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TAS Hosts the First-Annual EduLead Conference

TAS Hosts the First-Annual EduLead Conference

Thank you to all who joined us at EduLead, our first-annual educational leadership conference, on Saturday, April 27, 2024. This day, focused on the core of the TAS mission: learning, well-being, and service, was designed to give attendees the tools to create a thriving educational community.

EduLead conference was not only a gathering of educators but also a convergence of perspectives, experiences, and aspirations! Attendees, united by their commitment to educational excellence and inclusivity, joined us from schools across Taiwan and from off-island, as well as TAS faculty, staff, students, parents, and guardians. We are honored to have hosted so many colleagues and community members!

Opening in the Harmony Theater with a welcome from Dr. Liz Gale, the day kicked off with Jennifer Abrams, an internationally recognized author, speaker, and educational consultant, delivering a powerful opening keynote & workshop titled, "Stretching Your Learning Edges," after her eponymous recent book. The session focused on how our communication is a key part of our development and relationships, and how each of us has the opportunity grow in our professional practice.

Abrams focused on the transformative potential of lifelong learning, urging attendees to venture beyond their comfort zones into the realm of the "learning edge"—where true growth and development occur. Of particular importance to Abrams is the responsibility each of us have for the quality of our relationships, and the questions we can ask ourselves to continuously improve and nurture our work together. Research has shown, after all, that the quality of adult relationships and our collective efficacy have a significant impact on our students’ educational experience.

Abrams’ keynote resonated deeply with educators, parents, and lifelong learners, emphasizing the importance of continuous personal and professional development in the pursuit of excellence. Another question was especially enlightening for the adults in the audience; how do we model comfort with ambiguity for our students?

After this inspiring kick-off, the day of workshops commenced with groups of educators, parents, guardians, and students, filtering through the Multi-Purpose Room, the Middle School Library, and the Upper School Information Commons for workshops with Dr. Derrick Gay, Jennifer Abrams, and Kristel Solomon. These workshops and discussions focused on understanding belonging, enhancing learning through social-emotional well-being and inclusion, and developing key communication skills. These sessions provided valuable insights and practical strategies for creating the conditions for a thriving learning community—a community where every individual feels seen, heard, and supported on their educational journey.

Following these engaging workshops, Dr. Derrick Gay closed the formal program with a keynote, “Reframing Diversity to Drive Belonging in International Schools,” on the crucial topic of diversity and belonging in international schools. Dr. Gay drew upon his extensive experience leading efforts in over 800 schools worldwide to explore the intricate dynamics of diversity, inclusion, and belonging. He emphasized the profound impact of belonging on student learning and academic achievement, underscoring the need for schools to cultivate environments where all students feel valued, respected, and included. Crucially, he focused on the differences in definitions and some of the common points of confusion that can leave adults in the community having second-order conversations about belonging, and how to move past these challenges to engage everyone in doing the hand-on work of belonging.

As the conference drew to a close, participants gathered for a reception to discuss the day, their hearts and minds enriched by a day of learning, reflection, and collaboration. The inaugural EduLead conference had set the stage for ongoing dialogue, growth, and innovation within the TAS community and beyond. At TAS, we believe that education has the power to inspire change, foster connection, and shape a brighter future for all, and we thank you for joining us in this special educational opportunity for our community!