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ISL Magazine is an online publication for senior leaders in the global international schools market. It shares solutions-oriented, quick-to-read features, ideas, insights and good practice including evidence-based approaches to school leadership to support international school management, school-wide initiatives, and development.

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Here are some highlights from recent issues of International School Leader Magazine.

Educating East Jerusalem: The UN Sustainable Development Goals as a change agent of society
Educating East Jerusalem: The UN Sustainable Development Goals as a change agent of society

A whole school focus on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) helped to both resuscitate and bring hope to a school community and allowed its students to understand themselves anew, as authors of their own destinies, as Andrew Watson explains. Read more

Data-driven interventions for Third Culture Kids
Data-driven interventions for Third Culture Kids

Third Culture Kids (TCKs), children who grow up outside their passport countries, face a lot of mobility and transition which increases difficulties that serve as sources of resilience – if adequate support is provided. When that support is not present, we see struggles with regulation, connection and empathy for others. Read more

Empathy at Sara Village School
Empathy at Sara Village School

Our mission at Sara Village School is ‘We Inspire Innovation and Compassionate Action’. Our work integrating empathy into our curriculum, and our celebration of Empathy Week, has been a key strategy in our efforts to live our mission. Read more

Supporting equality in international school leadership
Supporting equality in international school leadership

Beccy Fox, Director of Teaching and Learning at KIS International School, Bangkok, shares her recent thoughts about women in leadership in international schools. Read more

Changing school culture and infrastructure
Changing school culture and infrastructure

Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) work is change management work. Embedding DEI practices in one’s institution requires knowing what accelerates change, and what impedes it. In this article we draw on Lippitt’s Managing Complex Change model and Powell and Powell’s NFI Inclusive Toolkit, to introduce a Total Inclusivity Change Components Model. Read more

Tech cognisance, competence and confidence in teachers
Tech cognisance, competence and confidence in teachers

As you look ahead to 2023, how are the decisions made about using digital technologies in your classrooms shaping the skills and awareness of your students to live in a globalised world? Read more

Post-COVID wellbeing in international school communities
Post-COVID wellbeing in international school communities

There is a desire to move forward and leave the past behind, and many students and teachers are more or less able to do this. However, a significant proportion of staff, students, parents and families continue to experience difficulties relating to the pandemic. There is much we can do if we take the initiative now. Read more

Leading recovery through positive contagion
Leading recovery through positive contagion

In 2019, AFNORTH International School was flying high, following a cultural shift that placed Values-based Education at the core of its work. However, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the innovative and ambitious international model for education that had seen four different national sections, and six school sections, collaborate to establish and embed a commonly agreed ethical values approach was ‘attacked’ overnight. Read more

Exploring the world of work with meaning and purpose
Exploring the world of work with meaning and purpose

Dulwich College Beijing in China won the Pathways to Continued and University Education Award at the 2022 International School Awards. Here, Anthony Coles explains the initiative and its continued development since receiving the recognition. Read more

A common language for great teaching
A common language for great teaching

As part of a review of Continuous Professional Learning (CPL), the senior leadership team at Kellett School has identified the potential of using a clearly articulated common language when it comes to teaching and learning. Read more

Are parents of international school students racist?
Are parents of international school students racist?

Danau Tanu, Author and Japan Foundation Research Fellow at the Waseda University Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies in Tokyo, shares her experiences of internalised racism, helping to raise awareness around the issue. Read more

Wellness in Action
Wellness in Action

Students looking out for the mental health of peers is always positive, especially when students can actively engage in activities that they can incorporate into their lives. Mick Admundson-Geisel, High School Counsellor at The International School Yangon, Myanmar, shares advice on how to implement a student-led wellness project. Read more

Eight lessons in experience strategy for the school of the future
Eight lessons in experience strategy for the school of the future

Living in the shadow of a global pandemic, it is hard to avoid articles about the school of the future. David Willows and Suzette Parlevliet, co-founders of Yellow Car, share eight lessons in experience strategy designed to help schools stand out. Read more

A kinder, better place
A kinder, better place

The International School of Zug and Luzern was honoured with two 2022 International School Awards in January: the International Impact Award for its Global Changemakers Project and the Environment Award for its Aquaponics Programme. Both initiatives highlight work by students and for students towards realising a vision for a better, kinder world as Head of School Barry Dequanne explains. Read more

A data-driven route to better life and learning for students
A data-driven route to better life and learning for students

Over the past five years, Gems Founders School, Dubai (GFS) has focused on shifting the assessment paradigm as part of their school improvement strategy. Read more

