Borrowing from Shakespeare, I believe that all a school is a stage. An effective school is where all students, at some point, have an opportunity to shine on their own stage. That stage may be the basketball court; art exhibition, choir recital, heated debate in a Model UN committee, creating animated characters on a computer, student council and eventually success in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IBDP). The more stages a school has, the more students are able to develop strengths, reveal unique intelligences and shine. An educator’s role is to provide multiple forums for students to demonstrate their strengths. We are challenged to move education beyond traditional academic settings and academic assessments. Although test–taking skills play an important role in our school and we strive for academic excellence through programs like the IBDP, we know that the world around us also demands other skills that can never by accurately measured by selected response tests or simple grades alone.
At CAS we pride ourselves on trying to provide many stages for our students to shine and show off their talents. We invite students to take risks, challenge themselves and be part of a whole much greater than their individual roles. Knowledge is indivisible. Every opportunity we have to extend our understanding of the world and our fellow humans, and in the process our self-awareness, is a valuable and worthwhile pursuit.
We believe students must also be engaged in authentic, meaningful work. When the audience of a student’s work goes beyond the teacher, when it is placed on stage, their work becomes authentic, important, and as the stakes are raised so do the student’s expectations of his or her own ability. This includes bringing the community into the school and the school into the community to allow students to explore and appreciate both the richness of Morocco and the global community that we all share and need to safeguard.
Robert Vander Eyken