Hey High School….take a break!

It’s been a challenging stretch of time since Tet…to say the least! 

We could all use some “down time”. 

As such, High School teachers have been instructed to not provide any school work for grades 9 and 10 students over Spring Break.

Because of the rigor involved in the IB Diploma Programme, Grade 11 students may be given optional tasks and these tasks will not count towards any grade. If a Grade 11 student or family wants to take the week off from schoolwork, that is absolutely OK.

Grade 12s deserve a break perhaps more than anyone. Please see the Grade 12 information in today’s TinTuc, as well as the email sent to families earlier today.  

Please recognize that teachers have been asked to stay off of their laptops for the week. We thank the UNIS Hanoi community for all of your continued cooperation! 

Scott Schaffner


Overview of Grade 12 Programme

Dear Grade 12 students and parents,

UNIS Hanoi’s DP Completion and Pre-University Courses for Grade 12 students

After Spring Break Grade 12s will begin a seven week programme that allows them to complete their DP courses and to collaborate with teachers and counsellors to learn more about life after high school. Additionally, students will be given the chance to sign up for pre-university taster courses tailored to their interests. 

There will be three parts to the programme:

DP Courses Completion

Universities are expecting that graduates from UNIS Hanoi will have completed all course components in their IB courses therefore some subjects will continue with regular classes to fulfill those conditions. These subjects include Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Music, Visual Art, Film and Theatre.

University Transition

Designed and facilitated by our School Counsellors each year, Grade 12 students are guided through a comprehensive plan for preparing to transition out of high school and home, to living independently and succeeding at university. This year this will be presented as a distance learning experience which will incorporate support from Grade 12 Mentors in weekly synchronous discussions as well as some fun ‘life skill’ challenges.

 Pre-university courses

Grade 12 students will select up to four courses to extend and enrich their learning in areas of personal passion or in subjects they are curious about. Pre-university courses will provide a level of challenge for Grade 12 students equivalent to first year university courses in terms of study skills and content. Each course will consist of six weekly assignments that students complete online from home, plus a weekly live tutorial. Each course will be led by a G12 teacher, or two collaborating G12 teachers. Courses are not limited by DP subjects or subject guides. 

After Spring Break, Grade 12s will receive further information including synopses of each course and details about how they will be able to sign up for their selected courses. 

Have a great Spring Break!

Scott Schaffner

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.”

From the HS Senate

Dear UNIS Hanoi High School Community,

One of our goals as the Senate this year has been to increase our transparency and to keep the student body informed of what is happening. This is why we feel it is our obligation as the HS Senate to inform you of recent developments in our HS Prom planning process that have made it impossible for the event to be held at a hotel this year. We prioritize everyone’s health over everything else, and therefore, keeping in line with school and government regulations, we cannot risk holding our HS prom at a hotel amidst the COVID-19 situation. The Senate, in cooperation with the HS Administration, are working diligently to find the best possible solutions to this issue. We will try our best to hold prom on campus and, if all goes according to plan, we will work hard to ensure that the event will be on par with all the previous proms that have been held at the Sheraton and other venues. 

At this point in time, however, we do not have any more details on what will transpire, but we wanted to inform you of this as soon as possible. Additionally, we would like to mention that the end of the school year will look different than it has done in previous years. This is not solely for UNIS Hanoi, but for schools worldwide. With the unpredictability of COVID-19, it’s really anyone’s guess as to what will happen, but do expect there to be change. Still, we hope that you will work with us and the faculty in our attempts to make the end of the year as fun as possible. None of us wish for our current situation to be prolonged, but the Senate understands (and we hope you share the same view) that the health and safety of each member of the UNIS Hanoi community is our utmost priority. It was a difficult decision to make, but it was done in our best interest. Vietnam, despite being so close to the epicentre of the pandemic, has drastically fewer cases than many countries on the opposite side of the world. This is, of course, in part due to schools being closed since Tet break. It has proven to be a decision that has benefited us in the long term and will continue to do so, so please help support our teachers and one another as we try to navigate through the rest of the year.

In addition, the Senate is also working to increase UNIS spirit even during distance learning. We understand that the cancellation of several events (such as APAC and MRISA) have dispirited many of us, and we hope to help our community through various alternative events that can be held online. For example, our Student Representatives are communicating with their grade levels to increase engagement and plan fun online spirit activities. 

