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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, Staff, Faculty and Families,

I hope you are enjoying the Lunar New Year Break and finding ways to enjoy the wonderful weather and time with your family.

School Resumption

As promised, I am writing to share our school resumption plans with you. The Education Bureau (EDB) memo to school principals can be found HERE. It outlines the criteria that schools must use when preparing their school resumption plans. Of utmost importance are the criteria used to calculate how many students can be on campus at any one time. According to the recent memo, schools across the city are being asked to make plans using their enrollment data to determine that number. As a result, we have devised a model that will conform to the parameters set by the EDB, bringing no more than ⅓ of our students on campus at any one time.

We are grateful that we can increase the number of students on campus from ⅙ to ⅓, and we are especially thrilled to welcome our littlest learners back to school after the Lunar New Year Break, including our students in early childhood!

In addition to the government guidelines outlined in the memo, we continue to use the guiding principles below when planning:

  • Our primary purpose is to keep a safe school. During a global pandemic, we will always err on the side of caution to protect those in our care;
  • We follow the health and safety guidelines issued by the Education Bureau and Centre for Health Protection who are the experts in disease control;
  • Social distancing and health and safety hygiene guidelines are carefully observed.

Overview of The Model

Half-day class resumption

The EDB stipulates that schools can only offer half-day classes for all students, regardless of their age or stage.

Re-entry Schedule

Here is the schedule we will follow when we welcome students back on campus. Divisional Principals will send details for their divisions.

School Schedule*

Below is the schedule that will be followed after the Lunar New Year Break. Divisional Principals will share information for their divisions.

Important Notes:

  • In this model, all students in EC, ES, and MS attend two consecutive half days of school on campus, either from 8:00 AM – 11:30 AM or from 11:30 AM – 3:00 PM.
  • All High School students attend school every afternoon from 11:30 AM – 3:00 PM.
  • On campus instruction is followed by two consecutive days of Online School at home for all students in EC, ES, and MS.
  • HS students also participate in some Online School, according to their Divisional Schedules.
  • Essentially, when students are not on campus, they will participate in Online School. Details will be provided by Divisional Principals.
  • This schedule keeps student density to the required ⅓ enrollment every day.
  • Students will repeat the schedule throughout the period of school resumption or until further notice.
  • This model will support efficient and effective contact tracing.
  • The model eliminates eating on campus, in accordance with government guidelines.

Covid-19 Testing

As announced in the government memo, schools that are able to have 100% of their faculty and staff continuously tested every 14 days will be able to resume school at full capacity, but, even then, for a half day only. AIS will not be pursuing this option for a number of reasons:

  • As a school, AIS is not in a position to mandate testing for all employees, and the voluntary testing scheme requires 100% compliance;
  • While testing staff may help to reduce the risk, it does not mitigate the risk posed by the rest of the school community who come on campus;
  • Reducing the number of students on campus continues to assist with limiting cross-contamination. As this recent case clearly illustrates, schools are easily impacted by the virus, and the more students on campus at any given point in time, the greater the risk;
  • The majority of schools in Hong Kong will not be pursuing the voluntary vaccination scheme; SCMP;
  • If it were safe for all students to be on campus at this time, the government would allow all schools to fully resume, without reservation.

Food and Beverages

According to the current plan, students will not consume food on campus. Students are asked to bring water from home and they will be able to fill their water bottles at our water dispensing stations, if needed.

Bussing

Bus companies will contact families of bussed students as soon as possible to communicate details about their child’s pick up and drop off schedule.

Important Notes for Families – PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

Please ensure that you review the following important information to ensure a smooth transition for your child. As a school, we must continue to follow the health and safety guidelines issued by the government, and we ask that all families pay particularly close attention to these important details.

