Harvard Academy (A Journey to ISA)

Harvard Academy have been re-accredited with the prestigious

International School Award for 2012-2015

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The Full International School Award (Full ISA) is a prestigious international award for which every school around the world target to get it, in order to recognize themselves in the greater world and make their students a global citizens who are capable of competing with people around the world. After getting nominated for the full ISA, we are not that far from embarking on our International work in order to become successful in receiving our full ISA. This is not going to be possible without our entire team (teachers, students, parents and the managmeent team) support support, determination and dedication. We are very fortunate to be supported also by our UK school partner, Goldwyn School, and Karine, our international coordinator partner, giving us a great hand. We are also thankful to our partner school in Korea, The Giving Tree and partner schools in India; Apeejay School Noida, UP, India, SD Public School, East Patel Nagar, India and Bloom Public School, India.

It has been a great pleasure, at Harvard Academy , and a great opportunity for all staff and students to have taken part in the Full ISA programme (Full International School Award). The different types of projects we got involved in with our local and international partners have given us ample of learning experiences and have enriched our school's curriculum. The numerous projects gave our students a platform to show their hidden talents, to share their ideas and skills with their classmates and the wider communities which made them feel special and developed their confidence and communication skills. Building on their knowledge made them feel at first safe in working on projects and expanding their learning through creative activities engaged them in developing new skills such as their critical and thinking skills and thinking about others, developing their empathy towards them while working on global issues relevant to them and challenging them. They learnt to look at those issues from different angles, reflected on others' points of views and have learnt from it.



The Full ISA is a prestigious international award for which schools on the GSP around the world target to take part and to successfully complete which recognizes worldwide the achievement of their students at working towards becoming open-minded and responsible global citizens. This has been our focus when planning with our school partners our projects, their learning outcomes and international elements. When Harvard Academy was nominated to take part in the Full ISA programme we built stronger means of communication with our team, staff and students, in order to plan carefully the projects relevant to our students and matching our syllabus but enriching it by developing creative activities with our school partners locally and internationally. We have been determined and dedicated since and have felt very fortunate to have linked with our international partners which have been very supportive and communicated effectively and regulary. ISA coordinators have been flexible and great facilitators amongst teams of respective schools. Our UK school partner, Goldwyn School , and Karine, our international coordinator partner, have been giving us a great hand and have enjoyed working reciprocally on most of our projects. We are also thankful to our partner school in South Korea, The Giving Tree and our partner schools in India; Apeejay School Noida, UP, India, SD Public School, East Patel Nagar, India and Bloom Public School, India. Together with all our partners, we have remained focused, support and we have shared good working practices which lead to the development and sustainability of our international work and partnerships. At Harvard Academy , we recognize the value of our international focus in school and we consider the 8 global themes in the development and enrichment of our school's curriculum.



Our international work demonstrates our team's global citizenship. We are broadening our mind by thinking globally, by finding out more about local and global issues and by trying to relate to those issues. Our international focus at school supports our students to feel empowered in order to make choices, decisions and feel that they can make a difference in the world by sharing their views and acting towards the eradication of global issues affecting them and others in the world. Our international work is embedded in our curriculum and is not an extra burden for our students and teachers. It is enhancing the learning experiences of our students and is helping them to develop their thinking and communication skills in order to ensure that they are confident in working in the 21 st century with all the citizens of the world. Now that we have gained confidence in planning and developing projects we are focusing on embedding our internationalism in all areas of our curriculum through global dimension themes and projects. We are also planning to widen our partnerships and share all what we have learnt so far to support other schools locally and internationally to take part in developing their internationalism in school by working with us and helping us keeping on growing and providing .



