Results For Funding
Please Login to see 4 Best Practices Results
- Air Force JROTC - U.S. Air Force
- AFROTC SMC - Col Jim Parsons
- Defense Language and National Security Education Office - Dr. Sam Eisen
- Year in Review - Col Ray Rottman, USAF, Ret. (AMCSUS)
- Cadet Command - BG Sean Gainey
- SMC AFROTC - Col Sherry Stearns-Boles
- US Army Resilience Program - Colonel Gregory Stokes
- Substance Abuse - Dr. Amelia Arria
- Funding Streams - Major General Mack Hobgood, USAF, Ret.
- Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats - Colonel Ray Rottman, USAF, Ret. (AMCSUS)
- Cadet Command Update - U.S. Army
You're In Charge... Now What?! - Maj Gen Randal Fullhart
Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets
When leadership fails to understand the root cause(s) of a problem, they often waste critical time, energy, and resources addressing only the symptoms.
This chapter is written from a new Head of School's perspective...though it could certainly be used by the leader of any component area of a school's operation: enrollment, academics, athletics, facilities, etc.
The underlying theory here is called the Theory of Constraints. It is a theory coined by the late Eliyahu Goldratt who wrote the best-selling book, The Goal, which illustrates the five thinking processes of the theory. The setting for the book is a manufacturing plant that is struggling to produce both the quantity and quality of product, at a price that is sustainable and that provides for a profit. The head of the plant is confronted with the reality that if things don't improve, the plant will be closed. He must figure out what is wrong and turn it around...quickly...without the benefit of additional personnel, facilities, equipment, or money. In other words, he must fix things with what he has available while continuing to operate the plant.
Sound interesting? Sound familiar? Instead of parts going through the plant and coming out the other end as a finished product think of students coming to our programs, progressing through our system, and emerging after graduation as successful scholars that are disciplined and honorable people ready to go to the next level.
Needless to say... I encourage you to read the book, The Goal. In the meantime, permit me to prime the pump.
If you are coming in as a new Head of School, then you are doing so along the line of a spectrum that begins where the previous head was fired, left, or retired. The school is somewhere on the spectrum of struggling, maintaining, or thriving.
You'll also face some realities regardless of where you are at on those spectrum. Whatever it costs to operate today, will cost more in the future. Even if you have the perfect team, people will leave for other jobs, or retire. Worse case, you don't have the perfect team and you'll need to be able to compete for high quality replacements. Your facilities will not get younger...meaning repairs and renovations will increase, nor will they likely grow significantly in capacity without expansion. The demographics and population of your potential students are going to change over time. Your sources for funding will continue to come from two major areas: Tuition & Fees and Endowments & Donations. Your competition will range from "free" public education, to private schools, to private boarding schools, to private, military boarding schools.
The Theory of Constraints is based on physics in that there is a cause and effect relationship between all things. Some of the things that affect the success of your school are within your direct control, some you influence, and some are outside of your control. Your focus should be on the first two areas.
Given this, the diagram that follows this article represents a rudimentary suggestion of how this might be applied to a school. (Note: take the two sheets and align them left to right.) This is called a Future Reality Tree and is read in the form of "If...Then"...from left to right...from box to box. Some things require more than cause to be in place to create an effect. That's what the circle with the "and" means.
You'll see that it begins with the makeup and inclination of the Board to support the institution's mission, the ability to provide for resources, and the selection and support to the Head of School. You may infer from this that if this is not present, the rest of the endeavor will be very hampered if not doomed to fail.
From there it flows into major components of the program to include admissions, academics, athletics, facilities, etc. For purposes of this article I've limited the complexity somewhat in order to illustrate the point.
At the far right, it illustrates the desired outcome of our programs and suggests that this can lead to increased resources and increased demand for the school enrollment. In short...a virtuous circle.
What's the benefit of such a diagram for your organization?
It gives you a place to start to analyze the health and well-being of what exists, and what is going to be necessary to move things forward. It is important to note that if you don't know what causes a situation to exist, you will be tempted to work on the symptom and not the problem.
