Conference Presentations

Developing Students to be Engaged Alumni/ae for the Future
Barbara Wagner, Head of School, Marlborough School, Megan Murphy, Director of Development, Marlborough School, and Gretchen Milligan, Principal, Board Focus, and Trustee, Marlborough School

Attendees learned how Marlborough School developed its students to be involved, informed, and invested alumnae for the future. Through specific program initiatives in grades 7 through 12, students deepen their investment with the school via archives, alumnae, and special projects and learn that their connection to the school will be a lifelong legacy. Attendees learned how their school’s trustees and staff could take deliberate approaches to helping their students to become engaged alumnae for the future.

Tools for Effective Leadership and Governance in an Era of Constrained Resources
James P. Honan, Senior Lecturer on Education at Harvard University

All of our schools are facing challenges, some of them unprecedented in anyone’s memory, as they confront the continued deterioration of our regional, national, and global economies. This presentation reported on the measures and strategies that CAIS schools have taken to date in response to the economic downturn, and highlighted the most serious threats on the future horizon, as revealed in the recent CAIS heads survey on these issues. The speaker shared the most effective tools for schools and their leaders to use in meeting the financial challenges that we face, based on research and experience with numerous non-profits across the country, from the world of education and beyond.

The Invisible Line that Divides and Unites Us: Diversity as a Skill Set
JuanCarlos Arauz, E-3: Educational Excellence & Equity

Our long-standing educational achievement gap in our communities has impacted independent schools on issues such as; “the barbell effect”, students of color recruitment, teachers of color retention, and over-worked administrators and teachers to name a few. Of the many 21st century skills that students must develop, teaching resiliency is one of these essential skills. Dr. JuanCarlos Arauz has developed a successful educational program to address this education achievement gap based on the partnerships with independent schools such as Saint Mark’s School and Marin Academy that have established a new framework for community partnerships. Low-end achieving students received content skill building techniques while high-end achieving students enhanced their proficiency in resiliency skills. As our educational system prepares students for a global society, the path of inclusive schools as part of the community becomes a benefit for all students.

Turnabout: When the New Tools for Communication are Turned Against Us
Victor Cosentino, Trustee/Past Board President, Chatsworth Hills Academy and Pete Robbins, Trustee, Chatsworth Hills Academy

The phone call came to the home of the Board President during New Year’s weekend, in the middle of a party. “We have taken control of your school’s website and posted a warning to parents. You have until four pm today to terminate a teacher who is a danger to your students. We are Anonymous.” A check of the school’s website confirmed the attack. The web site had been replaced with a provocative photo of a young woman, alleged to be one of our teachers, a dubious “warning” to parents, and a link to a web page full of profanity. Even more problematically, the web page had multiple links to material that was very inappropriate for our students. Over the next few days, this attack expanded across a host of well- and lesser-known websites and online forums and then extended to phone calls and faxes. Fortunately, at least, the woman was not one of our teachers. Nevertheless, the school was caught in an online attack by unknown perpetrators. This presentation discusses the vulnerabilities schools face from abuse of the latest online communication tools and offers guidelines to consider for reducing those vulnerabilities and responding to online attacks.

The Changing Role of Heads and Boards: Reflections after More than a Decade of Facilitating Heads Dialogue Groups
Debbie Freed, Organizational Systems Consultant, Debbie Freed & Associates

Over the past 10 years, there has been a dramatic change in the role of Heads and Boards. Heads are being asked to spend upwards of 40-60% of their time managing or working with their Boards. This shift is altering the ways in which Heads lead their multiple constituencies. It is also having huge impacts on school cultures, both positive and negative. Debbie Freed consults nationally, and in the Bay Area she has facilitated head dialogue groups for over 15 years. She discussed her "bird's-eye view" of this conundrum, assisting trustees and heads in becoming clearer about the choices they make and why.