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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

The 5 Pillars of a Thriving Nonprofit

Joan Garry is a consultant and a teacher at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania where she teaches Nonprofit Communications Strategy and Media and Social Change. In this informally-written blog post, Garry writes that there are five pillars that a nonprofit must handle well to thrive: people, programs, money, strategy and narrative.

#2: Co-Curriculum & Learning Environments

Have Your Students Help You Design the Learning Environment

Writing for The Tech Edvocate, Matthew Lynch makes the case for involving students in the design of the learning environment: "while the idea of student-centered learning has made strong inroads in the education community, there is one area to which it is not normally applied. That area is the design of the learning environment. Usually, that topic is the sole domain of the teacher."

All About Motivation

Ask a Researcher, a project from Digital Promise and the Harvard Graduate School of Education offers evidence-based guidance on classroom dilemmas. The article pairs the following questions about student motivation from educators across the country with answers from researchers and experts:

  • Does offering students a choice in assignments lead to greater engagement?
  • How do we allow for inquiry while still ensuring learning (the proficiency of standards)?
  • What are the most effective practices for facilitating diverse youth leadership in schools?
  • Do digital learning materials improve student achievement or motivation?

#3: Academic Program

Build the Foundation, Not the Ceiling

Katie Martin is the Director of District Leadership at Buck Institute for Education. In this blog post, she asks "if we need people to think differently, solve problems, and be prepared for jobs that don't exist, how can we structure learning experiences with the curriculum that is linear and standardized?" To best meet the needs of learners, she advocates for the Teacher As Designer Continuum, which she details in her post.

Mixed Views on AP Courses

In June, eight elite private schools in the Washington area, including Sidwell Friends and St. Albans, announced that they were dropping the AP program. This Inside Higher Ed article is about the reasons why they made this decision, what they plan to do instead, and how college admissions directors view AP: only nine percent said that their college favors applicants with AP courses on their transcript over those with honors courses only.

Also worth a read: When your 'A' becomes a 'C' - Ontario university downgrades marks from some high schools

#4: School Leadership

Working With Lawnmower Parents

This School Leaders Now article defines a "lawnmower parent" as: "The parent who, out of good conscience, mows down any obstacles that might cause their child to struggle." The article provides tips for working with parents who don't want their kids to face consequences.

Also worth a read: How instant access to grades and other data is contributing to helicopter parenting

#5: Human Resources

The Connection Between Innovation and Time

In this blog post, George Couros provides recommendations for both administrators and teachers to foster innovation in schools. Couros recommends that administrators always ask themselves "am I adding to the plate or am I adding to the person?" to determine if they are helping to improve teachers' work or to make it more difficult. He writes that teachers must keep in mind that how they use their time is part of innovation in the classroom, and if it leads to better learning, for your students and yourself, you are on the right track.

How to build a thorough social media policy

It's crucial to plainly spell out the dos and don'ts of social media use, by staff and students alike, at your school so you can avoid incidents like the one addressed in Standard 8.

#6: School & Community

The Ultimate Guide to Promoting a Giving Day

Stacy Jagodowski has led strategic marketing and communications teams at Cheshire Academy and Milken Community Schools. In this Blackbaud post, she provides a great list of suggestions for a successful giving day, including throwing a social media party, temporarily updating email signatures to include a call to action with hyperlinked text for the giving page and creating a success ticker.

#7: Enrolment Management

Rethinking the Viewbook for More Effective Recruiting

In this blog post, Mondy Brewer, VP of Enrollment Management for Lubbock Christian University explains why the school has done away with the viewbook and instead opted to immediately create a personalized microsite for each student that provides relevant information based on their interests. The next day a brochure customized with the potential student's name featuring copy and images aligned with their interests is sent via direct mail.

Check it out: The MIT Admissions blog demonstrates what life is like at MIT for different students with varied interests.

An idea for high schools:"Coffee with a Current Student" program

#8: Governance

This past Sunday, attorney Michael Avenetti tweeted that he has 'significant evidence' that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh participated in sexual misconduct in high school. For reasons only he knows, Butch Groves, whose Twitter profile included the fact that he is the Head of the Upper School at The Oakridge School in Texas, was very upset by Avenetti's tweet and sent him a direct message that was chock-full of expletives and abusive language. Direct messages are private; however, Avenetti took a screenshot of the message and tweeted it to his more than 770,000 followers along with text that read, in part, "the parents of Oakridge must be so proud to have this man teaching their sons and daughters."

By the next morning, Groves had deleted his Twitter account, and Jon Kellam, Head of The Oakridge School sent a message to the parent community, which read: "The school has received negative attention on social media due to an employee's personal comment during non-work hours. Our team is looking into it, and I will communicate with you again when I have more information." Nine hours later, Kellam tweeted that Groves was suspended pending an investigation.

Situations like this, where one person's actions do so much damage to an organization's reputation, are rare, but it does highlight the need for a Social Media Policy, Code of Conduct and Crisis Communication Plan.

There is no article for this write up; however, in the wake of the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, The Atlantic has two articles that are worth reading. The first is Georgetown Prep's President Defends Its Culture, Without Mentioning Brett Kavanaugh by Adam Harris about the letter Reverend James R. Van Dyke, the new president of Georgetown sent to the campus community and later posted online. The second article is The Girls Who Live in an All-Boys World by Brendan Kiely. Kiely takes Van Dyke to task for failing to address Kavanaugh or the allegations against him, writing "ignoring these more difficult topics sends a message to the young students of Georgetown Prep who are listening for how their school's leaders view such grave allegations. Silence can be quite meaningful."

The Forbes article Kavanaugh: Why Fresh Allegations Raise Further Crisis-Management Challenges offers suggestions for organizations facing a crisis to minimize long-term reputational damage.

#9: Finance

Let's Make A Deal! New Approaches To Setting Tuition Fees

Richard Vedder is a Distinguished Professor of Economics Emeritus at Ohio University. Writing for Forbes, Vedder addresses how some colleges in the United States are using tuition fee strategies to meet the challenge of declining enrolment, including lower prices and, a tuition discount only for students from families who work in "mission-centered" careers.

#10: Physical Plant, Health & Safety

More boys hurt by dating violence than girls

According to this article in The Conversation, a recent study that looked at data from over 35,000 students aged 12 to 19 and found that "physical violence in dating relationships has decreased over the past decade among youth, but boys are still reporting higher rates of dating violence." This research was conducted by Catherine Shaffer, a Ph.D. student in psychology at Simon Fraser University whose research focuses on the assessment and management of violence among youth, and Elizabeth Saewyc, a professor in nursing at the University of British Columbia and internationally recognized leader in research with vulnerable adolescents.

#11: Commitment to School Improvement

Teachers' Strategies for Pronouncing and Remembering Students' Names Correctly

This article, which appears in Mind Shift, provides recommendations - including specific wording - to help ensure the proper pronunciation of students' names. While mispronouncing a student's name may seem minor, the article states "it can have a significant impact on how they see themselves and their cultural background, causing feelings of anxiety, invisibility, shame, resentment and humiliation, all of which can lead to social and educational disengagement."

#12: Boarding Program

All in the family: Private school looks within for home-stay option

This Globe and Mail article looks at the homestay program at Glenlyon Norfolk School, which gives international students the chance to participate in the everyday life of a Canadian family.

'Trump factor' among reasons Canadian private schools attract international students

This article, also from the Globe and Mail, details the process that educational agents use to help foreign parents and students find the best private-school fit.

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