As always, the Senate wants to hear your voice and your input. If there is anything that you are struggling with or anything you would like to tell us, we are all ears. We are here to support you. We are your Senate and we will do all that we can to make your lives better. 


The High School Senate

The Importance of Homebase Attendance in High School

It is important to note that End of Year Report Cards will be sent home at the end of this school year in June, just as they always have. Students who fail a class do not earn class credits, and therefore are at risk of not earning a UNIS Hanoi Diploma. This has always been the case at our school, please see pages 23, and 28 in the HS Handbook for further information.

We have been designing Intervention Plans to support any student who seems to be in danger of not passing classes, and we use our Homebase time to assist in this process. Please read the message below that was sent to all HS students on Thursday:

It is extremely important at this point in the Distance Learning timeline that all HS Students attend Homebase. Homebase is NOT optional.  

Homebase serves as two checkpoints in the week which will help determine that all students are engaged as well as to help determine if any additional support needs to be put in place to assist you, in addition to continuing the connections you have all formed with each other and your Mentor throughout the year.  Mentors WANT to see you and hear from you… it really does bring them joy and puts meaning into what it is we are all trying to accomplish.

HS Homebase – Tuesday and Thursday – 9:20 – 9:55

The only students that are exempt from regular scheduled Homebase attendance are students currently located in another timezone which would make attending difficult – in that case – students MUST schedule an individual meeting time with their Mentor.  

We are in the process of designing Intervention Plans for students who have fallen deeply behind in their Distance Learning – these intervention support plans will involve more direct and scheduled meetings with teachers, counsellors and possibly additional support faculty. 

If you are NOT attending Homebase, we can only assume that you are not engaged and that you may need an Intervention Plan.

Mentors are taking attendance in Homebase and this will be monitored more now then in previous weeks.

Our HS Connections programme was designed for our students to be able to connect with each other and with an adult Mentor…  So many of you are so very skilled at digital social connecting… this is your moment to SHINE!! Be present and connect! Mentors enjoy seeing you all at each every opportunity!

Students who have fallen behind significantly in their distance learning will be contacted directly by their counselor to initiate a thorough Intervention Support Plan.

Any questions, please reach out to your counsellor. 

Scott Schaffner
HS Principal

IB Exams Update

Hello High School community!

Despite the situation going on in the world, our students and teachers keep working hard and moving forward with teaching and learning.

Our counsellors, leadership teams, and IB Diploma Programme (IBDP) Coordinator are all in constant contact with other international schools around the world who are all facing the same challenges that we are. It is a useful way of sharing ideas in an effort to support students through this time.

As of now, the IB exams are still scheduled for May 2020. As you may know, other major exams such as A levels and GCSE in the UK have been cancelled. How this cancellation will impact the university application and admission processes is being discussed.

In the United States, the College Board has cancelled the SAT. Advanced Placement (AP) exams might be given as “take-home” exams.

UNIS Hanoi is fully prepared to hold the IB DP exams as scheduled, and ready to assist all students in their university admissions process should they occur, or not occur. Last May approximately 166,000 students in 144 countries took the IB DP exams. Now that COVID-19 has become a pandemic, the IBO is looking into options  and they will announce their decision on the May 2020 examination no later than 27 March 2020.  

New update from the IBO can be found here: https://www.ibo.org/news/news-about-the-ib/covid-19-coronavirus-updates/

If you are relocating (or thinking of relocating) and concerned about possible implications for taking the IB exams, please do contact me: hsprincipal@unishanoi.org.

Scott Schaffner
HS Principal

About Distance Learning in Middle and High Schools

This week we have received some questions around Distance Learning “basics”.  Please keep them coming! Here are some answers to those that have come in.

Academic classes

During Distance Learning students have been told to follow their daily schedule. Teachers are posting a Lesson Plan via Veracross on each day that their class falls and students are expected to engage in all activities and assigned tasks. 

Should you have any questions related to your child/ren’s academic learning please contact her/his teacher directly. All faculty email is available via the school’s online directory, here is the link.

Synchronous Tutorials

As UNIS continues to provide distance learning for our students, parents are advised to be mindful that faculty will be offering synchronous lessons during regular school hours 8:00 – 15:35 (Vietnam Time).

