• In this issue of Ideas & Perspectives,

    we provide a succinct guide to responsible survey data analysis, as well as an article on providing a summer program for upper school students as a third ‘semester’ in the school year.

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Recent Articles

Planning the Annual Board Retreat: Key Questions to Ask

ISM has long recommended an annual Board retreat, devoting a day specifically to planning for the future of the school. A well-planned and goal-centered meeting can rejuvenate your Board, build teamwork and commitment, and refocus the members on the tasks ahead. Take time now to plan for this year’s retreat!

Whether you are setting up a Board retreat or working to make your current process more effective, ask the following key questions to help you plan for the meeting.

Assets and Liabilities of the Advisory Board

Community and business leaders, revered alumni, and distinguished individuals are often asked to serve on Advisory Boards. Most such Boards are essentially honorific—established by schools to keep in contact with people whose names, experience, and funds can be of assistance on occasion. Members might include Trustees who have served your school long and faithfully, major donors of the past, and people of outstanding talent who may refuse full Board membership.

Despite the form and membership of the Advisory Board, the potential for good or bad is about the same. Members of such groups must be constantly cultivated and their ideas solicited. If this does not happen, the Advisory Board becomes meaningless, the “honor” nonexistent, and feelings turn negative. In fact, this is the prevailing pattern at many schools. Use the following strategies to avoid this pitfall.

Cheating On the Rise, At Home and Abroad

Cheating on tests has reached new heights over the years. Or, at least, it has for parents in Bihar, India, who actually scaled the walls of the local test centers while their children toiled over notoriously difficult standardized board examinations.

But cheating isn’t confined to Bihar. One online conversation led to hundreds of people admitting to creative and (occasionally) effective ways to cheat on exams, as observed by students and teachers. So sit back, grab a cup of joe, and enjoy the stories of oddball cheaters shared by your compatriots.

Aftershocks: Dealing With Trauma in the Classroom

For Bostonians, justice was served on April 8th, 2015, when a federal jury declared Dzhokhar Tsarnaev guilty on 30 charges related to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. The sentencing reminds many communities of that spring day two years ago, when three spectators were killed and dozens injured when a homemade pressure bomb exploded in the crowd in what some call the “worst terror attack on American soil since 9/11.”

But for the local town of Waterford, Massachusetts, it's not the bombing itself they remember with dread, but the intense manhunt that ensued for the suspected bombers. For the students in this community, the task wasn’t to treat the trauma of seeing limbs and bodies scattered on an asphalt road. Rather, the trauma lay in a new world perspective—a world that could become dangerous even during the most innocent of events.

Online Donation? Snail Mail a Thank-You!

Seems a little counterintuitive, doesn’t it? After all, the donor made the gift online, and it stands to reason that he or she would be comfortable continuing to communicate screen-to-screen rather than face-to-face. Often, your online donation program generates a thank-you email the instant the payment clears, seemingly making additional need for contact obsolete.

But wait a second! Let’s consider what the goal is (or should be) with this new donor. You want to build a relationship with this person. Now that the ball’s in your court, you have an opportunity here to strengthen the tenuous initial connection with a little effort, attention, and the lick of a stamp.

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