Speed Sessions


All sessions: December 6 • 3:15 pm – 4:45 pm

All of the speed sessions will take place in the same room and run simultaneously. The room will be set in rounds with each presenter located at a separate table. Each speed session will last 15 mins with a short intermission that will allow you to head off to the next speed session of your choice. There will be four rotations, allowing you to attend up to 4 sessions.

Strategic Planning: How to Measure Success
Academic Administration
Our new strategic plan encompasses a range of initiatives, including increased commitments to interdisciplinary study, place-based educational experiences, as well as diversity and inclusion. So our academic leadership team launched an “audit” process to help us keep our strategic priorities alive in our conversations and decision making. This session will share our process as well as its results.
Clay Splawn, Dean of Faculty, Berkshire School, MA

A Research Informed Approach to Homework Aimed at Reducing Student Stress
Academic Administration
Research indicates that excessive homework causes stress, is often perceived as busy work, and has only a moderate correlation with student success. Considering the many demands on the typical boarding school student, homework must not be wasted time. Learn how a series of initiatives and policy changes have led to shorter, more meaningful assignments, and the positive effects for both students and teachers.
Jennifer Smith, Dean of Academics, Mercersburg Academy, PA
Margaret Maciulla, Director of Learning Services, Mercersburg Academy, PA
Emily Parsons, Dorm Dean, Teaching Faculty, Mercersburg Academy, PA

Single-Point Rubrics: Developing Assessment Tools with and for Students
Academic Administration
Students benefit from assessment practices that promote growth and learning, reflection and revision. Single-point rubrics unambiguously define expectations and provide space to offer specific, constructive criticism. Importantly, this assessment tool does not place a ceiling on excellence, and the rubric promotes a focus on skill development over grades. Learn how to construct a single-point rubric and how to offer students the opportunity to play an active role in creating (and leveraging) valuable assessment tools.
Don Gibbs, Dean of Academics, Pomfret School, CT

Is It All in the Visa Application, Can It Really Be That Simple?
Admission, Financial Aid, & Enrollment Management
In the wake of unprecedented numbers of student visa denials, learn how some schools have responded to the myriad of requests to get involved at the visa application level and understand exactly where the responsibility lies. Learn steps your school can take to better prepare your school officials and in turn better inform accepted candidates on the overall visa application process. A gradual shift may be easier than first thought. A panel of peer schools should make for a lively discussion.
Jacqueline Yamada, International Advisory Consultant, Independent School Management, DE

Sharpen your edge with a data-driven enrollment strategy
Admission, Financial Aid, & Enrollment Management
Families are facing more choices than ever before when it comes to how they educate their children. Consequently, finding those families looking for the unique experience boarding school enables is as much science as it is art. Join this session to participate in a conversation around key data that can influence your enrollment strategy. We’ll tap into the endless fountain of insights found in Ravenna and SSS across independent day and boarding schools nationally so you have a broad understanding of the trends that emerged last season, how they compared to prior years, and why it matters to you.
Ryan Bowse, VP of Sales & Customer Success, Community Brands, FL

Top 5 Considerations in Using Standardized Test Scores in the Admission Process
Admission, Financial Aid, & Enrollment Management
Standardized test scores play an important and unique role in the admission process. This session will discuss the top 5 considerations that admission teams should make when considering test scores, particularly in light of the other components of the application. Session attendees will have an opportunity to reflect on the considerations presented, as well as their own use of standardized test scores in the admission process. Come ready to share!
Rochelle Michel, Executive Director, Educational Records Bureau, NJ

Aligning Major Donors with Institutional Priorities
Development & Advancement
When confronted with a proposed major or principal gift donation that does not align with institutional priorities or goals, what are best practices for engaging the donor to re-focus and/or re-order support that will contribute to broader goals and serve more inclusive constituencies for a positive public narrative and to build a long-term successful institutional trajectory.
Bradley Bodager, Vice President, Miller School of Albemarle, VA

Welcoming the World
Practical ways to support an international boarding community.
Robin Fletcher, Chief Executive, Boarding Schools’ Association , UK

TuitionNet as a Strategic School Partner
Financial Management & Sustainability
Join this session to find out more about TuitionNet and how it can best serve your school.
Geoff Still, Vice President, Finance & Operations, The Association of Boarding Schools, NC

Please “C” Our Kids That We Send from Russia with Love!
Heads & Senior Management
What can you school expect from recently admitted Russian students? This discussion will explore unique aspects pertaining to culture, care needs and communication relevant to Russian students.
Diane J. Riley, Head of Boarding & Pastoral Care/DSL, Letovo School, Moscow

