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Conference report

April 5-8, 2013 — Royal Orchid Sheraton, Bangkok, Thailand

A record-breaking 700+ educators from schools throughout the NESA region (and beyond!) gathered April 5-8 in the “Land of Smiles” — Bangkok, Thailand. They attended four keynotes, three half-day specialist sessions, and four teacher-produced workshops (from a choice of 45!).

The four keynotes included the following distinguished speakers: Lucy Calkins (sponsored by International Schools Services) of Columbia University’s Teachers College Reading and Writing Project talked about how the Common Core State Standards represent “new horizons” all NESA schools can walk towards, in “Walking Courageously Forward in Today’s Common Core World: Literacy Instruction, School Reform and Visions of Tomorrow”; child/family psychologist and author Michael Thompson (sponsored by Buffalo State-SUNY) explained how to deal with the dynamics of childhood social relationships, including bullying, in “Best Friends/Worst Enemies”; Scott McLeod of the University of Kentucky described how children and adolescents are using technology to make positive changes in their communities in “Powerful Technologies/Powerful Students”; and Kyung-hee Kim of The College of William and Mary spoke on how to foster creativity in “Gardening the Creative CAT: Creative Climate, Creative Attitude and Creating Thinking”.

Cindy Cummings and Katrina Theilmann offered a two-day preconference on the “New AERO English Language Arts Framework: Common Core Plus”; Bob Garmston and Carolyn McKanders led a “Five-Day Adaptive Schools Certificate Program”; Michele Mattoon and Kevin Horton facilitated a “Five-Day Critical Friends Training Institute”; Lucy Calkins, Amanda Hartman (grades K-2) and Alexandra Marron (grades 3-5) led a four-day “The Writing Project: Foundation Course in Writing”; and Graham Watts offered a two-day institute on “Mindful Mentors: Advanced Training in Habits of Mind”.

Delegates chose from a wide range of four-hour "specialist” workshops on topics ranging from iPads in the Classroom, the emotional lives of boys, neurolinguistics for teachers, and es/ms mathematics, to assessment and world languages, writing in the MS and HS, counseling vulnerable adolescents and technology for educators.

Several awards were announced: Sahithi Vuppula from the American International School-Kuwait, won the Stanley Haas/Luke Hansen Student Award, sponsored by GBG/TieCare International. Sahithi was NESA's guest in Bangkok and addressed a plenary session of delegates (read her speech). Additionally, Samvitha Ram from the American International School-Chennai, India, was announced as the winner of one of four $4,000 Margaret Sanders Foundation International Schools Scholarships.

NESA Teacher Representatives sold raffle tickets for the annual Community Service Raffle, which benefits community service projects in NESA schools. Over $4,000 was raised!

NESA conferences are a balance between the professional and the personal. Friday evening delegates socialized at the Welcome Reception – sponsored by The College Board - on the Sheraton’s Sambal Terrace overlooking the Chao Praya River; and at the Gala Dinner Sunday evening – sponsored by TieCare International – where they enjoyed a fabulous buffet and a traditional Thai music, dance and puppet performance.