By Doug Ota, SPAN Founder and Chair
If 2018 marked a milestone for SPAN thanks to our establishment as an official non-profit, 2019 marks another significant milestone: the launch of certification, and a means of recognizing schools around the world that address transitions well.
Over the 2019-2020 school year, SPAN will be pre-piloting a framework and process for a school to become officially recognized as a ‘Certified Safe Passage School’. We are grateful to the three international schools who have agreed to participate, since their collaboration in such an early phase should help shape a certification process that is clear, user-friendly, and therefore effective.
This pre-pilot of the certification process is the logical fruit of a natural growth process at SPAN. Since our landmark first SPAN Pre-Conference at FIGT in The Hague in March 2017, a vast amount of thoughtful energy has gone into three sequential areas:
- building and maintaining a Board of Directors centered around a clear sense of purpose.
- identifying and implementing the legal structure for our nascent organization that best fits that purpose (i.e. non-profit).
- shaping a certification process that reflects our core beliefs and values.
We at SPAN are intimately familiar with the psychological evidence indicating that people develop and learn best when they feel safe, supported, and seen. Certification should reflect that knowledge. By participating in certification, we want the people and teams working hard to address transitions at schools to feel safe, supported, and seen—and decidedly not policed. Fundamentally, SPAN believes good transitions work should be celebrated.
After the 2019-2020 pre-pilot, an official pilot process for certification will be offered to a broader group of schools in the 2020-2021 school year. Those two school years should see the refinement of an online certification platform that allows schools to upload evidence of their good work for students, parents, and staff, across the arriving, staying, and leaving phases of the year. We foresee that schools will be able to seek three types of certification status, depending on their level of proficiency:
- Aspiring – for schools with an interest in developing solid transition programs
- Developing – for schools making progress in developing solid transition programs
- Mastering – for schools demonstrating solid transition programs in all domains
Our aim is to open up the official process to become a ‘Certified Safe Passage School’ in the 2021-2022 school year. If your school or one you know has an interest in participating in the 2020-2021 pilot, please let Claudine Hakim, our Certification Chair, know by completing our Contact form.
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