We have developed five strategic ambitions to ensure that Ecolint continues to be at the forefront of international education, maintaining our tradition of excellence and our quest to do better than our previous best.
Take a look at how each school at Ecolint continued to implement the five strategies during the 2019 - 2020 school year!
Universal Learning Framework
Launch and implement a Universal Learning Framework of the competences we want all students to develop.
Target: The universal learning framework is the overarching curriculum at Ecolint and describes the knowledge, skills and qualities of character - the competences - we aim for all students to develop and to demonstrate.The achievement of these competences are captured in an Ecolint Learner Passport.
“The future of humanity depends on world-class partnerships between curriculum experts and researchers, on the one hand and schools on the other, where learning is taking place,”
Conrad Hughes - Campus & Secondary Principal - International School of Geneva, La Grande Boissière.
Our Universal Learning Framework stems from the Universal Learning Programme (ULP) which was created thanks to a fruitful collaboration between Ecolint and UNESCO’s International Bureau of Education. The ULP is the world’s first school curriculum which develops seven critical, research-based and future-proof competences in young people so that they are prepared to thrive in our world and act for the public good. These competences are:
Lifelong learning, Self-agency, Interactively using diverse tools and resources, Interacting with others, Interacting with the world, Multi-literateness and Trans-disciplinarity.
At Ecolint, we evaluate students’ progress not only on their academic knowledge, but on the development of these competences. All Ecolint campuses and schools use the seven competences which underpin the Universal Learning Framework in their own curriculum development.
La Grande Boissière
In 2019-2020, the Universal Learning Programme was featured in five international publications:
- Times educational Supplement (TES)
- Centre for Strategic Education
- International School Parent
- University of Geneva
In Secondary School and in Middle School, competence-based reports were added in December 2019 for each unit. This allows us to analyse where each competence has been the focus and if some have not been addressed.
Furthermore, STEM transdisciplinary units were created in various subjects using experts, tools, and technology. For example, in Year 9 Geography, students applied physics, geography and design principles in order to build seismographs using Arduinos, an open-source electronic prototyping platform enabling users to create interactive electronic objects. In Year 9 French, students worked with a professional DJ to learn how sounds can be added to text using a music creation software. This allowed them to create various atmospheres or special effects to produce an audio fable. In Year 12 English Language & Literature, with the guidance of a professional international online journalist, students went through all the different phases of creating a documentary film.
Campus des Nations
The Universal Learning Framework has been cross-referenced with the International Baccalaureate Organisation’s Approaches to Learning (ATL) to see how they dovetail with each other.
Focus on the Learner Passport, an integral part of the Universal Learning Framework
All three campuses have been engaged in the development of the Learner Passport, an Ecolint Foundation vision for a new high school transcript that is inclusive and captures learning wherever it has happened. By 2024, all graduates will carry our passport out into the world.
The Learner Passport captures learning in seven credit areas, in line with the ULP’s focus on seven essential competences. The passport will allow students to share what they are proud of and what they have achieved. Students will have agency over their passport and select evidence of learning, allowing them to celebrate and demonstrate their achievements, in and out of the classroom. Eventually, universities or industries will get more information on a student than with a traditional transcript.
We are seeking to roll out the Passport to track student skills based on the Universal Learning Framework. In 2019-2020, those approaches to learning were documented in the Primary Years Programme and Middle Years Programme unit planners.
Principles of learning
Articulate and embed the powerful principles of learning that guide students and teachers every day in learning that matters and drive every decision we make.
Target: Evidence based principles of learning are used as the basis for teacher growth, development and evaluation and are applied by students and teachers alike in their learning routines and habits.
La Grande Boissière
At LGB Middle School, pedagogical review team meetings were regularly scheduled connecting the Principles, work on Harvard University’s “Creating Cultures of Thinking” course and the Universal Learning Programme (ULP) competences with reference to classroom practice. A guide, in the form of cards, with reflections and activities for teaching the ULP competences, was created using the Principles of Learning.
The LGB Primary School worked with coordinators of the two other LGB schools on elaboration and integration of the ULP and specifically on the creation of the playing card guide mentioned above. The Principles of Learning have been emphasised, discussed and are posted as the cornerstone of our learning strategies.
In 2019-2020, it was, as usual, a creative year for the STEM Centre with new programme items in line with the Principles of learning. Initiatives include a new public webpage, exchange programmes with Canada, India and Kenya, as well as successful collaborations with our partner, the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and other organisations such as Makeblock Education, Monada, Animatas and the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment.
