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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.

Board Recruitment: Avoiding Related Parties

Volume 45 No. 3March 2, 2020

Excellent Board recruitment is the responsibility of the Committee on Trustees. You, as the Chair of this committee, should make certain you’re familiar with IRS guidelines, critical to empaneling Board members. As a 501(c)(3), your private-independent school is considered a public charity by the IRS and exempted from paying federal taxes. With this benefit, the IRS has placed Board membership requirements that are critical to understand.

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Stages of Board Development: Where Is Your Board?

Volume 45 No. 2February 10, 2020

ISM thinks in terms of four stages of Board development: (1) undifferentiated; (2) emerging; (3) strategic; and (4) bureaucratic. Note these are not listed in ascending order of excellence, but in a commonly found chronological order of development. It is, in fact, the third stage—the strategic Board—that is taught and promoted by ISM. As Board President or Committee on Trustees (COT) Chair, review the lists following of some characteristics typical of each stage, and consider your own Board’s positioning within this framework.

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Summer Program: Setting Your Tuition

Volume 45 No. 2February 10, 2020

Summer programs offer children valuable experiences, bring prospective students on campus, provide summer jobs for teachers, and make the campus an attraction during the summer vacation. The tuition you charge provides the financial basis for your program. The price must be competitive and reasonable for the parents in your market. 

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Comprehensive Faculty Development: An Overview

Volume 45 No. 2February 10, 2020

In a previous Ideas & Perspectives article, “The Problem(s) With Teacher Evaluation,” ISM described the many challenges schools typically face when trying to implement an effective evaluation system, including lack of time, lack of clarity, lack of consistency, and lack of intended outcomes. The most important challenge is that growth has often been confused with evaluation. Growth requires innovation and risk-taking. When an evaluation system is designed to rate and judge teachers, this clearly hinders growth. Rather, evaluation needs to be a separate process designed to provide a predictable environment with clear expectations in which teachers can flourish. ISM has developed a framework for growth and evaluation that responds to these challenges.

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Enrollment Management: Take a Team Approach

Volume 45 No. 1January 22, 2020

Several years ago, there was a movement to convert the Director of Admission position to the Director of Enrollment Management position. Large schools with sufficient budgets can fund both functions with at least two people. However, the newly perceived dual focus on admission and enrollment management often comes to rest in the hands of a single person whose sphere of operation and influence remains largely unchanged.

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The Head’s Responsibilities: Key Areas

Volume 45 No. 1January 10, 2020

The Board of Trustees charges you, as School Head and your Board’s only employee, with overseeing the entire scope of day-to-day operations. The breadth and complexity of these operations far exceeds the capacity of any one person to exercise direct monitoring, control, and evaluation of them. Your senior administrators, if your school is organized typically, comprise those whom you charge with these responsibilities. You, as School Head, retain full accountability for their performance, but it is they who directly oversee the people who implement your programs.

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The Growing Fears of a Recession

Volume 44 No. 16December 16, 2019

The U.S. economy has currently enjoyed its longest expansion ever—11 years. And while it’s impossible to predict precisely when a recession will occur, some financial experts and the stock market may be signaling the expansion is slowing. One thing is sure, recessions occur. Some are mild and not even recognized until after the fact, and some, like the one that began in December 2007, are severe. As recession fears grow, ISM makes the following recommendations to School Heads, CFOs, and Board Presidents.

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Create a Robust Alumni Program

Volume 44 No. 16December 16, 2019

Your alumni are living examples of your school’s mission in action. Many have deep and meaningful relationships with each other and your faculty, and appreciate their time at your school. In fact, the goal of your alumni program should be helping your alumni view your school as their primary alma mater—perhaps even outranking their undergraduate universities. 

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Tuition Setting and Sustainability

Volume 44 No. 15November 25, 2019

An article published in Net Assets by James Palmieri, titled “Modeling Sustainability,” offers four distinct approaches to setting tuition.* Summarized here—and using Mr. Palmieri’s terminology—they are as follows.

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