Recently, we were very fortunate to have been offered the opportunity, through Vanderbilt University, to host eight school principals from public schools in Abu Dhabi. They were split into two even groups and each spent about three hours on campus visiting with teachers and administrators, sitting in on classes and touring the campus - asking questions all the while.
The principals, all women, were charismatic and engaging and deeply invested in continuous improvement for their schools. In particular, they were interested in creating a positive school climate and culture, and developing relationships between students and faculty.
Despite being public schools half-way around the world from Nashville, we found a great deal of common ground between our schools. We agreed that teaching and learning is founded on dedicated, thoughtful and talented professionals who are engaged in continual professional improvement, with student learning first in almost all decisions and strategies.
We look forward to keeping the connection that we formed between our schools through student projects, writing, email, Skype, and exploring other opportunities, so that we can learn from each other, and perhaps a bit about ourselves at the same time.