ISLA Board Updates- 3/2018

Dr. Seema Imam

ISLA welcomes new leadership, board member 

Kathy Jamil and Mathew Moes stepped down as the Chair and Vice Chair of ISLA, respectively, after serving in the positions for nearly ten years. During this time, ISLA’s school membership drastically increased and ISLA’s professional development services expanded to include the Leadership Academy, Leadership Retreat and customized professional development for schools. Both will remain as board members at large.

Dr. Seema ImamDr. Seema Imam was elected the new Chairperson and Dr. Patricia Salahuddin as Vice Chair in January 2018. Dr. Imam has been with the ISLA since 2003. She has a breadth of experience and knowledge regarding both public schools and Islamic schools in the US. She served as the founding principal of one of the oldest Islamic schools in the country for five years. She is currently Professor and Co-chair of the College of Education at National Louis University.

Dr. Patricia Salahuddin taught middle and high school students in both Islamic and public school where she served as Team Leader and Department Chairperson and has served as lecturer for Florida International University. She serves on the board of directors for several local, city-wide, and national level organizations including CISNA. Her research focuses on character education in Islamic schools.

Rasha El-HagganISLA welcomed Rasha El-Haggan as a new board member in December 2017. She has 12 years of experience working in Islamic, public, and international schools. As an advocate of student-centered classrooms, she dedicates a large portion of her time to training teachers and leading schools to design and implement transdisciplinary curricula that promote conceptual, inquiry-based methods.Her diverse work experience includes teaching students from all grades K-12. She has worked with various curricula from the Common Core State Standards to College Board’s Advanced Placement to all three programs within the International Baccalaureate (PYP, MYP and DP). Currently, she is the founding Head of School and IB Coordinator at Tarbiyah Academy in Elkridge, Maryland.

A Rejuvenating Weekend: ISLA Leadership Retreat 2017 Recap

The ISLA held its annual Leadership Retreat in New Braunfels, Texas on December 8-10, 2017 focusing on the year’s theme, “Reorienting Our Hearts and Minds: A Paradigm Shift in Leading Islamic Schools.” Around forty individuals attended. Dr. Nadia Katrangi of the Good Tree Institute in Arizona provided spiritual development through an analysis of selected passages of the Qur’an. Participants went on an excursion into the Natural Bridge Caverns. A session on “Spirituality and Muslim Youth: What Works” reviewed survey responses from two hundred Muslim youth between the ages of 12-21. A session on the Finnish educational system discussed how the inclusion of hallway huddles, flexible seating arrangements, and regular brain breaks has helped one Islamic school.Finally, participants engaged in action planning sessions where they worked in teams to perform a SWOT analysis of their schools and create SMART goals using ideas generated throughout the weekend.

Save The Date!  The 2018 ISLA Leadership Retreat will will take place December 14-16, 2018 at DaySpring in Parrish, FL near Tampa. The theme is, “Beyond Academics: The Unspoken Challenges Families and Children Face in Islamic Schools Today.” All Islamic school administrators and teacher leaders are invited to attend.

Check out more retreat pics and videos at our media gallery.

Workshop on Early Childhood Education in China by Dr. Fawzia Tung

Dr. Fawzia FlyerAround seventy Muslim parents crowded the Activity Hall in the JiZhaoYing Mosque in Nanjing, China on December 30, 2017. After an introduction by Imam Xue, Dr. Fawzia Mai Tung discussed new research and developments in early childhood education and what parents could do to help their child at home. After a prayer break, the group reconvened for a Q&A session where many concerns were raised and discussed.

Rasha El-Haggan Presents at West Coast ISNA Ed Forum

Rasha El-Haggan’s presentation was on Conceptual Units of Inquiry (CUI). CUI helps capture students’ motivation and helps develop necessary skills for the 21st century workplace. These skills include critical thinking, creativity, and cognitive flexibility, amongst many others. How are Islamic schools and teachers helping develop these skills? The transdisciplinary, conceptual and inquiry-based nature of CUI can be the way Islamic schools work towards this goal. The highly interactive session gave attendees an opportunity to assess whether they are already using elements of CUI in their classrooms, and if not, how to more effectively implement it into their practice.


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