24 February 2017.
Dear Parents and HIS Community,
Firstly I would like to say an enormous well done and thank you to the Vietnamese department at H.I.S. Just before TET, a group of teachers and support staff organised ELementary and Secondary activities and performances to celebrate TET.
We have now settled back into routine after the Winter break and the Tet holiday. Things have been busy with the MRISA Arts Festival hosted this year by Vientiane International School, Laos and the MRISA Senior basketball tournament hosted by Saigon South International School in Ho Chi Minh City. In both events our student participants did very well and both were excellent opportunities for all to interact with like International Schools in our region. We took all the annual school photographs over February 14th and 15th. Many of these will be required for the Yearbook.
Can I inform you that over the 20th Anniversary Day of H.I.S. back on November 11, the raffle event raised 66,500,000 VND. We have used 50,000,000 VND to renovate the flooring in the yard. We used a small part to give a prize to the class that sold the most tickets which was Ms. Pushpa’s Grade 4 and the rest we will hold over to further renovate and upgrade the play area between now and the Summer. Thank you all for your support for that part of our celebration. I would also like to inform you that air purifiers have been installed in all the Elementary School rooms and offices as phase 1 of this initiative, and in phase 2 will be so installed in the Secondary School and other school business offices.
I would like to update you on staffing changes to take effect for the new academic year from August 2017. This time of year is when we do our recruitment and it has been both busy and productive. It is natural in an International School that each year some of our colleagues do leave for all sorts of very valid reasons. For the past years the level of such turn-over has been low for a school of our size. At the end of this academic year in June we sadly say goodbye to Ms. Lisa Hughes (Elementary Principal) and Mr. Adam Lee (Head of the PE Department) – they and their family are moving to Oberoi International School in Mumbai, India. Ms. Amy Hansen (Head of the Arts Department and teacher of Art and Design) will be moving to Bonn International School, Germany. Ms. Rosa Carbajal (Secondary School Maths teacher) will be moving to an International School in Bali, Indonesia. Ms. Cara Glintmeyer (Head of the Maths Department) will be returning to New Zealand. Mr. Andy Smith (PE teacher and CCP Secondary Coordinator) and Ms. Yana Bondarenko (Elementary EAL Teacher), who were married in December, will be moving to the International school in Luanda, Angola. Mr. Grant Chamberlain (teacher of Music) will be moving with his family probably to Sweden. Mr. Daniel Suarez (IB MYP Coordinator and teacher of Secondary English Language A) and family are moving to an Dwight School in Seoul, Korea. Mr. Christophe Haroune (teacher of Art and French) will be leaving us.
To date the following appointments have been made from August 2017: Mr. Daniel Atkinson from the UK as a secondary Maths teacher, Ms. Peggy Morton from USA as Head of the Maths Department and teacher of secondary Maths, Ms. Kelsey Lewis from Canada as the Principal of the Elementary School, Mr. Dean Rainey from New Zealand as Head of the Arts Department and teacher of Music, Mrs. Meryn Rainey, also from New Zealand, as a teacher of Elementary EAL, Mr. Christopher Botha from South Africa as a teacher of PE, Mr. Michael Lady from USA as Head of the PE Department and teacher of PE, Ms. Sue Hunter from Canada as IB MYP Coordinator and teacher of senior Art and Design and Ms. Duong Thuy Bach as a part time teacher of Art. All of the new staff come with international experience and you will have more information and background on them when they arrive in August.
On our recommendation the Board has agreed that the Cambridge IGCSE’s are to be phased out. Next year’s Grade 10 will be the last year for IGCSE’s. The reasoning behind this recommendation has been taken in close discussion with the pedagogical leadership team.
The number of candidates taking IGCSE exams has been falling over the past few years and we now find ourselves in the situation that we will be falling below the IGCSE threshold of minimum number of exam entries which incurs ‘fine’ payments to Cambridge currently in the order of $8,862. This certainly will be the case for next year’s Grade 10 but we are committed to taking them through the exams. Certainly the ending of IGCSE Japanese and the rising number of families who opt out of taking the exams has not helped, and there is a question over IGCSE ICT being available in the future. The ‘marriage’ between the IGCSE and the MYP has also been made difficult for the following reasons:
- One is content based (IGCSE), while the other (IB MYP) is concept/ skill based
- Students would be assessed under two different systems
- There is a lack of exemplars/ success stories of schools who have successfully married the two together
Benefits we have considered include, but are not limited to:
- Reinforcing the importance of the IB MYP, and it’s full implementation at HIS
- Allowing teachers to focus on quality implementation of just one programme
- In certain subject areas, allowing wider flexibility to tailor Grade 9 and 10 programmes to better fit the transition to the Diploma programme requirements.
- Allowing students to deeply commit to the IB Philosophy of learning.
For the future, the H.I.S curriculum will be soundly based on the three IB programmes: PYP, MYP and Diploma. As a part of this process we will be having an MYP authorization visit between 22nd and 24th of March by two IB nominated practioners.
Ms. Ali Waugh, our senior careers and university placement coordinator, has been supporting senior students in their decisions and application. We have had visits from a wide selection of overseas university recruitment offers and many of our students have received excellent university placement offers. We keep all information updated for the community on the site; university placements.
We were all shocked recently by the sudden and tragic death of the partner of our ELS Coordinator, Ms. Laura Gray. The support she and her family have received from the school and the school community over the past weeks has been overwhelming and heartfelt and Ms Laura and family would like to pass on their sincere thanks to the HIS community.
Some dates for your diaries:
March 2nd and 5th HIS MRISA team will visit NISC, Phnom Penh for the Junior Football, Senior Football will be on March 30th to April 2nd in ISE, Thailand. Book week will take place between March 6th and 10th. The performance for our annual Elementary Production, ‘Aladdin Trouble’ will begin the week of March 27th -March 30th. There will be two evening performances on Tuesday 28th and Thursday 30th March, 6:30-7:30.
Please note that we will close for Spring Break on Friday March 31st at the end of the school day and reopen Monday April 10th. The annual Arts Festival will be held on Friday 14th April, this will be planned by our Arts Department and more information about this event will follow shortly. The HIS Spring Carnival will take on Friday 21st April and is currently being planned by the PTA and some of our secondary students .
Mr Terry Hamilton