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Head of School Hello

Ms. Anita Simpson, Head of School

It is my absolute pleasure to welcome you to American International School (AIS), as the Head of School. AIS boasts a vibrant learning community, passionate educators, a rich tradition of excellence, and 35 years of providing an outstanding education for its students and families in Hong Kong.

At AIS, we deliver a comprehensive and challenging academic program that fosters a love of learning and prepares students to meet the responsibilities and expectations of global citizenship. Our core values of Justice, Knowledge, and Love are the foundation upon which we design all of our learning experiences and how we build, confidence, character, and courage in each of our students – from our early learners to our upcoming graduates. Our caring culture is the cornerstone of school life, and, together with our core values and focus on creativity and innovation, we set our students up for success in a rapidly changing world.

AIS students participate in a wide range of innovative learning experiences and extra-curricular activities, facilitated by our dedicated teaching staff. The school also offers an extensive range of diverse opportunities for learning, including seasonal intermural and varsity sports, visual and performing arts, and special interest clubs including Model United Nations, Global Issues, and student government. Our active Parent Teacher Advisory (PTA) ensures that our parents remain partners in their childrens’ learning.

Above all else, AIS is a place where students make wonderful friendships and memories that last a lifetime. I invite you to come and visit us. Once you see what we have to offer, I am confident that you will want to become a part of our amazing learning community.

Anita Simpson
Head of School

IMPORTANT UPDATES

Dear Parents, Students, and Families,

What a wonderful week we’ve just had! It was beyond fantastic to see so many of our students again. Their energy and enthusiasm made every day bright, and we are grateful for the opportunity to connect with them again.

Our classrooms were filled with rich learning experiences, and we are hopeful that you’ve heard about some of the activities that occurred this week from your children.

Fall Break

Next week, 28 September – 2 October is AIS’s Fall Break. We sincerely hope that you and your family are able to enjoy the week, and we look forward to seeing our littlest learners back on campus on Monday, 5 October. That will be a treat! Be sure to check the Weekly Update from Divisional Principals for more detail.

Food and Beverages

A quick reminder that according to the government-approved, School Resumption Plan, students in EC1-Grade 2 will not consume food on campus and will bring water to school from home. When we return from the Fall Break, students in Grades 3-12 will either bring a lunch or receive their pre-ordered boxed lunch from Cafe Concepts, in accordance with the approved plan. Lunch order forms will be sent home soon. Be sure to read your divisional weekly update for more details.

Important Reminders

  • Parents must notify the school immediately if they or a member of their family is found to be a confirmed case of COVID-19 or
  • If they are classified as a “close contact” of an infected person with COVID-19 by the CHP.
  • AIS will follow the direction of the CHP in these situations.
  • ALL Parents MUST take their child’s temperature prior to departing for school, record the temperature in your child’s agenda (EC1-Grade 4) and on EDB Form ANNEX 10 (Grades 5 – 12) and sign the form each day.
    • Print out the Government’s Annex10 Form,
    • Glue or staple it into an AIS A4 lined notebook or keep in a plastic sleeve
    • Fill it in every day with your recorded temperature before leaving home.
    • Bring it to school each day you are on campus but record your temp daily.
    • This form MUST be signed by parents / guardians and shown to your child’s period 1 teacher every morning.
  • Children with temperatures above 37.5℃ should NOT be sent to school.
  • Bus Mothers will take ALL students’ temperatures prior to boarding.
    • Children with temperatures above 37.5℃ will NOT be allowed to board the bus.
  • All students will have their temperatures checked before entering campus.
  • Everyone on campus MUST wear a mask at all times.
  • Send children with a disposable medical or government issued reusable mask.
  • Send children with spare masks each day.
  • Masks with vents are NOT permitted.

We hope that all is well with you and your family and wish you all a wonderful weekend and week ahead.

My best,

Anita Simpson
Head of School

Dear Parents, Students, and Families,

I am very pleased to share with you that our AIS Plan for School Resumption submitted to the Education Bureau (EDB) was approved today. Government approval signals that our plan meets all of the guidelines and high standards set by the Centre for Health Protection (CHP), as well as the EDB.

A great deal of thought, care, and detail went into our AIS School Resumption Plan, and approval indicates that our careful and differentiated approach has made a difference. We continue to believe that our primary purpose is to keep a safe school when our students return to campus. You have our commitment that we will closely monitor the health and wellbeing of our AIS community and take every precaution available to ensure that our students stay safe.

