International Invitational Education Awards
IAIE invites these schools to learn more about Invitational Education and participate in IAIE programs and services, such as the Inviting School Awards and Exchange programs.
For more information about the Welcoming Schools program, see our Welcoming Schools Information PDF. If you are an IAIE member and you wish to nominate a welcoming school,visit the Welcoming School Nomination Form Page to submit your nomination.
Inviting School Awards are now presented every year at the IAIE World Conference.
Learn how to Apply for the Inviting School Award.
This reflective process acknowledges schools for continuing to grow and sustain Invitational practices with five levels of Fidelity awards, which may be applied for every two years. The most prestigious IAIE School Award is the Gold Fidelity Award, which may be achieved after ten years of fidelity commitment to invitational principles.
IAIE’s Invitational Education Toolkit provides inviting and fidelity school applicants with a carefully sequenced guide through the 12 steps of the Invitational Helix, from occasional interest and use of inviting practices to the systematic application and pervasive adoption of inviting practices. A multi-year commitment to IE is the best way to sustain an intentionally positive climate.
Learn how to Apply for the Fidelity School Award.
School Award DeadlinesAward Application Due: December 31
Completed Portfolio Due: March 31
Scheduling IAIE Vetting By: April 15
Leadership and Research Awards
William Stafford Leadership Award
The highest award presented by IAIE, the William Stafford Leadership Award was established in 2003 to recognize exceptional leadership and service within the Alliance. This is a biennial award, presented at the IAIE annual meeting on even-numbered years. The award is named in honor of the late Dr. William Stafford, former Professor of Counselor Education at Lehigh University and a founding member of the Alliance.
Stafford provided exceptional leadership, was an essential contributor to the development of the Alliance and to the invitational theory and practice. He was the second editor of the Journal of Invitational Theory and Practice. He directed the first Alliance Conference in 1982.
Nomination Letter Due: August 1 of the award year.
- A history of outstanding service in key IAIE leadership roles such as leadership on committees, editorial boards, Board of Trustees, Advisory Council, IAIE Coordinators and other essential IAIE activities.
- Significant contributions to the development of invitational theory and practice in authoring published works, giving conference presentations, and other forms.
- Authorship of articles, books, media and other publications that enrich and extend the understanding of invitational theory and practice
- Other contributions to the Alliance not specifically mentioned above that clearly reflect the spirit and nature of Invitational Education®.
Research AwardsThese awards are given annually to promote the scholarly study of the theory and practice of Invitational Education and to broaden and deepen support research.
Applications are open to anyone who has completed research in the field of Invitational Education since June 30, 2013.
The recipient does not need to be present at the conference to receive the award.
The research can be for a dissertation, or the research can be done independently.
Applications Due: August 1.
- Research will be based on the theory and practice of Invitational Education
- Research shall contribute to the field of Invitational Education
- The study will be of exemplary quality
- Nominees are members of IAIE
- Title sheet showing the dissertation title, the awarding institution, the members of the dissertation committee, the date of completion of the degree, and the nominee’s current contact information (if a dissertation)
- Title sheet showing the title and the nominee’s current contact information (if not a dissertation)
- A summary of the study (no more than 2000 words)
- A copy of the entire study
- A letter from the person who conducted the research addressing the reasons that the study deserves the award
- A letter of recommendation from a member of the committee, preferably the Chair (if a dissertation), addressing the reasons that the study deserves the award
- A letter of recommendation from a colleague or preferably the head of Department (if not a dissertation) addressing the reasons that the study deserves the award
- All documents should be submitted in electronic format in separate attachments to Jenny Edwards (firstname.lastname@example.org), IAIE Outstanding Research Award Chair
Past Leadership & Award Winners
Stafford Leadership Award Winners
Dr. Vickie Wilson
Mary Lynn Smith
Matthew Christopher Zadin Younis
A dissertation submitted to the faculty of The University of North Carolina at Charlotte in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership Charlotte, 2017.
Eva J. Allen, Ed.D.
