The New Battleground: The Top Four Features All Schools Will Need to Compete

Status: RECORDED on MAR 29, 2017

$156 Non-Member

[$143.00 Gold Member]

Why should I enroll my child at your school? Why should I pay for it? What makes the investment worth it?

To answer these questions, our meta-messages have been that we offer a better education, provided in a better atmosphere, with greater individual attention that will ultimately give them an advantage in the future. To prove that we can deliver on these messages, we have traditionally heralded the following features:
1.“College Prep” curriculum
2. Academic Rigor
3. “Highly Qualified” Teachers
4. Small Class Size
5. Selective College Admissions

However, paradigmatic shifts in education, fears about the economy and cost of tuition, a new generation of parents with different values, public school success, and private school competition have all challenged the idea that any one private school offers a better education. Thus, while they “worked” in the past, these features now fail to demonstrate the benefits of a private school education asserted in our meta-messages.

We'll cover these topics and more:

  • predict the top four features your school will need in order to attract and retain families to your school and demonstrate that you do indeed offer a better education experience
  • Discuss the rise of “student well-being” as prominent issue that schools must address and demonstrate
  • Introduce a new concept, “customized learning,” as a differentiator in your approach to academics that stands in stark contrast to “standardized learning.”

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

Who Should Attend:This Webinar is for all school leaders particularly Heads of School, Division Heads, Development Directors, Directors of Admission and Directors of Marketing and Communications.

staff photo bryan smyth

Bryan Smyth, Ph.D.

ISM Consultant | Director of Research


Bryan’s central purpose is to help students flourish. He believes that the enhancement of school environments and cultures is the best way to facilitate growth in children and adults.

Current Role

As a Consultant and ISM’s Director of Research, Bryan:

  • Oversees ISM’s research initiatives
  • Provides on-site scheduling consultations, having had extensive experience creating and implementing unique daily schedules and annual calendars for both boarding and day schools.
  • Leads scheduling-focused workshops and webinars

Bryan joined ISM as a Consultant in 2013, following 13 years in independent school administration.

Prior Experience

Bryan came to ISM from Mount Pisgah Christian School, GA, where he served as the Vice President, Head of the Upper School, Guidance and College Advisement Director, varsity head coach, and psychology teacher over the course of his tenure. Prior to that, he was the Associate Head of School at Brandon Hall, GA.

He is also a licensed clinical psychologist whose practice specialized in the psychological assessment and treatment of adolescents and their families. This varied background and set of experiences affords him the ability to view a school’s form and function from multiple viewpoints, leading to solutions that take into account all perspectives.


Bryan holds a Ph.D. and master’s degree in clinical psychology from Marquette University, WI, and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Illinois. He also earned an MBA from Reinhardt University, GA, that focused on the application of business principles to the management of independent schools.

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