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.

Managing the Assimilation of a New Division Head

Volume 46 No. 6June 1, 2021

As School Head, you have devoted time, effort, and likely paid a hefty placement fee to a search firm to find the perfect candidate for an open Division Head position. The new person is accomplished, experienced, and confident. However, within a few months—and maybe even weeks—there is apparent friction between the new Division Head and the teachers they are expected to lead

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What the School Head Should Target When Interviewing Admission Director Candidates

Volume 46 No. 6June 1, 2021

As School Head, you have selected the best candidates to visit your school for the Admission Director position. They are all qualified. Knowing you must establish a comfortable working relationship with the new Admission Director, you use the interview to choose the applicant with the best “chemistry.” However, having a friendly relationship with the candidate is not everything. Moderate disagreement might help the school sharpen its approaches to marketing and student recruitment. Too much agreement often leads to “group think,” while too much disagreement can prove too discordant. 

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Assessing the Quality and Impact of a Faculty Growth Goal: A Rubric

Volume 46 No. 6June 1, 2021

ISM’s growth and evaluation framework for teachers clarifies that growth itself is not to be evaluated. This frees teachers to try new things and take risks without fear of failure. The Essential Expectation is only that they “authentically engage in self-reflection and development of a growth and renewal plan. This includes written goals and progress toward those goals.”

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Empower Your Teachers to Be Frontline Re-Recruiters

Volume 46 No. 6June 1, 2021

Among the many factors that drive families to choose private schools are safety and security, academic outcomes, and mission-alignment. But, as School or Division Head, you recognize that retaining families requires more than small class sizes and an impressive next-level placement record. Your faculty, in fact, is a primary reason your families stay at your school (or not).

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Create an Effective Annual Giving Plan

Volume 46 No. 6June 1, 2021

Annual giving is the foundational program from which all other development efforts grow and flourish. Not only is annual giving a revenue source for enhancing your school’s programs, but it is also the starting place for many prospects as they begin and sustain their philanthropic relationship with your school.

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

Volume 46 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 46 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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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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