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Dear AISA Heads of Schools and Trustees,
Good Governance is on the way..., well, at least the AISA Good Governance Institute is, one of the "Deep Dives" at the AISA 2019 Conference in Capetown, November 21-23, 2019.
The institute will provide Heads of School and Trustees the opportunity to explore the tenets of the AISA Code of Governance. Sessions will include six broad topics, covering the range of governance practice:
We promise to present research-based information and proven good governance practice, and capitalize on the "wisdom in the room," offering opportunities for Heads and Trustees to share what works at their schools and what keeps them up at night!
On Saturday, we will be available for one-on-one consultation sessions for Heads, Trustees, or school governance teams, to explore specific challenges and questions you might have in dialing in good governance at your school. Plus, we will share news about the "next-gen" resource to Boards. Following on from the AISA Code of Governance, the AAIE sponsored, US Department of State Office of Overseas Schools funded project to develop training materials for Board Chairs and Heads to work in partnership to lead their Boards to effective governance has been launched, and we'll share that with you at the conference.
Please check out the AISA conference webpage and feel free to contact any of us for more information about our Deep Dive together in Capetown. Hope to see you there!
Teresa Arpin David Chojnacki Rick Detwiler
firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
The Inaugural AISA Invitational Conference, hosted by American International School, Lagos (AISL)
By Kim Rayl, Director of Teaching and Learning
The conference theme, “Developing Globally Competent Students” was highlighted during the opening plenary session as five high school students shared their AISL experience during a moderated panel, answering: When you think about the future, what do you see as the greatest challenge facing your generation, and what are the skills and competencies you will need to face those challenges? Challenges such as global warming, environmental degradation and the changing landscape of work due to AI were noted, while the concept of empathy was seen as a particularly relevant and critical competency. The students also reflected on the value of an international education not only for themselves, but also for the world, sharing their thoughts on, What makes AISL an international school? While a student population of over 55 nationalities as acknowledged as contributing to AISL’s internationalism, the students dug deeper, speaking to the duality of feeling belonging and acceptance when joining AISL as they simultaneously felt empowered to maintain their individuality and pride in their diversity. Specific examples of how AISL teachers design Project-Based Learning (PBL) units that challenge students to become increasingly self-directed and intrinsically motivated learners, while building their global competence, helped the audience of inspired educators draw a connection between theory and practice. The AISL competency, effective communicators, was demonstrated by all five high school students as they confidently shared their perspective with conference participants.
The opening plenary was attended by AISL’s Board of Trustees Chairperson, Mr. Ali Safieddine and US Ambassador Representative to the Board of Trustees, Ms. Carole Cox. AISL was also honored to host representatives from the Lagos Teaching Services Commission; Director, Mr. Aina Adewale and Deputy Director, Ms. Osu Adenike who expressed their appreciation for the outreach efforts made on the part of AISL. Introduced by Superintendent Greg Rayl, the AISL expanded Arts program was highlighted during the opening ceremony with performances by elementary, middle and high school students who didn’t mind coming to school on a Saturday for the chance to perform!
Participants attended four deep-dive workshops in total- two per day- from a selection of twenty offerings, the majority of which were led by AISL teachers and administrators. The offerings were varied and designed to address the specific interests of teachers, administrators and school owners. The feedback before and after the event has been very positive. Mrs. CJ Okoye, a Chemistry Teacher and Head of Department for Science from Essence International School in Kaduna shared her thoughts on the opportunity the AIC presented: “I was excited about the opportunity to attend the conference and to be enriched academically and in management skills. I cannot wait to go back to my school and share my experiences. It’s been an adventure and AISA is that point of call we’ve been waiting for to move up the academic ladder.” Likewise, Kevin Donnelly from Brookstone School in Port Harcourt found the conference theme and networking opportunities of most value: “I’m looking forward to listening to new ideas, meeting new people and seeing how we can adapt education practices for the 21st century.”
