From the Middle School Counsellors

Dear UNIS Parents & Community,

Students at the Middle School Level continue to meet regularly with counsellors via counselling classes and individual meeting requests. As we move forward into semester two, please know counsellors are available to support students upon parent request as well. To find out more information about the Middle School counselling programme and other resources please access the following link: MS Parent Resources

These resources can also be found on the Veracross Parent Portal under the “Parent Resource Section” & “Student Success Team Resources for Parents.”


Grade 6
In counselling classes, grade 6 students are focusing on learning styles and organisational strategies.  

Counsellor: Sandra Flores  

Grade 7
In counselling classes, grade 7 students are focusing on further development of organisational skills.

Counsellor: Anwer Kamal 

Grade 8
In counselling classes, grade 8  students are finishing up inquiry regarding gender stereotypes. 

Counsellor: Sandra Flores 

Posted in MS

Supporting Middle Schoolers’ Reading: the Wider Reading Programme

At UNIS Hanoi, we aim to develop engaged, independent and confident readers. In Language and Literature classes, students:

  • are required to always be reading a book – novel, memoir or non-fiction – in addition to the texts we study in groups or as a whole class
  • visit the library at least once per unit to borrow books and hear from Mrs Hodgson about new and exciting titles in the library
  • complete an assessment task which requires them to make connections between their wider reading and the concepts and contexts we are exploring in class
  • spend ten minutes at the beginning of every lesson on wider reading or free writing.

Wider reading in each unit is supported by a LibGuide – a list of further texts available in the UNIS Hanoi library relevant to students work in class at the time.These lists are not exhaustive, and we always encourage students to pursue their own interests in their reading, but the LibGuide can be a great place to look for inspiration. Here are the LibGuides for our upcoming units.

Links to this information can also be found on the Wider Reading page for each grade level on our MS Language and Literature website.

As a Parent, How Can I Support My Middle Schooler Reading?

As a parent, some simple and effective strategies include:

  • recommend your favourite books to your children
  • discuss what they are reading
  • read books they recommend
  • model good reading habits; make sure they see that you are a reader
  • discuss what you are reading
  • be a little flexible about bedtimes if they are staying up a little later to read
  • remove electronic devices from bedrooms
Posted in MS

Middle School Updates

Hello Middle School!

Veracross Gradebook Reminder 

What an exciting time of year!  We’ve done trip week, had an autumn break, and celebrated UN Day!  We’ve also come to the end of the first quarter of the year (October 25th).  It is an important time for families to develop an understanding of how their children are achieving academically at UNIS Hanoi Middle School.

Beginning last year, the Middle School started using the Veracross Gradebook to communicate more fluidly with students and their families.  As a MS faculty, we agreed that through this more dynamic communication, all would benefit.  Celebrations and concerns can be addressed when they arise, rather than waiting, and students see the impact of weekly efforts on their achievements.  

If you haven’t had the opportunity to take a look through your student’s Veracross Gradebook, please do. If you have questions for individual teachers, please do reach out to them via email, and, as always, the Middle School Office Team welcomes your comments and suggestions.

GOA Course for Grade 7 Students 

This week, our Grade 7 students started a Global Online Academy course called Growth, Grit and Gratitude. In this two-week course, students will design a personalised wellness toolkit packed with life hacks that will serve them well throughout their time in school and beyond. They will identify their strengths, use them when faced with a challenge, and explore strategies to change the way they think to affect how they feel and act. 

The course will be framed around three concepts: growth, grit and gratitude. Students will explore and develop their ideas of what it means to live life with purpose, a sense of power over how they think and feel, and the ability to create and sustain a sense of well-being. Students walk away from this module with an understanding of actions they can take to thrive academically, socially, and emotionally.  In addition, they will benefit from trying an online course format, something they will definitely experience in their future.

If you are a Grade 7 parents and haven’t heard about it yet, ask your student, check your email, and take a look…really great stuff!

Happiness, stress, and Well-Being 

How happy and content are you?  How do I manage the bad stress I feel from various activities? How does the amount of sleep I get impact my motivation in school?  All of these questions and more are part of our “UNIS Hanoi Middle School Well-Being Tracker” survey that starts tomorrow. Students will be asked to reflect on the past 24hrs to answer the questions. In addition, there will be links included to help answer questions and offer support and celebration. The survey will go out weekly and the data will be used in conjunction with counseling and mentorship activities. If you have questions, please see your student’s email for a copy of the survey or stop by the Middle School Office.

