The Korea International School hosted the heads of schools of our high school activities conference, the Association of International Schools in Asia. SOIS is a founding member along with the Yokohama International School, Seoul International School and Busan Foreign International School. There are ten events held yearly, mostly sports, including basketball, swimming, soccer, volleyball, cross country running, and mathematics/leadership.
One of the major topics was child protection. This is a growing concern of all international schools, as there have been several high profile child abuse cases in schools in East Asia. One of the best features of AISA are the homestays, where students from visiting schools stay with host families. Homestays are the center of the intercultural understanding and friendships that are developed during these events. Graduates of our schools often maintain contact with friends they made during these homestays. In order to maintain this program, we are taking steps to minimize the risk for students staying in private homes. We made the rule that students must stay with at least one other student from their school. With at least a pair of students together, both the student and host family is protected.
Air quality was another topic as sometimes air pollution is a concern for the schools in Seoul. It is not a big problem in Osaka, but something we will add to our student wellness program. The Korea International School shared their policy with us and we plan to adopt some of their procedures.
Another feature of these meetings is the opportunity to tour the host school and pick up ideas. I got a good one for honoring departing teachers, with this beautiful display. The departing teacher photo with where they are going is featured and below is some information about their replacement. They also had a very impressive engineering and design hub with 3-D printers, a robotics laboratory, etc.
The heads of school agreed that we should try to collaborate on a science/robotics AISA event to add to our current activities. It was a successful year of collaboration and competition amongst our schools. The connection with schools in Korea and Japan greatly enhances all of our schools.