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Futuraskolan international School of Stockholm

Words from the new CEO

Good day,

My name is Tom Callahan and I am honored to have been chosen to assume the role of acting CEO of Futuraskolan. I am the proud father of Cassandra and Julius (ages 16 and 18) and live with them in Tyresö. During my free time I like to go running, I am a scuba diving instructor so I love to scuba dive and I am a huge Seattle sports fan.

My role in the organization is to develop the various groups in the community (parents, students and teachers) so that we together can provide a vibrant and stimulating environment where students can achieve their goals in relation to the Swedish National Curriculum. Our aim is to provide a safe and welcoming learning environment where students are valued and challenged. My ultimate aim is for all the students in the organization to leave grade 9 with a reason to feel proud of themselves.

My motivation mainly comes from my schooling many years ago. For a few of my teenage years, school and I did not agree with each other. I had family and personal events outside of school that were very impactful to me and made me question my personal value. Luckily, I had a few adults who never gave up on me, who were firm yet gentle in their handling of me, and who instilled in me the belief that I could go wherever my wishes took me as long as I was willing to take the steps to get there. This inspired me to go into teaching. I will never forget when, as a student in teachers college, I was assigned an inner city school group in America to work with. Many of these students were from disadvantaged homes and one thing that I saw was a key component of their success was how much I proved to them that I believed in them. I left this teaching assignment with a clear belief that I still hold to this day, that sometimes the only thing a person needs to start on the road to success is for someone to believe in them.

I will be employing this philosophy every day in the various schools and preschools in the organization. By looking for student success, leading the staff by introducing them to new learning theories and models of instruction and holding parent seminars where we can share our common ideas and perspectives about the development of the respective schools and preschools I hope to foster a vibrant and cooperative learning organization that is both student centered and ambitious in scope. My ultimate aim is to develop the community so that we are working together towards a common goal. This goal is student growth through academic achievement.

You will be able to find me in front of the schools or preschools in the mornings greeting the students as they arrive, in my office during the day, or by mail or phone outside of normal working hours.

We have a progressive and dynamic organization built on an amazing teaching staff and an engaged and supportive group of parents.

I encourage you to come have a look around, try our lunch in one of our fine lunchrooms, and see our spectacular teachers and students at work. Or, stop by for a coffee and a chat with me here at headquarters.

Your perspective is important to us so please make your opinion known. Then we are better able to share in our common goal of developing productive and capable future world citizens.

Have a fantastic afternoon!

Sincerely yours,

Tom Callahan

Words from the CEO, June 2018

Another successful and intensive academic year has come to an end. In our pre-schools and schools we have prepared for the end of the school year and upcoming summer holidays, and it´s time to summarize a fulfilling and exciting year. I am proud to be part of leading school development, as a lot of positive things are happening within the school system right now, especially at Futuraskolan International. A highlight during the academic year has been Futuraskolan International School of Stockholm being accredited as the second school worldwide, for its work within the International Middle Years Curriculum (IMYC). This is a fantastic achievement and the school is now accredited in both the International Primary Curriculum (IPC) and the International Middle Years Curriculum (IMYC). A big thank you to everyone involved in the work that lies behind this recognition and congratulations on the accreditation!

In general we have continued to focus on learning and the development of formative assessment. By highlighting good examples, we develop ourselves as a learning organization and take advantage of all the knowledge and skills available in Futuraskolan International pre schools and schools, building a strong culture of learning. During the year we have also developed a common definition of learning and our own definition of an international mindset, both of which are supporting parts of our learning model linked to IPC / IMYC. This is to consolidate a common language and further strengthen our international model.