Supporting SEN in all environments
Supporting SEN in all environments

Identifying, planning for and meeting the needs of SEN students in an international setting throws up an array of unique challenges. Recognising SEN in countries such as Thailand, where a stigma around those with learning difficulties and/or disabilities still exists, is often the first hurdle to overcome. Read more

Addressing teacher recruitment challenges through training
Addressing teacher recruitment challenges through training

Good schools need good teachers. But the fact is that teacher supply presents a significant challenge for the international sector. Dr Fiona Rogers, Deputy CEO, Director of Professional Development and Research at COBIS, highlights how to overcome these challenges. Read more

Developing an empathic community
Developing an empathic community

Everyone needs a role model. The smallest of children naturally find someone they look up to, and seek out those they most relate to, and this continues throughout life. Professor Dr Ger Graus OBE shares insights into how to develop an empathic community within international schools. Read more

The future is Meta
The future is Meta

Sunny Thakral, Head of Computer Science at Brighton College Bangkok, discusses how we can educate children in the metaverse and through using virtual reality. Read more

Leading a smart campus
Leading a smart campus

How do you run a campus with 3,500 students who have the option of learning multiple curricula under one roof, right from their early childhood years until they graduate high school? It’s a humongous task to say the least, and it's challenging. But it's not impossible, especially when you have designed it to be one of the first smart campuses of the world. Read more

Pathways into aviation, aeronautics and STEM
Pathways into aviation, aeronautics and STEM

Mariona Coderch López shares insights into her journey of taking GEMS International School - Al Khail (GIS) through the accreditation process of the International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme (CP). Read more

Transitions care matters for everyone
Transitions care matters for everyone

Jessica Fortin, Admissions Director at the International Community School of Addis Ababa, shares insights into the implementation of transitions-care learning. Read more

Improving the induction of new staff in international schools
Improving the induction of new staff in international schools

With an average of just three years per contract, what are international schools doing to support new staff – those new to the location, and those who are local but new to the school? Read more

A strategic approach to wellbeing within an international school community
A strategic approach to wellbeing within an international school community

Marlborough College Malaysia won the strategic leadership award at the 2022 International School Awards for a whole-school positive psychology and wellbeing initiative for students and staff, involving a wellbeing researcher-in-residence and peer group mental health first-aiders for staff. Read more

Big ideas: forging partnerships to tackle climate change
Big ideas: forging partnerships to tackle climate change

Graeme Lawrie's role is to drive ACS's charitable mission to advance the education of its students and also the wider community, by working locally and internationally, sharing expertise and resources, as a valued partner to schools, businesses, and communities. Read more

Every drop counts: A whole-school approach to sustainable development
Every drop counts: A whole-school approach to sustainable development

When Greta Thunberg stood outside the Swedish Parliament in September 2018 with a sign saying ‘School Strike for Climate’, she captured the imaginations of young people everywhere, including those at Chinese International School (CIS) in Hong Kong. Read more

Creativity on a roll – Bringing innovation and creativity into the international school curriculum
Creativity on a roll – Bringing innovation and creativity into the international school curriculum

The Design, Innovation, Computing, Enterprise (DICE) curriculum at Nord Anglia International School Dubai (NAS Dubai) recently won the International School Awards (ISAs) Innovation and Creativity in Learning category for its novel and creative approach. The award is testament to the work and dedication of the staff, students and school community. Read more

Developing self-directed learners
Developing self-directed learners

The educational journey from kindergarten right through to high school and beyond can be extremely fulfilling and inspiring for many young people, but it can also be a real struggle for others.  Read more

Jack and me: What I learned about inclusivity, and how schools can become more inclusive, from my transgender son
Jack and me: What I learned about inclusivity, and how schools can become more inclusive, from my transgender son

Modest estimates suggest that at least 1% of the global population currently identify as trans or non-binary. This means that, even in smaller schools, some of your students will be questioning their gender identity and, in private if not in public, many of these students will be taking their first steps towards transitioning from the sex that was assigned to them at birth. Read more

DEIJ and the educational journey. Listening, learning and committed to action for meaningful systemic change
DEIJ and the educational journey. Listening, learning and committed to action for meaningful systemic change

At UWCSEA, for over 50 years we have acknowledged that our vision of a peaceful, sustainable future would only be achieved through the combined strengths and differences of many, working together and committed to deliberate actions for greater equity and inclusion on our campuses. Read more

Award-winning digital tech-centred project-based problem-solving
Award-winning digital tech-centred project-based problem-solving

