Letter from the President
Kirk Walker, Ph.D.

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to tour the Holy Land. It was an amazing trip to a land so rich in history and culture ... and conflict. Even today, the tribes are numerous (Israeli, Palestinian, Arab, Jew, Muslim, Christian), and the combinations further complicate the situation (Israeli Muslims, Israeli Jews, Israeli Christians, Palestinian Muslims, Christians, and Jews, etc.) Each group harbors decades, if not centuries, of distrust and even hate for the others. 

"Blessed are the peacemakers..." But where are they? Sadly, they reside neither in the highest offices of government nor in the diplomatic corps. Treaties and mandates may stop the fighting and the bloodshed, but they do not stop or heal the hurt. The peacemakers must be those in the best position to change individual lives and in so doing to shape the future. 

As educators we have the opportunity and the responsibility to see that our society does not devolve into the chaos of history. For our students to be truly global citizens, they must be equally willing to understand the neighbor who supports a different political viewpoint as they are to understand the cultures that are continents away. If we don't help our students to understand that character is destiny, that questioning is the path to truth, that compromise is not a sign of weakness, that civility is the proper form of discourse, and that negativity rarely yields positive results, who will teach them? As educators in independent schools, we have the flexibility and freedom to respond. Rising to this challenge may yet be our finest calling. 
The Head's Assistant: Circle of Trust
By Christina Mimms, SAIS
A head's assistant wears many hats: board liaison, calendar master, event organizer, human resources manager, travel agent, and even security guard. While the exact responsibilities vary from school to school, the qualities of the person remain much the same - school heads need someone who is responsible, flexible, and, most importantly, trustworthy.  >>Read more.  
Smart but Stuck 
By Dr. Thomas Brown
Reviewed by Dr. Brent BetitHead of The Fletcher School, Charlotte, NC  

We've all had at least one of those students: the super-charged kid with boundless energy, often paired with an inquisitive, frenetic approach that can be overwhelming. In an earlier era, our default pedagogical response might have been punitive, perhaps flavored with a pinch of moralistic judgement: "You try harder to sit still right now, Johnny, or I will sit you still."  >>Read more.
The Inadvertent Consequences of Praising "Good"
By Wade Hanse, Science Teacher, St. Martin's Episcopal School, Atlanta, GA
If you work long enough in education, sooner or later you have the privilege of working with a student who seems to profoundly enjoy the activity of learning. This student is often eager to test their abilities, and appears driven even when encumbered by difficulty or confusion.  Unfortunately, the opposite also exists: students, who, when challenged to think or act beyond their personally perceived ability, immediately shut down, dig in their heels, and convince themselves they are incapable of "doing it." What causes this dualistic contradiction in student response? >>Read more.   
Congratulations to the 2017 Stephen P. Robinson Collaboration Grant Recipients 
SAIS is delighted to announce the recipients of the 2017 Stephen P. Robinson Collaboration Grants:
Shorecrest Preparatory School in St. Petersburg, FL, plans the Center for Service Learning Leadership Institute to train educators in the southeast about the latest research and practices for service learning.
Providence Day School in Charlotte, NC, will collaborate with 10 diverse public/ independent/charter high schools in Charlotte to deliver a presentation and summit on the results of a NewGen Peacebuilders program. They will share the results with 250 schools in three states as a model for student leadership and peacebuilding development.
St. Andrew's School in Savannah, GA, is sponsoring a Teach the Future Fellowship program , an organization of educators from public and independent schools. Through the fellowship, teachers connect with local resources and individuals who can act as facilitators in their classrooms, connecting students with experts in technology and innovation.
Swift School in Roswell, GA, has partnered with the University of West Georgia's Department of Teaching and Learning to create an authentic profile of students with dyslexia to be used in immersive simulation. The simulation project can be used for live practice, feedback, and reflection for training teachers.
St. George's Independent School in Memphis, TN, is working with the University of Memphis and the Wolf River Conservancy to help monitor drinking water in the city. The school is creating a real-life water analyzing curriculum for students to experience, learn, and apply environmental sciences. 
At the SAIS Annual Conference in Atlanta in October 2017, the recipients will share reports of their collaboration projects during a breakout session. All recipients also will deliver a paper outlining the results of their projects, to be published by SAIS. Grant applications for 2018 will open in October and will be due by December 31, 2017. Recipients of grants will be notified during the first week of February 2018.