The theme of this year’s International Conference at the Educational Collaborative for International Schools (ECIS) was “Language and Design of Learning”. In view of Futuraskolan International’s vision and being a Bilingual organization, it was very pleasing to take part in Ellen Bialystok’s research on Bilingualism and learning. Studies show that bilingualism affects the opportunities for learning more than we had previously understood. Living in a bilingual environment from infancy positively affects a child’s perception, mental abilities and flexibility and can give benefits throughout life. The research suggests that it may also help delay the development of dementia in elderly people. So congratulations to everyone for being in a Bilingual environment! You will keep your brains alive and sharp! For those who are interested in knowing more, this clip, where Ellen talks about the research on Bilingualism, is recommended.

The good leadership

The importance of good leadership cannot be emphasized enough and to me, a clear and delegated leadership is the foundation of Futuraskolan International. Our skilled principals, pre school principals and other leaders within the organization are professionals in making strategic decisions and making the right decisions needed in the moment. I believe in a distributed leadership exercised through principals and pre school principals who under their own responsibility build their organization and lead their employees. Employees, in turn, exercise their leadership in teaching with the students’ learning in focus. My role as CEO is to create the right organizational conditions and to point out the long-term educational direction in order to create the best conditions for student learning. In this context, I want to highlight the importance of having the right person in the right place, and I want to point to three parts, which I consider have become even more important in the process of change schools and Futuraskolan International are in. These are recruiting, developing and retaining.

Recruiting employees with the right skills and attitudes that share our vision, promise and our core values ​​is very important. The fact that employees have formal skills is important, but equally important is that we get employees with the right drive and attitude. Or with Dylan Williams’s words: “The only thing I want to see in the educational context is people who really want to teach others something. Only they will invest as much power as actually is needed to become good teachers”. Experience is important, but for me, attitude and ambition also weigh heavily. If there is a difference between two candidates, it´s not only important to decide who is the best one at the moment, but which of the candidates has the highest potential to develop. Who’s the most successful one in the long run?

One of my most important (and perhaps most fun) assignments as a leader is to help other people grow, develop and blossom. An organization that allows employees to be responsible for their growth grows itself- both by the added value created in terms of the knowledge provided, but also through the positive culture that is created when employees drive development together. A positive consequence of the situation in today’s labor market is that employees begin to understand their value and what they want from an employment. A market-based salary is of course important, but also that there are opportunities for education and career opportunities. By offering our employees long-term and cohesive educational opportunities, where their skills develop, we will also raise our students’ study results. It also leads us to create good conditions for retaining talented employees when we build our organization through community, well-being and the opportunity to develop in the profession. My goal as CEO is for Futuraskolan International to always keep skilled employees. Yet at the same time, a natural mobility is a part of reality. A staff member leaving also means that recruitment can take place and that new blood and new energy may come in and add color to the organization.

A big thank you to all the employees, students and parents for everything you contributed during the year. Together we make Futuraskolan International a place where people are visible, challenged and successful!

I wish you all a joyful summer holiday!

Sincerely,

Peter Bergström, CEO

Kevin Munro Mitt i Täby

Kevin Munro, principal at Bergtorp appears in this article from Mitt i. Read about his background in Stockholm and his journey to Bergtorp Rektor.
Mitt i Täby

Graduation Grade 9

We’re thrilled to present to you Futuraskolan’s graduating class of 2018. Today the grade 9 students from our schools at Rådan, Stockholm, Lidingö and our International school attended a picnic together so we could get to know each other, share a nice lunch and play games in anticipation of our graduation dinner and disco later in June.

Thanks for a fantastic day of laughter and camaraderie you all. We are proud of all of your efforts over the years and are thrilled to have seen you develop and grow into the fine young ladies and gentlemen that you’ve become.

Futuraskolan is a stronger and healthier organisation as a result of your outstanding work so walk tall, stand proud and know that we are deeply grateful for the warmth and smiles you’ve shared with us over the years.

Your horizons are bright and your future is waiting to unfold. Remember, life doesn’t happen to you it happens for you, so embrace the day and keep doing what your doing because you’re all doing amazing things.

Upwards and onwards!!

With deepest thanks,

Futuraskolan International.

