Authored by Dr Peter Bateman, Executive Director, Association of International Schools in Africa
In this era, when the norms of international education have changed so markedly, and school efficacy has been tried to its breaking point, I thought it might be an excellent time to re-visit the core notion of school effectiveness. The concept is notably broad in scope, so AISA has developed a revised School Effectiveness Handbook to provide some clarity to what we mean by the term. To maximize student learning and to promote professional growth for staff in AISA schools, it is essential that a school functions in an effective manner, providing a stable, safe and supportive environment, and a sound and viable school organization that ensures sustainability in the years ahead – particularly through the radical change our schools are currently navigating.
The purpose of the AISA School Effectiveness Framework (SEF) (available in the handbook) is to establish a common understanding of school effectiveness in the AISA region and to suggest good practices, structures, and resources that will support learning in AISA schools. A key component of school effectiveness is how a school defines learning and builds a coherent curriculum aligned with the guiding statements of the school to ensure mission integrity. When all components of school decision making and procedures connect back to student learning, we build a stronger evidence-based learning culture. AISA would like to encourage and assist you to think about school effectiveness in your own context by considering how learning is defined, and how this definition is used as a scaffold to support the different elements of your school.
AISA’s School Effectiveness Framework focuses on a range of topics including governance, strategic planning, financial and viability planning, emergency planning, accreditation and school improvement programs, child protection programmes, community service, measurement and assessment of school effectiveness, personnel practices, facilities management, and community engagement. The framework is offered again now to help refocus the attention of school leaders, board members, administrators and teacher leaders on student learning – even at a time when this is proving a challenge.
The AISA School Effectiveness Framework serves as a companion to other AISA online resources including the AISA COVID-19 Resources available on our new website, the AISA Code of Governance, the AISA Child Protection Handbook and support materials, the AISA Service Learning Handbook, AISA’s Blended Learning materials (also available on our new website), and the A/OS Emergency Procedures Handbook. In line with the AISA Strategic Plan, AISA continues to author resources that promote quality and consistency across our member schools, to ensure they have access to research-based best practice that is set out in a language and format that practitioners find useful, and to provide access to resources for school leaders and educators in a convenient and centrally located Resource section on the AISA website. These AISA resources not only provide commonality among our schools, but also serve as a benchmark to assess the ongoing development of our programmes across the region and to identify specific topics for ongoing, impactful professional development that builds the capacity of individuals and schools across the entire AISA community.
The AISA School Effectiveness Handbook also offers experienced leaders in AISA member schools a toolkit to examine the current status and needs of their school and to consider what additional structures and resources might be used to further improve school effectiveness. AISA welcomes feedback and suggestions to be incorporated in future editions of this handbook, and also encourages you to send us additional resources to be considered for inclusion in the Resources section on the AISA website.
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The Association of International Schools in Africa is dedicated to serving its members throughout Africa during this challenging time. Please let us know if you require additional or specific information, resources and or support, and we will endeavour to assist you as soon as possible.