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.

Faculty Growth Plans: An 11-Stage Process to Ensure Authentic Engagement

Volume 45 No. 5May 1, 2021

One of ISM’s Essential Expectations on which faculty are evaluated is that teachers must “authentically engage in self-reflection and annual development of a growth and renewal plan, to include written goals and progress toward those goals.”1 To determine whether faculty members are meeting this expectation, ISM’s growth framework provides a clear process, developed to ensure “authentic engagement” while allowing for the risk-taking and failure required for meaningful growth

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When a Crisis ‘Goes Social’: Be Prepared to Respond

Volume 45 No. 5May 1, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic gave every private school a crash course on adapting and responding to a rapidly changing and difficult situation. Likewise, many schools found themselves immersed in the Black@ social movement, which necessitated consequential conversations with students, alumni, and other stakeholders in a public setting with unlimited reach.

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Document the Identification and Age of All Applicant Students

Volume 46 No. 4April 1, 2021

Admission Directors often wonder what documentation they should require of applicant families to ensure the most mission-serving outcome for the school. There are obvious requirements, such as students’ transcripts or annual report cards, teacher references from students’ current teachers, and copies of relevant attendance and discipline records. But what about the school’s need to certify the identity and date of birth (DOB) of applicant students? There are important considerations for not only the Admission Director, but also the School Head, Business Manager, Athletic Director, and International Program Director.

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Midyear Enrollment of International Students

Volume 46 No. 4April 1, 2021

You, as School Head or Admission Director, may find new enrollment interest from international families at any point in the school year. Those families’ interest in your school may or may not conform to the early fall enrollment tradition. Your response to this kind of interest should be well-planned and addressed not only in your written and published enrollment policies but also in your strategic financial planning documents.

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Preparing for the Unforeseeable

Volume 46 No. 4April 1, 2021

Economic downturns, natural disasters, and worldwide pandemics—events not only unforeseeable but sometimes interrelated and feeding off one another—will not be going away. As Board President or School Head, seize the opportunity in times of relative normality to keep these facts of institutional life in mind when your Board assembles for its regularly scheduled strategic planning sessions.

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Why Is Enrollment Really Softening? (And How Some Schools Might Respond)

Volume 46 No. 3March 1, 2021

COVID-19 did not take the private-independent school market by complete surprise. Beginning in the early 2000s, there were conversations in various private school think tanks concerning how our industry would handle a pandemic and the closing of physical buildings. Private schools entered pre-planning and, while we were not completely ready to handle the myriad changes the pandemic caused, we were at least prepared tactically. 

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Evaluation and Growth for Heads, Administrators, and Nonteaching Staff: Part Two—Growth

Volume 46 No. 3March 1, 2021

A previous I&P article described the evaluation component of ISM’s Growth and Evaluation Framework for Heads, administrators, and nonteaching staff members. Evaluation provides a stable, consistent environment through clear expectations and a process for accountability throughout your school. This gives your employees the security to take on ambitious growth goals, which requires taking risks. 

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Flying Solo as School Head: Risks and Solutions

Volume 46 No. 2February 1, 2021

You came into (or will come into) your first School Head position having been successful in roles other than that of Chief Executive. In most of those roles—teacher, grade-level coordinator, Academic Department Chair, advancement professional, finance professional, even (possibly) as a Division Head...

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