Page 5 - FIS World October 2018
P. 5

In it for the Long Run
Reflections on the FIS Accelerators
“Accelerators” and a “culture of coaching”: These terms, new to FIS, define the course we’ve set
to reach our goal of being the leading international school.
Many of the terms we’re hearing these days at FIS, from “accelerating” to “coaching” to “leading”, sound like we are in a race. I find this a particularly appropriate analogy. I enjoy distance running, and find that the intellectual challenge of a longer race has its parallels in other areas of life. Bear with me if I strain the metaphor a bit. If I have a race coming up, I’m aware of what needs to happen before race day. In addition to solid training, a longer race demands a strategic plan. For example, it’s common knowledge among runners and coaches that if you sprint the first kilometers of a longer race, you are likely to burn out later in the race, and your performance will be much worse than if you’d started out at a sustainable pace. However, if you want to improve your finish time, you can’t just take it easy at the start, as you can’t count on making up that time later on.
Once the starting pistol has fired, the strategic challenge starts in earnest. This is the part of racing I enjoy most – the intellectual challenge
of continuously analyzing how my legs, breathing and energy level are doing, what lies ahead, and ultimately what seems achievable versus what seems unattainable. My strategic plan – the pace and time goals I had on the starting line – remains relevant of course, but now there are constant indicators of my performance coming in, both tangible, such as current pace and cadence, and intangible, such as my legs feeling “heavy”. I’m in
a continual process of evaluating all these indicators and making appropriate midcourse adjustments to my strategy. Is the rain going to mess up my footing? Is that calf thinking of cramping up or will it cooperate if I pick up the pace? Am I feeling good enough to take a few seconds off the pace without giving back those seconds plus more 10K down the road? And so my thinking goes, until at the finish – and thereafter – I evaluate what went well and what didn’t work, and record the lessons I learned for the next race.
The running metaphor, even where strained, guides my thinking of our Board’s work this year. Last year, we analyzed the school’s fitness for its race to lead and saw that, across the school, our
“Key Performance Indicators” were very strong. We concluded that FIS is capable of doing more for our children, giving them more opportunities than
ever before, even as we carefully safeguard the school’s existing strengths. The school has
adopted measures across all divisions to benefit
all our students over the long term and sustainably. These include, to name just a few, strengthening our instruction in the STEM subject areas (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), expanding our course offerings and improving
our student counseling at all levels. We’re also ensuring that the best coaching is available for our teachers and administrators, as well as for our students.
And now, as these accelerators kick in, the Board will be analyzing a continuous stream of key performance indicators and determining any necessary midcourse corrections. Are the accelerators effectively reaching the children?
Are they properly resourced and are the results sustainable? Is an accelerator in one area leading to strains elsewhere in the school? Is there a risk we over-accelerate, for example sacrificing balance as we add opportunity? As we evaluate the current set of accelerators and plan the next, I look forward to exchanging views across the FIS community on our performance now and for
the long run.
Ward Greenberg
Chair, Board of Trustees
A colorful photo finish for Board Chair, Ward Greenberg and his daughter at the end of the school’s Holi Fun Run
(and traditional “throwing of colors”)
   October 2018 FIS World 3

   3   4   5   6   7