ET Journal Winter 2016

 

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The EARCOS Triannual JOURNAL A Link to Educational Excellence in East Asia Winter 2016 Featured in this Issue EdThought - Calling for a “Timeout” on Rubrics and Grading Scales - 4 Key Questions to Ask Before Having a Hard Conversation EARCOS Leadership Conference 2015 Theme: “Think Globally, Learn Locally“ 1st Institute on Higher Education Admission & Guidance Special Report: EARCOS: Leading through Learning from its Members

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The EARCOS JOURNAL The ET Journal is a triannual publication of the East Asia Regional Council of Schools(EARCOS), a nonprofit 501(C)3, incorporated in the state of Delaware, USA, with a regional office in Manila, Philippines. Membership in EARCOS is open to elementary and secondary schools in East Asia which offer an educational program using English as the primary language of instruction, and to other organizations, institutions, and individuals. Objectives and Purposes * To promote intercultural understanding and international friendship through the activities of member schools. * To broaden the dimensions of education of all schools involved. in the Council in the interest of a total program of education. * To advance the professional growth and welfare of individuals belonging to the educational staff of member schools. * To facilitate communication and cooperative action between and among all associated schools. * To cooperate with other organizations and individuals pursuing the same objectives as the Council. EARCOS BOARD OF TRUSTEES Margaret Alvarez, President (ISS International School) Tarek Razik, Treasurer (The International School of Beijing) Stephen Cathers, Secretary (Korea International School) David Toze, Past President (International School Manila) Anna Marsden (International School Suva) Diane Lewthwaite (Fukuoka International School) Norma Hudson (International School Kuala Lumpur) James McDonald (NIST International School) Stephen Dare (Hong Kong Academy) Andrew Davies (International School Bangkok) Office of Overseas Schools REO: EARCOS STAFF Executive Director: Richard Krajczar Assistant Director: Joe Petrone Consultant: Bill Oldread Vitz Baltero Ver Castro Robert Sonny Viray Editor: Joe Petrone Associate Editor: Edzel Drilo Elaine Repatacodo Edzel Drilo Rod Catubig Jr. Dr. Larry Hobdell (ex officio) Letter from the Executive Director Dear Colleagues: The 2015 EARCOS Leadership Conference (ELC) had over 1200 delegates! Our return to the Shangri-La, Bangkok provided an excellent venue for the 46th EARCOS Leadership Conference. Keynoters Loung Ung and Catherine Steiner-Adair were great. Loung Ung gave a emotional summary of her family, and childhood as an immigrant from Cambodia to “Vermont America”. Catherine shared research on technology and the effects on children. The breakout and preconference sessions were well attended and practical. A Survey Monkey was sent out to solicit comments on the conference, this feedback help us plan for future conferences. Please see our conference write-up in this issue. Welcome to the newly elected EARCOS board member Andy Davies, I.S. Bangkok, re-elected member, Steve Cathers of Korean International School and to Stephen Dare of Hong Kong Academy, who was officially elected after serving as an appointed member of the board. Thanks to the many EARCOS school heads that attended the AGM on October 30. Read the “Special Report” on pages 12-13. We will follow this call for feedback with a brief survey, so that we can better understand change initiatives being planned, currently underway, and successfully implemented in your schools. We will share the results, which might provide opportunities for collaboration and help with common content. The ETC scheduled for March 31 to April 2, 2016, at the International School of Manila has a huge slate of great presenters in the special strands schedule. Keynoters are, Jean Blaydes Moize, Mark Jenkins and Doug Goodkin., We appreciate the hard work of the ETC teacher representatives who help coordinate registration and on-site logistics. We need your support! I look forward to seeing many of you in the next few months while visiting schools and attending various conferences and recruiting fairs. We are here to serve you! Have a great holiday break. Dick Krajczar Executive Director Check out our updated website at www.earcos.org and read our E-Connect blog at earcos-connect.tumblr.com East Asia Regional Council of Schools Brentville Subdivision, Barangay Mamplasan Biñan, Laguna, 4024, Philippines PHONE: 63-02-697-9170 FAX: 63-49-511-4694 WEBSITE: www.earcos.org (L-R) Rod Catubig, Edzel Drilo, Elaine Repatacodo, Dick Krajczar, Joe Petrone, Vitz Baltero, Robert Viray, and Ver Castro

