Keep Your Seatbelts Buckled as You Prepare for 2021!

December 4, 2020

Last evening I attended the second webinar of the series Buckle Your Seatbelts! Navigating the Path to 2021-22 conceived by SAIS, who graciously invited PAISBOA and other independent school associations to partner with them in bringing the program to our members.

Part 1 provided crucial external insight in two key areas:

  • Dr. David Cosenza and Dr. Catherine Passaretti gave us a window into what we have learned about the virus, what its trajectory may involve, and the future of the vaccines in trials.
  • Dr. Fabrizio Perri outlined the various scenarios that might emerge around the economic recovery that our country may experience.

Part 2 provided the basis for what independent school leaders and board members may want to consider as they chart their course for next year:

  • How to approach the budget cycle with Ari Betof from Mission & Data
  • Trends and projections that the data are telling us with Lisa Pullman from INDEX
  • Enrollment management and admissions in a turbulent environment with Peter Baron from EMA
  • Legal and business cycle considerations with Debra Wilson from SAIS
  • Industry-wide perspective and planning thoughts with John Gulla from EE Ford

PAISBOA members can access the recordings, slide decks, and highlights HERE.  

Here are my takeaways:

  1. If you have not started to prepare for 2021-2022, it is time to get started!
  2. "Elevate your gaze"—for the past 10 months, “We have all been living our SWOT analysis” -- heads down and in the weeds — it is time to pick up your head, start looking around, and get to work on next year.
  3. The current independent school business model is unsustainable, and PPP loans kept many schools afloat in 2020. It is time to face the brutal facts — is your school viable-sustainable-thriving? (Ari Betof)

While Vaccinations are coming in 2021, we may need some of the same mitigation strategies in place for Fall 2021, like mask wearing and social distancing, until we reach some capacity of vaccinated adults and students in our schools and universities. As always, PAISBOA will be monitoring best practices and will continue to update the COVID 19 Resources page.

As you begin to prepare for next year, keep your seatbelts buckled consider the following:

  1. Renew your PAISBOA membership if you haven’t already done so — PAISBOA gives you access to many opportunities to save time and money.
  2. Review your Purchasing Consortium Sales Report Summary that you received this week. Savings from your participation in the consortia will help pay for your membership dues and support all of the programming of the association.
  3. Attend the Monday Lunch with PAISBOA at noon on Mondays — it is a good reality check and a great morale booster to check in with your colleagues on a regular basis.
  4. Participate in the e-lists—the conversation is always robust, and you never know when you need a question answered by your colleagues.
  5. Remember all the resources you have at your disposal:
    1. Check out the Zero-Based Budgeting presentation from Carol Lerner and Lisa Carbone Warren
    2. Use the modeling tools from Actionable Institutional Research & Data — now Mission&Data and Armanino
    3. Download your school’s results from the PAISBOA Annual Data Survey (Financial Operations General Survey and Salary Survey) in the Data Center — not sure how to access your results? Contact [email protected]
    4. Attend Virtual HR Day on December 11 with Susan Guerette from Fisher Phillips and a Panel of PAISBOA HR Directors.
    5. Join us for the PAISBOA Business Insurance Group Annual Meeting with Bolton & Company on December 16. The program will include an Executive Summary, Comparison of Coverage, Dynamics of the Current Marketplace, 5 Risk Management Areas for Schools and Universities to focus on in 2021, Benchmarks, Newsworthy Claims, Timeline for the 2/1/2021 Renewal.

If you need help, ask — the PAISBOA staff, your colleagues, experts in the field, and vendor partners are just a phone call or email away. We know that your communities rely on your expertise and your competence, and we also know that you need to take care of yourself before your take care of others. We have to keep the wheels on for 2 more weeks. You’ve got this!

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