In terms of extracurricular activities, the STEM Centre offered students new activities such as Creative Crafts & Sewing for Primary Years, Smart Sensors Lab and a FIRST® LEGO® League Robotics for Middle Years, as well as Advanced Prop Making, Creative Robotics and Creative Media & Programming for Secondary School students, just to name a few. Student-led “Creativity, Action, Service (CAS)” clubs have also increased in number, as part of the Diploma Programme (DP).
In both Primary and Secondary Schools, the leadership structure was reorganised with Vice Principals (VP) each assigned specific groups: this allows VPs to work more closely with a smaller group of teachers and students, overseeing both pastoral and academic coordination.
We set up one-on-one growth meetings with every teacher discussing goals that have an impact on teaching.
Using the Learning Principles, we will start reviewing the Middle School Curriculum, with an aim to start a new framework for Year 7 students in September 2021.
Campus des Nations
Concerning the Principles of Learning we use the lesson observation form that refers to the ten principles to give feedback to staff from all Nations schools when reflecting on classroom learning. This has helped socialise and consolidate the Learning Principles. In Secondary School we have introduced coding and robotics in Years 9 to 11 which has been extremely successful.
Relationships and Learning
Create a new approach to mentoring so that we know our learners well, guide them on their unique learning pathway and nurture an ecosystem of healthy relationships that last a lifetime.
Target: Each teacher serves as a mentor to a small number of students and builds a one to one relationship focused on the holistic development of the student’s passions and potential with emphasis on positive psychology and building upon the unique strengths of each student; staff follow a parallel model with each having an assigned mentor to support their growth, development and renewal.
La Grande Boissière
Below are a few examples of how Relationships and Learning was applied at LGB across all schools in 2019-2020:
- Mindfulness programme rolled out across the whole campus
- Sex and relationship training in Secondary School
- Diversity training with the Red Cross for Years 9-12
- Each student had two one-on-one meetings with their Mentor
- Anti-discrimination committee with teachers, parents and students were set up
- All staff received training in how to prepare and run a coaching conversations (ULP training)
- Student Mentors were trained to support younger students in Secondary School
- All staff reviewed Restorative Conversations and differentiation practices (both ULP training)
In Middle School, there was a focus on Social Emotional Learning with 25 staff completing the Yale RULER training, introduction of Cultures of Dignity in the Owning Up curriculum and the Grandir en Paix programme.
There was an increased emphasis on Peacemakers as behavioural examples and mediators in Primary School.
The STEM Centre saw fifteen student-led clubs related to the strategic ambition with increasing numbers of participants and service projects involving students teaching students.
We promoted Relationships and Learning in terms of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI):
- By examining closely the IB ‘Personal, Social and Physical Education’ (PSPE) document with regards to DEI issues.
- By setting up adapted mentoring time and checking to ensure one-on-one meetings between each Mentor and students take place three times a year.
Campus des Nations
During the 2019-2020 school year, the Covid-19 pandemic brought challenges, insights and opportunities into our programmes for all our learners. The lockdown and remote learning provision really emphasised the importance of younger children being at school, the importance of the relationships they develop with each other as well as with the adults at school and learning how to be part of a community. The strict measures required in reopening our school actually provided us with some opportunities to bring about changes in how we organise our timetables and key teaching teams connected to groups of students. This experience served as a launching pad for a pedagogical project in Early Years around our use of learning environments, management of time and relationships between the students and between students and the adults who know them well.
In Primary School, the Visual Arts, Library, Physical Education and Technology teachers are now integrationists, supporting units of inquiry through co-teaching with homeroom teachers.
In our Secondary School, the size of homeroom groups in Years 12-13 has been decreased in order to enable closer tracking of students and their wellbeing. A revised induction programme for new students now ensures that they settle well into their new school, meet regularly with their mentor and have a clear understanding of the new programme which they follow. This will help to reduce stress and improve integration.
Promoting Relationships and Learning has taken a wide range of approaches, which includes the creation of an anti-discrimination working party involving parents, students and staff. The entire school curriculum is undergoing an audit, aiming at bringing about many different perspectives, representing our students’ diversity and removing potentially discriminatory resources. Furthermore, all staff members were inducted into the new Safeguarding and Child Protection policy, agreeing to a new Code of Conduct.
One-on-one meetings between homeroom teacher/mentor and students took place several times during the year.
Time for Learning
Redesign the school day, week and year schedules in recognition of what we know about modern learning and what contributes to our wellbeing.
Target: A flexible approach is implemented that optimally paces the day, the week, and the year to align with our principles of learning.
La Grande Boissière
In Secondary School, new timetable initiatives included:
- The creation of a study hall and learning commons
- Setting up later starts for older students
- Flexible timetables for elite athletes, musicians and STEM project explorations
- Review of IBDP deadlines to reduce stress points
In Middle School, weekly planning meetings have been scheduled for all teams in order to look at the learning and modify when necessary.
