Minutes of ISSE World Conference 2012: Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Minutes of ISSE World Conference 2012: Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Wednesday, July 18, Day 1

We opened with a parade of ISSE nations to national anthems, flags held by Sacred Heart ISSE students. We were welcomed by Sacred Heart Principal, Mr. Nagle. He shared his own experience with hosting a student from France. A representative from Steve Chabotʼs office welcomed everyone and told of Mr. Chabotʼs commitment to international relations. Break for group photo.

Treasurer Report from Bob Herring:

Laws of state of Ohio govern our group because that is where it was founded.
We have two sources of income, fees and interest. Interest rates are very low.
USA schools should write two checks, one to ISSE International and one to ISSE USA.
Bob shared the last year report and the 8 year picture of finances.
Some countries are growing in the number of schools participating in ISSE. El Salvador is up to 3 schools and Peru is up to 5 schools. India has been encouraged to form a countrywide ISSE group so they can communicate among themselves.

Correction of agenda:

Australia will be hosting the 2014 conference. We will see which countries would be interested in hosting the 2016 and 2018 conferences.


All schools are not submitting the required forms.

The hosting school should select the hosts at least a month prior to the visit which means the traveling delegation has to have their info forms to the hosting school at least two months prior to the visit.
Please communicate promptly to allow the process to run smoothly.
It is NOT OK to send student information right before the exchange.
Glen Lewis from Urbana recommended that the forms be put in a template form so they can be completed online and sent from there to save a step. Glen introduced himself and talked about some history of ISSE. He suggested follow-through with exchanges, keeping in touch and communicating with our former guests and hosts.

Length of exchanges:

Some schools are changing the length of their exchanges. Our policy is 3-4 weeks. Two weeks are not enough time. Cultural learning and sharing are not completed. Suggestions for making the three weeks: use a week of break, use someone besides a teacher to travel. Chaperones need to know children very well. It was suggested that schools work out the time of visits among themselves.


Comments include the request to use the visiting delegation in classrooms more. It would be better if they donʼt have so much time to themselves. One day to practice the show is enough. Please allow them to visit every classroom. It is important that delegates get in to all the classrooms. Cultural show should be 30-40 min. Singing, dancing, not much talking for the show please.

Homework issue:

Some schools send work, some donʼt. Teacher/chaperone may need to monitor in airport, somewhere besides school. Current pressure for test scores means US schools donʼt want students to miss much work. Delegates need to interact with host school students, not each other.


NO CELL PHONES!!!! If student has to talk to parents every day, they shouldnʼt be on the trip. E-mailing once a week is allowed. Calls are bad for students. If students take iPods or electronics for planes, they need to get given to the chaperone upon arrival in the host country. The difficulty of keeping parents from constant contact was discussed. Part of the interview process involves whether the parents can limit contact for the visit. No Skype. A blog is a good idea to keep parents happy without communication. Share rules again at welcome party to make expectations clear. If parent does get an e-mail, check with chaperone before panicking. It would be good to have a translator available if you have a chaperone who is not proficient at English.

Number of delegates:

Some countries are adding students at the last minute. Travel group needs to be set one month before–no additions–subtractions may happen. Ten is the maximum number. Most countries send two chaperones, so 10 is a reasonable number.

Number of chaperones:

Two chaperones is acceptable and should be accepted by all schools! Some countries REQUIRE two chaperones and so they must be accepted.

Ages of delegates:

Ages 10-12 are allowed, not 9 and not 13!!! Try to match students with same age students.

Money sent:

Limit the amount, no more than $300.00. The shopping is way out of hand. This is a cultural exchange, not a shopping trip.

Contact info:

Schools need to keep web pages updated and the contact information on the ISSE website needs to be up to date. Some of the websites donʼt have correct information. A country contact personʼs info will be put on the website for an extra place to find help. ISSE contact person needs to be on the website for each school. If your school is not up-to-date, please take of this with Bev! It is very frustrating to try to contact retired people! Website– Send Bev pictures for the website! She canʼt update the site with things she doesnʼt have! Comments are also welcome! Any good student or parent comments would be wonderful.

How to deal with Japanese requirement to travel in August:

Find hosts before the previous school year gets out–plan trips to keep them busy. Plan activities and class visits well in advance.

Liability Forms:

Liability forms must be sent to Bev. Originals are needed! These should be sent a month before the exchange.

Exchange problems:

Food, cultural, religious differences–students are expected to try any new foods. Religious food needs or allergy problems need to be respected. Get those info sheets in early so accommodations can be made!

Country Issues

Talk to someone who has been recently! The US State Dept. is a guideline, not a rule! Disease recommendations–you need to keep in mind that our kids are not going to areas where these diseases are common. Perhaps a Skype conference with a parent meeting would set minds at ease. Also use recent travelers to the area to set parentsʼ minds at ease. There is a level of trust that must happen between the schools.

How delegates are chosen:

Sometimes we hear that students were not really interested in what the exchange is all about. We discussed the selection process of each school. Some use school psychologist evaluations. Provide names of other families who have hosted or traveled to the same school if parents want to talk to someone. Expectations are laid out. Colorado is not allowed to choose travelers based on ability to pay for airfare. Several schools mentioned difficulty in finding host families. Some schools have problems getting a visa to travel–this needs to be done early! It is not good for ISSE when individual schools set up their own exchanges, because sometimes it leads to a school leaving ISSE. If you are going to do an outside exchange, please run it by Bev and Sue. Sue would like us to note who we are exchanging with on our checks to her, please, thank you! We discussed having each school pay $150.00 even if they donʼt complete the whole exchange. This discussion was tabled to be continued on Thursday, July 19.