  • Parents must notify the school immediately if:
    • Anyone in their family is found to be a confirmed case of COVID-19; or,
    • If a member of their family is classified as a “close contact” of an infected person with COVID-19 by the CHP;
    • If they reside in a building that has been locked down for mandatory testing;
    • AIS will follow the direction of the CHP in these situations.
  • If your child becomes ill while at school:
    • A Parent / Emergency Contact will be called if your child becomes ill while at school.
    • Children MUST be picked up ASAP.
    • If a Parent / Emergency Contact does not respond in a timely manner, students with fevers and who are severely ill will be sent to the emergency department of a nearby hospital for medical treatment, in accordance with EDB Guidelines.
    • All students must provide a doctor’s note before being allowed to return to school.
  • Temperatures must be taken daily.
    • ALL Parents MUST take their child’s temperature prior to departing for school.
    • Elementary parents MUST record their child’s temperature in their diaries.
      • 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.
  • AIS campus will open at 7:45 AM.
  • AIS campus will close at 4:30 PM.
  • Arrival and dismissal:
    • Maintain social distancing guidelines (1 meter apart).
    • Parents and caregivers will not be allowed on campus, with the exception of one adult accompanying child in EC1AM, EC1PM, EC2, G1J, and for school-related business purposes.
    • Elementary School DROP OFF is at the 123 Gate (Waterloo Road).*
    • Elementary School G1-G4 PICK UP is at the 117 Gate (Essex Crescent).*
    • Early Childhood (EC1, EC2, G1J) PICK UP is at the 131 Gate (Rutland Quadrant)*
    • Middle and High School students arrive and depart independently through 123 Gate.*
      * Additional Details will be provided by Divisional Principals
  • Mask Policy at AIS
    • ALL Students and ALL Visitors MUST wear a mask to school and on campus.
    • Send children with a disposable medical or government issued reusable mask.
    • Send children with spare masks each day.
    • VENTILATORS and masks with vents are not permitted.
  • Campus common areas, classrooms, and washrooms will be disinfected before school, between classes, and after school.
  • Students will sit 1 meter apart in classrooms and face the same direction.
  • Students will receive training on health and safety reminders when they return.
  • Signage will be posted around the campus with clear expectations for all.
  • Students will not have access to lockers and cubbies during the period of school resumption.
  • Students will be allowed to carry a backpack, and must ensure that all their belongings are safely stored inside and carried with them to class.
  • ALL campus water filling stations will be open, and strict sanitation will be in place, in accordance with the ministry memo; however, we recommend bringing a full bottle of water or two to school.
  • School lunches and snacks will not be provided or permitted.
  • Be sure your child eats BEFORE leaving for school as no time will be provided for meals or snacks while on campus.

Gratitude

Thank you once again for your ongoing understanding and support. Without question, these are not easy times and we all continue to face a range of challenges in our lives. We are very aware that we cannot always find solutions that meet every family’s needs; however, we are confident that the plan we have developed is in line with the parameters set by the education bureau and allows us to see all of our students once again on a regular basis.

I trust that this information is helpful and encourage you to look out for updates from your Divisional Principal(s) who will soon be sharing specific details about their respective divisions.

We are truly looking forward to reopening our campus and to seeing our students once again. Please rest assured that we will continue to keep you informed and keep our school community safe, when we resume modified operations in the coming days.

Until then, wishing you and your loved ones Kung Hei Fat Choy!

 

My best,

Anita Simpson
Head of School

Dear Parents, Students, Families, Faculty, and Staff,

Happy Lunar New Year!

On behalf of the Leadership Team at American International School, I extend a warm and heartfelt Happy Lunar New Year to you and your loved ones. We truly hope you enjoy the upcoming holiday next week. Without question, we all look forward to a future where we can come together and celebrate with each other, where warm embraces, smiles, and laughter are commonplace once again, and where we enjoy each others’ company without reservation. May this new year and 2021 bring that time even closer.

School Resumption

We are currently waiting for the Education Bureau to release the anticipated memo necessary for us to finalize our school resumption plans. The key criteria all schools need to know is whether the safe return to campus will be based on student enrollment or school capacity. As a school, we have developed plans based on both models, and as soon as we receive the official government memo, we will formalize our plans and release them to you right away to help with your planning. Please continue to monitor your AIS email accounts and our school website.

BRAVO, AIS! So Much to Celebrate!!

As parents, faculty, staff, and students at AIS, you can be proud of the incredible accomplishments that members of our school community continue to attain. Despite the restrictions and challenges of our time, our faculty and students are rising to the occasion and achieving great things. Just take a look at some of the recent accomplishments below to get a sense of how amazing our students and faculty really are! As Head of School, I am beyond proud of them all.

G12 student Arav Vashist published his own book, Take the Wheel; Drive Your Passion, and delivered three TEDx Talks.

His Confidence is clearly evident, and we are extremely proud of his achievements. You can find out how to get your own copy of it HERE.

