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!