Letter from the President
Kirk Walker, Ph.D.
Fall is football season. But it is also conference season. A host of state, national, and special-interest conferences are scheduled. And every school will have such a richness of choices that they could "tailgate" every weekend at a different venue. What every school doesn't have is a richness of time. So decisions have to be made.
Arguably my opinion is biased, but it is the only one that I have. For well over a decade before I was an employee of SAIS, I was a regular participant at the SAIS conference. Why? The speakers were informative; the sessions were helpful; the focus was regional; and the size was large enough to be interesting but small enough to be manageable.
But the real reason was the community. Not all the schools were like mine; in fact some were very different. But they all somehow felt like family. Most of the people I met over the years were certainly bright and capable, but the thing that impressed me the most was that the overwhelming majority (who came from many states and a wide range of schools) all seemed to understand that it wasn't about them. It was about their mission, their students, their faculty, and their families. I was refreshed and inspired to be in the company of those people.
I look forward to seeing many of you at the
SAIS Annual Conference
, October 22-24 in Atlanta. It promises to be a great "game."
By Christina Mimms, SAIS
For educators trying to help young people understand the concepts of empathy and compassion, a hands-on experience may provide the best way to drive home those ideas. Tapping into local and regional resources aids the lesson at hand, but communicating ideas in a child-friendly manner also helps students to think about global problems such as hunger and poverty. At this year's SAIS Annual Conference, educators from The Galloway School in Atlanta and Franklin Road Academy in Nashville, along with Heifer International and children's book author John Claude Bemis, will discuss how they engaged their students in "Building Foundations for International Awareness and Action."
From the Finicky to the Gluten-Free: How Schools Feed the Masses
By Christina Mimms, SAIS
Grilled gaucho steak. Adobo pork loin. Pumpkin bisque. Lemon dill zucchini pasta. Mojo squash. No, that's not the menu from your favorite local restaurant. Those are some of the findings for school lunches these days. Hot dogs, pizza, and mac n' cheese still make the lists, but schools take great efforts to provide healthy and even unique meals while also serving students and faculty with special dietary needs. From those who have allergies to others who require gluten-free dishes, the school smorgasbords can satisfy even the pickiest eaters.
Helping Children Succeed
By Paul Tough
Reviewed by Sarah Barton Thomas, Middle School Director at The Montgomery Academy, Montgomery, AL
"It is a responsibility we are failing to meet." It is with this sentence that Paul Tough begins the follow-up to his 2012 best-seller,
How Children Succeed,
in his new data-filled book,
Helping Children Succeed.
We, as a nation, are failing to meet the needs of children from disadvantaged backgrounds in American public schools. He proceeds to offer extensive data in 23 areas that identify the challenges in meeting these needs and providing support to meet these challenges.
2016 SAIS Board/Head Retreat and Annual Conference
SAIS offers a variety of affordable, accessible, and relevant professional development programs for independent school leaders. Two events remain for the 2016 year.
, which will be led by
, will cover topics including:
- Developing Healthy Boards: The Key Role of the Committee on Trustees
- Trends & Patterns in Independent & International Schools, from a Global Perspective
- The Board/Head Partnership: Guiding & Empowering Each Other
- The Chair/Head Partnership: Focusing on Honesty and Mutual Support
- The Longevity of Heads & the Effectiveness of Schools
October 22 at the Crowne Plaza Ravinia in Atlanta.
SAIS 2016 Annual Conference
October 22-24 at the Crowne Plaza Ravinia in Atlanta. Featuring keynote speakers Donna Hicks and John Zogby, the conference includes an impressive variety of speakers and breakout sessions, such as off-campus trips, communications, and STEM.
Carney, Sandoe & Associates
In many schools' strategic plans, a common goal in recent years is to add diversity to their faculty and administrative leadership. As schools search for candidates to fill open positions, they often seek the services of a company such as
Carney, Sandoe & Associates
to help them identify the best potential new hires.
SAIS Wants You!
By Christina Mimms, SAIS
The people behind an accreditation review perform highly
valuable work for SAIS member schools. While the visiting team might make everyone on campus a little bit nervous, they also can commend a school for its many accomplishments, provide valuable insight and advice, and help a school to get on a path for future growth. People visiting from outside the school community offer a fresh perspective that schools undergoing accreditation truly enjoy and appreciate. The team members also gain ideas and typically enjoy the experience so much that they are eager to serve again. So how do you join an accreditation team?
Stephen P. Robinson Collaboration Grants
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 between October 1 and December 31, 2016. Awards will be announced and disbursed by February 1, 2017.
>>Read more about the Collaboration Grants Program.
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
Technical Assistance Services:
Benchmarking and Bylaws
Now is the time to enter NAIS DASL data.
This powerful tool is open to NAIS and non NAIS members.
Do you need benchmark salary information? SAIS can help and can teach you how to use this powerful tool.
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
SAIS Featured School
Beaufort Academy is a coeducational independent college preparatory school of 250 students in grades pre-kindergarten through 12. At Beaufort Academy we utilize our small size to our advantage and offer innovative programs, internships, immersive field trips, and hands-on learning. Students at BA experience how school should be. They develop meaningful and powerful relationships with their educators to optimize their learning experience. Our faculty is experienced in challenging the gifted student as well as gifting the challenged student with confidence and a love of learning.
Would you like to be an SAIS Featured School? Contact
Maryellen Berry, upper elementary division head at Trinity School in Atlanta, channels experience into empathy.
Gregory Schneider, head of Berwick Academy in South Berwick, ME, shares his thoughts about the school's new Inspiration Commons.
Dr. Steven Tobolsky, head of The Chestnut Hill School in Chestnut, MA, writes about the school's theme for the year.
Eric Sheninger encourages true school leadership.
Classroom buddies, water studies, and SAIS at campus visits.
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.
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.