Near East South Asia - Council of Overseas Schools

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Conference Report

October 24-27, 2013 - Hyatt Regency Kathmandu, Nepal

NESA returned to enchanting Kathmandu for four days of high quality professional development and personal renewal. With a breathtaking view of the Bodhnath Stupa (a five-minute walk), the Hyatt Regency was an oasis of serenity in the midst of the lively street life outside.

US Ambassador Peter Bodde welcomed delegates to Nepal, and Bea Cameron - Regional Education Officer from the Office of Overseas Schools, Lincoln School Director Harold Fleetham, Gail Seay (AS-Doha) - Chair of NESA’s Professional Development Advisory Committee (PDAC) and NESA Executive Director David Chojnacki set the tone of professional learning.

Douglas Reeves opened the conference on Thursday with his keynote, “Creativity: How to Value, Nurture, and Encourage Creativity by Leaders, Teachers and Student Leaders”. On Saturday, James Stronge from the College of William and Mary outlined how school leaders impact student achievement in “What Makes Great School Leaders Great”. Sunday morning’s keynoter Mary Ehrenworth, from the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, spoke on “Harnessing the Best of the Common Core to Raise the Level of Achievement, Agency, and Independence in Multiple Literacies”. Ian Jukes closed the conference with his keynote, “Education in the Age of Disruptive Innovation”, proposing strategies for students to learn 21st century skills while still excelling on exams.

Delegates had the opportunity for in-depth training during four three-hour specialist workshops, choosing from among more than 20 topics. Multi-day strands for business managers, the ‘experienced leader’ and board trustees also took place, and NESA members presented more than 15 General Interest Workshops. The following awards were given: MSA Accreditation Awards, NESA Virtual Science Fair Awards, and NESA’s Finis Engleman Award, which was bestowed on Teresa Arpin, President of Transformation Systems, who has worked with the NESA Board for more than ten years guiding the organization’s transformational growth.

NESA administrators reconnected at Thursday evening’s Welcome Reception in the Hyatt Regency’s lovely poolside garden. Saturday’s excursion to Bhaktapur (“City of Devotees”), a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was a spectacular cultural experience, as delegates walked through the medieval town to the central Durbar Square for a folkloric music and dance performance followed by a splendid buffet dinner.