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Image of Ideas and Perspectives Newsletter on a Laptop

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.

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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The Impact of Predictability and Support on Your Recruitment Outcomes

Volume 44 No. 11September 3, 2019

ISM has long advised School Heads about the strongly positive correlation between student and teacher perceptions of predictability and support and their enthusiasm, satisfaction, and performance. While the correlation has not been tested among parents, it is logical to infer that students and parents greatly benefit from a predictable and supportive admission process—from the moment of early exploration or inquiry through enrollment and matriculation.

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Dealing With Hidden Inflation, 2019

Volume 44 No. 11September 3, 2019

As a Trustee, School Head, or Chief Financial Officer, you know that a decision to hold tuition flat for a year or more results in lost financial ground and places pressure on future budgets. Inflation quietly depletes your real income and your school may lapse into a cash-negative situation. How can you keep this from happening?

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The Parent Association: Your Partner in Community Engagement

Volume 44 No. 11September 3, 2019

A key to supporting a productive learning environment for your students and faculty is the partnership your school creates with your parents. One way that partnership plays out is through the volunteer efforts of your parents, often formalized through the work of the school’s Parent Association. Your school depends on parent volunteers to participate in a wide array of activities throughout the year, ranging from celebratory and community-building events to service-learning collaborations and parent education workshops. A Parent Association can actively engage volunteers in various roles and levels of engagement, based on each volunteer’s ability to participate. These volunteer roles are invaluable for boosting your school’s ability to realize its mission.

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Five Key Performance Indicators for Private-Independent Schools

Volume 44 No. 10August 12, 2019

As the Marketing Communications Director, you understand that second only to word-of-mouth, your website is your most important marketing tool. Therefore, you may be investing a considerable amount of time and money in enhancing your website while simultaneously moving away from traditional and print marketing tactics. One of the best parts about shifting to a comprehensive digital strategy is the ability to measure the efficacy of your efforts.

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The Case for Publishing Tuition on Your Website

Volume 44 No. 10August 12, 2019

With the help of search engines, social media, and school review sites, prospective parents conduct intensive research and make educated comparisons about your school and its competitors before they ever contact the Admission Office. If they do call your Admission Office directly, it is likely that, based on their research, they believe your school is a good “fit” for their child and want to confirm this belief by visiting your campus. In other words, the family that scours your website and follows up with a phone call or campus tour has self-identified as a qualified lead and is undoubtedly worthy of your time and attention.

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Building and Maintaining Cash Reserves

Volume 44 No. 10August 12, 2019

ISM’s number one Stability Marker is cash reserves, and it has been continually ranked in the top two of correlates for a school’s long-term sustainability over a period of decades. The technical definition for ISM’s Stability Marker for “cash reserves” is actually a formulaic mix of cash reserves, debt, and endowment. A school’s high score on this means there is excess cash, at levels of 25% /or more of the total operating budget, and low (or no) debt. 

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