In Primary School we have made the following changes:
- Establishing a ten-day schedule by using a Week A & Week B model. This gives us the possibility to organise our timetable differently from one week to the next.
- Drastically diminishing transition time by giving double periods of music, double and triple periods of language B, longer periods of Arts and EdTech over weeks A and B, and by implementing more inclusion learning support in-class. This gives an average of sixty minutes a week less transition time for children; the equivalent of one more week of learning over one year.
- Rethinking and reorganising our Rally-Points in order to diminish the previous intense activity weeks around Christmas and June. We do this by organising important events every five to six weeks. These events are different enough to give every child the chance to express their enthusiasm and passion in different domains such as literacy, sports, arts, STEM, cultures, languages, and others.
- Giving more time for common planning. Our school is constantly trying to find the most cost-efficient and useful way to organise year level planning meetings for our Inquiry work and our ULP curriculum implementation.
A new timetable in Primary School has allowed for a significant reduction in the number of students eating at any given time. We have added a third block for lunch.
We are in the Phase 1 of amending the Secondary School timetable, with:
- Early finish for our High school students (16h30 instead of 16h50)
- No more bells, in order to reduce stress
- A ten-day timetable ensuring varied lessons throughout the week.
A supervised study hall was created for students in Years 10-13.
Campus des Nations
Time for learning has taken a central focus in the ‘schedule change teams’ work when proposing a nine-day timetable for 2021-2022, creating a more student-centred schedule. This will align the Early Years, Primary and Secondary Schools’ schedules, maximising the use of our shared spaces (gym, cafeteria and outdoor space).
Environment for Learning
Renovate, design and build spaces for learning that are sustainable, safe, inviting, open, natural and that promote exploration, creativity, experimentation, collaboration, well-being and community.
Target: Completion of and funding for all major building and renovation projects including implementation of a mobility plan that allows for conversion of parking spaces to learning spaces.
La Grande Boissière
Planning for our world-class gymnasium and renovation of our library are underway.
We have started planning the renovation of the Primary School with our architects.
We implemented changes to the Primary School restaurant to upgrade furniture and increase sound reduction via panel inserts and a new layout. The restaurant got a brand new name, Hawks’ Nest.
We have thoroughly enjoyed the expansion of our Forest School especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.
It was essential for us to keep children active during such an unusual time: our Physical Education (PE) team was very clever in adapting the PE curriculum further to strict cantonal measures. Thanks to our ICT team and further to Covid-19 Primary Years Programme requirements, we have expanded use of Seesaw from Years 0-4 across school and are using this now in the current school year to support student portfolios.
All our Secondary School students joined IB ManageBac, an integrated learning platform.
We are in Phase 2 of the Alps building roof renovation.
An additional space has been identified for the Extended Support Programme (ESP) students and is currently being set up. It will consist of: one teaching area (classroom) as well as a 'sample flat' which will be used to learn about life skills (part of the ASDAN programme). The sample flat will have one kitchen, one bathroom, one bedroom and one lounge.
Naturally, we have adapted to Covid-19 by improving our online provision and being able to have students at home while still participating fully in lessons.
Campus des Nations
The Environment for learning has taken a central role in the school development at Pregny and the Saconnex sites. This has included the consolidation of the Primary School onto floors 1 and 2 and of the Secondary School onto floors 4 and 5, thereby enabling expansion of Years 9, 10 and 11. Alongside this, many classrooms have been updated in terms of furniture to promote flexibility and comfort for students. This has included tables and chairs which can be moved easily to promote collaborative learning and comfort for students. Corridor spaces have been developed which allows for breakout groups to use this space now that Primary and Secondary Schools are no longer sharing the same areas. We have created a new playground at the front of the building by converting parking spaces into play areas for children.
In the Early Years, there is an ongoing project where classrooms from two-year levels have been grouped into an area where each room and zone has a specific focus. This avoids replication of resources in each individual classroom and allows for learning environments which are much more purposeful, flexible and engaging. Students have daily class meeting times in an allocated area and then have a voice and a choice as to where they spend the rest of their learning time.
The Environment for learning will be examined both physically and virtually, by looking into the possibility of creating hybrid online courses for elements of the Diploma Programme, hoping to roll these out next academic year to create flexibility and wide option choices for students across the foundation.
With the increase in student numbers and the future Early Years building, we are examining ways to increase the amount of space available for sports on campus. In Primary School, we are planning a further shift in the use and consolidation of space by creating ‘Hubs of Learning’ getting students involved in the design of the space. There is also a development of outside space especially at the front of the campus. In Early Years we will see a roll out of the pedagogical project focusing on learning environments, time and relationship in the Year 1, requiring some reorganisation of working spaces to create some exciting new learning zones for students.