Minutes of ISSE World Conference 2014 – Melbourne, Australia

Minutes of ISSE World Conference 2014 – Melbourne, Australia

Day 1 – Monday, 14th April, 2014 at Weeden Heights PS

USA – Bev, Donna          Mexico – Iona, Ariana         Japan – Akemi, Akane             India – Suchita                Costa Rica – Andrea           Australia – Georgina, Joanna, Vicki, Lee, Anne, Adam

Official welcome

Official welcome given by Murrundindi, an aboriginal elder.

Weeden Heights PS Choir sang – many thanks for this.

Delegation with Murrundindi, an aboriginal elder


Australia – we have lost some schools since the last conference. Importance of having principals on board essential. New principal at Belgrave South PS and SelbyPS – to be contacted

Japan – only 4 schools allowed to be involved with ISSE but many more are involved. Contact person is Akemi. She will update all later which schools (two, maybe more) will be involved later this year.

Costa Rica – St Anthony school rep. Things going very well. No exchanges outside of America due to finances, travel etc. Mainly used by parents for children to practise their English. Always willing to host, but rarely visit.

Problem – when China visited St Anthony school the visit was great except an unexpected tour guide arrived, who was unco-operative. Joanna, Georgina & Vicki spoke about Australia’s experiences with an unexpected tour guide with Chinese exchanges who is not a part of the program. They should not be part of the ISSE program. Bev to contact Jillian about this problem to explain our position – the Travel agent is NOT part of ISSE.

India – Bal Bahrati School – costs are an issue when sending to the northern hemisphere. Contacting India is very difficult.

Mexico – regularly meet together. Act as a team. Did have a problem with China, but the problem was with a new co-ordinator at a Mexican school, Cenca. Another school took up that exchange.

Ecuador – not here but report given based on information given to Bev. Not available for any exchanges this time because they have not paid their fees.
**Matchings to be done tomorrow (Tuesday)

Other issues

Communication /Emails with schools you are exchanging with –

The communication is still poor at times. Some schools take too long to reply to emails. At least one month before you travel ALL documents and plans need to be finalised. Need to check emails daily and at least acknowledge receipt and state a response timeline, which should not exceed 5 days. Some unfortunately do not respond immediately or at all. Bev has often sent a response to ask for immediate replies, but she shouldn’t do that straight away. Please send a reply email immediately even if you just acknowledge that you received the email and will address the issue/question as soon as possible (not to exceed 5 days) Please do not wait too long for replies – courtesy to the person who emailed.


Changing numbers of those going should not happen / after one month finalization. The host school sets the number to be hosted. The two schools involved in the exchange must communicate about the number of students who are to be hosted. Two chaperones – countries must be willing to send and host two chaperones, although many countries are unable to send two. Where possible please do so especially in cases of emergency ie: a child is sick. The Australian & Japanese governments state that two staff must go. Chaperones – need to take it seriously. Need to interact with all the students – their own and the host school. Tests even sent with some delegations. They need to know their responsibility. Be prepared for their roles. The ISSE Guidelines are located on the webpage.

Maximum number of children

The two schools have to agree on the number, but the host has the right to say how many they can accept. Rules say to up to 8 students but you can negotiate the numbers. Some schools can host up to 15, but most cannot.
Japan prefer to send 6 students but will host up to 8 students. Japan & other schools –can have difficulty finding two staff – can use one teacher and the other can be an approved non-staff member who agrees to stated responsibilities. It is important that all schools understand that no parent of a travelling student may chaperone! Age of students to travel – 10, 11 & 12 years old Age of students to host – same preferred – 10, 11 & 12 years old Visas – Need to plan ahead as visas and permission from countries needs to be finalised prior to travel. Make sure you leave enough time to do all this.

 Modern Technology & Communication –

This has become a problem especially recently with some members of the delegation spending time contacting home when they should be spending time with their host child and family. These childrea are usually the ones who suffer the most from homesickness and are not actively taking part in the program if they are constantly contacting home. Internet social networking – no iPads, iPods, iPhones, etc., to be used for photography instead the children can take a camera. Many schools involved with ISSE are now on Facebook. You can ‘Friend’ it, but this can cause issues. Some countries (eg: Australia) have set policies about the use of Facebook with students aged 12 and under. Still need to look into this. School time – 10 days with China is not enough – Class time should be included as the main goal with excursions kept to a minimum. Any visiting school’s side excursions should be prior to or after the official exchange. Bob Herring – 2015 – Europe, Germany – Bob tyring to extend ISSE into the program

 Collection of Funds –

This is becoming more difficult. Proposed by Bev that we all pay the fees on the same date. Joanna proposed by the end of February as it suits Australia. Other schools agreed. All fees due by February 28th for previous year’s exchanges!  No to Pay Pal.

