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As AISA schools return to campus-based learning next year, uncertainty about what learning will look like cannot be overestimated. AISA understands the complexities facing effective leadership and governance and, in this rapidly changing environment, will continue unabatedly to support the Heads of Schools and Board Members of all our member schools with our online Professional Learning programmes.
We invite you to register for these insightful, online Leadership and Governance Learning Programmes, namely:
‘LEADING TOGETHER – AN OVERVIEW’ a 90 minute online governance workshop led by international school governance expert, Rick Detwiler on 15 August 2020.
As part of AISA's ongoing commitment to good governance for schools in our region, AISA is sponsoring this online Governance Workshop with free registration for all participants. The Head of School and Board Chair from the same school must both register. Places are limited to 20 schools / 40 participants and will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. Register now to avoid disappointment.
THE ‘VIRTUAL’ SCHOOL BOARD RETREAT – SUSTAINING A HIGH-PERFORMING BOARD IN TODAY’S CHALLENGING TIMES facilitated by Rick as well as the world-renowned education strategist, Dr. Teresa Arpin and the vastly experienced international school expert, David Chojnacki. The dates for these individualised Board Retreats can be negotiated with each school separately.
The ‘Virtual’ School Board Retreat offers an opportunity to step off the grid for 6 hours of interactive, focused discourse and discovery on how an international School Board will meet its governing responsibilities, essential for a number of reasons: it fulfils the accreditation mandate for professional development of your Board, and also promotes the sense of teamwork within the Board and the critical partnership with the Head of School.
Plan your individualised School Board Retreat to enable your Board to identify specific governance goals and determine the strategic direction for your school during the coming year.
AISH LEADERSHIP SERIES
This series of four virtual courses is hosted by strategic AISA partner, AISH, and the Global Online Academy. Requiring only three-to-five hours of online connection per week, the courses run from 1 June to 30 September 2020 and will address critical leadership challenges through coaching and community engagement.
Thanks to AISA’s strategic partnership with AISH, AISA members qualify for AISH's member registration rate of $300 per Impact course. You will also have free access to the other Skills courses.
Participation in these online courses can extend to your school teams at a reduced rate. In this case, the Head or Deputy Head of School pays the member rate of $300 and the rest of your team receives a 50% discount. To sign up as a team contact email@example.com
Click here to register.
AISH NEW AND ASPIRING HEADS VIRTUAL INSTITUTE
A four-day virtual institute focused on building important skills in new or aspiring leaders. Discussion boards, video conferencing, individual and small group coaching sessions will be utilised to create a custom online learning experience. Running from 13 – 16 July 2020, this course is recommended for staff identified for growth into a leadership positon.
Due to AISA’s strategic partnership with AISH, AISA members qualify for AISH's member registration rate of $595.
During these Professional Learning Programmes, internationally recognised, leadership and governance learning experts will share their thoughts and experience and will facilitate valuable discussion around effective ways to successfully tackle the future.
We are happy to announce that Columbia Business School VFA will offer 2 more sessions this summer with three scholarship spots of 50%, and offer open to our member schools exclusively.
Below are the qualification requirements for the scholarship application. Students may send their response by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
The dates of the courses are:
Design Thinking and Business Model Innovation Course dates - July 8th -12th 2020
Please see attached brochure for detailed information and a short video.
It’s been a year like no other for schools around the world. Even so, many international schools have displayed exceptional innovation and resilience. The International School Awards, which are hosted by ISC Research and supported by International School Leader Magazine, are a chance for some of these schools to be recognised and it would be wonderful to see one or more of our member schools within the winners.
The nominations are now open until Wednesday 30th September 2020. So, get nominating! Here are the details and access to the application forms:
This year’s winners and their initiatives will be announced and recognised at a virtual ceremony on Monday 18th January 2021. A recording of the ceremony will also be available to ensure accessibility to schools in all time zones.
Shortlisted schools will receive a certificate, and recognition logo to feature on their website. All category winners will receive a trophy, winner logo, and consideration for the overall International School of the Year award. The winning school will receive a trophy, logo and extensive recognition.
“Where I live and work, I want to be around people who don’t think what I think, believe what I believe, look like me, or love like me. I want to always be in those places and spaces that are going to push me beyond my upbringing and beliefs and views.” Kevin Simpson, founder of the Association of International Educators and Leaders of Color (AIELOC).
The rich diversity of AISA member schools is our great strength and source of innovation. Especially now, in the face of a future fraught with uncertainty, we increasingly need to collaborate, communicate and learn from each other.
AISA unites with the Association of International Educators and Leaders of Color (AIELOC) in our shared obligation to remove historical legacies and systemic barriers that exist in international education. We consistently celebrate diversity, foster equity and support inclusion.
Racism in whatever form is rejected. Black lives matter. We at AISA are recommitting ourselves to listening to and learning from diverse voices, to creating and participating in inclusive and courageous conversations that champion open dialogue, and to the free exchange of ideas.
