In May 2022, nearly 30 Heads of Schools met in majestic Cape Town for the first AISA School Heads Retreat since we were in Victoria Falls in Sept 2018. Among the many peer-led discussions, some topics stood out and warrant sharing with a wider audience.
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice (DEIJ)
Schools are listening and learning, ensuring many voices are heard and multiple perspectives are considered. Many efforts to include LGBTQ+ students and adults in AISA schools were discussed, with schools sharing innovative and subtle ways to ensure a sense of belonging and inclusion for all.
Student voice or voices came up in many conversations as a key practice to embed as schools develop plans for transformation. Whether it is in the design of the curriculum, in DEIJ listening circles, in leading teachers’ PD or working with the school board to design future strategy, student voice is front and centre in AISA schools.
Ongoing concerns exist among some school leaders over how the demand for international school teachers will be met in the years to come. Programmes to professionally develop host nation teachers and teaching assistants for teaching roles in AISA schools were shared including a multifaceted programme at the International School of Uganda.
Wellbeing and Mental Health
Wellbeing for school leaders as well as students, teachers and the wider school community is a key priority for AISA school leaders. The need to focus on wellbeing and promoting positive mental health in schools is greater now than ever before and innovations on how to design for wellbeing are at the core of school life. Growing alertness to mental health issues and when leaders should intervene was evident in the discussion.
Look out for more details on the 2023 Retreat next May in Accra, Ghana.
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