TEDxAmericanInternationalSchoolHK Speakers Chenhey Chu (G11), Juah Hwang (G7), Soovin Jang (G7), Aarav Kothari (G6), Annie Li (G6), Shanshan “Oscar” Wang (G7), Hallie Wong (G12), and Mable Yim (G11) have all been featured on the official TED-Ed Club YouTube Channel as models of our AIS ESLR, Effective Communicators, for students around the world to see!

Kris Bumpus, Head of Counselling and Student Support, and Candy Lee, Elementary School Student Support Teacher, published their article “Nurturing Connections During COVID Through Virtual Playdates” in the Winter Edition of the 20-21 EARCOS Triannual Journal modeling Social interactions in a virtual environment for international educators across Eastern Asia.

Bravo to:

Yuri Takamatsu (G12), Mr. Anthony Goga (Faculty), Mr. Stephen Kelly (Faculty), Marco Guisto (G5), Chelsea Leung (G8), Ruhaan Sanndhu (G6) and to all those that continue to participate and who won races in the AIS Cross Country Challenge for exemplifying our AIS ESLR, Well-Rounded Individuals.

Empowered Thinkers Harshini Sundar (G11) and Aishani Chaudhuri (G10) deserve a round of applause for their success in being selected to the shortlist for the grand prize for the Hong Kong Young Writers Award – thank you to Mr. Henry Su for being the faculty advisor for the Creative Writing Club.

Panorama

Thank you for participating in our Panorama Survey. We sincerely appreciate your feedback. Leadership is in the process of reviewing the data and will share the findings with you very soon.

PTA Fundraiser

Don’t forget to participate in the PTA Fundraiser for the Physical Education Department. Details are included in all Divisional Principal messages this week. Being active is a wonderful way to improve your physical and mental health. Both are so important at this time. Whether your participation is big or small, we appreciate it! Remember, every little bit helps. I can’t wait to see how far we’ll all go!

Finally, I sincerely hope that you and your family enjoy the Lunar New Year break ahead. We look forward to seeing you all in the new year.

 

My best,

Anita Simpson
Head of School

Dear Parents, Students, Staff, Faculty, and Families,

As promised, the AIS Leadership Team has now had an opportunity to thoroughly review the Education Bureau (EDB) memo, Continuation of Suspension of Face-to-Face Classes for Schools in Hong Kong: The Arrangements and to plan next steps.

Based on the guidelines outlined in the memo, AIS has determined that High School students can receive some face-to-face instruction, in accordance with their need to continue to prepare for their Advanced Placement (AP) examinations. These important examinations impact our students’ post secondary pathways and future opportunities, so this group of students has been prioritized in our planning. In accordance with the parameters received from the government, schools can arrange for “a small number” of secondary school students to return to school “to attend face-to-face classes or take examinations.” This is permissible as long as the “upper population limit of students who attend campus is capped at one sixth of the school’s maximum permitted capacity” and as long as “proper health protection measures are in place.”

In the case of AIS High School, students from Grades 9-12 are currently enrolled in and studying for AP examinations, and the size of the High School student body does not exceed one sixth of the campus’ permitted capacity. As a result, students from Grades 9 -12 will be welcomed back on campus, in line with current government guidelines.

According to the memo, Kindergarten students (in our case, students in EC1, EC2, and Grade 1 Junior) are not permitted to return to school for face-to-face learning. Since P6 (Primary 6 students) are not preparing for examinations, and since their return would exceed the school’s “maximum permitted capacity”, they will not return prior to the Lunar New Year and will continue with Online School.

Please note that should the virus numbers increase over the course of the coming four weeks, changes to the schedule may become necessary once again. Any needed changes will be communicated in a timely manner to all members of the AIS community.

The Weekly Schedule

High School students will return to school on Wednesday, 13 January, from 8:00 am – 12:30 pm each day of the week. For students in Grades EC1 – Grade 8, Online School will continue to be offered. Mr. Mike Wing, High School Principal will soon be in touch with High School students and their families with details about the daily timetables.

Special Notes

Please take note of these important details:

  • No food will be consumed at any time by students while on campus.
  • Students are to bring water bottles and will be allowed to drink water in line with safe social distancing guidelines.
  • All health and safety and social distancing guidelines will be strictly enforced.
  • Gate 123 will open at 7:45 am for High School student arrivals.
  • Gate 123 will close at 12:45 pm.

