Fundamental to the AWS experience is an exploration of the local community and wider world. Such exploration expands a student’s perspective and ensures they have context to understand their learning. For this reason, having students venture beyond our brick walls is a critical strand within our strategic plan. Of the many exciting initiatives within the plan, few have engendered more attention than the creation of an IB Global Alliance (IBGA). The intention is for AWS to lead the formation of a multi-school, multi-continent alliance of schools that actively engage student exchanges and the sharing of IB best practices.
I am excited to say that we have formalized an agreement with Windhoek International School in Namibia, solidifying our first alliance partner. Conversations with other schools— Tashkent International School (Uzbekistan), International School of Paris (France), and Graded, The American School of Sao Paulo (Brazil), among others—have been quite positive. Through these conversations, we have landed on two required components for participation in the alliance. The first is that each school participates in Upper and/or Middle School student exchanges. The second is participation in a “summer summit” hosted annually by one of the alliance schools. This summit will be student planned, and delegations from each school will attend. Outside of these two requirements, schools will have the freedom to partner with alliance schools in ways that feel most authentic and appropriate for them. The collaborative possibilities are limited only by our creativity, and great ideas are already being considered. I look forward to providing you with IBGA updates as we make our way deeper into the school year.
While we work to broaden the opportunities for AWS students through the Global Alliance, I thought you might like to hear about the exciting places to which our students will venture this year. The Lower School will visit all corners of the south sound through their myriad “inquiry visits.” The Grade 4 students will spend a night at Camp Sealth on Vashon Island, while the Grade 5 students have two nights at Nature Bridge on the Olympic Peninsula. And while I suspect you’re aware of the MS Journeys to Monterey (Grade 6), the Southwest (Grade 7), and Costa Rica (Grade 8), you might not be aware that Upper School students are headed domestically to New York City, Atlanta, and Los Angeles and internationally to England, Japan, and Colombia. In addition to these trips, Upper School students have already participated in language-based programs to France and Mexico and exchanges to Argentina and New Zealand will happen in the coming months.
When we say we want students to experience the world in which we live, we mean it. And once the IB Global Alliance is fully launched, these opportunities will only be enhanced. It is an exciting time at Annie Wright Schools and will be for years to come.