Opportunities & Challenges:
To develop a vision for American International School of Rotterdam (AISR), as well as action steps to realize the vision and guiding principles that will inform the thought and action of the school community. Accreditation guidelines require that the entire school population must be represented in the process, including board, faculty, staff, students and parents.
What we did:
M&B partnered with the Cleveland Consulting Group to facilitate the event. On each of the first two days, groups of about 70 persons, representing a diverse mix from our community—students from grades 5-12 (including learning support and EAL students), faculty, staff, parents and board members—were lead through an interactive process to explore our collective values and aspirations, how we might make our school an even better place to learn and teach, how we might express the essence of AISR and how we will put our values into action.
The knowledge we created in the first two sessions was correlated by our facilitators and presented on the third day to a plenary group consisting of participants from the first two days. This group then collaborated to craft working vision and mission statements for the school, and language for our guiding principles.
The beauty of this process is that the new knowledge produced is made—and owned— by the whole community, rather than by a few individuals. Everyone is represented and acknowledged and has an equal part to play in the outcome. The process itself has helped to build capacity in our community for cross-boundary/group collaboration, helping us to hear and understand each other and to work together to achieve our goals.
Thoughts from Participants:
At the end of the first two days, we asked for thoughts and feelings about the day from each participant. These are included in the report you may download. At the end of Day Three, we asked for comments from anyone in the group who would like to contribute their thoughts about the entire event. Here is what we received:
“I think it’s good we all got to share our opinions of the school and how we can improve.”
“We’ve grown together as a school. Not often do we get to sit down together to work on a common task and have everybody heard.”
“It was very interesting to go through the process and see what everyone’s perspective is. Provide everyone the opportunity to think about what the school is and should give more meaning every day when people walk through the gate.”
“AISR is a unique place to work and it was nice to meet students I didn’t know. We’re are a small school and have the chance to interact with others.”
“The teachers and parents should commend the students on their hard work.”
“Unique process that allowed all of us together to come up with something meaningful. I really enjoyed meeting the students and to see how creative you all are.”
“I am very excited to go this school and meet a lot of friendly students and friends. And let’s let the school be better to complete our dreams.”
“I think it’s great to see that even though there are some differences of what the school can improve upon, there are a lot of ideas that everyone agrees on.”
“I wanted to complement the school on the organization of getting this done and working with this method. We needed to stretch ourselves to come up with the results we came up with today. I’m thrilled and touched to see how committed everybody is.”
“It’s a big opportunity to be at this school because it’s a safe one. I really enjoy this school when many other children don’t have the opportunity. It’s perfect.”
See the event report here!
View a short video feature on the event: