Common Questions

To assist with any initial inquiries, we encourage you to peruse the questions and answers below which cover a broad range of objectives and operations of our school. If you have any further questions, please contact our Admissions Office. Click on the question below to view or hide an answer.

Admissions

What are the school hours?

Early Childhood 1 AM Class        8:00 am - 11:00am 

Early Childhood 1 PM Class        12:00 pm - 3:00pm

Early Childhood 2 to Grade 12     8:00 am - 3:00 pm

Does my child need to have an American passport to join AIS?

No, AIS welcomes applications from all nationalities. AIS was founded to enhance, broaden and support the educational choice of families in Hong Kong. We accept applications from both the local and international communities in Hong Kong.

Can non-Hong Kong residents apply to AIS?

Applicants who have not yet received Hong Kong residential status may apply to AIS. However, before enrolling at AIS, proof must be provided that the applicants meet Hong Kong Immigration requirements for entry to a school in Hong Kong prior to enrollment. Visit the Hong Kong Immigration Department website for their requirements. 

Does AIS offer the IB program?

No. AIS delivers a rigorous academic program based on established US educational standards, including the Common Core State Standards.

The school's Expected Schoolwide Learning Results (ESLRs) ensure a holistic, well-rounded education for every student.

The school is fully accredited by WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges)1

Our college preparatory program has an established record of student admissions to some of the finest universities and colleges in the United States and internationally. Click here to view university acceptances and destinations for our recent graduates. AIS is also an approved AP and SAT2 Test Centre. 

1The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) is one of the six schools and colleges accrediting associations in the United States.

2AIS is a long-standing member of the College Board, a nonprofit organization in the United States which offers SAT, the Advanced Placement (AP) program, and examinations to students in the United States and worldwide.

What areas are covered by our school bus service?

The school bus service at American International School is provided by California Coach Limited, an established independent bus service company that has been operating since AIS was founded in 1986. It offers an extensive range of school bus routes across Kowloon, New Territories, and Hong Kong Island areas. Please note that the bus service is unable to provide a door-to-door service. However, most students will be picked up close to their homes or from appropriate public transport points. The school bus service brings children to school in time for the start of classes in the morning and takes them home after school concludes in the afternoon.

Student safety is of primary importance. All buses have a designated driver, a ‘bus-mother’, and a clear set of rules governing behavior on the bus. Families interested in joining the school bus service are requested to refer to our important information from this page.

Is there a restricted time when admissions applications need to be made?

No. AIS adopts a rolling admissions process. As an international school we understand the transient nature of the international community and the impact this can have on a child's schooling. However, applicants are strongly encouraged to refer to our admissions timetable and apply early due to our limited spaces and small class sizes. Parents are required to contact our Admissions Office to check for availability prior to their application.

Does my child need to be in Hong Kong to take the assessments?

Yes. All of our admissions tests and assessments are conducted on our campus by our teachers or admissions specialists. If a family arrives to Hong Kong for a short visit, it is possible to schedule the written or one-on-one assessment and interview (if granted) within the same week.

Do all applicants get an interview from the principal?

No. Assessments for Early Childhood 1 to Grade 1 Junior applicants are hosted in a playgroup setting, so no individual interviews are required for these grade levels. Interviews with principals are arranged for Grade 1 to 12 applicants, which involve both the child and his or her parents. Interviews are granted based on review of all previous school records, feedback from the Student Reference Forms, and performance on the AIS admissions tests. Applicants who are not invited for an interview are denied for admission and can reapply again after 6 months.

What is the purpose of the annual capital levy?

The purpose of the annual capital levy is to fund the school's campus maintenance projects.

Do I have to buy a debenture for my child to study at AIS?

No. Remaining true to our founding mission of providing an affordable option for families seeking an American international educational program in Hong Kong, AIS, unlike most other international schools has instinctively resisted the introduction of a debenture scheme.

Can you recommend some residential areas close to the school?

The American International School is located in Kowloon Tong, an area in Hong Kong’s Kowloon peninsula. It is a low-density, relatively expensive residential district with many historical buildings and schools with standing reputation. The landmarks in Kowloon Tong are the Lion Rock Hill and the old site of the Kai Tak airport.

Kowloon Tong is in close proximity to the following suggested residential areas:

Ho Man Tin: a relative low-density residential area and minutes walk from the busy Mongkok area, a prosperous corner with multiple shops and attractions. Ho Man Tin is about 5-minutes car distance from Kowloon Tong. (Bus routes to AIS: #7, 3c)

Hung Hom: a well developed residential area bordering Victoria Harbour and nearby Tsim Sha Tsui, a famous tourist hub in Hong Kong. Hung Hom is about 10-minutes car distance from Kowloon Tong. (Train route to AIS: Take East Rail Line from Hung Hom Station.)

Whampoa: a convenient, well developed residential area with close proximity to ferry to the Hong Kong Island. Whampoa is about 10-minutes car distance from Kowloon Tong. (Minibus routes to AIS: #2, 2A)

Diamond Hill: a convenient and populated residential area on the MTR line, approximately 15-minutes car distance from Kowloon Tong. (Train route to AIS: Take Kung Tong Line from Diamond Hill MTR station.)

Kowloon City: an old area in Hong Kong, filled with all kinds of authentic and affordable cuisines. Kowloon City is about 5-minutes car distance from Kowloon Tong. (Minibus routes to AIS: #25M)

Service Apartments in Kowloon:
Horizon Suites and Hotels

Do AIS students wear uniforms?

AIS students from Early childhood to Grade 12 are required to wear school uniform. 