Bussing

  • Bus companies will contact families of bussed students as soon as possible to communicate details about their child’s pick up and drop off schedule.

We continue to look forward to the time when we can welcome all of our students back on campus. Until then, please stay safe and healthy.

 

My best,

Anita Simpson
Head of School

Important Reminders

  • ALL parents MUST take their child’s temperature prior to departing for school and record the temperature on the 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 your parent / guardian and shown to your P1 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.

Dear Parents, Students, Staff, Faculty, and Families,

Further to my update yesterday, 4 January, 2021, the Hong Kong Government has now extended the suspension of face-to-face classes in all primary and secondary schools, including international schools, until the end of the Lunar New Year Holiday, as announced late yesterday, 4 January 2021, in the Continuation of Suspension of Face-to-Face Classes for Schools in Hong Kong: The Arrangements.

We are currently reviewing the memo to determine what steps we are able to take and will be in touch as soon as possible. As always, our priority continues to be to provide our students and families with a safe, engaging, and vigorous learning environment during these unprecedented times.

My best,

Anita Simpson
Head of School

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

On behalf of the Leadership Team, I wish you all a very Happy New Year and a 2021 filled with health, happiness and hope! I am optimistic that your holiday season was blessed with joy, love, and laughter and that you were all able to enjoy some quality time with your family.

At AIS, we are buoyed by the many positive messages regarding the potential of vaccinations around the world and the possibility that this recent development offers us all to resume many pre-pandemic activities. We are especially excited about the long term impact this will have on how we are able to offer school.

School Resumption

As you know, the Hong Kong Government extended the suspension of face-to-face classes in all primary and secondary schools, including international schools, until 10 January 2021, as announced in my 22 December Important Community Update. We continue to monitor the situation closely and will provide you with any additional updates we receive. Divisional Principals will be in touch regarding the schedule for Monday, 11 January 2021 this week.

And, finally, just a reminder that although we would have preferred to see our students in person, we are thrilled to be back in Online School tomorrow, Tuesday, 5 January 2021. I know our faculty are looking forward to seeing their students once again, as we begin a brand new calendar year together.

As always, we are here to answer any questions you may have.

My best,

Anita Simpson
Head of School

Dear Parents, Students, Faculty and Families,

Late yesterday afternoon, 21 December, 2020, the Education Bureau (EDB) and Hong Kong government announced an extension of face-to-face classes until 10 January, 2021. In a memo sent to all school principals, the bureau states that the situation is “still very severe” and “strongly advocates that school staff and students should avoid going out, having crowd gatherings and social contacts as well as dining out during the Christmas holidays.”

We encourage all members of our AIS School Community to follow all government issued mandates and guidelines and exercise caution at this time, in order to do our part to keep our community healthy and safe from this disease. The memo also asks that students and staff avoid all non-essential travel at this time.

Divisional Principals will be in touch early in the new year with details about the school resumption schedule.

Until then, we continue to wish you peace, good health, and much happiness during the holidays. The best gift we could ask for is your support, and we are grateful for it.

My best,

Anita Simpson
Head of School

Dear Parents, Students, Faculty and Families,

On behalf of the Leadership Team, I wish you all a wonderful holiday season filled with all the things you love. Thank you for an outstanding fall and for all you continue to do to make things work as well as they are. From on campus to online learning, WASC accreditation, weekend SATs, virtual MAP assessments, and many many Zoom calls, you have continued to model our Core Values of Justice, Knowledge, and, especially, Love.

Thank you for helping us to raise HK$15,771 for Operation Santa Claus last Friday, 11 December and for sharing that love with our community. Your generosity and giving spirit will help bring joy to those less fortunate and change the quality of life for someone who truly needs our help. Of course it’s still not too late to donate if you haven’t yet had a chance. Just follow this LINK.

And speaking of joy, we hope that this special Holiday video from the AIS Principals helps bring some joy your way. Please make sure you’re signed into your AIS email!

School Resumption

As you know, the Hong Kong Government made the decision to suspend face-to-face classes in all primary and secondary schools, including international schools, until after the Winter Break. To the best of our knowledge, at this time, face-to-face classes are supposed to resume at AIS on Tuesday, 5 January, 2021; however, we have not had any additional updates, confirmation, or direction from the Education Bureau or Hong Kong government, since the last announcement. As a result, we will continue to monitor the situation closely and provide you with any updates we receive.

