ISSN Summer Institute Emphasizes the Importance of Connection, Collaboration, and Student Voice
AUSTIN, June 27, 2018 – Nearly 80 educators from across the United States convened in Austin, Texas, last week for the annual International Studies Schools Network (ISSN) Summer Institute, which brings teachers and education leaders together from across the network to connect and learn from their peers.
ISSN is an initiative of the Center for Global Education at Asia Society and is a professional community of a growing number of K–12 schools in the U.S. Those schools fully integrate global education across the curriculum through a combination of professional development, globally focused curriculum tools, project-based learning, and authentic assessment. ISSN schools enjoy higher levels of student engagement and academic achievement; especially those in primarily socio-economically disadvantaged urban areas.
Summer Institute attendees had the opportunity to reconnect with one another and collaborate on ideas and projects to better support their students using Asia Society's model for global competence. An overarching theme of the conversations was how to better incorporate student voice into educators' planning and work.
Attendees also had the opportunity to visit the Summer Institute host school, the Academy for Global Studies (AGS) at Stephen F. Austin High School, where they were welcomed by students from Austin High's award-winning Ballet Folklórico team, given an introduction to Austin High's school model, and heard from AGS students and teachers about their classrooms and experiences.
The highlight of the Summer Institute was the three student addresses given by recent AGS alumni. In his opening keynote, AGS alumnus and current Duke University student Benny Romero described how AGS and the ISSN model supported his growth as a student and global citizen, helping him reach his goal of being the first in his family to go to college. He explained how his experience at AGS forced him to step outside his comfort zone and take on new challenges, from testifying in front of the Texas State Capitol, to running for and winning the position of Council President.
Benny also challenged the listening educators to do the same: "Students are not the only ones who should be getting uncomfortable. So should you, our educators … Because teachers are the role models raising the future each and every day, so they are the ones that should be leading by example, stepping out of their comfort zone."
The two other student alumni speakers, Carmen Larkin and Alma Flores-Pérez, described their experiences completing their senior capstone projects. Alma also outlined the journey she took from AGS to Stanford University and how her AGS experience introduced her to her love of language, leading her to study linguistics in college.
Asia Society Vice President of Education Tony Jackson described the impact of the ISSN to attendees, saying, "I truly believe that the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development wouldn't be assessing global competence and there would be no worldwide movement for global competence if it were not for you within the ISSN community."
Attendees left reinvigorated to continue their work in the fall and with ideas for new ways to collaborate across the network and around the world.
For more information about the International Studies Schools Network, please contact Kate Farmer: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below are videos of the student speeches from the summer institute.