International educators ‘impressed’ by Archer’s ‘incredible’ programs


Photo credit: Nicki Rosenberg

Members of the Independent Schools Association of Southern Africa pose with Assistant Head of School and Middle School Director Karen Pavliscak. The group was “impressed” by Archer’s resources.

From Feb. 27 to Mar. 1, the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) will hold its annual conference in Long Beach, CA. As the conference approaches and educators gather from around the world, Archer has hosted international visitors who will be attending the conference later this week.

On Feb. 25, members of the Independent Schools Association of Southern Africa (ISASA) were able to visit and learn about Archer’s programs. According to their website, the ISASA includes over 850 member schools “across a broad range of socio-economic and cultural communities and religious affiliations” and educates more than 190,000 students.

“I think schools are quite similar across the world, especially independent schools, but this is the first school I’ve ever been to where the rhetoric of making learning visible, you actually can see it and inquiry-based learning,” ISASA Executive Director Lebogang Montjane said in an interview. “People say they do it, but this is the first school, I feel, that actually does it.”

The visitors commented on various highlights from their tour of Archer.

“It’s incredible to see the equipment in the labs and the creativity on display. We wouldn’t see that these days even in our best schools. The school I come from is, the top boys’ academic school in South Africa — we don’t have that kind of equipment,” Dave Vermeulen, Business Manager of St. John’s College, said. “We don’t have that kind of creativity available, options to be creative, to our peoples. I’m very impressed.”

Although the visitors found similarities between independent schools in America and in South Africa, they also commented on some of the differences.

“For me, it’s the utilization of space. Your classrooms are amazingly small. We think the bigger, the more space, the better, whereas here the utilization of space is just absolutely unbelievable,”  Sandy Sagar, Director of Membership and Operations at ISASA, said. “I don’t know whether it has to do with weather conditions and that we have a lot more heat maybe than you do, but for me, it’s just amazing.”

A previous version of this article was published stating that the NAIS conference was held in Laguna Beach. The conference was held in Long Beach. The updated article was published on Mar. 4, 2019 at 7:19 pm.