Given the caution that is being exercised to stop the spread of the virus, it is important to note that, if schools are allowed to resume face-to-face instruction after the Winter Break, AIS will continue with the previous hybrid schedule in use before school was suspended. Naturally, we will confirm this with you when we have updates to provide, but I share this with you now, to assist with your planning.

Until then, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to you and those you love. We wish you peace, good health, and a well-deserved rest over the holidays and into the new year. Here’s to a wonderful 2021!

My best,

Anita Simpson
Head of School

Dear Parents, Students, Faculty, and Families,

As you know, AIS has been planning to support Operation Santa Claus this week as one of our Charitable Free Dress Days for the year. I am writing today to let you know that we are modifying our plans slightly to return to a single Charitable Free Dress Day this Friday, 11 December 2020.

Operation Santa Claus is thrilled to learn that we are continuing to support this important charity, even though our school community cannot come together physically on campus. In fact, they have created an exclusive fundraising link for our school in recognition of the ongoing support we have provided them with, over the years.

For the privilege of dressing in festive holiday wear of your choice this Friday, you are asked to make a charitable donation by following this AIS Operation Santa Claus LINK. We encourage you to donate HK$20.00 as you normally would, but all donations are welcome. We’re proud of our long standing relationship with this local charity, and we thank you for your ongoing support. As you know, Charitable Free Dress Days at AIS are an important way that we demonstrate our Core Value of Love and develop Well-rounded Global Citizens.

Thank you in advance for helping us to share the love at AIS. We are grateful for your participation.

We can’t wait to see what you’ll be wearing on Friday!

Sincerely,

Anita Simpson
Head of School

Dear Parents, Students, and Families,

We recently learned that the Hong Kong Government has made the decision earlier today to suspend face-to-face classes in all primary and secondary schools, including international schools, due to the recent rise in COVID-19 cases, effective Wednesday, 2 December until the Winter Break. Practically, this means that the earliest time that face-to-face classes can resume at AIS is 5 January, 2021.

Clearly it is extremely challenging to predict the future in the midst of a global pandemic, but we remain committed to keeping you informed every step of the way. Tomorrow morning, the Leadership Team will meet, and as soon as we have additional details to share, we will communicate them with you. We expect to hear further information from the Education Bureau as well to help inform the process.

Until then, take care of yourself and those you love.

My best,

Anita Simpson
Head of School

Dear Parents, Students, and Families,

This week we are all missing our littlest learners and are truly saddened to learn that the EdB has made the difficult decision to suspend on campus instruction for students from EC1 – Grade 3 from Monday, 23 November – Friday, 4 December, due to a sharp rise in COVID-19 numbers.

We are really looking forward to seeing them back on campus very soon. The AIS Eaglets and I will continue to count the minutes before they’re here. Stay tuned for important messages from Ms. Okubo and our Elementary School Faculty about Online School.

Postings and Contract Renewals

The time of year has now arrived where most international schools have started the process of renewing contracts for the upcoming school year. Over the next few weeks, you may begin to see messages on our school website and on social media about potential teaching and leadership opportunities available for the 2021-2022 school year at AIS.

Of special importance, we have recently learned that we will be saying goodbye to our wonderful Elementary School Principal, Ms. Cami Okubo, at the end of this academic year. Ms. Okubo and her family have chosen to return to the United States to be closer to family. For those of you that know her, you will agree that the sound of her wonderful (and frequent!) laugh, her always sunny disposition, and her consistently joyful personality make her a true delight to be around. Together with her keen mind, she is a highly valued member of our AIS Leadership Team and school community, and we greatly value the many contributions she makes to our school every day. There is no doubt that she will be missed. I will soon begin the process of seeking a replacement for her, and I wanted you to hear the news directly from me, following the announcement she made to staff earlier today.

TEDx @ AIS!

