Innovation and Technology at YCIS Pudong

Technology is embedded in our school’s DNA and it is flexibly and creatively applied in different ways for learning and teaching. However, when the COVID-19 epidemic began, adaptability and innovative thinking were still required to make the transition to e-Learning as smooth as possible. By making full use of existing hardware and software and newly introduced tools and technologies, students were given the chance to continue their learning in the best possible environment.

Since the very beginning, students displayed creativity with their use of resources, becoming ever more comfortable with technology and significantly increasing learning efficiency. They showcased their learning through different formats that taught them multiple skills, including submitting PPTs, posters, podcasts, videos, and reports, which teachers could then quickly and efficiently assess. The teachers produced all sorts of solutions to undefinable problems, using cameras, laptops, and ‘MaxHubs’ in different combinations to accommodate the students’ needs, and they were given the freedom to choose whatever new tool they considered the best fit for the subjects they were teaching, be it in English, Mathematics, PE, or Drama.

“The children have developed their computational skills by using programs such as Microsoft Word and PDF editors to change how they would usually complete their worksheets in English, Mathematics, and Topic.” Ms Jennifer Stain, Year 4 Leader at YCIS Pudong

“For English learning, we adopted a variety of online resources to support our students based on their individual learning needs. One of the go-to platforms I’ve used extensively thus far has been ‘Padlet’, that allows us, as a class, to work collectively in real-time on various projects and tasks.” Mr Anthony Yu, Secondary English Teacher at YCIS Pudong

“Fitness Challenge students were able to create exercises that they would then lead for the rest of the year level cohort making them the fitness instructor for 1 minute.” Nathan Pearson, PE Teacher at YCIS Pudong

“Our production of ‘Alice the Musical’ had to be postponed, but I wanted to provide students with as much incentive as possible to continue to develop their creativity and performance skills in Drama. Luckily, many online resources became available, including a full virtual musical production kit. Students engaged in learning about script interpretation and used materials that they had at home to make improvised sets, props, costumes, and lighting. Parents and siblings helped create home videos of each scene, which are currently being collated into a hilarious account of what happens in the theatre department when ‘The Show Must Go On… line!’.” Ms Renae Livermore, Primary Music and Drama Teacher at YCIS Pudong

“Students rapidly improved their computer technology skills and extended their learning community into cyberspace.” Ms Lydia Xu, Upper Primary Chinese Studies Leader at YCIS Pudong

“All students who engaged in the e-Learning activities were able to use their creativity in response to each of the art assignments. They showed extra resourcefulness and were inspired to make art using only discarded materials.” Ms Anita Dai, Primary Art Teacher at YCIS Pudong

Just because most students have returned to school doesn’t mean that all this technological adaption and know-how is going away. Many of the tools and resources used during e-Learning will continue to be integrated into the school’s regular, in-class curriculum, as Ms Amita Patel, Director of Technology at YCIS Pudong, explained: “Teachers and students have started using technology more in their day-to-day teaching and learning. They are now seeing the power of innovation more than ever before, so many of these changes are bound to stay. Teachers are already thinking of how, going forward, they can use some of the platforms that they have adopted during e-Learning. This has changed the way classes operate, and we will continue to see these patterns in the years to come.”

This sentiment was echoed by Mr Aazar Munir, YCIS Pudong Business and Economics Teacher and EE Coordinator: “As teachers, we were able to learn how to use new apps like ‘Canva’ and ‘Zoom’ at the same time as the students. Moreover, as a class, we discovered a lot of hidden features in apps we already use, such as ‘OneNote’ and ‘Teams’. Even though we are now using blended learning, I find that we have managed to grow as a class regarding the appropriate use of technology, and it will, therefore, play a much bigger role moving forward.”

The e-Learning period has shown how YCIS Pudong teachers and students can take an unexpected and difficult situation and turn it on its head, making it a valuable opportunity to learn and upskill. Whether it’s live streams, webinars, meetings across campuses, online classes, in-class learning, or virtual tours, innovation is most certainly here to stay at YCIS Pudong, and everyone is looking forward to exploring more opportunities to further integrate technology into the school’s curriculum and daily practices.

