Monday, November 30, 2015

Community Engagement: In Elena's Words

The following is a post written by Elena Ortiz ('17) who worked tirelessly as a member of the organizing committee for the 24 Hour Run (to Stop the Traffic) aimed at addressing the issue of modern day slavery. Away from the eyes of most of us, she worked day after day for six months in a true collaborative project spanning a number of schools and the entire region. Her story is shared here as an example of our students' engagement with the community and a living example of ISKL's school-wide learning results. If you have a moment ask her about it and see her eyes shine with pride as she talks about it. 

Here is Elena's story, shared with her permission:

"This year I had the wonderful opportunity of being Kuala Lumpur’s Executive Director of Advocacy and Impact of the 24 Hour Race. This was both the most challenging, and eye-opening experience that I have ever undertaken. When I started my responsibilities back in May, I knew that it would be a challenge, but I had absolutely no idea just how far in over my head I was. But I was full of passion, energy, and ready to learn. Our only adult ‘supervision’ was in Hong Kong, meaning that it was up to the five of us directors to put on an entire event start to finish. And that meant everything from writing business proposals, to selecting and maintaining a partnership with beneficiaries and even trying to coordinate permits with the Malaysian government. I essentially devoted most of my life to trying to keep up with its mountain of demands, and cannot count the times where my teachers have caught me formatting the financial spreadsheet instead of doing math problems or finishing my essay. 

The factor that drove me most was knowing the impact that I was having. Human slavery is one of the biggest problems in the world, claiming the lives of 35 million people and plaguing every single country. The industry is a 150 billion dollar problem that nobody is talking about. Knowing in the back of my head that my efforts were helping to save lives and shut down some of the biggest injustices the world drove me to put every single challenge and task at the top of my priority list to complete. I am so proud of what my team and I were able to accomplish, and I’m so excited to see how the movement grows in the future."

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Hoping for a 2nd Green Flag Award

In August 2013 ISKL was the proud recipient of Malaysia's very first Eco-Schools Green Flag award. We were proud at the time and excited all at once. In the acceptance speech, Deana Anuar ('14) and Tunku Alysha Alizan ('14) spoke of the honor and responsibility that this would bring, of the leadership that ISKL needed to show moving forward and of the need for collaboration outside of our school walls. 

Fast forward two and a bit years and our Green Council, responsible for documenting environmentally and sustainability based experiences under the Eco-Schools platform, are a completely different group. This year's team is led by Anne Wilson ('16) and Tiffany Tung ('17) and a very able group of 25 students. The team has been working diligently for the past two months to ensure that our application for a second Green Flag award is completed, evidence provided, and attention is paid to the proverbial dotting of our "i's" and crossing of our "t's". 

We now stand ready (with a few minor adjustments and practice-runs to go) to host the Eco-Schools Green Flag accreditation visiting team once again. On Wednesday, November 25, between 3:00 and 5:00 pm members of WWF Malaysia and university professors representing Eco-Schools Malaysia will be visiting our Ampang campus to see what we've been to for the past two years. The visit, of course, will include a tour of the campus (with requisite stops for "eco" highlights) as well as a formal presentation by members of the Green Council, HS Earth Club, Global Issues, Local Solutions class and Global Issues Club. 

The power of this experience is hard to explain. It is as authentic as authentic can get as the students themselves become the representatives of our entire institution and success and failure is defined not by their teachers but by external assessors. How they present, how they respond, their knowledge and skills related to sustainability in general and ISKL's ESD platform are critical in how we, as a school, are assessed. 

​In our constant striving to provide an education to our students capable of building global citizens, this is a big test and one that we are sure our students will shine in. Of course, there is no way of knowing whether we will be awarded the Green Flag award again, but that doesn't stop us from moving toward a sustainable future behind the leadership of some pretty terrific kids.

Friday, November 6, 2015

JUMP! Training for MS StuCo in preparation for Transforming our World Conference

The following was an article for the ISKL Panther News written by Jessica Vivian, Middle School Student Council Advisor. 

The Middle School Student Council members had a great opportunity to participate in a leadership training program for two days on October 23 and 24. This program was lead by JUMP! Foundation - a non-profit social enterprise that uses experiential education to build community leaders and global citizens and helps students to realize their passions and potential. Student council members participated in a variety of character building activities and completed several valuable tasks to address the importance and power of their role as ISKL Middle School student leaders. STUCO members were trained to facilitate learning and leadership, personal development and group collaboration in future Middle School activities and events. Their training will be put to the ultimate test come February 5, 2016, when they facilitate the running of the ISKL-hosted Sustainable Development Solutionary Conference, that explores the United Nation’s most recent Millennium Development Goals. Well done to our dedicated student council members!  

~ Jessica Vivian, MS Humanities Teacher