 Quick Tuition Study: 2016-17 Data 

SAIS collects general information from member schools and is able to report on the following four items: 
  1. Operating budget
  2. Highest tuition dollar amount
  3. Student enrollment 
  4. Tuition percentage increase 2015-16 to 2016-17 school year
The tables in this study represent the mean tuition increases per various categories. We hope this will be helpful as schools and boards are setting tuition for subsequent years. It is a violation of various anti-trust laws to collude and "price fix" tuition with other schools, however, using past information to inform future planning is legal and smart! >>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

SAIS Institute for the Head's Assistant

Join us June 20-21, 2017, at the Emory Conference Center in Atlanta for the third year of this valuable gathering of administrative and executive assistants who support the head of school as well as division heads.  
Comments from past participants: 
  • It was enlightening - and even therapeutic - to mingle with peers who face similar demands and experiences.
  • I thoroughly enjoyed every minute. The IHA allowed me to connect with two peers in my area and we are planning to meet on a regular basis.
  • What a treat this was. The ability to share experiences and bond with peers is invaluable.
Join the SAIS Staff!

SAIS is hiring a Director of Professional Development. This new position will support the mission of SAIS through managing an array of programs for independent school leaders and staff. This individual is responsible for developing, coordinating, implementing, and evaluating the content of professional development programs, which facilitate achievement of the association's goals. Read the full description  here.
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.

SAIS @ NAIS  RSVP for the SAIS reception now!
March 2-3 | Baltimore, MD
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 .

Book Review
2017 Collaboration Grant Recipients
Tuition Study
Call for Proposals
SAIS Institute for the Head's Assistant
SAIS is hiring!
2017 SAIS Events
Tweets of Note
NEW! SAIS Surveys
NAIS shares Trump paper

NAIS produced articles outlining the ways the Trump Administration is likely to affect independent schools. They have encouraged us to share the information with you to help you understand the potential changes ahead, including the executive order on immigration. NAIS members may access the resources directly by logging into the NAIS  web site
If you are not a member of NAIS, please email 
membership@nais.org to receive a copy of "The Trump Administration and Independent Schools."
A list of additional information published on this topic and other federal legislation and regulations being monitored by NAIS's Legal and Government Relations Team can be viewed  here.
SAIS Featured School
Flint River Academy

Flint River Academy in Woodbury, GA, boasts 200 students from its 3 year-old kindergarten program through 12th grade. A member of GISA and accredited by SAIS and SACS with awards for excellence, our high expectations reflect our mission to create a challenging and supportive learning environment in a Christian atmosphere. We encourage high expectations for success and academic excellence through the development of the mind, body, and spirit. 
>>Read more.

Would you like to be an SAIS Featured School? Contact christina@sais.org
Blogs of Note
Dr. Richard Rankin, head of Gaston Day School in Gastonia, NC, takes a little time out.

New Year's Resolutions: Will you make the cut?
Dr. Jack Talmadge, head of Episcopal School of Knoxville, TN, writes about renewal. 

Philip Cummings, teacher at Presbyterian Day School in Memphis, TN, goes for more than a goal.   
Dr. Randy Watts, head of Brookwood School in Thomasville, GA, reflects on Gen X-ers who are school parents today.   
Tweets of Note

Social studies, Chinese New Year, wearing red, and SAIS out and about
>>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! Contact Damian Kavanagh at damian@sais.org for more information. Both surveys can be delivered with the Value Narrative Survey or as stand-alones.