YCIS Pudong Graduation – The Class of 2020

Written by: Tim Gartz, University and Guidance Counselor                   

On Friday, June 12, our YCIS Pudong our Year 13 students celebrated the school’s first ever, live streamed Graduation Ceremony. This was an exciting evening filled with happiness, laughter and well-wishes as we reviewed individual and group accomplishments marking the course of our graduates’ time in our school – with some as far back as the earliest days of Early Childhood and Primary. The evening offered many moments of celebration as our students received their YCIS diplomas and took their place as honorable alumni.

The graduation began with beautiful social-fare with tables designated to each graduate with balloons, catered cuisine by Eurest and the opportunity to socialize with friends in our courtyard. Promptly at 6pm our graduates began their processional to the theater. It was such a joyful experience to see each student in their caps and gowns that was made even more special because of recent campus closure due to COVID-19 and the possibility that this event might not happen. Fortunately, for all in attendance and for those watching the livestream through the PolyV platform our community was able to share in this historic event.

The programme began with a special message of congratulations by our Yew Chung Education Foundation CEO, Dr. Betty Chan followed by an introduction of the class by our University Guidance Counselor Mr. Timothy Gartz. Year 13 tributes followed as each graduate made their way through the theater carrying a rose for their families as a token of appreciation. Special highlights and memorable moments also included: two highly technical musical numbers by Year 12 students Kevin Du and Elena Yu who sang and played an original composition called: Stars to Count. Carefully crafted videos were also shown reminiscing times gone by, the demonstration of friendship and well-wishes by past faculty and friends. Our keynote address was offered by the graduates’ Home Room advisors Ms. Danielle Thal and Mr. Andy Clapperton, while humor and caring insight reigned as this year’s Head Prefects Joey Wan and Zachary Ong shared their special insights about their classmates and all they experienced. The programme was an exciting display as each point made the event one to remember.

As the graduation continued, it was time for Mr. Matthew Grady’s IB Coordinator’s message and the granting of diplomas accompanied by our Co-Principals Mr. Damien Hehir and Ms. Mary Yu. It was exciting as each name was called and graduates came on stage to receive their long-awaited diplomas. With a countdown of 3, Mr. Grady then led the class in throwing their caps as the graduates’ excitement soared and applause reached a crescendo. It was wonderful to see the graduates smiles, knowing their hard work had accumulated in such a joyful moment of celebration. This year’s class was particularly special because of the challenges they faced together in navigating successfully through COVID-19 and months of e-Learning and campus closure. They were resilient in their approach through these unique challenges while earning top university acceptances around the world. We wish each of our graduates the very best as they confidently go forward as proud alumni of our school. Congratulations! Class of 2020.

Year 6 Graduation: A Time for Reflection

Written by: Cathal Grimes, Year 6 Leader

The Year 6 students have been reflecting on their time in Primary school, and everything that is important to them. They are thankful for the love and support of those around them, and would like to share this with the YCIS community on Friday, June 19.

While the Year 13 students are graduating and moving on to a new chapter in their lives, the same can be said of our Year 6 students. The leap to Secondary may not seem as big to those of us who have gone through it, but we must remember that it is a significant milestone in the lives of the children that are preparing to depart Primary school and begin a new chapter of their own.

Y6B student Sonya said, “Now is a time of excitement and nervousness… I am really looking forward to the next stage of school, but I will always remember Primary.” Memories of Primary school were prevalent in the speeches written by the students during their English lessons. Some talked about the Camps they went on, others the activities they took part in: sports, music, drama, and many others.

One thing that all students mentioned, was their families. The love and support they have felt from their families over the years is clearly a source of pride for the students. Families, as we know, come in different shapes and sizes. Some students spoke of the help from their parents; others mentioned grandparents, siblings, ayis, and more. Lucas in Y6C, spoke of the gratitude he felt for everything his mother and father had sacrificed to help him become a good person.

This year, perhaps more than ever before, we all must reflect, and perhaps learn something from our Year 6 students. We should be thankful for our family. The global pandemic has caused many families to be apart in one way or another. We must be there for one another in whatever way we can.