IMYC accreditation

WE DID IT! Futuraskolan International School of Stockholm has become the first school in the Western Hemisphere to be accredited to run the .International Middle Years Curriculum (IMYC)… second school in the entire world! Congratulations to all on a fantastic accomplishment!

IMYC certificate

Music Festival by Futuraskolan International

With its more than 200 students together with teachers and principals, Futuraskolan International invites you to our Spring concert with popular pop and traditional songs! Find out more in the link below. Join in and sing along!

More info 

Model United Nations

6 Middle School students from the MUN club at Futuraskolan International School of Stockholm attended the New York CWMUN conference. Two of our students, Ariba Bilal and Emily Oakey, were awarded honorable mentions for their presentations. Congratulations to our students and their mentor, Ms. Esther Montero.

Website Ver 2.0 is here!

Hello and welcome to our new website. You will find links to all of Futuraskolan International schools and preschools.

VD-brev januari 2018

Samtidigt som vi lägger en händelserik termin och ett 10-års jubileum bakom oss är vi fullt upptagna med att starta upp en ny termin. Jag tror att ni håller med mig när jag säger att lika tillfredställande som det kan vara att avsluta och summera en termin, lika inspirerande och energigivande är det att starta en ny termin med allt vad det innebär. För våra barn och elever innebär det bland annat nya lärandemålmål, personliga mål och spännande arbetsområden att utforska för att stolt erövra nya kunskaper och erfarenheter. Våra medarbetare har även de nya inspirerande utmaningar att se fram emot i form av tankeväckande möten med elever och fortsatta kollegiala samtal om utveckling och lärande i kombination med ännu en portion av digitalisering. Som föräldrar är ni som vanligt varmt välkomna att följa med på den spännande resa en skoltermin innebär, en resa där alla barn och elever ska synliggöras, utmanas och lyckas!

Skolan fortsätter att stå i centrum för den politiska och offentliga debatten. Tyvärr fortsätter den negativa bilden av skolan att dominera och politiker, talespersoner, intressegrupper och mer eller mindre insatta aktörer står på rad för att uttala sig om tillståndet i svensk skola samt hur den svenska skolans problem ska lösas. Detta är mycket olyckligt då det inte bidrar till den forskningsbaserade ansats som krävs för att verkligen förstå hur skolan fungerar. Att bygga debatten på en illusion om hur skolan fungerar bidrar inte till något gott i sammanhanget. Om detta skriver Johannes Westberg och Johan Prytz i artikeln ”Farliga föreställningar präglar debatt om skolan” på SvD Debatt.

Jag menar att skolans främsta uppgift är att stå starkt i sitt kunskapsuppdrag. Så här uttrycks detta i skollagen: ”Utbildningen inom skolväsendet syftar till att barn och elever ska inhämta kunskaper och värden.….. I utbildningen ska hänsyn tas till barns och elevers olika behov. Barn och elever ska ges stöd och stimulans så att de utvecklas så långt som möjligt. En strävan ska vara att uppväga skillnader i barnens och elevernas förutsättningar att tillgodogöra sig utbildningen”. Parallellt med kunskapsuppdraget ska skolan även fullgöra sitt demokratiuppdrag. ”Människolivets okränkbarhet, individens frihet och integritet, alla människors lika värde, jämställdhet mellan kvinnor och män samt solidaritet med svaga är de värden som skolan ska gestalta och förmedla” står att läsa i skollagen. Vidare uttrycks att ”Skolan har i uppdrag att överföra grundläggande värden och främja elevernas lärande för att därigenom förbereda dem för att leva och verka i samhället”.

Samtidigt som skolans huvuduppgift är kunskapsuppdraget parallellt med demokratiuppdraget ska skolan även ge elever en likvärdig utbildning. Kort sagt kan detta sägas vara att alla elever ska ha samma chans att lyckas i skolan oavsett var än eleven bor eller vilken social och ekonomisk bakgrund denne har. Skolan ska även kompensera för elevens bakgrund eller andra olikartade förutsättningar. Om detta är de flesta överens men hur vi skapar en likvärdig skola där alla har rätt förutsättningar finns det olika tankar och idéer kring.