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In this Issue 2 6 9 10 12 14 15 16 17 18 22 23 24 26 28 30 31 32 34 35 36 37 contents EARCOS Leadership Conference 2015 “Think Globally, Learn Locally” 1st Institute on Higher Education Admission & Guidance ETC Advisory meets at The International School Manila Faces of EARCOS EARCOS Special Report Leading through Learning from its Members Curriculum Canadian Academy inspires students to inquire, reflect, and choose to compassionately impact the world throughout their lives Use of technology to ensure students are prepared for a world beyond school Leading with Body, Mind and Heart Raffles American School Piloting the New Frontier: Big Data Analytics in K-12 Program Innovative Golf Program at the American School of Bangkok (see page 38) Sensory Fun at nanjing International School (see page 32) EdThought 4 Key Question to Ask Before Having a Hard Conversation Making Mission Meaningful at Seisen International School Calling for a “Timeout” on Rubrics and Grading Scales Learning2 Asia “Disrupt-Rethink-Change” Robots. Middle school dances. Men in Black. Service Learning Inspiring Genuine Action Green & Sustainable Sustainability Matters at ISKL Grade 4 Design and Construct a Lost and Found Property Centre as Part of their Inquiry Community Service Mon’t Kiara International School Student Contribution Student on Ice Campus Development Billion Baht Project at Berkeley International School in Bangkok ASIJ’s Creative Arts Design Center Here We Grow Again! 39 44 Middle School Student Art Gallery On the Road with Dr. K Press Release Forensic Science at American Pacific Int’l School - see page 19 Mechai Viravaidya Opens the Learning Commons at NIST International School - see page 36 Triple the Fun at Bangkok Patana School! - see page 37 Approved Weekend Workshops SY 2015-2016 One of the services EARCOS provides to its member schools throughout the year is the sponsorship of two-day workshops and institutes for faculty and administration. The topics for these workshops are determined according to the needs of members. Workshops are hosted by EARCOS schools. (see back cover page) Front cover photo by Sebastian Pothe The EARCOS Action Research Grant In an ongoing effort to implement the EARCOS Strategic Plan, specifically Strategy E, to conduct, communicate, and archive relevant data and research to identify and enhance exceptional educational practices, grants will be made available to encourage our teachers, administrators, and professional staff to conduct action research to improve educational practices for the purpose of enhancing student learning. Action research is a reflective process, conducted in the school setting, to solve a real problem, or to improve and enhance the instructional process.This research may be undertaken by an individual, or by several people collaboratively. It is our belief that the results of such research will impact not only the researchers’ practices but also those of others with whom they share their findings.To that end, grantees will be expected to publish their findings, which will be made available to all EARCOS members on the website. Some researchers may elect to present their work at a subsequent ETC, ELC, or publish it in the EARCOS Journal. Please visit the EARCOS website for more information. www.earcos.org Contribute to the ET Journal If you have something going on at your school in any of the following categories that you would like to see highlighted in the Spring issue please send it along to us: Faces of EARCOS - Promotions, retirements, honors, etc. Service Learning Campus Development - New building plans, under construction, just completed projects. Curriculum - New and exciting curriculum adoptions. Green and Sustainable - Related to campus development or to curriculum efforts. Community Service Student Art - We showcase outstanding student art in each edition. Press Releases Thank you for your help in allowing us to highlight the great things that are going on in EARCOS schools. Winter 2016 Issue 1 Winter 2016

