Earlier this week I attended the ISB Administrative Retreat. The admin team of the school is pictured above. From left to right are Bane (IT Coordinator), myself, Eric (Director), Tim (Elementary Principal) and Zhana (Business Manager). The goals of the retreat were to get to know one another and develop trust, give Tim and I information necessary to begin contributing to the school, and to decide what we were going to do in the 2008-2009 school year regarding the school’s strategic plan.
It was a good idea to get away from the distractions of school and home. We were able to focus our time on working and getting to know each other. ISB is a world-class international school and to manage the daily operations of a demanding community, the admin team needs to work closely together.
One of the things that I will take away from my time at ISB, is the idea of setting essential agreements of the group before we begin working together. For example, the first agreement that we made is the needs of students come first in our decision making. Others include treating each other with respect, being honest, etc.
The informational items that we went through were forms of communication at the school, the budget, the crisis response manual, calendar, etc. There is so much for me to absorb coming to a new school. I am feeling a bit overwhelmed, but every day I am a bit more comfortable in getting a grasp of the scope of my responsibilities.
The heart of our work was going through the strategic plan. This was an initiative completed during last school year. The school and Serbia are going through incredible growth and change! In response to these changes, the school set out a clear, long range (5 year) plan on the direction it wants to head. All stakeholders were heard and the Board pulled it all together and defined the school’s goals for the next five years. It is a comprehensive plan and is available for everyone to see on the school web site. It was our job to begin defining how we were going to implement some of the plan during this upcoming school year.
The venue for the retreat was the BG Sports Center located about 30 minutes outside of Belgrade in the area of Kovilova. It was a hotel with sports theme. There is a huge basketball/handball/volleyball arena on the grounds. They also hosted this past June, the world championships in the Shotgun Events of skeet, trap, and double trap, so we did hear the occasional gunshots during our work time. The Serbian under 21 national basketball team was also training there and we got to see the Serbian national coach. The hotel and grounds were very nice.
I want to give a special thanks to my wife Nadia for watching our children during our two day retreat. She put in a couple of tough days and a night with three little ones.
I look forward to a great year of working with my colleagues and the school community!