Letter from the President
Kirk Walker, Ph.D.

When educators assemble, as many did recently at the NAIS Conference, they often compare notes. There may be talk about new initiatives; but more often, the talk turns to recognition of shared concerns ... internal stresses and external threats. It is a complicated time for educators: expectations continue to rise whether resources do or not. And a new generation of parents with distinctive motivations has necessitated a re-evaluation of a host of school policies and practices.

These parents are true digital natives; and their children are second-generation. For them, the digital world is not a country to visit; it is their neighborhood. And the digital world is merely an extension of their physical one. In fact, they have documented and globally distributed hundreds (perhaps thousands) of moments in their lives. Their digital photos, tweets, Facebook posts, blogs, cellphone tracking, and voice message transcriptions are now part of an enormous database of collective memory. Their highs and lows, their good decisions and errors of judgement ... all on permanent and retrieval display.

Unlike digital memory, human memory is fallible and malleable; it can distort, reshape, and forget (which is often a blessing). But in the digital world, nothing is forgotten. A friend of mine will occasionally comment when someone (child, adolescent, or adult) makes an ill-advised choice or behaves badly: "No one wants to be remembered for his or her worst day." That is very true. However, in digital time, past actions remain inescapably present.  
Many schools are working hard to develop digital citizenship in their students by defining acceptable boundaries, and emphasizing appropriate etiquette and safety. For many of our students (even our youngest ones), their lives are already entwined in this web. Cautionary swim lessons can seem quaint to a generation who is already frolicking in the deep end.   

As educators, when we talk about our responsibility to prepare our students for the future, we focus on a host of skills: we emphasize the ability to ask questions, to identify and retrieve relevant information, and to utilize and shape data to solve problems; we emphasize their curiosity, innovation, perseverance, teamwork, etc. Perhaps, we should also help them to learn to live in a new reality: a world of unprecedented transparency, and a world where their past (their worst and best moments) will never be more than a click away. In such a world, the values we instill may well provide our students with the courage to face their past and their future. 
Welcome Home
By Christina Mimms, SAIS
When young wizard Harry Potter and his new classmates arrive at the Hogwarts School, the first official order of business is for students to be sorted into their houses, which represent where they live, teams for competitions and, in some cases, their closest friends. While wizardry and quidditch games are atypical at most schools, many U.S. schools have adopted the English-style house systems to further the closeness of their small communities, as well as to add some fun to the academic atmosphere.    >>Read more.  
 SAIS Heads Leadership Retreat 

April 3-4, 2017
Andaz Savannah | Savannah, GA
Designed for your entire leadership team! The 2017 SAIS Heads Leadership Retreat will focus on how risk type has an enormous impact on the leadership decisions we make - and fail to make. Utilizing a risk assessment indicator called the Risk Type Compass, Dr. Korrel Kanoy from Developmental Associates will lead you and your leadership team through real-life scenarios to illustrate how risk can produce false limitations. She will help us understand how risk profile predicts decision-making behavior in different areas that impact the school. We will also examine how to appreciate the benefits of all types of risk profiles on a leadership team, to ensure the team does not become too cautious or too adventurous in its decision making. Assessment profiles are included for each participant.
>>Read more. >>Register here. Rate increases March 20! 
Why Play is Essential for the Classroom
By Emily Petrey, 1st Grade Teacher, Lexington School District One, South Carolina 
Play is essential to children's social, emotional, physical, and intellectual development. Children's playtime has been taken away and replaced with rigorous instruction and standardized tests. Children's learning in early childhood classrooms are being held to a higher standard. Kindergartners are being expected to know how to read early-leveled books and are starting to prepare for standardized tests. Standardized tests are not appropriate for our youngest students, instead early learning should focus on play. Students should be assessed using observations, anecdotal notes, and checklists as they are the most appropriate for young students. Students should be receiving education that truly supports their development.   >>Read more.    
Leading Modern Learning: A Blueprint for Vision-Driven Schools 
By Jay McTighe and Greg Curtis

Bring focus to your mission for modern learning. Whether you're modifying a department, school, or district, the authors offer a systemic framework, proven processes, and practical strategies your team can use to achieve your school vision. Explore the building blocks for creating a curriculum that supports modern learning, uncover an assessment system that successfully captures evidence of 21st century skills, and learn how to align instruction with modern learning principles. (Amazon.com

