Information for Members

International School Community Advisors Facebook Group

October 28, 2020


International School Community is looking for a group of veteran international school educators to join our new Facebook group. It is called International School Community Advisors.

ISC wants this group to consist of ISC members/Mayors that will actively share their insights and experiences in the international school community.

We would like this group to be an effective way of sharing information and communicating with ISC and each other, discussing important/current issues and participating in requests posted by ISC in this group.

The content that we request you to provide and discuss (your stories, information or experiences) will be intended to be used on our website, respecting your privacy, of course. For example, we might collect information from group members about a certain topic for an upcoming blog article on our blog.

We would also like to improve the user experience on our website, therefore we may discuss about improving our current features and hopefully coming up with some future features for the ISC website as well.

So if you are a Mayor on our website, a long-time member of our website and/or a veteran international school teacher who wants to play a part in the future of the ISC website, then please consider joining this influential Facebook group.

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The Journey to School

The Journey to School: International School Basel (Basel, Switzerland)

October 22, 2020


The journey to work is indeed an important one.  The journey though is not so clear for international school teachers when they are looking for jobs at schools in cities/countries at which they have never been.  So let’s share what we know!

One of our members, who works at the International School Basel (Basel, Switzerland), described the way she gets to work as follows:

The road to International School Basel in Switzerland

Getting out the door, I walk through a neighborhood in an industrial area, a low-rise concrete jungle. I walk past Decathlon, a fuel station, a building that doubles up as a mosque and a gym. They must have thought “Mensa sana in corpora sana”. This quirky place always brightens up my day when I walk past it. During summer, the hills in the distance are painted red by the rising sun. In autumn and winter, the mist is often too thick to even see the hills. Winter makes you wish you had a car; unless – like several of our teachers – you’re from the North of Canada and enjoy the “rather mild Swiss climate”.

The walk to the Dreispitz tram stop takes me 10 minutes at most, still I rush to tram 11 before realizing over and over again, that I shouldn’t have bothered because there’s a tram every 3-7 minutes. Very Swiss. As I get on the tram which takes me to ISB, I look for other teachers to talk to or chat with some students. When I’m alone, I stare out the window and watch how the landscape gradually becomes more rural.

The tram first passes the Reinacherhof tramstop right in front of the ISB senior school campus − where most of the teachers get off − before taking me to the Reinach Sud tram stop where I get off after exactly 16 minutes. While the tram heads off to its next stop at the ISB Primary campus in Aesch, I walk past a local farm to the Fiechten Middle school campus, which takes me exactly 4 minutes.

Unlike the other two campuses which are purpose-built for ISB, Fiechten is owned by the Swiss “Gemeinde”. The building looks very much like a Swiss protestant church and stands out because of its grey concrete walls and staircases. What is even more unusual is that the sound of the children’s footsteps is muffled by the carpet in the hallways and in the classrooms. Most teachers have plants and colorful displays to brighten up the place a bit.

The large windows and the view is what makes working on this campus worthwhile. Through my window, I can see the Goetheanum building in the distance. This is by far the most unique place in the area. It was founded in honour of Rudolf Steiner as a center for the Anthroposophical movement at the turn of the 19th century in a time when positivism dominated the natural sciences and humanities. People became aware of a growing interconnectedness between different parts of the world, cultures and religion. One of the main purposes of the movement was to create a new universal religion or philosophy which would incorporate wisdom of the major world religions. Rudolf Steiner conceptualized his teaching philosophy (used in Waldorf schools) based on the principles of Anthroposophy. The center has somewhat lost its function of ‘church’ but it is still a sanctuary for creative ideas. Today it offers theater and classical music performances, Steiner school training programs for teachers, art classes for kids, a bookshop (with books in a wide variety of languages) and a lovely tearoom which serves organic food. The entire hill is covered with buildings constructed in a similar architectural style.

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This Journey to School article was submitted to us by an ISC member.

What to know more what it is like to visit and live in Switzerland?  Out of a total of 33 international schools we have listed in Switzerland, 19 have had comments submitted on them. Here are just a few:

College du Leman – International School (85 comments)
Inter-community School Zurich (69 Comments)
International School Basel (131 Comments)
International School of Zug and Luzern (32 Comments)
Leysin American School (113 Comments)
Zurich International School (59 Comments)
TASIS The American School in Switzerland (32 Comments)

So what is your journey to the international school you work at?  Earn one year free of premium membership to our website if you participate in this blog series – ‘The Journey to School’.  Email us here if you are interested.

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Information for Members

How many comments are there in each of the 66 Comment Topics on ISC?