New webpage – updated – Looked at this – looks great! And is user friendly

As part of the program, the delegation needs to email at least 4-5 quotes plus photos about the exchange and include the date. There should be no need for usernames and passwords on the new site. Website – updated information – email details and photos to Bev and she will update it asap Two contact names and email addresses, as well as the school’s email address. All website information, updates, etc must got to Bev for addition to the new website. Please add to the Stories section of the webpage, but when you send the information – stories and comments – remember to include the date and school name relating to your story. Suggestion made to Archive old files rather than getting rid of it all together. Names of people not included, perhaps first names, last names are never used. “Tell Your ISSE Story” – send as children have written it if you like. Bev will check it before it is put on the web page. All forms are currently accessible to everyone. No password needed. Facebook site for ISSE? Discussed Only designated people to be able to access it, however we need to look into this more. Can use wikispaces.com site created as a diary of the exchange. Adam Foster from Mount View showed us the site he used for his delegation’s visit to Peru. Kizoa – free program to download photos & video etc – name of the program Adam used to upload a slideshow of pictures daily to his wikispaces web page. ISSE LOGO on webpage – Bev to email this as a jpeg

 ISSE Co-Ordinators –

As the ISSE co-ordinator & their committee – we must oversee the exchange process – meetings, cultural program, class sessions, travelling etc. Australia, Japan and Mexico meet regularly but the other countries do not. Each country must decide who is to be their “designated” ISSE representative for their country. Someone who can co-ordinate / be responsible for their country’s ISSE program, and hopefully attend conferences.

 Treasurer’s Report

Looked at the Treasurer’s Report from July 1, 2012 to Feb 28, 2014 Excess funds – do we offer a scholarship to a country so that a delegate from a country is able to attend? What type of criteria do we set for this? Do we make it a lottery? Will need to think further about this. Need to think how we can use the money towards the scholarship. Be open to all schools. Scholarship not applied to those in the same zone (hemisphere). Countries must apply to Bev stating needs for funds. We’ll have a lottery to draw 2 country names and offer those countries towards the cost for travel to the conference. Scholarships to be offered in zones – east & west. $1,000 USD to be offered for the scholarship. Bev to draw the names of the countries and contact them.

Day 2 – Tuesday, 15th April, 2014 at Mount View PS

Introduction by Colin Dobson – great introduction which summed up ISSE so well. Guest Speaker- Alice Pung – excellent speaker and very inspirational.

Recap on yesterday’s information

Classroom visits are mandatory. China in particular need to either postpone their travel guide, or understand that the guide is not part of the ISSE program and will not be hosted for a homestay. When in China rather than always sending students on excursions the delegation must be in classrooms more. Communication is essential so please respond immediately even if it is simply to acknowledge that you have read the email and will check the information. Chaperones must be aware of the ISSE guidelines as the chaperone. Check the webpage. Interact with and supervise the children – your delegation and the school you are visiting. Please do not send your delegation with too much work, especially exams. Homework should be kept to a minimum or rather just keep it to writing a journal. Children and staff who are visiting the school are to teach and experience class lessons in that school. All electronics – no communication device to be used during the exchange. If taken on the flight, the chaperone is to collect these during the exchange. If the chaperone is uncomfortable about taking away these devices (mobile phone, etc.) because of concern over repercussions when they return home, the ISSE co-ordinator at the school can take charge of this. Limit the computer time at the host family. No real time contact – this is to assist with avoiding homesickness. Communication prior to the exchange about your school’s expectations is a huge help. It also explains to the parents the other school’s expectations. (Need them to be aware from the time of Information Nights regarding the exchange as well.) Families need to stop communicating so regularly to the host family while the delegation is visiting. Sometimes unnecessary pressure is applied to the families hosting or the teacher chaperone to get information about the exchange by families back at home. This can cause stress. Need to make parents aware of this. A Scholarship of $1,000 USD will be available for attendance to future conferences. Any interested country may apply to Bev stating need for financial assistance. East / West areas rather than North & South. Nominate a representative to attend. Need a country contact for each country in order to forward information. Not allowed to have the scholarship for 2 years in a row. A number of forms are outdated. You can send Bev an email with your concerns regarding the form and the suggested changes to be made. Any forms which need to be notarised – Some countries, like Australia, where there is a considerable cost involved in getting a notarisation, the form will be updated allowing a person of authority to notarise the form; as long as they can be filled in by a person of authority eg: the principal. Bev is not receiving the forms which need to be sent to her. Please make sure you send the required forms to here in particular Form 5. Many thanks to Japan who regularly complete all forms and send these to Bev. Form 5 needs to be sent to Bev as this assists her in assessing the program.  Eg: So many food issues should not be occurring. Food issues should be discussed as part of the selection process. Students are expected to try all food, if not they shouldn’t travel. Forms 3 & 4 Release of Liability – merely a protection, eg: from a plane crash Form 9 MUST be filled in and kept with the chaperone during the visit Wording to change for the Notary to say – Notary and/or in any official capacity (where applicable)


3 weeks duration at the school, save your extra excursions for after or before the time at the school. If you intend to change this please contact your host school.

All ISSE fees are due on or before the 28th of February each year.

Setting up exchanges for the next two years

Rest of the meeting spent selecting schools to visit

Next Conference in 2016:

Ecuador has requested to have the next conference in 2016 in the second or third week of July. If they cannot host then Colorado will be willing to host the conference.

Group in Melbourne
Group along trail outside Grant’s Picnic Ground, Kallista
Delegation beside Yarra River In Melbourne
Delegation beside Yarra River In Melbourne


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