These students will go through many important milestones. We hope you continue to be there for them.

Trip.com Publish Article by YCIS Pudong Students

Written by:  Andy Clapperton, Head of Learning

   

At YCIS Pudong, we know that authentic learning happens when it is anchored in the real world and when we are motivated, and there is nothing more motivating than knowing your work is going to go public and be read across China and beyond. We always seek to foster curiosity with engaging activities that stimulate inquiry: everybody loves talking about, researching and, of course, eating, food, so for this project we brought together various curricular perspectives for students to delve into the eight delicious regional cuisines of China.

The project was launched by Hu Zheng Yan, Operation Director at C-Trip Gourmet List, who sparked our students’ imagination with a video calling them into action. The investigation was all-encompassing, including elements as wide ranging as climate, terrain, culture, history, religion, migration, globalisation, technology, trade and eco issues, as well as demographics and socioeconomics. They had to consider how best to communicate their research to stakeholders – readers with an interest in travel and food – and their final products are the articles that are showcased on Trip.com’s WeChat channel.

The first of these articles, (https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/z81nxN0SUOOlPXjQ3ewI4Q) put together by Samuel ’25, Bella ’25, Katherine ’25, Bao ’25 and Ethan ’25, is featured here, and delves into the little known rich traditions of food from Shandong province. The second, by Jake ’25, Dave ’25, Faye ’25, Ian ’25, Jerry ’25 and Leo ’25, is published and looks into the home of all things má là – Sichuan.

Jake:

As the group leader, I would make sure my team was on schedule as we carried out research, testing and undertook the writing and editing phase. We were investigating Sichuan cuisine, which meant the food tasting was a really fun bit! Having considered a range of spicy and numbing options, we ended up choosing Koushui Ji – literally translated meaning ‘saliva chicken’ because it is so tasty it makes you salivate – as well as Mapo Toufu and Suan Cai Fish. This period of time was heavenly – a break from the written work to appreciate delicious flavours! After gorging ourselves on spicy chicken, we sadly put the last bite that everyone wanted to eat into a plastic bag for science testing. We did the Benedict’s test for sugars, then tested for protein and other nutrients, so that we could put our findings into the essay in order to inform readers about necessary health information. Food culture always includes a social element, and these studies were also a great way to further learn about teamwork, and it ended up with our group all becoming much closer friends.

K4 Transition to Year 1

Writers by:  Veronica Martin and Michelle Wang, ECE Coordinators

In a flash time has gone by, all K4 students are now thinking about Year 1, as l am sure all families are as well. K4 Teachers and Year 1 teachers have been thinking and planning for the successful transition of the students for a number of months.

Online learning in the ECE has offered the K4 students a window into Year 1. Primary learning is broken down into segments of learning: Mathematics, English, Chinese as well as other units of education. While participating in online learning K4 students also has their education broken into English, Chinese, Mathematics and co-teaching. Students were required to focus upon a task for a set period then often used SeeSaw to do homework that was passed to class teachers.

P.E, Music & EAL Teachers have also been working with the K4 students since September but also weekly during the online learning period. Violin appreciation is also occurring in the K4 classes each week.

During June all K4s took part in weekly sessions with the Year 1 teachers. The Year 1 teachers introduced a new programme called Reading Eggs. This programme is one that begun in class then move to the home environment over Summer. Reading Eggs is an interactive fun language program that will help support your child’s English learning.

The K4 students feel comfortable within the school and they know many of the Primary teachers, they use the music room, gym, cafeteria and play spaces. They have all grown so much during the campus closure period and are ready to take on the challenge of Year 1.

Below are some of their thoughts on going into Year 1.

Yuqi- I want to play with other year 1 people and play lots of games outside.
Noah- I will have story books and drink milk
Siyuan- I will draw and play with numbers, l will learn K, M, S, P, T
Chloe- I don’t know what to do in Year 1, we can play?

Goodbye and Good luck. Thoughts from our Graduates

Written by: Glenda Perks, Head of English

 

This is a collection of thoughts from our graduating class of 2020, where they share some sage advice and a few poignant reflections on their time at YCIS.