AISA members must continue to foster authentic intercultural understanding by learning about, listening to, and collaborating with racially and ethnically diverse educators and students in our school communities across Africa. We should never assume that international schools have ‘solved’ the issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion.
“Racial discrimination has been a common feature of the international education sector. The most powerful in this class of discriminatory practice is to simply be ignored,” says Kevin Simpson, who has experienced all of these slights first-hand.
AISA sees the eradication of racial discrimination in international education as a top priority, believing that voices of educators of all colours from all parts of the globe should be actively amplified.
AISA member school campuses must always remain places where students are encouraged to learn and wonder. Now, as schools plan to reopen, it’s time to pause and focus on the values we seek to encourage in our students. With the understanding that comes with empathy, by listening to and learning from each other, we realise that it’s because of our diversity, not despite it, that we will, every day, fulfil our role as thoughtful, compassionate and empathetic educators in international schools across Africa and the world.
As international schools across Africa start winding down their current academic year, AISA is stepping up its Professional Learning programme.
The Association of International Schools in Africa (AISA) has put together a comprehensive programme of online discussion groups and webinars, Professional Learning Institutes (PLIs), retreats and our annual conference in November.
Starting in the new school year, the programme collectively titled ‘What Now and What Next? Shaping The Future for International Schools in Africa’, runs through August and September 2020, and offers a breadth of discussion groups and webinars exploring a range of topics. This online Professional Learning programme has something for everyone, from school governing boards and leadership to educators, counsellors and co-professionals.
“Whilst the challenges associated with the current pandemic, certainly accelerated our strategic plans to set up virtual delivery of our professional learning events, fortuitously, planning had already started,” says Graham Watts, AISA’s Director of Professional Learning. “Having formalised our strategy, we were quickly able to engage with and secure world-class facilitators for our online events.”
AISA’s Professional Learning events address both the short and long term needs of its member schools as they start the new academic year.
Events such as the ‘Blended Learning Series’ facilitated by Catlin Tucker, ‘Strategies to Build Community, Friendship and Compassion in a Virtual Classroom’ with Maria Hersey and ‘Communicating in Challenging Times’ with Jen Abrams support AISA members as they continue with online learning or move to a blended learning methodology. The AISA School Heads and ES, MS and HS Principals Meetings will focus on long term strategies set to shape the future on international schools in our region.
In addition, AISA has included forums, meetings and webinars for health officers, finance and HR, student support coordinators, admissions officers are others.
“It is our ongoing quest to support our member schools and offer world-class professional development opportunities that are relevant, effective and accessible. This is why all the discussion forums and webinars in the ‘What Now and What Next? Shaping The Future for International Schools in Africa’ are being offered free of charge to our members,” concludes Graham Watts.
AISA supports the Association of International Educators and Leaders of Color (AIELOC) in asking ...
all international schools and leaders…
Join us #IntlEducatorEquity
Association of International Educators and Leaders of Color
Our Role in the Black Lives Matter Movement and Anti-Racism Work
"It is paramount that international school students and alumni acknowledge our privilege not only on a local or regional scale, but also on a global scale. We must contextualize our opportunities and achievements within a global context, as well as understand how we benefit from global systems of inequality."
Rachel Engel, a Sociology PhD student studying the impacts of globalization, colourism, and race/ethnicity in Southeast Asia, has addressed the role of the International School Community in the Global South in the Black Lives Matter Movement and Anti-Racism Work, in this open letter.
The prolific, COVID-19-driven challenges facing international schools in Africa are many and varied and as unpredictable as the virus itself. For schools to survive and grow in this rapidly shifting, uncertain environment, collaboration and communication are crucial. Heads of Schools and Boards have needed to speak to each other, share their stories and stay informed about the latest, up-to-date news both locally and from around the world.
The sudden, lockdown-enforced distance learning model which, in one form or another, will, without doubt, continue after schools reopen, is the biggest challenge to the traditional, campus-based school model. Parents, many of whom have been affected financially, have gained first-hand experience during the lockdown of what and how their children learn. Questions are being asked, doubts have been raised. The most successful schools will be those that are informed enough to have valid, compelling answers and agile enough to adapt to the new realities as they unfold.
This cannot be a ‘let’s wait and see’ situation. School leadership needs to continue to be open-minded and proactive. Scenario planning is imperative. Leaders must reimagine their schools in three or four different future scenarios and vigorously plan what needs to be done to survive and thrive in each one. This is a dynamic process that needs to be revisited and updated as reality changes.
Online is the ‘new normal’. Besides continuously providing up-to-date valuable information on the AISA COVID-19 Support Portal, AISA continues to innovate to ensure world-class virtual online Professional Learning is available through AISA’s strategic partnerships and AISA’s programmes including hosting of webinars and online retreats focusing on Governance and Leadership Learning. An excellent example is the ”Virtual” School Board Retreat facilitated by Rick Detwiler, Teresa Arpin, and David Chojnacki, three internationally-renowned experts who know the region, know our schools and are very experienced in Governance Learning with Board Members. For more information about this retreat and to participate, click here.