As an example, if you go about repainting the dorm without realizing that the underlying cause of it looking dilapidated is that you don't have the financial support from your board, you will may get a freshly painted dorm in the near-term but it is only a matter of time before the problem surfaces elsewhere.
Is this diagram perfect as it currently stands? Is it a perfect reflection of your situation? The answer to both questions is, "No." As military experts will tell you it is not the "plan" that is important, it is the "planning."
My hope is that this will be encouragement to develop the diagram that reflects your desired outcome. What it takes to create the reality that you wish to achieve. In so doing you will discover the underlying relationships and prerequisites for achieving success in all aspects of your organization.
And here is the most important part...
Once you have that understanding, conduct a clear-eyed assessment of where your organization stands (in each element of the diagram) and trace they symptom(s) back to the problem that is causing the symptom(s) in the first place. That's where you need to put the bulk of your time and effort. And once you get things the way they should be...don't rest on your laurels because external realities and the march of time will soon be along to drive the need to address the cause that is now limiting your organization's success.
Marketing - Brig Gen David Wesley
The best schools, military or otherwise, effectively market their unique characteristics in a clear and concise way that enables prospective students and their families to rapidly assess and react to those characteristics, so that they can visit the campus or ask for further information, if the school is a good fit for that individual student.
Is your marketing plan effective?
There are many ways to assess your marketing plan and, as we'll see later in this chapter, an outside perspective can be helpful in making that assessment. Internal methods include qualitative and quantitative comparisons of the current student body with: 1) historical norms for the school, 2) Board-stated goals for enrollment, and 3) physical plant/staffing limitations. It does little good to pursue an enrollment level your campus and staff cannot adequately educate and care for. What will you do if the students actually show up? What if the now larger student body is made up of students who are a poor fit for your mission?
Resolve in the first instance to obtain genuine agreement between the Board and the head of school on the appropriate goal for your marketing efforts and then move out to define that plan in terms all can understand and execute.
What makes a strong marketing plan?
A strong plan is a comprehensive set of techniques designed to use available channels (Internet (including, but not limited to: social media outlets, blogs, and other venues that specifically appeal to today's student audience), print media, word of mouth, radio, television, and other outlets) to make the public aware of what your school offers. The most effective plans develop detailed intelligence about the locations where prospective families might be found and what the demographics of those families are. This enables targeted advertising of the school's characteristics to those who, based on a number of demographic facts, are likely to be favorably disposed to utilize that information to learn more the school and, ultimately, to enroll students there.
Like so many other areas of military school administration, marketing should be the primary responsibility of a single senior staff member with the authority to plan and execute and effective marketing campaign that is consistent with the school's mission and its heritage. Reporting directly to the head of the school, this senior staff member must be resourced with sufficient staff and budget to reach, influence, process, and admit the right number and quality of students. Determining this level of staffing and funding is not an easy task and industry standards are of little help, given the myriad circumstances that combine to make each school unique.
When funds are available, the head of school should hire an outside consultant to evaluate the marketing effort and provide fact-based recommendations on the staffing and budgetary requirements to attain the school's stated enrollment goals. There are a host of firms and more than a few individuals who offer this service and their prices can vary widely, as can the ways in which they conduct their data gathering and analysis.
Who are we?
Central to this marketing effort must be a dedicated effort to clearly state the school's identity. Yes, you're a military school...but why? Yes, you're a college prep school...so what? These things are givens on some level, but what do they say about your institution and what it will deliver to families about to part with hard-earned dollars in an effort to prepare their children for a bright future?
Devote a block of time to an internal staff discussion to refine who you are as an educational institution and why you provide a unique value to your students. This isn't a "pie in the sky" aspirational discussion - who you are determines, for good or ill, what benefits you can reasonably expect to provide to your students. Those benefits are what parents truly seek when they opt to pay for a private school education.