The AISL teachers and administrators that presented workshops expressed how professionally fulfilling it was to participate, noting that participants were highly enaged and eager to learn. After two days of presenting, networking and sharing, AISL teachers and Administrators that presented, and volunteers, were understandably exhausted! But in any worthwhile endeavor, the end justifies the means. The inaugural AIC was just that; the first in a series of annual conferences that AISL will host with AISA each March. Why? Because as a learning organization, when we give back to our host country, our region, and our educational association, we have the opportunity not only to highlight the AISL curricular program, but we are in turn inspired to grow and to learn. The questions we ask and the manner in which we spend our time defines us. Continuous growth, learning and sharing; these are the values that define AISL.
For our 50th Anniversary Conference we have brought together a world class platform of global experts who are shaping education to meet the needs of the next generation. Their thinking is breaking barriers, challenging convention and putting students and learning at the core of what we do. Together, these voices will herald the future of international education and should not be missed!
Ewan McIntosh, Founder and Manager of No Tosh, has revolutionised the way schools think and act strategically. With a passion for learning and a conviction that innovation, creativity and design thinking can change the way people think, the way they learn and the way they work , Ewan brings a fresh look at strategic leadership to our conference. Familiar with how international schools work, Ewan will provoke you provoke you and challenge the way you see strategy, leadership and school governance. Growing out of his work at the conference, Ewan will be leading his first Incubator Group of school leaders who will work with him on strategy, leadership and governance for a 9 month period as part of a new, regional partnership between No Tosh and AISA.
See more on Ewan at https://notosh.com/ and YouTube here.
Jay Mctighe, Author and Global Thought Leader in Education, has co-authored 14 books, including the award-winning and best-selling Understanding by Design series with Grant Wiggins. His work has been translated into ten languages and he has led professional learning for educators in 35 countries on six continents. Jay had facilitated at AISA Conferences twice before and due to the enduring relevance and applicability of his work, he returns again. He is one of the great voices that has shaped education in the past few decades and learning with him directly is a must-do for everyone working in education today.
See more of Jay at https://jaymctighe.com/
Jennifer Abrams, formerly a high school English teacher and a new teacher coach, is currently a communications consultant who works with educators and others on new teacher and employee support, being generationally savvy, effective collaboration skills, having hard conversations and creating identity safe workplaces.
Jennifer’s publications include Having Hard Conversations, The Multigenerational Workplace: Communicate, Collaborate & Create Community and Hard Conversations Unpacked - the Whos, Whens and What Ifs. Her upcoming book out in March of 2019 is Swimming in the Deep End: Four Foundational Skills for Leading Successful School Initiatives.
Jennifer was named one of the “18 Women All K-12 Educators Should Know,” featured in the blog ‘Finding Common Ground’’ from Education Week, and has also been awarded the International Educational Entrepreneur Award by the International Academy for Educational Entrepreneurs.
See more on Jennifer at www.jenniferabrams.com, or Twitter @jenniferabrams.
Alexa Schmid, the International School of Kenya’s Middle School Principal, has been selected by the U.S. Department of State as Principal of the Year for 2019.
With 16 years of teaching and leadership experience, Ms. Alexa Schmid has combined her passion for education, a steady vision, and strong leadership to create an environment in which students and teachers achieve success together, and where emphasis is placed on the development of student-led opportunities and creating a sense of belonging and identity for middle school students.
According to the International School of Kenya’s Director, Mr. David Henry, "Alexa Schmid has a can-do attitude that gives her the ability to quickly adapt to new situations and find solutions that all can agree with. This, coupled with her humbleness and evidence of student success, makes her a deserving recipient of the National Association of Secondary School Principals Award.”
“I am deeply pleased and honored to receive this prestigious award,” said Schmid. “There are many metaphors that can explain our role as leaders; however, my favorite is one of principal as a gardener. In this vein, our job as leaders is to nurture and support those in our community to blossom,” stated Schmid. “I need to create fertile ground and a space where creativity, innovation, and possibilities seem endless. I try to do this through modeling risk-taking and curiosity.”
