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.
See the articles from our latest issue of Ideas & Perspectives.
Crafting a compelling job description is an essential aspect of attracting qualified candidates to your school. It’s the first impression for a potential new hire. Standing out to the vast crowd of candidates has never been more critical or challenging. Think of the job description as a primary marketing tool in the job seeker market. The primary goals of the job description are to:Login to see the full article
Of all the sudden and sobering issues you may face as the School Head, the death of a student by suicide is among the most devastating. Everyone in the school community would rather assume that “it can’t happen here,” but the harsh reality is that a student suicide can occur in any school.Login to see the full article
As School Head, you know the key to a successful summer program is first to determine the desired benefits to the school. (These may include, for example, increasing nontuition revenue, attracting outside students to the campus, providing employment for teachers, and expanding your mission beyond the school year’s confines.) Then design programs that meet these goals. The initial decision is one of management. Should you offer school programs only, offer programs run by outside contractors (and, in essence, lease your facilities to them), or combine these two elements? What are the pros and cons of working with contractors?Login to see the full article
Surveys are excellent ways to collect quantitative and qualitative data from your various constituent groups. ISM has written on developing a culture of data, launching a successful survey initiative, and interpreting and communicating survey findings. In visiting and working with schools, we continue to hear stories about surveys gone wrong. Many of these issues stem from designing surveys “in-house.” In-house surveys can be fine for brief, targeted polls about specific initiatives, but surveys aimed at collecting more comprehensive data from entire sectors of the community require greater caution. Below we have outlined the most common mistakes schools make when developing surveys.Login to see the full article
As Board President or Finance Committee Chair, you are cognizant that your School Head will not hold that position forever. You may know the schedule for your current Head’s departure—as with a scheduled retirement—or you may simply be aware that the turnover frequency for the position ave...Login to see the full article
Like most School Heads, you have no doubt struggled at times to create a compensation structure that works effectively. The desire to pay teachers fairly for the professional services they provide has, for you and your peers, mostly remained a top-of-the-mind idea—rarely more than that. Data continues to suggest that teacher salaries lag those of similarly educated professionals. The Economic Policy Institute reports that teachers earn 19% less than other professionals similarly educated.Login to see the full article
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.Login to see the full article
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.Login to see the full article
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.Login to see the full article
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.Login to see the full article