Colegio Panamericano in Colombia won the Digital Technology in Learning International Schools Award 2022 for an interdisciplinary project-based approach to problem-solving that integrates digital technology. Read more

Embedding a culture of inclusion
Embedding a culture of inclusion

In recent years, diversity, equity, inclusion and justice (DEIJ) has risen to the fore of the international school agenda. The scope of focus is broad, from examining DEIJ as employers to enabling it as educators. However unique these areas may seem operationally, the key to progress is the same – developing a culture of inclusion Read more

Leading a long-term digital strategy within an international school setting
Leading a long-term digital strategy within an international school setting

Emily Colyer, Content Producer at Bett, talks to Brian Taylor, Assistant Principal at Bangkok Patana School in Thailand about how Bangkok Patana is honing its long-term digital strategy. Read more

Empowering students to disclose abuse
Empowering students to disclose abuse

The International School Ho Chi Minh City – American Academy won the Safeguarding awards at the 2022 International School Awards for an initiative that protects students from abuse and trains international schools in child protection practices. Michael Tower, the school’s Safeguarding Lead, shares details. Read more

Supporting students displaced by war
Supporting students displaced by war

For the past five years, Amala has worked with young people who are displaced. Here are some things to keep in mind when receiving and supporting students displaced by war. Read more

Investigating value through storytelling and fantasy
Investigating value through storytelling and fantasy

Berlin Brandenburg International School won the Ethical Values Education Award at this year’s International School Awards and explains their award-winning initiative here . The judging panel considered it a model for all schools as judge Paul Regan explains. Read more

Growing the change-makers of tomorrow 
Growing the change-makers of tomorrow 

Berlin Brandenburg International School won the Ethical Values Award at the International School Awards 2022 for its Growing Up initiative. The project was piloted in the Early Education Programme and received widespread acclaim from the judges who proposed it as an approach that “all schools could model”.  Read more

Pioneering a culture of inclusion
Pioneering a culture of inclusion

Al-Bayan International School received a special commendation at the 2022 International School Awards for introducing extensive inclusive education in Kuwait. Read more

Reshaping learning the IB way
Reshaping learning the IB way

When Pathways School Noida, received a request to help introduce Delhi government teachers to the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) we were delighted to leap in to help. Our initiative preceded the formal training that the IB itself conducts. It demanded a lot from our teachers who volunteered. They needed to understand where to begin, conduct sessions after school hours and during the Diwali mid-semester break, and review lesson plans and classroom activities. Read more

Make waves in your curriculum 
Make waves in your curriculum 

At this year’s International School Awards, The Harbour School, Hong Kong received the Teaching and Learning Award for its place-based experiential learning initiative.  Read more

Developing change-makers
Developing change-makers

In an increasingly (and some might say over) globalised world, schools often utilise terms such as ‘global citizenship’, ‘sustainability’ or ‘service learning’ to describe a set of conditions aimed at making the world a better place through student work. American School of Dubai (ASD) strives to be such a school, in part through its change-maker education programme. Read more

Contextualising international mindedness
Contextualising international mindedness

Christopher Allen is Director of Learning and Technology and the Theory of Knowledge Coordinator at the Al Sahwa Schools in Oman shares his thoughts on the topic of international mindedness. Read more

Connecting the community through big and small talk
Connecting the community through big and small talk

Rugby School Thailand won the Community Wellbeing initiative at the 2022 International School Awards. Read about their initiative and advice here. Read more

Leading comfort and purpose during uncertain times 
Leading comfort and purpose during uncertain times 

 At this year’s International School Awards, the European Azerbaijan School received a special commendation for delivering educational support to students who are living in the Nagorno Karabakh war zone. CEO and Director, Francesco Banchini, shares the school’s story.  Read more

My PhD journey as Head of School
My PhD journey as Head of School

Dr. Omolola Wright-Odusoga, experienced international school head and education consultant to schools discussed her PHD journey as a head of school. Read more

Are your DEIJ initiatives meaningful?
Are your DEIJ initiatives meaningful?

