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 10 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.

Student Self-Efficacy: A Critical Outcome Variable for Your School

Volume 46 No. 8 // October 1, 2021

While every private school has a distinctive mission, all schools focus on student development and preparation. On graduation or completion of a school’s top grade, parents expect their children to be prepared for the next academic level and next social environment. What is the best evidence schools are providing the preparation parents expect and students need?

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Discount Modeling: Understanding Need-Based and Sliding-Scale Tuition Awards

Volume 46 No. 8 // October 1, 2021

Discounting, whether your school uses a need-based financial aid approach or a sliding-scale approach, is a complex task. Determining to whom and for how much to reduce tuition can be less complex if you build a discount model to more thoroughly understand and assess applications, giving your award team confidence in their decisions. As the first step, the School Head should appoint a modeling task force and ask the Business Officer to lead this endeavor.

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Enhance Word-of-Mouth Marketing With a Parent Ambassador Program

Volume 46 No. 8 // October 1, 2021

Parents who believe in your school’s mission and are vocal advocates for your program, faculty, and outcomes can generate excitement among other parents and in the broader community. As Admission Director, you likely know that word-of-mouth referrals are the major way new families first learn about private schools, including your own.

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The Responsibilities of Gift Documentation

Volume 46 No. 7 // September 1, 2021

Knowing that careful recognition and stewardship of their donor’s gifts lies at the heart of building strong relationships with donors, the Development Office must take care to maintain complete, accurate documentation—electronically and on paper—of all gifts received by the school, whether a gift to a fundraising campaign, a planned gift, or a gift of tangible personal property.

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Private Schools, the Pandemic, and Resetting Tuition: Wise Decision or a Fool’s Errand?

Volume 46 No. 7 // September 1, 2021

Early in the COVID pandemic onset, ISM published an I&P article discussing the merits of a school making a marketplace shift—decreasing tuition to be more accessible to a broader socioeconomic population. That article discussed our concerns and recommendations for carrying out a primary market stance shift from high tuition to low tuition.

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How to Identify, Train, and Support an Effective Faculty Growth Plan Coach

Volume 46 No. 7 // September 1, 2021

One hallmark of ISM’s Faculty Growth and Evaluation framework is that, with evaluation separated from growth, many can share the growth coaching role. This makes it more likely the growth coaching role will be carried out well and consistently than when this crucial and time-consuming responsibility lies exclusively with you, the supervising academic administrator. However, training and supporting your growth plan coaches are critical in this model’s success.

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Empower Your Teachers to Be Frontline Re-Recruiters

Volume 46 No. 6 // June 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. 6 // June 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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Managing the Assimilation of a New Division Head

Volume 46 No. 6 // June 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. 6 // June 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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