Global Cities Education Network Virtual Symposium 2021 Surrey Schools – Digital Promise

Global Cities Education Network Virtual Symposium 2021 Surrey Schools

The Global Cities Education Network (GCEN), an initiative of the Center for Global Education at Asia Society, is an international learning community of city school systems in the Asia-Pacific region and North America. School systems are rethinking the knowledge and skills students need for success and the educational strategies and systems required for all children to achieve them. The entire network gathers annually for a dynamic, three-day learning experience involving collaborative exchanges and presentations from experts, with a focus on issues identified by the cities and facilitated by those on the cutting edge of practice and policy. The 2021 symposium took place virtually and was hosted by Surrey Schools in British Columbia, Canada.

The 2021 symposium focused on the following theme of, “Developing Equitable Future-Ready Education Systems.” Surrey Schools served as a case study to frame the discussions. The network learned about Surrey’s system successes, emerging learnings, and challenges with a focus on their unique COVID response and implications for schooling in its aftermath.

Additionally, the symposium focused on these sub-themes:

1. Learning Ecosystem: Multiple Modes of Learning
What is the future of learning in hybrid and blended modalities? Learning takes place in multiple places with multiple people; it is no longer digital versus non-digital.

2. Social Emotional Learning (SEL)
In a COVID world, mental health and wellness is more important than ever. How are SEL and 21st century skills being implemented across whole school systems?

3. The Teaching Profession

  • Systems need a specialized, differentiated workforce of educators. What does it mean to be an educator in the current environment?
  • During the emergency COVID response, the systems that fared the best are those that empowered teachers as creative professionals. What does this tell us about how systems can best adapt to unexpected disruptions?

4. Assessment, Recognition, and Credentialing
How do we broaden our assessment and credentialing systems? What are best practice examples from GCEN members as well as from around the world?

See the final agenda for the Symposium.

The opening of the GCEN Symposium was a public event entitled, Excellence and Equity During the Pandemic: A Step Forward or a Step Backward?. The program addressed the questions: What has the Covid-19 pandemic revealed about the adequacy of our education systems to meet profound challenges? How has it illuminated disparities in the quality of education for immigrant, racial, and other marginalized students? Additionally, it featured early findings from an ongoing study of Surrey Schools’ implementation of equity strategies, including how these strategies facilitated the pivot to blended online and in-school experiences aimed at maintaining the quality of learning while supporting students and parents emotionally.

Speakers included:

Anthony Jackson, Director, Center for Global Education at Asia Society
Jordan Tinney, Superintendent, Surrey Schools
Christina Russell, Senior Managing Director, Policy Studies Associates
Jordan Tinney, Superintendent, Surrey Schools
Susan Enfield, Superintendent, Highline Public Schools
Tan Pei En, Divisional Director, Planning Division, Ministry of Education, Singapore

Anthony Mackay, President and CEO, National Center on Education and the Economy

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