Remote Library Service Continues!

Students in Elementary School right up to High School can still enjoy access to school library books thanks to an improved remote borrowing service. The School’s formidable team of librarians have devised an innovative way to ensure students get their hands on books they want. Especially during these unprecedented times. 

During the first eight weeks of distance learning, the Library offered a “remote borrowing service” which enabled students and parents to place requests and pick up the books from the School’s main gate each day between 9am and 12pm. Unfortunately, due to campus closure, remote borrowing service had an impact on the local staff who supported the daily service. This led to a rethink of options. 

New Improved Model

The library team has now come up with an innovative way for books to be borrowed to ensure continued access to fabulous reads and exciting resources over the coming months.

PHYSICAL BOOK BORROWING

  1. We will still run a “remote borrowing service” for our families who are in Hanoi and can collect books at the front gate. Please browse the library catalogue here and use the following forms to write down your selections.  ECC Form  /  ES Form  /  MS/HS Form. You can email your forms to the library or include them in a library bag dropped at the gate. Alternatively you can send an email with your selections to librarystaff@unishanoi.org 
  2. The books will be delivered to the front gate of UNIS Hanoi every Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 9am and 11am. If the books are not collected on the requested day, the materials will need to be returned to the library. Books cannot be left outside after 3pm.
  3. You can also return books at any time by dropping them into the big box labelled LIBRARY at the front gate.
  4. If you are departing Hanoi, you can also leave the library and text books at the box at the front gate on Monday, Wednesday or Friday for collection.

DIGITAL LIBRARY

  1. The library team has curated a LibGuide for accessing digital materials including eBooks and audible books. This will be constantly updated with new materials. This provides a wealth of listening and reading choices for the whole family. This LibGuide is featured in the Mental Wellness Section of the UNIS Community Wellness Guide which has amazing resources to keep physically and mentally well.
  2. We have added a tremendous number of eBooks to our digital collection. The borrowing of these books is straightforward and explained in a screencast on the LibGuide. The hidden benefit of an eBook is that it returns itself automatically after 14 days, so you don’t need to remember to return it. However, it is easy to extend these books by yourself at the click of a button.
  3. We would highly encourage everyone to download the app SORA on the device that you intend to read your eBooks. Sora hosts all of our eBooks and audiobooks. It is very user friendly, comes in a range of languages and will host up to 6 devices on one download. Most people prefer to read the eBooks on ipads but many people do use phones or laptops. Each member of the family should use their own school login and password to read from their own Sora account.

OTHER SERVICES FOUND ON THE LIBGUIDE

  1. Author read alouds can be found daily
  2. Access to free audio books ready to download
  3. Tumblebooks – a vast number of books available for reading and viewing
  4. Epic reading – free home access to students who use Epic in the classroom
  5. Book trailers to introduce you to some of the newest books in our digital collection
  6. Virtual Book Clubs to join

Please contact Kate and Monica if ever you have any questions: Kate mshslibrarian@unishanoi.org and Monica eslibrarian@unishanoi.org

Families Come Together to Boost Community Spirits

Our world turned upside down on Monday February 3, when the Vietnamese Government, mandated all school campuses to close. Apart from a brief window on campus for High School, lessons have been delivered remotely ever since.

Now two months on, students and parents have come together to renew the UNIS Hanoi spirit of community with a week long campaign of appreciation and fun activities. 

Spearheaded by UNIS Hanoi parent, Molly Moore Abrams, with the endorsement of the SCO, rolled out a ‘Thank You to Teachers’ initiative from today (Friday March 27). In an email to parents, SCO executives and Grade Level volunteers said that ‘today marked two months of Distance Learning’. They added, “Now is a great time for students and parents to show their teachers and specialists some appreciation and end [the quarter] on a positive note.”

In response, students and parents planned a range of ways to express thanks to their teachers – some via video, some through beautiful artwork and others through heartfelt email messages. 

HS Senate Also Stirs Up School Spirit

Additionally, the High School Senate arranged a week of activities that would stir up School Spirit virtually. Led by Grade 9 HS Senate Rep., Sarah Anthony, the activities were designed to encourage School spirit, especially during these unprecedented times. 