Den senaste tiden har begreppet likvärdighet diskuterats flitigt i media och andra instanser och det med rätta, då det är ett viktigt uppdrag. Dock finns en risk i att för starkt fokusera på likvärdigheten och nästintill göra den till målet i sig. Framförallt gynnar det inte eleverna, då jag menar att det riskerar att undergräva och relativisera skolans kunskapsuppdrag. Ett allt för starkt fokus på likvärdighet kan leda till en överbetoning av elevers bakgrund kopplat till kunskapsnivå och uppträdande. En skola med höga och positiva förväntningar på varje elev där fokus ligger på kunskaper och lärande måste istället alltid vara utgångspunkten. Skolan ska bidra till likvärdighet och jämlikhet i samhället och det bästa sättet att göra det på, är att eleverna kan vila tryggt i att skolan alltid har fokus på utvecklingen av elevernas kunskaper, förmågor och förståelse i första hand. För att nå dit krävs ett fortsatt fokus på tydliga regler för normer och värden i skolan, betydelsen av den skickliga och kunniga läraren, ordning och arbetsro, ett tydligt ledarskap i undervisningen, samt betydelsen av att elever målmedvetet måste anstränga sig

för att nå goda resultat. Futuraskolan International vision är att vara den bästa språngbrädan för framtida världsmedborgare och med utgångspunkt i IPC och IMYC står dessa områden tydligt i fokus hos oss.

En kollega till mig besökte nyligen Singapore och den internationella skolkonferensen ICSEI International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement och gjorde följande reflektion: ”Singapore har lyckats väl med sina skolor genom att arbeta långsiktigt, medvetet och mycket strukturerat. De beskriver hur de tänker och jag slås av att deras mål med hela utbildningsstrategin handlar om vad landet behöver. Vad individen vill eller behöver kommer efter vad landet behöver. Glädje och lust ska väckas hos eleverna men för dem är utbildningsväsendet ett sätt att styra landets utveckling och skapa de medborgare samhället behöver. Självklart kan man ha åsikter om detta synsätt att se på individen kontra samhället men jag kan också tänka att Sverige tappat lite av visionen för utbildningsväsendet och att skolan är en nyckel till det gemensamma samhällsbygget”. Efter att ha läst min kollegas reflektion, ställer jag mig frågan om det verkligen är så att vi i Sverige har tappat lite av skolans samhällsbyggande uppgift till förmån för att allt för mycket fokusera på vad den enskilda individen behöver? Svaret på frågan om skolans uppgift i samhället och hur vi skapar framtiden skola är inte enkelt men det är alltid viktigt och intressant att utmana sina egna invanda föreställningar genom att bland annat se på hur andra gör.

Efter denna filosofiska utflykt är det återigen dags att dyka ner i den dagliga verksamheten på Futuraskolan International. Som ni alla märkt har vi gått över till Skolplattformen som vårt verktyg för kommunikation, information och dokumentation. Skolplattformen är ett lätthanterligt och översiktligt system som skapar förutsättningar för både elever, lärare och vårdnadshavare att samarbeta kring elevernas skolgång. Systemet bygger på ett nyare programmeringsspråk än School soft gjorde, vilket gör det lätt att koppla samman med andra plattformar och lärverktyg. Vid implementering av nya system vet vi av erfarenhet att det kan förekomma mindre inkörningsproblem och några av funktionerna i systemet har tyvärr inte fungerat fullt ut. Skolplattformen arbetar dock målmedvetet för att alla funktioner ska ha full funktion inom kort och jag hoppas att de barnsjukdomar som funnit de första veckorna inte stört allt för mycket. Med start i höst är det även tänkt att våra förskolor ska integreras i systemet och arbetet pågår för fullt för att utveckla de funktioner vi vill att systemet ska erbjuda för förskolan.

