6 November 2017.
Dear PTA and Parents,
I am writing to you to share some information regarding school staffing, MRISA and some other information. In regards to school staffing there have been some recent changes. Mr James Kaunhoven – Grade 2 – arrived back to us for the start of the second quarter on October 16 having been in USA on personal leave for the first quarter. Grade 2 parents will be aware that Ms. Meryn Rainey took this class for the first quarter and since October 16 has returned to her primary position within the Elementary Student Support Department (EAL). We thank Ms. Meryn very much for stepping in to give Grade 2 a good start to this school year. Within the Secondary School we started the year without a Secondary School PE teacher as the person I appointed back in the 2016-2017 school year pulled out two weeks before the School was due to open in August 2017. This position was filled temporarily by Mr. Joe Loseni, husband of Ms. Vani Veikoso in the Student Support Department. Mr. Joe has done a great job in this role for us for which we are very thankful. But is was dependent on the employment of a suitably fully trained and qualified secondary PE teacher. Recruiting staff at this time of year is always difficult as most are already committed to other school contracts. However we have settled on appointing a Mr. Joseph Grande who will start at H.I.S at the start of the Second Semester from January 8, 2018. Mr. Joseph is a bi-lingual Spanish national who is currently teaching at the Ostrava International School in the Czech Republic. During the first semester Mr. Leo Dyar resigned due to personal reasons and his timetable was picked up by existing staff and with the help from Mr. Vladislav Pyagay husband of Mr. Katy Black the Head of the Languages B Department. Mr. Vladislav, or Mr. Vlad as he is known by, is from Uzbekistan (M.A in Economics and Diploma in Teaching). Mr. Vlad has also been appointed to the position of Director of the IT Technology Support Department.
We are now recruiting for the next academic year along with most other International Schools. A small number of staff will probably be moving in June 2018, end of the current academic year. I can inform you that Ms. Kelsey Lewis (Principal of the Elementary School) and Mr. Sean Gibb (Principal of the Secondary School will be leaving H.I.S in June/ July 2018. Needing to fill the two key posts of school section Principals has been keeping me busy. I wanted to aim to have these two posts filled as quickly as possible in the interests of maintaining school stability and ensuring that the transition in key leadership positions from June will be smooth.
I can inform you that we have appointed Ms. Angela Meikle as the Elementary Principal from August 2018. Ms. Angela is an American, a highly qualified and experience administrator and PYP curriculum expert. She is often called upon to lead PYP workshops and carry out PYP authorization visits to international conferences and other International Schools worldwide. Currently she is the PYP Coordinator at UNIS-Hanoi. We have also appointed Mr. Matthew Buxton as the Secondary Principal from August 2018. Mr. Matthew is British and again an experience administrator having held positions in UK, at H. I.S 2011-2014, Bali, Indonesia and Kampala, Uganda. He has been an IB Diploma Coordinator for six years in his last three schools including H.I.S. He has also held the position of Acting and Assistant Principal in past posts. Mr. Matthews area of teaching is in the Humanities especially History both at Diploma and MYP levels.
I are now working on appointments for the other positions available. Ms. Ali Waugh and myself will attend the Search Associates Teacher Recruitment Conference to be held in Melbourne, Australia during the first week of January. We are also registered for the Search Associates Recruitment Conference to be held in London at the end of January. In the past we have always recruited quality staff from such recruitment conferences. Sometimes we recruit outside of such Conferences and also recruit suitable candidates from the local Hanoi area. I will keep you fully informed on appointments that will be made in due time. I will keep you informed on further staff appointments as they come up.
MRISA – You will see attached to the end of my letter a more detailed letter we, some of the Directors’ of MRISA Schools, have prepared for distribution to all parents and staff of MRISA Schools. The issue briefly is that the original charter that establish MRISA back in the 1990’s made it clear that home hosting of students taking part in MRISA events and tournaments is a vital part of the MRISA experience. The alternative is that all such students must stay in a hotel. MRISA has become split over this issue. Some MRISA Schools are actually owned by and managed by large corporations of world International Schools such as Cognita and Nord Anglia. Both Cognita and Nord Anglia organizations have now forbidden any of their owned schools to home host any students visiting for any sporting or cultural activity. So three of the MRISA schools cannot homestay students any longer because they are either owned by Cognita or Nord Anglia. As homestay is seen by other MRIS schools as essential and a condition of membership to MRISA, non-homestay schools will be forced to leave the MRISA organization from August 2018. Such schools include ISHCMC (Ho Chi Minh City), NISC (Phnom Penh, Cambodia) and ISE (Thailand). Those schools remaining in MRISA will be SSIS (Ho Chi Minh City), ISPP (Cambodia), VIS (Laos), UNIS (Hanoi) and H.I.S . This will change the nature of MRISA as we know it and three new schools in the region will need to be allowed to enter MRISA to make up the eight schools we need. As the non-homestay ruling for those three school takes effect this year 2017-2018, all events at ISHCMC, NISC and ISE will mean all students and staff will need it stay in hotels which will increase the cost paid for events to those schools so be prepared for this.
