Navigating the Future of Independent Education: A Recap of NAIS THRIVE 2024

Kassandre Kallen

March 4, 2024

    The NAIS Annual Conference 2024, known as THRIVE, was from February 28 to March 1 in the vibrant city of St. Louis, Missouri. As the premier professional development and networking event for administrators, trustees, and teachers at independent schools, THRIVE aims to provide a platform for gaining insights, discovering new strategies, and fostering connections.  

    “We know at the heart of our work is the responsibility to help all children thrive in our schools, and at NAIS, we know our responsibility is to help you, our leaders, also thrive. We know that the impact we can have on you—supporting you in your professional development, in your learning, in your networks that you develop and continue and grow with—is a part of helping kids in schools,” shared Morva McDonald, NAIS vice president of leadership and governance in a video about this year’s new “THRIVE” theme. 

    Let’s dive into a few event highlights!  

    Key Takeaways 

    The diverse lineup of speakers brought forth engaging discussions about technology, education, and justice. The featured speaker was award-winning journalist, author, and TV commentator Jennifer Wallace, who spoke about achievement culture—an especially timely speech as schools look to balance resources and support staff mental health. 

    Other speakers included Nita Farahany, an author, legal scholar, and ethicist, who explored the intersection of AI and neurotechnology, discussing the potential benefits and ethical considerations in a rapidly changing technological landscape; and investigative reporter Alexandra Robbins, who shared insights from her year-long investigation into the challenges faced by teachers, offering a unique perspective on the teaching profession. 

    Sara Rugar, a Customer Success Manager at Community Brands, participated in the “Financial Aid Reimagined” workshop. This workshop, designed as a fellowship program for aspiring school heads, underscored the significance of flexible financial aid models aligned with schools’ missions. During the presentation, they presented a recent study showing that schools that implemented flexible tuition models didn’t face any negative consequences. Instead, these changes led to increased diversity and a significant rise in enrollment across the board.

    Check out our guide, the K-12 Financial Aid Strategy Workbook, for tips to make your upcoming financial aid season successful. 


    Reflections From Our Team 

    Community Brands was proud to be a Gold Sponsor at THRIVE 2024, embracing the opportunity to build meaningful relationships with thousands of independent school leaders, administrators, and teachers nationwide. Thank you to everyone who stopped by our booth to chat with our team! 

    “The 2024 NAIS conference was a dynamic gathering of industry leaders and innovators, where meaningful conversations about the future took center stage. Engaging with school experts allowed us to explore how our solutions could address pressing challenges and contribute to positive change. Amidst the networking buzz, we were reminded of the importance of inclusion, diversity, and innovation. Departing with renewed inspiration, we carried forward the spirit of collaboration and empowerment to shape a brighter tomorrow,” shared Callee Grisham, Senior Customer Account Manager. 

    Looking Ahead 

    The Community Brands team extends our gratitude to NAIS attendees, customers, and organizers who made THRIVE 2024 a valuable community event!  

    In the spirit of continuous learning and collaboration, we invite you to join our upcoming AISAP webinar on April 10th, From Insights to Action-Leveraging Financial Aid Trends for School Success. 

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