Dr. Scott D’Alterio: Driven towards making a difference in the Academic Sphere
Dr. Scott D’Alterio| QSI International School

Some leaders are born while some are forged through their circumstances. Their bravery to face challenges is what makes them a person of responsibility. Such individuals guide people through uneven roads that will lead them towards their goals.

Educational leaders are often the people who are formed by values and morals. People who are driven by passion to enhance the efficiency of their institutions and serve their students with utmost devotion.

Dr. Scott D’Alterio, Director of QSI International School of Shenzhen is one such exemplary personality who pursued his calling for educating children. His passion to transform the education system as per the changing preferences of the generations has set an example in the academic sphere.

An Inspiring Journey

Dr. D’Alterio started his educational career over 30 years ago as a school counselor in his home state of New York. He took the Counseling program out of curiosity, but after an internship at a local elementary school, he realized that this is where he belonged. He finally found his purpose and went back to school. After successfully completing his Master’s degree and certifications for schools, he was offered an opportunity to teach. Starting as a Counselor had influenced his perspective on the holistic development of children. Hence, his views and curriculum are designed and integrated with the progressive nature of the 21st century educational system.

After working for 15 years as a school counselor and having a pseudo-administrative experience, Dr. D’Alterio finally took up the leadership position. On the importance of administrative experience, he says, “I felt fortunate to have had my first administrative experience back in a stateside school to fully understand the challenges of working in public education. “ He was interested in returning to international education since he believed it would provide broad avenues to showcase his skills that would benefit schools. When he stumbled upon QSI he was intrigued by its unique approach of creating an environment for all students to be successful. And eventually, Dr. D’Alterio was offered the position of Director and leading the institution towards excellence.

The Prestigious School 

Quality School International (QSI) is one of the most renowned institutions in China. The school not only delivers quality education but also updates its curriculum according to the changing nature of generation. It ensures that it equips its students with the skills, attitudes, and knowledge that are needed for tomorrow’s workforce. These attributes help its students to develop an ability to assess themselves. It helps them to grow, develop their confidence, recognize their passions, and pursue them with utmost sincerity. Along with these aspects, the school nurtures its students to be happy and healthy citizens.

The first lines of the QSI mission statement are: “Virtually every five-year-old comes to school eager to learn. The mission of Quality Schools International (QSI) is to keep this urge alive in every child of QSI schools.”

Pertaining to this statement, ‘Why do students often lose the urge to learn?’ is a question that had intrigued him Dr. D’Alterio and helped him realize the importance of curiosity. He found his answer after reading the work of Dr. William Glasser, an internationally renowned psychiatrist, creator of Choice Theory, and author of Reality Therapy. Dr. Glasser suggested that children lose the urge to learn because of the use of coercion and failure. Considering this shortcoming, QSI, with its dynamic approach has met the needs and requirements and is ahead of the times in terms of exemplary pedagogy. 

A Distinctive curriculum 

To create the conditions for all students to be successful, QSI has implemented the concept of Mastery Learning. It is the only school in the Shenzhen region to introduce this notion. It has focused, optimized, and has created a powerful way of organizing curriculum in such a way that provides the best opportunity for a student to not just learn, but to master the syllabi. The school does not measure students against one another, but it measures their learning against the curriculum targets. It also gives students the time they need to learn at a mastery level. “The 21st Century education movement is also about developing students’ passion and agency; it’s just another way to say the ‘urge to learn’.”, Dr. D’Alterio expresses.

QSI understands the uniqueness of each student. The faculties realize that no two students can learn at an equal pace. Hence, teaching and learning of students are performance-based rather than time or calendar based. Here, time is considered to be a resource and not an arbitrary point to end the instruction, whether or not the student has learned it.

To reach mastery, QSI gives students defined objectives, adequate time, and the experience that will help them progress. As they climb their way towards excellence, they can take many different paths. Teachers assess their students and themselves routinely to track their progress. It helps the students to gain control of their learning experience and develop a growth mindset. QSI recruits compassionate teachers who are willing to provide extra effort, attention, and planning required to deliver Mastery Learning experience for its students.

Passion for Educating

Dr. D’Alterio has a strong interest in understanding how people are motivated. He constantly strives to help them meet their needs. This applies to both, students for whom it is his privilege to serve and esteemed faculties he is working with. After joining QSI, its founder Mr. Jim Gilson suggested him to read Dr. Glasser’s book Every student can succeed (2000). Inspired by his book Dr. Scott enrolled himself at the Glasser Institute where he spent each summer learning and experimenting about the different aspects that would eventually make him a certified instructor of Choice Therapy. He used his knowledge to help, train, and certify both foreign hired and local staff members who wanted to develop professional and personal relationships that are based on meeting each other’s needs rather than coercion.

Views on Education System

When asked about his views on the educational system, Dr. Scott replied and concluded the interview with The Knowledge Review by providing his thoughtful insight as, “Students greatly benefit by being intrinsically motivated rather than relying on external circumstances to determine their happiness. Many forward theorists today agree that the thinkers, creators, and leaders of tomorrow are not going to come out of an education model that relies on memorization, comparisons based on high-stakes or standardized testing, or a coercive learning environment that uses rewards and punishments. These stunt the desire to learn. Relying on extrinsic motivations will fail students as they seek success in their adult lives. We see our model working: our graduates go on to thrive both in top universities worldwide and in life. “


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