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EARCOS Leadership Conference 2015 “Think Globally, Learn Locally” EARCOS LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE 2015 MEMBERS GATHERED IN BANGKOK TO “THINK GLOBALLY AND LEARN LOCALLY” The 46th Annual EARCOS Leadership Conference (ELC) convened 29–31 October 2015, along the banks of the Chao Phraya River. More than 1200 members enjoyed the stunning contrasts of a meandering river amid the towering skyline of Bangkok. The grounds of the Shangri-La Hotel provided a fitting locale for thinking and learning in support of students. ELC pre-conferences saw over 300 hundred participants enrolled for an entire day and, in some cases, three days. Delegates joined in groups numbering between ten and 100 to deeply study topics, or collaborate with colleagues on matters of common interest. On Thursday morning, Loung Ung masterfully delivered the first keynote address. Her message evoked a wide range of emotions.The story of her young life in Cambodia was heart rending and her experience transitioning to Vermont, America was captivating. She shared poignant snippets of her award winning book, First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers and shared a powerful message that everyday heroes do extraordinary things to change our world “one life, one limb, one person at a time”. The remainder of the day provided delegates nearly 70 choices of workshops. And, all enjoyed the poolside evening welcome reception. Day two began with Catherine Steiner-Adair sharing her research and professional observations regarding how technology places a child’s development at risk. Dr. Steiner-Adair’s deep and rich knowledge base on the subject of raising children in the digital age was relevant to our work as educators and responsibilities as parents. She definitely caused the audience to “push the pause button” and reflect on the possible psychological fall-out of our fast-paced adaptation to technology. A fuller treatment of her impressive body of work on this subject is contained in her book, The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age. For the remainder of the morning, special speakers and practitioner presenters hosted more than 30 topical workshops. The afternoon was dedicated to Job-Alike sessions during which like-minded professionals shared best practices and sought solutions to common challenges. The final day of the conference convened with a group of courageous leaders sharing their inspiring stories. Delegates heard Rami Madani’s extraordinary life journey from Syria to his current work as an educator at International Kuala Lumpur. Riki Teteina shared about his chance introduction to mindfulness and the consequent role it now plays in his school community. He dared and succeeded in taking all of the delegates to a meditative state of mind. Tarek Razik captivated the crowd with his story of change leadership, which he described as delicately collaborative, yet necessarily direct and deliberate. Finally, Anna Marsden shared her story about “second chances”, career redirection and people in her life that influenced the rich and rewarding leadership path she has chosen. Amid the diverse and quality workshops, dedicated professional collaborations, and generous networking opportunities there was ample behind-the-scenes support that did not go unnoticed. The staff at the Shangri-La Hotel was vigilant to the needs of delegates, and for this extraordinary attention and service, we are grateful. Many “thanks” go to Andy Vaughn for leading the fun run on Saturday morning; those participating were a model of wellness and health for all delegates. The golf outing on Sunday would not have happened without Chad Bates; “thanks” go to him too, for his organization of this event. A special “shout out” to the ever present, competent and kind Ruamrudee International School audio-visual technologist for their assistance throughout the conference. We hope you have placed 27–29 October 2016, into your diary, which are the dates for next year’s conference. And, we hope you have completed the evaluation of this year’s ELC experience. Your timely feedback is extraordinarily helpful guidance as we plan next year’s conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Dr. Joe Petrone EARCOS Assistant Director 2 EARCOS Triannual Journal

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NIST International School opening performance “Lost in Space” the musical. Rami Madani International School Kuala Lumpur Riki Teteina Phuket International Academy Keynote speaker Loung Ung Keynote title: Upstanding Citizens: changing the world through activism, volunteerism, and travels EARCOS president Margaret Alvarez with Dr. Larry Hobdell, U.S. Department of State Regional Education Officer, East Asia Tarek Razik International School of Beijing Keynote speaker Catherine Steiner-Adair Keynote title: Lost in Connection: How The Tech Effect Puts Children’s Development at Risk Anna Marsden International School Suva Winter 2016 Issue 3