Summary of Survey Feedback

As mentioned in my previous message, AIS proposed two different models of school resumption to the AIS school community, and it was clear from the survey feedback that neither model alone fit the needs of the entire school community. As a result, a blended model was proposed to the Education Bureau, one that better met the specific needs expressed by the vast majority of AIS parents, students, and faculty in different divisions. Below is an overview of the approved plan. Once again, details specific to each division will be provided by your Divisional Principals.

Confirmed Re-entry Plan

We look forward to welcoming back our High School and Grade 4 students on 23-24 September and our Middle School and Grade 3 students on 25 September. All other grades will return following the Fall Break on 5 October. See below for additional details. Please also be sure to carefully review tomorrow’s 18 September Important Family Updates from your Divisional Principals to be sure that you are aware of all schedule changes and your child is properly prepared for his or her return.

The Weekly Schedules

Students in Grades 3 – 12 will return to school on 23-25 September, according to the schedule below. Further details and schedules will be provided by Divisional Principals.

Students in EC1, EC2, Grade 1 Junior, Grade 1, and Grade 2 will return to school on October 5 and according to the schedule below.

Fall Break

AIS will proceed with its regularly scheduled Fall Break, as previously published in our AIS School Year Calendar. Students will be on break from 29 September to 2 October.

Food and Beverages

According to the government-approved, School Resumption Plan, students in EC1-Grade 2 will not consume food on campus and will bring water to school from home. Students in Grades 3-12 will be able to use the water filling stations and will need to bring a lunch from home on 23-25 September. Following the Fall Break, and beginning on 5 October, students in Grades 3-12 will either bring a lunch or receive a boxed lunch from Cafe Concepts for the next two weeks, in accordance with the approved plan. A return to full service lunches is likely to follow, but we will assess this closer to that time. Parents of students in Grades 3-12 will receive a lunch order form from the AIS Office very soon.

Emergency Contacts

It is especially important that families have updated their emergency contact information at this time. AIS staff will need to have current information on file, in the event that your child becomes sick while at school. The EDB has directed all schools to send children with fevers who are severely ill to seek medical attention if families cannot be reached. Having correct contact details on file with the office has never been more important.

Important Reminders

  • ALL Parents MUST take their child’s temperature prior to departing for school, record the temperature in your child’s agenda (EC1-Grade 4) and on EDB Form ANNEX 10 (Grades 5 – 12) and sign the form each day. More detail will be provided by Divisional Principals.
  • Children with temperatures above 37.5℃ should NOT be sent to school.
  • Bus Mothers will take ALL students’ temperatures prior to boarding.
  • Children with temperatures above 37.5℃ will NOT be allowed to board the bus.
  • All students will have their temperatures checked before entering campus.
  • Everyone on campus MUST wear a mask at all times.
  • Send children with a disposable medical or government issued reusable mask.
  • Send children with spare masks each day.
  • Masks with vents are NOT permitted.

PTA Update

Thank you so much to all families for casting your votes for the 2020-2021 PTA Executive Committee. We appreciate your participation and support. Stay tuned for confirmation of this year’s executive soon!

Gratitude

As always, on behalf of the AIS Leadership Team, I want to thank you for your ongoing support. We recognize that these remain challenging times for so many, and we are appreciative of your partnership. We know we are blessed to have the supportive community we do and are genuinely excited to see our students again very soon!

Until then, stay safe and well.

My best,

Anita Simpson
Head of School

Dear Parents, Students, Families, and Faculty,

Thank you for sharing your feedback with us regarding the model of school resumption preferred by you and your family. We have now collated all of the responses and submitted our AIS School Resumption Plan to the Education Bureau. Submitting a model to the Education Bureau does not mean that approval will be granted. We now await feedback on our plan and will immediately share any information we receive with you.

Here are the guiding principles we used to develop our plan:

  • Honor student, parent, and faculty voice;
  • Follow the health and safety guidelines issued by the Education Bureau and Centre for Health Protection;
  • Ensure that social distancing and hygiene guidelines are faithfully observed.

Summary of Survey Feedback

A total of 860 survey responses were submitted:

  • The majority of parents from EC1 – Grade 2 preferred Model 1.
  • The majority of parents and students from Grades 3-12 preferred Model 2.
  • As a result, a BLENDED model for school resumption has been proposed.

