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

Fall 2024
The Parents Issue

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 explore these dynamics and strategies for building better relationships.

Winter 2025
Deadline: August 15, 2024
The School Sustainability Issue

What is sustainability? Outside of its environmental connection/connotation, in the context of independent schools, it speaks to the many aspects of what keeps a school going—how it runs and how it thrives now and into the future. As the educational landscape continues to shift, independent schools must be adaptable and resilient in the face of challenges outside of their control. In this issue, we’ll explore how schools can foster a culture of continuous innovation and improvement while balancing the demands of the current market and the around-the-corner trends with school mission. We’ll examine multiple dimensions of school sustainability, from the business model and tuition-setting to strategy and operations to programs and facilities.  
  • Is the financial model broken? How can independent schools better balance tuition-setting and the need for fundraising? 
  • How are tuition models changing? What tuition-setting strategies have been successful? 
  • How can schools balance affordability for families with the need to maintain quality educational programs and facilities?  
  • How can schools ensure financial sustainability without compromising mission or excluding families based on socioeconomic status? 
  • How can schools ensure that teachers are supported and well-compensated in a challenging market and financial model? 
  • How can schools best assess and respond to demographic shifts, market demands, and competition from other educational options? 
  • How must strategic planning shift to acknowledge a changing market? What do strategic enrollment and marketing efforts look like?  
  • What is the outlook for school closures and mergers? When schools merge, how can they best build absorb and culture across schools? 
  • What can schools do to diversify their revenue streams to mitigate financial risk? 
  • How can schools avoid the programs and facilities arms race while keeping up with and responding to demand and parent expectations? What emerging trends and programs must schools consider to meet evolving demand? 
  • How can independent schools reconcile providing quality education with the broader societal goal of equitable access to education? Do independent schools have a responsibility to contribute to improving educational access for all?     
  • How should independent schools navigate the tension between tradition and innovation in education? What is the role of experimentation and adaptation in ensuring long-term relevance and effectiveness, while staying true to the school’s mission? 


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
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].