Congratulations to everyone involved in making AIS’s TEDx event yesterday, Thursday, 19 November such a success! A special thanks to the conference organizers Mr. Rivera, Ms. Durrant, Mr. Khader, Mr. Post, and Mr. Wing, for persevering to create an opportunity for last year’s TEDx students to share their voices and showcase their brilliant ideas and minds. And of course a HUGE congratulations to our students whose CONFIDENCE shone through and whose ideas are clearly worth sharing!! We are truly proud of their achievements and grateful to those who made this opportunity possible. If you haven’t seen their talks or weren’t able to attend the event, we will make links available very soon. Stay tuned as well to learn more about other AIS TEDx events, including our 2021 talks, scheduled for the spring!

AIS Community Voices

Be sure to check out our newest feature – AIS Community Voices – on our school website. Just follow the link and scroll down to see what staff, parents, and students are saying about our school. Feel free to follow the link at the bottom of the page to add your voice.

Take care of yourself, and stay healthy, safe, and strong.

My very best,

Anita Simpson
Head of School

UPCOMING EVENTS

Dear Parents, Students, and Families,

Congratulations to our Elementary School students, parents, and faculty for a truly wonderful Literacy Week! Every day was jam-packed with incredibly engaging opportunities to deepen our love of literacy. Author Dan Gutman’s visits were true highlights for students and staff alike, and, as these images illustrate, students had such fun all week long and really enjoyed dressing up as their favorite book characters. #AISLovesLiteracy!

Survey Scheduling Guiding Principles

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 can share with you a summary of our findings. As you would imagine, there were a range of responses to the survey questions as each family has different personal needs, situations, and compositions.

When making decisions about how school is organized during a global pandemic, AIS uses these guiding principles to develop all plans:

  • Follow the health and safety guidelines issued by the Hong Kong Education Bureau and Centre for Health Protection;
  • Ensure that social distancing and personal hygiene guidelines are faithfully observed, while always keeping in mind the context of our school structures, resources, and campus facilities;
  • Monitor current virus and other local health statistics;
  • Honor student, parent, and faculty voices;
  • Exercise an abundance of caution, letting our primary purpose of keeping a safe school guide our decisions and practices.

AIS School Schedule

Based on the feedback received, and honoring the parameters of the AIS campus and facilities, we are currently in the process of seeking permission from the Hong Kong Education Bureau to resume full time, on campus instruction for all students, according to our regular schedule, beginning on 5 January, 2021.

This plan accurately reflects the feedback received from survey participants and allows all stakeholders sufficient time to prepare for the change in schedules that will follow. Divisional Principals will be in touch to share detailed information with all families and students before school resumes in the near future and to keep you up to date with the approval process.

While we understand that this decision will be welcome news to the majority of AIS families, we also recognize that it will come as a disappointment to others. So too did the news we received yesterday that all on campus Hong Kong kindergarten and early childhood classes were to be suspended across the city from 14 – 27 November. Clearly, planning within a pandemic is an incredibly challenging exercise, and we will continue to remain vigilant about protecting the health and wellbeing of everyone in our school community. Thus far, our current practices have served us well, and we have not experienced any infection clusters in our school community. As always, we will continue to keep you informed about our plans and any adjustments that might be necessary, as we have done throughout this ever-evolving situation.

WASC

Thank you to all parents and students who participated in the WASC Focus Groups. You made us incredibly proud. When the report is made public in the spring of 2021, it will be shared with the entire AIS community. Overall, our feedback was beyond outstanding, and the items listed as needing support and improvement are ones we had already identified in our self-study. For example, the report’s primary focus is on improvements to campus and facilities, and improvement plans are underway.

While there were numerous commendations and compliments made about our wonderful school, I chose a few statements made by the Visiting Committee that I thought you would appreciate seeing:

“The Visiting Committee would like to acknowledge the incredible hospitality provided to us by all stakeholders of the American International School, Hong Kong. In addition, we wish to note that the self-study report, the preparation, planning, and coordination of the virtual visit, and the flexibility of all members of the community during a time of stress in the middle of a pandemic have been nothing short of exceptional.”
“To say that the pandemic has caused disruption to teaching and learning is an understatement, but AIS is to be commended for the programs they have put in place and the constant shifting and re-evaluation that the leadership teams and staff have been doing. The Visiting Committee visited both virtual and in class lessons during the time spent at AIS and repeatedly commented that the lessons were purposeful, well-planned, engaging, and rigorous regardless of being online or in school.”

