Company Profile: ISM
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Posted by: Christina Mimms
For the past 40 years, Independent School Management (ISM) has supported educators in independent schools through workshops, consulting, insurance services, financial aid services, risk assessment, and more. As their mission states, ISM’s purpose is to “Advance School Leadership – Enrich the Student Experience.”
ISM looks at schools through the lenses of mission delivery, culture, and institutional viability. “When schools have a mission that is precise and has real meaning and relevance for their community, along with specific outcomes for their graduates, they have the focus and metrics necessary to create cultures that implement the mission in the lives of students in ways that make parents sing your praises,” said Bill Simmer, ISM’s Director of Association Relations. “Unfortunately, when a school’s mission and outcomes are hazy or fractured, this cannot help but seep into operations, enrollment demand, and employee or student satisfaction and retention.”
In recent years, ISM has helped schools to take a look at their mission and core value statements and review what they really mean. Many words in mission statements are overly comprehensive, causing them to lose their impact. ISM suggests the creation of a suit of statements (Purpose & Outcome Statements) that help affirm the mission. These can then be turned into actionable agendas through the strategic planning process.
“What are the specific outcomes you are trying to create in your students? How do you fund and support that? What kind of teachers do you need to hire to make those outcomes real in the lives of children?” Simmer asked. Going through such an exercise can help a school to make decisions about where to direct their resources and what needs to be changed or implemented.
ISM also has spent a lot of time the last few years discussing the future of education. “This was very uncomfortable for us at first,” Simmer said. “ISM is comfortable with the past or present. I have surveys and data to look at in the present. But to speak into the future is to assert knowledge of the unknown. Those of us who have been in education for years have been talking about ‘21st century schools’ for as long as I can remember. Up to now, the only real result we have seen are expanding technology budgets, but now we are starting to see the beginnings of the shift in action. Better to talk about it and strategize for it, then become a passive victim of it.”
For more information about ISM, visit isminc.com and look for ISM at the SAIS Annual Conference in Atlanta, October 22-24, and learn more about their many services available to independent schools.