As a future or current revolutionary educator what will you do to ensure that transparency and accountability become an intrinsic part of your values? How will you ensure that all community members feel humanised, seen, and valued? How will you fight for students' right to discover themselves and be provided the adequate tools to understand their reality so that they do not simply feed into the cycle of oppression? Read more

Atomic theory in the primary years
Atomic theory in the primary years

On a global scale, the teaching of atomic theory is not commonly introduced into the curriculum until secondary school. With the support and guidance of specialist science duo, Ian Stuart, founder of Atomic School, and Ruben Meerman, physicist and science educator, Bangkok Patana School has introduced an atomic theory curriculum into its primary school. Read more

Sustainable STEM
Sustainable STEM

Take a moment to imagine a school focused on sustainability. What does it look like? What are the students doing?  You might have imagined upcycled fashion, growing food and recycling plastics. You might have imagined awareness campaigns, low-energy days or a meat-free cafeteria. What you might not have imagined are computer simulations, programming or electronics. Why?  Read more

Finding benefits in online leadership training
Finding benefits in online leadership training

Discover the benefits of online training. As an international school teacher, online learning can, if delivered well, offer a welcome chance to talk with teachers working in domestic and overseas contexts about a huge range of common educational issues. It also gives you the chance to put learning into practice alongside another school in another part of the world. Read more

Scholarship towards change
Scholarship towards change

In 2021, the Education Collaborative for International Schools (ECIS), awarded two scholarships for two university students. One of the recipients was Leila Belkacem, a final-year Saharawi refugee student at United World College in Maastricht (UWCM), Netherlands. Here is Leila’s story of education as a refugee and the impact of scholarship. Read more

A coaching way of leadership
A coaching way of leadership

What does contemporary international school leadership look like in 2022? The challenges of the last 24 months, while arguably ‘unprecedented’ (how often have we seen that word since early 2020?), showed us that the most effective leadership approaches continue to align with the skills and methods of effective coaching. Read more

A pre-university experience
A pre-university experience

Chris Lowe, Head of Secondary at The British International School of Abu Dhabi, explains the initiative that won them the Pathways to Higher Education Award at the International School Awards 2021. Read more

Finding pathway guidance in different sources
Finding pathway guidance in different sources

What pathway support do international school students find most valuable? Reina Tayyibji shares the results of research she conducted with her peers about this question. Read more

Distributed guidance: A new era in pathways planning
Distributed guidance: A new era in pathways planning

Nik Higgins Co-founder at The Ambassador Platform, speaks about the emerging technologies and the applications of Experience Communication Management (XCM) in school pathways planning and how they are offering a mechanism for the guidance burden to become distributed. Read more

The impact of being an international school alumna
The impact of being an international school alumna

Celine* is a 20-year-old international school alumna who attended international schools in the Asia-Pacific for 13 years. She now studies Business Administration at her country’s national university. In this interview, Anson explores Celine’s choices, the challenges she faced and how being an international school student influenced her experience. Read more

Pathways and possibilities
Pathways and possibilities

One of the biggest questions any school can ask itself is ‘what is our purpose’? Some schools will say they exist to ensure students get into university and focus on grades and exams, others look a little further along the timeline and view their role as preparing students for university and career. The International School of Kuala Lumpur (ISKL) in Malaysia believes the answer is much broader and longer-term, as Jeff Farrington, ISKL’s High School Principal, explains. Read more

Empowering learners to build their futures through personalised learning courses
Empowering learners to build their futures through personalised learning courses

The American International School of Budapest’s (AISB) mission is to empower learners to build their futures and contribute to a better world. In support of this mission, AISB offers rigorous and relevant learning experiences intended to help students explore their passions and interests, and to transform their curiosity into knowledge and skills that can make meaningful contributions to the world. Read more

The community college route to a US bachelor’s degree
The community college route to a US bachelor’s degree

Wendy Stewart, Vice President of International Programs and Extended Learning at Green River College, discusses the community college route to a US Bachelor's Degree. Including tips for college counsellors. Read more

Developing a community of inspiration and aspiration
Developing a community of inspiration and aspiration

Children can only aspire to what they know exists. This goes for every child, whether they’re in a state school in Manchester or in a Dulwich school in China. Aspiring to a future where they have passion and purpose is, to a very significant degree, all about children writing their own narrative of the possible – in other words, making their own decisions about their aspirations. Read more

Our DEI journey
Our DEI journey

UNIS is taking a multi-pronged approach to address DEI. The first step was creating a DEI team composed of various constituents to focus on the school culture, curriculum and overall composition of our community. Read more

Language support in the mainstream classroom
Language support in the mainstream classroom

At Vinschool Central Park in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, we are implementing a school-wide initiative for embedding language support across the curriculum. We are aiming to create a sustainable model that can last as and when teaching staff change.   Read more

Hacking education to inspire innovators
Hacking education to inspire innovators

American Community School of Abu Dhabi won the future-thinking innovators award at the 2021 International School Awards last January.  Here Superintendent, Monique Flickinger tells their award-winning story.  Read more