The week’s activities included cookie baking, dancing and a day of randomness. Check out the best of the bunch here!

Distance Learning Offers Insight into Life after High School for Grade 12s

Grade 12 students have been letting their teachers know that the distance learning experience has inadvertently prepared them for life after High School. 

Students such as Emma Héloïse Dufour-Nogueira say that the past two months of learning from home has been a ‘nice simulation for university’. She added, “After we graduate from High School, everything will be left up to us and so this was really insightful for me. This period has given us an opportunity to figure out how we want to study.”

Emma, who joined UNIS Hanoi in Grade 11, is one of 76 students currently in the final year of the IB Diploma programme. With fantastic offers from her top choice universities already under her belt, Emma says she’s more excited than ever to start the next chapter of her life. And it’s all thanks to UNIS Hanoi. She explains, “I got into film because of UNIS Hanoi. When I first came to the School I was going to take Visual Arts, but then I saw there was a film course on offer and two years later, here I am – accepted onto a film production course at Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia!”

Emma says her teachers have been fully supportive of her and she’s grown to further appreciate the relationship she has with them. “You can still ask teachers anything and as a result, I feel even more in control” Emma revealed. 

Emma’s mother, Sophie Dufour agreed. She said, “I’m not worried for my daughter anymore. It’s become clear that Emma’s found a method that works for her, which is wonderful. Normally, it’s during the first year of university that a student would expect to struggle and learn how they’re supposed to study at that level. But Emma’s already experienced this and I think that’s amazing. It’s a blessing that we were here in Hanoi, just so she could attend UNIS Hanoi.”

UNIS Hanoi’s PHE Team Launches Wellness Site

The School’s Physical Health Education (PHE) team has launched a new Wellness resource site for the benefit of everyone in the UNIS Hanoi community. 

The Wellness Site can be accessed via libguides and is a one-stop-shop for videos, articles and websites relating to physical and mental wellness. 

Theron Tate, a Middle and High School PHE teacher said, “Since Distance Learning began, the physical health education team has had to think up new ways to ensure our students were still getting the recommended daily amount of exercise and maintaining their wellness. Now that we’re practicing social distancing, finding creative ways to maintain stay active has become even more important.”

The PHE team has included a number of fitness and general wellness resources that can be carried out indoors and by people of any age. “Although there’s a heavy focus on activities for our students we do encourage parents to use these resources too” said Theron. 

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, new resources will be added to the site. 

Explore the Theatre Digitally!

Students of all ages can watch some of the world’s finest productions online thanks to UNIS Hanoi’s Digital Theatre Plus subscription. 

This exclusive resource is a great way for students to get a dose of culture and arts into their distance learning schedule. Not only can students choose from performances of plays by William Shakespeare, Andrew Bovell and Yusra Warsama, they can also read study guides and theatrical explorations. 

Kristen Twynam-Perkins, the School’s MYP dance, drama and IB Diploma Theatre teacher said it was important to engage with arts during these exceptional times. She added, “This site gives us all an opportunity to still enjoy the arts. There are a number of excellent productions on this site. It’s great for the serious theatre students as well as budding new creatives who are looking for inspiration. There’s literally something for everyone!

For the login information please contact Kristen by email at ktwynamperkins@unishanoi.org

From the Board of Directors

Dear UNIS Hanoi Families,

On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to thank our Head of School, Jane McGee and her team for their clear and compassionate leadership in this time of uncertainty. The Board is supportive of the way in which the administrative team has managed proactively the COVID-19 crisis, limiting the impact of campus closure on your children’s learning and demonstrating the ability to respond, adapt and provide robust learning programmes for our children.

We would also like to thank all of you, for your patience, support and understanding as the faculty have created Distance Learning programmes, and for helping your children to continue their learning in these unusual times.

It has been an exhausting and frustrating time for our community as the COVID-19 crisis has unfolded globally, with fast-changing realities, fears for safety and often confusing and contradictory information from social media and the press.

