Innovation in School Models

January 25, 2013

Here are a few items that highlight the  significant structural change happening in independent schools and colleges.

We are fortunate to be on solid financial ground and to have a Board of Trustees fully engaged in the sort of long-term innovative thinking that will position Gould to be a leader in terms of both forward-looking education and financial sustainability. It’s a very good time to be a Husky!

In my next post, I’ll give some examples of how we’re responding to these challenges.


1. ‘The Financial Model is Broken”, one of the cover stories in Independent School magazine (publication of the National Association of Independent Schools, NAIS):

“So, in order to stay steady through the economic ups and downs, we need to look at entrepreneurial development of profitable activities based on the expertise and business infrastructure of a school’s core activities — and use those profits to sustain our key missions. In other words, Proctor [former Harvard CFO] believes that a nonprofit organization should do anything possible to increase revenue while staying true to its mission.”

The key source for this article is former Harvard CFO Allen Proctor. See his  TED talk on successful non-profits.

Schools have already developed online programs and established campuses overseas. More race car less bastion?


2. The new president of National Association of Independent Schools, John Chubb,  comes from outside of the independent school world and was, notably, founder of EdisonLearning, Inc. Here’s an excerpt of his bio from the appointment announcement:

“John has served as interim CEO of Education Sector, a nonprofit education think tank, since April of 2012. He previously served as founder and CEO of Leeds Global Partners, an international education services and consulting firm. He was also founder, senior executive vice president, and chief education officer of EdisonLearning, the pioneering education management organization. Before founding Edison in 1992, he was a senior fellow at The Brookings Institution. He’s been a distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University since 1999.”

This is a strong and necessary signal from our national organization. Giddyup!


3. A story in Inside Higher Education described a recent Moody’s report giving a dim outlook for all college and university revenue streams:

“The pressure on all revenue streams is the result of macro-level economic, technological and public opinion shifts, the report states, noting that these changes are largely beyond the control of institutions. Moody’s analysts caution that revenue streams will never flow as robustly as they did before 2008. The change will require a fundamental shift in how colleges and universities operate, they say, one that will require more strategic thinking.”

Rising costs, MOOCs, certifications, and  market needs that change faster than programs. “Ivy-covered walls” may not be the best image for colleges that will thrive.




Leave a Reply