November 18-21, Senior Associates Diana Kerry and Julie Ryan attended the Annual Educators Conference of the European Council of International Schools (ECIS) in Barcelona, where over 1100 teachers, principals, and school heads gathered at the Palau de Congresos de Catalunya. The conference, whose theme was "Designing on Purpose," offered many one- and two-day pre-conference sessions, some of which were held at the American School of Barcelona and some at Benjamin Franklin International School.
ECIS, founded in 1965, is an association of international schools that provides professional learning, credentials, and support for educators, school administrators, trustees, governors, and owners of schools.
The Educators Conference began with a moving keynote speech by David Suskind, who relayed the challenging journey of his autistic son and the many successes--big and small--Owen has faced from childhood to adulthood. The Saturday keynote, presented by Graham Brown-Martin, focused on the importance of creativity in teaching and learning. Graham's thoughts on creativity solidified as he traveled the world visiting highly successful schools.
Julie and Diana were pleased to meet many current and prospective Search Associates candidates who stopped by the table to ask for advice and share their experiences. Julie, a former reading specialist and elementary principal, presented a workshop on "Word Work, Phonics, and Spelling in the Kindergarten-Grade 2 Classroom," an area that is one of her passions. Julie added,
"Squeezed between learning, networking, and presenting were brief opportunities to enjoy beautiful Barcelona and to eat a few tapas in local restaurants. It was a lovely setting for an excellent conference."