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Interview: Chantelle Borque - Round Square and the International Conference in South Africa


As CFIS’s new Round Square Coordinator, what are the parameters of your new position? 
As CFIS’s Round Square coordinator, I am looking for ways to infuse the spirits of Internationalism, Democracy, Environmentalism, Adventure, Leadership and Service (IDEALS) into our curriculum and extracurricular activities.

We already do so many of those activities as a UNESCO school, and that was evident during Round Square’s visit to our school in May 2017. They were impressed with our commitment to global education and our vision to promote global citizenship. We will look to attend regional and international conferences with student delegates and begin an exchange program, hopefully welcoming international students to CFIS in the new year. 

What was the focus of the conference this fall and who attended?
“Unite to Ignite the Fire Within” was the theme of the conference. We gathered at the Cape Town Convention Centre in South Africa for two days to hear renowned speakers - from people doing work to prevent rhino poaching to shark-attack survivors to Kruger National Park rangers. We learned about elements of African culture and experienced outdoor adventures like hiking and surfing. We also took part in a service day in one of the townships to help children paint flowers on their school and played games with them. It was a diverse experience, allowing us to sample various parts of South African culture and meet people from around the world. There were representatives from nearly all Round Square schools there, totaling 1,500 conference attendees. 

What is one take-away from the conference? 
Round Square will allow the “International” in CFIS to really stand out. It will permit us to create relationships and share with schools worldwide. We will welcome international students at our school and our students will be able to study abroad. The Round Square community is a fantastic way to share our mission and values with the world. 

If you were speaking to someone about the benefits of Round Square for students, what would your elevator speech be?
Kurt Hahn, said, “There is more in us than we know.” Round Square and its opportunities permit students to find out what they can be by challenging them to explore the world and be courageous, self-aware, compassionate and tenacious. It exposes them to ideas and places that really opens their minds and broadens their horizons. Attending a conference or participating in an exchange are but two of the panoply of opportunities that Round Square offers to promote growth and reflection. It challenges students and teachers alike to be global citizens, and promotes diversity by bringing together many voices in one place, for the same purpose. It creates well-rounded leaders.

What are some additional benefits of CFIS’s Round Square membership? 
The online community will permit CFIS to connect with schools that we can chat with and learn from all around the world. A teacher can find a way to connect with a school in South Africa if they are studying mammals, and learn about the wildlife there. A Spanish teacher could connect with a Spanish-teaching school in Latin America and give them an opportunity to chat online. It gives us access to a very robust network of schools who have Round Square IDEALS ingrained in their ethos, and gives us a platform to share CFIS with the world.

Round Square is conducting research with Harvard and Cambridge as to just how a Round Square student differentiates himself/herself academically once they continue on to post-secondary education. 

Will Round Square dovetail with the current curriculum at CFIS? 
The Round Square Framework for Learning is very similar to that of Alberta Education’s 21st-Century Learner profile, as well as the learner profile outlined by IB. It promotes leadership skills and qualities that are highly desirable by universities and post-secondary institutions. 

What do you think the biggest change might be for our current program delivery? 
We will really see the “International” in the CFIS name come to life. We will welcome exchange students into our school and send CFIS ambassadors to explore conferences, service trips and exchanges. It will enhance our travel study opportunities and expand on how we can promote learning by doing. 

What are you most excited about for for both teachers and students? 
Teachers will be able to tap into the resources that are created by Round Square staff and by fellow RS schools on the online network. They can connect their class with a class in a part of the world that they have been studying - helping to make that part of the world much more real and less abstract as a result. Teachers can also go on exchanges and learn from how things are done in other Round Square and, in some cases, IB schools. 

Students will get to see and learn about the world, and be exposed to a wealth of new ideas. They will be inspired by who they meet, what they see and what they experience. The chance to study abroad and discuss ideas with peers from around the world is something that can be very transformative and influential. I am so excited for them to have the world opened up to them in a new way.

What do you hope to personally bring to this program’s implementation? 
Travel is one of my biggest passions and has been my greatest teacher. I remember attending conferences at the end of my high school studies and in university, and being completely transformed by the ideas, talent and opportunities I had witnessed. My experiences abroad and the challenges I faced and overcame were cornerstones in my development. I am excited to share these opportunities with our students, and connect them with experiences that can be life-altering, inspiring and energizing.

What are the next steps as far as timing and logistics? 
We hope to welcome our first international students in the new year, and to send our first student delegates on exchange shortly after that. We have placed a call out for host families. Please submit an application if you’re interested in having a Round Square international student stay at your home for a few weeks. Stay tuned for upcoming conference and exchange opportunities!