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.

Employment Applications: An Essential Part of the Hiring Process

Volume 44 No. 2February 11, 2019

Private-independent schools often shy away from using employment applications (whether online or on paper) in their faculty hiring process. They assume (or fear) that prospective teachers see it as unnecessarily “bureaucratic” and beneath their dignity as professionals. Administrators believe that an application is “just the same as a résumé” and see no point in duplicating the effort. However, applications provide definite protections for the school that résumés do not, making them an important part of a safe and effective hiring process.

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The Third Stage of the Donor Cycle: Evaluate

Volume 44 No. 2February 11, 2019

Your goal in the Evaluate stage of the Donor Cycle (see the accompanying graphic) is to develop a deeper understanding of your prospects-their ability to give, their commitment, and their track record of giving. You'll achieve this goal by determining the answers to three essential questions for each individual. What is this person's passion? What would it take for this person to make a gift to this campaign? What would it take for this person to make a significant gift?

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Design an Interactive Open House to Drive Enrollment

Volume 43 No. 16December 17, 2018

  As Admission Director, you know much rides on the success of your annual open house event(s). While many schools experience great results at their open houses, many Admission Directors believe their results could and should be better. Some have abandoned traditional open house events, beli...

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Stability Marker No. 6: Enrollment Demand

Volume 43 No. 16December 17, 2018

  It is important to understand there is something markedly different between “difference makers” and the merely “good.” The Stability Markers have been adjusted through the iterations to establish metrics and priorities beyond “nice to have.” The markers are criteria that schools should use...

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Keys to a Successful College Counseling Program

Volume 43 No. 16December 17, 2018

Consider the following list of suggestions as you prioritize your college counseling program. If your program is too understaffed to handle these elements, a great deal will be left undone. If this is the case, urge your School Head to hire more staff at the next Board strategic planning and strategic financial planning event.

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Teaching Teachers About Your School: Institutional Support

Volume 43 No. 15November 26, 2018

You know you have a highly educated faculty, but are they highly informed as well? An important part of your job as School Head is to systematically inform teachers about the school. When it comes to the "institutional support" aspects, can they speak as confidently about the school's strategic plan as they do about their lesson plans? Do they understand the basics of governance, advancement, finance, and facilities? You address these topics continuously with the Board and Leadership Team, yet they may seem light-years away to a teacher immersed in second grade math or high school AP calculus.

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How Do You Know If Your School Is Ready to Plan a Campaign?

Volume 43 No. 15November 26, 2018

Private-independent schools of any enrollment size, grade configuration, or operating budget are most likely to succeed with campaigns when the following (not all-inclusive) characteristics are in place well before the public phase is launched. You, as Board Chair, Development Committee Chair, School Head, or Development Director, should consider the following as you look forward to your next (or first) campaign.

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