1. Access or Affordability is Becoming Sophie’s Choice: The difference between access and affordability we have spoken about for a long time. As I look at the data, and I see where the industry is going, it is going toward affordability and away from access. When you look at income by quintiles, you find the distribution of aid is going less and less to the lowest and middle income families who need it the most, and more and more is going to the upper income quintiles. Initially, aid was used to support bringing in families who had previously had never had any access to our schools. But now, and NAIS has been recommending this, we are using aid, as NAIS has urged, to support higher and higher income people to be able to come to our schools. Which will serve the school better: taking the all-star Hispanic kid who is full load at 25K , or should you take in five kids with incomes of over 100K who you can give 5k to each.
One head says bring all six in! If you are underenrolled, bring them all in. Enrollment should be the fixed variable, and financial aid be the flexible variable. Try to be fully enrolled at all costs, and flex the financial aid. Pat Bassett: When I came in forty years ago, merit aid was viewed as poor form, but now fully one third, and fast-growing, of our schools are using merit aid to bring in and retain the best kids.
Question: Why is the enrollment number fixed? Answer: Because it hurts perceptions of strength for the school to lose enrollment. Demoralizing. PB: I think high schools are way too small; the bigger the better. We lose really good kids to public high schools because they are bigger; we must make our high schools bigger! Call for reconceptualizing our assumptions about enrollment and school-size.
The one data point you want to continue to pay attention to is net tuition, after all discount. Your strategy is not about some mythical full tuition by enrollment, but what is your actual tuition income.
2. School Heads are Exercising Too much management, and too little leadership. Our research says heads are spending nearly all time on management– fundraising, finances, personnell– and enough on leadership. One head says he re-tooled his position to make it more fun; he is teaching again, coaching again, re-committing himself with students.
Recommendation: Bit Literacy. Great way to manage emails productively.
Other suggestions for leadership– public purpose, collaboration with universities, networking with other school systems, and using the internet to be part of a broader educational conversation.
But. when we are implementing change, more management is necessary. We have to minister to people, we have to help them with change.
Trend 3. A consensus is emerging what great teaching looks like and the Danger of its Disappearing in American Schools. PB: Great teacher evaluation can be caught in one sentence: What research team were you a part of this year, what changes did you bring from that research to your teaching, and can I see a video of it in action? Teacher as learner, teachers who are passionate, teachers who are empathetic.
Research says main thing, smart people. Second main thing: emotional intelligence. High IQ, High EQ. PB urges us to hire Teach for America graduates.
Trend 4: Governance as Leadership is in Jeopardy at Schools with Inexperienced Boards. Advice: Day school, current parent dominated boards make it almost impossible transcend the day-to-day management and into true wise and strategic governance. Draw into your board the people who can help you achieve your strategic goals. Look across all constituencies. But then there must be a feeders system,a JV team, to get them involved in so you can see them in action.
Trend 5: Schools Accustomed to Expanding Are Contracting. The median school lost students in the past two years. Our five year data show that the funnel is narrower, is getting smaller, which is usually a factor of price getting higher. Fewer inquiries, fewer applications. NAIS Demographic center offers Tuition Capacity in different regions, giving each region a grade for tuition capacity, A-F. In the new Normal, when you add a new program or staff member, subtract an old program or staff member.
Trend 6: The toxicity for Kids of the General Culture & Popular Media is Growing. PB: Fears that the character curriculum is diminishing, or not very apparent. Where is the prominence of character ed? Do you map K-12 character ed?
Recommendation for a leadership development book by Gus Lee: Courage, the Backbone of Leadership. PB recommends a companion book, Moral Courage.
PB: When you dismiss a student, you MUST talk about it. Don’t name the kid. But set the facts straight, and take control of the narrative. Don’t listen to lawyers who tell you to clam up. Talk about it. Control the narrative.
Strong recommendation for service learning as a key to combat toxic culture.
PB: Demonstrations of learning, and ask kids to do something to demonstrate empathy.
Concerned about parenting in your school: try Parent Covenants, available at NAIS.org.
Recommend also the NAIS handbook on Understanding Independent School parents.
Trend 7: Efforts to Align Faculty Compensation with Salubrious Outcomes will Re-emerge after the Recession.
Leaders who have taken this on have been punished by their faculties. NAIS believes that salary differentiation makes sense, and leaders should lead with this, though he acknowledges Dan Pink questions it. PB: Don’t call it merit pay, call it differentiated pay. Then it doesn’t rock the boat. Choose your teacher leaders, your all stars, your rock stars, and give them titles, curriculum coordinators, middle school science innovator team leader, what-have-you. this will give you the flexibility that our era calls for.
PB: Everyone should be a CEO of something, every student should be a CEO of something.
Trend 8: The National Standards are Upon Us: And We’ll Like Them.
These standards are good, and we may find them helpful. Public speaking, for instance, may be a standard, and we can embrace that, and then demonstrate that we will do better than any other school system.
Trend 9: Going Green, and Going Global, is a Given, not an experiment.
NAIS Five sustainabilities: environment, global, programmatic, demographic, and financial, are Increasingly integrated and unified.
Trend 10: Teaming is Giving Individuals a Run for the Money
For all the schooling we have known in America, it has been about an individual dynamic. But this is changing! It has been all about me, except for after school when it has been about the team: sports, theater, music, etc. This is where they learn the larger lessons– we have to create teams in class. The best teaching I am seeing is blended teaching: multiple delivery systems. Some teaching will be teacher centered, but other times it will be differentiated. Khanacademy.com shoutout.
Question about Endowment: PB: Schools as soon as they can, as soon as they are out of the woods, you would direct one/third of each dollar raised to endowment. (and freeze hiring).
Dan Pink on the Science of Motivation: Three prime motivators: Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose.
Dan and Chip Heath: Switch
Robert Kegan: Immunity to Change.
Basset theory of change: Consensus is the enemy of change. When we try to get everyone on board, we lost the most compelling and salient elements of the change. Bet on the fast horses.
For change, there are two paths. Dictate Change! or, Invest in, Encourage, Reward, Promote the Initiative takers.