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.

Enrollment Management: Take a Team Approach

Volume 45 No. 1January 22, 2020

Several years ago, there was a movement to convert the Director of Admission position to the Director of Enrollment Management position. Large schools with sufficient budgets can fund both functions with at least two people. However, the newly perceived dual focus on admission and enrollment management often comes to rest in the hands of a single person whose sphere of operation and influence remains largely unchanged.

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The Head’s Responsibilities: Key Areas

Volume 45 No. 1January 10, 2020

The Board of Trustees charges you, as School Head and your Board’s only employee, with overseeing the entire scope of day-to-day operations. The breadth and complexity of these operations far exceeds the capacity of any one person to exercise direct monitoring, control, and evaluation of them. Your senior administrators, if your school is organized typically, comprise those whom you charge with these responsibilities. You, as School Head, retain full accountability for their performance, but it is they who directly oversee the people who implement your programs.

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The Growing Fears of a Recession

Volume 44 No. 16December 16, 2019

The U.S. economy has currently enjoyed its longest expansion ever—11 years. And while it’s impossible to predict precisely when a recession will occur, some financial experts and the stock market may be signaling the expansion is slowing. One thing is sure, recessions occur. Some are mild and not even recognized until after the fact, and some, like the one that began in December 2007, are severe. As recession fears grow, ISM makes the following recommendations to School Heads, CFOs, and Board Presidents.

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Create a Robust Alumni Program

Volume 44 No. 16December 16, 2019

Your alumni are living examples of your school’s mission in action. Many have deep and meaningful relationships with each other and your faculty, and appreciate their time at your school. In fact, the goal of your alumni program should be helping your alumni view your school as their primary alma mater—perhaps even outranking their undergraduate universities. 

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Tuition Setting and Sustainability

Volume 44 No. 15November 25, 2019

An article published in Net Assets by James Palmieri, titled “Modeling Sustainability,” offers four distinct approaches to setting tuition.* Summarized here—and using Mr. Palmieri’s terminology—they are as follows.

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Resolving Compensation Inequities

Volume 44 No. 15November 25, 2019

A previous I&P article discussed compensation inequities based on gender, a dilemma facing our industry. As discussed in that article, protections against this illegal activity have been enacted through several federal statutes. And while the federal acts were a good start, they never thoroughly resolved the issue—gender-based pay biases. Several progressive states have written much stricter laws protecting against pay inequities. One of the features of the laws in these early-adopting states gives room for employers to correct this misstep without penalty. It is critical to note that to be protected against fines and penalties, employers have to be actively resolving biased pay before a lawsuit claiming gender-based inequities is filed. This article will discuss the steps recommended to correct compensation inequities.

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What Message Does Your Admission Packet Send?

Volume 44 No. 15November 25, 2019

Life would be so much easier if there were just one “right way” to put together an admission packet. However, the truth is that schools’ materials may vary widely in appearance and contents and be equally effective—because every school is unique. The other difference-maker is the basic question you ask as the Admission Director. Is it “What do we want to tell them?” or “What do families want to know?”

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Your Good-Case Scenario Document

Volume 44 No. 14November 4, 2019

Previous Ideas & Perspectives articles have encouraged you, as School Head or Board President, to oversee creating a weak-case scenario document. This contingency document would serve as a safeguard against an unexpected shortfall in hard income that would make your strategic financial plan difficult to execute.

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