October 15, 2020


We have 66 comment topics on our website in 4 main categories: School Information, Benefits Information, City Information, and Travel Information.

ISC now has over 38000 comments that have been submitted on over 1400 international schools from around the world. Basic and Premium Members can access all of these 38000 comments for free on our Browse All Comments page.

After almost 10 years since our inception of ISC, which of the 66 comment topics are our members submitting into the most? Take a look below at all of our comment topics with the total comments submitted in them at the end of each one. Some of our most popular topics that have over 1000 comments are related to: School building, Accreditation, Hiring policies, School location, Language abilities of the students, Kinds of teachers/staff, Salary, Housing, and Allowances.

School Information Comment Topics (23):

• Describe the different aspects of the school building and the school grounds. Also, describe the surrounding area around the campus. (1668 Comments)

• What types of accreditation does this school have? When is the accreditation up for renewal? Any religious affiliations? (1253 Comments)

• Recent things that the school has taken on (i.e. new curriculum, specific professional development, etc.). (830 Comments)

• Describe their hiring policies and procedures. Share your interview experience. Any hiring restrictions? is there a particular curriculum experience required? How about single parents/number of dependents sponsored? (1591 Comments)

• Describe school’s location in relation to the city center and to the teacher’s housing. How do staff get to school before and after school? (1512 Comments)

• Are the expectations high of teaching staff? Are there extracurricular responsibilities? Describe workload details. (868 Comments)

• Average class size for primary and secondary. Describe any aide support. (900 Comments)

• Describe the language abilities of students at this school and what is the “common language spoken in the hallways”? Is there one dominant culture group? (1270 Comments)

• Describe what kinds of teachers work here (local vs. expat, qualifications [or lack there of], etc.) and staff turnover rate. Is there a native English speaker or nationality requirement? Is it LGBT friendly country/school? (1314 Comments)

• What types of budgets do classroom teachers/departments get? (545 Comments)

• PARENTS ONLY – General comments from parents of students that go to this school. How was your child’s education and socialisation at the school? (187 Comments)

• What types of sports programs and activities does the school offer? (733 Comments)

• Name some special things about this school that makes it unique. (719 Comments)

• In general, describe the demeanor of the students. (641 Comments)

• Has the school met your expectations once you started working there? (370 Comments)

• What does the school do to create a harmonious state of well-being and high morale amongst its staff? (430 Comments)

• Describe the technologies available at the school and how people are/are not using them. (511 Comments)

• Details about the current teacher appraisal process. (325 Comments)

• Is the student population declining, staying the same or increasing? Give details why. (492 Comments)

• How have certain things improved since you started working there? (253 Comments)

• How is this school different or the same when compared to schools in your home country? (192 Comments)

• What controversies have been happening lately? Please be objective. (325 Comments)

• What insider information would you give to a teacher considering working at this school? (479 Comments)

• How much curriculum development work are you expected to do? (Atlas Rubicon, etc.) (300 Comments)

Benefits Information Comment Topics (20):

• Average monthly salary after taxes and in what currency (explain taxation situation). How often do you get paid throughout the year? (1379 Comments)

• Details about the staff housing or the housing allowance. If there is no housing allowance, how much are rent costs and utilities? (1386 Comments)

• Average amount of money that is left to be saved. Describe the survivability for a family of four on one salary. (740 Comments)

• Detailed info about flight, shipping and settling-in allowances. Any other benefits (e.g. free lunches, etc.)? (1211 Comments)

• Health insurance and medical benefits. Describe your experiences using these benefits and going to the local hospitals. (1062 Comments)

• Ways to make extra money (tutoring, after-school activities, etc.). (502 Comments)

• Information about benefits for teachers with dependents. Describe the childcare in the area. (807 Comments)

• Professional development allowance details. (596 Comments)

• Pension plan details. (644 Comments)

• Describe your experience bringing pets. (292 Comments)

• Explain how salaries are decided (e.g. is there a pay schedule? extra step for masters degree? Annual pay raises? Bonuses?). (606 Comments)

• How do the school’s benefits compare to other international schools in the area/city? (377 Comments)

• How is the school calendar? Is there ample vacation time? (572 Comments)

• What are some things that you need to buy/pay for when you first arrive at the school that you didn’t know about beforehand? (316 Comments)

• Details about the maternity benefits of the host country and school. (161 Comments)

• What is the process of getting reimbursed for things? (216 Comments)

• Details about new teacher orientation. (255 Comments)

• In general, why are people staying at or leaving this school? (382 Comments)

• Details about the teaching contract. What important things should prospective teachers know about? (243 Comments)

• Information on trailing spouses. Can they work under spousal visa (also availability of work) or is it possible to live only on one salary? (86 Comments)

