Welcome to the 2019-20 Academic Year!

Welcome to the 2019-20 Academic Year!

Our summer vacation has passed very quickly for most, if not all families and faculty. I am sure that many have had adventures, but I also hope that each member of the ISF community has had a chance to refresh and recharge, ready for the learning challenges that await in the coming academic year.

The summer vacation has been a busy time around and off campus. ISF summer programs have taken our students to different parts of the globe for academic and experiential learning. We have seen groups in the United States (American Society for Microbiology and IMG Sports), the United Kingdom (Needham Research Scholars at Cambridge and the Classics Scholars at New College, Oxford), Italy (Arts tour), Australia, New Zealand, and of course, Hong Kong. We also co-hosted the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth again this year, with a good number of participants, including some ISF students. If anything, in future we can expect the summer vacation time to become an increasingly busy period for ad hoc, bespoke advanced learning programs.

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On campus, we have also been busy carrying out maintenance tasks, both major and minor. The Secondary School podium level ball courts have now taken on a much more colorful appearance, with the application of a new surface treatment. A wall has been constructed to separate the Primary School Makerspace from the faculty office, creating a quieter working environment for both students and teachers. Works have also been underway to provide additional security turnstiles at the Primary School entrance and additional adult washrooms in the space near the Primary School Office. We anticipate the completion of all works before or just after the formal commencement of the academic year in a week’s time.

At the beginning of the new academic year, we will welcome our largest enrolment ever, with just under 2,000 students attending the Kong Sin Wan Road Campus. To all of new students and parent, I offer my sincere welcome and best wishes for a year of success!

We will also welcome 31 new members of teaching faculty: 14 new teachers for Secondary School; 16 new teachers for Primary School, and one new teacher for Shuyuan. Notably, Ms. Cindy Ho returns to ISF to teach mathematics in Primary School, and Mr. Dan Fleming returns to lead the music program, also in our Primary School. To each new colleague, I offer my thanks for placing your trust in us and best wishes for a year of professional reward and personal fulfilment.

The year ahead will pose some long-anticipated institutional challenges, as we undertake the final step in the current phase of CIS/WASC accreditation in early December, at which time a team of more than a dozen colleagues from other CIS and WASC accredited schools will spend a week at ISF observing our academic and administrative operations. We will also undergo a five-year review of our IB programs at the same time. This regular external scrutiny is most welcome, as it ensures that we continue to meet the high standards expected of an internationally accredited school, while providing objective feedback to guide the future development of our school.

On a personal note, I have now completed a decade in my role as the Head of School at ISF. It has been a remarkable period of growth and change for ISF. Building on firm foundations, we have grown and matured in so many ways, meeting or exceeding all of our government-mandated performance benchmarks. Our reputation is now global. As always, I count it a privilege to serve as a leader at ISF, but always recognize that our achievements reflect the efforts of many, including colleagues, parents, and of course our wonderful students! I am sincerely grateful for the support offered so generously over the past ten years, and look forward with great enthusiasm to continuing my work on behalf of the ISF community in the coming years!

Our hopes for the future rest with our children. They need our trust, support, inspiration and care, for they will inherit from us a world more complex than today, with unmet challenges and tasks incomplete.

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