History and Vision, Mission & Values

The Independent Schools Foundation Academy opened with just 56 students in Grade 1 to 4 in August 2003 to cater to the increasing demand for a high-caliber Putonghua and English education in an inquiry-based environment.
In February 2008, the school commenced its Foundation Year program and our first class of Grade 12 students graduated in June 2012.
The ISF Vision
ISF is a community of learners, independent in thought and action, deeply rooted in Chinese culture, global in understanding and experience, and excellent in all endeavors.
The ISF Mission
The Mission of ISF is to promote education that is: 
  • Independent: Nurturing creativity, critical thinking, and a lifelong love of learning for academic, personal, and social development;
  • Chinese: Educating learners in a uniquely Chinese bilingual and bicultural environment rooted in Chinese values embodied in the Eight Virtues + One; 
  • Global: Building life skills through experiential learning, inspiring learners to act as empowered and resilient global stewards.
Core Values: The Eight Virtues + One (八德一智)
Grounded in Chinese culture and with a global prospective, The ISF Academy community lives and learns under core values that draw from the school’s Chinese heritage and which are updated to be relevant to today's world. The Eight Virtues + One give members of the school community a strong foundation from which to think, decide, and act. It prepares ISF Academy students to meet all future challenges as active and ethical members of society.
Zhi 智 (Wisdom)
智 (zhi) means making the right choices in life. Wise choices require more than high academic achievement or exemplary behavior. Wisdom stems from knowledge, experience, judgment and a clear set of values to know what is right. The Eight Virtues guide us in our reflections and behavior to make the right choices in our interactions within and outside the school community. The Eight Virtues culminate in the achievement of 智.
Zhong 忠 (Loyalty and Commitment)
The character 忠 (zhong) embodies the concept of loyalty and commitment to others and to ourselves. Through 忠, we show our devotion to people around us and to our own being. We are loyal to The ISF Academy, each other, our families and our community. In the community, we strive to be exemplary citizens of Hong Kong and the world. Among our peers, we stand by each other, help each other, and overcome all difficulties together. On a personal level, we are committed to our own values and principles, and we devote ourselves in the pursuit of our ideals, dreams, and passions, always striving for excellence. 
Xiao 孝 (Respect and Obligation)
孝 (xiao) recognizes that we have an obligation toward our parents in our role as children, we respect our teachers in our role as students, and we respect and cherish our histories and traditions that define who we are. 孝 calls for an attitude of respect for not only those around us, but also for ourselves. Through 孝, we are connected to our past and our traditions; we are the inheritors and guardians of our culture, bridging the gap between the old and the new, building on the strengths of the past to create the future.
Ren 仁 (Compassion and Kindness)
We show kindness and care to all through 仁 (ren). We care for the natural world by being kind to all creatures and protecting the environment. We are kind and compassionate to those who are less fortunate than we are. We choose forgiveness over revenge, generosity of word and action over meanness. The character for 仁 depicts two people together, showing that 仁 is expressed outwardly, towards others. By treating each other with kindness and empathy, we move beyond difference and indifference, to create common ground and become one with those around you.
Ai 愛 (Love and Passion)
愛 (ai), or love, is an expression of our passion in life. We give our best in all of our endeavors; nothing is ‘half-hearted’. We show a love of learning and intellectual curiosity that goes beyond the classroom. We immerse ourselves in our hobbies and interests and appreciate the achievements of others. 愛means that we find happiness in our friendships, with our families and our loved ones.  
Li禮 (Etiquette and Ceremony)
The spirit of 禮 (li) is found in the exemplary, cultured behavior of the true gentleman or lady. In 禮, we find the rules and precepts that constrain our actions, and mold our routines and interactions. 禮 also shapes our school discipline and ceremonies, providing signposts and rules to guide us through life. A person with 禮 treats others with courtesy and respect. We control our impulses and act after careful consideration. Our ceremonies and formal actions express 禮, showing our deep understanding and respect for our core values.
Yi義 (Principles and Justice)
義 (yi) embodies the quality of being principled, committed to justice, and standing up for our beliefs. We believe in fairness, that right will prevail, and that we are all held accountable for our own actions. We show personal integrity in all that we do; we strive for higher standards that go beyond what is expedient, convenient, or arbitrary. We believe in justice in society and support it with our actions. We are trustworthy and always ready to help those around us.
