I was delighted with the opportunity to attend and speak as a “home-grown presenter” at the Round Square Heads Symposium in London, England. This was the first time the Round Square organization hosted such an event, which brought a significant portion of Round Square member school heads together from all over the world representing diverse educational philosophies, practices and approaches.
The theme of the symposium focused on Wellness and Wellbeing. The workshop sessions of which I contributed focused on approaches to character development and values-based education. As we do not prescribe to any pre-packaged/ready-made curriculum, I found it valuable to speak about how we at Dalton strive to build character through our own unique initiatives and programs that cross boundaries and break down barriers within ourselves and between us as humans.
Our own project, the Dalton Access Scholarship is a student-led initiative committed to educating those most vulnerable and disadvantaged at our campus in Beijing, China. This effort began as a research-intensive course but grew to include opportunities for students to conduct field research in Jordan, work with the Chinese Embassy, the UN, UNHCR, the Higher Population Counsel and refugees living in the differing camps. Drawing on support from our community the project has metamorphosed organically into the most exciting character education and values-based initiative I have ever come across.
This research, and its related experiences has profoundly affected our teachers and students. The presentation included videos of our first Access Scholarship student who has gone off to university, our current scholarship recipient, students and alumni who were inspired by the experience so much so that they still fight the good fight supporting those most disadvantaged. Initiatives continue to be developed by students including online and virtual lessons and educational support, building and connecting social network systems as well advocating for those unable to continue their education as a result of being displaced by war.
What an honor for me, to share this message with other school heads. To jointly create a presentation and story with faculty and students, one that speaks of a commitment to values and character building. Students and teachers even at a high school level have the ability to change the world.
Dr. Spencer Fowler
CEO & Superintendent of International Programs, BDFZ Education Group