As a distinguished principal recipient, Ms. Schmid has been invited to participate in The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) National Principal of the Year (POY) program for 2019, where she will be recognized among similarly named principals from the 50 United States, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defence Education Activity, and the U.S. Department of State Office of Overseas Schools.
The award, sponsored by NASSP, is given in recognition of providing high-quality learning opportunities for students as well as demonstrating exemplary contributions to the profession.
Ms. Schmid will travel to Washington, D.C. in late September 2019 to participate in the NASSP National POY ceremonies. During the event, principals will participate in professional development, network with NASSP staff and their peers, and on Tuesday, October 1st be officially recognized for their achievement during an awards program and reception.
“Alexa’s input into her school community continues to be an admirable example of positive leadership,” says Henry. “She has been an invaluable asset to the International School of Kenya, and we are confident her impact on our students and community will resonate for years to come. As a community, we are exceptionally proud of her and all of her accomplishments.”
We are always keen to hear from AISA Educators, Leaders and Associates who want to take part in the webinar series. If you have a topic you want to share and you are a passionate presenter who can discuss the issue and answer questions from participants, then we want to hear from you!
Our webinars follow an interview format, so you will asked to explain the big issues in your topic, offer advice and engage with your audience. You can apply to be part of one of our webinars via the online form.
We are thrilled to announce that the 2020 AISA-Global Issues Service Summit (AISA-GISS), will be hosted by the International Community School of Abidjan on 16 – 18 January, 2020.
Please mark your calendars and plan to send a team of students from your school if you can. More information on website https://aisa.or.ke/AISA-GISS
Jambo and warm greetings from the AISA office in Nairobi.
I am just back from the latest AISA Board meeting in Kampala. In fact, it was just me and the AISA Board Chair (Caroline Jacoby) in attendance there. The rest of the Board were in their offices at schools around Africa. We were connected by a Zoom meeting over 4 time zones. I have to say I was a little nervous about how this would go with potential connectivity and power issues and some ‘soft’ issues around our ability to communicate effectively and avoid the inevitable interruptions that might come to a head’s office during our meeting.
In the end it went extremely well. We were online for around 4 hours and under Caroline’s careful guidance worked our way systematically and efficiently through our extensive agenda. Some key parts of the discussion were around AISA’s new programming for Wellbeing in our schools, as well the plans for a significant review of the way we support Governance and Leadership learning in our schools.
For the former, it has been my contention for some time that for effective student learning to take place there needs to be an atmosphere that is conducive to the well-being of the entire school community, not just for students, but for educators, parents, co-professionals and school leaders (including our heads of school). As I visit schools it is easy to tell when the leadership team pays specific attention to this. These schools have a different feel to them. In a world where both the external and internal pressures seem to be increasing, AISA intends to look carefully at how we can support you to be at your very best as you work towards realizing your own school mission and your individual goals in life. More on this as we explore these ideas further.
Another key discussion with the AISA Board was around the Governance and Leadership support we offer from AISA. In the coming year, AISA intends to conduct a thorough review of this support and redesign our programming where necessary so that our Governance and Leadership support becomes more sustainable, more accessible, more robust and more effective. I think the days of conducting endless ‘Board Training’ retreats has run its course. Even with the best facilitators in attendance, the high turnover of board members and heads of school in our region tend to make this approach less effective – it just does not gain the traction it needs to be successful. So, with the AISA Board’s support, we’re going to look at the governance needs of our schools very carefully and work with several partners to design something better.
We’re also preparing for our inaugural AISA Invitational Conferences (AIC) in Lagos at the end of March. This carefully curated professional learning event is aimed at supporting non-member schools who value the same personalized learning approach as AISA schools and may wish to learn more. A key aspect of the AIC will be to introduce some of our key accreditation partners to the leadership teams of these schools in order to increase their appreciation of what continuous school improvement can look like. I’ll let you know how it goes next month.
