Letter from the President
Steve Robinson, Ph.D. 


Welcome back and happy 2015! I hope you had a restful winter holiday. This issue features a number of maker labs in schools across the country where students are learning through diverse, cross-curricular, open-ended projects and experiments. These maker labs offer flexible environments that maximize learning and engagement, and teach critical STEAM skill sets. Students learn by doing and creating. These spaces capture the three elements Tony Wagner has identified as critical for today's learner: play, passion, and purpose.


The maker labs also demonstrate the highly collaborative and innovative nature of independent schools. Many schools have partnered with businesses, higher education, or other groups to organize their maker events or labs. Moreover, they searched for opportunities to engage the greater community and form new partnerships. These are exactly the types of collaborations that will elevate independent schools in the years to come.


We are also highlighting a book written by Al Calarco from the Center for Creative Leadership. Calarco will be facilitating the SAIS Heads Leadership Retreat April 19-20 in Nashville, TN. This will be a valuable event where leaders can connect with other heads, while exploring how to grow and nurture talent in their schools. Pre-register here. I hope to see you there. 



Dr. Steve Robinson

A Maker Movement  

Schools around the country have been adding maker or innovation labs where their students can tinker or participate in project-based learning. From students exploring engineering concepts with 3D printers to participating in Lego or robotics challenges to building worlds with Minecraft, maker labs allow students to grasp complex concepts, develop important STEAM skill sets (science, technology, engineering, art, math), explore real world solutions, and let their creativity loose. >>Read more. 

Maker Spaces Resource Roundup  

Are you ready to start a maker movement at your school or in your class? Here are some resources to get you started! >>Read more. 


Coming to Boston for the 2015 NAIS Annual Conference? Stop by and say hi! SAIS will be in the exhibit hall at booth #1138 and you're also invited to our reception on Thursday, February 26. >>RSVP here. 

Adaptability: Responding Effectively to Change
by Al Calarco & Joan Gurvis  
In Adaptability: Responding Effectively to Change,
Al Calarco and Joan Gurvis from the Center for Creative Leadership discuss why managing change is critical for leaders. They offer real world examples and practical ways to help leaders become more adaptable. "Adaptability is a leadership imperative," said the authors. "Given the current complexities of work, the sheer volume of information flowing in, and the rapid changes taking place, it makes sense that leaders (and the people they lead) must be adaptive." >>Read More.
SAIS Collaboration Booklet Now Available Online 

This booklet highlights some of the many collaborations taking place in and among SAIS schools. Strategic collaborations will be a game changer for schools in the coming years. Understanding what your school has to offer and seeking like-minded partners can help your school expand its reach and impact. What existing and new collaborations might benefit your school and your community?  >>Read more. 

Benchmarking Data Collection

Benchmark reports and statistical tables with 2014-15 data are now available from NAIS DASL. Additionally, NAIS members can update dashboard charts to include new data. Didn't get your data in? No problem. Also starting on December 11, you'll be able to use the "Update Past Survey" tool to enter data you missed and/or to correct data incorrectly entered. Once you enter the data, you can run reports in those data categories. Also, check out a webinar on how to use the data reporting tools in DASL, which continue to grow and develop based on user input.
Please visit http://dasl.nais.org.
The word Events in cut out magazine letters pinned to a cork notice board. Events may refer to news
2015 Calendar of Events
Mark your calendars now! SAIS offers a variety of affordable, accessible, and relevant professional development programs for independent school leaders each summer. Pre-registration is now open with no money due until spring. Reserve your seat today!

See the full SAIS calendar of events at www.sais.org/events.

WANTED:  Your School's Photos!
Got any great photos of your campus, students, or a special occasion at your school?  Would you be willing to let SAIS use them on our website, in marketing materials, and in publications such as this?  If so, please send them to [email protected].
The Maker Movement
Maker Movement Resource Roundup
Adaptability: Responding Effectively to Change
SAIS Collaboration Booklet
Benchmarking Data Collection
2015 Calendar of Events
Survey Center
Blogs of Note

Keith Evans, Head of The Westminster Schools in Atlanta, GA, shares how neuroscience is shedding light on the way we process events and make decisions, in a manner that is at times contrary to logic.  


Swimming Upstream
William Taylor, Head of St. George's Independent School in Germantown, TN, discusses his reaction to a recent commercial, and how parents and educators should help students discern negative messages in the media.


James Rainey, Head of Randolph School in Huntsville, AL, frames Christmas in a discussion of the sacred and the profane, and how its popularity is tied to our desire to return to and honor our childhood. 

Holly Chesser, English Teacher at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School in Atlanta, GA, discusses the validity of the word grit in defining why kids succeed or fail in school and life.


Michael Zavada, Upper School Principal at Trinity Presbyterian School in Montgomery AL, discusses how educators can help girls practice their negotiating skills and better respond to boys' natural assertiveness in the classroom setting.


Tweets of Note
SAIS Survey Center
Visit www.sais.org/surveys to see the stakeholder surveys available to your school community. SAIS has created a series of highly reliable and valid stakeholder surveys for use either in conjunction with a strategic visioning process or just to take the pulse of your community. Be sure to check out the video, sample questions, timelines, and sample reports.