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EARCOS Executive Director Dick Krajczar welcoming the delegates to the 46th Leadership Conference. Dr. Larry Hobdell, Regional Officer, Office of Overseas Schools, U.S. Dept. of State welcoming the delegates. 46th EARCOS Leadership Conference 2015 Virtual Reality Cardboard being used on Chris Betcher’s workshop on Teaching and Learning in Digital World. Mina Merkel workshop on Governance and Strategy. Douglas Ota workshop on Student Transitions. EARCOS board Diane Lewthwaite, Fukaoka International School and Norma Hudson, International School of Kuala Lumpur. 4 EARCOS Triannual Journal

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Sheri Stice on Management Strategies and Organization Techniques. Cory Willey on Getting Advisory Right: Developing a Culture of Social-Emotional Support. “Think Globally, Learn Locally“ James Stronge workshop on Hiring the Best Teachers: What Works and What Doesn’t. Dr. Joe Petrone, Dr. K, Loung Ung, and Bill Oldread. Chris Jansen and Andy Vaughan, International School Bangkok. EARCOS Team at the Gala Reception. >> More photos of the conference at http://tinyurl.com/n9kj4pl Winter 2016 Issue 5

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EARCOS - CIS L-R Paul Greene, CIS Director of Higher Education and Dick Krajczar, EARCOS Executive Director 1 Institute on Higher Educati st On October 2-3, Bangkok played host to the first annual EARCOSCIS Institute on International Admission and Guidance. In his opening remarks, Dr. Dick Krajczar, Executive Director of EARCOS, noted that the Institute was a great collaboration between CIS and EARCOS that had been discussed for almost five years. Everyone was excited to see it fully realized this year. This event united 160 university guidance counselors from 108 schools in the region, and 114 admissions representatives from 110 universities around the world. Over the course of the two days, these professionals participated in professional development workshops and cultivated collaborative relationships. In conjunction with the institute, EARCOS and CIS hosted a university fair for students which attracted 565 students, plus many parents from 20 schools across Bangkok and beyond. This first EARCOS-CIS Institute provided an excellent venue for conversations about international higher education mobility. As Paul Greene, Director of Higher Education Services for CIS, remarked, “this may well have been the largest collection of universities gathering for a single event in Bangkok.” Participants in the institute had the opportunity to choose from 32 professional development workshops. Topics varied from “Wanna be a Naviance Ninja?” to “Cultures Collide: When East Meets West in College Counselling”. The latest trends in university admission were discussed, such as preparing for the international launch of the redesigned SAT and PSAT tests. The substantive discussions spurred by these workshops provided professionals with thought provoking ideas to enhance their university advising toolkits. 6 EARCOS Triannual Journal The organic opportunities for networking that the EARCOS-CIS institute offered attendees should not be understated. Whether it was a discussion during a workshop or a side-conversation during one of the breaks, there were many chances for individuals to network. The networking highlights were the university fair for counsellors, where school counsellors were able to walk around and talk to universities; and the school fair for universities, where university representatives were able to walk around and talk to school counsellors. Through these instances, the institute created an environment for new connections to be made and old relationships to be strengthened. “Bringing a professional development opportunity to Asia on the topic of university admission has been a priority for both CIS and EARCOS for several years”, said CIS Executive Director, Jane Larsson. “We wanted to focus on aspects of higher education admission and guidance unique to this region, with a second objective of reaching smaller schools that typically receive fewer visits from university and college officials or don’t have the funds to travel to higher education events outside the region. Based upon our conversations with counselors and university admission officers who attended, we believe we achieved both objectives.” Taking place on the final day, the university fair for students was a fine way to cap this wonderful experience. The fair drew students from as far as Laos to interact directly with the university admissions representatives. This was a great reminder of the entire purpose of the institute. All the workshops and networking opportunities are ultimately designed to forge strong links that will improve access for students to universities all over the world.

