While transition negatively impacts learning more than any other factor, according to John Hattie’s definitive research that he captures in Visible Learning, well-managed transition can add significant value to a life and to a learning journey.  It’s that simple, and it’s that hard.

Regardless of your experience with transition or transition-care, SPAN plans to meet you where you are:

In our virtual home through our SPAN website, for engagement with other transition-care providers, vetted resources and pathways to a stronger transition program in your school; At rotating regional conferences that are already hosted globally for educational administrators, counselors and teachers; and in your own school or local network of schools, coaching you through an effective transition team certification process, the launch or strengthening of your transition team and/or workshops related to positive transition support and more.


In a shrinking world where globalization is accepted and international schools are exploding, we bear a responsibility for the positive transition care of students, families and educators. SPAN believes that upholding standards for transition support, and equipping and refreshing those on the fronts lines, will help all of us fulfill some of our highest hopes for healthy students and families on the move.


Our goal is to help ourselves and others manage the stress, distress and chaos of transition, so we can get on with learning, loving, growing, stretching, cross-cultural competence and joy: all the things we launched into the international world to do wisely and well.


At any school with a high degree of turnover, transitions affect everyone, regardless of a person’s role – student, parent, or staff, and regardless of whether a person is moving or being moved away from. People move amongst schools, so the emotional issues of any one individual transcend individual school walls, making it impossible for any one school to fully address these issues alone. Success requires collaboration.


Only a handful of international schools have well-developed transitions programs. Even when these programs exist, they tend to operate in isolation. Part of the reason why is because no forum ever existed to support program development and collaboration.


Seeking to address this gap, by creating a forum for professionals, parents, and even students who are leading the development of transitions services at their schools, the first-ever international SPAN Pre-Conference took place on March 22, 2017, just prior to the annual Families in Global Transition (FIGT) Conference in The Hague, Netherlands.


The Brain Child of Drs. Doug Ota and supported by the founding SPAN Steering Committee, the SPAN Pre-Conference sought to create a ‘home’ for collaboration, such that best practices could be identified, supported, and connected amongst international schools.


Founding SPAN Steering Committee:

  • Douglas Ota, SPAN Chair; Psychologist and author of Safe Passage: how mobility affects people and what international schools should do about it


  • Jane Barron, SPAN PR Coordinator; Youth Intercultural Transition Specialist at Globally Grounded

  • Lydia Foxall, SPAN Front Desk; TCK, student at University of New Hampshire’s Department of Social Work

  • Ryan Haynes, SPAN Program Co-Chair; High School Counselor, International School Bangkok

  • Kilian Kröll, SPAN Treasurer; Immediate Past President of Families in Global Transition, Transitions lead at AIS Vienna

  • Ellen Mahoney, SPAN Program Co-Chair; CEO and Founder of Sea Change Mentoring

As with any transition program steering committee, the SPAN Steering Committee has experienced a few changes as individuals pursue professional and personal goals.


Other past SPAN Board Members:

  • Karl Suits, SPAN Board Member; Director of Technology at Hangzhou International School