By Emilio Sanchez, CEO and Founder of the Academia Sanchez-Casal.
Normally it is very difficult to talk about yourself, but tennis gives players the habit of having to review ourselves, to find out what are our areas of improvement, and makes us create new habits to reach our goals. I love this process and I try to do it personally every now and then. I’m a coach, and therefore I need to be coached and coach others.
After 20 years of making opportunities in tennis and education and being a world renowned academy in Europe, I tried to apply the same process to our Tennis Academy and School, ASC and ESIS. But I found that it was a difficult thing to do because we have students, parents, teachers, coaches, and employees and they all think differently. A few years back we reviewed our philosophy, and we asked ourselves who we really are; it was a very interesting process. Students and parents saw us as a turning point that changed their lives. They kept talking about values like effort, respect, discipline and hard work. Teachers and coaches had a different view as educators, while employees had another one as workers. Finally, we summarized our values as Respect, Effort and Discipline (RED), and we promoted these values and tried to embrace them.
As a leader, I try to align all these different perspectives of our mission and values according to who is evaluating us, and it is very rewarding. The main idea is to show our true identity, as I’m tired of telling myself we are something different from our reality. Understanding my true identity is the first step of self-improvement: to do anything else goes against my nature of analyzing myself to become better.
Fortunately, I got some unexpected help without asking for it. We had the visit of MSA a few weeks ago. They are our school accreditors, and they made a deep analysis of our essence. The conclusions of their report were outstanding; all my doubts disappeared as they were reading their report to the committees. The faces of the directors, teachers, and coaches as they were listening to the MSA representatives were shining, and every sentence was more powerful than the previous one. I almost had tears in my eyes. Our efforts were worth every minute of it: all the hard work, discipline, commitment, and hours invested by the team in the students was rewarded by this report. I could never have expected this outcome. That’s why I would like to share with you their comments about who they felt we are:
“ESIS and ASC can be summarized by the words “family” and “community.” The parents and students love the fact that they can concentrate on tennis or another sport and still experience an education that will enable them to be successful in life.
ESIS is a small school, but it is one that is vibrant with activity. We are in awe of the level of student, staff, and community participation in the life of this school. We were very impressed with the way the school and the Academy come together to do what is best for each student.
We applaud you for the degree of cooperation among the administration, teachers, staff and coaches that makes this possible – student athletes can work on becoming excellent in their sport and excellent students. Know that your students appreciate this reality of your school.
We are also impressed by the uniformity with which the parents with whom we spoke support the work of ESIS. We were told by the school administrators that the community supports the students and the administration will strive to provide whatever is necessary to make sure the students have what they need and what they want.
We heard from your students that a strength of your school is the level of caring and concern the teachers have for their students. They told us that their teachers are always willing to go the extra mile with them, and that their teachers are always available to them.
We want to applaud you for being living examples of your printed Mission and Vision. The administration, faculty, and staff of the school and the Academy are fully committed to fulfilling the school’s mission statement which is closely related to the mission of the Academy. We could see and feel that all members of the community – adults and students – maintain and develop relationships of mutual respect, effort, and discipline with a sense of trust and openness. You know the areas of your strengths, as well as your weaknesses, and are willing and able to work together to move those weaknesses to strengths.
The classes we observed were student-centered. Teachers were helping students to think and make decisions on their own. We applaud the implementation of the IB PYP program in the elementary school and the curriculum guides in the middle school are excellent. We congratulate the initiative in the Creative Writing class where the students spend the year writing their novel which concludes in the publishing and marketing of these novels!!
The campus is huge and open. The students commented how much they loved the outdoor space on the campus. The campus is beautifully maintained. The school provides an aesthetically appealing learning environment that supports both students and teachers.
We concluded that ES International School meets all 12 of the standards for accreditation. Therefore, the team will recommend to MSA that ES International School be re-accredited for seven years.”
I always try hard to come out of my comfort zone and improve, and I thought I had to make some improvements at ASC, but when such an important organization tells you that you are family, community, respect, effort, discipline, values, trustworthy, openness, a think-tank, that you improve character, care about others, help in decision-making, and a aesthetically appealing learning environment that supports both students and teachers, what else can you expect to achieve? I’m so proud of what we do.
I want to congratulate everyone and want them to know that I am thankful and inspired by my team of teachers, coaches and employees and what they offer the students and families who decide to study with us. This report makes everything worth it. I feel so lucky to be able to be part of the development of these kids, mold their character through tennis and education and be part of their lives.
CEO and Co-Founder of the Academia Sánchez-Casal