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.

The Fourth Stage of the Donor Cycle: Solicit

Volume 44 No. 4March 28, 2019

  Solicitation is a process, not just an event. It’s an invitation to a prospect to invest in your school—and to feel excited about supporting an area resonating with him or her. Whether the process involves one meeting or several, a single solicitor or a team, the way that invitation is ext...

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Your Mission, Students, and Faculty: Purpose and Outcome Statements Revisited

Volume 44 No. 4March 28, 2019

Most Boards and School Heads understand the power of a well-crafted, emotionally evocative mission statement as the foundation of a compelling case for enrollment and giving. Most also know the mission statement should distinguish the school in a marketplace replete with schools of all types. However, many mission statements fail to capture a school’s essence or provide any clear distinction from other schools. Your mission statement may not be definitive enough to provide guidance to the Board, administration, or faculty in their pursuit of programmatic excellence. It may be an assertion that better describes the school 20 or even 50 years ago. It may not answer the essential question, “Why does our school exist?”

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Savvy Use of the ISM Stability Markers

Volume 44 No. 4March 28, 2019

The ISM Stability Markers® have been used by private-independent schools since the 1990s. Most longtime readers of Ideas & Perspectives have established an annual or semi-annual discipline of Stability Marker self-scoring, and then forcibly addressing any organizational or financial weaknesses highlighted by their self-score outcomes. This has, in turn, enabled schools to sustain institutional strength in the face of the ebb and flow of their schools’ enrollment demand levels, and of the inevitable fluctuations in the national and regional economies. Not all Stability Marker veterans are equally savvy in using their own self-scores. A healthy perspective on these data arrays helps you, as Board Chair or School Head, to make wise decisions in response to your regular Stability Marker self-scoring exercise. Following is a list designed to assist you in making those decisions

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Developing Your Summer Program Budget: A Step-by-Step Guide

Volume 44 No. 3March 5, 2019

Directing a summer program has become a year-round role requiring the same talents and skills needed to run a business. Summer Program Directors must establish a schedule, secure appropriate facilities, hire staff, acquire equipment, and coordinate marketing efforts. The Summer Program Director develops and manages an annual budget, often in coordination with the school’s Business Manager or CFO. The following provides step-by-step guidance.

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Developing Your Summer Program Budget: A Step-by-Step Guide

Volume 44 No. 3March 5, 2019

Directing a summer program has become a year-round role requiring the same talents and skills needed to run a business. Summer Program Directors must establish a schedule, secure appropriate facilities, hire staff, acquire equipment, and coordinate marketing efforts. The Summer Program Director develops and manages an annual budget, often in coordination with the school’s Business Manager or CFO. The following provides step-by-step guidance.

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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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