Manuscript Submissions

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 2023: Strategy 
In a world that is changing so rapidly, the standard five-year strategic plan will not work for the schools of today and tomorrow. So much of what schools do in the name of strategy is often a series of connected but ungrounded tactics. True strategy is what most schools are in deep need of. In this issue, we’ll explore how to help schools shift from strategic planning to designing strategy, the balance between meeting market demand and developing new programs that people don’t even know they want yet, how schools take safe risks to grow their capacity for innovation, and more. 

Spring 2023: Community
Deadline: October 15, 2022
The stress of the past few years has been draining for our school communities. So many school leaders, faculty, and staff say their passion for education has waned and are realizing more than ever how important community and connection is in our polarized world. In this issue, we’ll seek to explore what it means to be a school community.
  • How has the definition changed over time, particularly in the last few years?
  • What effects has the pandemic had on schools’ ability to build, sustain, and/or rebuild community?
  • To develop strong ties with the broader community?
  • How do schools best articulate their shared purpose and nurture connections across school communities and the broader independent school community?
  • How can we best manage polarization or periods of discord?
  • How can cultivating a strong community inspire, motivate, support, and empower faculty and staff?
Summer 2023: Governance
Deadline: January 5, 2023
Boards of trustees are the backbone of our schools, and they need to be high-functioning for schools to thrive and succeed. But with so much change and having operated in crisis mode for the past few years, it’s prime time for a reset and to take a fresh look at what good governance looks like today. In this issue, we’ll seek to explore the state of governance and what’s ahead.
  • What’s the “right” size for a board?
  • What skills do boards need most? What are the most important issues for trustees to focus on?
  • What does trustee leadership look like now?
  • What did boards learn from the pandemic that they can apply to their work?
  • How can board chairs nurture collaboration and manage conflict?
  • How can boards prepare to manage future crises?
  • How can boards be more strategic?
  • How can boards best assess themselves and the head of school?
Fall 2023: Purpose
Deadline: May 15, 2023
With so much disruption in education these past few years and increased attention from parents on kids’ schooling, there have been a lot of questions about what’s going on in schools. This collective/renewed focus on education has brought renewed focus to an important question: What is the purpose of school? In this issue, we’ll seek to explore this and other big questions.
  • Is there a changing notion of how we think about the purpose of school? How has the purpose changed over time?
  • Should private schools have a public purpose? What are independent schools doing beyond indepedent schools? What should they be doing?
  • What do the students of today need to succeed tomorrow?
  • Is there a disconnect between what parents want from schools and what educators think students need––is there a disconnect between independent schools and parents about what education does, is supposed to do, should do?
  • How does college admission factor into what families want and what independent schools offer?
  • Are independent schools communicating their purpose effectively?
  • How does the cost of independent school affect our ability to fulfill our missions––are we pricing out families who might be a good fit for our mission? What is a right-fit family? Is the notion changing?
  • What is the greater impact of testing and legacy admission in schools and their overall purpose?
Winter 2024: Money 
Deadline: August 15, 2023

Departments

School News
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
 
Reading Room
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

Research Insights
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
 
Trend Lines
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
 
Leadership Lessons
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

In Practice
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
 
Boardroom
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
 
The Conversation
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 Spirit
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 Editor

We 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].