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Living with Change

By Net Assets posted 03-15-2019 11:25 AM

  
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Leadership |

Independent schools are moving beyond strategy sessions and implementing substantial changes, said NBOA President and CEO Jeff Shields in a recent podcast.

Leaders at independent schools aren’t just talking about change these days. “They’re living with the change they’re trying to create,” said Jeff Shields, NBOA’s president and CEO, in a recent podcast with education consultant Howard Teibel. “The activity is different,” he explained. “I don’t think it’s dialogue or long strategy sessions anymore, but people doing the work, and living with the positive impact they’re trying to have.”  

 An example of how schools are actively recasting how they operate is by experimenting with their tuition models — a bold move, considering tuition drives the lion’s share of revenue at most independent schools. Schools are also evolving by using data beyond benchmarking. “Benchmarking against a cohort or national community is valuable,” Shields said, but the next step is to use both internal and external data to “drive analysis and strategic conversations.” New tools that enhance BIIS, NBOA’s data collection platform, are designed to automate and ease the data reporting process so business officers can focus on strategy, he said. “Entering data isn’t the thing; it’s what you’re doing with it on the other side.”

Listen to the podcast, "The New Normal Is Now."

School leaders want to think beyond mere survival, commented Teibel, and yet are often forced to focus almost entirely on fighting fires and solving problems. Shields acknowledged the percentage of families nationwide that are interested in independent schools is arguably shrinking, but noted markets are specific and each school faces different challenges. Furthermore, the challenge of changing demographics is driving independent schools to think creatively about ways to widen the admissions funnel and demonstrate their value more clearly. And that, Shields argued, is a positive outcome.

Visit Teibel's blog for further details about the podcast, "The New Normal Is Normal Now."

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