By Jane Larsson
If you work in education, the end of each term brings many things—joyful celebrations, relief, achievement, disappointment, arrivals, departures, and most of all a whole lot of change. It’s at these moments that we pause, think deeply and make decisions about the future. Some decisions are long in the making, but others suddenly become apparent. Why? Because these end of term moments bring with them the time to stop doing, breathe, and really think about what we do.
Imagine the possibilities … this is the perfect time of year to do just that.
At CIS, we assemble our global team at the end of each term and make decisions about our future. We value these times together so much, gathering with trusted colleagues to check our assumptions and validate our perspectives. We typically focus on what we will do better or what we want to start doing. But this June’s global team meeting was different. We gave as much focus to the things we should no longer spend time doing. Quite simply, we were leading activities that were not putting our skills to purposeful use or creating the results our communities need.
Many of our members will know that we’re not afraid to pause, evaluate, adjust or discontinue initiatives or ways of working when we believe they are not giving value to our members. Some of our latest necessary corrections, I’ll call them, have taken place because we gave ourselves the time to come together and validate our perceptions and convictions.
- We're no longer designing learning opportunities exclusively for school OR university leaders. While we continue to offer tailored learning opportunities for each sector, we’re now intentionally bringing together leaders from across our university and school communities. Collectively, we want to see what we can accomplish together to resolve some of the biggest education hurdles talked about by students, parents and educators around the world.
- We will change the way we undertake school accreditation with partner agencies. Some of our schools choose to be externally evaluated by multiple agencies for a variety of reasons. Previously, schools were able to blend our protocol with that of NEASC. From January 2020 going forward, we will only use our CIS International Accreditation Protocol as the shared framework for evaluation with each partner agency. The fundamental drivers of our mission are those that both drive our protocol and our globally benchmarked standards for high-quality international education. They must be the foundation for our conversations on school improvement leading to the development of global citizens.
- We will stop running teacher recruitment fairs. International recruiting fairs emerged in the mid-’70s to help school leaders meet as many candidates as possible in one venue. Times have changed. The data shows that the majority of school leaders are now using technology for initial, extensive online screening, followed by virtual interviews, direct visits and increasingly, hiring locally. What we do well at CIS and will continue to focus on is supporting schools as they identify and select school leaders, strengthening their recruitment practices and developing staff from within to meet hiring and retention goals. Through our evaluation, guidance and support for schools, we have insights into their culture and performance, validating the kind of leader a school community is seeking, and importantly, the kind of leader it needs.
Much of our work in school improvement is hidden, as it addresses foundational beliefs, values, and how they are put into practice to deliver high-quality international education, and ultimately, the development of global citizens. Our team pledges to work with our university and school members to develop knowledge and skills, to regularly evaluate our progress and impact, and in turn, develop policies and practices that will help them lead their own communities forward and achieve their goals.
The CIS purpose is to: promote international and intercultural understanding, collaboration and support through the activities of Members.
Why do you belong to CIS? What does it look like in your community when we do this best?