Skip to content

2016 WBSA Conference

APR 28, 2016 -

Sheraton Fisherman's Wharf
San Francisco, CA
April 28-30, 2016

Reserve Your Room at the Sheraton Here

Thursday, April 28th

4:00-5:30pm – Welcome and Keynote Address

Denise Pope, Ph.D., Senior Lecturer at the Stanford University Graduate School of Education, “The Well-Balanced Student: How Educators Can Foster Engagement and Well-being”

(Local educational consultants and feeder school placement counselors have been invited to the talk and following reception.)

In a high-stakes, high-pressure culture, parent and school expectations may have unintentional but damaging effects on students. Increasing demands on students may lead to unhealthy stress, resulting in burnout, disengagement, or debilitating physical and mental health symptoms. This workshop examines the parent, student, and teacher "traps" that occur in and out of school over issues such as homework, grades, and the culture of competition. You’ll learn strategies to promote healthier school environments and reduce the pressures students face.

In this workshop, you will:

  • Explore the latest research on youth health, school engagement, and school reform practices
  • Examine how students today are coping--or not--with the academic pressures they face
  • Learn effective ways to reduce academic stress without sacrificing achievement or engagement in school

Denise Pope, Ph.D., specializes in student engagement, curriculum studies, qualitative research methods, and service learning. She is co-founder of Challenge Success, a research and intervention project that provides schools and families the tools they need to raise healthy, motivated students. Challenge Success is an expanded version of the SOS: Stressed-Out Students project that Dr. Pope founded and directed from 2003-2008. She is the author of, "Doing School": How We Are Creating a Generation of Stressed Out, Materialistic, and Miseducated Students (Yale University Press, 2001), Overloaded and Underprepared: Strategies for Stronger Schools and Healthy, Successful Kids (Jossey-Bass, 2015). Dr. Pope lectures nationally on parenting techniques and pedagogical strategies to increase student health, engagement with learning, and integrity. She is a 3-time recipient of the Stanford University School of Education Outstanding Teacher and Mentor Award and was honored with the 2012 Education Professor of the Year "Educators' Voice Award" from the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences. Prior to teaching at Stanford, Dr. Pope taught high school English in Fremont, CA and college composition and rhetoric courses at Santa Clara University. She lives in Los Altos, CA with her husband and three children.

5:30-7:30pm – Reception to and book signing of Overloaded and Underprepared: Strategies for Stronger Schools and Healthy, Successful Kids.
*All member schools will receive a copy of Pope’s book courtesy of WBSA.

Dinner on your own.

Friday, April 29th

8:00-9:00am – Breakfast

9:00am – 10:30am – Alex Scott, Principal, Alex Scott Consulting, “A Discussion about Transgender Issues in Independent Schools”

In this workshop we will not only cover the "basics" of what it means to be transgender and gender non-binary, but will also discuss the potential impact on schools of our increasing and visible transgender populations. Every day, more and more transgender and gender non-binary students and adults are coming out of the closet. Every day, public awareness of transgender issues appear in television, film, newspapers and online. Schools that anticipate and prepare for the emergence of transgender and gender non-binary students, teachers and staff will not only be able to create healthier and more supportive communities, but will also be able to better manage potential negative fallout both from within and outside the school. We are seeing significant national and local media coverage about transgender bathroom and locker room use, dormitory placement and athletic team participation. How schools handle these "hot button" issues will have dramatic impact on their communities' cultures. In addition, as schools focus curricular attention on social justice and inherent cultural assumptions on race and class, those discussions remain incomplete unless they include the nature and impact of gender identity.

Alexandra Scott served independent education for 30 years as a head of school, Academic Dean, counselor teacher and coach. After her transition, she was the Director of Development at The National Center for Transgender Equality in Washington, D. C. and is currently an educational consultant on transgender and gender non-binary issues, blogger for Huffington Post and author of Prep School Transgender for Independent School magazine. Alex is a graduate of The Sidwell Friends School, has a B.A. from Hiram College and a Master of Divinity and Master of Theology from Duke University. In addition to her experience as a school leader and teacher, she was a certified school counselor and highly successful tennis and basketball coach.

10:30am-10:45am – Coffee Break

10:45am-12:00pm – Aimee Gruber, Senior Director of Outreach & Business Development, “2016 State of the Independent School Admission Industry Survey” 

SSATB’s 2013 survey fueled numerous conversations and provided illuminating insight into independent school admission operations. Results shone a spotlight on the lack of admission voice in critical conversations at the board level and in both tuition and financial aid budget setting. It also identified the need for additional training in four key areas: 1.) Data and finance 2.) Marketing 3.) Leadership and 4.) Assessment. Where are we now? What are the key challenges facing independent school admission professionals in 2016? This session highlights the results of the second state-of-the-industry survey and invites discussion about what it means for the future. 

12:15pm-1:15pm – Luncheon and Presentation of the Hilton Award

1:15pm-2:30pm – Peter Baron, Blackbaud, and Hans Mundahl, Hans Mundahl & Associates, “Moving Beyond Mailmerge: How to Use Marketing Technology to Personalize Your Admission Process”

Let's face it, sending bulk letters no longer cuts it. Families are getting personalized communications from all over the web. Buying books, reading news content, you name it, organizations understand they need to deliver the right information at the right time in order to win the hearts & minds of their customers. Personalization is the key.

Has your admission office graduated into the age of personalized web marketing? Are you delivering tailored emails in drip campaigns? Are you using video to speak directly to individual applicants? Are you keeping families in the loop, real-time, as they work their way through the admission process?

Join Hans Mundahl, Hans Mundahl & Associate, and Peter Baron, Blackbaud, for a conversation on how marketing personalization can help your admission office redefine the ways it communicates. Walk away with tips on how you can improve yield by personalizing your school’s message to your applicant pool.

2:30pm-2:45pm – Quick Break

2:45pm-4:15pm – Film screening of “Most Likely to Succeed”

Most Likely To Succeed is the best film ever done on the topic of school — both its past and its future. The film inspires its audiences with a sense of purpose and possibility, and is bringing school communities together in re-imagining what our students and teachers are capable of doing. Run, don’t walk, to bring this film to your school. After seeing this film, you’ll never look at school the same way again. (To see a trailer of the film, visit

Saturday, April 30th

8:00-9:00am – Breakfast

9:00am-10:00am – WBSA Business Meeting (required for member schools)

10:00am-11:00am – Mark Mitchell, Vice President, NAIS, “Quantifying Affordability”

Taking the big picture view of what it means to be an affordable school today is increasingly important for school leaders. Quantifying affordability examines what income is needed to pay your tuition and whether the market has that capacity. Learn which resources you can use to explore your affordability range, tuition trends, and the income realities of your market. Discuss the intersection of that data with issues like local cost of living, lifestyle choice, and other pressures that make parents push back. Join a discussion of how to consider market capacity as part of your tuition and financial aid budget discussions. 

11:00-11:15 – Coffee Break

11:15-12:15 - Andy Hirt, Director of Member Relations, TABS

Andy will provide an update on all-things-TABS, including: The North American Boarding Initiative (NABI), current domestic and international migration trends, our new Online Policy Library, a preview of the TABS | NAIS Global Symposium, the Erdmann Institute for Enrollment Leadership, Asia and Latin Fairs, and much more. 

12:15pm – Closing Remarks, Tyler Hart, Steering Committee Chair, WBSA

Conference adjourned. Lunch on your own.