September 25, 2020
Happy Friday, All!
It’s hard to believe that next week is OCTOBER. This time of year usually goes by quickly, but this fall has seemed unusually quick. And, I am not one who thinks of zoom as a time accelerator, so I bet it’s the decision-making lode we are all carrying (see this interesting article on decision-making fatigue and suggestions on how to combat it).
As someone who has hit some fatigue this week, I am getting this out early to get some down time this afternoon. It’s an overcast and soon to be rainy day here in the greater Charleston area, so I see some baking in my near future. Unlike everyone who created the yeast shortage of 2020 early in the pandemic, I have done limited bread baking so far. However, I have special requests for chocolate babkas and fresh pretzels (it is almost October), and maybe some donuts. In short, baking therapy for me, and caloric therapy for those I live with who all have the metabolism of caffeinated hummingbirds.
Speaking of hummingbirds, let’s start with you skimmers: On the future front, this one, on the budget front this one, boards and DEI this one, and problem-solving mindsets. Actually, read this one, too, as parents and others are scrutinizing schools more than ever before.
Budget Season: What will the next fiscal year look like?
This week had us doing a lot of looking to the year ahead and doing some planning. For us, this means getting our house in order for our fiscal year that starts January 1, but we also know that many schools are starting to at least think about budgeting for next year, as many boards tend to vote on these budgets before winter break. I know, I know, we just got over the wall to really start this school year, but this budget season is going to be no less complex and it will be worth taking the time to prepare for a lot of different potential budgetary adventures. I shared some links last week on what is coming, but this article really got my attention about the next 12 months in particular. Combined with economic forecasts (Deloitte does one every two weeks for you economy wonks, I like this overview from Brookings, which dives into some specifics, but hits top trends, and I revisited the link I shared last week on the various kinds of recovery possibilities), as well as more insights on the vaccine development and delivery challenges, we are all going to be (once again) creating a few different interpretive budget dances for the next fiscal year. Feel like you want to start working out your brain on this one? Check this piece out on the new budgeting for 2021 (spoiler alert: we are all going to spending lots of time together figuring this out).
Election & DEI Work
In case you missed the news, the political pressure was ratcheted up with the passing of Justice Ginsburg last Friday. Now is the time to make sure that you are ready for this election season. Do talk with your boards about the importance of the diversity, equity, and inclusion lens being brought to how the school responds to and thinks about campus discourse, the ramp-up to the election, and the eventual election results. As one speaker said in our election series this week, a lack of statement, acknowledgement, or engagement can also say volumes and impact your community. If you are wrestling with employee political speech, this article might be helpful. Also, if you are looking to work with your board on inclusion generally, I like this Deloitte insight. And, if your HR people need more ideas around increasing diversity, this one might help.
Can I tell you something I have not been worried about thus far, but has been coming up more often in my 3am musings? Cybersecurity. And, not the zoom bombers and whatnot, which the Gen X side of my head finds kind of entertaining and gives me hope for this generation. Real cybersecurity issues around true data breaches, seizing of money, using the school’s name to secure funds, etc., which independent schools have generally been very lucky on so far. With everyone moving everything on line, school districts have been a prime target. If you have been letting this slide a bit, make sure you are on it. This Schwartz Hannum piece might be helpful to get you started (lessons learned from Blackbaud’s bit of excitement), and Venable is doing a webinar for nonprofits next week on the topic. This article about boards and their interest here is a good series of questions and insights to help you double-check the school’s work. And, I like this quick one that wraps up a lot of the recommended basic steps (good reminder article to share with staff). Seriously, let’s not be blind-sided by this one. Particularly as parents are apparently a bit concerned on the privacy front.
Okay, enough of the in-depth… Some quick hits:
We really can’t wrap up a pandemic week without news of the weird. Martha Stewart’s gourmet gummies and CBD oil were already a little weird, but this article where she mentions eating 20 of them, well, that’s what the kids call “extra.” And, no, they don’t deliver to South Carolina.
Have a great weekend, everyone!
natives to help you appropriately support young people as they encounter and master these digital skills. The message: limiting or monitoring technology is no substitute for mentoring and engagement. Led by Devorah Heitner (Raising Digital Natives).