Teachers attend Florida Round Square conference

Patrick Ryan

Upper school history teacher Nini Halkett and middle school Spanish teacher Melissa Strong attended the Round Square School Association Conference in Boca Raton, Florida from Oct. 6-10, hosted by Saint Andrew’s School.

Head of School Jeanne Huybrechts invited the two teachers to observe the conference to see whether Harvard-Westlake would join the association as it seeks to “develop global education,” Huybrechts said.

The organization “promotes in young people a commitment, beyond academic merit, to personal growth, and responsibility through service to others and through practical, experiential learning,” according to its website.

Although Harvard-Westlake is already a part of the World Leading Schools Association, it is looking to possibly join the 142 other member schools in Round Square.

Round Square was founded in 1967 and includes a much broader range of schools, spanning over five continents.

“You come together as students from all over the world to do service, outreach and community engagement,” Huybrechts said. “[Round Square and World Leading Schools Association] all have their mission of bringing students and teachers together from all over the world. There’s more diversity of the type of school in Round Square.”

When approached by Huybrechts, Halkett accepted because of her interest in world politics.

“”I have always been interested in global outreach and education,” Halkett said. “I have always been interested in how we can connect different cultures and promote international understanding as a way of reducing conflict.”

There is an application process and fee to join the organization.

“My only concern about it is that it is all independent schools,” Halkett said. “I would have liked to have seen an effort to reach out to state supported schools. My impression was that there was more racial and cultural diversity than there was socioeconomic diversity.”

The organization provides some valuable experiences for students, but the school would have make a financial committment so that only a handful of students could participate in conferences, service projects or foreign exchange programs, Halkett said.