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National Leaders Conference

The 2019 National Leaders Post Conference Call for Workshop Proposals are open until December 7. Apply here.

Strengthen Your School Leadership

CAIS values the constant and deliberate quest for excellence, and we recognize the vital leadership role that governors play, in partnership with Heads, in the success of our schools. We want all of our schools to have strong Heads who focus on supporting the students of the present, but we also want strong Boards that focus on supporting the students of the future.

The Governance Guide include new learning on a number of areas, including Human Resources, Risk Management, Head Transitions, and Consent Agendas.

CAIS members and non-members can purchase a hard copy here. And CAIS members can also view the full PDF in CAIS Connect here.

CAIS Top 12 - Archived

#1: Vision, Mission, Values & Strategy

What Are Your Beliefs

On his blog, A Principal's Reflections, Eric Sheninger opines that "having a set of beliefs that align with professional values can be a tremendous asset when it comes to creating a vibrant learning culture primed for success." He writes that what we believe can and should evolve and elaborates on the anchors of his current belief system, a few of which are: all kids can learn, purpose in learning must be a priority and a push for efficacy benefits all.

LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner says the biggest skills gap in the US is not coding

According to this Quartz article, Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn believes that the skills most employers look for in employees are written communication, oral communication, team-building, and leadership.

#2: Co-Curriculum & Learning Environments

Environmental Education Now?

The author of this post on The Puzzle Blog asks, "If schools say they prepare students for the world they will enter, shouldn't they shift environmental matters from a side concern to a central one?" The post suggests that schools consider more carefully what their role is in educating students to be environmentally literate citizens, and looks at initiatives that have been taken by many of the traditional boarding schools in New England including Hotchkiss, The Berkshire School, Miss Porter's School and Phillips Exeter Academy.

Also worth a read: The Pros and Cons of a School Uniform Policy

#3: Academic Program

"When I Grow Up, I Want to Make Video Games." Kids Dream of STEAM Careers, but Are We Preparing Them?

This article provides many ways that teachers can help students realize the tools needed for STEAM careers, a few of which include creating STEAM activities using math and science skills that are on grade level, framing a new math skill with a real-world application, anchoring lessons in real-life scenarios and incorporating different subjects.

Are You a Visual or an Auditory Learner? It Doesn't Matter

This New York Times piece is written by Daniel T. Willingham, a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia and the author of The Reading Mind: A Cognitive Approach to Understanding How the Mind Reads. While much research has been done on learning styles, Willingham stresses that none of it proves that learning styles actually exist. However, we can learn a few things from this research:
  • Instead of trying to transform a task to match your style, transform your thinking to match the task.
  • Don't let your purported style be a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure or an excuse for resignation.
  • We are not constrained by our learning style. Any type of learning is open to any of us.

#4: School Leadership

Three Tactics to Make Your Monthly Faculty Meetings Successful

This ISM article elaborates on these three tactics to make your monthly faculty meetings successful for every party involved: dedicate the first 15 minutes to professional development, prepare for two minutes for one every minute of meeting time and make the atmosphere conducive to productivity.

#5: Human Resources

Boosting the Potential of Professional Development

The authors of this article write, "when principals want to maximize professional development resources, they will establish expectations for selecting PD events that support a larger school improvement plan and work with staff members who attend PD events to implement new knowledge and skills, on campus." They stress that PD without intention is a definite no-no, and post-event requirements should be well-defined prior to attendance and should go beyond giving a generic five-minute recap at a staff meeting.

#6: School & Community

How To Use Parent Testimonials To Attract More Prospects

On this Schola Inbound Marketing blog post, Ralph Cochran writes that
"testimonials from your current parents are the fastest, most inexpensive means of promoting your school in the community." Unlike reviews, which are meant to be objective, testimonials are from satisfied customers that you have chosen. Cochran details three types of parent testimonials: quotes, video testimonials and social media posts, and provides a long list of points to consider when using parent testimonials on your school website.

Online Reputation Management for Schools in the Age of Social Media

It is important to actively manage your school's online reputation, since it can impact inquiries, enrolment and retention. This article elaborates on three strategies that can be used to protect your online reputation: develop a response plan, use social media and monitor discussions.

#7: Enrolment Management

Elite-College Admissions Are Broken

In this article, which appears in The Atlantic, Alia Wong writes about the lawsuit which went to trial this week that contends Harvard University illegally discriminates against Asian American applicants. Wong writes, "The college-admissions process, especially for highly selective, elite schools, incentivizes students to distort their identities to fit the profile they think the people reviewing their applications will find appealing. This dynamic becomes particularly problematic when it involves a student's racial identity, whether that means over- or underemphasizing this background in an effort to seem more appealing to diversity-minded admissions officers."

#8: Governance

Fiscal Responsibility and Philanthropy: A Board's Role

Ken Converse is the Campaign Gifts Officer at Simpson College. In this Linked In post, he advocates for Board Members to have a written position description, and recommends considering the following points when developing a position description for your organization: A Board should strive for 100% participation in annual fund giving from its members.

  • Leadership participation in capital campaigns, in addition to annual gifts, should be expected.
  • Board Members should take ownership of the fund-raising program and its outcomes.
  • Each Board Member should commit to an annual individual goal-setting meeting with staff.

#9: Finance

Nonprofit Finance & Development: Let's Get Along

Susan Ross is a Senior Instructional Designer at Blackbaud University. In this npENGAGE post, she writes that "a strong and strategic relationship between development and finance ensures your organization is accountable to donors, so you can keep the donors you have, attract new ones, and be successful in achieving your mission." The post includes several ways that development and finance can support each other, including:

  • Development involves finance in building case statements and donation solicitations.
  • Development focuses on raising unrestricted funds.
  • Finance supports investment in development and communications.
  • Finance inspires confidence in leadership's financial management.

Also worth a read: Sustainable in Seattle and The Difference Between Good CFOs and Great CFOs

#10: Physical Plant, Health & Safety

How the Pressure of Having a Cute Classroom Can Get in the Way of Learning

Writing for We Are Teachers, Allyson Caudill, who is a teacher, encourages teachers to focus on creating a classroom that maximizes student success and identifies times when "focusing on creating a Pinterest-perfect classroom can actually harm our students," a few of which are: when effectiveness is sacrificed for cuteness, when we start to feel inadequate and when it is exclusive.

Campus Contagion

Hand, foot and mouth disease is breaking out on numerous campuses on the East Coast of the United States, leaving students frustrated and campus officials struggling to contain the spread.

#11: Commitment to School Improvement

The lost art of concentration: being distracted in a digital world

"We check our phones every 12 minutes, often just after waking up. Always-on behaviour is harmful to long-term mental health, and we need to learn to the hit the pause button," writes Harriet Griffey in this article, which appears in The Guardian. Griffey stresses that switching rapidly between different activities is not actually multi-tasking, and recommends ways to practice concentration, a few of which include the 'five-more' rule, meditation and focus, watching the clock, physical exercise and reading for pleasure.

NOT JUST A BUZZWORD: Using survey data to foster engagement among students, parents, and teachers.

Tim Hodges is Director of Research for Gallup Education.In this article, he looks at ways to improve student, parent and teacher engagement through surveys, and identifies several relatively simple actions that can be taken to improve engagement at your school.

#12: Boarding Program

Int'l students in Canada targeted in phone scam

This article looks at scams that use technology to target international students. Many international students choose Canada because it is perceived as a safe place to live. It is important that schools help to make these students aware of their rights in Canada, teach them how to recognize and avoid scams and ensure that they feel comfortable discussing any concerns with supervising adults.

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