Constituent Surveys: Base Your Decisions on More Than Anecdotes

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"The plural of anecdote is not data," (Roger Brinner) and yet independent schools often operate as if it were. One of the beauties of being independent is that most states do not require you to submit to government mandated testing as the primary metric of your quality and value. However, while being “data-driven” may conjure up images of the testing craze running rampant in the public schools, it is still important to test your assumptions and benchmark your schools against measurable standards that reflect your particular mission, vision, and values.

A few vocal constituents can give the impression that they reflect the opinions of the entire community, often inaccurately. This can lead to rumors driving major decisions that cost schools goodwill, quality, families, money, and more.

Have you heard statements like these in the halls or your conference rooms?

  • “Parents would rebel if we let that teacher go.”
  • “Kids really learn best when I…”
  • “Applicants are deciding not to enroll because of our facilities – we need a brand new building, and soon.”
  • “Our community can’t afford another tuition raise in this economy.”
  • “Our lower school parents want us to offer more languages.”
  • “Our alumni all come back and tell us what a great job we did.”
  • “Our attrition rate has risen, but that’s just because of changing demographics and the recession.”

In ISM’s work with thousands of schools across the country, we often hear statements like these that are assumed to be “facts,” but that when tested, turn out to be exaggerated or false. Join us in this Webinar to get an understanding of the data you need, how to get it, and the most common and costly assumptions that are mistakenly made by schools.

This Webinar is designed for Heads, academic administrators, and Department Chairs.

Run Time:
Total run time is 60 minutes. The presentation will run approximately 45 minutes with 15 minutes designated for Q&A.

staff photo barbara beachley

Barbara Beachley

ISM Director of Advisory Services | Consultant

Expertise

Barbara provides her expertise in the areas of student-centered and brain-based pedagogies, faculty growth and culture, faculty evaluation, academic leadership, mission identity, survey best practices, and data analysis.

Current Role

As Director of ISM Advisory Services, Barbara:

  • Oversees ISM’s Consulting, Publications, Research, and Professional Development divisions
  • Consults in strategic academic planning and school leadership
  • Writes for ISM’s publications, including Ideas & Perspectives
  • Facilitates some of ISM's scheduling workshops, empowering teachers to transition to and teach effectively in longer periods
  • Leads courses at ISM’s Summer Institute, including Transformative Academic Leadership: Inspire and Empower Excellence and Administration and Faculty Evaluation: Maximize Your Team's Capacity
  • Speaks at educational conferences, including CASE-NAIS, EMA, and AISAP
  • Facilitates Board and school leadership retreats

Prior Experience

Barbara joined ISM in 2011 after working in the field of education since 1996. She served as an ESL and adult literacy teacher at Boston University, MA; an upper school modern language teacher at the MacDuffie School, MA; and a language teacher and lead advisor at Collegiate School, VA. She also served as Academic Dean at Cape Henry Collegiate School, VA, where she oversaw curriculum and professional growth in grades PK−12.

While enrolled at Shady Side Academy in Pittsburgh, she attended a year of high school in France through School Year Abroad. She later lived in Spain and Brazil, where she learned Spanish and Portuguese.

Education

Barbara holds a bachelor’s degree in French and Spanish from Trinity College, CT; a master’s degree in applied linguistics from Boston University, MA; a master’s degree in educational administration from Harvard University, MA; and a master’s degree in independent school leadership from the Klingenstein Center at Teachers College, Columbia University, NY.

Personal Mission Statement

To cherish my work and to support and empower educators such that they cherish theirs.

staff photo terry moore

Terry L. Moore, BCP-E

ISM Consultant | Head of Finance, Operations, and Advancement at St. Mary's School

Expertise

Terry shares his expertise with private-independent schools in strategic planning and strategic financial planning, strategic performance analysis, effective school operation, fundraising, faculty evaluation and compensation, and financial aid.

Current Role

Terry joined the ISM Consulting team in 2002, and worked as a full-time Consultant until 2016. He currently consults part time while serving as Head of Finance, Operations and Advancement at St. Mary's School of Aliso Viejo, CA.

Terry has supported more than 200 schools on-site since 2002 through ISM, many multiple times. He also:

  • Leads the annual ISM Business and Operations Academy, which he founded
  • Writes for ISM’s publications, including Ideas & Perspectives
  • Created the ISM FAST program (ISM’s cutting-edge financial aid tool)
  • Speaks at various conferences including NBOA, NYSAIS, CAIS, FISBO, and AISNE
  • Leads ISM workshops and webinars

Prior Experience

Prior to joining ISM, Terry served as the Director of Administrative Services at Trinity Academy, Raleigh, NC. Terry brings 20 years of independent school Board and business operations experience to ISM. With professional expertise in budgeting, marketing, fundraising, and fiscal oversight, Terry’s business knowledge, independent school experience, and professional manner is well suited to the special niche that schools occupy.

He participated with the implementation of a start-up school, including serving as a Board member, Board officer, and supporter to those occupying both Board and administrative leadership roles.

Education

Terry earned a BS degree from East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, and has done graduate work at Regis University, Denver, CO.

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