City Information Comment Topics (17)

• Name your favorite restaurants, favorite places to go to and favorite things to do in the city. (663 Comments)

• Locations in the city geared towards the expat lifestyle (grocery stores, bars, etc.). (554 Comments)

• Sample prices for food, transportation, average hourly rates for a housekeeper, etc. (563 Comments)

• Detailed info about lifestyles: singles vs. couples, gay vs. straight, nightlife vs. quiet and big city vs nature. (460 Comments)

• Languages of the host city and the level of English spoken there. (582 Comments)

• Sample activities that you can do around the city? Including ones that you can do with a family (children)? (419 Comments)

• Describe the city’s weather at different times of the year. (613 Comments)

• Places, markets and stores where you can find really good deals. (292 Comments)

• Describe a funny culture shock moment that you’ve had recently in this city. (135 Comments)

• Where did the school take you in the city when you first arrived? What were some staff outings/party locations? (190 Comments)

• What is the best part of living in this city for you? (290 Comments)

• What advice can you give on how to set things up like internet, phone, experience dealing with landlord, etc.? (248 Comments)

• Tell your experience moving your items to this city. What company, insurance policy, etc. did you use? (101 Comments)

• Tell about your experience with the local banks and dealing with multiple currencies. (251 Comments)

• What are some locals customs (regarding eating, drinking and going out, family, socializing, etc.) that you find interesting for expats to know about? (169 Comments)

• Tell about your experiences in the local grocery stores. What can you get or cannot get? Which ones are your favorites. (216 Comments)

• What is the most challenging/difficult part of living in the city? (280 Comments)

Travel Information Comment Topics (6):

• Sample travel airfares from host city airport to destinations nearby. (431 Comments)

• Describe proximity of major airport hubs to the city center and give sample taxi, train, subway and/or bus fares to get there. (564 Comments)

• Popular travel websites to buy plane tickets or tours that are popular for expats living in the city and/or country. (279 Comments)

• Places to travel to outside the city by bus or train. (519 Comments)

• Are there many teachers that travel during the holidays? Where are they going? (347 Comments)

• What are the airports like in this city? (arriving, departing, shopping, customs, etc.) (382 Comments)
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Information for Members

Member Search Feature Update: Which Job Titles Do Our 19546+ Members Have?

October 8, 2020


We are getting more and more members every month. Currently, we have over 19546 (up 4369 members since January 2019). We are definitely the place to go for networking with other international school educators!

Out of these thousands of members, we have teachers who hold many types of positions.  Check out our Members’ Job Titles page to see how many we have in each of these positions.

Using the data from this page, here are the current Members’ Job Titles statistics: (8 October, 2020)

39 Activities Coordinators – (up 4)
13 Admission Coordinators – (up 1)
11 Admissions Director – (up 4)
107 Art Teachers – (up 28)
66 Assistant Principals – (up 15)
88 Biology Teachers – (up 19)

28 Business Office Workers – (up 2)
87 Chemistry Teachers – (up 23)
878 Classroom Teachers – (up 146)
19 Communications Workers – (up 2)
106 Counselors – (up 24)
132 Curriculum Coordinators – (up 30)

187 Department Heads – (up 38)
19 Development Coordinator – (up 5)
35 Drama Teachers – (up 4)
59 Economics Teachers – (up 11)
307 English Teachers – (up 58)
260 EAL Teachers – (up 43)

176 Foreign Language Teachers – (up 31)
20 Geography Teachers – (up 1)
117 Heads of School/Directors – (up 24)
78 History Teachers – (up 12)
105 ICT Teachers – (up 25)
7 Interns – (up 0)

75 Librarians – (up 16)
33 Marketing Workers – (up 5)
213 Math Teachers – (up 42)
90 Music Teachers – (up 16)
6 Nurses – (same)
303 Other – (up 58)

121 P.E. Teachers (up 33)
61 Physics Teachers – (up 13)
134 Principals – (up 33)
18 Psychology Teachers – (up 8)
95 Science Teachers – (up 12)
9 Secretaries – (up 3)

75 Social Studies Teachers – (up 12)
98 Special Needs Teachers – (up 23)
9 Speech Pathologists – (up 0)
44 Teaching Assistants – (up 14)

Biggest increases: Dept. Heads, Classroom Teachers, English Teachers, EAL Teachers, Math, Foreign Language Teachers and Principals.

Want to get a job at an international school in one of these positions? Log-on to International School Community and start contacting our members to get answers to your questions.  Many of our members definitely know about the life of an international school teacher at the schools they currently work at and the schools they have worked at in the past.