During the development of our international work, we took great care communicating regularly with our partners to ensure that the chosen themes were relevant to our students and matching our syllabus so we could secure the enrichment of our school's curriculum and syllabus and “sell the idea to our staff, students and their parents. Project titles, planning of creative activities with their learning outcomes and international elements, developing specific skills and researching and sharing resources took a lot of time and engaged many discussions amongst international coordinators and staff. We tried for each subject taught in school to be linked with an International Project in order for our curriculum to be embedded with our international focus and global dimensions in school. At the beginning, we were a little confused or overwhelmed by the number of projects to be covered for the Full ISA programme. Still, although we could not take all, many of the teachers and students' ideas were very good, useful and very encouraging in the early development of our full ISA projects. Our respective international coordinators took the time to communicate regularly with everyone and with each other to bring confidence to the team and to support staff in planning activities, managing the time, delivering well planned projects with aims and objectives. Guiding staff in finding engaging and creative resources accessible to all students was well received by the team but I am pleased to have observed that everyone's positive attitude in enriching the learning experiences of our students and the students in our school partners was key to sustain our partnerships and to successfully complete the projects planned in the action plan. Selecting topics, themes and global issues relevant to all schools taking part was very important to engage everyone. Selecting a project title, brainstorming a list of activities and skills, allocating suitable classes to be involved and a leading teacher to deliver it, took some time and was a careful planning to ensure that all students and teachers had the opportunity to have some involvement.



As the principal at Harvard Academy , I found myself having to overcome a few difficulties. Most of the projects gave the opportunity to our students to do extra-activities and to take part in excursions or do a field visit. The aims of those visits were to observe, to experience and gather some information and report back. Necessary arrangements had to be made which took some time to plan and get the appropriate permissions from coordinators of organizations and request for grants in some cases. Some organizations hesitated at first to allow visitors and I found myself having to find some convincing arguments to gain permission. Furthermore, while being involved in some of the projects, we needed to stop in the middle due to the various programs like holidays, exams, excursions or some other important works but, as soon as we were ready to go back to where we had to stop, we managed to resume the work on the projects.



Also, I found myself having to guide teachers, students and parents thought the development of our international focus in school as it was initially seen as extra work or a burden. Many concerns were raised such as it might take affect the precious learning time of our students and that little relevance in bringing out extra-curricular activities as those were not seen as serious learning experience but only a bit of fun with no particular focus. Teachers were concerned not to have enough time to complete their syllabus and get their students ready for examination if they had to take away some of their teaching time in class on the syllabus and spending on vague international activities. They felt also that those extra-activities were going to give them too much of extra work to plan and deliver. As for the students, they thought there would be a lot of extra work asked for them to complete on top of their compulsory work covered in class for their examination. Finally, the parents were worried our students were going to be diverted from their school work and might lose their concentration in studying towards getting creditable grades in their examination. However, once we the international projects started, all of them were pleased with the outcome and all their worries and reservations were not an issue anymore. It was in fact very interesting and encouraging to hear all groups requesting to take part in more projects. They wanted to be involved in most of the activities offered, which initially was a sensitive task for me to convince them to do so. Most of the international projects had a connection with a course covered in the syllabus curriculum and enriched our students' studies. They built team spirit, group work in learning and sharing ideas, opinions and giving constructive feedback. In my opinion, all students & teachers along with the parents from all schools taking part were benefited from this project work.



The completion of the work of the Full ISA took us almost a year. As required, we involved all students, teachers, parents and with the continuous hard work of all, the result has been overwhelming and very positive. For all the success of the work, the credit goes to my laborious students, helpful teachers, supportive parents and of course the dedicated teams at our school partners. I truly enjoyed the overall experience of working on the Full Isa programme as a team leader and learnt a lot from my role and the responsibilities I had at supervising the work of the International coordinator, monitoring the work done by the different groups, ensuring the smoothness and completion of all projects. I developed many useful skills in my role in the leadership team, learnt a lot from different groups, came up and received many new suggestions and innovative ideas which made the programme very enjoyable. It would be an incredible recognition of our students, staff and partner schools' hard work in developing our partnerships and enriching the learning experiences of all. It would be an amazing achievement in our school's journey from its beginnings in 2011 to being recognized and rewarded as an International School.


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