Overview of The Proposal

PLEASE NOTE: Model 1 and Model 2 are being proposed at the same time.

MODEL 1

For students in EC1, EC2, Grade 1 Junior, Grade 1, and Grade 2.

A. Application for half-day class resumption
  • The majority of AIS parents preferred a half day of on-campus instruction for their children in these grades.
  • Students attend half day every day, during school resumption.
  • Students in these grades will not eat at school.
  • EC1 students already attend half days.

MODEL 2

For students in Grade 3 – 12.

B. Application for full-day class resumption
  • This model is preferred by the majority of AIS parents and students in these grades.
  • Half of all students in Grades 3-12 attend school for a full day of school on campus for two consecutive days, followed by two consecutive days of Online School at home. Essentially, while half of all students in these grades are on campus, the other half will participate in Online School.
  • This schedule reduces student density by approximately half every day, while still allowing students to attend full days for two days in a row. Students will continuously repeat the schedule below throughout the period of school resumption, until further notice.
  • This model will support efficient and effective contract tracing.
  • The model also reduces the travelling time on public transportation by half.
  • Students will eat lunch on campus in socially distanced settings.

Proposed Re-entry Schedule OVERVIEW, EC1 – Grade 12

Fall Break

AIS will proceed with its regularly scheduled Fall Break, as indicated in the schedule above and the previously published AIS School Year Calendar. Students will be on break from 29 September to 2 October.

Food and Beverages

According to the current plan, students in EC1-Grade 2 will not consume food on campus and will bring water to school from home. Students in Grades 3-12 will need to bring a lunch from home on 23-25 September. Following the Fall Break, students in Grades 3-12 will either bring a lunch or receive a boxed lunch from Cafe Concepts for the next two weeks. A return to full service lunches is likely to follow. We will assess this as the time comes. Further details on food services will be provided following government approval of the School Resumption Plan.

PTA Update

Please stay tuned for the first important PTA Newsletter from our President, Mr. David Chang, on Monday, 14 September. David will be asking all families to cast their votes for the new PTA Executive for 2020-2021. Be sure to participate and to look out for this important message.

Gratitude

Thank you once again for sharing your feedback and thoughts with us. While we know we cannot always find a solution that meets every family’s needs, we are confident that the plan we submitted is in line with the needs and wishes of the majority of parents, students, and faculty. I trust that this information is helpful, and I look forward to providing you with an update shortly.

Until then, enjoy the weekend, and be well.

My best,

Anita Simpson
Head of School

Dear Parents, Students, Families, and Faculty,

Moments ago, we received word from the Hong Kong Education Bureau that schools will be allowed to resume face-to-face classes in two phases, beginning on 23 and 29 September 2020 respectively. To minimize the risk of infection and to facilitate thorough cleaning, schools are being advised to offer half-day classes at this time; however, as previously announced, we will proceed with our plan to survey parents regarding their preferred model of school resumption.

Below is an infographic that outlines the essential elements of each model. Tomorrow, you will receive a survey asking you to indicate which model you would like AIS to submit to the Education Bureau for approval: Model 1 or Model 2. Submitting a model to the Education Bureau does not mean that approval will be granted; however, we would like to propose the model most desired by our school community. Please note that Model 1 was the model we previously used last May when we resumed classes.

We look forward to your feedback and to seeing our wonderful students back on campus very soon.

My best,

Anita Simpson
Head of School

Dear Parents, Students, and Families,

We have officially completed our second week of Online School, and students and faculty are comfortably settling into new routines and schedules. The learning opportunities we have witnessed already are inspiring and engaging, and we are enthusiastic about the programs and supports that are being offered this year.

Communication at AIS

At AIS, we believe in the importance of open, direct, and ongoing communication. It is critical that our families, parents, and students bring their feedback directly to us so that we can promptly respond to their ideas, issues, and any concerns they may have. Coming directly to us models our Core Value of Love and demonstrates your care, compassion, and support for our school, the school community, and all of the people in it. We approach everyone in our school community with an open heart and open mind, and we expect everyone in our school community to do the same.

If you wish to share your thoughts with the AIS Administration, please don’t hesitate to give us a call, send us an email, or forward us a confidential letter, so that we might immediately help you address any suggestions, ideas, or concerns you might have. We sincerely believe that our parents are partners in making our school the wonderful place of learning it currently is, and all parents need to do their part to model the Core Values we collectively hold dear, as a school community. We remain grateful for your support and thank you for all you do on behalf of our wonderful school.

