- Time: 08:00 – 09:30 on Tuesday, September 15
- Meeting type: virtually via zoom
Please SIGN UP HERE by 16.00 on Monday, September 14 to attend the meeting. The zoom link will be shared with parents who sign up at the end of Monday.
I look forward to meeting with you next Tuesday.
As an educational institution and more importantly a UN School, the events in the United States this week (and which have spread around the world) catalysed by the wrongful death of George Floyd, provide our community with an important opportunity to learn and act in solidarity in the ongoing fight for the most fundamental of human rights.
Across all cultures, the history of violence around the world against minorities and the disenfranchised highlights the importance of our ongoing commitment to our Mission statement and Core Values.
As a community, we are committed to the UN Principle to: “Encourage respect for fundamental freedoms and equality for all, without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion.”
Our values of responsibility and community ensure that written into the School’s DNA is respect and appreciation of diverse cultures, beliefs and languages to deepen our understanding of local and global issues, taking ownership and being accountable for our thoughts, actions and their consequences.
These Values and Beliefs speak to how we as a community embrace our diversity and are not only accountable for ourselves but take action to make a difference. Our hope is that through experiences at UNIS Hanoi, our students will develop empathy, understanding and respect for others regardless of differences and take action to uphold these beliefs.
As a diverse, international community, it is easy to read these words, but much harder to truly understand them in the context of the sheltered and unique microcosm that we experience each and every day on our campus and within Hanoi.
Last week, in my message to our graduates, I stressed the concept of “privilege”. Whether it is “white privilege”, “socio-economic privilege” or “access to education privilege”, it is important that we as educators and you as parents, dialogue with your children around what this means and how it is not only different for others in the world but gives us the tools and opportunity to make a difference.
If we are to truly honor diversity and inclusion as a community, we will need to understand our own personal context and work together to proactively educate for anti-bias, anti-discrimination and take action to create a more equitable society.
At School this week students have been engaged in classroom discussions, reading lists have been shared and resources have been made available to teachers to ensure they feel equipped to nurture our young learners during this global fight for equality. Our High School student-led assembly also focussed on the Black Lives Matter movement with this moving film tribute and call for solidarity.
I am looking forward to deepening our commitment to living our Mission and Values in the upcoming year. For those of you who are having discussions with your children at home, you may find the resources from the UN’s Let’s Fight Racism website a useful place to start.
Head of School
What an incredible week on campus. Our students, faculty and staff are excited to be back on campus, spending time with faculty, staff, their peers and friends.
Today, you should have received information about our free month-long summer programme for students in Discovery-Grade 12.
Mentors will be working with MS and HS students to ensure they review the offerings and sign up for the sessions in which they are interested. As we have mentioned in other communications, please ensure your child is aware of any family summer travel plans that will impact their participation in the programme.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to the Activities Office is you have any questions.
Today marks a very special day for us as a UN Community as we celebrate the International Day of Families. As I reflect on the past three months, I know that for many of us, our families have been our “rock” during this unprecedented time. I also know that for many of us, COVID-19 has kept families apart in a way that has added and will continue to add anxiety and stress. I hope that your families are healthy and safe wherever they may be.
Enjoy your weekend.
- Stay at least 6 feet (2 meters) from other people
- Do not gather in groups
- Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings
Why practice physical distancing?
Spread happens when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks, and droplets from their mouth or nose are launched into the air and land in the mouths or noses of people nearby. The droplets can also be inhaled into the lungs.
Physical distancing helps limit contact with infected people and contaminated surfaces.
Prepare your child for physical distancing on campus
As we prepare to return to campus, we ask you to practice physical distancing in your own home with your child so they are ready when campus is open for this new change in their environment. Classrooms will look different, lunch and recess will also need to change due to physical distancing, but these new practices are put in place to protect your child, other students, staff, faculty and YOU!. We can only do this as a UNITED COMMUNITY!
You can practice with your child by;
- Having your child spreading their arms out and not being able to touch anyone around them.
- Measuring and marking a 2 meter space on the floor and have them stand and visually see the distance between you and them.
- When sitting at the table measure out a 2 meter space from the next family member sitting.
- Practice air hugs/fist pumps/high fives from a 2 meter distance.
Please continue to practice the following hygiene actions with your child.
Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, before and after you eat, or using the toilet. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitiser that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your bent elbow.
- Do not share drink bottles, crockery or cutlery.
- Wear a mask at all times when out in public.
