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2018 Dean of Students Symposium | June 27-29
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A program designed specifically for deans of students. Develop a network of peers, discuss best practices on current issues, and gather practical ideas from colleagues. Learn from experienced deans and work with focused groups to share specific challenges and solutions for middle and upper school students.

In 2017, our first for this event, we had more than 30 attendees from 8 states representing both small and large schools. Topics included bullying, self-awareness, adolescent development, safety and crisis management, behavior plans, and diversity. We will revisit some of these again this year as they continue to be identified issues among deans.

New topics this year include dealing with social media concerns, having difficult conversations, parent communication, and separate discussions for middle and upper divisions. We will have a mix of session types including invited speakers, peer presentations, and roundtable discussions.

Session preview:

  • Saying Hard Things, Ken Rogers: I have to say what? Suggestions and techniques for having those hard conversations. 
  • Independent School Finance, Palmer Ball: How does your departmental budget fit into the big picture? Here’s what you need know about the financial landscape of an independent school.
  • The Future of Social Media Education, Laura Tierney & Sean Kelly: How to proactively empower students through a positive, sustainable approach, based on proven work with independent schools.
  • Implementing Restorative Discipline - Triumphs & Trials, Lanny Witt: Based on principles from conflict management and restorative justice in the court system, restorative discipline emphasizes working "with" students and parents rather than doing things "for" students or "to" students. The primary purpose is to emphasize relationship building, teaching, and learning over punitive practices. Restorative discipline does not replace a code of conduct but works alongside it. This session will share both the triumphs and trails of the implementation.
  • Adventure with a Purpose: Beyond the Beach Trip, Sandy Boyd: Schools are actively challenging students to be flexible thinkers, team players, and develop grit. Goal-directed adventure experiences are innovative and effective methodologies to meeting school mission. Adventure comes in many forms from baking cupcakes to climbing a mountain. What is the real value of adventure experiences? With limited time and resources, delivering real value by achieving meaningful goals is critical. Learn about a successful model of goal-directed adventure education that delivers real outcomes at school and in life, and see a framework that allows students to build individual and collective success and meaningful growth through adventure.
  • Social Media & Mission, Facilitated Workgroups: How does your social media policy support the mission of your school? Working with small groups to develop a mission driven approach.
  • RoundtablesTopics include working with parents, religious diversity, advisory, LGBTQ inclusion, and team building activities.
  • Small Group Discussions: Share and learn from those in similar positions according to division, size, and type of school.


Need to justify your attendance?  Craft the perfect proposal using these key points.


Wednesday-Friday, June 27-29, 2018

  • Wednesday will start with registration from 1:00-2:00 PM and end with a reception from 6:00-7:00 PM.
  • Thursday will start with breakfast at 8:00 AM and end with a reception from 6:00-7:00 PM.
  • Friday will start with breakfast at 8:00 AM and we will conclude by 2:00 PM.


Renaissance Asheville Hotel | 31 Woodfin Street | Asheville, NC
Meeting Room: Salon C


 SAIS Member School 
 Non-Member School 
Through May 1
 $695  $799
May 2 - June 12
 $785  $889
After June 12
 $885  $919



Craft the perfect proposal using these key points.


You may make hotel reservations online or by calling 1-800-359-7951 and asking for the SAIS rate. The discounted rate of $169 is available through June 6, 2018. You must call for reservations on pre/post nights. Discounted rate available 3 days pre-event. Post-event Friday/Saturday stays offered at 10% off best available rate. Hotel check-in time is 4:00 PM. Check-out time is 11:00 AM. Complimentary wifi in guest rooms and complimentary self-parking available. As we expect the block to sell out, be sure to make your reservations early.

Please note that SAIS is not using a housing bureau for room reservations. SAIS nor the hotel will call you and ask you to make reservations over the phone. If you receive a phone call saying you need to make reservations, it is a scam. Please make your reservations online or by calling the hotel directly.


  • AIRPORT: Asheville Regional Airport (AVL)
  • GROUND TRANSPORTATION: The Renaissance Asheville Hotel is located 15 minutes from the Asheville airport (AVL).
  • MAPS & DIRECTIONS: If you are driving, please see the hotel's maps & directions page.
  • PARKING: Complimentary on-site parking is available.


Your registration fee includes breakfast and lunch on Thursday and Friday as well as receptions with hors d’oeuvres on Wednesday and Thursday. Dinners are on your own. Take a look at some of the OpenTable recommended local restaurants.


  • TWITTER: Tweet us @SAISnews! The official Twitter hashtag for the conference is #saisDSS. Please tag us when tweeting about the conference.
  • FACEBOOK: Be sure to like the SAIS Facebook page!
  • INSTAGRAM: Follow us on Instagram @SAISnews.


  • This was by far the most beneficial PD event I have attended during my 10+ years as an educator.
  • SAIS ran the program in a first-rate fashion. The food and organization were wonderful. The schedule allowed for a good mix of formal presentations and good table conversations.
  • Thank you for the vision to engage the ever-evolving role.


Business casual (erring on the side of casual) is always safe with us. We want you to be comfortable. Be sure to bring a jacket or sweater in case you find the meeting room chilly. We tend to skew cooler rather than warmer.


If you require any special accommodations, please contact


Please contact or (404) 561-5841 with any questions about this event.


Cancellation Policy: Cancellations received in writing to 21 days prior to the event will be refunded less a 20% processing fee. After that date no refunds are available, but replacement registrants are welcomed.

Consent to Use of Photo / Video / Audio:  Registration, attendance at, or participation in SAIS meetings and other activities constitutes an agreement by the registrant to SAIS’s use and distribution (both now and in the future) of the registrant or attendee’s image or voice in photographs, videos, electronic reproductions, and audio of such events and activities.

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