Leading leaders to leave
Leading leaders to leave

Much has been written about how a Head of School must fight to retain their most talented leaders who are eager to move on to headships themselves. Let me offer a contrarian view: let them go. In fact, wish them bon voyage with fanfare and your sincere blessing, knowing that the departure of these gifted individuals is good news to be celebrated. This has become a cornerstone of leadership development at Frankfurt International School (FIS).  Read more

Achieving evidence-informed leadership
Achieving evidence-informed leadership

While there is no shortage of data and evidence captured in schools, it is rarely used to guide school leadership in a meaningful way. But we can do more – we can use evidence to establish where we are heading and what we need to do to get there. Read more

What racism and bias look like
What racism and bias look like

What can racism look or sound like in an international school that already believes that it is an authentically internationally-minded school? Read more

Concrete action to address discrimination and bias
Concrete action to address discrimination and bias

‘Where do we start?’ ‘Talking about racism and discrimination will upset too many people.’ ‘We do not have that problem here.’ ‘How do you get people of colour to apply to your school?’ These are the statements and questions I have heard over the past two years when discussing how to make a school more inclusive. At the International School of Dakar (ISD), we started with a problem. Read more

Emojis enhance emotional literacy
Emojis enhance emotional literacy

New Cairo British International School in Egypt won the Pastoral Initiative at the 2020 International School Awards this January. Deputy Head Tracy Connor explains the initiative which implemented a daily student check-in platform to make emotional wellness an everyday practice at the school. Read more

Introducing progressive child protection
Introducing progressive child protection

The English School, Kuwait won the International School Awards Safeguarding Award 2021 for a safeguarding initiative that supports its entire international community and that of the wider schools network throughout the country.   Read more

Our journey towards diversity, equity and inclusion
Our journey towards diversity, equity and inclusion

The world we live in today has never been so open. Through media and travel we can experience all the world has to offer and become fully immersed in living life and learning how others live their life. The question is, can you do this without preconceptions, judgemental attitudes, and a true sense of openness?  Read more

Embedding digital literacy across school staff
Embedding digital literacy across school staff

Sunny Thakral participated in a panel session at the ISC Research Edruptors Conference, engaging many educators with his solutions for sustainable tech-supported teaching and learning.   Read more

Sustainability: a mission, not a token
Sustainability: a mission, not a token

Sal Gordon inspired many at this summer’s ISC Research Edruptors Conference with his advice for international schools on embracing sustainability within the school ethos. Here he expands on his conference comments.   Read more

Social justice in international schools
Social justice in international schools

Anson Wong speaks to Kotoha Kudo. Kotoha Kudo was one of the student speakers at the ISC Research Edruptors Conference. She is co-founder of student-led activist group Reset Revolution and participated in the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice panel discussion. Here we ask her to dig a little deeper on her views about social justice in international schools. Read more

Embracing new pedagogies from a virtual school experience
Embracing new pedagogies from a virtual school experience

At Nord Anglia International School, Hong Kong (NAISHK) we were delighted to win the strategic leadership award at the International School Awards for our approach to online learning. We called this our Virtual School Experience (VSE) and it has irrevocably changed a multitude of aspects of our school and left us with some deep questions to consider for the future. Read more

Data Mining in the Early Years
Data Mining in the Early Years

Fiona Carter, Director of Academics at Wellington College China and Matthew Savage, educational consultant and trainer Savage Education share some best practices on Early Years data. Read more

A route to global understanding and wellbeing
A route to global understanding and wellbeing

The Ethical Values Education award at this year’s International School Awards was won by Dulwich College Singapore for a compassionate systems framework developing students’ emotional literacy. Here, Jacob Martin shares details of the initiative. Read more

‘When life gives you lemons’: the importance of positivity
‘When life gives you lemons’: the importance of positivity

It goes without saying that the past year has been a time of unprecedented challenge and uncertainty for school communities around the world. If supporting the social and emotional health of a school community is a big task in a regular school year, what happens to nurturing wellbeing in the midst of a global pandemic? The winner of the International School Award Wellbeing Initiative 2021, The International School of Kuala Lumpur (ISKL), shares how it tackled the challenge. Read more

International School of the Year 2021
International School of the Year 2021

To win the globally contested International School of the Year Award is such an incredible achievement for Branksome Hall Asia, a school that only opened its doors in October 2012. Read more

Higher Education special issue of International School Leader Magazine
Higher Education special issue of International School Leader Magazine

The December issue of International School Leader Magazine is now published. It is a special issue focused on pathways to higher education. Read more

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