Jo Connolly – School Health Centre Coordinator
Marites (Tess) Campilan – Nurse
Lan Anh Nguyen – Nurse
- World Health Organisation
- CDC – Centre for Disease Control
This week, I had the privilege of joining my colleagues from around the world in a number of conversations focussed on the current situation we are all facing. AAIE (Association for the Advancement of International Education), AISH (Academy for International School Heads) and EARCOS (East Asia Regional Council of Schools) are three of many organizations offering robust professional dialogue with panels of experts on topics ranging from crisis response in the educational context, “online” or distance learning best practice, student and community health and wellness, short and long term financial planning in uncertainty and communication strategies. These sessions are attended by over 125 Heads of School from around the world, including many of my colleagues from within Vietnam and SE Asia.
One of the key messages that has not only been our approach here at UNIS Hanoi for the past two months but was reiterated throughout many of the sessions was the need to plan for multiple scenarios. This applies to all aspects of our organization and will allow us to be agile and responsive to the ongoing and future impact on our School and community of COVID-19. Here are a few of the many ways you will see this in practice:
- Events calendar planning for the remainder of 2019-20
- Reforecasting the Budget for 2019-20
- Planning for 2020-21
As we continue to collect information and make decisions, we are committed to keeping the community informed.
A second key message was to be true to your mission and values. I have selected a few lines from values that have guided our decisions to date and will continue to do so:
- Take action to create a safe, caring, and sustainable environment;
- Respect and appreciate diverse cultures, beliefs and languages to deepen our understanding of local and global issues.
- Act with integrity to make and defend reasoned decisions based on respect, compassion and fairness;
- Take ownership and are accountable for our thoughts, actions and their consequences;
- Face challenges with courage, resilience and an independent spirit, whilst remaining responsive and adaptable to change.
Our Mission and Values are and will continue to be considered in our decision making process as we navigate the impact of COVID-19 on our School and the community we serve.
And lastly, the final message shared by a number of panelists was to ensure that we were taking the time to be grateful and to celebrate. At UNIS Hanoi, we have an incredible community of parents, students, faculty and staff who are healthy and safe. In the next few weeks, we will take time to celebrate the incredible learning journey of our community during what has been and will continue to be a historical year. Most importantly, we will have the opportunity to celebrate our students – your children.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank parents and caregivers who have worked with students to make distance learning a positive and successful learning experience. We would also like to acknowledge and thank our teachers who have endeavoured to provide meaningful and engaging distance learning opportunities for your children.
As you know, schools in HCMC have been directed to extend the current closure and universities in Hanoi have received a similar notice.
At this time of sending, the Hanoi Municipal People’s Committee has not yet made an announcement for Hanoi. We are ready for both the possibility of continued distance learning on Monday and for the possibility of reopening.
Please check your email over the weekend and we will inform you of UNIS Hanoi’s decision in time for school on Monday.
Thank you again for continued patience and understanding.
Chúc mừng năm mới! Best wishes to our students, faculty and staff, and families for the new year.
For those of you experiencing Tet for the first time, I encourage you to engage with members of our Vietnamese community to deepen your understanding of the wonderful traditions practiced at this time of year – it is truly a time of reflection, celebration and hope for the new year.
This year, Tet will celebrate the outgoing Year of the Pig and welcome in The Year of the Rat.
According to the Vietnamese zodiac, for those of you born in the year of the rat, you are believed to be very industrious and thrifty, diligent and positive. You love to collect, have a keen intuition and can predict danger. You are lucky financially and manage money well.
Before we all sign off to enjoy Tet, please check out our most recent Annual Report Data Drip. This week, we share highlights from our Co-curricular programme.
UNIS Hanoi’s co-curricular programme is dynamic and ever-evolving. It aims to inspire students to actively engage in purposeful activities beyond the classroom. But as a School that’s committed to nurturing a community of lifelong learning, we also organize activities for adults too. Here is a highlight of what took place in 2018-2019.
Have a safe and relaxing holiday with friends and family. See you in February.
Head of School
On behalf of our leadership team I would like to take this opportunity to wish each and everyone a wonderful Winter Break filled with health, peace and happiness.
I hope that you will all enjoy time with your family and friends, celebrating the end of a successful year and resting and rejuvenating for the start of a new one.
It has been a busy season of festivals and fun at School and I hope you enjoy some of these highlights from our Winter Service Festival with students from all Divisions working hard to help make a better world – the best gift anyone can give!
Head of School
Thank you all for joining us this week for our wonderful UN Day celebrations and for making this community event so special.
More than 800 students are involved in the Parade of Nations and the musical performances making this a truly inclusive celebration of all that we can achieve working together!
While we celebrate the end of a successful Quarter One in our School year, our vision is firmly fixed already on next year and I would like to take this opportunity to inform our community of planning that is already in action.
Many of you have already attended community meetings, which in addition to important updates for the current school year, were also designed to help us with our strategic planning for the future. More opportunities for parents to get involved will be announced in the coming weeks and we hope that the unity in diversity that our UN Day celebrations demonstrated, will weave its way into our planning as we look to the future.