The Challenge of Managing Teacher Texting
Heads & Senior Management
Teachers are responsible for maintaining professional roles with students and setting appropriate boundaries. Peer-like behavior by adults breaks down limits and promotes personal connections that can contribute to unhealthy relationships. Texting is a peer-to-peer activity. It involves informal language, nicknames, symbols, and abbreviations. Prohibitions against texting with students have proven to be unpopular and unenforceable. Learn how the inherent risk of teacher texting can be mitigated through a combination of technology, behavioral training and policies.
David Wolowitz, Senior Director, McLane Middleton, PA, MA

Digital Management of Student Health Information and Compliance
Health & Counseling
Due to time-consuming collection processes and compliance risks, many schools are choosing paperless electronic Student Health Record (SHR) solutions. This method increases parent compliance, eliminates hundreds of hours of paperwork, and reduces risk and liability for schools.
Dino Skerlos, Director of Sales, Magnus Health, NC

Education Reputation Management in the Digital Age
Marketing & Communications
From your website and Google My Business to Facebook and Niche, search engines and directories feature content about your school and inform decisions. But how do you keep track of it all, ensure they positively depict your organization, and are consistent with your school’s true identity? We’ll dive into which platforms to monitor, how to optimize them, solicit positive reviews, and how one school is accomplishing all of this in a scalable approach.
Angie Ward, Co-Founder, Enroll Media Group, MA
Matthew Soule, Director of Marketing & Communications, Chapel Hill Chauncy Hall, MA

Designing Target Audience Research to Impact Your Strategy
Marketing & Communications
In this fast-paced session, learn how fellow TABS Members schools approached their market research studies. From a budget and methodology perspective explore best practices. How should you design your study to ensure actionability and alignment? What types of questions will you ask your target audiences? How do you engage your Board and lay leadership in this process? What role can and should they play?
Jonathan Oleisky, President, Kalix Marketing, MD
Donna Balinkie, Strategy Lead, Kalix Marketing, MD

Live Streaming 101
Marketing & Communications
Quick snapshot of how to start a live streaming program and the immediate benefits for your school community and great external marketing.
Carol Dougherty, Associate Headmaster, Perkiomen School, PA
Shaun Yorgey, Director of Academic Institutes, Perkiomen School, PA

The College Recruiting Process: The Roles of Student-Athletes, Coaches, Parents, & Counselors
As the Athletic Liaison and an Associate Director of College Guidance, I have worked with studentathletes, coaches, parents, and other counselors to help students to realize their dream of playing sports in college. I will present information and provide resources to help all parties involved to navigate this journey. Student-athletes at boarding schools need to have adults in the community who are knowledgeable about this process and able to help them.
Jenna Mercatili, Associate Director of College Guidance, Wyoming Seminary College Preparatory School, PA

Boys to Men: Redefining Masculinity
Girls have had a renaissance over the past 50 years where they are told they can do anything and be anyone, yet our approach to boys is stagnant. There has been no parallel movement and boys are defining themselves with an outdated view of their gender that breeds entitlement, power dynamics, and isolation. This session will discuss how we can help our boys navigate their masculinity and define what it means to be a man.
Will Eberle, Latin Teacher, Founder of Boys to Men, Alpine Coach, Dorm Parent , The Williston Northampton School, MA

Holy Smoke! Making Sense of the Change Rules and Methods of Smoking
Residential & Student Life
Changing laws and new smoking technology present ongoing challenges to boarding school administrators addressing smoking by students and staff. We will share up-to-date information on shifting laws and regulations, and provide advice on the five key issues facing boarding schools.
Peter Murphy, Partner, Shipman & Goodwin LLP, CT

Use of Sociograms in Creating Classroom and Residential Culture
Residential & Student Life
Discuss how to use sociograms to better understand the school cultures in which we operate and how to leverage the data from sociograms to foster healthy learning and living environments for our students.
Theresa Hardcastle, English instructor, residential faculty, coach, Kent School, CT

Helping Students Succeed by Tracking Student Involvement
Residential & Student Life
Boarding staff relies on head counts, letters and emails to track student engagement. During this session we’ll look at some simple ways to track student and parent engagement which can then help to inform our decision-making. Some benefits include: providing meaning behind events; obtaining data in realtime: reducing staff meeting times; obtaining additional funding; enhancing how we market and communicate with students; and understanding student personas better.
Sarah Bill, Head of Boarding, Kilkenny College, Ireland

Roommate Agreement Form: A Tool for Building Communication Skills
Residential & Student Life
Often, students experience living with another person for the first time when beginning boarding school. This experience has the power to teach students about themselves, while simultaneously learning about others. A roommate agreement has the capacity to deepen student learning and also act as a tool for mediating conflict. This session will walk you through the creation and implementation of utilizing a roommate agreement form to build communication competencies and help with conflict mediation.
Allie Maxwell, Director of Student Life, The Forman School, CT

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