Wednesday, August 8, 2012

What is necessary in a culture of excellence

Over and over again over the past couple of weeks I've been confronted with reasons why my new school is truly a school of excellence.  When I sit in meetings and find myself inspired beyond anything I thought possible I have to keep pinching myself - I'm really here, I'm not dreaming.  Last week at the teacher orientation we looked at the school's strategic objectives.  These can be summed up in 4 words and yet they lay the foundation of why the school is one of the most forward-looking schools in the world:  learning, talent, advancement, resources.

Let's think about these one at a time.  At ASB learning involves employing evolving curricular and instruction, innovative technologies and meaningful community engagements.  What this means is that the learners at ASB  are the thought leaders and change agents of tomorrow.   As teachers it is clearly seen as our job to make things change.  What a joy it is to actually have questioning the status quo as one of the objectives of the school.  What a joy to have critical thinking seen in a positive, rather than a negative, light.  The second strategic objective is talent.  Fulfilling this objective involves developing ASB as a professional learning center that attracts and develops world class faculty and staff through engaging and  inspiring growth opportunities.  This is probably the number 1 reason why I chose to come to ASB.  I wanted to grow and move forward, I wanted to develop myself.  I wanted to be the best that I could possibly be.  I was sick of drowning in mediocrity, being held back by those whose vision was more limited than mine and who felt threatened by change.  This leads me onto the third objective:  advancement.  The aim of this is to distinguish the school in the local and global communities and to effectively involve and engage our stakeholders and foster partnerships.  Yet again I love the willingness to share, the transparency.  Having worked in a school that saw other local schools as rivals and competitors this is a refreshing change for me.  ASB is a great school because it shares, not because it keeps what it does hidden!  Finally resources - the objective here is to develop and use resources to provide the highest quality facilities, technology and programs while practicing fiscal and environmental responsibility.  In my two weeks here so far I have been amazed by the new campus that is being built, by the learning spaces that are emerging, by the progressive use of technology, by the emphasis on green education.

There are some schools that everyone on the international circuit has heard of.  Last December when I was considering my options I met a friend in Zurich and she encouraged me to grab the opportunity to work at ASB with both hands.  She told me that this was her number 1 school  and that she had twice applied to work there.  I met with other teachers who said the same things, with others who had actually worked here and all used the same words:  excellent, inspiring, amazing.  I have never heard one negative comment about the school.  Actually I'm blessed to be here.  I have never been more excited about working in such a vibrant community of learners.  Bring on next week and the first day of school - I can hardly wait!

Photo Credit:  Almost free ... by Federico Soffici, 2007 AttributionNoncommercialShare Alike.  

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