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EARCOS - CIS School and University Fair Workshop Session ion Admission & Guidance Global citizenship is a goal of both EARCOS and CIS. The Institute on International Admission and Guidance was a resounding success in sharing knowledge and developing relationships that will inspire the next generation of global citizens as they navigate through their choices for higher education. We hope that participants left the conference emboldened, and rejuvenated to continue in the essential work of university counselling. EARCOS and CIS are already planning for next year’s institute. We look forward to seeing you there! Paul Greene CIS Director of Higher Education L-R Dick Krajczar, Paul Greene, and Joe Petrone Welcoming the delegates at the Shangri-La Grand Ballroom. Winter 2016 Issue 7

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1st Institute on Higher Education Admission & Guidance Paul Greene (CIS) assisting at the registration. Dick Krajczar (EARCOS) assisting at the registration. L-R David Toze, I.S. Manila, Jane Larsson, CIS, and Jacqueline Vogl Pauline O’Brien on Counseling the Counselors Workshop. Royce Mussman workshop on Why Jakarta Is Ripe for Student Recruitment. Michael Clancy workshop on Managing Letter of Recommendation. Jacqueline Vogl and Mary Adam’s workshop. Jeremy Burgess, Student Recruitment Officer. Univ. of Warwick. Workshop session. Linda De Flavis, University Advisor, UWCSEA. Jane Larsson, CIS Executive Director. School and University Fair. School and University Fair. Paul Greene(CIS) and Dick Krajczar(EARCOS) at the Closing Reception.

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ETC2016 ADVISORY COMMITTEE Christine Freitas International School of Kuala Lumpur (Behind Bronwyn Weale) Front row L-R: Skylie Bevear (Hong Kong International School), Sylvain Jacques (The International School of Beijing), Bronwyn Weale (International School Bangkok, Curriculum Coordinator Representative), Paul Swanson (United Nations International School of Hanoi), Ben Robertaccio (Singapore American School), Dick Krajczar (EARCOS Executive Director), Kathleen Nickle (The American School in Japan), Elaine Repatacodo (EARCOS), Noel Madrid Valdez (International School Yangon) Back row L-R: Christine Freitas (International School of Kuala Kumpur), Keith Allerton (Jakarta Intercultural School), Adam Teather (Seoul Foreign School), Joe Pertone (EARCOS Asst. Director), Andrew Krumland (Shanghai American School), Colin Aitken (International School Manila), Sam Cook (Curriculum Coordinator at International School Manila), Christopher Bell (International School Bangkok) ETC Advisory meets at The International School Manila The EARCOS Teachers’ Conference Advisory Committee convened August 28-30, 2015 at the International School Manila. EARCOS Advisory committee met with Dick Krajczar, Elaine Repatacodo, and Joe Petrone to ensure this year’s conference will meet the diverse needs of the EARCOS community.The 14th annual EARCOS Teachers’ Conference will take place March 31 to April 2, 2016 at the International School Manila. ETC 2016 is graciously hosted by International School Manila. The school facilities are well suited for providing all the ETC needs. With a plethora of large and small spaces available, the ISM school environment is well prepared to accommodate the smallests workshops to the largest keynote gatherings. Manila, being a bustling large city, is also well suited for the ETC. There are many hotel choices located relatively close to ISM available. Manila also has countless eateries available in close proximity to accommodations. The ETC 2016 will broaden the dimensions of the educational understanding, advance professional growth in the region, facilitate professional communication and cooperation, while focusing on “innovating arts and motion.” The Advisory Committee met to assure these qualities are experienced by all those that will attend the 2016 ETC. The Advisory Committee also started to plan the 2017 ETC. The 2016 ETC theme is “Innovating Art and Motion”. The conference will host many well renowned keynote and workshop presenters. Our Keynote presenters include Jean Blaydes Moize, Mark Jenkins, and Doug Goodkin who will further participants’ understanding of Brain Health, Photojournalism, and the Humanitarian Musician, respectively. In addition to the featured keynote speakers, the conference offers a wide range of special presenters the breath of which would be difficult to find anywhere else but the EARCOS ETC. The strands this year will include physical education, visual arts, performing arts, design technology, counseling, technology, and general education. The 2016 ETC is shaping up to be an intellectually stimulating conference with opportunities for professional camaraderie in a vibrant setting. The EARCOS Advisory Committee looks forward to your participation. By Ben Robertaccio, Singapore American School Winter 2016 Issue 9 ETC Advisory Committee

