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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.

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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Review Your School’s Employee Infectious Disease Policy

Volume 44 No. 9July 22, 2019

A rumor spreads at Exempli Gratia Academy (our fictional K–12 day school) that one of the employees has tested positive for Zika virus. Bombarded with questions, the School Head turns to the infectious disease policy in the employee handbook—and finds it all but worthless. The situation spurs the Leadership Team to take a look at this specific item as the first step in a full-scale policy review.

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Board-Faculty Relationships: 10 Do’s and Don’ts

Volume 44 No. 9July 22, 2019

Teacher A: “Our Board members are never here at school, so they have no idea what we do. How can they possibly understand what they should be doing on the Board?” Teacher B: “I know! And none of them has ever been a teacher! Why are they on the Board in the first place?” Have you overheard...

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The Two-Year Rolling Contract for Your School Head

Volume 44 No. 9July 22, 2019

In an earlier article about the School Head’s contract, the two-year rolling contract was briefly described as follows. “ISM recommends two-year, rolling contracts. Each contract is agreed upon the year before the expiration of the current contract. … The new contract should supersede the remainder of the first contract and continue through the following academic year. This sequence ensures that the agreement never shrinks to less than a 12-month span.” This article provides further detail regarding this ISM-endorsed approach to your Head’s contract cycle.

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Structure the Schedule Change Committee for Success

Volume 44 No. 8June 24, 2019

As a school explores a schedule change, leadership often appoints a committee to oversee the process. ISM’s research found 63% of schools formed a “schedule change committee” before revising their schedule, whether they used ISM to design their schedule or not. They do this for at least one of three reasons: to gather data, to cultivate ideas and perspectives, and to facilitate teacher “buy-in.” A committee or its members might collect survey data, visit other schools to observe an “innovative schedule” in action, attend an ISM scheduling workshop, and run discussion groups. It may also be charged with developing and modifying prototypes, and then recommending a design to the leadership.

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Compensation Fairness: Emerging Realities

Volume 44 No. 8June 24, 2019

You, the School Head, employ a 10th-grade female English teacher. She earns $65,000 and has 15 years of experience. You also have an 11th-grade male science teacher. He also has 15 years of experience, but because science teachers are difficult to find and retain, you pay him $80,000 per year. Is this fair?

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Be Aware! Disruptive Change Might Come Sooner Than You Think

Volume 44 No. 7June 3, 2019

Dramatic change happens slowly in education. The last major innovation, one that changed the nature of schooling, was the invention of the Carnegie unit in 1906. It was adopted so long ago, and has become so ingrained in the way education is done, educators are astounded that 120 hours of instruction is still the unit of measurement for determining students’ progress for the next level. While many people thought the technology revolution would create disruptive innovation for schools, the personal computer and the internet have not impacted the education industry in the way they have in the working world. Online, blended, and computer-adaptive learning have remained largely a supplementary experience, and have not reduced faculty or even the need for brick-and-mortar schools as some had thought. The school experience is still one teacher, in front of a group of students, in a room, delivering a largely standardized curriculum.

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Keep Your Headship Focused and Effective

Volume 44 No. 7June 3, 2019

School Heads today rely strongly on the support and guidance provided by their Head Support and Evaluation Committees. Despite this support from the Board, however, the Head’s perennial problem is professional isolation. Heads often express their concerns about the issues they face during the school year—problem parents, the budget, Board relations, fundraising, etc. To lead their schools effectively, Heads must learn how to better delegate authority and to develop a professional support network outside the school. Even though Heads have other administrators to help resolve problems, they often tackle too many issues alone.2 When a Head makes every school concern a personal concern, eventually every problem—no matter whose purview—will come to him or her.

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