So where in the world do our current members live?  The members, who have stated so on their profile, currently live in the following regions of the world:

419 that are currently located in Asia – (up 99)
53 that are currently located in Caribbean – (up 9)
61 that are currently located in Central America – (up 15)
851 that are currently located in East Asia – (up 177)
201 that are currently located in Eastern/Central Europe – (up 36)
549 that are currently located in Middle East – (up 93)
116 that are currently located in North Africa – (up 25)
1007 that are currently located in North America – (up 114)
166 that are currently located in Oceania – (up 19)
758 that are currently located in South East Asia – (up 142)
172 that are currently located in South America – (up 38)
248 that are currently located in Sub-Saharan Africa – (up 68)
807 that are currently located in Western Europe – (up 109)

Looks like North America is still in the lead!  We recommend that all our members keep their profile as up to date as possible, so that their networking possibilities can be at their highest. Update yours today.

Check out all of our 19547+ members here.  If you are not a member yet, sign up here for free!

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Highlighted Articles

What’s Worth Learning and Why: How the CGC Focuses on Learning that Matters

October 1, 2020


The story so far…

In our last article, we defined the CGC’s interactive helix of Conceptual, Competency and Character Learning as the DNA of learning. To extend the metaphor, a DNA does not live in a vacuum. It shapes a body. So another question presents itself. “What body of knowledge is important for these learners, right now?’. As we set out to identify learning that really matters, we framed our DESIGN question like this: ‘What’s Worth Learning and Why?’. Our response to that question works on multiple, connected levels:

It’s worth learning about our human common ground…

As our principal content organizer, we have identified 6 Human Commonalities, which preserve the essence of traditional disciplines e.g. Physics, while opening the door to emergent ‘proto-disciplines’ e.g. Innovation. The Commonalities encourage both deep disciplinary learning and the exploration of broad, powerful ideas that transcend disciplinary boundaries. They provide ‘The Why’ behind the disciplines and are framed by pairings of universal concepts, amplified by ‘We all’ statements expressing our common ground. 

Vertical Connections…

The Human Commonalities provide the vertical organizers for a Learning Matrix comprising powerful Learning Modules, organized for connection and coherence.

…and Horizontal Connections

We then add horizontal connections via three Thematic Questions, which spiral through the developmental bands, providing an annual connecting focus:

It’s worth learning to be experts…

CGC develops learning experts, both child and adult. Experts have a deep conceptual understanding of the ideas of their knowledge domain, and high levels of competency in domain skills. To complement conceptual and competency expertise we are committed to producing expert human beings, with strong, positive moral character.

Consequently we identify specific Domain Conceptual and Competency Learning Goals in every Learning Module. We also provide Character Learning Goals. These are ‘domain agnostic’, and used in all Commonalities.

It’s worth learning to be experts in contexts that really matter…

We recognize that it is possible to become a technical expert in a domain without engaging with vital issues like justice, equity, freedom, and the use of power. In order to ensure that CGC learners engage with these issues, we use them to shape the Compelling Questions that drive every CGC Learning Module.

It’s worth learning to tackle complex challenges that demand urgency and agency…

CGC learners become learning experts in the context of modules that matter. These may be grounded in one Commonality but draw from others in natural ways that connect and complement learning.

As a further extension and application of their learning, we have also designed a systemic way for learners to tackle challenges and opportunities that are so pressing and so significant that they demand a multi-disciplinary approach, a collaborative methodology and a commitment to taking action. These are the CGC Complexity Challenges. 

We envisage teams of learners, teachers and potentially, external experts, working on these Challenges as a passion project in their preferred domain. They collaborate to find solutions and plan actions, then come together to share their learning with other teams and with other community learning stakeholders in a major Learning Demonstration.

Complexity Challenges are planned using the Compelling Questions model, extended across the Commonalities. Here’s an example:

What’s worth learning and why?

In CGC, we believe that it’s worth learning about our human common ground, that it’s worth learning to become experts in important knowledge domains, and that it’s worth learning how to build our expertise in the context of substantive content that really matters. Ultimately, it’s worth learning how to exercise our agency and work with urgency, to take action on the pressing challenges and opportunities that face humanity, right here, right now.

That’s what’s worth learning…and why.

This article was submitted by Kevin Bartlett. Kevin led international schools for over 30 years in 4 different locations, while working on a number of fronts to systematize international education. This work included designing accreditation systems including ACE, leading courses for the Principals’ Training Center, initiating and leading the IB Primary Years Programme, and co-founding The Next Frontier Inclusion and the Common Ground Collaborative.

www.thecgcproject.org
kevin@thecgcproject.org
#CGCKevin



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