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Faces of EARCOS Welcome New EARCOS Board >> DR. ANDY DAVIES Andy is Head of School at the International School Bangkok. Andy’s interests are improving student learning, international education, inclusion and rugby. Britannica Digital Learning (a division of Encyclopaedia Britannica) Service Offered: Online Education Center for the Advancement & Study of International Education Service Offered: Professional development for educators East Carolina University Service Offered: University Rising Tide Asia Service Offered: Education Consultants Solution Tree Service Offered: Provider of educational print and digital resources, professional development, events, and services Synergetic Management Systems Service Offered: School Management System Texthelp Service Offered: Information Technology New Head Of School >> DANIEL WATERMAN, Head of School Access International Academy Ningbo SHELLY  LUKE WILLE, Head of School Chadwick International School COLTER STEPHEN WATT, Acting Principal Garden International School DERON MARVIN, Director International School Yangon GARY MELTON, Head of School Mont’Kiara International School GRAHAM BOWKER, Principal Nakornpayap International School New Individual Members >> David Bedford Lisa Biasillo Mary Chua David Hall James Helbringer Alexey Metelev Xiaohang Sumner Geoffrey Ward New School Member >> Stonehill International School (Affiliate Member) Dr. Beverly Sortland, Head of School Special Announcement >> International Community School, Bangkok announces the promotion of Stephen Ladas as the Assistant Headmaster and Lucas Lemley as the new High School Principal. New Associate Members >> Adolescent Success Service Offered: Teachers Association Athletes Dream Pty Ltd Service Offered: USA College Scholarships (Academic & Athletic) and USA College Tours E-CONNECT Stay in touch with many current ideas and trends in education at EARCOS Connect Blog. Welcome to EARCOS E-Connect.Teachers, counselors, and administrators are extremely busy people.You don’t always have time to search for articles, blogs, videos, and books that will educate and enhance your practice.This blog will offer links to relevant educational discussions, articles, book reviews, and videos that you may find informative and useful. http://earcos-connect.tumblr.com/ 10 EARCOS Triannual Journal

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Cambridge IGCSE gives our students a head start for the next stage of education. NG ENG CHIN, PRINCIPAL, STB-ACS (INTERNATIONAL) JAKARTA Cambridge IGCSE is our most widely taken qualification in the world. Our learners choose from over 70 subjects, in any combination, acquiring knowledge and understanding as well as skills in creative thinking, enquiry and problem solving. Cambridge International Examinations prepares school students for life, helping them develop an informed curiosity and a lasting passion for learning. We are part of Cambridge Assessment, a department of the University of Cambridge. Find out more about Cambridge IGCSE at www.cambridgeigcse.org.uk facebook.com/cie.org.uk EARCOS ad Apr15.indd 1 14/04/2015 15:14

