FLC2014 - Archive

Conference Report

October 23-26, 2014 - Conrad Hotel, Istanbul, Turkey

After a 12-year absence, NESA school leaders returned to historic Istanbul for four days of high-quality professional learning and personal renewal. With a breathtaking view of the Bosphorus and the Blue Mosque visible across the Golden Horn, the elegant Conrad Hotel hosted the FLC for the third time (also in 1994 and 2002), with an unprecedented number of delegates — more than 500 — a record!

NESA Executive Director David Chojnacki opened the conference with welcome remarks, followed by Anthony Jones, Headmaster of our host school, Robert College, and Bea Cameron, Regional Education Officer from the Office of Overseas Schools, who delivered greetings from the State Department to NESA educators.

Andy Hargreaves from Boston College gave the opening keynote on “Professional Capital”, ‘recovering and redefining’ what it means to teach, to be a teacher and to be valued as a high quality professional. On Friday, grading expert Ken O’Connor outlined the six “Musts” to make grading effective so students fully benefit from high-quality teaching and assessment in “The Way Ahead in Communicating Student Achievement”. Author Douglas Reeves, in his Saturday keynote, “Leading for Creativity”, made a compelling case for what leaders must do – and what they must avoid – to nurture creativity among students and teachers. Sunday morning’s keynoter, literacy consultant Dan Feigelson, examined how important joy and engagement are in literacy instruction, in “Joy, Engagement, and Rigor: Teaching Reading In The Age of The Common Core”. Sunday afternoon, Auditi Chakravarty, Vice President for Curriculum & Instruction with the College Board’s Advanced Placement & Instruction Division, gave delegates the inside story behind the overhaul of the SAT exam, in “A Great Global Conversation: SAT’s Redesign and Its International Impact”.

Delegates took advantage of in-depth training during four three-hour workshops presented by 20 specialist speakers, including a ‘prototype’ session by Michelle Kuhns and Michelle Remington from the American School of Dubai on standards-based reporting in the high school. Other topics included school leadership, leadership “stance”, school sustainability, crisis communications, school culture, teacher evaluation and learning-focused supervision. Extended strands for business managers (four days) and board trustees (three days) were also offered. Additionally, NESA members and affiliates presented a record-breaking 27 one-hour General Interest Workshops, with 42 presenters! A special panel discussion also took place on the important subject of “Issues Around Child Protection”.

On Saturday morning, MSA and NEASC Accreditation Awards and the NESA Virtual Science Fair Awards were announced. At Saturday evening’s Gala in the Conrad Ballroom, several touching tributes were paid to this year’s Finis Engleman Award recipient, Sarah Daignault, the founding Executive Director of the National Business Officers Association, co-presenter of the business managers strand at the FLC for ten years and consultant to NESA and schools on operations, finance and governance. Also at the Gala, NESA Board President Kevin Schafer (TAISM-Muscat) honored NESA Director of Operations Jill Kalamaris and staff member Laura Canellopoulou for 24 and 20 years of service, respectively, to the organization.

Complementing the professional focus with the best of NESA hospitality, the FLC’s three social events gave delegates a chance for some fun too, starting with Wednesday’s welcome cocktail reception at the Conrad’s Summit Bar with a spectacular view of the Bosphorus. At Thursday’s Welcome Event, delegates enjoyed a traditional seafood dinner in the charming Kumkapi quarter of Istanbul, and a superb Turkish and international buffet plus a lively folklore music and dance performance at Saturday’s Gala in the Conrad Ballroom.