KDSL talks with Dr. Chris Mason of Center for Educational Improvement

March 26, 2014

KDSL highlights people and organizations who are working locally, domestically, or globally on innovative ideas in education. On 15 April at 12noon KDSL will chat with Christine Mason. Christine Mason is the CEO of the Center for Educational Improvement, a small non-profit dedicated to leadership for 21st Century Learning. Dr. Mason has a background in educational psychology, special education, and educational leadership, and in particular the needs and concerns of elementary school principals. As a researcher she has developed and served as a Principal Investigator on projects focusing on student self determination, inclusion, teacher mentoring, and Transition to Teaching — an alternative certification program. She has also received state and local contracts for Race to the Top school improvement initiatives. From 2011-2013 Dr. Mason directed research and professional development for the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) and she continues to collaborate withNAESP to develop and promote principal mentoring for 21st century learning. In fact her office is co-located with NAESP and the NAESP Foundation continues to contribute resources towards Dr.Mason’s initiatives.

Dr. Mason has worked with charter schools, trained teachers as an Associate Professor of Special Education, been an interim principal for an international boarding school in India, served on school review teams in Dubai, and developed a network of consultants to deliver technical assistance to schools. During the past year she has co-authored two research studies on principal leadership for the Common Core and one international article on NAESP’s principal mentoring program.

Education Parent Forum: American Curriculum

March 18, 2014

Education Parent Forum: American Curriculum

17 March 2014


Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE):  On March 13, parents in Dubai attended an education forum focused on American curriculum schools at the Collegiate American School, an Innoventures Education School. Convened by Know.Do.Serve.Learn. (KDSL), an global education company that specializes in collaborating with American curriculum schools worldwide, the forum featured ten educational experts committed to ensuring high quality in Dubai’s American curriculum schools.


Based in Dubai, KDSL was founded by Kevin Simpson and Alison Burrows, professional American educators and entrepreneurs. KDSL partners with schools, governments, and educational organizations worldwide to increase student achievement, augment teacher knowledge, and enhance leadership in education. After interfacing with parents in Dubai over the last few years, Mr. Simpson perceived the need for a platform for parents to connect with organizations and individuals who work to ensure that American standards are maintained in Dubai schools. “Common Core standards and university preparation are two of the many topics that parents inquire about frequently,” explains Mr. Simpson. “We wanted to create a space where parents could ask questions and learn from each other and educationalists who are working with American curriculum schools.”


The two-hour forum was moderated by Tindley Gilbert, who is Founder and CEO of Diggity, as well as a parent who is passionate about education. There were over 40 attendees, and the panel was structured around key areas of importance to parents, including special education, university preparation, and the Common Core standards. Parents were given the opportunity to submit questions in advance, as well as engage in spontaneous discussion after the conclusion of the panelist comments.


The forum provoked thoughtful responses from parents and panelists:


 “I learned in terms of college admissions in the US . . . it is not what curriculum that is important, but how rigorous the curriculum is. Also, in terms of older kids, and the Dubai disadvantage, it is the parent’s role, not just the schools, to teach children respect and manners. – Victoria Kidd (parent)


 “Understanding that an American education is nuanced and specific was a key take-away. The panel shared that 70% of the American schools are not accredited and then even those that are – as parents; as consumers we should ask ‘what does this mean for my child?’.  The panel made it clear that we have to be active in searching out quality education and it is a partnership between the home and school.” – Zahra Hamirani, Esq. (parent)


“It was wonderful to interact with such a wide cross-section of parents and educators in an informal and relaxed setting to address and discuss the issues surrounding American Curriculum education in the UAE. We all recognize the need for change and improvement and can collectively contribute towards finding concrete solutions we can implement.” – Peter Davos, Managing Director, Carian College Advisors (panelist)


“It was fantastic to be involved in the forum and interact with other educationalists and inspire parents! Physical activity is essential to raise attainment, achievement, and behavior amongst students. This should be driven by parents, and pressure needs to be placed on Principals and Administration to increase the quantity and quality of physical ‘activity’ across the whole school. School is about ‘life-lessons and learning’ and not just Academics.” – Gillian Brunton, Managing Director, InnerG Solutions (panelist)


“Teaching children to embrace the language and culture of their host country is rewarding in the sense that it turns our third-culture kids into confident and proud World Citizens. Promoting this idea to the American schools in the UAE has become a priority, as the American system emphasizes leadership skills and provides a solid foundation for students to flourish as strong, capable, well-rounded individuals. Having studied the Arabic language and culture in depth, in such a setting, these students would gain a significant competitive advantage over their American school peers in other countries. It is our job to make Arabic Education an enjoyable, engaging, and valuable experience for students at all levels, across the board.” – Rania Nasr, Managing Director/Head Trainer, Risalla Education Consulting (panelist)


A panel of education experts for parents is a genius idea, especially here in Dubai, and I was thrilled to be part of this panel of people who can help families out there who have many questions about education.” – Angela Flynn, Director of Education, Sylvan Learning Center (panelist)


The feedback was overwhelmingly positive, included media coverage in The National, and parents expressed interest in future forums. KDSL is eager to spearhead ways in which parents can continue to grow their knowledge about American curriculum schools. In April 2014, KDSL will release a white paper highlighting critical information about American curriculum schools in Dubai that specifically targets parents of current students or those who are considering these schools for the future.


For more information on this event, please visit http://knowdoservelearn.org/events.html.



