Independent School magazine has evolved. We’ve made something great even better. And we want you to be a part of it. We hope you’ll see even more opportunity to contribute and be a part of the Independent School magazine community.
As always, there are themes for feature articles in each issue, but there are also additional avenues to share your expertise, ideas, and experiences. The department descriptions that follow should help serve as a guide for the submission process.
Themes for Feature Articles
Word count for Features: 1,800-2,500 words
Winter 2024: Money
Independent schools are often viewed as wealthy institutions that serve a wealthy clientele exclusively. But not all schools are well-resourced, and almost all independent schools serve families from a broad range of socioeconomic backgrounds. This is not news, and it’s time to examine these ideas and perceptions through a current lens. In this issue, we’ll explore money––which we’re using as an umbrella to examine a variety of threads, including class and socioeconomic issues, equity, admission, enrollment, fundraising, the financial model––and what it means within independent school communities.
Deadline: October 15, 2023
The Workplace Issue
Workplace expectations are shifting, and the trends among employers and employees are ever visible in independent schools. Employees across all sectors are frustrated, burned out, and seeking higher pay and greater work-life balance. This, combined with a nationwide teacher shortage and cost-of-living increases, is making it challenging for many schools to recruit, hire, and retain qualified staff. In this issue, we’ll explore how independent schools can address schools’ and faculty and staff expectations and become a workplace of choice, bolstering the teaching and leadership pipelines and supporting employees in ways that ultimately benefit students and independent school sustainability.
- How can schools align expectations with what employees want and need from the workplace today?
- Why do teachers choose to teach in independent schools? Why do they leave?
- What teaching/administrative models—beyond the triple-threat model—can help schools and staff thrive?
- What compensation models can help schools reimagine how they think about salary and benefits?
- What are schools doing to help support faculty and staff with housing and higher costs of living?
- What generational dynamics are playing out in schools, and what strategies can schools use to best manage them?
- How can school leaders build trust among faculty and best support them in a changed landscape?
- How can schools best support midcareer faculty and staff and aspiring leaders?
- How can schools evolve their policies or redesign roles to help teachers feel supported and fulfilled?
- What can schools do to build and sustain a strong pipeline of teachers and leaders? How can schools expand the teacher talent pool by exploring nontraditional sourcing?
Deadline: January 5, 2024
The Higher Ed Issue
It’s no secret that what happens in higher education has a trickle-down effect on independent schools. There is much to study and learn from colleges and universities. And with so much change and disruption in the higher ed landscape recently, the context in which colleges and universities and independent schools exist is markedly different. As college admission changes in light of the Supreme Court decision on affirmative action and the subsequent debate about legacy admission, as well as colleges’ reconsideration of the SAT and ACT, the implications for independent schools, many of which have built their value proposition around college prep and college admission, are significant. In this issue, we’ll explore these questions and more:
- How do recent higher-education trends impact how schools communicate their mission and core values––and the value proposition of independent schools as a whole?
- How can schools best demonstrate their value to families, particularly as it relates to preparing students to succeed in college and beyond? How can schools best meet families’ current needs and desires while also delivering a school experience that prepares students for a future they might not be able to envision yet?
- What other lessons––around mental health, financial aid, tuition––can schools learn from higher ed?
- How is the test-optional movement having an impact on schools?
- How might schools’ college admission counseling efforts evolve? How can schools strengthen relationships with college admission offices in this new context?
- How can schools help students and families mitigate the stress and anxiety that is part of the college admission process?
- How can schools best serve families that are driven by admission to highly selective colleges? How can schools demonstrate value outside of college matriculation lists or lists that show greater diversity of choices?
- What does it mean to be “college preparatory” when new avenues are emerging to prepare students for the workforce?
- How can schools help families consider a broader range of colleges or alternative paths to future success?
The Parents Issue
Deadline: May 15, 2024
The school-parent partnership is critical to student success and school sustainability. And while there have always been ups and downs, the relationship dynamics between parents and school leaders, faculty, and staff has changed significantly in the past few years. It is more critical than ever for schools to create strong and positive parent-school partnerships, building transparency and trust among parents and truly partnering with them while keeping the mission and values front and center. In this issue, we hope to explore these questions and more:
- What do parents want from schools?
- How can schools best partner with prospective families from the get-go?
- How can schools best communicate about their value proposition, programming, and curriculum with prospective and current families?
- How can schools enhance the parent relationship, from programming to communications, and create a fulfilling experience? How can schools best partner with parent associations?
- How can schools help parent trustees and volunteers understand their roles and boundaries?
- What is the role of handbooks, contracts, and covenants in defining and outlining parent expectations and responsibilities to ensure a productive partnership?
- How can schools help parents see the value of independent schools beyond college admission––and help them manage their expectations about the school, their child, and the college search?
- How can schools best support parents in their parenting journey and learning about child development?
- How can schools best support teachers in their work and relationships with parents?
- How do schools create communities of belonging for parents that are intentionally inclusive?
- How can schools keep parents engaged when their children have moved on?
Deadline: August 15, 2024
The Sustainability Issue
Short profiles of independent member school news, programs, awards, and more. School communications directors: Send relevant press releases, and include photos with captions when available.
