In Good Company: The ISF Parents and Teachers Association

Oct 29, 2021

The strength of any community is measured in the enduring qualities of the ties that bind its various elements together in shared enterprise. ISF, as a learning community – a community of like-minded individuals committed to the evolution and growth of learning excellence in our particular context – needs robust and resilient ties between its members to promote ‘learning’ about learning at ISF. The task of education is complex and challenging; the ties that connect the ISF community together are tested frequently and in many different ways. Coping with COVID-19 is just one example of a ‘stress’ test of the strength of our connections.

Ideally, excellence in education can only be approached if the enterprise of learning itself reflects the totality of engagement, energy, enthusiasm, and shared endeavor of the constituent elements of the learning community: students, teachers, support staff, and of course, parents. Parents are a key stakeholder in any school, for without their engagement and contribution, the best efforts of the other stakeholders cannot succeed. However, like our students – each different, distinct, and multifaceted – parents themselves are not a single, unified entity, speaking with one voice and acting in concert. ISF parents are linguistically, culturally, and professionally diverse, a disparate association of individuals whose most prominent unifying characteristic is their shared choice of school for their child, with its distinctive educational vision, mission, and core values.

At an individual level, parents act as an essential participant in the education of their children, working together with the child and their teachers in a sustained and constantly evolving way to instigate, support, reinforce, oversee, facilitate, and review learning. Each ISF student needs the involvement of their parents in their learning to succeed.

Parents also work together to support their children, their teachers, and the school through their united efforts to optimize the conditions for effective learning. This shared parental advocacy may result in other stakeholders gaining a deeper understanding of our learners and their learning. It may enhance learning through suggestions that shape classroom practice; it may also provide school leaders with essential feedback to guide the development of our school. The rich ‘eco-system’ for learning at ISF is a product of this shared labor.

The formal ‘voice’ of the parent community is found in the ISF PTA (the Parent & Teacher Association of The ISF Academy). Founded in May 2004 by a small group of enthusiastic and brave pioneers who chose ISF for their children largely on faith in its vision and mission, the PTA has played a huge role in the short history of our school. The ISF Academy has been served brilliantly over nearly two decades through the sacrifice and commitment of those who have volunteered to support the ISF community through the PTA. From its founding President, Mr. John Yan, S.C., J.P. (now Chairman of the Foundation Board of Governors and School Supervisor of The ISF Academy), through to the new Representative Council (RC), elected at the Annual General Meeting held yesterday, the PTA has drawn on successive generations of parents who have answered the call to volunteer their time and energy to improve our school for our children. Through their intelligent and patient advocacy, every ISF student has benefitted in a material way. In 2021, the school is a better place because of the service of each class representative, each grade coordinator, each elected officer, and each volunteer. Indeed, many past members of the PTA RC are now serving on governing boards in the ISF community through the Foundation, the Academy and the Pre-School. The spirit of service that informed the establishment of the PTA and guided its development over many years continues to infuse ISF governance at the highest level.

As a new PTA RC is being inducted this week, I would like to call on all members of the ISF community to offer a word of thanks and praise to those faithful and dedicated parents who volunteer their time and energy in the service of our children and the school, often quietly, without fanfare, recognition, or reward. We owe each PTA volunteer, past, present, and future, a debt of gratitude that grows with the passing of the years. While the debt cannot be repaid, my hope is that as our children make their mark in the adult world, men and women of character, inspired by the spirit of service that motivated their parents, this debt might be forgiven. We all serve the future through our children.

I wish each and every member of our newly elected Representative Council of the PTA, under the leadership of Ms. Yan Mak, every success in the coming year!


Past Presidents of the ISF PTA:

2004 – 2009: Mr. John Yan, S.C., J.P.

2009 – 2011: Ms. Lisa Gove

2011 – 2014: Mr. Donald Knapp

2014 – 2017: Mr. Mark Teng

2017 – 2019: Ms. Victoria Lloyd

2019 – 2021: Ms. Orange Wong



Dr. Malcolm Pritchard

Head of School