Ideas & Perspectives

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Image of Ideas and Perspectives Newsletter on a Laptop

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.

Major Gift Fundraising During Disruption

Volume 45 No. 10August 10, 2020

An economic disruption can call into question many fundraising practices. We assume our donors are reluctant to be involved and less inclined to make gifts to our school. In fact, a crisis can enable you, as Development Director, to become even more donor-centered in your approach to major gift fund...

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The Difficult Decision: Closing a Private School

Volume 45 No. 9July 27, 2020

Unfortunately, some schools, because of various circumstances, face a combination of weak enrollment, poor fundraising efforts, and budget overruns. Sadly, sometimes the right decision by the Board is to close the school. This article explores the steps required to close a school with integrity. ...

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The School Head and the Head Support and Evaluation Committee: Centering on a Strategic Pathway

Volume 45 No. 9July 27, 2020

For decades, ISM has recommended creating a Head Support and Evaluation Committee (HSEC) to serve as the primary linking unit between governance and operations. The HSEC is a Board committee, and, as such, is charged with monitoring and assisting the Head on the (normally) small proportion of her or his time that is, or should be, devoted to truly “strategic” issues.

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Teacher Review and Evaluation Form

Volume 45 No. 9July 27, 2020

Because Essential Expectations are so critical that you must address them immediately, the annual “review” is just a formality and should contain no surprises. This article provides a template that you can use to develop an effective review and evaluation process.

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Keeping Parent Complaints From Interfering With the Strategic Functions of the Board

Volume 45 No. 8June 22, 2020

As Chair of the Committee on Trustees (COT), you will be called on to take the lead in assisting your colleagues in dealing with one of the troublesome facts of private-independent school life: parental complaints made directly to Board members. Many parents think of their school’s Board of Trustees in the same way that they think of their local public school board. And, if that were true, their complaints would not violate that model, i.e., the public elects a public school board to represent their interests.

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Disruption: Effects on Your Strategic Financial Plan

Volume 45 No. 8June 22, 2020

For decades, ISM has recommended that Boards of Trustees, with their School Head and Business Manager, undertake strategic financial planning on a quadrennial cycle, unless economic or other exigencies intervene to dictate a shorter cycle. If you, as Board leader or School Head, face the possibility of a precipitous decline in your school’s enrollment demand for any reason—natural disaster, pandemic, economic reversal, or simply your draw-area demographic changing dramatically—consider the following steps in thinking about how to, or whether to, reshape your strategic financial plan.

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