Head of School Jeanne Huybrechts attended an international conference for educators in Auckland, New Zealand during the summer. Huybrechts met with 30 other school heads and visited six schools as part of the conference.
The convention was hosted by Global Connections, an organization which seeks to bring educators together in order for them to share ideas. According to their website, the organization fosters review of thematic issues such as leadership, team building, uses of technology, and community service.
“I can’t go to a school without coming away with a half dozen ideas for this school, big or small” Huybrechts said.
“[I brought back] photographs of the way classrooms are set up, and curricular materials, a lot of little things that I then pass on to teachers,” she said. When Huybrechts was on a previous school tour in Singapore, she saw carpeting that she particularly liked.
“It turned out to be just industrial carpet, and Mr. DeMatte found it,” she said.
Global Connections also emphasizes adaptation to an increasingly international educational system.
“Students in schools like Harvard-Westlake, many of you will work outside the United States at some point in your life,” she said. The organization expresses its goals with a question: What competencies do we need to develop in young people that will enable them to lead successful lives in our global village?
This question spurs discussions at the annual symposiums. Last year, the conference was held in South Africa, and next year Huybrechts will participate in the same discussion in Colombia.
Last year, Huybrechts visited schools in Soweto, an apartheid-era ghetto where black South African families were relegated until the mid-1990s.
After this year’s convention concluded, Huybrechts independently revisited South Africa.
Huybrechts said that the conferences encourage her to search for international partners for Harvard-Westlake to interact with in the future.