Day 2…thoughts and musings…

It’s been a busy and crazy day here in Baltimore. Great sessions on video, inclusion, and changing the mindset of the educational system in general. Really engaging.

I have been stopping groups of people and asking them what’s top of mind as they reflect on the day’s activities…here is a sampling:

In order to change lives, you have to have a capacity for change as a school and as an educator….

If you are going to commit to a diversity audit (or any other high level strategic undertaking) you have to be available and willing to commit the same organizational resources to the project that you would admission or development.

To be successful, you have to provide ample time for your teams to live the mission of the school, and not pay it lip service.

The effective classroom of the future has to move from teaching to learning. Students can’t be taught, but they can learn.

Wow….some really great and deep thoughts and takeaways from the presentations today. In fact, I would even say that much of these points drive home the need to focus on “the big picture” and on the STORY  of your school, and not just the nuts and bolts.

In a conversation with an admission professional, she was lamenting her schools emphasis on statistical “needs”, (ap classes, faculty size, etc) and not the real outcome for the kids on campus. It’s a fascinating difference, and as you try to differentiate your school in the market place, it’s VITAL to know when to be emotional and when to be intellectual.

So, we move on with the afternoon sessions, and keeping the day moving. Have a great Thursday!

From Idea to Vision to Values

It’s an amazing “spring” week here in Baltimore. By “spring”, I mean that the calendar has just flipped to March, and we aren’t shoveling out for our guests at NAIS and the annual conference. There is so much to look forward to this week, and I can’t wait to share the happenings and findings throughout my travels downtown. Baltimore is my city, my home, and my favorite place in the world. I really hope you enjoy your stay…

Some initial thoughts, however, are in order for the festivities. I’d like to think that people attending this show for the first time are not going to view Baltimore through the light cast from “The Wire” or “Homicide: Life on the Street”. As educators, we strive to give our students the chance to impress us every day with creativity, thought, and caring for fellow classmates. Hopefully, those new to Charm City will be taken in by what the city has to offer, and the amazing backdrop for this fantastic gathering of collegial thought.

I will really be focused on the “Vision” part of the annual conference theme, as I believe it to be positively vital to the future of our schools. The more leaders, teachers and administrators can implement their vision, independent education will be the true beneficiary of the time and talent invested.

It is my firm belief that mission statements for most schools are interchangeable. What truly separates one institution from the next is the way that its people LIVE the stated mission. I will be chasing down examples of how people are living their school’s ‘mantra’ throughout the week.

So, that’s a starting point. Welcome to Baltimore. It’s going to be a great week, and I can’t wait to hear what you come up with.

Some tips for your NAIS conference:

    Have coffee with someone you don’t know…expanding your knowledge footprint is a great thing.
    Get some fresh air…it’s a good thing.
    Check the app for updates. Times change, locations change.
    Be social. Not just on your phone, but with those around you.
    Have a crab cake. And a Berger cookie. And ask for Old Bay on your fries.

And, when you leave at the weekend, take with you 5 big takeaways. It’s a good starting point, but don’t let your conference notes die. This is a conversation, and it should go all year long with improving your school and yourself.

I will be around and looking forward to meeting as many of you as I can. Have a GREAT WEEK, and enjoy #NAISAC.

A whole new world…

Getting things started
A New Beginning

There is something magical about the ocean. No matter what you build, no matter what kind of hole you dig, the next day, the beach will be smooth. It’s one of the amazing things of our existence. Every day is a fresh start, and every day reminds you of how fortunate you are.

I have had the chance to meet schools from all over the world, and with nearly every conversation, the recurring theme centered around some sort of admission challenge. It didn’t matter if the school was struggling to fill seats or if they had a waiting list for 13 years (and yes, there are schools like that out there…crazy, right?), they all have some sort of issue that they are trying to solve.

During my time as a Director of Enrollment Management, I was fortunate to work with some heads of school who were visionary and not afraid of a big idea. It was out of these relationships that the seeds of this endeavor was born. John Watson and Rick O’Hara were absolutely vital in the formation of the ideas and tools that I am so thrilled to bring to the market today. I can’t thank them enough for their professionalism, courage, and encouragement during our time together.

The real question you are probably thinking, though, is WHY?

The answer is simple.

Nobody gets into admissions work because they LOVE excel or data.

Admissions people are, by nature, in the position because they are “people” people. They love to meet a new family and bring tremendous enthusiasm for their school to every conversation. However, staff with that vibrant spirit often get little to no training or assistance in implementing processes, which can create gaps in enrollment.

My journey begins with one mission: to help admission offices of all sizes be more efficient. Whether  assisting in process map creation or building strategic enrollment marketing plans, our work together will be collaborative and transformative.  I learn and grow from each conversation, and can’t wait to share my travels and experiences with you.

I have been absolutely overwhelmed and flattered with the early response to this concept.  Schools that are completely full are excited to dig in and get better, and schools that have spaces are eager to fill their seats with new, mission appropriate, full-pay students. It’s going to be a fantastic ride.

As I look at the ocean and the many footprints on the beach this afternoon, I can’t wait for tomorrow. New challenges, new beginnings, and a new conversation with you.

See you at the top!

Jesse