Monthly Archives: November 2018

Innovation Here in Phnom Penh


#sol18- November 13, 2018

We were feeling bad- we had not yet been on a field trip this year, so as we started our unit focusing on innovation we arranged a trip to a nearby spot- The Factory. If you read the linked article you will see the original concept and it has developed since then.

Just after snack/recess, we met our students at the edge of the field, piled into three buses and we were off. Happily, it was a short trip with no traffic, so we were there in just about ten minutes. We walked past active construction in our search for our guide, Kobe. In just under an hour we saw the coworking spaces, restaurants, performance/exhibition spaces, amazing street art, a trampoline park, a skateboarding area, and more. We learned about collaborations with groups that help street children, plans for the future (including a new art museum and more), and peeked into buildings not yet renovated where we glimpsed the past as ghostly remnants of the abandoned garment factory remained. All in all a perfect start of unit trip- many of the students had visited the trampoline park, but the rest of the place they had hardly noticed. As for me, I continue to be impressed by the innovation I see daily in Phnom Penh! Now I look forward to seeing where our third graders will go with this unit.



A slice from Zhi Hong.



I am a part of our school’s Elementary Leadership Team because I am the third grade team leader. As a team we meet each Monday and I really appreciate that we are co- create agendas, select readings, take turns as chair and minute raker, and more, even though it is extra work.

Once our principal announced she was leaving in June the search was on for her replacement. In the end the current assistant principal was appointed, which, of course created another opening- actually two because it was decided that the position would be split into assistant principal and PYP coordinator.

When it was announced that the ELT would have input I knew it would be a big job, but I was glad to be able to have a role. The principal and AP would cull the resumes, do the first round of interviews, and follow up on references, then we would do a second interview.

We started our part last week. Yesterday was a double header- an interview followed by our regular ELT meeting . Today we had two more scheduled.

Phnom Penh has been plagued by internet woes the last few days. While we tried various configurations to get Skype working one of the team kept mumbling “snacks.” The interview finally worked out thanks to a colleague using his phone as a hot spot, we debriefed with our principals and then had a bit of a break. Our snack craving teammate offered to go get coffee, but had no takers. Imagine our excitement when she returned a few minutes later with giant cookies for us to share! Just the treat we needed to keep going.

The internet proved even more problematic with the second interview but we creatively found a solution. At the second debrief we shared our thoughts.

It is interesting to go through this process. Three of the seven of us are new. It has definitely a bonding experience- we have shared lots of laughs, gone in more depth about our own philosophies, worked hard to come up with questions that could help us find the people who will lead us next year, and it has also helped us consider what the challenges and rewards are at our school.

The hiring is not decided yet, more work to do, but I already can appreciate the way our team has grown in the process. We still have most of the school year ahead to work together and most of the team will still be in place next year too. We definitely know each other better and that can only help us in our work. Schools are always talking about building community and this is even more true in international schools where so much of the community is living away from “home”. This process has helped us build our micro community.

A slice from Zhi Hong.