CAIS Top 12 - Archived

#1: School Purpose


FAMILY ENGAGEMENT REIMAGINED: Innovations strengthening family-school connections to help students thrive

In this paper, Mahnaz R. Charania, PhD, senior research fellow at the Christensen Institute stresses that, "for schools committed to creating and sustaining equitable learning environments for students, finding ways to value and cultivate the resources inherent within families is no longer a nice-to-have." Charania shares programs and tools to integrate within robust family engagement strategies


#2: School Leadership


Every Leader Has Flaws. Don't Let Yours Derail Your Strategy.

The authors of this Harvard Business Review article, Ron Carucci and David Lancefield, have extensive experience -- combined 60 years -- working with CEOs. They write, "The effects of a leader's personality on an organization's culture have been long understood. But some personality flaws have a disproportionately negative impact on the quality and execution of strategic choices — in particular, where to focus, how to compete, and what to build (and discard)." In the article, Carucci and Lancefield identify four personality flaws of leaders and their specific impacts on strategy.


#3: Governance


One advantage that distinguished nonprofits during the pandemic: learning

In this GG+A blog post, Vice President Carlos (CJ) Ortuño says organizations that thrived during the pandemic demonstrated the ability to learn under pressure. As well, these organizations share four common denominators:
  1. Leadership employed a growth mindset.
  2. Organizations ramped up constituent and stakeholder engagement.
  3. They fearlessly adopted new technology.
  4. They adjusted their models, not their missions, to fit the moment.
Ortuño says organizations who struggled must reflect on the past year and identify how and why they missed opportunities. The post includes several tough questions struggling organizations must ask themselves.


#4: Education Program Foundation


PROOF POINTS: What almost 150 studies say about how to motivate students

Writing for The Hechinger Report, Jill Barshay looks at a new meta-analysis by a team of Canadian and Australian researchers who took a scientific approach and looked through 144 classroom studies -- involving 80,000 students -- on sparking student motivation. They concluded:
  1. Teachers are far more influential than parents in motivating students to learn.
  2. The way teachers and parents influence motivation is an indirect one, by satisfying three psychological needs: competency, belonging and autonomy.


#5: Learning & Teaching


New Research Shows Learning Is More Effective When Active

After collecting research into active learning, faculty at Carnegie Mellon University's Human-Computer Interaction Institute concluded that engaging students through interactive activities, discussions, feedback and AI-enhanced technologies improved academic performance. They also found that active learning methods had cognitive benefits and could provide socioemotional support.


#6: Student Well-Being & Support


Analysis: Clash of Cultures, Clash of Privilege — What Happened When 30 Low-Income Students of Color Were Admitted to Elite Prep Schools

Jessica Herrera Chaidez is a 2021 graduate of Harvard University with a major in social studies with a focus on educational inequality through an economic lens. For this article in The 74, she writes that socioeconomically disadvantaged students of colour who have the opportunity to study at elite prep schools experience various forms of "twoness". Chaidez asks, "So, what can prep schools do better? Where does this culture shift toward not simply diversity, but inclusivity begin?". Some students' answers include more diverse faculty, institutionalized support for cultural-affinity groups, and equal efforts to connect with families.


#7: Essential Concepts


4 Strategies for Teaching Media Literacy

Writing for Edutopia English Teacher Julia Boudreau says it is important for educators to teach students media literacy to provide them with the basic skills to understand its implications in their daily lives. In addition, she writes, "when given the skills to understand the media surrounding them, students become more aware of their consumption of it and can critically evaluate content they usually only consume in passing on their phones, in print, or on television." Boudreau offers four approaches to teaching media literacy: 1) Ethics, 2) Timeliness, 3) Guest Speakers, 4) Application.


#8: Custodial Care


3 research-based antidotes to loneliness on campus

This SmartBrief article is written for post-secondary institutions but applies well to any school with students living away from home. Author Julia Freeland Fisher, director of education research at the Clayton Christensen Institute, cites research that shows "access to relationships had the single greatest effect on graduates' belief that their education was worth the cost," and alumni often value relationships over academic gains. Fisher advises schools to develop and employ a robust relationship strategy that nurtures relationships across faculty and peers and offers research-based steps to take this year, many of which can translate both online and off.


#9: Recruitment & Community Engagement


The Yield Fall 21: Admission Journey Best Practices

This publication from the Enrolment Management Association offers tangible and practical takeaways from schools on best practices for each stage of the admission funnel: Marketing, Events, Yield, and Retention.


#10: Human Resources


What's Your People's Strategic Plan? Why Nonprofit Leaders Should Invest in Talent and Culture

Nonprofit expert Elizabeth Abel says that nonprofit leaders should create a "people's strategic plan" -- just like they have strategic plans to achieve financial and programmatic goals -- to invest in talent development. Writing for NonProfit PRO, Abel says a "people's strategic plan" should have five pillars:
  1. Attract and hire the strongest talent that reflects our multicultural world.
  2. Build community through onboarding experiences.
  3. Invest in professional development opportunities that fuel innovation and growth.
  4. Develop a rewarding career path and celebrate wins.
  5. Prioritize diversity, equity, inclusion and wellbeing to create a thriving workplace.


#11: Finance


6 Strategies to Help Your Company Weather Inflation

The authors of this Harvard Business Review article are from the management consulting firm Bain & Company. They say that cutting expenses is a vital part of how companies should deal with inflation. This article details six steps companies can take to cut costs the right way:
  1. Get spending visibility.
  2. Differentiate between strategic and nonstrategic spending.
  3. Unpack the drivers of spending.
  4. Reduce consumption.
  5. Eliminate work.
  6. Automate.


#12: Facilities & Infrastructure


Why You Should Update Last Year's COVID-19 Response Plan

ISM advises schools to update last year's COVID-19 response plan and revamp policies and protocols to meet the new environment of risk. ISM recommends compiling resources to mitigate risk and giving careful consideration to changes that may need to happen on campus, including putting in place physical structures to distance people from hazards.




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