The first ever BIBA Leadership Retreat was a categorical success. Both in terms of bringing together the new and returning leadership of BIBA as well as in setting the vision and tone for success in this year and the years to come, the retreat proved to be time well spent. Prior to the year officially beginning those team members from BIBA who serve in a leadership capacity all the way from curriculum coordinators and department heads all the way to the heads of school, each participant was fully engaged in the work of planning for BIBA’s future.
First up was the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) consisting of our heads of school as well as the Principal of each school, ECC, ES, and MS & HS which met Thursday July 27th continuing into Friday as well. With a focus on beginning the work of setting BIBA’s “next 10 years” the group tackled the largest opportunities facing BIBA, how to innovate our educational offering, creating an environment for strong professional growth, and creating a community that fosters the best bilingual international education possible. While the task is not small this poised group of leaders is up to the challenge. Meeting off-site in a traditional Chinese courtyard setting brought together the blend of Eastern tradition in a globally inclusive way as team members from all over the world participated.
Joining the SLT group on Friday afternoon was the broader group totaling 30 leaders from across each school division as well as heads of each administration department, IT, Facilities, Marketing, Admissions, Finance, and Human Resources. The focus turned to understanding our past in order to move forward together to building the future of BIBA. As the team mapped out the history of BIBA it was clear that many amazing leaders and faculty had a hand in building the first 10 years of BIBA. The honor and duty of the current leadership is the build on the good work of the past to shape the next 10 years at BIBA.
The focus of conversation, as is right, was on the students. Ultimately the baseline question driving the conversations, decisions, and direction is, “What is best for the students.” While this seems very basic, what is sometimes lost in education is the ultimate outcome of creating high-quality learning for students. Expanding from that goal it was clear that parents, staff, faculty, and leaders alike all play a crucial role in providing the environment, support, and encouragement needed to make this happen. As a word picture, we envisioned the students as seeds, with a school’s responsibility being to nurture and grow that seed into its best self, beginning from the earliest ages on past when they leave the halls of BIBA after grade 12.
What stood out from everyone in a position of influence at BIBA was a shared desire to create an environment where student exploration and study can lead to world-changing outcomes. The theme that emerged was to Dream Big! This not only applies to students but also to our faculty and every member of the BIBA community. The tone of this retreat has set the stage for a challenging yet forward leaning effort where we all pull together toward a common vision and goal of creating internationally-minded, bilingual ambassadors.
北京市海嘉双语学校, Beijing International Bilingual Academy