Please read the minutes from these sessions (the week before the Autumn Break) and thank you to the 116 parents who attended, with a special thank you to our parents who coordinated translation.
To support our families in their planning for the upcoming School year, we would like to share the following information:
- August 12, 2020: First Day of School
- December 19, 2020 – January 11, 2021: Winter Break
- February 11, 2021 – February 21, 2021: Tet (Lunar New Year) Holiday
- June 11, 2021: Last Day of School
Further information, including dates for Autumn and Spring Breaks will be shared in the coming weeks. The early start provides an additional week of study to our students in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme prior to their final exams at the end of the School year and we believe this to be an important consideration in the annual calendar. We have also worked closely with other schools in Hanoi for alignment to support our co curricular programmes and to support our families with children in those schools.
|RECRUITING SEASON HAS BEGUN|
This year, UNIS Hanoi will be recruiting 19 faculty members and four administrators to join our team for the 2020 – 2021 school year. This is a typical year for faculty recruitment in our international school context and we are delighted more than 135 faculty members (88%) choose to remain with us for another year!
Openings are in the process of being posted on our website and through various search agencies that provide a service to the international school recruitment market.
We will have many opportunities towards the end of the school year to celebrate departing faculty and their years of service to UNIS Hanoi, commitment to both student learning and our larger school community.
The following teachers and staff will be leaving UNIS Hanoi in June of 2020:
Adrian Hubbard, Charla Marshall, Laura Moore, Kristin McAuliffe, Deborah Vermeire, Daniel Lucardie, Christine Boulden, David Carter, Aga Schaffner, Nicole Moodie, Kristi Belete, Kristen Twynam-Perkins, Michael Luciani, Tom Ryan, Carlo Palusci, Sandra Schneiderman, Sarah Schneider, Brenda Manfredi, Lee Cassidy, Scott Schaffner, Glenda Baker, Marc Vermeire and Stephen Lush.
|LEADERSHIP TEAM NEWS|
As I mentioned we have four administrators who will leave at the end of the year.
We have already announced that our High School Principal, Scott Shaffner, will be moving to be closer to family in Europe and USA.
Our Middle School Principal, Marc Vermiere has accepted an offer to join the leadership team at the American School in Japan. Marc has been teaching and leading at UNIS Hanoi for the past seven years. For the past three years, he has been responsible for establishing a Middle School culture at UNIS Hanoi that addresses the unique developmental needs of children in Grades 6 – 8 and developing systems and structures to support this area. He has also worked extensively on our all-school child safeguarding processes. We wish Marc, Deb and their family all the best in their next adventure.
Our High School Deputy Principal, Glenda Baker will be leaving UNIS Hanoi at the end of the year to explore new opportunities and our Upper Elementary School Deputy Principal Stephen Lush will be joining Gyeonggi Suwon International School in Korea as their new Head of School.
Next year, JJ Akin will assume the full-time position of Middle School Deputy Principal Secondary School. JJ has been the Middle School Deputy Principal (part-time) for the past two years. He has the background, experiences and expertise to provide not only continuity to this division throughout the upcoming transition but also the leadership and interpersonal skills necessary for our School to continue to flourish as we move into Strategy 2023 – our next strategic plan.
|NEW SECONDARY SCHOOL STRUCTURE|
Our current structure in the Middle School and High School strongly supports student well-being by allowing for developmentally appropriate programmes, approaches to teaching and learning, and systems and structures that are aligned with what is best for children during various stages of adolescence.
However, the same structure does not easily support curriculum alignment within the framework of the MYP and in some areas fosters duplication of efforts and possible barriers for transition for our students.
So, can it be better? We believe that, yes, it can. The goal of the new structure is to preserve all that is positive about our current situation while simultaneously, addressing areas that could be improved. Our Concept is one of Schools within a School.
A new Secondary School divided into two distinct divisions – Middle School and High School – independent and autonomous when appropriate, and operating under the cohesion of one Secondary School for seamless student transition and planning.
This new structure will be familiar to our Elementary School families who already experience Lower and Upper ES Schools, within our Elementary School.
And for those families that have been with us for several years, it is worth noting that this is not reverting to our former combined Middle and High School model which had only two leadership roles for the entire Division with minimal separation or distinction.
I would like to share with you some of the details of our thinking and “The Why?” behind this move; Why would we do this?
Primarily it is a better use of personnel resources to best support student learning and well-being. The roles and responsibilities of the members of the Secondary School Leadership Team will be focused and will allow there to be a strong commitment to both teaching and learning and supporting student well-being (the whole-child).