As families make decisions that may mean students are no longer in the school’s time zone it may not be convenient for your child to join these sessions. They would then be optional only. To ensure continued regular contact, teachers will continue using Office Hours by appointment within reasonable hours outside the school day.

Digital Citizenship and Online Etiquette

Students are expected to abide by the school’s rules for Responsible Digital Citizenship, found on pages 38 and 39 in the MS and HS Handbooks. Mentors and teachers have and will continue to remind and monitor to support students in following these expectations.   

Social emotional wellbeing

Mentors continue to focus on our students’ social and emotional well being. As such, Homebase meetings and check ins every week. Mentors are sending invitations for a video chat to take place for MS on Monday at 8:10am – 8:45am, and for HS on Tuesday at 9:20 am. It is requested that students continue engage in these conversations in a quiet place in school-appropriate attire.

The MS and HS Counseling Team continue to support students during Distance Learning. Counselors are available via email or Google Hangouts by appointment to support students. Counselors continue to be in contact directly with students who have been receiving regularly scheduled individual counseling. Counselors have been sending support resources to students during the distance learning period, including topics such as anxiety, family separation, and self-care.  

Learning Support (LS) students have individual support plans developed by their LS teacher and speak directly with their LS teacher regularly.


During Distance Learning attendance is not being formally recorded in Veracross however teachers are monitoring student engagement and following up if a student is not participating or submitting work. 

Student Progress on Veracross Gradebook

Parents are encouraged to view the Veracross Gradebook to see Assignments that have been submitted throughout the year including during Distance Learning. 

Attached please find instructions for accessing all of your child/ren’s information via the Veracross Parent Portal. Any questions about access to the Portal should be directed to Thu Ha Tran, Senior Manager of School Information Systems at this email address: smsis@unishanoi.org

Report cards

The Distance Learning programme is providing robust academic programmes for Grades 6-12 students. Teachers are 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. As previously explained by both Jane McGee and the Board in recent communications, 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 as long as students remain engaged and active in their coursework.

From the High School Counsellors

Dear UNIS Parents & Community,

Our university online platform, CIALFO, has invited UNIS Hanoi to participate in this very unique On-Line University Fair on March 20, 23 & 24 – 8:00 – 20:00 – Hanoi time – and we have ACCEPTED!  UNIS Hanoi students will be receiving information directly from CIALFO with instructions on how to register – this is free and we encourage you all to take part in as much as the University Fair as possible. Make sure to add it directly to your Google Calendar and/or daily planners.

Special Message to G9 students:  This is the time of year that you all would have been introduced to CIALFO in Counselling Class with Mr Anwer. Unfortunately, due to campus closure, he has not been able to provide direct instruction regarding the CIALFO platform. However, CIALFO is a very useful tool that you will be using in G10-12 for your post-high school planning purposes. You are most welcome to attend the University Fair as well, as we have asked CIALFO to include you in their email to all HS students. If the thought of post high school planning is not where you are at this point in time, not to worry, there will be plenty of opportunities to meet with university representatives later in high school – we just didn’t want to leave you out! Let Mr Anwer know if you have any questions.


Grade 12 update

  • Grade 12 students, please update your Cialfo with the status of your application
  • Please keep your child’s counsellor updated if you are concerned about their emotional or academic progress.

Counsellors: Franko Cifizzari & Brenda Manfredi

Grade 11 update

  • Students are meeting with their counsellors, discussing their Uniquest research project and sharing thoughts about degree choices, countries of study, and universities that they may apply to next year.
  • Please keep your child’s counsellor updated if you are concerned about their emotional or academic progress.

Counsellors: Franko Cifizzari & Brenda Manfredi

Grade 10 update

Please keep your child’s counsellor updated if you are concerned about their emotional or academic progress.

Counsellors: Franko Cifizzari & Brenda Manfredi

Grade 9 update

Please keep your child’s counsellor updated if you are concerned about their emotional or academic progress.

Counsellor: Anwer Kamal


The ACT’s/SAT’s should only be taken by Grade 11 & 12 UNIS students. Please see below for more information including testing dates for 2019-2020.

PSAT 2020 date: October 28, 2020 at UNIS – NEW!

SAT – Important:

College Board has taken extra security measures in test taker fraud. If a student receives an email from the College Board to complete a survey or questionnaire, please do NOT ignore the email. It must be completed. Failure to do the survey would result in the student being removed from the test center roster and forbidden to take the exam that they have registered for.