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EARCOS SPECIAL REPORT EARCOS Special Report >> EARCOS: Leading through Learning from its Members By Dr. Joe Petrone, EARCOS Assistant Director The essence of the EARCOS mission is aimed at inspiring adult and student learning through leadership and service. And, our mission compels us to foster intercultural understanding, global citizenship, and exceptional educational practices within our learning community. These purposeful directives require intentional vigilance over five action items found in our strategic plan. All of these strategic objectives relate to improving professional practices and three are most relevant to this discussion. They are: 1. Provide targeted and differentiated professional development opportunities to member communities; 2. Connect schools, communities, and individuals through the use of technology to promote collaboration, communication, intercultural understanding, and access to broader educational opportunities; and 3. Conduct and communicate research and archive relevant data to identify and enhance exceptional educational practices. Targeted and Differentiated Professional Development Opportunities In an overarching sense, the three yearly-strands rotation for the EARCOS Teachers Conference (ETC) is a planned and deliberate opportunity for educators in the region to pursue individual growth goals and align learning with school-wide initiatives. Also, the facilitated job-alike sessions at EARCOS Leadership Conferences (ELC) and ETC connect professionals in conversations about common interests, initiatives, and promising evidence-based practices. And, these planned interactions assist us to understand the subjects of these topical collaborations. We invite feedback from job-alike facilitators and participants in order to collect and categorize persistently pertinent subjects, so that we might adequately match these needs with future conference presenters. Our aspiration is that this feedback and other sitebased needs assessments lead to recommendations for sub-regional EARCOS Weekend Workshops (WW). We believe WW opportunities - nearly 50 scheduled for 2015/16 - serve as one catalyst for the introduction, or reinforcement of common content, intended to assist with systemic implementation at the school level. EARCOS believes that school change leaders understand the significance of uniquely tailored professional development processes, which are carefully designed for their individually unique school context. When these process and context standards are understood and stand on content inseparably linked to improved student learn12 EARCOS Triannual Journal ing, substantial and meaningful change will occur. (Chung Wei, Darling-Hammond, Andree, Richardson & Orphanos, 2009). Use of Technology to Access Broader Educational Opportunities The spontaneous connections made among professionals in EARCOS regional schools are remarkable and increase yearly. All of these collaborations possess the commonalities of aligned unwavering commitment and deep dedication to the students and international communities we serve. Digital technology, including the plethora of social media options, provides valuable avenues to expand our reach as an international educational services association. EARCOS hosts a Google+ Community and E-connect blog, which are linked to the EARCOS Twitter and Facebook accounts, so that each blog posting generates a message on these two social networks. The EARCOS “Triannual Journal” online version will be published in the familiar format, which readers are accustomed. This winter online edition will include an interactive social media feature permitting reader posts and direct connectivity with Google+ Community, Twitter and Facebook followers. We recently invested in online conferencing software to accommodate any large group meeting aimed at strengthening communications, expanding intercultural understanding, and promoting and enhancing professional collaboration. We invite our members to contact us at the EARCOS office, if you would like to use the conferencing software solution as a platform for an upcoming regional collaboration. Conduct and Communicate Research As you know, each year EARCOS plans for five action research grant awards, which are intended to encourage teachers, administrators, and other members to conduct action research aimed toward the improvement of educational practices, which ultimately enhance student learning. EARCOS believes that action research is a reflective process, conducted in the school setting, to solve a real problem, or to improve and enhance the instructional process. This research may be undertaken by an individual, or by several people collaboratively. It is our belief that the results of such research will impact, not only the researchers’ practices, but also those of others with whom they share their findings.

