Welcome to the Start of the 2022-23 Academic Year!
Aug 19, 2022
Dear Members of the ISF Community,
Welcome to the start of the 2022-23 Academic Year!
I am sure that many ISF families took advantage of the improved conditions for international travel over the summer to visit family and friends in different parts of the world. While the return to Hong Kong still required a period of quarantine in one of the designated hotels, the opportunity to reconnect after more than two years of isolation was, for many, too good to pass up! The recent reduction in the duration of quarantine from seven to three days offers new hope that the dark days of COVID-related isolation in Hong Kong are indeed coming to an end. No matter whether you stayed at home or travelled abroad over summer, I hope this message finds you in good health and ready for the start of the new school year next Tuesday.
At this time last August, we faced a very challenging start to the year with so many elements of the first phase of the ISF Gallery Project unfinished, limiting access to many essential facilities. The news is much happier this year! This year our building works have been more modest in scale and scope. Some finishing touches have been applied to selected elements of Phase I, such as completion of the canopy over the gap between R Block and the ISF Gallery, the ceilings in both the C Block Exhibition Foyer and the Primary Circle have both been redesigned. A new reception counter has also been constructed in Charles Kao Square. Perhaps most significant has been the redesign and reconfiguration of the outdoor corridor spaces on the 3rd and 4th floors of B Block in the Secondary School. Now enclosed, air-conditioned, and completely reimagined, the newly redeveloped and redecorated areas in B3 and B4 intentionally echo the design of the much-loved B2 gathering space below and replicate its social function entirely. Aimed at younger students in Secondary School, the new B3 and B4 spaces will no doubt become popular venues for formal and informal social interaction between members of the ISF community in the coming months and years.
The CCA team has again been busy running experiential and activity programs across many venues throughout July and early August. More than 40 adventure and skill-based activities were offered to students from Grade 4 to Grade 11, including some advanced experiential programs for older students. Our ISF Athletics Honors teams were also very busy training hard for the competitions to come this year. More than 70 members of the ISF Wushu Team participated in an international ‘virtual’ wushu tournament that concluded with the submission of hundreds of video recordings of our team members performing their wushu routines at school. Furthermore, eight of these ISF students who hold Australian passports have now been selected to represent their country at the World Junior Wushu Championships to be held in Indonesia in early December this year. Our netballers have also been very active in the S.K and Margaret Wong Gymnasium, training under the new Director of Athletics, Ms. Connie Wong.
The Class of 2022 received their final International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) results in early July. Despite the many challenges faced by these students over the final years of their secondary education, this year’s results were the best yet achieved by an ISF graduating class. Most pleasing is that all students achieved the Diploma, with 78% receiving the prestigious Bilingual Diploma. In total, five students achieved a perfect score of ‘45’ and the Class of 2022 scored an astonishing overall average of 41 points – surpassing the remarkable benchmark set by the previous graduating class. The average subject score for the entire cohort was 6.4 points (out of 7). It should be noted that this outstanding result was achieved by a non-selective cohort of students, the vast majority of whom began their formal education at ISF at the age of five or six. We should be proud of these remarkable young scholars, but also the many ISF educators at school and their parents at home who supported them every step of the way on their journey through our school.
With such outstanding examination results, it is not surprising that university and college placements were also extraordinary, with over 96% of the graduating class receiving offers from their first choice institution. Nearly 150 universities and colleges made 442 offers to members of the Class of 2022; these included: Tsinghua University, University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, Princeton University, Stanford University, Cornell University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Chicago, Dartmouth College, University of Toronto, McGill University, University of Hong Kong, and Chinese University of Hong Kong. Our graduates also attracted scholarship offers totalling more than HK$12 million.
For our Grade 10 IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) students, we anticipate receiving their MYP eAssessment results next week.
These objective measures of academic and institutional achievement offer an important reminder to all of us that even in a time of disruption and uncertainty, our students at every grade level have received an outstanding education and by all benchmarks have demonstrated their readiness to succeed in important milestone assessments, meeting and surpassing global benchmarks for academic success. In the face of the difficulties and disruptions encountered over the past two academic years, the achievements recorded here are even more impressive and worthy of our admiration. Inspiring and innovative teaching, fortified by caring and committed parenting, offers a complete learning ecosystem that serves our student body well.
With the start of another academic year just a few days away, we are well prepared for the challenges and changes that lie ahead. We have been advised by EDB that all ISF classes may commence as scheduled under the conditions approved in the final weeks of the last academic year. We will offer face-to-face classes on our regular daily timetable, with meals taken on campus for all FY-12 classes. This is a concession that has not been accorded to the majority of schools in Hong Kong. We will stay in close contact with the Education Bureau (EDB) to ensure compliance with relevant directives and regulations, particularly those pertaining to the health of the community. Daily rapid antigen testing, masks, and other health precautions have become fully embedded in our routines. Of course, as we manage the public health challenges and regulatory restrictions, we must always keep in mind that the wellbeing of our children and each other will always take the highest priority in all that we do together.
Given these circumstances, it is our intention, to the extent possible, for all school programs and events to be conducted in person. Community events, such as coffee mornings, parent briefings, and other gatherings will be conducted in person, if permitted by government regulations. Some events, such as parent-teacher conferences, may continue online for reasons of convenience. However, we do not plan to offer hybrid lessons.
Finally, this year will see the completion of the first two decades of our school. Founded in 2003, successive generations of educators and students have built a remarkable institution that now stands proudly among the leading IB schools in the world. Over the coming months, we will be putting together plans to stage an appropriate celebration of this important institutional milestone, commencing in August, 2023.
I wish each member of the ISF community the best of health and every success in our work together in the weeks and months ahead!
Dr. Malcolm Pritchard
Head of School