Welcome to the 2016-17 Academic Year at ISF!

Welcome to the 2016-17 Academic Year at ISF!

August 12, 2016

Welcome to the 2016-17 Academic Year at ISF!

The two months of the summer vacation have passed quickly, but not uneventfully. For those who have not ventured to Cyberport over the summer break, progress in the Phase IIIB construction has been swift and remarkable, with both new buildings beginning to take something approaching their final shape and scale. The project remains on track for completion of the construction and fit-out phase by late December. The opening of these wonderful and long-awaited new facilities will no doubt be one of the major events in the 2016-17 Academic Year.

Academic activity over the summer has also been intense for some, with ISF students taking part in ISF sponsored study programs and research in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, and Hong Kong; many ISF students have also taken part in privately arranged learning programs in different parts of the world, including the United States and the United Kingdom. Members of ISF faculty have also been very active during this time. One of the larger professional development programs sponsored by the International Baccalaureate took place in Suzhou at the end of June. Now an annual event, the China summer workshops attracted educators from many parts of the Asia Pacific region, including a number of ISF teachers and leaders. Workshops ranged from classroom pedagogy to school governance. Learning, it seems, is a year-round endeavor!

During the summer, we also celebrated the outstanding achievements of the Class of 2016 in the IB Diploma examinations. As a non-selective school with all senior students sitting for the IB Diploma, to achieve an overall average of 38.1, with a 100% Diploma pass rate, a top score of 45 and no score lower than 33 (already well above the world average!), we have much of which to be proud. Our students, supported by their committed teachers and parents, have achieved a remarkable set of results that are world class. For those who may have missed the summary of results, please click here.

At the time of writing, we are preparing to welcome several groups of newcomers to our school community. Some are students who will join classes at various grade levels across the school; we hope that they settle into their new learning environment quickly and wish them every success in their studies this year. Two larger student intakes will join Year 1 at The ISF Pre-School in Sheung Wan and Foundation Year at The ISF Academy in Cyberport. We also welcome the parents of those students who are new to ISF and encourage them to join one of the many parent events and networks that provide on-going engagement with the school community. New members of the teaching faculty, including our teaching interns, form another distinct group of newcomers. We wish each new colleague a rewarding and successful year in their new professional ‘home’. To each individual new to our school community, I wish to express my gratitude for their decision to choose our school and commit to a unique bilingual and bicultural education; this is a choice that we do not take for granted.

The summer has not been an entirely happy or peaceful time around the globe. We have all been saddened and perhaps shocked at some of the disturbingly tragic events of late. Escalating debates, disputes, and dangers increasingly provoke defensive reactions towards perceived threats from beyond our borders. Evidence, however, seems to point to the fact that many of the horrific events have been perpetrated not by hostile ‘others’, but from within. Disengagement and discontent across populations has also been reflected in events of global significance, such as ‘Brexit’, escalating conflict around disputed territory in the South China Sea, and the populist forces shaping the US presidential election. Public integrity and morality have also been sullied in fields of sporting endeavor that should generate pride and pleasure, rather than shame and acrimony. While it is all too glib to assert that education is the solution to all of these problems, it is certainly the case that without critical thinking based on strong values-based learning, we have no hope of even understanding these problems and their causes, let alone solving them.

In a year when we will emphasize learning for global citizenship and stewardship for all members of the ISF community, the timing could not be more appropriate, the need more pressing.

Dr. Malcolm Pritchard
Head of School

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