And, finally, this statement speaks volumes about our special school:

“The AIS community truly understands, lives, and breathes its Core Values of Justice, Knowledge, and Love.”
WASC Visiting Committee, November 2020

Thank you for all you do to make our school community the caring, kind, and supportive place it is. As the Visiting Committee pointed out, a culture such as ours doesn’t happen by accident. It takes hard work and an ongoing and genuine commitment from everyone involved to ensure that we “live and breathe” our Core Values every day.

Thank you for doing your part to share the Love at AIS. People notice, and it clearly makes a difference.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone.

My very best,

Anita Simpson
Head of School

Dear Parents, Students, and Families,

As you know, this week marked an important time at AIS, as we were all deeply engaged in our school accreditation process. We couldn’t have been more proud to showcase the incredible teaching and learning happening at AIS!!

WASC

On behalf of the AIS Leadership Team, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to the many parents and students who participated in the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Focus and Feedback Groups this week. Your voices were so important to the Visiting Committee and definitely helped to inform the accreditation process. Based on the initial feedback received from the committee, students, parents, and faculty have made us extremely proud.

The WASC Visiting Committee (VC) shared that our Core Value of Love is abundantly evident and clearly visible to everyone who interacts with our school community. Not only is this Core Value very evident, but it is truly unique and sets us apart. The VC also said that we should all be very proud of the strong connections and clear compassion that members of the AIS community have for each other.

We will soon share an overview of all of the amazing feedback we received when the complete report is shared with us next week. In the meantime, know that we are truly blessed to be members of such a special learning community.

School Schedule Survey

Thank you as well for completing the School Schedule survey this week. It closed at 4:00 pm today. The Leadership Team will consolidate and review the feedback we received over the course of next week to assess what steps might now be necessary. Once we have synthesized our findings, we will share our plans with you.

Literacy at AIS

I don’t know about you, but seeing a student deeply engaged in reading makes my heart happy. Doing this while waiting in line to get onto campus, as I saw a student do this week, takes reading to another level. Knowing that we are growing a reading culture that results in images like these is truly satisfying and something that we can  – and should – be proud of!

For those of you with children in Elementary School, be sure to check out Ms. Okubo’s message about ES literacy week, from 9 – 13 November. There are so many wonderful activities in store for our students!

SAVE THE DATE

Elementary School families don’t want to miss ES Literacy Week next week, AIS’s TEDx event on 19 November, the start of ECAs, or AIS Report Card distribution on 1-2 December. You’ll also want to make sure that you’ve ordered your winter uniform, if you haven’t already, as the weather continues to get cooler. Finally, don’t forget to order a stylish blazer this year!

As always, we are here to answer any questions you may have.

Take good care and have a lovely weekend ahead.

My best,

Anita Simpson
Head of School

Dear Parents, Students, Faculty and Staff,

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

I hope this message finds you all well and that your week was a good one. Leadership certainly enjoyed seeing everyone decked out in their Halloween costumes on Thursday and Friday, and we just loved all of the excitement that came with that experience! There were so many amazing costumes and such a wonderful school spirit! Special thanks to the AIS PTA for making our campus so festive and joyful. The children (and grownups!) are grateful.

Of course we are also proud that dressing up this week has helped us raise funds for Community Chest on our Charitable Free Dress Days. Helping others in our community is an important way to model our Core Value of Love and do our part to provide students with opportunities to demonstrate our commitment to equity and social justice. We love giving back and making a difference.

WASC

Next week, 2-6 November, AIS welcomes a special visiting committee from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) to our school. The committee will be conducting a virtual accreditation visit and reviewing our most recent self-study. AIS has been continuously accredited by WASC, and we are confident that trend will continue. You may remember that our visit was originally scheduled for 9-13 March, 2020, but it had to be postponed as a result of the pandemic. Our faculty, parents, students, and staff are ready and keen to welcome our guests next week. We are truly eager to share our wonderful school with the Visiting Committee Members and proud of who we are and what we do together.

School Survey

As mentioned in my last message, we are seeking your feedback once again on how school resumption is going. All parents, students, and staff will be asked to complete a short survey that will help guide our plans moving forward. Like last time, we will gather your feedback and assess what changes might be possible. Please keep your eye out for the survey in your AIS email. We look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you, as always, for reaching out and communicating directly with me and our Divisional Principals. We truly appreciate it.

Until next time, stay healthy and safe.

My best,

Anita Simpson
Head of School

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