Compare your internally-perceived image with your public documents (your Bylaws, your Strategic Plan, those glossy magazines mailed out to alumni/ae, your local town's impression of the school, and more). When you are confident you have the genuine character and values of your school in mind, discuss these things with your Board to ensure they see things in the same way and normalize any disconnects. With these things in hand, you can begin to craft (or re-craft) marketing efforts that let the public know, "If THIS is what you're looking for, WE are your school!"
Accrediting bodies, consultants, fellow heads of schools, and others can help you think through next steps as you align your now-current vision of the school with the vehicles you've established to convey that image to those who might soon select you to educate their children.
Where are the other resources?
Beyond the excellent background and research AMCSUS provides, you can glean a remarkable amount of marketing intel and guidance from the National Association of Independent School's (NAIS) online databases and the materials provided by The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS). Of particular utility are the demographics you can obtain through the use of the NAIS database found at http://dasl.nais.org/.
Membership (and access to these materials) is not inexpensive, but provides a wealth of insight into all aspects of administering and marketing an effective private school, as well as superb treatment of important topics like governance, safety, discipline, health guidelines, employment law, management of physical assets, among others.
A Brief History of the Military School in America - Kelly C. Jordan and John A. Coulter
Military schools have a long and successful history in America, viewed by many as a particularly effective educational approach. Since 1802, almost 850 different military schools have operated in the United States, far more than anywhere else in the world. These schools have educated male and female students from the elementary through the collegiate level, receiving funding from both public and private sources.
The marriage of military structure with education began in Europe in the 18th century, when military schools were established to provide technical training and instruction. Proving themselves to be not only essential but popular, these schools quickly gained a reputation for providing students with both effective education and the means to advance their social status. After experiencing their heyday in the 19th century, military schools experienced a steady decline until they virtually disappeared from Europe by the end of the 20th century.
The American military school shared little with the European military school in terms of purpose, developing for very different reasons. American military schools reflected the countryâ€™s belief in the power of education to better oneâ€™s self by deliberate efforts to form the intellect and develop the character in disciplined and academically rigorous environments. Rather than increasing oneâ€™s social status, the goal of an American military education is to produce informed individuals capable of being transformed into effective citizens of a democratic republic.
Military schools began appearing in America after the Revolutionary War, initially to help produce "proper military officers" of honor, ability, and intellect for the nation. This purpose highlights both the social and educational advantages associated with the early American concept of military education. The country's first military school was established in 1802 as a result of the determined efforts of many of the Founding Fathers, including George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson. The United States Military Academy at West Point, New York was not only the nationâ€™s first military school, but it was also the nationâ€™s only engineering school until 1821, and it became the model for military school education in the United States. During its first one hundred years of its existence, West Point sought to discover the optimal balance of providing a comprehensive and sound technical education, along with relevant military training and effective character development.
Army officer Sylvanus Thayer was a distinguished scholar and soldier who, as the â€œFather of West Point,â€ succeeded in blending a demanding academic environment with disciplined military training and appropriate moral development into what became a distinctive American military educational model. Thayer believed in placing the responsibility for learning on the cadets themselves by requiring them to study the assigned material prior to attending class and then reinforcing the learning in class through a combination of group learning activities and active learning exercises under the watchful eyes of their professors. Compared to the rote memorization methods common to most other educational institutions, Thayerâ€™s approach represented perhaps the most innovative method of instruction in the country. Thayer also used daily grades to hold cadets accountable for their academic performance and a system of merits and demerits to hold them accountable for their conduct. Placed under such intense scrutiny while also receiving consistent and detailed feedback proved to be a quite effective educational approach. In the process, Thayer defined the model for American military education that is still valid and cherished by the nation today.
As the nation began to grow, so did its number of military schools. Between 1819 and 1866 the number of military schools in the United States increased to over 170 schools. Only two â€“ West Point and the Naval Academy â€“ were focused on producing active military officers.
