This year’s ALC spanned 4 days. Our full -day Deep Dives were on topics including coaching, building relationships, using data to solve problems, good governance and leading learning. The Plenary by Jane Larssen, ED, Council of International Schools, shared thinking around good practices in Child Protection that go beyond the requirements of accreditation. We are grateful to those colleagues from AISA member schools who led workshops in our Innovative Practice Series and also to our sponsors who shared their services in the Learning Partner Presents workshops.
The ALC2017 was run in conjunction with the CIS & AISA Higher Education Institute. This brought together admissions staff from over 40 international universities with guidance counsellors from AISA and CIS schools. We shared a Joint Opening Plenary which saw a fusion of thinking around best ‘fit’ for student applications for university. School leaders asked how they can support students getting into the university of their choosing and the university representatives shared tips on how to write a strong application. There was clearly much interest in developing these discussions further so we aim to work with CIS again next year to bring a similar event to be run in parallel with the ALC2018.
This ALC saw the introduction of what will, we hope, become a regular feature at our leadership conferences; AISA Talking Heads. Whilst we recognise that there is always value in bringing external experts to our events, we also want to honour the expertise and experiences of our school leaders too. Based on the TED Talks model, the AISA Talking Heads comprised of three school leaders who were each given 15 mins of presentation time to share their response to a talking point. This year, the challenge was to respond to the prompt “The change I’d like to see in International Education”.
The first Talking Head was Irene Epp from the American International School of Freetown. With 18 years of leadership experience in Africa, Irene brought much depth and wisdom to her talk. Her central proposition is that too often leaders are driven by data, when the inquiry leading up to deciding what data to seek is the more important approach. Otherwise we react to data rather than being mindful of what data we want and how it will inform of inquiry.
Simon Gillespie, Director of The American International School of Kinshasa spoke passionately of the need for greater inclusion in international schools. His personal narrative lent to the argument that every child has place in an international school and the barriers that have prevented this always being the case in the past should be dismantled.
Sheena Nabholz, Director of the American School of Yaounde addressed the need for international schools to continue to reach out to the communities in which they are situated to spread educational excellence as widely as possible for the benefit of all children and young people.