Key events and dates coming up. Monday November 6 and Tuesday November 7 will be non-teaching days as all staff, teaching and non-teaching as H.I.S must undertake a two day professional development workshop on Child Protection. This is compulsory now for maintaining our accreditation with CIS and NEASC. So we have no choice although we also see this as essential to the continued safety and wellbeing of all our students. The workshop will be held at H.I.S and is to be led by a world expert in this field coming to Hanoi specifically for this workshop. Two MRISA sports events will take place also this week with students leaving on Thursday November 9-12: Senior Volleyball at Vientiane International School and Junior Basketball at SSIS – Saigon South International School. The Grade 5 Camp will take place over Monday November 13 and Tuesday November 14. There will be this quarter’s late start morning on Thursday November 16. We are all well into planning for this year’s International Day which will be held at H.I.S on Friday November 24.
On Tuesday December 5 Dr. Cho from Korea will be at H.I.S for the day for various individual and group discussions including students and staff regarding Korean students in International Schools. He will be talking to Korean parents who wish to attend in the auditorium from 8am to 9.30am – all are invited. The theme of his talk will be ‘The Challenges of being an Expatriate Korean Parent’.
There will be two performances of the Elementary Drama production at H.I.S on Wednesday December 6. School will close at 11am for the Winter Break on Wednesday December 13 with end of Semester One reports being issued to students just before we close.
I will be away from School leading a CIS Accreditation Team visit of Dushanbe International School, Tajikistan, between November 28 and December 10. You might have noticed at times during this semester a number of staff have been away on conferences and professional development workshops at various times. These events are essential for ensuring all our staff maintain and build on their skills and knowledge in the most up-to-date practice and developments in international education which has a direct positive impact on our students learning and general education. H.I.S is committed to supporting such professional development with a generous budget.
This does not cover all the things we are doing but I am sure you can see we are working very hard for the benefit of the school, its students and families.
Yours most sincerely,
LETTER PREPARED BY MRISA SCHOOLS FOR DISTRIBUTION.
MRISA Board statement for MRISA school communities
At the MRISA Annual Planning Meeting (APM) in May 2017, three of the MRISA schools, International School Ho Chi Minh City (ISHCMC), Northbridge International School (NISC) and International School of the Eastern Seaboard (ISE), announced that they had decided they could no longer participate in the homestay aspect of MRISA. The reason given for this change was their concerns related to child protection issues.
The 8 MRISA schools decided at that time that the 2017/18 school year would feature a hybrid system of homestay hosting and hotel hosting whereby ISHCMC, NISC and ISE would use only hotels when they traveled to MRISA events in other cities and that they would require hotel stays for visiting athletes when they hosted a tournament.
It was agreed that the MRISA heads would meet in September of this year to further discuss the future of the MRISA homestay program and specifically whether the homestay aspect of MRISA was an essential aspect of the MRISA experience for students. Prior to the discussion, a survey of international schools was conducted to get feedback from other schools regarding how students were hosted when they traveled for interschool competitions and events. The results of the survey were inconclusive but showed that both systems are used by schools internationally. It was significant that the Council of International Schools (CIS), who have done much work recently on child protection, did not think there was any more risk of child protection issues in homestays or hotels. It was stated by Chris Gould, Dennis Larkin, and Tim Gerrish, all consultants in the field of Child Protection, that if an organization values home stays as part the ethos of the organization, then it is important to insure that it is doing all it can to mitigate the risks. Child protection issues, in their view, do not have to be a reason to abandon home stays.
There was a robust discussion at the September meeting when, with the help of an external objective facilitator, many possible scenarios were considered in order to keep the organization together with all 8 members. It was decided that a final meeting would take place with the MRISA school heads at the EARCOS conference at the end of October to resolve the issue. At that meeting, MRISA heads of school decided that homestays are an important part of being a MRISA schools and that the MRISA by-laws would not be changed. The heads also reaffirmed their commitment to ensure that homestays have the highest level of risk mitigation possible.
MRISA CORE ACTIVITIES (from the MRISA bylaws)
MRISA Core Activities are those activities which define the minimum expected commitment of MRISA Schools. Attendance and participation in the Core Activities includes commitment to all aspects of the Activity, including hosting, travel, promotion and financial support.
As a result of this decision, the following schools have decided to no longer participate in MRISA, effective June 1, 2018:
A International School of Ho Chi Minh City (ISHCMC)
B Northbridge International School Cambodia (NISC)
The MRISA Board will now consider next steps for school year 2018/19. These plans will be finalized in the Spring Annual Planning Meeting scheduled for 24 April 2018 at the International School of Phnom Penh.
Please be assured that the MRISA school heads appreciate that this does mean a change in the membership of MRISA for the 2018-2019 school year but in the interests of maintaining a robust and meaningful organization , a smooth transition in all aspects is proactively being addressed.