The founding of the Virginia Military Institute in 1839 introduced an educational philosophy that shifted the collegiate military schoolâ€™s emphasis away from a narrow focus on training military officers for service and expanded the scope of the military school education beyond a technical and engineering orientation to include the liberal arts. At about the same time, the Kentucky Military Institute expanded the concept to secondary education, demonstrating its viability for preparatory schools. Like its VMI counterpart, KMIâ€™s curriculum focused on the natural sciences and incorporated the liberal arts into the eraâ€™s standard high school curriculum, combining the best of the West Point model with other educational innovations to produce a system for pre-collegiate schools that was influential, effective, and enduring. The success of these early military schools paved the way for the dramatic expansion of American military schools in the 19th century.
While serving as a brutal test of the effectiveness of the American military education model, the Civil War also checked the expansion of military schools in America. Military schools provided almost 20,000 alumni in the conflict (more than 13,700 for the South and around 4,800 for the North), including well over 400 general officers, along with thousands more at the levels from colonel down to sergeant. These contributions on the battlefield by military-school trained leaders came at a high cost to the institutions that produced them. The establishment of new schools ceased during the war, and military schools across the country closed as faculty members and cadets flocked to the colors of their respective nations. Cadets at the surviving schools served as drill masters, and several Southern military college cadet corps fought in combat.
After the Civil War, approximately one hundred military schools re-opened, bringing the total number to around 150 of mostly secondary education institutions. Enjoying renewed popularity, military schools reached their peak of 280 active schools during the post-Civil War period. The positive contribution to the Civil War of many military school cadets and graduates, the overall favorable view of the military within the country, and the adoption of the military school format by various Christian denominations and maritime organizations combined to help bring about this growth.
Viewed during this period as bastions of â€œgreat moral agency for goodâ€ that produce "better sons, better neighbors, [and] better citizens," military schools expanded their curricula further to include technical training in business. Incorporating many of the Progressive Eraâ€™s most alluring features, leaders of schools associated with the newly formed Association of Military Colleges and Schools in the United States (AMCSUS, founded in 1914) became very influential and respected educators in the early 20th century.
The decline of military schools began during the Great Depression. In response, military schools began reforming themselves, focusing more on college preparation at the expense of military training but bringing about an improvement in the courses and teaching. Though military schools were fewer in number, overall cadet enrollment peaked just prior to WW II as a result of these reforms.
The armed forces of the United States in World War II benefited greatly from the military school alumni, who were themselves much better educated and trained as a result of the depression-era changes. Just under 100,000 former military school cadets and midshipmen served, with the majority as officers. The strong emphasis on character development, most visible in the adoption of formal Honor Codes during the interwar period, proved to be of particular value as military school trained officers faced the varied and uncertain challenges of leading Americaâ€™s largest military in its most encompassing conflict against intractable foes determined to supplant Americaâ€™s way of life with their own ideologically motivated alternatives.
The ensuing post-war America was another flourishing period for military schools, lasting until the political unrest of the late-1960s and the coming of the Vietnam War. Between 1966 and 1978, over 70 military schools closed or transitioned from the military format. A small portion of military schools responded to this challenge by becoming reform schools for wayward boys. This short-term trend was particularly devastating to military schools in the long-term, tarnishing all and destroying public confidence in the military educational model. As a result of this decline and changing demographics, over 200 American military schools closed, bringing the total number of military schools in the country to an all-time low of 75 by the end of the 20th century.
Reaching its lowest point, several events occurred that helped revive the military education model in the 21st century. A new generation of parents began to question seriously the efficacy of public education. By 2004, an overwhelming majority of teachers and parents felt strongly that discipline was a key ingredient of success missing from public school classrooms. With parents and teachers seeking to restore more structure in the classroom, administrators turned to the military education model as a possible solution and found success. Public military schools using the military education model are an important part of the current growth of military schools in the country. The overall effect of this resurgence has been both positive and nation-wide in scope. As of 2016, there are around 100 military schools operating in the country, located in 27 states, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico.
Experiencing both the heights of popularity and respect, and the depths of discredit and distrust, the American military school continues to evolve and thrive in its quest to remain a relevant and viable choice within the cornucopia of American educational offerings. Characterized by alternating periods of stable continuity and dramatic change, this successful American educational format enjoys an increasing level of support and remains an effective educational approach for the 21st century and beyond.