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ERIC Number: EJ995884
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0145-9635
What Dead Schools Can Teach Us: Observations from the Independent School Cemetery
McManus, Jim
Independent School, v72 n1 Fall 2012
Why do so many independent schools fail? And what are the chief causes of death? When they can be performed, institutional "autopsies" are illuminating, but it should be noted that many schools disappear with few clues about their final undoing. However, when schools do leave paper trails that help understand the reasons for their demise, four powerful contributing factors recur time and again: (1) missions that lose potency and timeliness; (2) unsuccessful leadership transitions; (3) financial collapse; and (4) lack of strategic planning. These four areas--mission, head, money, and planning--are, in essence, the prime responsibilities of the board of trustees. If a school is going to survive and flourish, therefore, it is imperative that it build and sustain strength in its board of trustees. That group needs to understand that to operate an independent school is to participate in a high-mortality enterprise. And it needs to fully appreciate the fact that its performance, quite literally, makes the difference between the life and death of a school. The failure to grasp these realities can put any independent school at risk and dramatically increase the chances of landing in the independent school cemetery, while becoming yet another institution whose ultimate legacy is to provide a sad and cautionary tale for the larger independent school community. (Contains 1 note.)
National Association of Independent Schools. 1620 L Street NW Suite 1100, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-793-6701; Tel: 202-973-9700; Fax: 202-973-9790; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California