CAIS Top 12 - Archived

#1: School Purpose

5 ways schools get vision wrong and what to do about it ...

In this post, Daniel Bauer, host of the Better Leaders Better Schools podcast, writes about five common mistakes school leaders make when crafting a meaningful school vision and how to fix them. Bauer cautions, "If your vision incorporates buzz words (e.g. 21st century learners, innovation, all learners, every child, global community, and so on ...), then it most likely isn't creating a buzz in your school ..."

#2: School Leadership

The Value of Limiting Your Priorities for the School Year

Founder of The Main Idea and School Leader Masterminds, Jenn David-Lang recognizes that "when you have too many priorities, you get less done." Writing for Edutopia, David-Lang offers some guiding questions to help school leaders focus on what really matters for their staff and students this year:
  1. How much of an impact on student learning and well-being will this priority have?
  2. Can this priority make an impact within three months?
  3. Does this priority address our most pressing needs?
  4. Does this priority build on our existing initiatives, strengths, or school values?
  5. How much will this priority influence other aspects of the school?

#3: Governance

Stages of Organizational Decline

In this blog post, Ian Symmonds, ISA President & Chief Strategist, says that schools that have been hit hard since the start of the pandemic typically share common attributes and go through four predictable stages of decline. Symmonds cautions that schools should not stay in the first stage, optimization, for too long: "The big risk in optimization is that most schools or colleges will stay in this space too long, not acknowledging the fragile nature of their situation and fail to deal with the larger, structural issues in their market. Some might call optimization another name for 'denial'."

#4: Education Program Foundation

Six Elements of a Feedback Ecosystem

In this post, Eric Hudson, Director of Learning and Design with Global Online Academy (GOA), writes about the importance of offering effective and sustainable feedback. Hudson recommends that educators "think of feedback not as a single, one-way communication from teacher to student, but rather as an ecosystem made up of different strategies that work together." Hudson offers six different forms of feedback and gives a context for when to try each, stressing that "decisions about when, where, and how to use these strategies should aim to empower students to drive their own learning, and each other's."

#5: Learning & Teaching

PROOF POINTS: Can making music remake the mind?

For this article in The Hechinger Report, Chris Berdik looks at a new book, Of Sound Mind, by Northwestern University auditory neuroscientist Nina Kraus that makes a case for teaching music to improve learning in other subjects. Writes Berdik, "The book covers a broad sweep of Kraus's decades-long investigation into the hearing brain at her Brainvolts lab at Northwestern University, including two longitudinal studies of students in real-world music classes who showed improved language and reading skills that tracked with changes in their brain functioning compared to control group students."

#6: Student Well-Being & Support

8 a.m. high school? Sleep habits of pandemic teens suggest benefits of later start times

In this article in The Conversation, Suzanne Hood, Associate Professor of Psychology, Bishop's University, writes, "The pandemic caused an upheaval in schooling, but introduced some flexibilities in scheduling that paradoxically allowed some teens to catch up on their sleep." Since inadequate sleep is linked to many negative outcomes in youth, Hood recommends that schools capitalize on this disruption to make evidence-based changes, such as offering greater flexibility in school scheduling and introducing sleep health education programs, to improve teens' sleep.

#7: Essential Concepts

Writing for Edutopia, Stephen Merrill and Sarah Gonser say that offering students choices throughout the school day and allowing them to make decisions about their learning can be powerfully motivating. Moreover, they write, "by centering choice, educators signal openness to negotiating the middle ground and offer students scaffolded opportunities to practice decision-making, explore their academic identity, and connect their learning to interests and passions." Merrill and Gonser suggest eight ways to provide children with choices across grade levels.

#8: Custodial Care

Why so many French children are sent to boarding school

For the 2019-20 academic year, over 200,000 children attended public and private boarding schools in France. Unlike boarding schools in the UK and North America, boarding schools in France are often geared towards more technical skills. Many French adolescents live at their school during the week and most schools and most exist to solve geographical problems, especially when they offer a type of education that isn't found everywhere.

#9: Recruitment & Community Engagement

Your Higher Education Marketing Link of the Week... Augustana University: 10 Value Propositions + Evidence...

In this blog post, marketing consultant Bob Johnson looks at Augustana University's website, specifically the school's 10 "value proposition" claims and the evidence the school uses to support them. While Johnson appreciates the school's up front approach, the post stresses that if you make value claims in your marketing, you need to provide up-to-date proof. You can see the Augustana's "Our Value Proposition Claims" webpage here.

#10: Human Resources

How Toxic Positivity Demoralizes Teachers and Hurts Schools

Writing for EdSurge, K-12 editor Stephen Noonoo cites research that shows toxic positivity is harmful and instead recommends "emotional agility, a concept coined by Harvard psychologist Susan David where we label and process complex emotions methodically". Writes Noonoo, "Finding that perfect mix of realism and optimism is difficult work, especially for educators conditioned to always appear as willing martyrs or good role models for their students. But confronting problems and negative emotions directly is the often the only way to solve real problems. It might not be as infectious or as easy to sound bite as toxic positivity, but it has at least one distinct advantage: It works."

#11: Finance

5 Lessons from the Inaugural Financial Sustainability Collaborative

David Attis, Managing Director, Research at EAB shares five core lessons form the inaugural cohort of EAB's Financial Sustainability Collaborative:
  1. Data analysis can help you prioritize your largest opportunities.
  2. The data doesn't have to be perfect.
  3. Engaging stakeholders is the real challenge.
  4. Shift perspective from cost reduction to return on investment (ROI).
  5. We need to rethink our systems for measuring faculty productivity.

#12: Facilities & Infrastructure

How to Know if Your Campus Is Ready for Wi-Fi 6

In this EdTech article, Ethan Banks, co-host of the Packet Pushers Podcast, writes about how to assess your institution's readiness for Wi-Fi 6. Some key points and tips:
  • Wi-Fi 6 requires fresh hardware: access points with new radios.
  • Identify areas where students congregate and plan to deploy there first.
  • With the right plan, you'll phase in your Wi-Fi 6 network gradually, with old and new APs coexisting.
  • While making your Wi-Fi 6 plan, ask your networking vendor to present 6E roadmaps and recommendations.

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