The Board did a whole lot more in its meeting covering a whole variety of topics and issues. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their work. In particular I would like to thank our Chairperson Caroline Jacoby who is stepping down from the AISA Board this year. She has been a supportive guide and mentor to me and has stewarded the organization through a period of growth and development, the impact of which I hope you have felt as I have.
I’d also like to thank Dr Irene Epp who is also completing her term on the AISA Board as she moves into the next phase of her life after international schools. Irene has been involved with the Association for many years. In recent times her wise counsel on the AISA Board and her guiding and structuring of our Small Schools Initiative in particular have had a deep and lasting impact on our region.
AISA is very pleased to announce the addition of two new Board members to our ranks. Dr Fatma Odaymat (ARIS) and Dr Mary Shun (GIS). Read their bio's on the AISA website here.
We know you join us on congratulating them on their election to the AISA Board.
We are is pleased to announce the AISA 2019 Conference website is now live. This will be our special 50th Anniversary edition for the conference and we have an amazing line up of learning and social events for you in Cape Town from 21 -23 November 2019. Find out more information here
AISA is looking for four of the most innovative and effective leaders of professional learning in our region to join the AISA PLDT to help guide the design and implementation of our professional learning programming and ensure AISA remains at the forefront of world-class professional growth. PLDT members can be employed at any AISA full member school.
PLDT members are selected on their ability to contribute to the Team’s development of an impactful and relevant Professional Learning Programme for AISA member schools. You will be a member of your school’s senior leadership team and be experienced in thinking strategically. The role entails strategic development of AISA’s expanding calendar of professional learning events, programmatic decision-making, researching and piloting innovations, and measuring impact. PLDT members meet annually for two days before or after the Annual AISA Conference in November and throughout the year via regular online group calls. Each member is expected to actively contribute to planning and promoting AISA’s PL events to colleagues at school and to take leadership of a specific aspect of the team’s work. For the coming year these include:
Early Years Education
This voluntary role is a fantastic opportunity to work collaboratively with, and learn from, other international thought leaders in the field of professional learning, to follow your passion for professional learning and to make an impact across the continent of Africa.
We welcome applications from across our diverse range of schools and educators.
Applications must be completed online by April 30th 2019.
If you have any questions, please contact Graham Watts
AISA Director of Professional Learning
The American International School of Conakry, Guinea seeks a new Director for the 2019-20 – 2020-2021 school years
Founded in 1963, the American International School of Conakry (AISC) is a non-profit, tuition-based, co-educational, independent and private international day school serving children in Kindergarten through twelfth grade. Accredited with MSA, our school offers an English-language education to a small and diverse student population of about 90 students. Teaching and learning is based on the tenets of American pedagogy. Following AERO standards across all grades-- from Kindergarten through 12th grade--we use materials and employ teaching strategies representative of the best educational practices existing in the United States. We provide an exciting and caring learning environment where challenging curriculum coupled with a low student-teacher ratio fosters close, supportive relationships. Our high school was established two years ago and we are ambitious to grow it and offer our students a quality high school curriculum, including AP courses, college counseling, and access to American universities. Our students are our school’s greatest asset.
The school’s mission is to develop intellectually audacious, socially responsible citizens of the world. We embrace the following values:
Our school is governed by a seven-member Board of Trustees with six members elected by the AISC Association plus a seventh member appointed by the United States Ambassador to Conakry.
During the 2018-2019 school year, 91 students enrolled in Kindergarten through Grade 12 representing 18 nationalities from around the world. Enrollment has increased every year steadily, growing 90% since 2016. The international and multicultural makeup of the AISC student body is a wonderful asset for the school. The AISC faculty has dedicated itself to providing optimal learning opportunities that take into account our diverse population. Class sizes at AISC are small, allowing for a close and attentive teacher-student relationship. Students are generally grouped together in multi-age classrooms.
