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.

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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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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The Cost of Your Parent Community

Volume 44 No. 14November 4, 2019

As School Head, you understand that re-enrolling students year after year is key to your school’s financial health and sustainability. ISM places high value on the retention metric in its Stability Markers. First-Tier Marker No. 6 measures your school’s retention (re-recruitment) rate based on your track record over the last three years.1 The marker is “all-or-nothing,” with full credit awarded for an overall retention rate of 90% or higher, and zero given for anything less.

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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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The Weak-Case Scenario Document

Volume 44 No. 13October 21, 2019

In conducting strategic financial planning onsite at client schools, ISM routinely recommends, that you, as School Head or Board President, oversee preparing a “weak-case scenario,” usually in Year One of the new plan. This is a simple, confidential, often three-page document that prioritizes operating expense reductions in the event that strategic plan revenue projections fall short of expectations.

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Construction Ahead: An Owner's Representative Protects Your Interests

Volume 44 No. 13October 21, 2019

New construction and major renovation projects rank among the most complex undertakings your school ever faces—and the devil is in the details. Costs escalate, disputes arise, technical decisions loom—who is in your corner? Before you build, assess the benefits of hiring an owner’s representative. The sole responsibility of an owner’s representative is to protect the interests of the property holder—in this case, your school—throughout each phase of construction. This professional can offer a combination of experience, knowledge, objectivity, and time that neither you, as School Head, nor others associated with the project are likely to match.

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Understanding the Net Promoter Score and Its Correlation to Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Volume 44 No. 12September 24, 2019

As the Marketing Communications Director, you know the importance of assessing your school’s culture and your constituents’ satisfaction through a consistent schedule of surveys. These surveys are not only vital to understanding your school’s differentiators, strengths, and areas for strategic focus, but they are also required by most accrediting bodies.

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