Nathan Wiltshire ‘Our last year wasn’t what we hoped it was, as the Covid-19 pandemic altered our plans yet we stand here waiting on our high school diplomas so we can begin the next chapter in our lives. We all struggled. Lost loved ones. But WE all came together and fought back. WE were stronger. WE were smarter. ALL looking out for each other. We weren’t separate countries helping each other, WE were the world fighting to survive and succeed.’

Ailin Liu ‘we are beautiful, as in every one of us has a beautiful soul and heart dedicated and willing to spend every effort on all we do in life, either as a hobby or work.’

Luna Cao ‘I have experienced many times worth recording with my classmates and teachers. Images of sleeping in the school gym, camping, Seeds of Hope trips, EOTC trips, Thailand trip, and so on are all deeply printed in my mind. And the most special thing is that we have experienced e-Learning under COVID-19, something we never dreamed of. But think about how powerful the Internet is. As we embark on a new journey, I believe that the Internet will keep us all in touch’

Isabella Gruber ‘Parents, it must have been an endless journey for you to spend time with us at home, well… stuck at home. Thank you for your patience, comfort and care. If it weren’t for you, we wouldn’t even be here today. Thank you for guiding us, and not defining us.’

Ruth Lim ‘When e-Learning started, I was on top of things. It was going great. Then, the assignments started piling up. I lost motivation. — but it’s okay, because you don’t have to be perfect. I got myself together, and I slowly started catching up. My message for you and for myself, is to not be so harsh on yourself. Your wellbeing is so much more important than a grade. Focus on the good times, let yourself ride out the bad times, and everything will be okay.’

Vicky Rudis ‘These two years of IB have made me a better thinker, because over the past two years I have learned to be inquiring, curious, and questioning. I now see so many different perspectives and sides to every situation or idea, resulting in me having debates in my head about my own moral standings. I have no doubt I will come out with and a clearer idea of who I really am and what I believe in.’

Zachary Ong ‘Being in IB meant that we had to be independent learners, taking initiative to read ahead on content or do self-review in our spare time. E-learning expanded our independent learning to encompass all our learning, rather than just revision. It forced us to be self-motivated. Honestly, this is pivotal in future learning, since we likely have to endure a lot of self-study to keep up with university coursework.’

 

Staff Focus: John McEnhill, Primary Coordinator

Written by Melissa Shaw, Primary Coordinator

Hello John! As you come to the end of your time in the organisation, tell us a little about your career with YCIS.
I joined YCIS as a Year 6 teacher at YCIS Beijing in 2011; my first international school experience. I have since taken up roles as Campus Coordinator at YCIS Qingdao in 2013, and then moving to YCIS Pudong as one of the Primary Coordinators in 2016. Along the way I have worked with many wonderful students, colleagues and parents. I have made some great friends. Perhaps the most significant personal ‘achievement’ was meeting my now wife, Clair, at YCIS Beijing in 2012! Of the three cities, Beijing will always be special to me because of that, but I have enjoyed Shanghai the most overall!

What do you think is special about YCIS?
For me, YCIS has allowed me to grow as a teacher and a leader. I know Clair feels the same. I have felt supported but never constrained by my role, and I have learned from some fantastic people that I have worked for and with. The students have a brilliant ‘can do’ attitude. I also like that YCIS embraces its location: China. We are certainly not a ‘bubble’ of Westernism within Shanghai, but we are deeply committed to the best of East and West. Finally, I really value the fact that YCIS never feels “corporate” – it has a really special atmosphere where the focus is always on the best quality provision for the students.

Where are you moving onto, and what are your feelings about your move?
I am moving to San Silvestre School in Lima, Peru, as Head of Primary. Clair will be working there as a Year 6 teacher. I am hugely excited by the opportunity to lead a section of what is quite a large school. Going to a completely different part of the world promises to be an incredible experience for Clair and I. Hopefully my Spanish will come on a bit better than my Chinese has! Working at YCIS Shanghai, I have worked for some inspirational leaders, and I hope to be able to put a little of that into practice. It is also a time of some nervousness: it looks like I will be starting off by working “remotely”, which will be interesting.

