Partnering with Students, Teachers, and Leaders at American International School Chennai

By Bonnie Lathram and Emily Hamlin

Our mission at GOA is to empower students and educators to thrive in a globally networked world. Our mission states: “We work with students. We deepen learning through courses that equip students with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to be successful in high school, college, career, and life. We work with teachers. We coach teachers to think differently about how they design student learning experiences. We work with leaders. We ensure they have the strategies and tools to lead innovation and change.”

Our recent visit to American International School Chennai (AISC), a GOA member school in Chennai, India, illustrates our work to live our mission. School visits provide a great opportunity to more deeply engage with our member schools. We recently traveled to Chennai, India, to spend a day at AISC, and attend and present at the ECIS Library Triennial a few days later.


When we walked into the school, we were greeted by friendly staff and beautiful colored posters of AISC’s mission.


Our school visits with students always have two goals: first, we want students to learn about GOA and second, we want GOA to learn more about students. Emily spent the bulk of the day presenting to, talking with, and interviewing students. In the morning, she facilitated a conversation with IB Psychology students around connections between technology and cognitive processes, taught by Site Director Walter Basnight. During lunch she led a GOA info session and student panel, where prospective students could listen to other students talk about their GOA experiences. Finally, Emily interviewed two current GOA students about their experience, what skills they were developing, and how they were supported in their GOA learning. The takeaway: listening to prospective students’ questions, as well as the reflections of current students, provides the richest feedback on how we can continue to live out our mission.


At the close of the day, Bonnie and Emily led a workshop titled Mindset, Skillset, Toolkit. Educators engaged in a design sprint activity where they had the opportunity to design an interdisciplinary learning experience aligned to competency based learning. By using a design framework to tackle this challenge, groups of participants created learning experiences tied to GOA’s core competencies and learning outcomes. The workshop followed the model that GOA teachers and the instructional design team use when designing our student courses.

See our day at Chennai in the Slideshare below.

American International School Chennai +GOA 14.2.18


Bonnie facilitated a 2 hour strategy session with members of the AISC leadership team to discuss the design and build of customized online courses for new faculty. We started by trying to understand the new faculty experience through an empathy mapping exercise. We brainstormed other aspects of course design, including facilitation, outcomes and culminating projects. The leadership team then prototyped courses for new faculty at the school. One takeaway: a pilot project of professional learning courses for new faculty.

By working with students, teachers, and leaders, we can foster deeper relationships with member schools in order to maximize membership and create a deeper partnership aligned with the school’s strategic plan and mission. This is the power of partnership in action.

This blog is part of our occasional School Spotlight series. If you are interested in learning more about becoming a GOA member school, you can learn more here.

For more, see:

Global Online Academy (GOA) reimagines learning to empower students and teachers to thrive in a globally networked society. Professional learning opportunities are open to any educator. To sign up or to learn more, see our Professional Learning Opportunities for Educators or email with the subject title “Professional Learning.” Follow us on Twitter @GOALearning. To stay up to date on GOA learning opportunities, sign up for our newsletter here.

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