Det spännande och utvecklande arbetet med att integrera och göra de digitala verktygen till en del av elevers och lärares dagliga skolarbetet fortsätter och trots att vi kommit en bit på väg, vågar jag påstå att vi ännu inte är i närheten av att se hur digitaliseringen skapar nya förutsättningar för utbildning och lärande och samhället i stort. Professor Andy Hargreaves, Lynch School of Education vid Boston College menar att vi lever i en ny tid i och med digitaliseringens intåg på bred front och de möjligheter den skapar. Runt om i världens skolor måste nya frågor ställas som också handlar om – Vilka är vi? – Vad ska vi göra? – Vad ska vi bli? Stora och tankeväckande frågor med en potential att skapa något nytt i en tid av omvandling. Kopplat till digitalisering och lärande kommer Futuraskolan Internationals ledningsgrupp, rektorer och förskolechefer att besöka Bolton och London för att ta del i och inspireras av hur andra skolor framgångsrikt arbetat med ledarskap, lärande och digitalisering. Att lära av varandra och andra är alltid givande, då det bidrar med ny kunskap och nya infallsvinklar.

Förra våren begav jag mig ut i verkligheten genom att besöka alla våra skolor och förskolor. Även om jag besöker verksamheterna då och då, så var det mycket givande och intressant att träffa både barn, elever och medarbetare ”utan filter” och vara en del av verksamheten samt ta del av vad de menar fungerar väl i verksamheten och vad som kan förbättras. Nu är våren här igen om jag ser fram emot att snart dyka upp på en förskola eller skola nära dig!

Bästa hälsningar,

Peter Bergström, VD

Words from the CEO January 2018

Putting an eventful semester and a 10th year anniversary behind us, we are now fully occupied with the start of a new semester. I think you would agree with me when I say that as satisfying as it may be to finish a term, it’s equally inspiring and energizing to start a new one with all that entails. For our students, it includes new learning goals, personal goals and exciting work to explore and conquer new knowledge and experiences. Our employees also have new and inspiring challenges to look forward to such as thoughtful meetings with students, continuing the development of collaborative learning experiences and implementing the next phase of digitization. As parents, you are as always welcome to join us on this exciting journey, a journey where all children and students will be made visible, challenged and successful!

The school continues to be at the center of political and public debate. Unfortunately, negative perceptions continue to dominate and politicians, spokespersons, interest groups and more or less informed actors all comment on how to solve the problems they identify. This is very unfortunate, as it doesn’t contribute to the research-based approach required to really understand how schools work. Building the debate on an illusion of how schools work doesn´t add any value to the context. Johannes Westberg and Johan Prytz writes about this in the interesting article “Farliga föreställningar präglar debatten om skolan? on SvD Debatt in the Swedish newspaper Svenska dagbladet.

I believe that the school’s main task is to stand strong in its mission for students to acquire and utilize knowledge. This is stated in the Swedish School Law: “Education in the school system aims for children and students to acquire knowledge and values. … .. In education, consideration will be given to the different needs of children and pupils. Children and students should be given support and stimulus so that they develop as far as possible. An effort will be to outweigh differences in the children and pupils’ prerequisites for learning. ” In parallel with its mission for students to acquire and utilize knowledge, the school also has to fulfill its democratic mission. “The inviolability of human life, the freedom and integrity of the individual, the equal value of all men, equality between women and men, and solidarity with weakness, are the values that the school is supposed to convey” as stated in the school law. Furthermore, it´s stated that “The school is assigned to embed basic values and promote learning to prepare students to take an active part in society”.

While the main task of the school is the knowledge mission in parallel with the democracy mission, the school is also here to provide students with equivalent education. In short, it can be said that all students should have the same opportunity to succeed at school, no matter where the student lives or what social and economic background he/she comes from. The school also has to compensate for the student’s background or other conditions. On this there is a strong agreement, but how to create an equivalent school where every student is given the right conditions, is more under debate.