KDSL Winter 2014 Newsletter

February 26, 2014

The KDSL Winter Newsletter is now available. Articles are featured on:


  • Our work to build a school in Kenya in collaboration with Change Heroes
  • Teacher training in Iraq
  • Math work in Venezuela
  • Our work in the United Arab Emirates
  • Featured organization: LearnServe International


To access the newsletter please visit http://knowdoservelearn.org/Winter_2014_Newsletter.pdf

KDSL Chats with Marni Barron of Soul Tree, LLC

February 25, 2014

KDSL highlights people and organizations who are working locally, domestically, or globally on innovative ideas in education. On 11 March at 12noon KDSL will chat with Marni Barron. Marni Barron is an educator who has worked in the education field for 20 years and is also a doctoral candidate in educational leadership.  She has used a deliberate system of strategies with students at risk of failure in Michigan, Maryland and Washington, D.C. 

After nearly a decade of isolating and often alienating solution-seeking research, she developed a formula in which to integrate a deliberate system of brain-based scientific strategies with the current education reform effort’s national blueprint.  This plan preserves the integrity of research-based educational practices and threads them into the existing structure of reform ideology. Soul Tree is symbolically rooted in the heart of the nation’s capital which provides on-going access to local, national and global partners interested in bridging the gaps within education reform

Ms. Barron has received numerous awards to include recognition as a highly effective educator in D.C. Public Schools, excellence in leadership from the YMCA of Greater Washington, D.C. and selected to represent the United States of American through a Congressional delegation at the World Summit on Innovation and Entrepreneurship.  Ms. Barron has B.A. in Elementary Education from Howard University, a M.A. in Teaching from Marygrove College and will complete her Doctorial studies in Educational Leadership with an emphasis on Effective Schools at Grand Canyon University in 2015.


Visit http://www.blogtalkradio.com/kdsl/2014/03/11/kdsl-chats-with-marni-barron-of-soul-tree-llc  

KDSL chats with Jason Gorman of Six Red Marbles

February 13, 2014

KDSL highlights people and organizations who are working locally, domestically, or globally on innovative ideas in education. On 18 February at 12noon KDSL will chat with Jason Gorman, Director of Learning Experience Design at Six Red Marbles, works with his team to shape the learner’s environment as a natural, vibrant, intellectual and emotionally-engaging space—in which learners build their own knowledge. Jason started out as an English teacher, working with international students in San Francisco as well as in the United Arab Emirates. It was there that he discovered his passion for creating relevant, engaging, and memorable educational experiences through the use of technology. Before starting at Six Red Marbles, Jason consulted as Instructional Designer within the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he led design of the school’s first fully-online executive education program—a training ground for international leaders in government and non-profit education. He also served as Senior Instructional Designer for Simmons College, where he worked across disciplines, and as Instructional Designer for Boston University, where he helped establish design practices for fully-online curriculum. Today, his insights are at work across K-12 schools, universities, non-profits and businesses. Jason has an MEd in Instructional Design from the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

The link to our show is http://www.blogtalkradio.com/kdsl/2014/02/18/kdsl-chats-with-jason-gorman-of-six-red-marbles.

Education Parent Forum: American Curriculum

January 28, 2014

This education parent forum will consist of a panel of individuals committed to ensuring high quality in all American curriculum schools in Dubai. Parents will have an opportunity to connect across schools and learn more about best practices in American curriculum.

13 March 2014
Collegiate American School

Visit http://tinyurl.com/np7hfqr to register to attend.

Next Generation Science Standards Forum in Dubai

January 7, 2014

This one day forum will feature authors of the new Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and provide exceptional professional development to American curriculum schools in the MENA region on effectively employing the NGSS in the classroom and in schools. 

 Saturday 26 April 2014     Dubai, United Arab Emirates


Visit http://knowdoservelearn.org/events.html for more information. 

About KDSL

KDSL is a Dubai based education company founded by Kevin Simpson and Alison Burrows, professional American educators and entrepreneurs. KDSL partners with organizations around the world to increase student achievement, teacher knowledge, and leadership in education.

About Innoventures Education

Innoventures Education was established in 2004 with the vision of bringing world-class education to Dubai. Its first and flagship school, Dubai International Academy, opened in 2005, and within a few years, it has been established as one of the premier international schools in Dubai.

In 2010, Innoventures Education took over the management of the Raffles Schools and Nurseries in Dubai. Collegiate American School, a premium international school that offers the best of American education with a curriculum based on the American Common Core Standards, was added to the portfolio in 2011.

Innoventures Education also manages Burj Daycare Nursery that opened in 2012 and is located in the prestigious Burj Khalifa complex.

Today, over 7,200 pupils from over 80 countries, ranging in age from 18 months to 18 years, study in schools and nurseries managed by Innoventures Education, making it a significant stakeholder in the education sector in Dubai.

About CAS

Collegiate American School (CAS) offers an American curriculum program that is enriched by technology integration and emphasis on additional programs in Arabic language, the arts, sports, math, science and English.

CAS is set up by Innoventure Educational Investments LLC (IVEI) which was promoted in 2005 to build educational institutions that will provide the highest quality of international education.

About NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards)

Next Generation Science Standards for Today’s Students and Tomorrow’s Workforce: Through a collaborative, state-led process managed by Achieve, new K–12 science standards have been developed that are rich in content and practice, arranged in a coherent manner across disciplines and grades to provide all students an internationally benchmarked science education. The NGSS is based on the Framework for K–12 Science Education developed by the National Research Council.


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