He和 (Harmony and Tolerance)
We live in moderation, tolerance, good humor and joy through the virtue of 和 (he). We control our tempers and promote peace. We seek to include and embrace others, replacing confrontation with understanding. We are peacemakers, avoiding words and actions that might cause unnecessary misunderstanding or conflicts. We seek to live with nature. We recognize that to achieve harmony, we need to give generously and receive graciously. We promote international and cross-cultural understanding.  
Ping 平 (Balance and Equality)
平 (ping) means balance and equality. We know that in all dimensions of life there is a time for work, a time for rest, and a time for play. Through 平 we learn to find the balance between external demands and internal desires. Equality in our community is both the right and the responsibility of each member. We share common aspirations and goals that consider all genders, ethnicities, faiths, beliefs, socio-economic backgrounds, and physical abilities to be equal. 平 is closely tied to the concept of和 (he): when we place these two characters together, they form the word ‘peace’ (和平). The ISF Academy strives to be a place of balance and peace.
The IB Learner Profile Descriptors
The IB’s most succinct statement of educational values, the IB learner profile, is a set of 10 attributes that are held to be expressions of the ideal learner in an IB context. The IB makes the following statement about the Learner Profile: 
The aim of all IB programmes is to develop internationally minded people who, recognizing their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world. The IB learner profile represents 10 attributes valued by IB World Schools. We believe these attributes, and others like them, can help individuals and groups become responsible members of local, national and global communities 
Updated in 2014, the IB Learner Profile is a set of aspirational principles, rather than measureable benchmarks for learning. The Learner Profile is to be practiced, but not assessed directly. Accordingly, all learners in IB schools, including faculty and administrators, are expected to manifest all elements of the Learner Profile by being balanced, caring, communicators, inquirers, knowledgeable, open-minded, principled, reflective, risk-takers, and thinkers.
Attached to each of the 10 attributes are brief descriptors. 
We nurture our curiosity, developing skills for inquiry and research. We know how to learn independently and with others. We learn with enthusiasm and sustain our love of learning throughout life.
We develop and use conceptual understanding, exploring knowledge across a range of disciplines. We engage with issues and ideas that have local and global significance. 
We use critical and creative thinking skills to analyse and take responsible action on complex problems. We exercise initiative in making reasoned, ethical decisions. 
We express ourselves confidently and creatively in more than one language and in many ways. We collaborate effectively, listening carefully to the perspectives of other individuals and groups. 
We act with integrity and honesty, with a strong sense of fairness and justice, and with respect for the dignity and rights of people everywhere. We take responsibility for our actions and their consequences.
We critically appreciate our own cultures and personal histories, as well as the values and traditions of others. We seek and evaluate a range of points of view, and we are willing to grow from the experience.
We show empathy, compassion and respect. We have a commitment to service, and we act to make a positive difference in the lives of others and in the world around us.
We approach uncertainty with forethought and determination; we work independently and cooperatively to explore new ideas and innovative strategies. We are resourceful and resilient in the face of challenges and change.
We understand the importance of balancing different aspects of our lives — intellectual, physical, and emotional — to achieve well-being for ourselves and others. We recognize our interdependence with other people and with the world in which we live. 
We thoughtfully consider the world and our own ideas and experience. We work to understand our strengths and weaknesses in order to support our learning and personal development.
The IB Learner Profile and the Eight Virtues + One
The ISF Academy, as an IB World School, is committed to nurturing the 10 attributes of the IB Learner Profile. The IB vision is that these attributes are to be used by IB students to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. These attributes are, however, largely individual attributes, describing what each student should aspire to achieve and embody. 
The ISF Academy’s own core values, the Eight Virtues + One, on the other hand, are strongly focused on building a community with a clear set of values and expectations. Loyalty, respect, compassion, love, harmony and balance are to be the hallmarks of a just society, in which courtesy and etiquette are universally practised, and wisdom is prized above all. These traditional values transcend the individual to reflect what we believe a better world might be like. 
These two sets of values, one individual, the other collective, remind us that in educating students to make a contribution towards building a better world, we must consider them as individuals as well as members of a community.


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