Since Tet, the Board has worked closely with Jane and the UN Resident Coordinator, Mr Kamal Malhotra, to navigate through different stakeholder requirements including the government’s cautious and directive messages, while protecting UNIS reputation and long-term sustainability. We are grateful to Mr Malhotra and the diplomatic community for their support and advocacy regarding reopening international school campuses when Vietnam was without new cases of COVID-19. The permission that was given for international schools to open was strictly conditional and with the outbreak of new cases in Hanoi, we will be following direction from the Hanoi Municipal People’s Committee once more.

Based on the difficulty for us as a School to predict the future of COVID-19 in our community and the possible impact on the future of UNIS Hanoi, the Board of Directors is meeting regularly to assess the situation and plan accordingly.

TUITION & FEES
UNIS Hanoi’s programme of distance learning is providing a core academic programme for student learning. The School is ensuring that curriculum requirements for the successful transition of students to their next grade level will be met. This will support students returning to UNIS Hanoi next year and those transitioning to new locations. Proof of continuity of education and complete school records are a common requirement for student enrollment. End of year report cards and transcripts will indicate that students have met both the condition of continuity of education and achievement of the curricular expectations through our distance learning programme.

The School’s Faculty, Staff and Administration have been working full-time to ensure the best possible service during this situation. The majority of tuition fees in the School’s not-for-profit model pay teacher, staff and administration salaries and therefore the School is under contractual obligations for the full financial year which ends on July 31, 2020.

At this time, the School is reviewing a series of scenarios of both the short term financial implications and the possible longer term impact of COVID-19. We understand that there are likely financial impacts on our families as well. The leadership team is closely monitoring Q4 withdrawals and potential enrollment for 2020-21, while also exploring all options for reducing the current budget variable costs, future budget fixed and variable costs and implications to utilize our insurance options. As a Board, we firmly believe we are in the midst of the current crisis and any decision at this time with respect to our tuition structure would be premature.

Finally, the Board of Directors is aware of a number of our families in isolation or quarantine. Our core value of community has never been more relevant. This value has always been this community’s strength and we are guided by our United Nations Principles for peaceful solutions, friendly relations among children and adults of different nationalities, cooperation and respect. We must work to support our most vulnerable community members with empathy and humanity.
Thank you for your continued support, patience and understanding in these most difficult times.

Yours sincerely,
Amie Pollack, PhD
Chair of the UNIS Hanoi Board of Directors

UNIS Hanoi’s Distance Learning Lessons Go Global

As COVID-19 continues to impact countries around the world, schools that have been closed as a precautionary measure are reaching out to Hanoi’s leading international school to find out how to implement high-quality distance learning programmes.

The United Nations International School of Hanoi (UNIS Hanoi) closed its campus to students from the start of February after authorities in Vietnam directed all schools to shut in a bid to prevent the spread of the virus.

Four weeks on, teachers continue to deliver the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme virtually. Utilizing a range of technologies and platforms, teachers have delivered more than 3,000 lessons in a variety of formats to students aged between three and 18 years.

Imaginative puppet shows, indoor sports challenges, interactive games, and screencasts are some of the activities that have replaced classroom teaching. The school has amassed so much original online learning material, there’s a mini-Oscars playlist of the best videos!

Programme creativity attracts attention

UNIS Hanoi’s rapid response to the unexpected circumstances has resulted in requests for support from other schools in Vietnam and farther afield.

Nguyen Thi Thu Huong, who has worked at UNIS Hanoi for a decade, paid a visit to a local public primary school last week to show their teachers how to conduct distance learning successfully.

We have a longstanding relationship with the Dong Ngac B School. Since the closures, they have found it difficult to manage online teaching and learning,” she said.

They weren’t very confident about using platforms such as Zoom or Google Hangouts and they didn’t know how to make it effective for their big classroom sizes, so I offered to give them two training sessions.

After one week, they say their confidence in working with technology has grown.

Ngo Thi Bich Hang, principal of the Dong Ngac B School, said she is grateful to UNIS Hanoi, specifically to Huong, for the assistance.

We’ve been collaborating with UNIS Hanoi for many years. Our children learn to swim at the school and learn alongside their students from time to time,” Hang said.

We’ve also joined their teaching conferences, so it was natural for me to call on them for help. Miss Huong’s workshops were very beneficial to us as educators and to our students and we’re looking forward to learning more from UNIS Hanoi soon.