Word count: each item 200-300 words
News You Can Use
Short items broadly related to education, including new reports, surveys, and studies; new books; new software; and education-in-the-news stories. Press and public relations officers: Send relevant press releases.
Word count: each item 100-150 words
Book reviews—of professional and education-related books as well as for-pleasure reading. Share what you're reading with your colleagues: Did you read a book recently that you want to tell your colleagues about? Tell us about it in a few sentences: why did you like it? What made you want to read it? What was your biggest takeaway? Did you have a favorite line?
Word count: 250-300 words
Articles provide the context and results of important research study and survey results that are useful to independent schools; highlights NAIS research and institutional research from member schools, as well as studies from universities and think tanks. Please note: This is not an outlet for publishing research papers or journal articles; the focus is on interpreting results and providing greater context and insight for independent schools.
Word count: 1,200-1,500 words
Articles address and report on issues related to the changing education landscape—school models, financial models, admissions, financial aid, wellness, parent relations, legal issues, diversity & inclusion, and teaching & learning. They provide a big-picture view of trends and issues that are or will be impacting independent education.
Word count: 1,200-1,500 words
Designed to inspire current leaders and keep them engaged in their work and to activate and inspire administrators and teachers who may not be in leadership positions—yet—these articles explore many facets of leadership. This department features a mix of leadership issues, theories, and concept writ large, as well as first-person leadership stories and reflections.
Word count: 1,000-1,200 words
Teaching & Learning
Designed to amplify the voices of teachers and teacher-leaders, this department cultivates important ideas, discussion, and perspectives about this critical dimension of the independent school experience. These articles are a mix of reflection, theory, and strategy and present ideas through a big-picture lens.
Word count: 1,200-1,500 words
A place for case studies. Articles provide an in-depth look at how an independent school has implemented an idea, theory, program, or practice. Submissions should include background information, a description of the specific approach, insights learned along the way, as well as key takeaways and useful guidance.
Word count: 1,500-1,700 words
The head-trustee relationship is one of the key factors in a school's success. This department, geared for heads and trustees, explores the many facets of this important relationship. Articles focus on key governance issues and are designed to help build and secure productive working relationships.
Word count: 1,300-1,500 words
Designed to capture the essence of a dialogue between school colleagues, this Q&A explores the interconnectedness of relationships in the school community and seeks to break down silos and to get people talking about how their roles and work impact each other. Have you had a conversation recently with someone on campus that changed the way you think and work or led to an unexpected collaboration? Tell us about it. Do you know of—or are you a part of—an exemplary mentor-mentee pair? A great student-teacher duo? We want to hear about it. Send us a brief description, and we’ll follow up.
Independent schools are truly unique, as are the passionate people who make up the school community. Designed to capture the essence of independent school life, this essay is a thoughtful reflection on why you chose to work at and be part of the independent school community—essentially, why you love what you do. Maybe you wound up at a school somewhat accidentally or after a long career elsewhere—what was your a-ha moment? Or maybe you grew up in independent schools—why did you decide to stay on? Reflect on and share your journey.
Word count: 550 words
General Writing Guidelines
Independent School is not an academic journal. We do not publish dissertations or other academic papers.
We follow AP style, with a few exceptions (namely, we use the serial comma). We do not include footnotes or endnotes. This information should be incorporated into the text in a journalistic style.
We’re always reviewing and accepting ideas and articles, so feel free to send along any ideas you may have at any time. All articles and ideas, including theme-related submissions that arrive after the posted deadlines, will be considered for future issues. Submit manuscripts (Word or Google document) to [email protected].
Please note that we generally close out each issue three months prior to publication.
- Fall issue usually closes by April 15
- Winter issue usually closes by July 15
- Spring issue usually closes by September 15
- Summer issue usually closes by December 15
Allow at least two months for a decision. When submitting an article, please indicate whether your article, or any variation, has been published in another publication.
Letters to the EditorWe know you have opinions––and we want to hear from you! Here are some general guidelines for submitting a letter to the editor.
- The maximum length of a letter to the editor is 500 words
- Letters to the editor may be edited for length, clarity, civility, and accuracy; writers may be provided with the edited version before publication.
- We will publish letters that address a specific issue theme or article.
- Letters to the editor must not include material pulled from another source without attribution.
We will not publish material that is:
Potentially libelous. Libel is any unsubstantiated or untrue statement that damages someone else’s reputation.
Discriminatory on any grounds. This includes discrimination based on age, ability, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or culture.
Obscene. This includes any statement that is vulgar, profane, or offensive.
Threatening. This includes personal attacks, intimidation, bullying or threat of harm against a person or organization.
Copyrighted or printed in another publication. We assume all letters to the editor are original. We can’t print a letter you’ve sent to another publication.
You must provide your full name and location; it will be published alongside your letter. If your letter identifies another person, please ask for their permission before you send your letter to NAIS. For example, if you share a personal experience and mention colleagues, please ask them if you can identify them in your letter. When you submit a letter, we assume that you’ve received consent from other people.
Send all letters to [email protected].