- Deputy Principal – Teaching and Learning
- Focus on Teaching and Learning
- Supports curriculum alignment as an IB continuum school
- Will shift the way we think about the transition process between Grades 8 and 9 and support more authentic transitions either academically or developmentally when appropriate
- Will allow for the alignment of systems and structures
- Will support cross over teachers that currently teach in both divisions, for example, languages, arts and counselling
- Will strengthen the sense of community, while maintaining strong Middle School and High School cultures
- Support the work of the MYP (Middle Years Programme) and DP (Diploma Programme) Coordinator
- MS Deputy Principal (Grades 6-8) and High School Deputy Principal (Grades 9-12))
- Focus on Schools within a School
- Maintain a strong sense of community and identity in each division
- Provides a continued focus on the importance of relationships between students and staff.
- Continue to ensure that programs, systems and structures are appropriate for each developmental age group.
|ENROLLMENT MANAGEMENT AND FEE PAYMENT STRUCTURE|
UNIS Hanoi is a Non Profit school which endeavours to be as inclusive as possible and to provide the best possible service for a highly transient community.
In addition to reviewing structures to better support teaching and learning (outlined above), we have also been reviewing enrollment deadlines and fee payment structures, both of which are central to managing the school’s finances in a responsible way for our community.
Streamlining the admissions process, re-enrollment dates and fee payment structures is central to delivering our educational programmes and for future planning. In addition we know that increasingly families who wish to join our school are experiencing unnecessary distress from delays and wait times in School admission timelines which were originally designed to support families!
The budget is based almost entirely on the revenue stream from students enrolled in the school and therefore managing this process more effectively will ensure the success of our programming and delivery of our Mission is dependent upon sound financial planning and timelines.
What does this mean for you?
- We are moving from the option of an annual or quarterly fee payment to the option of an annual or semester fee payment. The additional fee will remain at 4% for those who choose the semester option.
- The re-enrollment deadline will be February 1, 2020.
- The payment for Annual/1st semester fees and the capital fees will be July 10, 2020.
- The payment for 2nd semester fees will be December 1, 2020.
These changes are aligned with other International Schools and will allow the Enrollment Management Team to offer places to prospective families in a timely manner, ensuring a more consistent enrollment.
(Please note these numbers are for illustration only. Fees for the 2020 – 2021 year will be shared at the November Community Meeting):
|Current Fee Structure||New Fee Structure|
The Finance Committee (comprised of UNIS Hanoi parents) and the Board of Directors have been consulted throughout this process and concur with the direction the School is taking.
As always, we are available to answer any questions you may have or to discuss your individual fee payment contract with the School as we transition to this new structure. We are here to support you through this process.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to Mr Manu Trivedi in the Business Office: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone (84 24) 7300 4500
In the International School World, recruitment for teachers and leaders happens on an annual cycle in the upcoming months, and so although it is only the beginning of the year, it is at this time that many of our community plan for next year!
Our High School Principal, Mr Scott Schaffner has decided with his family that this will be their last year in Hanoi and that he will not be returning for the 2020-2021 School year.
Mr Schaffner joined our team three years ago and has been responsible for developing the High School division as the School transitioned from two divisions (Elementary and Secondary) to three divisions (Elementary, Middle and High).
His leadership in this area has been outstanding and has led to a strong High School culture with a focus on programme development appropriate for this age group. The implementation of online learning opportunities for students, the STEAM programme, online grading and reporting, “bring your own device” programme and a deep focus on pedagogy and curriculum are just some of his many achievements.
Mr Schaffner’s leadership, dedication to the mission and open personality will be missed.
We look forward to his ongoing leadership throughout the year and will find the time to say thank you and good-bye later in the year. I know you will all join me in wishing him and his family all the very best.
Next week, I will send out more information regarding the search process for his replacement which will seek to engage members of our community.
We have had a fantastic start to the School year. For the past four days we have seen our Values of Learning, Community and Responsibility in action.
On Tuesday, we welcomed over 140 new families and their children to our community. We couldn’t have done it without the support of our parent cultural representatives and volunteers, the SCO, our Middle and High School student ambassadors and of course our UNIS Hanoi faculty and staff. Thank you!
Over the next three days, the energy and enthusiasm to be back at School and focused on learning was palpable throughout the campus. Whether students were learning about their classmates, developing new routines or diving into the curriculum, activities were designed to create a culture that will support a productive learning environment for the year. The commitment and preparation of our teaching staff ensured a very smooth start to the year. Thank you!
I would like to also take this opportunity to thank our support staff – these teams worked diligently over the summer to ensure that we could open on time with a safe, secure and beautiful campus.
Have a lovely weekend. I am looking forward to seeing all of your children on Monday!