More workshops to follow

The teachers of Dong Ngac B will be invited to join educators from other local schools in Vietnam to learn more about ‘edu-tech’ at the upcoming Vietnam Tech Conference, hosted by UNIS Hanoi.

Scheduled to take place on April 25-26, the conference will include sessions in Vietnamese about distance learning.

The event is part of UNIS Hanoi’s commitment to serving UNESCO’s goals to help grow education capacity in Vietnam.

We value UNIS Hanoi as leaders in this new field of education delivery for the majority of educators in Vietnam and their proactive collaboration with local schools to provide a conduit for best practice,” Michael Croft, UNESCO representative to Vietnam, praised UNIS Hanoi’s efforts.

Their outreach promotes intercultural dialogue so essential to tolerance and respect with our students becoming role models in times of tension.

Helping schools prepare

Beyond Vietnam, schools in countries such as India, Japan, and Austria are also asking UNIS Hanoi for advice just in case the virus forces them to close, too.

This week, UNIS Hanoi’s Elementary School Principals Megan Brazil and Nitasha Chaudhuri shared distance learning best practices with the American School of Bombay, the American International School, Chennai, both in India, the Canadian Academy in Kobe, Japan, and Vienna International School in Austria.

Sharing best practices, especially in extenuating times like these, aligns with who we are as a learning community,” said UNIS Hanoi’s Head of School Jane McGee.

We strive to be an inspirational role model for a better world. That’s why we welcome such interactions with other educators.

UNIS Hanoi is one of only two UN schools in the world. Established more than 30 years ago, the school delivers the full IB programme to a student population of more than 1,100 with over 60 nationalities.

Registration for the Vietnam Tech Conference will open on March 1 and will be free of charge for educators from public schools: https://2020.vietnamtechconference.org/.

Re-enrol Your Child Today

Re-enrolment for 2020-2021 began on 6 January and will end soon. 

Dear UNIS Hanoi Families,

It’s that time of year that we inform you about the re-enrolment timeline for the upcoming school year. As we celebrate you and your family in the re-enrolment process, we also thank you for your ongoing investment in the UNIS Hanoi educational experience. We hope your family plans to return for the 2020-2021 school year; however, if you have plans to depart, please notify us through the online re-enrolment process AND by completing the “Withdrawal Form” on your Parent Portal.

In addition, we are excited to share with you the new features to the online re-enrolment process.

Passport & Visa Update: There is now a link for you to scan and
send the updated valid copies of both legal documents and
update the details and expiration dates for use for the co-
curricular trips, which will be reviewed by the Activities office
and shared with parents prior to the upcoming trip.

Bus Service Annual Registration: There is now a new online form that goes directly to the Transport Office to register annually for your child/ren.

Please note the re-enrolment period dates are earlier and began on 6 January and ends on 2 March 2020. More detailed information with the steps to re-enroll will be sent to you in the coming weeks. However, we wanted to make you aware of the new timeline and updates to the process.

Please do not hesitate to contact us for any questions by coming to the Admissions Office in B7 on the second floor or by email
admissions@unishanoi.org or telephone 0247 300 4508.

Warm regards,
The Office of Admission

First Scholar Begins his Career

UNIS Hanoi’s very first scholar, Nam Nguyen has successfully joined the world of work after graduating from university this Summer.

The 24 year-old from Hanoi has gained employment as a Software Engineer at Microsoft, where he’s been tasked to devise new coding languages. Working as part of an innovative team from Microsoft’s mega office in Washington State, USA, Nam’s new career is a remarkable feat for the son of a motorbike taxi driver who could never have imagined a life outside of Hanoi.

Nam joined UNIS Hanoi in 2013 and graduated from the School in 2016 with a perfect score (45/45) in the IB Diploma. His high school success resulted in a full scholarship to William’s College in the United States of America where he majored in computer science.

Reflecting on his journey, Nam says he’s thankful to UNIS Hanoi for transforming his life. He added, “By accepting the offer to study at UNIS Hanoi, I had the opportunity to step outside of my comfort zone and really break through limits that were imposed upon me just because of my family’s financial background. The programme has helped me go further than I ever would have imagined.”

