Eight Discussions from the Heads e-List

Vol. 14 No. 7

heads eletter Vol.14 No.7 advice

School Heads from around the world congregate on our e-Lists to find crowdsourced answers to common problems only their peers would understand. If you’re curious to see what your fellow Heads have been talking about this year, read on for the fruits from nine lively discussions ranging from arming your teachers to considering alumni fundraisers.

  1. When considering major gifts—like a donor setting up a scholarship fund to be used for the family’s descendants—School Heads must place the viability of the school’s core mission first and foremost. (Not to mention, there’s no guarantee that descendants would be appropriate to admit to the school!)
  2. School Heads are exhibiting a rising interest in cultivating “leadership” curricula in Middle and Upper Schools. The establishment of such programs should be autonomous of “driving personalities,” however, to ensure continuation after such a personality’s departure.
  3. In the interest of increased school safety in the wake of recent school shootings, at least one school is actively considering training and arming willing faculty and administrators to ensure a proactive response in the event of an armed shooter on campus. Local laws governing who may be permitted to “conceal carry” on school grounds vary widely, so consult your attorneys before taking such a drastic step. Alternatives include drills with local first responders, cameras, “panic buttons” to alert the police, and scanners which run swiped driver’s licenses through databases of sexual offenders.
  4. School Heads on our e-List report great satisfaction with the outdoor basketball court surfaces of Flex Court and Sport Court.
  5. Schools also report a need to consolidate various information and student management systems. Some School Heads say they use up to six different systems, depending on the need. Remind.com and Renweb were two recommendations for those looking to downsize their software bloat, though our financial aid software consultants caution against implementing a one-size-fits-all solution. They find schools that convert to a larger umbrella system miss the flexibility and power that individual programs provide.
  6. Requests from alumni for a school to help promote a personal fundraising initiative must be handled delicately, with the goal of preserving the relationship balanced with the need for solely mission-based projects in mind. One school allows the student council to approve of causes to promote over internal school communications, but bans the sale of “traditional” fundraising items—candles, cookies, candy bars, flowers, etc.—on campus.
  7. Reimbursement for relocation costs of new administrators is hesitantly endorsed by School Heads on the e-List, with Heads either suggesting a percentage reimbursement spread over a year (or just the cost of the new Head's flight to the area) rather than a comprehensive travel package.
  8. School Heads are generally in agreement that they would not accept transfer students without the express permission of the students’ legal guardians, even in exceptional situations.

Additional ISM resources:
ISM Research: Faculty Evaluation, Student Performance, and School Leadership: An Update

Additional ISM resources for Gold Consortium members:
I&P Vol. 40 No. 16 The End of School Leadership

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