Thanks for your support!
Marc, JJ, and the MS Team

Mad Science Club in the Middle School

Middle School students have been hanging out in the Science lab@ lunch from 11:05-12:00, exploring the world of Chemistry.

Our spectacular demonstrations, hands-on activities, and real world chats make learning about science fun for kids! So far we’ve have created mini fireworks, sugar fireballs and this week they have set bubbles alight. Safety first, of course; everyone still has their eyebrows!

Our interactive, 50 minute sessions are themed around particular areas of science and include such topics as rocketry, magnets, polymers, and even the science of toys. Students decide!

If you are in MS or have a child in MS, encourage them to check it out. They can come any time, dip in or dip out and learn more about real life science through experiments.
Every Thursday 11:05am-12pm.







Before you go, here are a couple of chemistry jokes for the weekend:

A small piece of sodium that lived in a test tube fell in love with a Bunsen burner. “Oh Bunsen, my flame,” the sodium pined. “I melt whenever I see you,” The Bunsen burner replied, “It’s just a phase you’re going through.

  Q: What do you call a clown who’s in jail?
  A: A silicon.

  Q: Why can’t you trust atoms?
  A: They make up everything!

If you need more info or have questions, contact in Middle School Science

Middle School Parent Session – Friday, September 20

Dear Middle School Parents,

We are excited to invite you to the first Middle School Parent Information Session of 2019/20 on Friday 20 September. We will be discussing not only the first month of school and MS Trips, but also highlight our divisional focus on Student Success. Jennifer Coleman, our MS Learning Support Teacher and Student Intervention Team Lead will be on hand, as well as, our new MS Counsellors, Ms. Sandra Flores and Mr. Anwer Kamal. Please come!

The parent sessions are a result of listening to your feedback about busy times on campus and aim to incorporate “mini-sessions” that will include programme information, upcoming event highlights, and open Q&A.

Please note that while all sessions throughout the year will be held in B7’s Community Room, the times do vary between morning and noon during the year. Grab a coffee or snack from the canteen and come join us. We look forward to sharing with you about our UNIS Hanoi Middle School!


Marc, JJ, and the MS Team

Build a family in Middle School!






Dear Middle School,

Calling on parents interested in getting more involved as Middle School Grade Level Parents:

  • play a key role in maintaining open and positive communication between families and the school
  • help build a friendly atmosphere in your grade level
  • welcome families who arrive mid-year

Click here for more information

I am happy to introduce myself as the MS representative on the SCO Executive for this school year.
I have a son, Cody in grade 6, and my daughter Caitlin is in Grade 9. My wife, Sharon is with a International NGO and this is our 4th year in Hanoi.
Please feel free to contact me in relation to SCO and middle school matters of a social/community context.I will try to help as best I can, or at least direct you to someone who may.
The SCO Executive is looking for grade level parents to help with aspects of the school year. This includes UN Day, making contact with new families that come in, and having the opportunity to speak with with middle school leadership in relation to the middle school and UNIS.
If you have an interest please contact me.
Grade levels 6, 7 and 8.
Kind regards and will be following for future events.
Garry Riechert
Middle School representative
School Community Organisation
Posted in MS

Middle School Back to School Night

We very much look forward to seeing you for Back to School Night this Tuesday evening, 27 August, from 18:00 – 20:30.

This evening will provide an opportunity for you to run through your student’s schedule, to meet their teachers, and to find out more about each of their classes.

As we continue to work towards our goal of sustainability, we ask that you find your child’s schedule on Veracross and use that to guide you on Back to School Night. We will not be printing schedules for all students. Below are the documents that will help to guide you through this process:

  • How to View My Child(ren)’s Schedule on Veracross
  • How to Save Veracross to My Mobile Phone
  • The schedule for Back to School Night (8 min/class with 5 min passing times).

The evening will begin in your student’s HomeBase room and the flow of classes will be a Day 1 and 2, classes A-J.