Students wear the AIS summer uniform in trimesters 1 and 3. They wear the AIS winter uniform in trimester 2.

Students also wear school PE uniforms and athletics team uniforms when representing AIS in inter-school sports competitions.

Is there a hot lunch program? Can students bring their own lunch from home? Does the school provide facilities to heat up meals?

As a school committed to providing a high quality educational experience for both students and teachers, we recognize the important role the school catering service has in supporting a positive climate. We expect the products to be fresh and healthy, the cost to be affordable, and the level of service to be appropriate to the needs of our international school community. It is important to us that our students and teachers have a daily menu that is well-balanced and nutritionally appropriate.

Our catering provider, Café Concepts, prepares food on campus from 8am to 1:30pm on every school day. They prepare and serve a variety of hot meals, a daily selection of sandwiches, soups, noodles, salads, baked potatoes, pizzas and various savory snacks. 

All canteen transactions are cashless. Students and staff use their stored-value school ID cards to purchase all food and beverages. There is an optional monthly lunch plan for our enrolling Early Childhood 2 to Grade 4 students. 

Students may choose to bring lunch with them when they come to school in the morning. There are microwave ovens in the canteen to store and heat up meals.

There are teaching staff to supervise the students during lunch time in the canteen. EC2 and Grade One Junior students eat in their classrooms, supervised by their own teacher.

How can parents get involved in the school community?

AIS warmly welcomes parents to be involved in school activities and has many volunteer opportunities available throughout the year such as classroom volunteer, coaching a sports team, field-trip chaperons or serving on the Parent-Teacher Association. Parents can learn more by contacting the principals directly or by contacting our PTA at pta@ais.edu.hk. 

How many students are there in a class?

We have a student-teacher ratio of 1:15. The average class size varies in between 20 to 24 students. Our class sizes are kept to a maximum of 20 students in Early Childhood to Grade 1 Junior classes; 24 students in Grade 1 to Grade 12 classes.

What amount of homework should my child expect?

This varies by division and is a gradual build-up to the heavier academic loads of a college preparatory program. For example, a Grade 3 student may have only 20-30 minutes of homework per day while a Grade 8 student may have up to two hours per day. By the time a student reaches high school, he or she may have as much as 20 hours per week.

Where do the teachers come from?

Our teachers represent an international body, coming from the US and all over the world including Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, France, Korea and Singapore. Our modern language teachers are native speakers from their home countries. All teachers are fully qualified and approved by the Hong Kong Education Bureau. About one-third of our teachers are American citizens and half of our faculty hold master degrees or above.

What kinds of special programs are offered at AIS?

Beyond meeting the challenges of the academic program, students at AIS are expected to participate in a variety of extra-curricular activities. High school students are also required to complete a minimum number of community service hours in high school. There is an established Outdoor Education and Leadership Program which requires every student to participate in a systematic program of outdoor activities, day camps, residential camps across upper elementary and middle school and participate in overseas community service trips when they reach high school.

What is the enrollment at AIS?

Please visit our AIS Profile page for more details.

What does the Chinese component of the curriculum include? What modern languages are offered?

In Early Childhood 1 to Grade 8, Mandarin is compulsory. Simplified Chinese (Putonghua) are taught at AIS Mandarin classes. Students receive an average of 3 to 5 Mandarin classes per week, and they are placed in ability groups according to their levels. High school students (Grade 9 to 12) may choose between Mandarin or French within their Modern Foreign Languages program. 

What assessments do AIS students take?

Students are assessed internally throughout the year to ensure they have achieved the educational outcomes and objectives according to our Expected Schoolwide Learning Results (ESLR) and the US Common Core State Standards. Academic progress is reported formally each trimester when report cards and progress report cards are issued. Advanced Placement (AP) examinations administered by the US College Board take place at the school for our senior high school students in May. AIS is an approved SAT Test Center allowing AIS high school students to take both PSAT and SAT tests on campus.

What are the technology resources on campus?

There is a very high level of technology-use across the school. It is an integral component of our curriculum and is used extensively by our faculty and students in support of high quality teaching and learning. Interactive whiteboards are installed in every classroom across the school. There are 4 dedicated computer labs, computer pods in most classrooms, an e-library and an e-corner in the elementary library. Digital projectors are installed in every classroom. The use of highly sophisticated and comprehensive e-books is growing. Electronic versions of core textbooks are commonly used, as is the use of Moodle. Digital design, film-making and music production are popular choices for students at AIS.

AIS introduces the Digital Learning Environment Program in 2015-2016. All Grade 4 and 5 students are required to purchase a Chromebook and bring to each class. All middle and high school students are required to Bring Their Own Technology (BYOT) to the school to enhance their learning. Check this site for more information.

What are the academic requirements for graduation?

To graduate with an AIS High School Diploma, all high school students are required to successfully complete 28 credits in the following subject areas: English 4 credits, Mathematics 4 credits, Science 4 credits, Humanities 4 credits, Modern Foreign Language 2 credits, Physical and Health Education 2 credits, Visual and Performing Arts 2 credits, Information Technology 2 credits, and 4-5 elective credits. Click here for full details on AIS Graduation Requirements.

How does the school communicate with parents?

The AIS Development & Communications Office sends out monthly newsletter Eagle-i informing parents of school activities and announcements concerning their child and the school. Parents are free to contact their child’s teachers by email or over the phone through the school administrative office. Various meeting sessions are also arranged during the school year including parents orientation evenings, parent-teacher conferences and principal’s coffee mornings. For further information, please refer to our latest version of the Family Handbook.