CAIS Top 12 - Archived

#1: School Purpose


The Why of Education: Doing Well and Doing Good

This Getting Smart post is written by Angela Duckworth, Founder and CEO of Character Lab. After considering new research by economist Kirabo Jackson and colleagues that schools that do well in terms of test scores don't always excel at developing character in their students, Duckworth offers this advice: "Don't oversimplify education. A great classroom is one in which young people thrive in every sense of the word. Schools play an essential role in helping young people develop socially, emotionally, physically, and academically." She also recommends asking students what they think about the purpose of education.


#2: School Leadership


9 behaviors that make effective leaders, according to Google research

Every so often, Google employees are required to answer a 13-point questionnaire about their manager's performance. According to this Fast Company article, the questionnaire based on Google's research into effective leadership helps leaders understand how they're doing and which traits they might need to develop further. Interestingly, only one of the 13 questions speaks to technical mastery; the rest are focused on communication and mentorship.


#3: Governance


6 Principles to Build Your Company's Strategic Agility

This Harvard Business Review article is about "strategic agility," which the authors say is the ability to improve performance amid disruption. Their research showed companies that successfully navigated the COVID-19 crisis understood when it made sense to deviate from their strategic plan and instead practiced strategic agility. The authors identified three distinct ways they did this:
  1. They were nimble enough to avoid the worst impacts.
  2. When they were hit, they were robust enough to absorb a lot of the damage.
  3. They were resilient enough to accelerate forward faster and more effectively than their peers.


#4: Education Program Foundation


This Usable Knowledge research story looks at a new report published by Jal Mehta, Professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and Justin Reich, Director of MIT's Teaching Systems Lab. After interviewing students and teachers to understand their experiences during the pandemic, Mehta and Reich recommend three guiding principles in the year ahead:
  1. Don't define next year as a return to normal. For too many students, normal schooling wasn't meeting their needs.
  2. Amplify key ideas from pandemic schooling and hospice things that don't need to come back. Then, have the school year start with a few noticeable changes.
  3. Engage in a year of reflection to celebrate the successes from pandemic schooling, grieve our losses, and harness the energy from the emergency to continue to build back better.


#5: Learning & Teaching


Using Drawings for Formative Assessment

Shveta Miller, author of Hacking Graphic Novels: 8 Ways to Teach Higher-Level Thinking With Comics and Visual Storytelling, believes there are many benefits of having students draw while learning. In this Edutopia article, Miller says asking middle and high school students to sketch something they're learning can give teachers a clear sense of what they do and don't understand. In addition, Miller stresses that students don't need developed artistic skills to experience the cognitive benefits of drawing as they learn and offers some ways to integrate drawing as a formative assessment.


#6: Student Well-Being & Support


Suicide Prevention: What Teachers Can Do

For this Cult of Pedagogy podcast, Jennifer Gonzalez interviews Anne Moss Rogers, author of Emotionally Naked: A Teacher's Guide to Preventing Suicide and Recognizing Students at Risk. They discuss common misconceptions, contributing factors, signs and risk factors. Rogers highlights several things that educators can do to prevent youth suicide, including embedding mental health education into the curriculum, nurturing student relationships, teaching coping skills, systematizing faculty collaboration and making crisis resources visible.


#7: Essential Concepts


The modern curriculum

In this blog post, Seth Godin proposes a self-directed and project-based way to restructure the curriculum. His version, which he calls "the modern curriculum," is supported by "courses" that include statistics, games, communication, history and propaganda, citizenship and many more. He details each of the courses in this post and concludes his post with the question, "If this is what we need and what we value, why aren't we teaching it?"


#8: Custodial Care


Why Do So Many Royals Send Their Kids to "Hippie Hogwarts"?

This Vanity Fair article looks at United World College of the Atlantic, a small boarding school in a 12th-century castle on the coast of Wales. A few interesting facts about UWC:

  • The school is part of a consortium of 18 sixth-form colleges in different countries.
  • It is well known for its efforts to recruit talented students from dangerous situations around the world and provides many of its students with scholarships.
  • The UWC's current president is Queen Noor of Jordan, and Queen Elizabeth serves as Atlantic College's patron.


#9: Recruitment & Community Engagement


The Complete Social Media Calendar for Schools and Districts

Finalsite has a complete social media calendar for schools with week-by-week content ideas for September — December 2021. The calendar includes many helpful tips and more than 120 content ideas to inspire your fall and winter social media strategy. You'll have to enter your contact information to download the calendar.


#10: Human Resources


20 Underrated Qualities to Look for in Candidates — And 50+ Interview Questions to Suss Them Out

For this article, First Round Review collected answers to these questions: "What are those underrated traits that you should be looking for in hiring?... And how do you unearth these unsung attributes in the interview process?" The article helps you determine how a candidate leads, how the candidate might get the job done, what they care about and if they have any standout habits.


#11: Finance


How Can Asset Tagging Save a K–12 School Money?

EdTech writer Rebecca Torchia says an asset management strategy that includes asset tags for all devices can help schools save money on their device refreshes. When assets are properly managed, schools can take a holistic look at their operational technology. For the article, Torchia spoke with Jerome Ohnui, a data specialist for Michigan's Troy School District, who says, "Equipment that's deemed obsolete by one program may be more than adequate for another, which allows a district to purchase updated equipment for a more advanced use case while moving older but still serviceable items to another program."


#12: Facilities & Infrastructure


Sustainability plan charts Seneca's path forward

Seneca College has released a new sustainability plan for 2021-2026, focusing on four themes: leadership, community, education and research, and operations. A sample of initiatives includes:
  • More than two million bees buzzing in 50 hives on three campuses
  • Geothermal energy production
  • More than 1,800 kilograms of compost being created annually
  • The Seneca Statement on Investment Policy and Procedures (SIP&P) providing direction on responsible investing that considers Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors
  • Thirty-six electric vehicle charge ports




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