University and College Admissions Update for Grades 11 and 12

University and College admissions update for Grade 12 students

Our counselling team continues to communicate with other high schools, universities, and college counsellors from around the world. Universities and colleges are well aware of the COVID-19 situation and the impact on students’ high school grades and their IB diploma course results. 

Thus far, the trend is that universities will be flexible in terms of their admissions practices. Different colleagues in admissions from the UK, US, Australia, Hong Kong, and Canada have stated to UNIS Hanoi counsellors that they will be looking at the student’s overall record since their applications arrived. 

Universities DO NOT want to lose amazing applicants like UNIS Hanoi students! The counseling team is working individually with universities and Grade 12 students to support them. The strong underlying belief is that so long as a Grade 12 student continues to be engaged in their school work, they should have unconditional offers.

Given everything that the Grade 12 students have lost in their senior year, this is one bright spot during this difficult time. 

University and College admissions update regarding Grade 11 students:

Many universities, including selective ones, are stating that they have decided to go “test optional” for the 2021 application year given that students are unable to sit for these standardized tests. They also understand that students’ extracurricular activities will be impacted and will be relying more on references and how the students are coping with this situation.

We remain fully committed to doing all that we can to assist UNIS Hanoi students and families throughout the application and admission processes. As developments continue to unfold, we will be in touch with affected students directly. 

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.”

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

MYP Students Recognised for Exhibiting IB Learner Profile Attributes

More than 30 students across grades 6 -10 have been recognized by their teachers for exhibiting the IB Learner Profile attributes of care, open-mindedness, and risk-taking among others. 

Eversince the Distance Learning programmes began, teachers have been left in awe of students’ resilience and personal development. The award scheme was initiated to give teachers the opportunity to congratulate students who have grown from the Distance Learning experience in ways they might not have expected. 

UNIS Hanoi’s MYP Coordinator, Daniel Cooper said, “Our teachers aren’t only tuned into how students are meeting learning outcomes and managing work; they are also able to observe how students are growing as independent learners, tackling new experiences and solving problems. These past months have given teachers an opportunity to see students demonstrate the Learner Profile attributes.”

Unable to present the awards in person, the School has been mailing the certificates to the homes of nominated students. 

We hope by posting the certificates to students, we can all feel more connected”, Daniel explained. 

The IB Learner Profiles are:

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.

Attendance

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.

Student Daily Distance Learning Schedules

In High School, Distance Learning schedules help to keep teachers, students, and parents organised.  This schedule follows your student’s on-campus block schedule and is easily visible in Veracross. Please help to make sure that your student is getting the most from our Distance Learning Programme by following their schedule.  If you have a question or concern, do not hesitate to reach out to our teachers directly. Thanks for your support during this unique time.

Student daily “schedules”

In High School

  • Mentors check in with students 2 times per week, on Mondays and Thursdays.  These times provide insight into student’s and their levels of engagement in Distance Learning as well as social and emotional well-being.  
  • Grade Level Teams meet weekly to discuss students of concern, upcoming assignments, and monitor Distance Learning engagement.
  • High School Leaders meet on Mondays to lay out the curricular and pastoral week. Counselors, Curriculum Leaders, Grade Level Leaders, and Administrators are all members of this team.
  • HS Teachers are available for Office Hours.  
  • Synchronous Lessons are scheduled once per week according to student schedules. 
  • An Asynchronous Lesson Plan is posted to Veracross on each day of classes.

Global Politics – Back in the Classroom

During Distance Learning, the Global Politics class used Facebook post threads to post a brief introduction on our own topic for the GIFA round and a video outlining the links to the human rights concepts, key concepts as well as related concepts which we have been learning in class for the past few months. Students were also required to submit a photo of their work after each class throughout the week.

The Distance Learning overall helped most of the students become more organized and have better time management whereas others had difficulties in keeping up on the updated work every day and was struggling to get the overdue work done. Another student said that in the beginning it was hard to get used to managing their own time but after a few weeks they were able to enjoy the new learning system. Although a few students have said that they found the distance learning style more effective than going to school, most of the students were very glad to be back in school this week.

This week, we were able to get back in our normal class but students could also enroll in distance learning by choice. Students did a discussion in pairs on their own case study for the GIFA round. We are given a paper with the main points to discuss about, and graded each other afterwards. We did multiple rounds which helped us reflect and work towards improving our grade for each discussion round, which encouraged us to have a thorough and strong knowledge about our topics.

By Moeka Gaman, G11

High School Students benefit from Virtual Classroom Experience

To make sure Grade 12 students remained on track with their learning during the campus closure, teachers hosted multiple ‘synchronous small group tutorials’ this week. Achieved thanks to technology, these small group tutorials offered a virtual classroom experience and was another way for teachers to give personalised teaching while maintaining contact with their students. 

Teachers cultivated virtual authentic learning experiences for other high school students as well.

It’s been a positive thing to see the ownership of learning and responsibility of the students come to life,” said Mr. Aitor (HS Language Acquisition teacher). “Student engagement of the learning activities seems to be high.”  

Teachers like Mr. Rey stayed in constant communication with students, regularly supporting and providing scaffolded instruction through a variety of web-based educational resources such as FlipGrid, Youtube, and Google Hangouts. Further proving that the UNIS Hanoi community can rise up to the challenge of finding new ways to learn during situations that require flexibility.

G10 Course Requests

Students in Grade 10 have been submitting their requests for academic courses in 2020/21. Grade 10 students were able to do this remotely by completing a Google Form shared by the DP Coordinator.

Since autumn 2019, Grade 10 students have been involved in a series of events and conversations aimed at supporting their pathway to graduation. This included Q&A sessions during High School Counselling lessons, the G10 Carousel, a discussion led by a panel of G12 students, the G10 Parents Information Evening, individual consultations with their High School Counsellor, as well as many conversations with DP teachers and DP students. The High School will now begin the process of scheduling students based on their requests for academic courses.