Family Survey

Early next week, you will receive a very brief survey asking about your preferred model for school resumption. While we do not yet know when school will resume on campus, we wish to gather input regarding the preferred model of school resumption that our parents, students, and faculty would find most useful, so that we might propose that model to the Education Bureau when the time comes to submit proposals. Stay tuned for the survey.

School-wide Faculty

I am pleased to introduce three new school-wide faculty to you today. While these faces may not be new to you, the roles they are currently playing are. We couldn’t be more grateful for the contributions we know they will continue to make in their new positions. We are already benefiting from their passion, expertise, and commitment to AIS.

Ms. Kristen Bumpus

Head of Counselling & Student Support

Ms. Bumpus is in her 5th year at the school. Last year, she supported AIS High School students and families, while also providing support for all Counsellors and Student Support Staff across the school. Ms. Bumpus continues to champion our child protection work and acts as our school child protection lead.

Ms. Kathleen Abel

Director of Learning Innovation

Ms. Abel is beginning her 8th year at AIS, most recently serving as the Head of Department for High School English. You will be hearing from her frequently this year, as she shares more about our academic programs and services.

Mr. Josefino Rivera

Learning Activator

Mr. Rivera is beginning his 3rd year at AIS, most recently serving in the High School English Department. Mr. Rivera established our first ever TED-Ed Clubs Program for students and is also our East Asia Regional Council of Schools (EARCOS) representative. Mr. Rivera works closely with Ms. Abel to support world-class teaching and learning across all grades.

An Important Message from Ms. Abel

We’ve certainly had a memorable start this school year! I’ve been so happy to see teachers and students engage with Online School and get back into learning mode.

Measurement of Academic Progress (MAP)

Next week, we will begin the MAP Growth assessment from NWEA across the Elementary, Middle, and High School Divisions. MAP assessments are widely implemented across international schools and are highly appreciated by educators and families for the data they provide. MAP assessments help educators to determine each child’s current instructional level and measure academic growth over time. Students cannot pass or fail a MAP test–think of it as an eye exam, not an achievement test. Just as an optician uses the results of an eye exam to create the right pair of lenses for that person, teachers use the data gathered from the fall MAP tests to design instruction that is just right for your student.

All students writing MAP at AIS will complete Reading, Language Arts, and Mathematics assessments (three separate assessments). Our first round of MAP testing will begin next week. Please note the testing windows below for each division. Greater detail will be provided by Divisional Principals.

Elementary School Middle School High School
August 31 – September 17 September 8 – September 17 September 15 – September 24

Most AIS students will be completing the MAP test online at home in the coming weeks. Students will be in a Zoom class with their Homeroom Teacher while testing so they can get support from their teacher and our tech support team, as needed. Most students will be able to (and should) complete the three tests without help from a parent or family member, but some of our younger Elementary students will need assistance from an English-speaking adult to log into the test. Further instructions, including links for checking your child’s device for readiness, can be found HERE.

Should you have any questions about the MAP assessments, please contact me or your Divisional Principal. You may also wish to visit the MAP website for additional parent resources found HERE.

Thank you for ensuring your children are on time and ready to learn during these assessment windows. We look forward to sharing more information about MAP with you over the course of the school year.

Ms. Kathy Abel
Director of Learning Innovation

THOSE ARE ALL OF OUR MESSAGES FOR THIS WEEK

Be well and stay safe, everyone. Always remember, we are better together.

My best,

Anita Simpson
Head of School

Dear Parents, Families, and Students,

What a wonderful first week back! There is so much energy and joy being shared amongst students, teachers, and staff, and we are thrilled to be back. We are grateful that you are part of the AIS family, and we continue to count our many blessings.

First Week of School

While of course we would have loved to have seen your smiling faces in person and on campus, our students’ bright lights shone through every Zoom session we hosted this week. It is wonderful to be connected to you and your beautiful children once again. I’m confident that you will have heard exciting things about your child’s/children’s experiences this week.

Tech Support

If you need help with technical support, please refer to your Divisional Principal’s Weekly Updates for further information about joining one of our virtual learning sessions next week.

Online School Family and Student Document

I’m pleased to share our AIS Online School Policy and Procedures document for parents, students, and families with you. Should you have questions about Online School, this document will help you find the answers you need. Of course, you are always welcome to speak to our faculty and staff at any time with questions you may have. Remember to always start with the classroom teacher, and then follow up with your Divisional Principal, if necessary.