Please note that this is a random selection process, and students do not need to panic if they do not get an email. We would like to remind students to check their junk inbox in case the College Board emails get delivered there by accident. Any questions, please see your counsellor!

International testing dates for the SAT are in October, December, March, and May. SAT Subject Tests will be available in October, November, December, May, and June. Students cannot sit the SAT and SAT Subject Tests on the same day. If you have any questions, please see your counsellor.

SAT test dates for 2019-2020 are:

SAT Test Dates:                Registration Deadline Date

New Date: March 28, 2020                     –

May 2, 2020                        April 3, 2020

SAT Subject Test Dates:      Registration Deadline Date

May 2, 2020                        April 3, 2020

June 6, 2020                        N/A


International SAT Test Date

Registration Deadline

SAT Score Release Date

August 29, 2020

July 29, 2020

September 7-14, 2020

October 3, 2020

August 3, 2020

October 11-18, 2020

December 5, 2020

November 5, 2020

December 13-20, 2020

** March 13, 2021

February 13, 2021

March 21-28, 2021

May 8, 2021

April 8, 2021

May 16-23, 2021

** No SAT SUBJECT TEST on this date

The College Board website is www.collegeboard.org

ACT Test dates 2019-2020 are:

ACT Test Date:                 Registration Deadline Date

April 4, 2020                       February 28, 2020

June 13, 2020                      May 8, 2020

2020-2021 ACT Test Dates

Projected dates and deadlines for the 2020-21 ACT testing year. 

Test Date

Registration Deadline

Sept 12, 2020

Aug 7, 2020

Oct 24, 2020

Sept 20, 2020

Dec 12, 2020

Nov 6, 2020

Feb 6, 2021

Jan 8, 2021

Apr 10, 2021

Mar 5, 2021

June 12, 2021

May 7, 2021

July 17, 2021

June 11, 2021

*The first date is when multiple-choice scores come out, and the second date is when complete scores become available

Upcoming University Visits: No visits

G11 Exams Postponed until Next Academic Year

In light of resumed campus closure, families with Grade 11 students were informed earlier in the week that examinations that were scheduled to take place this month have been cancelled. In its place, teachers will be conducting a range of online assessments to ensure recent learning has been grasped by every student. Additionally, students will be introduced to new units and new material. The reshuffle of the schedule is within guidelines set by the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO).

Elliott Cannell, the School’s IB DP Coordinator explained, “The IB Diploma is a programme that must be completed over two academic years. The IBO provides us with a curriculum framework, assessments and policies, but as a School, they give us the flexibility to decide how we structure the learning over the two year duration.”

He added, “Through online assessments, teachers are collecting evidence of learning on topics that have been taught in the last month. Formal exams in Grade 11 are not an IB requirement, but have long been considered a good opportunity for students to practice the habit of taking tests. We still believe it’s good practice, but one that can be postponed.”

Same learning, different modality

Brian Chanen, an IB Exam Author for the past 16 years, and a parent of a Grade 11 student agreed with the School’s tough decision. He said that, although there’s clearly a place for exam practice, the most important element for students is learning by engaging with the material. He continued, “The kind of exams students were set to take this month serve a different purpose to the final exams they will take at the end of Grade 12. These assessments would have helped teachers and students determine what students know and are able to do, so that teachers can plan for growth. Summative assessments can be used to achieve this goal.

With knowledge of the rigorous learning that’s taking place at UNIS Hanoi, he is confident that the School’s IB Diploma students are resilient and in the ‘best place possible’ for dealing with changes to their schedule as a result of COVID-19.

His best expert advice? “The single biggest piece of advice I can give to students is to engage with learning, not assessment and preparation.”


March SAT – Postponed until March 28

Dear UNIS Hanoi Students registered for the March SAT,

Please be informed that our SAT site supervisor, Ms Hoa has notified the College Board that we will not be able to administer the SAT on March 14 here at UNIS Hanoi due to campus closure.

Ms Hao has also notified that College Board that UNIS Hanoi would like to postpone the administration of the March SAT to the offered March 28 date.

This is all contingent upon UNIS Hanoi being able to open campus on March 28.

More information will be given toward the end of March. You do not have to do anything at this time.

If you have any questions, please reach out to your school counsellor.


Ms Manfredi and Mr Cifizzari