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EARCOS action research grantees are expected to publish their findings, which will be made available to all EARCOS members on the website. Some researchers may elect to present their work at a subsequent ETC, ELC, or publish it in the EARCOS Triannual Magazine. We encourage our members to access the application materials on our website to learn more and perhaps participate in this rewarding opportunity. Data captures from participating members occur after EARCOS events and these survey results assist greatly to inform us about the relevancy of topics and overall conference logistics. This data is collected annually, compared longitudinally, and studied carefully fol- lowing each EARCOS conference, event and workshop to maintain relevancy and alignment for future conference planning. Finally, much research and even more practitioner testimonials confirm the relevance, utility and impact of professional development occasions that are aligned to a teacher’s self-determined professional growth goals (The Mirage, 2015). Armed with this fact, it becomes more incumbent upon us at EARCOS to understand the needs of our member schools and the educational professionals, who work in them. We invite and encourage you to share those needs, which undoubtedly align to professional development targets intended to improve learning for all students. EARCOS SPECIAL REPORT Professional Development: Content, Context, and Process There always will be a case – and well there should – for increased quality, improved, more aligned, expedient, and effective professional development, which we at EARCOS define “as a comprehensive, sustained, intensive, and collaborative approach to improving teachers’ and principals’ effectiveness in raising student achievement”. (Ames Slabine, Nancy, 2011) This urgent and moving target for professional development excellence motivates us to serve you at progressively higher levels; we accept this formidable challenge. At EARCOS we know, as do our members, that such excellence is most frequently reached when the professional development is supported within a ready context, through a deliberate process, and focused on clearly chosen content, all aimed toward the improvement of student learning. (Learning Forward [previously National Staff Development Council]; 2001). We believe that our members expect EARCOS to directly and to strategically assist with the sourcing and delivery of relevant content. In large measure, the selection of content is accomplished through formal and informal feedback loops we coordinate throughout the year and described above. And, of course, EARCOS delivery of content occurs through conferences, collaborations, weekend workshops, and individual networking moments – personally or virtually. However, for necessary teacher ownership, positively altered classroom practices, and systemic change to transpire, our member schools know that an understanding of their unique context and deep commitment to develop a distinctly tailored school-based process is essential. These known ingredients for “comprehensive, sustained, intensive and collaborative” professional development are success factors, which cannot be overlooked. Furthermore, we understand that many of our schools share parallel contexts and processes upon which they have launched successful change initiatives. Most mature contexts and processes include ample resource capacity and rich collaborative structures, e.g. mature professional learning communities, planned time for peer observations/feedback, provisions for data dialogues to analyze student work/achievement, empowered action research groups, designated instructional coaches, induction and orientation mentors, etc. When such critical process elements are present and adequate resources are available, the introduction, education (educator training), and systemic implementation of a chosen initiative (content) have an elevated likelihood of success. Fortified with this understand- ing, we are reminded of our responsibility to connect member schools with similar contexts and with an aligned content-focus, so that they are invited to collaborate. Please know, we want to hear from you regarding the initiatives in which you are currently engaged, those you are planning, and, as importantly, others successfully implemented. These latter successes, when studied, might offer others a comparable direction to follow on their path toward higher levels of student learning. And, the knowledge of collective and common regional pursuits, will allow us to serve as a collaboration clearinghouse to assist you in making relevant and mutually beneficial connections. ____________________________ Evidence of Effectiveness; Ames Slabine, Nancy; Learning Forward, Oxford, Ohio, USA, 2011. http://tinyurl.com/qystbo2 Professional Learning in the Learning Profession: A status report on Teacher Development in the U.S. and abroad – Technical Report; Chung Wei, Ruth; Darling-Hammond, Linda; Andree, Alethea; Richardson, Nikole; & Orphanos, Stelios; National Staff Development Council, 2009. http://tinyurl.com/o9j6sr8 Conclusion EARCOS accepts the responsibility as a “primary resource for the professional development” of member schools. EARCOS embraces the requisite commitment needed to understand the variability of the professional development needs inherent in such a richly active learning community. Therefore, EARCOS remains nimble and alert to the unique contexts of the schools it serves. And, it applies a measured vigilance over prevailing evidence-based practices and promising practitioner-tested innovations, so that our mission to inspire “adult and student learning” is advanced daily through advocacy for your students and service to the learning communities you delicately lead. Professional Learning in the Learning Profession: A status report on Teacher Development in the U.S. and abroad – Technical Report; Chung Wei, Ruth; DarlingHammond, Linda; Andree, Alethea; Richardson, Nikole; & Orphanos, Stelios; National Staff Development Council, 2009. http://tinyurl.com/o9j6sr8 The Mirage: Confronting the hard truth about our quest for teacher development; by Dina Hasiotis, Andy Jacobs, Kate McGovern, and a number of other TNTP researchers, leaders, designers, and editors, published by The New Teacher Project (TNP); August 4, 2015. http://tinyurl.com/pphmws4 Winter 2016 Issue 13

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