Please note if there is a an Academic Prep or Counselling lesson on your student’s schedule any of these blocks, please attend the class associated with it. (i.e. If on Day 1 Block B the schedule says go to Counselling, and students have Design Block B, then go to Design.  You can find the locations and room numbers on your student’s schedule.)

Also, MS Physical and Health Education (PHE) teachers will be in Health Rooms (upstairs in the Sports Centre – B4):

  • Mr. Gibbons B4-101,
  • Mrs. Thompson in B4-102
  • Mr. Ostrom B4-104

Your students have also been given the plan for Back to School Night and are being encouraged to talk about their class schedule with you for clarity. During HomeBase this week, students will have time to ask their mentors any questions they may have regarding the Back-to-School Night schedule.

Lastly, there will be tech help desks set up from 17:30 onwards on Tuesday night to help you with all of your tech concerns (calendar, passwords, Haiku, Veracross, etc).

Thank you for working with us towards advancing our school’s commitment to the use of Veracross to improve home-school communication.

We are excited to have you on campus next Tuesday evening, 27 August.

Thanks for your support,

The MS Staff, JJ and Marc

Meet our new Middle School Teachers

MS Counsellor: Mohommad Anwer Kamal

Anwer is from India and was previously working as a Middle School Counsellor in China. Prior to working in China, Anwer worked at Woodstock International School in India. He has his Master’s in School Counselling from Colorado, USA, and also has a Master’s in Social Work and a Bachelor’s in Psychology from Delhi, India. Anwer’s wife, Shannon, is working at UNIS Hanoi in Elementary PE.

MS MYP English: Laura England

Laura has been teaching Language and Literature and Digital Design over the past 8 years at GSLC in Darwin, Australia. Her experience includes working as MYP Coordinator, Projects Coordinator and Head of Arts, Design, and Language Acquisition. She has co-authored the Hodder Education Skills for Success MYP Personal and Community Project books. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Arts, a Graduate Diploma of Education, and has commenced a Master of Education focusing on literacy and language development. Laura is from New Zealand.

MS MYP Individuals and Societies: Fady Tabbara

Fady is Canadian of Lebanese descent. Before teaching, he worked in television and radio in Toronto as a writer and producer. He has been teaching in international schools for 18 years and has worked in South Korea, Bangladesh, and Ghana. He started his teaching career in Elementary School and moved to Middle School Humanities in 2008. Fady has a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology, a diploma in Radio and Television Broadcasting, and a Master’s in Education. 

MS MYP Math/Science: Barbara Neocleous

Barbara comes from Cyprus and has been living abroad for the last 20 years. She has been teaching Physics, Maths and Science since 2007 and has had roles as Head of Science and CAS Coordinator. Barbara has worked in The Netherlands, India, England and for the last five years, in Basel, Switzerland, where she taught Physics and Wellbeing. She has a BSc in Physics and an MSc in Mathematics & Science Education. Barbara’s partner is Harry (ES Teacher).

MS/HS Counsellor: Sandra Flores

Sandra has been teaching and counseling for 10 years in the United States, Myanmar, and Japan. Sandra is originally from the border region between the United States and Mexico: El Paso, Texas. Before going into school counselling, Sandra taught English Language Arts and advisory where her interest in counselling stemmed from. Before arriving in Vietnam, Sandra worked as a whole school counsellor for grades K-8 at Tokyo International School. Sandra has a Masters of Arts in Teaching and a Counselling Certification. She joins UNIS Hanoi with her husband Jonathan (MS/HS Tech Coach).

MS/HS Technology & Innovation Coach: Jonathan Ray Gomez

Jon’s life has centered around education in a variety of ways over the past nine years. Formally an English teacher from the USA, Jon has spent the preceding five years honing his areas of expertise and experience as a Design Teacher and Technology Coach. He most recently resumed said roles at Seisen International School. Jon has a Bachelor’s in English, and a Master’s in Instructional Technologies. He joins UNIS Hanoi with his wife Sandra (MS/HS Counsellor).

MS Science and Language A: Lianne Lapalme

Lianne is a Canadian who has been teaching internationally for the last 14 years. She has taught in South Korea, Guatemala, Egypt, and the U.A.E. Most recently, she was the Head of the Middle School Science Department at Dubai American Academy. She has a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Education. She is  accompanied by her husband, Joseph Christie (HS Science Teacher) and their daughter.

