#1: Vision, Mission, Values & Strategy
Reinventing Private Schools - A Blueprint for Resilience
In this blog post, consultant Ian Symmonds writes, "The next 36 to 54 months will see schools rethink their strategic plans, their paths, and their existing systems and structures." Symmonds anticipates that private education will be reinvented with eight distinct characteristics:
- Integrated ecosystem of delivery platforms
- Global competitors and collaborators for student and faculty recruitment
- Retooled assessment and credentialing
- Differentiated price and access points
- Redesign of time and schedule
- Reconfigured physical plant capacity
- Leveraged technology to personalize learning
- Environmentally adaptive Learning Organizations
#2: Co-Curriculum & Learning Environments
To Combat COVID, A College Embraces Navajo Principle of Kinship
To reduce the spread of COVID-19, Fort Lewis College implemented a strategy based on the sacred Navajo philosophy of K'é. The strategy, which included a social media campaign featuring best practices in pandemic prevention, was inspired by Ally Gee, who is an Indigenous student majoring in public health at the school. Fort Lewis College President Tom Stritikus says, "The approach draws from the strengths of the school's Indigenous students, empowers students to mold campus culture, and elevates the strategy's effectiveness." Gee says she "is heartened that other students have embraced the concept that everyone is mutually tied together - and that by respecting others, you respect yourself."
#3: Academic Program
Richard Mayer Has Spent Decades On Educational Research. Here are His Pandemic Teaching Tips.
EdSurge recently reached out to influential education researcher Richard Mayer to ask for his thoughts on the lessons his research reveals that can guide educators, including:
- Graphics help to explain complicated subject matters.
- Surprisingly, repeating the same information in text and in audio in a video lesson or animation can create an overload of your visual system and hinder learning.
- Students learn better if they see a video of the educator working out a math problem or concept on a whiteboard than if they see a video of the same educator standing next to a whiteboard where the problem has already been solved.
- An educator's attitude matters. So when filming educational videos, instructors should make sure they're upbeat.
#4: School Leadership
What Teachers Want From Their Leaders Right Now
For this article written by Elizabeth Heubeck, Education Week talked to teachers to find out what they're facing on the job as the pandemic continues and what their employers are doing -- or should be doing -- to make their professional lives more manageable. To foster engagement and autonomy, schools can create "pods" for teachers to strengthen skills in various areas and provide choices of technology platforms to purchase for virtual teaching and meetings. Teachers desire clear guidance, better communication, especially about safety protocols and delivering instruction to students in class and at home. At a minimum, Heubeck recommends that school leaders acknowledge the hardships.
Also worth a read: Becoming a School Leader During COVID-19
#5: Human Resources
How Men Can Confront Other Men About Sexist Behavior
W. Brad Johnson is a professor at the U.S. Naval Academy and a faculty associate at Johns Hopkins University. Writing for Harvard Business Review, Johnson says, "77% of men believe they are doing all they can to support gender equality, while only 41% of women agree." Johnson says that men must do more to confront other men -- without humiliation, shaming, or angry altercations -- when they see bad behaviour and he offers six strategies to do so.
#6: School & Community
When Should Your Company Speak Up About a Social Issue?
Writing for Harvard Business Review, Paul A. Argenti, a Professor of Corporate Communication at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, recognizes "it is impossible and impractical for companies and executives to speak out on every issue. With some, there will be an obvious moral reason to take a stand. At other times, it may not be so clear." Argenti shares a framework he has created to help leaders decide when and how to speak out that begins with three questions:
- Does the issue align with your company's strategy?
- Can you meaningfully influence the issue?
- Will your constituencies agree with speaking out?
He also gives suggestions for preparing and positioning your response.
#7: Enrolment Management
Mike Vachow wrote this blog post after spending two weeks talking with Heads and Directors of Enrolment at independent schools and Executive Directors of several regional independent school associations to understand families choosing private schools as a response to the pandemic. He refers to them as "safe-harboring" families and says they "may be lightly committed to a long term relationship with the school." Challenges the schools he spoke with anticipate in retaining these families are typical challenges, such as finance and culture, compounded by a very short timeline. Vachow also asked Heads and Directors of Enrolment to describe their retention plans for these families.
Governance That Bridges the (Social) Distance
In this NBOA blog post, NBOA President and CEO Jeff Shields advises that schools should review their governance processes and committee structures to ensure they support agility and the strategic work schools need during the pandemic and beyond. Some key points Shields makes include:
- Administrators must work with the Board to prioritize what is most important so the Board can focus on what is most important to their role and not on school operations.
- Adjust the agenda to suit a videoconference environment by paring back reports. Include important material in pre-reading, or even a pre-video, so that your time together can be spent on discussions that are critical to your school's mission.
- Make time for the personal connections that make being a Board Member rewarding.
Private Schools Hold New Attraction for Rich Parents
According to this New York Times article, The National Association of Independent Schools said in August that 58 percent of its schools had reported an increase in interest from the previous summer. In New England, thirty-six percent of the schools reported a rise in enrollment from last year. Schools are prioritizing financial aid for existing students whose families have been affected by the pandemic; however, if they had a greater financial aid budget, they could enrol even more new students.
Also worth a read: This School Was Built for Idealists. It Could Use Some Rich Alumni.
#10: Physical Plant, Health & Safety
Care is the secret ingredient in school lunch programs
Sinikka Elliott, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of British Columbia and Jennifer Black, Associate Professor of Food, Nutrition and Health, University of British Columbia study the impacts of school food programs on the well-being of children and families in British Columbia. Writing for The Conversation, they say, "our research indicates that when school food programs value and facilitate human connection, they can help improve children's access to healthy food and nurture their sense of security and well-being." With the stress of going to school in the pandemic, Elliott and Black believe these "acts of care" are more important than ever.
Also worth a read: The kids aren't all right: COVID-19-fueled stress eating, inequities, lack of fitness expected to boost obesity, experts say
#11: Commitment to School Improvement
Looking to improve hybrid and remote instruction? Consider student-directed learning.
In this Christensen Institute blog post, Thomas Arnett, a senior research fellow in education, asks, "what if the real problem is that schools that were forced online have been approaching asynchronous instruction the wrong way? And what if the current reality of hybrid and distance learning could actually improve with better asynchronous instruction?" He suggests that educators consider making class materials student-directed and shifting the teacher's role to become the managers of the learning process. Writes Arnett, "Most importantly, when more of the onus of learning falls on students, they need teachers to coach them on developing the metacognitive skills that lay the groundwork for independent learning."
#12: Boarding Program
5 essential features to design and populate your university's COVID-19 dashboard
Bridget Moran, Research Analyst, writes that EAB has evaluated hundreds of COVID-19 dashboards and identified five key features that effective university dashboards share, which she elaborates on in this blog post:
Prominently feature information about your institution's current operational status including opening phases or alert levels.
- Display regularly updated data on your institution's quarantine and isolation status and capacity.
- Incorporate community data about COVID-19 cases in your local region.
- Update your COVID-19 dashboard daily and note when the latest update occurred.
- Ensure your dashboard is mobile-friendly and accessible.