Ideas & Perspectives

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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 RSM International Model Schools Project: Final Outcomes

Volume 25 No. 9July 20, 2000

This is the first article in a series that presents an overview of the International Model Schools Project, a summary of its major findings, and a discussion of its most significant organizational implications. These implications—which focus on how faculty culture affects student performance—have been refined, through school-by-school interaction, over the five-year period (1995-2000) since the end of the study.

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A Cautionary Approach to Linking Faculty Compensation to Performance: The Final Steps

Volume 25 No. 8June 28, 2000

The first article in this three-part series explained the considerable organizational psychological risk of linking faculty compensation with performance, especially if approached with traditional “merit pay” assumptions and practices. The second article introduced ISM’s unconventional approach for those schools that proceed anyway, and was offered as a means of balancing the competing goals of “enhancing the faculty culture” and acknowledging and rewarding individual performance excellence with money. This issue of I&P presents a Compensation-Performance Scattergram for completing the process. ISM emphasizes, however, that the organizational risks of linking compensation to performance are substantial.

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A Cautionary Approach to Linking Faculty Compensation to Performance: Initial Steps

Volume 25 No. 7June 8, 2000

As described in the first article in this three-part series, ISM’s experience and research suggest considerable organizational psychological risk attendant to linking faculty compensation with performance, especially if approached with traditional “merit pay” assumptions and practices. Nevertheless, some Boards of Trustees and/or administrative/faculty traditions have forged such linkages, and will continue to do so. Others without these traditions will wish to experiment with the establishment of a compensation-performance linkage.

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Marketing New Teachers

Volume 25 No. 6May 8, 2000

When parents enroll their children in your school, they want outstanding programs delivered by exceptional teachers. As each family’s experience with the school grows, the faculty – especially the ones who have taught their children – are closely identified with the school’s successes.

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Linking Faculty Compensation to Performance

Volume 25 No. 5April 15, 2000

Few organizational facts of life remain as unsettled as is the link, if any in your school, between faculty compensation and faculty performance. Nothing approaching a commonly agreed upon process has emerged ­– and for good reasons. You, as Head of School, may wish to consider 1) the major issues in this organizational conundrum, and 2) a set of suggested steps to establish such a compensation-performance link despite the to-be-discussed risks. The risks and issues will be highlighted in this first article of a three-part series. An approach to establishing a compensation-performance link will be detailed in the second and third articles of the series.

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Recruiting Potential Students Through Your Summer Program

Volume 25 No. 3March 8, 2000

As the Admission Director, you have watched your school's summer program grow over the last five years. Not only are more of your academic-year students participating, but there are more students from other schools coming as well. The latter are potential students for your school, and you would like them to consider applying. However, you are worried about your school's image. You do not want to appear to "take advantage" of this special situation where the students are daily on your campus. Here are some subtle strategies to better educate these students and their families about your school.

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Enhance Your School’s Diversity: Start With the Board

Volume 25 No. 3March 8, 2000

Planning documents in many – perhaps most – private-independent schools target “diversity” as a major or mid-level objective. However, the goal is often poorly defined and thus virtually unattainable. The first question to ask in this context is: “Which kind of diversity do you mean?” Does the term refer to socioeconomic diversity, to socioethnic diversity, or to both?

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Tailor Benefits for the Individual Head: Findings From the 1999-2000 Head Compensation Survey

Volume 25 No. 2February 13, 2000

The trend in the corporate sector is to offer executives and senior managers more options in their benefit plans. Heads, perceiving an inequity between their benefits and those of corporate managers, are asking for more choices as well. According to the results of ISM’s 1999 Head Compensation Survey, a higher salary is not necessarily the item the majority of Heads would change about their compensation. When asked what they felt was missing, if anything, most Heads named specific benefits: e.g., higher retirement contribution, dental insurance, severance pay, financial counseling.

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Corporate Sponsorships and Endorsements: At What ‘Cost’ to Your Independence?

Volume 25 No. 2February 13, 2000

Sponsorships and endorsements are not new in private-independent schools. Local merchants support your school by placing ads in the yearbook, the students’ newspaper, and the program book for your fund raiser. Each year, local businesses sponsor your golf tournament or charity auction. These are “innocent” endeavors with, usually, no strings attached. Funds are raised without tapping parent and alumni checkbooks.

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Attracting and Retaining a Head: An Analysis of the 1999-2000 Head Compensation Survey

Volume 25 No. 1January 14, 2000

ISM recently surveyed Heads about their compensation. We randomly selected 398 Heads from our I&P subscribers; 250 responded. (See the chart “About the Respondents” on page 4 for more information on the survey participants.) This article examines Heads’ salaries and implications for the Board; a subsequent article will analyze Heads’ benefits.

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