Although he works in the USA, Nam makes sure to return to his beloved Vietnam every single year – to see his parents and to mentor the 14 UNIS Hanoi scholars that have followed in his footsteps.

UNIS Hanoi has invited bright and talented teens from low income backgrounds in Hanoi to apply for a scholarship to study at the School from next academic year – 20/21. Nam urges students who qualify to apply, saying the sacrifice of friendships and familiar environments is well worth it. He concluded, “It’s really about the trade off. I’m convinced the rewards and benefits you get by studying at UNIS Hanoi is worth the trade off.

To learn more about the scholarship programme and how a teen can apply, please visit www.unishanoi.org/scholarship

This Year’s Spring Fair on hold

In light of continued campus closure to students and parents, the Spring Fair Committee has made the difficult decision to put on hold this year’s Spring Fair, which was due to take place on March 22nd.

We thank every single person who has worked tirelessly since the end of last year to put together what would have been a fantastic family fun day out for the entire community. We hope that there will be a suitable date in the coming months for us to hold a version of the event.

Parent Meeting Series

Thank you to the parents that attended the meetings this week on campus. It was wonderful to see you sharing experiences and connecting with each other, and we hope that you found the sessions useful and informative.

We are also grateful to those of you that have shared your messages of support and appreciation for the efforts our faculty and staff have gone to providing support for your children with our distance learning programmes.

If you missed the meeting series, please watch them by clicking the links below:

Or download a copy of the slides that were shared at the meetings:

Please don’t hesitate to ask the teachers if you have any questions about the programme that your child will be working on this week.

Frequently Asked Questions About Distance Learning

We’d like to thank all parents who time out of their busy day to attend our parent sessions. We hope you found the interaction as useful as we did. We received a number of questions before, during and after the sessions, which will be responded to individually. In the meantime, here are Frequently Asked Questions and our answers: 

How do I know my child won’t have learning gaps during this time off campus?

Curriculum at UNIS Hanoi follows a ‘spiral’ design. This means that learning is spread out over time and opportunities exist in between learning new concepts so that students can consolidate their understandings, practice and improve. Following this revision and practice period, new and more complex/difficult content is added. In a spiral curriculum, concepts are visited many times throughout a year, and across multiple grade levels. This means that concepts are revisited again and again at a steadily increasing level of difficulty throughout the course of an academic year. 

During the month of February, much of what is being learned are concepts that most students are already familiar with. When the students resume school, there are opportunities within the school timetable for teachers to assess each child’s progress and consider revisiting previous tasks if needed.

How are students being assessed?

Our Distance Learning programme is designed to deliver the same content your child would have received if they were in the classroom. As much as possible, teachers have redesigned their lessons to suit online learning. Teachers, Learning Support Teams and Counsellors are checking in regularly (sometimes daily) and are aware of students’ progress. 

If your child is in Middle and High School, formative and summative assessments are still on the schedule. To check upcoming assignments parents can log into their Veracross parent portal, click on the ‘Assignments’ tab and view their child’s schedule. 

Will UNIS Hanoi open during Spring Break, on Saturdays or extend the school year?

We are making every effort to open our school as soon as possible. However if we are forced to remain close in March, we will continue to deliver distance learning. We believe that our distance learning programme has supported the continuity of learning and that “learning gaps” have been minimized during school closure. When school opens, teachers will ensure that children who have not met the  expected learning outcomes will have the time and support they need to meet these expectations. We have made some initial changes to the school calendar – our final professional development day and parent, teacher conference days will be regular school days and Wednesday dismissal time will be extended to the same dismissal time as rest of the week. We will continue to discuss this should school closure continue.

The work the teachers are sending is too much and we as parents are not teachers. What can you advise?

We understand the burden our current situation places on families, in particular parents who may feel as if they’ve suddenly had to become both parent and teacher to their child. Our teachers are looking to simplify instructions so that the onus isn’t on a parent to explain a task. Teachers will also recommend a time limit for each task. We also would like to remind all parents to do as little or as much as they believe they and their child can accomplish in a day. It’s okay to not do all the slides. For more guidance, please read our tips here. Also, please ask the teachers of your child for help.

