Strategic Vision

CAIS Strategic Vision Planning Process


Strategic Vision Process Interview with Head of School Jeff Bissell

CAIS Strategic Visioning Process

The Community Vision Advisory Team (listed to the right) is working in conjunction with the Board of Trustees, Administrative Council, and Head of School Jeff Bissell to shepherd the Strategic Visioning Process which involves the entire community. In addition CAIS has engaged the talents and experiences of educational consultant Bill Jackson, who is acting as thought partner for Dr. Bissell in helping to shape a process that is both inclusive and effective. Bill is an alumni parent (Claire CAIS ’14, UHS ’18, University of Chicago ’22), the founder of Great Schools in 1998, and now the driving force behind Raise Ready Kids. He will be helping CAIS to collect community input throughout the process and may be reached at Bill has helped CAIS think through and outline the process as follows:

What CAIS has accomplished in the past five years?

  • Impressive gains in literacy (English & Chinese)
  • Strengthened support for teachers
  • Improved facilities: renovations and space agreements at Oak with French American, refurbishments at Alice A. Carnes (Waller), and entirely new 888 Campus for middle school
  • More students traveling to and learning in China
  • More effective use of technology in teaching and learning
  • Better support for diverse learners
  • Growing focus on diversity, equity, inclusion

Where do we want to be in five years?

We’re not sure yet. The Strategic Vision process will answer this question. Yet, as we begin this process, we have three high-level ideas in mind:

  • We want to continue to evolve the CAIS brand of immersion education so that the world comes to see it not only as a great way to develop bilingual and bicultural young people, but also a powerful approach to helping children develop along all the dimensions we care about: academic, social, emotional, and as citizens of the world.
  • We want to deepen our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, and also strengthen students’ engagement with the world outside the school.
  • We want to to further develop our facilities so they can support our continuously-improving program.

Key questions as we begin our visioning and planning process

  1. What are the abiding, deeply-held values that inform how the CAIS community views education?
  2. In what ways are our graduates well-prepared for the future? How could they be better prepared?
  3. What are the strengths and weaknesses of CAIS today? What should we be doing more? What should be be doing less?
  4. What kind of change does the world need—change that CAIS is in a position to help bring about?

Fall ’18/Winter ’19 activities

  • Community conversations: The Head of School will meet with individuals and groups small and large to discuss the key questions
  • Surveys: Students, alumni, parents, and faculty will be surveyed
  • School visits: Administrators will visit schools that CAIS may be able to learn from
  • Core values research: A consultant will observe and describe our core values

How to get involved

  1. Respond to the surveys that come your way
  2. Share your ideas by talking with our strategic planning consultant Bill Jackson (send email to

The Vision Advisory Team, a small group of CAIS faculty, trustees, parents and alumni is being assembled to help guide the process.

Expected outcomes for the process

  • Refined vision/mission statement
  • New statement of core values
  • A new set of five-year goals and key strategies
  • Communications that express our strategic vision to the community and beyond

The new plan will be rolled out in early fall 2019.

As Head of School Jeff Bissell mentioned to prospective families at CAIS 101, when you look around at who is drawn to be part of this community, it is truly awe-inspiring. With these hearts and minds guiding the journey, the impressive accomplishments of the past 38 years feel like the booster rockets propelling Mission CAIS onward to greater heights even than previously imagined. Thank you for being on this ride together!