Recently, the concept of equivalence has been widely discussed in the media and in other forums, and rightly so. It is an important debate. However, there is a risk of focusing too much on equivalence, to the point of almost making it the goal itself. In particular, it doesn´t benefit the students, if the individual needs undermine the school’s overall mission for its students to acquire and utilize knowledge. An excessive focus on equivalence might lead to an over analyzation of the student’s background in relation to his/her level of knowledge and behavior. Instead a school with high and positive expectations for every

student, focusing on knowledge and learning, must always be the starting point. Of course the school must contribute to equivalence in society and the best way to do that is to ensure that students can rest assured that the school always focuses on the development of students’ knowledge, skills and understanding in the first place. To achieve this, there is a need to focus on clear rules for school norms and values. The importance of the skilled and knowledgeable teacher, order in the classroom, a clear leadership in teaching, and the importance of students being resilient in their efforts to achieve good results are all important factors to consider. Futuraskolan International´s vision to be the best stepping stone for future world citizens and our work with the IPC and IMYC, put these factors clearly in focus in our pre-schools and schools.

A colleague of mine recently visited Singapore and the International School Conference for School Effectiveness and Improvement, and made the following reflection: “Singapore has been successful in working with its schools by working long-term, consciously and in a highly structured manner. They describe how they think and I am struck by the fact that their goals with the entire education strategy is about what the country needs. What the individual wants or needs comes after what the country needs. Joy and the desire to learn should of course be brought to the students, but for Singapore, the education system is a way of contributing to the country’s development by creating citizens the society needs. Of course, you can have strong opinions about this approach to look at the individual versus society, but I also think that Sweden lost a little of its vision for the education system and that school is a key to the common community. ” After reading my colleague’s reflection, I wonder if it’s true that in Sweden we have lost some of the school’s social-building focus in favor of concentrating too much on what the individual needs? The answer to the question of the school’s role in society and how we create our future schools is not simple, but it´s always important and interesting to challenge your own conceptions by looking at others.

Following this philosophical excursion, it´s once again time to dive into the daily activities of Futuraskolan International. As you have noticed, we have switched to the School Platform (Skolplattformen) as our tool for communication, information and documentation. The School Platform is an easy-to-use and comprehensive system that creates the conditions for both students, teachers and guardians to collaborate around the students’ schooling. The system is based on the latest programming, which makes it easy to connect with other platforms and learning tools. When implementing new systems, we know from experience that there may be some set-up and transitional issues and some of the features in the system unfortunately do not work fully yet. The personnel at school platform, however, are working hard to ensure that all functions will be fully operational soon. I hope that the malfunctions that occurred during the first few weeks did not bother you too much. Starting this fall, our pre-schools will also be integrated into the system and the School Platform is currently working with us to develop the features we want the system to offer to our pre-schools.

The exciting and evolving work of integrating digital tools to be a part of the students and teachers daily work continues, and I dare to say that we are not yet close to seeing how digitization creates new conditions for education, learning and society at large. Professor Andy Hargreaves, Lynch School of Education at Boston College, believes that we are living in a new era due to our broad-based exposure to digitalization and the opportunities it creates. Around the world schools need to make new questions that are also about – Who are we? – What should we do? – What are we going to be? Big and thoughtful questions with the potential to create something new in a time of transition. Linked to digitization and learning, Futuraskolan International’s Leadership team, principals and preschool

principals, will visit Bolton and London to be inspired by how other schools have successfully worked with leadership, learning and digitization. Learning from others is always rewarding, as it presents new knowledge and new approaches.

Last spring, I threw myself into reality by visiting all our pre-schools and schools. Even though I make these visits from time to time, it was very rewarding and interesting to meet students and employees “without a filter” and take part in their day. I also got to learn what they feel is working well and what might be improved. Now spring is here again and I look forward to popping by a preschool or school close to you!

Sincerely,

Peter Bergström, CEO