What additional help is available for families who do not speak English as their first language?

In response to parent feedback, we have added to the Distance Learning slides, instructions and video with clear explanations for EAL students. Families have reported that this is the most effective way for our EAL students to understand instructions clearly. If parents are having trouble understanding the instructions, please contact your child’s homeroom teachers immediately.  

If campus remains closed until the end of March, what plans are in place to support Grades 11 and 12?

We understand concerns regarding Grade 11 and Grade 12. First and foremost, please rest assured we are making every effort to reopen the campus to students. Additionally, we have been delivering synchronous learning to our IB Diploma candidates and increased face-to-face time with each student. Please know that learning is still occurring and students are still required to complete tasks and submit assignments as requested. We are also finding alternative ways to bring teachers and Grade 11 and Grade 12 students together until campus reopens. 

As a School, we have reviewed the examinations timetable for Grade 11 and, in the unfortunate event we do remain closed until the end of March, we are able to reschedule mocks and examinations as these are decided by individual schools and not by the IBO. 

We are working closely with Grade 12 families to make alternative arrangements for mocks in the unfortunate event we will remain closed in March. Final Examinations for Grade 12 students begin on Thursday 30 April and we are confident campus will reopen by this time. Additionally, we continue to liaise with the IBO and college and university admissions teams around the globe to inform them of the extenuating circumstances our students find themselves in. 

We believe that our distance learning programme has supported the continuity of learning and that “learning gaps” have been minimized during school closure. When school opens, teachers will ensure that children who have not met the  expected learning outcomes will have the time and support they need to meet these expectations. We have made some initial changes to the school calendar – our final professional development day and parent, teacher conference days will be regular school days and  Wednesday dismissal time will be extended to the same dismissal time as rest of the week. We will continue to discuss this should school closure continue. 

How the Spiral Curriculum Helps Minimize Gaps in Learning

COVID-19 presented teachers at UNIS Hanoi with an unplanned challenge – how to continue teaching students remotely. As much as possible, teachers have redesigned their lessons from classroom-based to online. Since February, more than 1000 distance learning lessons have been delivered to students across all three divisions. 

Now that the closures have lingered into the third week, it’s only natural for parents to wonder if the distance learning their child is undertaking is enough. Here we answer parents’ biggest concern: 

“How do I know my child won’t have learning gaps?”

Curriculum at UNIS Hanoi follows a ‘spiral’ design. This means that learning is spread out over time and opportunities exist in between learning new concepts so that students can consolidate their understandings, practice and improve. Following this revision and practice period, new and more complex/difficult content is added. In a spiral curriculum, concepts are visited many times throughout a year, and across multiple grade levels. This means that concepts are revisited again and again at a steadily increasing level of difficulty throughout the course of an academic year. 

During the month of February, much of what is being provided via Distance Education is material that most students are already familiar with. They have been given the opportunity to practice and refine existing skills – very little new content has been added.  When the students resume school, there are opportunities within the school timetable for teachers to assess each child’s progress and consider revisiting previous tasks if needed, before moving on to new content.  

“A Spiral Curriculum allows us as educators to spiral back down and build the knowledge” said UNIS Hanoi’s Head of School, Jane McGee. She added, “Also, during this time off campus, students are still learning, teachers are still teaching and assessing students where possible.”

Any student or parent who has concerns regarding their child should contact their child’s teacher directly or their counsellor. 

Our Annual Report Data Drips Continued…

This week, we share the data from our School Community Organisation (SCO) as well as information about our Class of 2019 and our alumni community.

School Community Organisation

UNIS Hanoi is fortunate to have an army of parent volunteers who are passionate about the school community. In 2018-19, as many as 573 people volunteered in a formal manner, with many unsung heroes giving time and resources to make a positive impact. The School Leadership Team, faculty and staff thank all volunteers for their support. FIND OUT MORE

Alumni

In June last year, our Class of 2019 became the latest recruits to join our alumni network of almost 10,000 people. The 80 students were offered 200 admissions acceptances in higher education institutions across 15 countries around the globe. They now proudly belong to an alumni community that will one day serve the world in diverse ways. FIND OUT MORE