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Learn practical strategies to handle emerging trends and leadership challenges in private schools.

No matter if you’re a School Head, Admission Director, Development Director, Board member, or any other private school administrator—Ideas & Perspectives, ISM’s premier private school publication, has strategic solutions for the pervasive problems you face.

  • Tuition not keeping pace with your expenses? In I&P, explore how to use strategic financial planning to create your budget and appropriately adjust your tuition.
  • Enrollment dropping off? Discover how to implement the right admission and enrollment management strategies that engage your community—and fill your classrooms.
  • Trouble retaining teachers? Learn how you can best support your teachers using ISM’s Comprehensive Faculty Development framework. Your faculty members will become more enthusiastic about their roles—which ultimately improves student outcomes.
  • Fundraising campaigns not as successful as you’d hoped? Implement ISM’s practical advice and guidance to build a thriving annual fund, construct an effective capital campaign, and secure major donors—no matter your community size or location.
  • Not sure how to provide professional development—for you and your staff? Learn ways to develop and fund a successful professional development strategy. You can improve teacher-centered satisfaction and growth, which in turn strengthens student-centered learning.
  • Problematic schedule? You can master the challenges of scheduling with the help of ISM’s practical advice, based on our experience with hundreds of schools and our time-tested theories.
  • And so much more.

I&P has shared targeted research, up-to-date insight, and sound theory with school leaders since 1975. More than 8,500 private school decision-makers find the answers to their schools’ administrative and governance matters in our advisory letter. We give you the strategic answers you need.

As an ISM Silver or Gold member, you not only receive issues online and in print 16 times a year, but you have access to more than 600 articles in our web archive. Need help? It’s at your fingertips! Learn more and sign up for ISM's membership here. 

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See the articles from our latest issue of Ideas & Perspectives.

Your Good-Case Scenario Document

Volume 44 No. 14November 4, 2019

Previous Ideas & Perspectives articles have encouraged you, as School Head or Board President, to oversee creating a weak-case scenario document. This contingency document would serve as a safeguard against an unexpected shortfall in hard income that would make your strategic financial plan difficult to execute.

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The Cost of Your Parent Community

Volume 44 No. 14November 4, 2019

As School Head, you understand that re-enrolling students year after year is key to your school’s financial health and sustainability. ISM places high value on the retention metric in its Stability Markers. First-Tier Marker No. 6 measures your school’s retention (re-recruitment) rate based on your track record over the last three years.1 The marker is “all-or-nothing,” with full credit awarded for an overall retention rate of 90% or higher, and zero given for anything less.

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The Weak-Case Scenario Document

Volume 44 No. 13October 21, 2019

In conducting strategic financial planning onsite at client schools, ISM routinely recommends, that you, as School Head or Board President, oversee preparing a “weak-case scenario,” usually in Year One of the new plan. This is a simple, confidential, often three-page document that prioritizes operating expense reductions in the event that strategic plan revenue projections fall short of expectations.

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Construction Ahead: An Owner's Representative Protects Your Interests

Volume 44 No. 13October 21, 2019

New construction and major renovation projects rank among the most complex undertakings your school ever faces—and the devil is in the details. Costs escalate, disputes arise, technical decisions loom—who is in your corner? Before you build, assess the benefits of hiring an owner’s representative. The sole responsibility of an owner’s representative is to protect the interests of the property holder—in this case, your school—throughout each phase of construction. This professional can offer a combination of experience, knowledge, objectivity, and time that neither you, as School Head, nor others associated with the project are likely to match.

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Understanding the Net Promoter Score and Its Correlation to Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Volume 44 No. 12September 24, 2019

As the Marketing Communications Director, you know the importance of assessing your school’s culture and your constituents’ satisfaction through a consistent schedule of surveys. These surveys are not only vital to understanding your school’s differentiators, strengths, and areas for strategic focus, but they are also required by most accrediting bodies.

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The Critical Role of the Assistant Head

Volume 44 No. 12September 24, 2019

Of all the administrative roles in private-independent schools, that of the Assistant School Head is likely the most variable. For decades, ISM has sounded a cautionary note to schools considering adding an Assistant Head to an existing administrative structure. Commonly, the role suffers from a lack of clarity around responsibilities and, consequently, can generate confusion among school employees due to its inherently imprecise nature.

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Engaging New Families in Philanthropy

Volume 44 No. 12September 24, 2019

Introducing new families to your school’s culture of giving should be just as personalized as engaging them in the admission process. Your goal is not just to get new parents to give money, but also to involve them with your mission through volunteerism and philanthropy. They have demonstrated their commitment to the school with their “gift” of tuition. How can you bring them closer to school life in ways that remind them why they picked your school? How can you build strong relationships that translate into philanthropic giving? The process involves a journey.

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Don’t Stop Recruiting Families After They Enroll

Volume 44 No. 12September 24, 2019

As School Head, you know the key to your re-recruitment success is ensuring that everything you promised to prospective families during the admission phase of the relationship becomes their experience once enrolled. Many private-independent schools have achieved and sustained optimal enrollment by leveraging a high-touch, personalized approach to the admission-season relationship. Almost as many maintain a sophisticated and strategically aligned digital media presence, which in today’s market is increasingly important to ensuring strong recruitment outcomes.

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