This dissertation in practice investigates teacher perceptions of the influence of cultural care and invitational education (IE) on the formation of a positive teacher-student relationship with students of color in an urban elementary school. Cultural care is a theory of practice that utilizes a social-emotional approach for school improvement and to promote positive student outcomes. It is defined as a verbal or nonverbal gesture that displays a genuine interest in another person’s social, emotional, mental, and physical well-being; simultaneously recognizing and acknowledging race and culture as a vital part of a person’s identity. Cultural care must include respecting, valuing, and embracing culture from a value- and strengths-based perspective. Conducted through qualitative participatory action research, this study examined teacher practices and perceptions in order to evaluate the influence of cultural care. The study utilizes elements of the theoretical frameworks of IE, culturally relevant pedagogy, and critical race theory. The findings were derived from analyses of pre- and post-intervention implementation, recorded observations and notes, and artifacts that were generated as a result of participation in a professional learning community that was focused on equity and care. Findings indicated the importance of teachers listening to students with intentionality; recognizing students’ basic and academic needs; and acknowledging students’ presence, behavior, and growth, including making gestures of concern. Also, emergent in the findings was the significance of educators developing self-reflection and self-awareness as a part of practice, sharing personal experiences and stories, and engaging students in nonacademic conversations to facilitate positive relationships with them. One unexpected outcome concerned student-initiated conversations on race. The participant educators reported that students were comfortable in talking and asking questions about race-related topics that are often difficult to discuss. Recommendations for practice and future research were given.
Dr. Brendon Byrne Browne, PhD
Dr. Browne’s dissertation used a unique methodological approach called autoethnography. In it he blended his own story of using Invitational Education as a young and unsure principal in a school in Southern Ontario, Canada, with the story of a counterpart who applied Invitational Education in a sectarian housing estate in East Belfast, Ireland. Some of the interviews of were conducted as this man lay dying in his Belfast bedroom. The result is a compelling story of the kind of reflective practice that characterizes invitational leadership.
University or School Affiliation: Superintendent of Education, Special Education Services, Halton Catholic District School Board, Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Awarding Institution: Brock University, St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada
Tom Mboya Okaya
Kenya hosts the largest informal settlement in sub-Saharan Africa, known as the Kibera slum. Most children living there have no access to proper housing, safe water, or sanitation. Hunger, malnutrition, poor health and frequent sicknesses keep them from attaining their full potential. A common assumption has been that the climate of public primary schools located within this setting would be disinviting, leading to poor performance. Paradoxically, some schools in Kibera have performed much better than schools in well-off settings. Dr. Okaya’s dissertation study was motivated by this paradox. He focused on the impact of public primary school boards in challenging settings, as these boards are legally responsible for the overall management of schools in their local communities. This study used Invitational Education Theory and Practice (IETP) as a framework to assess how inviting a public primary school is, specifically related to school climate, parental involvement and academic achievement. Dr. Okaya’s research, conducted during political unrest and insurgent attacks, supported his recommendation that school boards should use Invitational Education as a measure to inform their approaches to improving education.
University or School Affiliation: Australian Catholic University, Victoria, AU
The question, “What are the conditions under which students can learn?” is foundational to Invitational Education. Students must feel invited into the classroom. In traditional face-to-face classroom, teachers use many non-verbal clues to convey invitations to students. However, online instructors are limited to mainly written communication. How the instructor communicates and treats students can create conditions in which online students can and will learn. This research modified Amos’s (1985) Invitational Teaching Survey to address the online teaching environment. The resulting IOTA provides one tool for online instructors to use to evaluate their inviting teaching behaviors and make changes as needed.
The IOTA instrument is web-based and designed to be administered to students. It automatically scores the results and sends a report to the instructor via e-mail. Located at www.InvitationEdOnline.com, the website also includes a general overview of Invitational Education and a User Manual for the IOTA.
University or School Affiliation: Kaplan University, Montgomery, AL
Astrid Joanna Tonna
This dissertation investigated the perceived effectiveness of educational leaders through the use of the invitational leadership style in their organization. For the purpose of the investigation, research carried out by Burns (2007) in her doctoral thesis, Invitational Leadership in Public Schools, was reviewed and replicated in Maltese secondary schools. A multiple case study approach supported by a mixed methods paradigm was employed in this study.
University or School Affiliation: Head of Department Social Studies within the Directorate for Quality and Standards in Education, Ministry of Education and Employment, Malta
Awarding Institution: University of Leicester, UK for a Master of Science Degree in Educational Leadership
Kenneth H. Smith, PhD.
The ISS-R is a product of the Invitational Theory and Practice to determine which specific parts of schools affect the total gestalt of schools. Originally, the ISS was a 100-item, Likert scale and hand-scored instrument that was utilized by few schools before a detailed psychometric study of the original 100-item ISS, was undertaken by Dr. Smith. One of the aims of the study was to determine whether the 100-item instrument could be shortened without compromising its psychometric properties. The results of this study recommended a shorter 50-item version of the ISS, the Inviting School Survey-Revised (ISS-R). Since its inception, the ISS-R has been used by schools to assess their culture as perceived by the major stakeholders: students, teachers, parents, and administrators.