Seniors on Sabbatical? Gap Years Grow in Popularity 
Marking a Milestone for 8th Grade
By Christina Mimms, SAIS

Significant events in life deserve some recognition. Be it a child's first tooth, publishing a novel, or a wedding, the celebrations can range greatly. How schools mark the end of an 8th grade year and the matriculation to high schools also varies. Some K-12 schools may hold an awards assembly or no event at all; K-8 schools likely celebrate more fervently. Whether a student is departing campus or merely moving to an upper school building, taking the time to recognizing the changing relationship between student and school is a worthwhile endeavor.  >>Read more.
Six Common Sense Ways to Afford College
By Bryan Rutledge, Director of College Counseling, Woodward Academy, College Park, GA
How can I make Ways to Afford College hopeful and helpful, fun, and funny? For some, this subject has all the appeal of a dental implant. You have no doubt been drilled with data about robust college costs vis a vis anemic buying power, ne edled by swollen loans and aching interest rates, and presented the bill of rising college tuition. I'll be that cheerful, painless dentist who shares with you clear, no-nonsense solutions that won't cost a cent. My dentist has a sign on his wall that reads, "Floss only the teeth you want to keep." My version is "Only take financial advice if you want to save money."   >>Read more. 
2016 Reading Roundup 
Got some down time over the holiday break? Curl up with a good book - here are four suggested readings.     >>Read more.  
Congratulations, Damian!

Damian Kavanagh, SAIS VP of accreditation & membership, has been appointed the new executive director of MISBO. Please join us in congratulating Damian on his appointment, thanking him for his service to SAIS, and wishing him the very best in his new endeavor. Over the last six years, he has shepherded multiple new members into the SAIS fold, led the maturation of the SAIS accreditation process, and developed the SAIS accreditation portal. His efforts have helped position SAIS as a leader in the independent school association world. We look forward to continuing to work with him in his new role at MISBO, which he will begin on May 1. Congratulations, Damian!
Stephen P. Robinson Collaboration Grants - Deadline Dec. 31!

The Stephen P. Robinson Collaboration Grants were created to encourage independent schools to form new partnerships with other schools, institutions of higher education, businesses, and/or nonprofits. SAIS will annually divide a total of $25,000 among two to five member schools. Those applying must demonstrate a vision and capacity to pursue and carry out meaningful collaborations. Successful examples have demonstrated efforts that benefit the greater community or region in unique ways. SAIS will accept proposals for the 2017 Collaboration Grants until December 31, 2016. Awards will be announced and disbursed by February 1, 2017.   

SAIS Athletic Directors Conference - Register Now - Rate increases Dec. 16!

The 2nd Annual Athletic Directors Conference will be held January 12-13, 2017 at the Crowne Plaza Ravinia in Atlanta. Attend sessions about leadership, gender equity, parent-coach relationships, event management, and more! Visit 

T he rate increases on Dec. 16!   >>Register here.  
SAIS Institute for Heads

Take advantage of a unique opportunity for heads of school and spouses at the SAIS Institute for Heads, June 27-30, 2017  at the Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa in Manalapan (Palm Beach), FL.  This engaging, energizing, and nurturing retreat offers an opportunity for thoughtful dialogue and engagement with colleagues on key issues facing school heads. 

Featuring Rob Evans and Michael Thompson , heads can dig into the topics that only other heads of school can understand. "In this particular setting, we come together and talk about what really matters," said Arch McIntosh, head of Charlotte Latin School in Charlotte, NC. "No event has a greater impact on my personal and professional life, and it's the only thing I attend where my wife feels like an equal partner."
As part of the Institute for Heads, heads and their spouses may attend optional sessions that look at the personal side of leadership: the challenges of being the "first couple," the particular burdens for spouses, partners, and children of heads, and more. Spouses also may participate in a panel discussion and Q&A.  
"I always leave this event feeling like I received twice the value for the investment of time and money - three days of a good conference and three days of good therapy!" McIntosh said. "The timing is great and allows me perspective at the end of each school year."
Join us in Palm Beach, June 27-30, 2017!   >>More information.

On-Site Board Workshops
SAIS President Dr. Kirk Walker and Vice President Damian Kavanagh are available to visit your campus and conduct on-site governance workshops.
  • Trusteeship for Independent Schools
  • New Trustee Orientation
  • Becoming an Outstanding Board
  • The Changing Landscape of Independent School Governance 
Do Your Bylaws Need a Refresh?

We have read quite a number and are happy to read yours and will provide suggestions on aligning your bylaws with your aspirations of being and remaining a strategically effective board.  Contact Damian Kavanagh at SAIS, (404) 918-8850 or .


Gap Years
8th Grade Ceremonies
Six Ways to Afford College
SAIS Collaboration Grants
Athletic Directors Conference
SAIS Institute for Heads
Tweets of Note
SAIS Featured School
Ron Clark Academy

Since 2007, the Ron Clark Academy has been striving tirelessly to change the face of education in all ways possible. Led by Disney National Teachers of the Year and cofounders Ron Clark and Kim Bearden, our team of educators serves the RCA mission by engaging students through innovative teaching strategies combined with a strict style of classroom management. 
  >>Read more. 

Would you like to be an SAIS Featured School? Contact
Blogs of Note
Michael Ehrhardt, head and "chief storyteller" of Cary Academy in Cary, NC, writes about the challenges of speech-writing.  
Peggy Hendrix , Director of Admission at The Schenck School in Atlanta, offers advice for sharing a difficult diagnosis. 
Pernille Ripp, 7th grade teacher at Oregon Middle School in Oregon, WI, reflects on the importance of independent reading.   

Connie White, director of learning design & innovation at Woodward Academy in College Park, GA, focuses on all things STEM. 
Tweets of Note
NAIS People of Color Conference, holiday fun, and SAIS out and about
>>Read tweets here.

The  SAIS Value Narrative Survey is a school culture and school climate survey that helps schools understand the important beliefs of stakeholders and the perceptions of how well the school is delivering on its mission. More than 150 schools have used the survey and more than 100,000 responses have been generated.
SAIS is piloting a Self-Determination Survey for faculty and students and a governance evaluation assessment that is aligned with the five domains of SAIS governance training. Contact us for information or to participate.