ISSE Conference July 19, 2012, Day 2

Day two of the Cincinnati conference was a very exciting day! We were welcomed by Sister Johanna of the Convent of the Transfiguration. Corrections were made to the minutes from yesterday. Japan asks that we all speak more slowly. We started with choosing exchanges for 2012-2014. Please see the ISSE website for complete exchanges. After the drawing we continued our discussion from yesterday about the fees when part or all of an exchange is refused. We discussed who is responsible when part of an exchange is cancelled. We voted on a resolution that the school that does the canceling is still responsible for the $150.00 fee, the school that gets slighted only pays $75.00.

Australia Yes II
Costa Rica Yes I
India Yes I
China Yes I
Japan Yes I
Ecuador Yes I
Mexico Yes III

The resolution passed that the entire $150.00 will be paid by the school canceling half of the exchange. If a school has part of the exchange canceled on them, they are only responsible for $75.00 of the exchange. Australia started a discussion of when to have the conference in 2014. The weather is better in April, May, or June, than in July. Australia will let us know when it will happen. We discussed where the conference will be in 2016 and 2018.

Ecuador will host in 2016.
2018 will be in China.
Mexico will get 2020.

Bev suggested having a scholarship fund to help pay for delegates to attend the conferences. Criteria would have to be set. Bev has had requests for help, and there are no rules in place for such support. Discussion was carried over to next dayʼs meeting. After a wonderful lunch provided by Bethany staff, we toured the lovely campus.

ISSE Conference July 20, 2012, Day 3

We were welcomed by the St. Mary ISSE coordinator, Pam Pompelia. Bev made one change to the exchanges. Please see ISSE website for current exchanges. We reviewed the important items we have discussed such as length of exchange, communication issues, chaperone responsibilities, number of delegates, number of chaperones, importance of setting limits on money taken, sending in liability forms, importance of having an ISSE contact person in every school, to make sure everyone is on the same page. Bev asked again that you send her recent pictures and comments for the website. We reiterated the importance of getting the info sheets in early to make allowance for vegetarians and other dietary needs. We also discussed the importance of talking about culture instead of just playing video games. Having the child take a photo album and keep a journal are great ideas. Please remember when choosing delegates what the real purpose is. Please trust that each school in ISSE will take care of the children! The shooting in Aurora, CO reminds us that bad things can happen anywhere! We shared fundraising ideas. Sacred Heart sells out of uniform tickets for $1.00 each. In Australia the school bears much of the cost for ISSE. They donʼt really do fundraising due to so much other fundraising at the schools. We talked about some of the challenges of chaperoning, hosting, and traveling. It is important that the chaperone knows where the students are! Students should have as nearly the same experience as possible. Chaperones should not leave the area to travel far away! Chaperones need to know the ISSE rules! You must let them know! It was suggested that the guidelines be put on the website so it is very clear and easy to find. Taizo made a statement of thanks for all the concern they received after the tsunami. He looks forward to sharing with all of us in the future. Ecuador suggested that we give the ISSE kids and teachers a certificate after participation. Everyone liked this idea so we discussed how to make the logo look good for a certificate. We really need two certificates, one for kids who travel and one for kids who host. Paola from Ameyalli offered to work on this. Bob Herring suggested to get some more mix in the exchanges, we have something like Special Projects week, inviting schools from all over, hosted by the whole school, and focusing on something in the arts while they are there. We talked about maybe having a 10 day program, inviting schools that might be interested in a short exchange to get them interested in ISSE. We also talked about having all the Cincinnati schools host at the same time and having a parade downtown. We all like the idea and will start working on this. Scholarship idea: Each country could decide who should get a scholarship. We talked about the country fees and whether they should be raised. This idea was tabled. Skyline Awards were handed out. Winners were:

  • Best use of the English language by someone who is not from the US or England: Joanna from Australia!
  • Most likely to get lost in a foreign country and best evening attire: Suchita from India!
  • Most punctual and best candy: Japan!
  • Most enthusiastic (besides Melinda) Arianna, Mexico!
  • Able to control an entire conference of people who have the attention spans and listening skills of third graders, Bev and Sue!
  • Most brave for volunteering to host a conference without any people from her country to back her up–Ecuador, Paola, and Jillian, China!!!!
  • Super Shopper Award–Nuevo Continente, Martha and Iona!
  • Best Sister Act with Mom included–Ameyalli, Olga Patricia, Paola, and Sandra!
  • Miss Congeniality–Andrea, Costa Rica!

Congratulations, Everyone! We talked about expansion. A school in Mexico is exchanging in Oregon. We are hopeful that this school will join. Mexico is not accepting new schools until some new schools sign up around the world! Letʼs all try to get some more students involved! Our goal is to sign up 5 more schools by the next conference! It was suggested that it would be an excellent idea to have chaperones who travel with ISSE a great deal to attend the conferences, if possible. It is believed that they would have much to add to our discussions. It was also suggested that delegates to international conventions think carefully about bringing family members to the conference. Sometimes it can be difficult to provide housing and care for other family members. Please be considerate of the host country!

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Bob Herring (dues only)
3544 Glen Edge Lane
Cincinnati, OH 45213



Megan Weir (forms only)
Angevine Middle School
1150 West South Boulder Road
Lafayette, CO 80026


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