Athletic directors and heads of school of AISA met at the International School of Busan (ISB), Korea this weekend. We meet annually to review the school year and plan for the future. AISA is our high school international athletics and activities conference. The big AISA news is we welcomed a sixth member school, the Korea International School – Jeju! The 986-student boarding and day school is located on Jeju Island, a 1-hour flight off the south coast of Korea. Jeju is known at the “Hawaii of Korea” and they bring something different to our conference. We are looking forward to their world-class facilities and unique island experience for our student-athletes. We also discussed the safety of our students traveling to and from and during our events. A cornerstone of AISA’s commitment to intercultural understanding is the homestay program. We want to keep it safe for our students. Better child protection practices are always our focus.
I always pick up ideas and the conversations I have with other heads of schools is invaluable to our school. I am posting the photos from the ISB school tour. My major takeaways were the school branding ISB has undertaken this year. I had a nice conversation with the manager of the school store and got some good contacts. Their board room, admissions office, school merchandise is exactly what SOIS and my future school, Tashkent International School could use. I also learned about the consultant, Control Risks (website). They have a lot of resources on their website and help international schools evaluate risk in their programs. They are working with schools in the region analyzing their homestay programs.
The city government of Busan built the International School of Busan and allows the ISB to use it rent-free. They have to maintain it, but the idea is for the school to support international business in this port city. The school is located in the northern part of Busan, a growing area with a huge amusement park and resort under construction. There is also a world-class science museum nearby.
The major challenge for ISB is enrollment in a relatively small city. They are largely dependent on the international shipping economy to provide international families. In many ways, the enrollment of all international schools are impacted by economic trends, but in smaller cities, the swings can be more drastic.
I would like to thank ISB Head of School Kevin Baker and AD Craig Wilson for hosting us!