AIS PTA

On behalf of our PTA President, Mr. David Chang, we wish to thank those of you who have recently come forward to express interest in participating in the PTA this year. David is continuing to have conversations with anyone who is interested in pursuing this wonderful opportunity to help AIS PTA thrive. Research shows that student learning improves when parents are actively involved in the life of the school. It takes many hands to make light work. Remember, keeping the lines of communication open and building deep, trusting relationships is especially important when we cannot physically come together. We welcome your participation, big or small!

Zoom Sessions and Social Media

Some families have asked that we contact them regarding AIS’s teleconferencing policy and/or social media practices. All families who indicated that they would like an opportunity to follow up during online registration will receive an email asking them to please follow up with their child/children’s Divisional Principal. Please note that participation in Zoom calls is mandatory for all AIS students, as it is the primary instructional tool authorized and sanctioned by the school to facilitate learning. It is not possible to opt out of using this tool. A number of safety measures have been put in place, and we are confident in our practices, protocols, and record retention policy.

WASC

The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) validates the integrity of our school programs and assures all members of our school community that we are committed to excellence through the process of continuous self-reflection and ongoing improvement. This year, AIS will complete its accreditation process from 2-6 November 2020. Last year, the visit was cancelled, due to COVID-19. As a result, the Leadership Team at AIS has elected to complete a virtual accreditation, to ensure that the process is completed, as planned. We will share more information about the upcoming visit, as we approach that time.

In the meantime, on behalf of the Leadership Team and Faculty at AIS, we thank you once again for a truly wonderful first week back at school!

PS. We can’t wait for you to see our new High School student lockers and our new school PE change rooms!!

My best,

Anita Simpson
Head of School

Dear Parents and Families,

Thank you to all families who have now completed their 2020-2021 registration either online or in person. Thus far this year, approximately two thirds of all AIS families have chosen to complete their registration online, and we are very pleased to have been able to offer you this option.

As you might imagine, we are all excited to begin the new school year and truly look forward to connecting with our students next week. Our faculty are ready, and they have been busy planning engaging learning opportunities designed to inspire and empower our students, EC-12. This year, AIS acquired many new digital tools and resources designed to further enrich the online learning experience for students, in anticipation of potential face-to-face school suspension(s). We are confident that you and your children will appreciate the variety of new digital tools available across the school.

Starting Classes

The first day of school is Tuesday, 18 August. Students and families who complete their registration by 12:00 pm (noon) on Monday, 17 August will be able to start school on Tuesday, 18 August. Students and families who complete their registration by noon on Monday, 17 August will receive an email from their teacher(s) on 17 August, beginning at 2:00 pm with information they will need to begin school on Tuesday.

Please note that all registrations completed after 12:00 pm on 17 August will join their class on 19 August. If you have not yet completed your registration process, we encourage you to do so as soon as possible, as we want to reduce the impact of late starts on student attendance as much as possible.

Registration

Parents can continue to register their children in one of two ways: using the online registration link sent to their AIS email accounts or by making an appointment to register in person, using this BOOK AN APPOINTMENT link. You may also use this link to book an appointment to purchase uniforms or for any other office-related needs.

Book Bags and School Resources

Families who register in person will receive their child’s/children’s materials at the time of registration. All families who register online will hear specific details about how to collect book bags and school resources from their Divisional Principals later today. It is important for all families to note that in-person collection of resources for those who registered online will begin on Tuesday, 18 August – Friday, 21 August from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm. Please be sure to be mindful of these hours. Families may also wish to know that faculty will not be using any resources found in AIS book bags initially, to allow sufficient time for book bag collection.

Parent Teacher Association (PTA)

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce our new PTA President, Mr. David Chang. David will be leading our parent community this year, and he has much to offer our AIS community. He is excited to begin his new role and looking forward to meeting you in the coming weeks and months. David’s BIOGRAPHY can be found here. If you are interested in learning how you can help David and other AIS parents partner with the school this year, please send him a message at pta@ais.edu.hk

Social Media

Finally, be sure to regularly check out the AIS WEBSITE and follow our AIS social media accounts for important updates and interesting posts about our school: AIS FACEBOOK, AIS TWITTER, AIS INSTAGRAM. Of course, please regularly monitor your AIS email account for weekly updates.

My best,

Anita Simpson
Head of School