Reflections from ISS President Liz Duffy

October 2016


Dear ISS Educator,

I hope that the first few months of your school year have been filled with amazing adventure and growth! As I wrote in early September, ISS has enhanced its professional learning programs in order to better serve ISS and other international educators.  I’m writing to share with you information about a few upcoming opportunities, many of which begin in early November.  Those opportunities include:

Please see below for further information about those topics of most interest to you.

The Science of Learning

ISS is now partnering with Dr. Kevin Mattingly, a longtime middle and high school teacher, adjunct professor, and expert on learning theory and its practical applications. This winter, Kevin will lead an online moderated book group for ISS educators on Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning by Peter Brown. For those of you who would like an early preview of the subject, I encourage you to register for a free edX MOOC that Kevin and Professor Pearl Rock Kane, Director of the Klingenstein Program at Columbia Teacher's College, are leading this November.  Entitled The Science of Learning - What Every Teacher Should Know, this introductory course will show how K-12 teachers can use current research about how our brain works and how we learn to improve classroom outcomes.

The class begins on November 2, lasts four weeks, and will require approximately 2-4 hours of work each week. Register online. You can participate in the book group without participating in the MOOC, and vice versa, but I strongly recommend both; the research is powerful for students and teachers of all grades and subjects and, in many cases, is surprisingly unintuitive. When Kevin presented at the June ISS Ed Leaders Meeting, his sessions generated plenty of good discussion and reflection.

Global Mindedness 

We are very excited to be working with Homa Sabat Tavangar, who has written and spoken extensively about global citizenship, global curriculums, parenting, diversity, and creating inclusive, empathetic working and learning environments. Since ISS is especially focused on global mindedness this year, we have invited her to write a series of blogs and lead a number of Twitterchats on this topic she knows so well. As Homa writes in her first blog post, one of our greatest opportunities as international educators is to develop both our students' and our own global mindset: "Just because we travel and live globally doesn't mean we possess a global mindset. Practicing humility, empathy, and deliberate reflection doesn't come automatically with a passport. Fortunately, taking a few conscious steps toward filling that empathy gap is within the power of most educators (and parents)." Homa will use the global mindset model developed at Thunderbird to frame the discussion.

Join her for the first Twitterchat on November 3 at 9 pm EST, right after #globaledchat at 8 pm, to discuss #globalmindset. She will also host two Twitterchats during International Education Week, November 14-18, on What Does a Globally-Responsive Classroom Look Like?

Please join those chats on November 15 at 9 pm EST and/or November 16 at 9 am EST.

Creativity and Innovation

Level 5 is an agile and creative space at the Shekou International School (an ISS school in Shenzhen, China) that offers a range of professional learning experiences for educators and school leaders. This November, Level 5 is hosting two exciting opportunities:

Create: Film - Nov 5 & 6

Join award-winning filmmaker Nausheen Ishtiaq-Chen and unleash your inner film-maker, using a range of readily accessible technologies to create beautiful, high-quality media productions.

Disrupt & Innovate: Learning Support - Nov 19 & 20

Join Erin Madonna and explore a variety of innovative ways to give every learner the chance to succeed and to be happy, productive members of the school community.

Check out our previous Level 5 events and stay up to date with our latest offerings on Facebook. For those of you unable to travel to China for a workshop, fear not: John Burns, the director of Level 5, is one of the featured keynote speakers at the NESA Winter Training Institute. NESA will take place on January 20-21, 2017, at Riffa Views International School, an ISS managed school in Bahrain. 

Curriculum and Assessment

Laura Benson, ISS's Director of Curriculum and Professional Development, continues to travel around the world visiting our ISS schools to assist with your curricular priorities. The ISS Assessment Study Group is meeting again on November 15th. New editions of the ISS Curriculum Leaders' Newsletter will be shared with all schools in November and December. Additionally, please follow the ISS Open Book blog for a continuous well of professional resources and thinking.

English as an Additional Language

In partnership with Dr. Gini Rojas, a world-renowned EAL consultant and ASCD faculty member, ISS has launched a three-course certification program in EAL instruction. With university credit provided by SUNY, the courses prepare teachers who are trained in best language immersion philosophies and practices. The courses focus on developing administrators' and teachers' mindsets and capacities to respond to the growing number of English language learners in international schools. This cutting-edge certificate program effectively blends theory and practice based on Stanford University's Six Key Principles for ELL instruction. By incorporating the latest learning from the ISS EAL pilot school, these courses provide educators with practical strategies and best practices to apply in their classrooms. Register for the next online course, which will take place from February 13-April 28.


ISS Community

While we are very excited for the formal learning events featured above, ISS also knows that some of the best professional learning occurs when you informally connect with peers.  To that end, I encourage you to participate in your school and ISS's social media communities. A good place to start is with our ISS Twitter @ISSCommunityand the hashtag #ISSedu and our Facebook page

There, ISS educators are sharing the magic happening in their schools and classrooms everyday, along with links to best practices and educational research. In addition, ISS has launched a few closed Facebook groups, including:

I look forward to seeing some of you in person on my fall and winter travels, and many more of you on our journeys online.

Happy fall,
Liz Duffy
ISS President

P.S. For those of you looking for a new position for next year, don't forget to avail yourself of ISS's Recruitment Services. To open an account with ISS, just email the Ed Staffing Team and they will be happy to assist you.

The first iFair® of the year will take place on November 19, 2016 and the first in-person IRC/Job Fair will take place in Atlanta on December 4 - 6, 2016 in partnership with AASSA. You can also register for the January 2017 Bangkok fair, as well as the February 2017 San Francisco fair.