The AISC faculty consists of 12 full time and three part-time teachers, many of whom are U.S. trained and fully certified professional educators who provide instruction in the core and specialist subjects. French and PE is taught to all students from Kindergarten through Grade 12. Art and video journalism are taught as specials. The AISC administrative staff consists of the Director, and Executive Assistant, an accountant, part-time Office Manager, a procurement officer, an IT specialist, an admissions registrar, and facilities manager with a team of gardeners and maintenance staff. Four aides support the educational and extra-curricular program.
AISC supports the professional development of its faculty with three-hours of common planning/meeting time every week used for in-house peer-to-peer professional development. Additionally, AISC is a member of the Association of International Schools in Africa, leveraging copious professional development opportunities with conferences and regional workshops. The school also provides financial support for faculty members wishing to participate in other professional development programs.
The American International School of Conakry is currently located in a calm quarter of town close to the Nongo Stadium in a US-embassy rented private compound. The current facility, consists of three main, single-story buildings housing 10 classrooms, an art room, a science lab, shared office space for teachers, workrooms, a faculty lounge, and offices. The campus has a pool and multi-purpose sports courts for tennis, basketball, soccer, and handball, and a sandbox/playground area, and a large building for assemblies and PE classes. A variety of flowering plants and trees provide for a quiet, peaceful setting.
The school board is currently investigating options to move school into new premises designed for educational purposes and offering our growing student community the best learning environment possible.
Main Goals for our School and its new Director:
The overall success of AISC is closely tied to our ability and courage to maintain a steady focus on goals developed jointly by the Board of Trustees, administration, faculty, and parents.
A. Provide inclusive, quality education to our diverse student body following AERO standards and a learner-centered, constructivist approach to education;
B. Grow our high school and ensure high school students’ successful transition into University;
C. Attract, develop and maintain caring, enthusiastic and experienced, preferably US-certified teachers;
D. Strengthen our financial sustainability and ensure transparent management of our school’s resources and effective school governance on the whole;
E. Strengthen our service-learning program and offering of extra-curricular activities;
F. Improve the school’s facilities to offer the best learning and teaching environment possible to our students and faculty.
The Director will be responsible to the Board of Trustees and act under its direction for the following principal activities (not an all inclusive list):
Summary of Responsibilities:
Hired and supervised by the Board of Trustees of the school, the Head of School (HoS) is delegated to supervise all activities of the school in line with board established policies and the overall mission, values and principles of the school. S/he organizes the School and its employees into an efficient and cooperative institution of professionally trained staff working towards the achievement of the School’s mission.
The Director might delegate the below described responsibilities to assistants and others at his/her discretion, but is in every instance responsible for the proper conduct of the School and its programs, and the welfare of its students, staff and faculty.
Specific Tasks and Responsibilities:
A. Sustaining Quality Education:
The Director’s main efforts lie in the field of educational leadership and supervision. S/he:
B. Human Resource Management:
C. School Administration:
E. Ensure the management and continuous improvement of the school’s facilities, their safety and security
F. Community Engagement:
H. School Governance:
Strengths to be protected, defended and preserved by the new Director
Critical Issues Facing AISC in the next 3-5 years
AISC is looking for a Director with the following qualifications:
Other desirable qualifications include:
Personal Skills and Abilities
Most of all, our ideal candidate:
· Deeply values students, teachers, families and staff and their contribution to our school and its community
· Thrives on the opportunities and challenges of running a small international school in Sub-Saharan Africa
· Is a great listener and able to connect people, build bridges and earn trust
· Is fair and consistent in his decisions and the way he interacts with others
· Works well together with people from a diverse background
· Ws prepared to deal positively with whatever situation might arise
Applicants whose spouses are experienced teachers are particularly encouraged to apply.
Salary and Benefits will be competitive and consistent with the candidate’s experience and with similar positions at other schools of similar size in the region.
For more information and photos, please visit the school website at www.aisconakry.org
Qualified candidates should send the following as e-mail attachments to
Stefanie.email@example.com (Vice President Board of Trustees)
Up to three (3) open letters of reference may also be submitted electronically.
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