23 August 2017
Dear Parents and HIS Community,
Welcome to the start of the new academic year 2017-2018. We have had a smooth start to the school year and new students and families have been quickly taken into our H.I.S ‘family’. Looking at the calendar of events for Semester One we have many events that we will keep you well informed about in advance as these come about. Immediately this month we have the first meeting of the PTA to which all parents are invited on Thursday August 31 in the school auditorium.
Shortly the CCP programme will start and full notification will be coming out on that. The cycle of MRISA events will also be starting soon. These programmers provide a range of activities and opportunities available to our students, in addition to their academic studies.
I would like to introduce you to new staff who have joined H.I.S this year. This is a basic introduction and you will be have more to do with them as the year progresses. Ms. Kelsey Lewis is our new Principal of the Elementary School. She is a Canadian and comes with a strong background in the IB PYP often leading PYP related workshops. She has taught in Spain, Beijing, Germany and Canada. Ms. Sue Hunter the IB MYP Coordinator and teacher of Art and Design is also Canadian and has taught in the International School Dhaka, Bangladesh, Ho Chi Minh City, Kiev in the Ukraine and Osaka, Japan. She is an MYP workshop leader, a teacher of Art and Design to IB Diploma for which she is also an IB Diploma Art and Design examiner. Mr. Dean Rainey Head of the Expressive and Performing Arts Department and teacher of Music is a New Zealander. He has taught in New Zealand and Saudi Arabia. He comes with his wife Ms. Meryn Rainey who has joined our Elementary EAL Department and is also a New Zealander. Mr. Christopher Botha PE Department and teacher of Elementary and some lower Secondary PE is South African and has taught in South Africa, Thailand and Vietnam. He will also be responsible for our Secondary CCP programme and the HAC and MRISA sports programmes. Ms. Peggy Morton Head of the Math’s Department, teacher of Math’s and TOK is from the USA and has taught in the USA, Egypt and Bahrain. She is also a Diploma Math’s examiner. Mr. Dan Atkinson Teacher of Math’s is from the UK and has coming to us from the UK having also taught in China. Ms. Erin Rocha Elementary Grade 3 Teacher is from the USA and has taught in the USA and Shanghai, China. Mr. Joe Day is already well known to us and will be doing more teaching with us in English A and Design and Technology. Joe is from the USA. Ms. Jemima Khalli is also known to us and will be taking on some English Language B classes. She is British and has taught in Vietnam, South Africa and U.K. Ms. Duong Thuy Bach part time Art and Design is from Vietnam and has taught in Vietnam and USA. Ms. Thi Hong Hanh Do part time French is from Vietnam and has qualifications from Vietnam and France. I had employed a new Head of PE who would also have taught within the secondary PE programme but he resigned a few weeks before the start of the school without having arrived in Vietnam which was very unhelpful. However with the support of Mr. Christopher Botha, appointed Head of the P.E. Department, and Mr. Joe Loseni we have that programme well supported. I would also like to make you aware that Mr. James Kaunhoven and his wife had a baby son born a few weeks ago. Mr. James is the teacher of Elementary Grade 2.Unfortunately there have been medical complication with the child and they have needed to go to the USA for specialist support. At this stage we expect Mr. James to return to H.I.S. in October. In the meanwhile Ms. Meryn Rainey has taken over that class, herself being a fully experienced and qualified grade teacher. When Mr. James returns she will return to the EAL Department. In the meanwhile we are putting into place additional EAL support staffing. I am sure the whole community will give all our new staff a warm welcome to HIS for the start of this academic year.
In addition there have been some other changes relating to existing staff. Ms. Vicki Gardner the Middle School student support coordinator will, in additional, be teaching Drama within the Expressive and Performing Arts Department. Ms. Vani Veikoso will continue as our IB PYP Coordinator and will also be Head of the Elementary EAL Team. Ms. Ceri Abbott will be coordinating the Grade 11 and 12 Extended Essays and Mr. Jeffrey Araula will coordinate the MYP Personal projects.
Over the year we will be hosting again a number of visits by universities and their admissions staff who come to introduce their universities to our older students. This opportunity for them to see our school and meet our students and their families is a great starting point in the admissions to the university and colleges process.
During the previous year we gained our IB MYP authorization so now we are one of only four schools in Vietnam authorized to teach all three IB programmes – PYP, MYP and Diploma. This year will be the last year students will take the Cambridge IGCSE examinations as the IB MYP and the Cambridge IGCSE’s do not match together.
Over the summer holiday period much effort and investment went into getting the school building and site ready to start the new school yea. Key achievements were the full modernization of the two science laboratories and the remodeling of the library-media centre. The canteen area was also refurbished.
Please note that next year all student information and reporting will be available on Managebac. Please contact the school Main office if you cannot access Managebac next school year. To further improve the school main office service to students, parents and staff we will be increasing the staffing in that office from three to four.
Student safety and welfare is always a major concern of us at H.I.S. In the interests of this please do not send you child/ children to school before 7.30am in the morning. Some students are arriving at 7am and until 7.30am we have no teacher supervision at school and so your children are not in a safe environment. The same goes for after school. Unless your child is enrolled in a CCP after school supervised activity they cannot stay at school and must go home. This we will be enforcing strongly in the interests of safety and protection.
Last night Tuesday August 22 was a very successful and well attended teacher-parent social evening where we could introduce parents to staff and mix socially to get to know each other better. It was also an opportunity to visit the school and in particular to see where we have improved facilities.
I wish you all the best for this year and please remember we are all here at H.I.S to help and support the education of all our children.
Yours most sincerely,