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Robert S. Jackson
QSI International School of Minsk
U.S. Department of State, Office of Overseas Schools
Minsk, Belarus
Robert-jackson@qsi.org

When Robert S. Jackson arrived at the QSI International School of Minsk two years ago, the prekindergarten through twelfth grade school had sixty-four students, was housed in an apartment block with few amenities, had little contact with parents and community, and was mediocre academically. With an initial goal to more actively educate parents about what their students were doing in school, Jackson conducted a stakeholder planning meeting, collectively establishing school goals including English achievement, environmental awareness, and physical fitness. Monthly coffee mornings introduced parents to the curriculum, assessment practices, and other issues, and a weekly newsletter in both Russian and English ensured that parents were informed. Jackson next spearheaded the construction of updated learning spaces, bathrooms, a gym, a cafeteria, and a kitchen that serves nutritious meals accommodating many cultures and religious beliefs. Introducing NWEA Measures of Academic Progress testing, Jackson differentiated and personalized learning for all students and has offered more advanced placement, elective classes, and extra-curricular activities. Student-led conferences have created more actively involved learners, and staff-led mini lessons and seminars have opened up collegial dialogue. Today, the school has doubled in size; parents and community are involved in tutoring and important committees; the school has a mascot, colors, and competitive sports teams; and students are well-prepared for acceptance into top universities in the U.K. and the U.S. Furthermore, parents laud Jackson for his “continued pursuit of excellence.” Jackson holds a B.S. from Johnson University, an M.A. in Intercultural Studies from Wheaton College, an Updated Certification from the University of Missouri, and a Certificate of International School Leadership from the Principal Training Center.