David Hawley, new president of the Atlanta International School, wants to collaborate with binational chambers of commerce, consulates and international organizations in the metro area to help host foreign delegations coming to town and to develop stronger relations with China.
“We need to reach out to other regions, including China, not just Latin America and Europe, to welcome them [to Atlanta],” Dr. Hawley told GlobalAtlanta during an interview at the pre-K through 12th grade private school located in Buckhead.
The school’s headmaster for nine years, Dr. Hawley will become president on Friday, July 1, assuming responsibility for strategic planning, external relations and fundraising. Robert Brindley, former head of the middle school, will become headmaster, overseeing AIS’ day-to-day operations.
“We’d like to partner with the Buckhead Alliance and Buckhead Coalition, the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and select chambers of commerce and consulates,” Dr. Hawley said, noting that those organizations’ international visitors may want to tour the school. He added that the school is seen as a benefit for the families of international businesspersons moving to Atlanta, as well as an incentive for Atlanta’s success in securing the headquarters of the Free Trade Area of the Americas.
Dr. Hawley added that the school is especially interested in furthering its relationships with China.
AIS is starting a new Chinese program for students ages four and older that will include instruction in the Mandarin language and studies about the country’s history, geography and people. AIS already has a Chinese track for its middle and high school students.
“If you speak Spanish, English and Chinese, you’re pretty much going to be prepared for the 21st century,” Dr. Hawley said, noting that the school has French, German, Spanish and now Chinese bilingual programs for all of its primary, middle and high school students.
The school also has started a United Parcel Service Inc.-funded exchange program for its high school students with Shanghai High School, a public school in the Chinese mainland city. Three AIS students participated in the program in China this summer, and Chinese students will be attending AIS in the fall, while living with the families of UPS executives in Atlanta for one month.
The Chinese program for younger students is being initiated in conjunction with a five-year strategic plan that includes a capital campaign to raise $10-20 million to construct a new primary school on four acres of land between the existing school on North Fulton Drive and Peachtree Avenue. The plan also includes the construction of a new science and technology center.
In his outreach efforts, Dr. Hawley will also be visiting key universities around the country to promote his school’s international baccalaureate, or “IB,” programs that teach all grade levels internationalism and respect for other cultures, along with giving them practical experience in an international community. Graduates receive an IB diploma that is recognized by universities worldwide.
Founded in 1984, AIS is an independent, nonprofit school for American and international students. Some 30 percent of its students are from American families, 20 percent are from families with one international parent and the remainder are from international families. Approximately 50 percent of the students are U.S. citizens, and 60 percent speak only English at home, although they are required to learn at least one additional language at AIS. The school currently has 527 alumni.
To learn more about the school, visit its Web site www.aischool.org or contact Dr. Hawley at (404) 841-3850.