Stephen P. Robinson Collaboration Grant Report: The Dunham School 
In the upcoming issues of SAIS HeadLines, reports from the 2016 Stephen P. Robinson SAIS Collaboration Grant recipients will be published. These reports detail the programs funded by the grants.
By Nikole Blanchard, The Dunham School and Dr. Debbie Heroman, Louisiana State University
Critical thinking is an essential skill that students need to be successful in their professional and personal lives. According to Gokhale (1995), "Active exchange of ideas within small groups not only increases interest among the participants but also promotes critical thinking." Research shows that one of the greatest weaknesses in schools is the lack of critical thinking learning activities for students. Hopson, Simms, and Knezek (2001), write, "The creation of a technology-enriched classroom environment has a positive effect on student acquisition of higher-order thinking skills." >>Read more. 
SAIS Wants YOUR Session Proposal by March 31

Proposals are currently being accepted for  breakout sessions for the  2017 SAIS Annual Conference   October 22-24 in Atlanta.  The deadline is March 31. Please submit your proposal  using  this form

The word Events in cut out magazine letters pinned to a cork notice board. Events may refer to news
2017 Calendar of Events

SAIS offers a variety of affordable, accessible, and relevant professional development programs for independent school leaders.

Heads Leadership Retreat Registration open! 

April 3-4 | Andaz Savannah Savannah, GA
Institute for Strategic Leadership  Registration open! 
June 19-21 | Emory Conference Center | Atlanta, GA
June 19-21 | Emory Conference Center | Atlanta, GA
Institute for the Head's Assistant  Registration open! 
June 20-21 | Emory Conference Center | Atlanta, GA
Administrative Leadership Institute  Registration open! 
June 21-23 | Emory Conference Center | Atlanta, GA
Institute for New Heads  Registration open! 
June 21-23 | Emory Conference Center | Atlanta, GA
Institute for Heads  Registration open! 
June 27-30 | Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa | Palm Beach, FL
July | Charlotte, NC | Nashville, TN | Atlanta, GA
July 13-14 | Atlanta, GA
October 22 | Crowne Plaza Ravinia | Atlanta, GA
October 22-24 | Crowne Plaza Ravinia | Atlanta, GA  

See the full SAIS calendar of events at www.sais.org/events

On-Site Board Workshops
SAIS President Dr. Kirk Walker is 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 
Your School's Logo 
Does your school's logo appear in the SAIS Online Member Directory?  If not, please send your school's logo to anna@sais.org.

A blue nametag sticker with the words Hello I Am Retired to illustrate that you are done with your career and are living off a pension or 401k or other retirement savings
Retiring in 2017? 

If you are a  head of school who will be retiring at the end of the 2016-17 school year , please let us know so we can induct you into the  SAIS Legacy Club , a group of retired heads of school who gather annually. Please complete our  Legacy Club bio form .

House Systems
SAIS Heads Leadership Retreat
Play-based Learning
Book Review
Collaboration Grant Report
Call for Proposals
2017 SAIS Events
Tweets of Note
SAIS Surveys
SAIS Featured School
The Covenant School

In the landscape of excellent independent schools in the Nashville area, The Covenant School stands as a small and powerful example of the beautiful co-existence of cutting-edge, 21st century learning and timeless truth. More than simply educating our students, we are participating in the miracle of their maturation - of seeing children develop into who they will be.  Best teaching methods and programs, daily all-school chapel, and service learning become the strong backdrop for the real work of helping children become who God intends them to be.
>>Read more.

Would you like to be an SAIS Featured School? Contact christina@sais.org
Blogs of Note
The Rev. Daniel L. Leatherman, chaplain at 'Iolani School in Honolulu, HI, shares thoughts about active responsibility. 

Mark Crotty, head of St. John's Episcopal School in Dallas, ponders the true meaning of innovation. 
What Student-Driven Learning Actually Looks Like
Education consultant Janelle McLaughlin writes about strengthening the classroom. 
Tweets of Note

College tours, celebrating Dr. Seuss, NAIS conference, CASE conference, and more!   
>>Read tweets here.

The  SAIS Value Narrative Survey is a school culture and 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.
NEW! SAIS is piloting TWO new surveys: 

The Self-Determination Survey is for faculty and students and helps the school measure and understand the critical relationships between these two groups. 


The Board Governance Survey is aligned with the SAIS Governance Training and measures the board and the head's commitment to the SAIS five domains of governance.


Both of these are available in pilot phase and at no cost, for now! Email surveys@sais.org for more information. Both surveys can be delivered with the Value Narrative Survey or as stand-alones.