Valuable resources for schools

At a time when our lives are over-packed with meetings and to-do lists, it is so important to find time to reflect, learn, and connect with like-minded colleagues. A good conference can do this for you, and this week, TABS was a great conference. It is a privilege, actually, that our schools give us the gift of time by sending us to conferences. This year, the TABS conference was one of the best, and I have heard this from many attendees. For starters, it was incredible that a Canadian won the prestigious Ruzicka Award. Congratulations to David Hadden, retired Head of Lakefield College, current Advisor to CAIS, and friend to many. His passion for promoting the benefits of a boarding education is infectious, and we will share his speech in our December newsletter.

In addition to sharing this great moment for Canadian education, the sessions this year were really valuable – not just for boarding schools. I was so overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of the Canadians, that I offered to capture their highlights here, and conveniently, I have a Top 12:

“Beyond the Viewbook: Re-envisioning Traditional Marketing” at Mercersburg Academy. Check out their approach to Admissions, with a video on affording tuition, Student ambassador strategy, and videos with students explaining their experience in college. Thanks to Janice from CAIS for this suggestion.

Porter’s Leads at Miss Porter’s School is a 24-hour weekend program that gives girls a chance to experience boarding and a leadership retreat specifically for girls. The program was so instantly popular that they had to cap participation at 50, and they now run it twice per year! Good use of a landing page here too. Thanks to Kathy from TCS for this pick.

“Sex and Cupcakes: Fun, Factual & Student-Centred Sex Education” was a powerful workshop by the folks at The Madeira School. Recommended video: Who are you? Recommended book: S.E.X.. Thanks to Erin at Havergal.

“M&Ms and Paper Bags: Ready to use adviser activities on a budget” was a workshop designed to get students talking about race, class and interpersonal relationships by leaders at Western Reserve and Baylor School. Recommended by David from SMUS.

“What does ‘A Caring Community’ really mean?” Holderness School has a unique approach. Thanks to Andrea at Appleby for this pick!

“Appreciation for diversity: Training activities for student leaders.” Emma Willard School is training students in cultural differences. No link to their website on this program, but check out the coolest Signature Program page here. Natalia from Havergal chose this one.

“Listen for the silent scream: How to respond to cutting” by Chris Thurber, Psychologist & Educator at Exeter Academy. (Chris also contributed to our CAIS Mental Health in Boarding Schools Report.) AND “Step Up, Shout Out, Opt in: Using Peer Education to Educate & Motivate” which is an amazing program at St. Anne’s Belfield. In addition to Kathy’s presentation, I liked these ones!

“It Takes Three to Tango: Transforming the Adviser-Parent-Student Partnership” Wildwood School, Western Reserve and Exeter facilitated this program designed to help you stay ahead of the evolving role of the advisor. Stephen from Appleby recommended this.

“Maps: Educating the individual student through goal setting” is an advisory program at Vermont Academy that stands for My Action Plan for Success. Recommended by Kate at Appleby.

Westtown School’s “Elevating Student Leadership” program was recommended by Todd at Ashbury.

A very big congratulations to all Canadian Presenters, and thank you for being leaders in our boarding community. And if I can be uncharacteristically Canadian for a moment, I heard this comment more than once: “The BEST presentations are by the Canadians!” Here they are:

Mary Gauthier and Jody McLean at UCC – “Return to Learn – Getting back on track after a concussion” is UCC’s protocols for concussions.

Stephen Telling and Andrea Kelly at Appleby – “Student Leadership & Promoting Intercultural Awareness” (Recommended by Caro and Todd from Ashbury)

Marius and Andrea Felix at Brentwood – “A Community Service Opportunity for Boarding Schools”

Brian Murray at RNS and Shelly Frank at Pickering – “From Beijing to Berlin: Helping to create a home away from home”

Andy Olson at Shawnigan and Brent Lee at Brentwood – “Three Boarding Problems Solved by Technology”

Kathy LaBranche at TCS – “Open House & Road Shows – Are they dead or just a little broken? Kathy recommends we watch Ivory Tower too.

Congratulations also to Pete Upham and his team at TABS. You do great work to strengthen our boarding schools, and you have a grateful fan club in Canada.