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.

Ethical Issues for the Development Office

Volume 27 No. 8June 30, 2002

One of the prime responsibilities of the Board of Trustees is to provide strong and consistent stewardship of the school’s assets. Your school’s nonprofit (501)(c)(3) status with the Internal Revenue Service and its good name in the community are two examples of non-tangible assets that must be preserved. If your school loses either or both of these assets, its position could weaken drastically, moving you into murky, uncharted waters.

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Stability Markers and Tuition Remission

Volume 27 No. 7June 4, 2002

Even with the most carefully crafted plans, tuition remission can subtly undercut effective implementation of the plan. Automatically awarded tuition remission creates an unpredictable reduction in net tuition revenue, further challenging a school’s already finite resources. Competing financial needs are created (for example, more funds devoted to tuition remission while the school is committed to improving faculty compensation). Last-minute and major adjustments to the strategic financial plan – and, by default, the strategic plan – must be wrenchingly incorporated. The end result: The timely implementation of the goals you have worked hard to develop and build consensus on is disrupted.

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Your Endowment Fund Spending Policy: A Key Component in Fiscal Stewardship

Volume 27 No. 7June 4, 2002

One challenge of sound fiscal stewardship is the necessity of balancing the needs of today with those of tomorrow. Endowment, by its nature, should serve your institution in perpetuity. Yet, how can you successfully preserve the intentions of those individuals who donate to the endowment fund to sustain programs and services across future generations of students, and not necessarily for the school's current needs?

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Community Service: Taking It to the Street

Volume 27 No. 7June 4, 2002

All too often, schools plan community service programs thinking – rightly or wrongly – that everyone in the community is anxiously awaiting the generous services of their students. As Head, you kick off your school’s program each year by enthusiastically convincing the students and their parents that community service is a worthwhile endeavor and deserves everyone’s time and utmost attention. The Community Service Coordinator develops mission-driven guidelines and establishes requirements for the program. Forms are prepared for students to have signed, verifying that they have performed the requisite number of hours in meaningful ways.

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The Board’s Role in the Annual Audit

Volume 27 No. 7June 4, 2002

Fiscal oversight and fiduciary responsibility are terms synonymous with trusteeship. The audit report is a key document that affirms, both to you and to those whose assets you steward, that the school is operating within generally accepted accounting principles (often referred to as GAAP).1

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Financial Questions the Search Committee Should Ask Head Candidates

Volume 27 No. 5April 11, 2002

As the Chair of your school’s Head Search Committee, you are charged with spearheading the process of identifying and recommending your school’s next CEO. The committee will be analyzing the experience, skills, and strengths of each candidate. It will want to match the candidate’s professional and personal qualities with the school’s needs.

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The Head’s Role in Your School’s Community Service Program

Volume 27 No. 5April 11, 2002

When community service and service learning are an integral part of life at a school, children come to understand that their help makes a difference. Further, they appreciate that service must be a lifelong commitment. The following article is one in a continuing series on developing your school’s community service and service learning program.

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Charitable Giving in a New Environment

Volume 27 No. 4March 30, 2002

In recent years, many private-independent schools have been complacent about their dependence on charitable giving. The events of September 11 were a wake-up call for organizations that rely on fund raising as Americans targeted their giving dollars toward disaster relief. Coupled with an uncertain economy, a rise in unemployment figures, and the continuing murky global political climate, it is possible that your school may experience a flattening of or even a downturn in the dollars you are able to raise. However, even if none of these conditions are present, a periodic review of all fund-raising programs is prudent trusteeship.

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Cultivating Your Core Cadre of Substitute Teachers

Volume 27 No. 4March 30, 2002

Substitute teachers are essential – and good ones are difficult to find. Over the years, you, as Head, have assembled a key group of talented, reliable substitute teachers. They are the first people called because of their expertise, their teaching skills, and their knowledge of and support for your school. Similarly, your school may be their first choice for work assignments. However, as your programs change or your teachers learn and apply the latest pedagogy, these substitutes may begin to feel out of place in your faculty culture. Consider offering annual orientation and professional development to your core group of substitutes so that they, like your regular faculty members, can maintain excellence in the classroom.

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