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Adjusting the Sails

As school communities enter their third academic year amidst the global pandemic, the “new normal” has been less about maintaining a habitual status quo, and more about staying resilient while continuously making slight corrections to stay on course. Our teachers and leaders continue to make us proud every day by tirelessly working towards the goal of providing our students with the best educational experience with minimal disruption, and making it look like “business as usual.” The Brief section of this issue, which covers news from our schools around the globe, is an excellent showcase of schools slowly re-introducing activities, events and initiatives. While adapting to comply with changing local restrictions in their host countries, educators are doing their utmost to bring about normalcy in their students’ lives, and for that we are grateful indeed.

This issue of Strides is celebrating Esol Education’s 45th year, and our cover story highlights the life and achievements of Esol Education’s charismatic founder and Chairman, Mr. Walid Abushakra, as he reflects on what inspired him to dedicate his life to educating children in the Middle East, and what the future holds for K-12 education.

Make sure you turn to our In-Class section for some truly innovative teaching practices emerging from classrooms across Esol Education schools. In this issue we showcase memorable unit “provocations” at American International School in Abu Dhabi; Project Sunflower, a model for creating and implementing engaging STEM projects at Fairgreen International School; and The Academy, a high-quality, accredited “learning anywhere” model for education at the American International School in Egypt. 

Assume your avatar and traverse the metaverse in Get Wired with Dr. Joseph Nettikaden, Esol Chief Information Officer. The feature discusses this exciting emerging virtual space which could have enormous implications for the way humans will work, learn and play in the future. Elsewhere in this issue, meet Mr. Jeff Smith, who returns to Esol Education to lead as Director at Dunecrest American School, as he talks about his experience, background and vision for the school. 

Unexplored takes us beyond the glitz and glamor of Dubai and Abu Dhabi for an encounter at the edge of Rub Al Khali, or The Empty Quarter, the world’s largest expanse of continuous sand, covering a 225,000 sq. miles. Lastly Mr. Peter Daly, Esol Chief Education Consultant, reflects on the positive lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic, and practices worth continuing. 

Thank you for being part of the Esol Education community. We wish you relatively smooth sailing in the upcoming 2022-2023 academic year!

The Esol Education Team