To survive in an unprecedented, rapidly changing, COVID-19-affected world, international schools need Heads and Board Members who display an equally unprecedented level of agility and open-mindedness.
When it comes to technology, school leaders need to continuously up their game. This pandemic has brought home quite literally how important it is for school leadership to either fully understand or try to understand technology and give those who do a place on their senior leadership teams.
“Kids often use technology through a narrow lens,” says world-renowned Governance and Leadership coach, Chip Barder. “Are they open to learning more? Absolutely! Using technology, it’s up to leadership to figure out ways that engage and motivate the students. This can only happen through a deep understanding of the tools.”
Chip believes that in this ‘new normal’, teachers are working harder and schools are doing more compared to when students were physically attending classes.
“Schools are doing what they can to reduce costs; freezing tuition, freezing teacher salary increases, etc.,” says Chip. “But I can’t see how schools will survive by simply lowering fees. If anything, because of technology, costs are going up! My advice to the leadership of every international school is to embrace the new reality and do whatever possible to become the best distance learning school in the world!”
Chip says that this pandemic has presented schools with tremendous opportunities. “I’ve always prescribed that the parent is the first teacher. That doesn’t go away. In this new, uncertain reality it’s time for parents, working with teachers, to reclaim time with their kids.” Whatever it takes, the focus should always be on the learning. School leadership must understand that, although variations of blended learning work, it’s not just about technology. It is also about social/emotional matters.“Especially in high school, students learn better when they feel connected. Kids who are not connected disengage and there is no learning,” says Chip.
“The answer is not more technology. As we emerge from lockdown, it’s essential to create an environment where children are excited to come to school, to nurture friendships, take part in sports, to laugh and play. When you feel connected you have trust, and when you have trust, you’re willing to put yourself out there, to make mistakes. And that’s how you learn. Something that COVID-19 has taught us is that, when it comes to effective learning, the so-called ‘soft’ matters are as important as academics.
“Connection is not exclusive to students. Not much has changed in terms of what we know about best practice in governance; that it starts with focussing on just staying open, looking at the school like a business. Collaboration between schools, Boards speaking to Boards, is hugely important. We must not lose sight of the tried and tested.
“International School Heads and Board Members need to connect, share, and learn from each other. Remember, the focus should always be on the learning. In this ever-evolving, dynamic environment, we must continue to support each other and figure out what makes sense,” concludes Chip.
Three months ago, the world suddenly found itself in a hugely chaotic and disrupted state, and everything changed. The way we live our lives, the way we run our schools, our security, our ability to predict the future; all endangered by a relentless COVID-19 virus.
Understanding that everyone is feeling like everything they ever knew is now up in the air, the role of school leadership is to create the communication – literally the words and pictures, the ideas and the documents - that brings order to the chaos. It starts with a commitment to a simple and clear story.
“The day after we closed our school, we decided that we needed to create a simple story that would guide us through the coming months: Our campus is closed, our learning continues,” says David Willows, Director of Advancement, at the International School of Brussels. “This became our central message. At every stage, every communication from leadership to parents, students, teachers and the wider community kept going back to that message. After all, we truly believe that these words don’t just describe reality, they create it.”
To be a clear and consistent voice, Boards and Leadership teams need to collaborate. Through clarity and consistency, leaders create an ongoing story that helps people understand where the roadmap is to some kind of normality.
“When we say Our learning continues, we’re not only referring to the students, it’s also we, as leaders and educators, who must continue to learn. We have to adapt, change and be agile, never losing sight of our mission: educating children to become happy, successful and ethical members of society.” With the sudden, COVID-19-driven proliferation of distance learning, parents have become acutely aware of their children’s educational experiences. Regarding fees, many are questioning whether it’s worth it or not. To provide an honest answer, school leadership must decide whether they are selling the destination or the journey. Too many schools have fudged the answer, trying to be a bit of both. This crisis is forcing schools to determine where they stand. If it’s about the destination, schools must be constructed to merely get children from A to B, and not be too concerned about how they do it.
If it’s about the journey, schools have to be more articulate regarding the way they describe their value proposition, their story.
“A key question in all of this is do we fully know the story that is ours to tell? The more we know it, the more we know what we value,” says David. “I believe much of our work as leaders is to tell the story of our school and help people find their place in that story. But we have to find the story first - a story that is resilient enough to ride the waves of change such as we are experiencing now.”
David is optimistic about the future. Through speaking to children about their distance learning experiences, he’s realised that many aspects of distance learning are fundamentally making them better prepared for their future. At the same time, he is convinced that this time away from campus better allows us to understand how learning is, in the end, always connected to place and spaces.
“Distance learning is teaching us that place matters, but it doesn’t necessarily matter in the way we thought,” says David. “We thought that children had to go to school to learn. We now know that in a chaotic world, they can learn anywhere, any time. And yet, all of us need those spaces to return to - spaces where we feel at home.”
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