Librarian/Media Specialist: Catherine Hodgson

Originally from Australia, Kate has over 30 years experience in classroom teaching and school libraries. Prior to coming to UNIS Hanoi, she worked at Jakarta Intercultural School, Indonesia, (20 years) and Seoul International School, South Korea (2 years) as well as several schools in Australia. Her husband Murray is currently in administration for a mining corporation in Indonesia. Australia is her homeland where her two grown sons, lovely daughter-in-law and gorgeous grand-daughter now  reside.

Director of Enrolment and Marketing Management: Teri K. Ostrom 

T.K. began her career in the corporate industries advancing the mission and helping these organisations understand customer service including telling a story about their vision. Since leaving the corporate sector, she has spent 15 years in Admission/Advancement with schools in the United States, China, and Guatemala. She has also provided her expertise as a consultant with international schools throughout the world. T.K. has a Bachelor’s degree in Recreation and is from the United States.

D-12 Speech and Language Pathologist: Brian Walker

Brian has been a speech-language pathologist, providing therapy to children and adults, for more than 20 years.  Before becoming a SLP, he taught English in Papua New Guinea and China.  Most recently, Brian was the SLP at the American School in Japan. He has spent the last year traveling and working in Europe.  Brian and his wife are originally from the United States. 

School Health Centre Coordinator: Joanne Connolly (Jo)

Jo has been working as a Registered Nurse for 14 years in New Zealand and Australia and for the past 4 years as part of the clinical education team within the private healthcare sector in Australia. Jo has a Bachelor’s Degree of Nursing from New Zealand. During the 90’s Jo was an expat child in Hanoi for 7 years, which is where her passion for nursing was born. Jo has 2 children. Jo and her husband are originally from New Zealand.

Athletic Trainer: Marc Voicechovski

Marc is a Certified Athletic Trainer, dealing with the prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation of athletic injuries. Previously, Marc worked at the Delbarton School for 8 years and also worked for a physical therapy clinic, while serving as the Head Athletic Trainer for Mamaroneck High School. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Athletic Training and a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Sciences. Marc, and his wife Cydny, are from New Jersey, USA.

Middle School Celebrations

Grade 8 Parents!

Please join us on Friday, June 7th at 1:30PM in the Center for the Arts for Grade 8 Promotion. The Grade 8 Promotion Ceremony is a celebration of the transition of UNIS Hanoi students from the Middle School to the High School. Parents are invited to witness this important moment in their child’s lives. Those relatives that cannot make it to campus on that day may watch the event via live stream.

Congratulations to students and parents!

Posted in MS

Middle School Teachers Leaving in 2019

Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family. – Kofi Annan

This is the time of year when our entire community is in transition.  Members of our school community are either leaving, entering a new place, or being left behind. Transition impacts us all.  

Many of our teachers are also in transition.  We are grateful to the following educators who have put their hearts and souls into creating exceptional learning experiences for our students, and have contributed to our school values of Learning, Community and Responsibility.  

  • Donna Bracewell (10 years of service) – Moving to Kenya
  • Maurice Humphries (7 years of service) – Taking a sabbatical year
  • Paul Swanson (6 years of service) – Moving to Singapore
  • Medeha Zahid (6 years of service) – Moving to Lebanon
  • Lori Key (5 years of service) – Moving to Korea
  • Deborah Wells-Clinton (5 years of service)- Moving to Hanoi International School
  • Heidi Pullen (4 years of service) – Moving to Singapore
  • Joan Hargrave (3 years of service) – RETIRING after 42 years in education! Moving to Malaysia
  • Kirk Jackson (2 years of service) – Moving to UK
  • Paula Wilcox (2 years of service) – Going to be a full-time mother
  • Nicholas Valldejuli (1 year of service) – Moving to Czech Republic
  • Milene Magre (1 year of service)- Moving to UNIS Hanoi Elementary School French
  • Susan Renaud (6 months of service)- Moving to Thailand

These teachers have all been part of the fabric of our Middle School.  They have contributed to the incredible educational process with your students and for that, we are forever grateful.  Please make sure to join me and the other “stayers” in wishing them well as they move on to new adventures in life.




Posted in MS