Independent School magazine has evolved. We’ve made something great even better. And we want you to be a part of it.
We’re still looking for the same kind of deep thinking and fresh ideas we’ve always relied on from contributors; we’re just pushing it forward in new and exciting ways. 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
Fall 2019: International Students
Winter 2020: Financial Sustainability
Balancing financial sustainability and institutional mission has always been a challenge for independent schools. And as demographics and the education landscape continue to rapidly shift, achieving that balance has become even more challenging—and ever more critical. Financial sustainability often gets conflated with revenue sustainability, but if viewed through the lens of a school’s ability to deliver on its mission for the long term, the conversation must go beyond increasing enrollment and tuition to address the business model at its core. And schools must be crystal clear about who they are and what they offer, using that as the guide for creating budgets that enable them to deliver on their mission. In this issue, we will explore how schools can have a different kind of dialogue and still move the needle, examining critical intersections, issues, and questions around tuition discounting, financial aid, access and affordability, fundraising, enrollment management, and the market.
How can schools accurately assess what it will cost to deliver what they want? How to set tuition in the context of the specific market’s ability to pay and sustain that? What are the pros and cons of a net tuition revenue model? How can schools balance their commitment to access and affordability while meeting diversity and enrollment goals? What role does financial aid play? How can boards think creatively, holistically, and strategically about pricing in their markets? What lessons can schools learn from higher ed?
Spring 2020: Governance
Deadline: October 1, 2019
The success of an independent school relies on a strong board of trustees, one that fundamentally understands the essence of the school and why it exists, its purpose, and who it serves. A school’s success also relies on a strong head-board relationship. In this issue, we will explore this foundational relationship and some of the most critical issues at the heart of this work, examining effective partnership, accountability and assessment, board culture, succession planning, and more.
What is the essential work of independent school boards? What are the characteristics of high-performing boards? What makes for an effective head of school-board chair partnership? What does it mean to be generative, and how can boards better understand the value of this work? How can boards stay agile in times of change? What tools and resources are boards using to assess themselves and stay accountable? What are the legal trends boards need to have on their radar? Does board size matter, and who should be on the board? What does board recruiting and education look like? How can boards best navigate succession planning?
Summer 2020: Crisis
Deadline: January 1, 2020
Fall 2020: Fundraising
Deadline: June 1, 2020
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—include one longer, in-depth review of several books and a few shorter review-like pieces.
For the short bits: 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 (long review): 1,000-1,200 words
Word count (short “review”): 80-100 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, including theories and approaches, training, professional development, and more. 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
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@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.