Curriculum & Learning Environments

Teaching Students to Disagree Productively

"Dissent is crucial to productive discussion - whether in third grade, Congress, or the board room. However, students don't arrive at school ready for productive disagreement; we must purposefully support its development," writes Brittany R. Collins in this Edutopia article. Collins recommends four strategies that teachers can use to scaffold disagreement in the classroom:

  1. Encourage students to listen without responding
  2. Invite students to share another person's point of view
  3. Have students debate against instinct
  4. Guide students to seek common ground

Make the right move: How schools are using chess to lure children away from screens

This article about the benefits of chess for children is from Ireland. Some of the things chess can teach children include social interaction, how to cope with disappointment, impulse control, improved concentration and the importance of winning graciously. The article quotes Toufik Messabih, a psychotherapist who also teaches chess to children, who sees the game's importance in promoting self-regulation: "When you play chess, you are going to deal with winning or losing, you're going to deal with frustration, mistakes and, of course, with challenging emotions."

#3: Academic Program

Stop Dismissing Inclusive Children's Books as 'Too Political'

In this piece, librarian Erinn Salge responds to Joe Pinsker's article in The Atlantic, in which he reports on a recent trend of "woke" picture books, citing sources at Publisher's Weekly and Barnes & Noble on the popularity of children's books with a progressive message. Salge acknowledges that some of these books are left-leaning but cautions, "if scholars and booksellers yield to the idea that representing all people makes books more leftist, or inherently political, they close the doors on these narratives and their importance."

AP credits offer multiple benefits once students reach college

This Education Dive brief looks at a study conducted by Brent Evans, a higher education professor at Vanderbilt University, which found that students who accumulate Advanced Placement (AP) credits in high school take higher-level courses in college and are more likely to earn a double major. Evans says that the results show that when students are deciding on their schedules, they should consider whether a course could provide college credit.

#4: School Leadership

7 ways to be a more visible leader

This eSchool News article details seven ways to be a more approachable and visible leader in your school. A few of which are: wander purposely, eat lunch with students, serve lunch in the cafeteria and play on the playground.

Some good tips: 9 Ways to Become a More Powerful Public Speaker

#5: Human Resources

How to Manage Morale When a Well-Liked Employee Leaves

"It's a dreadful moment when a well-liked member of your team tenders their resignation," writes Liane Davey, author of You First: Inspire Your Team to Grow Up, Get Along, and Get Stuff Done and a coauthor of Leadership Solutions: The Pathway to Bridge the Leadership Gap, in this Harvard Business Review article, Davey suggests that when a well-liked employee announces they are leaving your first step should be to take some time to reflect on your own reaction. After that, she recommends that you work through a process to minimize the damage, which the article details.

In the past, Jimmy Casas admits that he has "labelled" some of his staff as "rockstars"; however, in this blog post, he cautions schools leaders against using the label, "especially if we aim to cultivate a culture where everyone in the organization feels valued and appreciated."

#6: School & Community

Thanking Donors: 7 Smart Ideas

This post has is a collection of seven innovative ideas for thanking and recognizing donors. Here are a few:

  • In October 2015, McMaster University in Canada asked online donors for their Twitter and Instagram handles. The university then tagged donors in a personalized thank you post, which included the donor's yearbook photo or pictures of students benefiting from the gift.
  • After making a gift online, donors to Truman State University in Missouri land on a personalized thank you page that details what their gift will support and invites them to spread the news on social media.
  • During the University of Rhode Island Foundation's Faculty and Staff Thank You Day, students hand-deliver thank you notes and balloons to faculty and staff donors.

#7: Enrolment Management

Four ways to get faculty involved in student recruitment

Nick LeRoy, MBA, is the president of Bright Minds Marketing and former Executive Director of the Indiana Charter School Board. In this blog post, he identifies four easy ideas you can use -- with specific examples for each -- to engage your faculty in your student recruitment efforts:

  1. Talk - and brag - about your faculty
  2. Use your instructional staff as subject matter experts
  3. Get them involved in your student recruitment
  4. Increase the amount of positive communication from the teacher to the parent

#8: Governance

Rethinking board renewal in Canada

This Globe and Mail opinion piece is written by Dr. Beatrix Dart, executive director of Initiative for Women in Business at the Rotman School of Management; Ekta Mendhi, senior director of Enterprise Transformation at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce; and, Matt Fullbrook, manager at the Clarkson Centre for Board Effectiveness (CCBE), Rotman School of Management. Dart and Mendhi co-chair the Canadian Gender and Good Governance Alliance, of which the CCBE is a member. They write about how to implement board renewal policies and specifically address term limits: age limits and tenure limits.

#9: Finance

What Every Business Officer Needs to Know About Enrollment Management - a Conversation

Net Assets features a conversation between Chad Tew, a consultant and former independent school CFO, and Laurel Baker Tew, assistant head for enrollment at Viewpoint School and formerly admissions director at the University of Southern California. They stress the importance of business officers and enrolment directors working together, particularly on research and demographic data to develop enrolment projections and budgets.

#10: Physical Plant, Health & Safety

When it comes to hazing, female athletes are just as vulnerable

"Hazing rituals are alive and well among Canadian university athletic teams, and may even be on the rise in women's sports, despite awareness programs designed to root out the practice," according to this CBC article which looks at a study of more than 400 Canadian varsity athletes. Jay Johnson is a kinesiology professor at the University of the Manitoba and co-author of the study. He says that while many universities have codes of conduct for varsity athletes designed to eliminate hazing, they have yet to change the deeply rooted culture of hazing within some sports.

#11: Commitment to School Improvement

Students show up to school more often when they see "familiar faces" new study finds

This Chalkbeat article looks at a new study which shows that students are less likely to be chronically absent when they have more "familiar faces" around them in class. A takeaway from the study is that schools should provide extra support to students moving from class to class or school to school.

Reducing employee negativity in schools

School districts create positive workplaces with new hiring practices and customer service training.

#12: Boarding Program

In China, a Generation Raised by 'Tiger Mothers' Seeks a Softer Approach

EdSurge sat down with Nancy Xu, who runs an education company in Shanghai, during the recent Global Education Technology summit in Beijing to ask about her ethnographic research into parenthood in China, and about what Americans can learn from the Chinese education experience. Xu says attitudes toward education are changing in China where a new class of parents is describing themselves as Panda Moms.

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