What changes have you seen in your time at YCIS Pudong
Regency Park and Century Park have really come together as “one school” during the time we have been here. I have had the opportunity to work closely with the ECE and Secondary School, as well as with the Primary School, and I can, hand on heart, say that the dedication to the students stretches from K2 to Year 13. I can also honestly say I have never worked at a school with such a relentless focus to become better each year – for example, looking at the CCA programme when I arrived and now, is like night and day. This focus on improving and improvising has meant that during this current COVID-19 crisis, our school has really done well as a leader in e-Learning. We are used to innovating.

What are your hopes for the future of YCIS Pudong?
I hope that we can continue to grow the school and keep becoming better. Actually, I know this will happen. What we have here is a world class programme with some of the most committed teachers and leaders I have worked with, and it produces some brilliant students. Clair and I will miss it very much.

Online learning with Riley

Written by:  Jennifer Stains, Year 4 Leader

E- learning has been a new challenge for us all. Some families have followed the daily schedule of online lessons and diligently completed all of the work on the blog posts. Others have been more flexible and creative with their schedules and expectations. Riley Ip, a Year 6 student, has spent her time getting lost in literacy and has written a book!

Being an author has required Riley to work through the formal writing process, including outlining, drafting, reviewing (many times) and then, finally, publishing. One of her earlier books, Monster Wars, is in the YCIS library for all students to enjoy. Obviously, books are written to be read and enjoyed by others, and this has encouraged Riley to continue with her writing passion.

Riley is currently working on her new book, Gem or Horror, and this will be 20 chapters long! Each book is a learning journey for Riley, as she continues to refine her skills as an author. It’s inspiring to see our students challenge themselves and take opportunities to open doors into an exciting world of literacy.

MonsterWars – Secret Memories – written by Riley

Monster Wars -True Power – written by Riley

YCIS Shanghai Campuses Ready to Welcome Back Students

At YCIS Shanghai, the health, safety, and well-being of all students, staff, and community members are always at the forefront of everything the school does. Consistent and stringent health and safety protocols are maintained across all our school campuses to ensure everyone can learn, work, and develop in the best possible environment. In response to the current COVID-19 epidemic, the school has further ramped up these measures to ensure we are meeting all government requirements, ready for school reopening. After the announcement on Thursday, April 9 by the Shanghai Epidemic Prevention and Control Group that schools are due to reopen soon, we are pleased to share the efforts that are already in place on our five campuses across the city.

Since they returned to campus, Cleaning and Security teams have been working tirelessly to ensure cleanliness and prevention while students and staff have been away. This means all visitors to campus during closure need to pass through the initial security screening.

Steps for Entering Campus 

All visitors must:

  • Present their city health QR code upon arrival at the campus (only those with ‘Green’ codes may enter);
  • Take a temperature test;
  • Have the soles of their shoes disinfected;
  • Show valid ID and register;
  • Complete a health declaration form;
  • Take all necessary personal health precautions, including wearing a mask, goggles or lenses, and disinfecting hands.
  • Any vehicles entering campus will also have their wheels sprayed with disinfectant, as well as their drivers checked as above.

While the campuses have been closed, the cleaning teams have worked to ensure all areas of the school for working, learning, eating, relaxing, and playing are spotless and ready for use again. This includes daily ventilation, deep cleaning, and disinfection of everything inside the campus from public areas, public walkways, classrooms, offices, cafeterias, kitchens, auditoriums, gyms, and specialist rooms (science labs, theatre, dance studios, etc.), to cushions and carpets, elevators, door handles, restroom facilities, stairs, and garbage rooms, as well as outside cleaning, including sandbox and equipment disinfection.

To prepare for this, all cleaning team members have completed trainings and tests, including site operation training, cleaning and epidemic prevention training (from basic knowledge of cleaning work to specific epidemic prevention knowledge), disinfection portion ratio, disinfection frequency, and more, as well as daily pre-job training before each shift starts.

                                     

Any staff who have needed to visit campuses while closed need to comply with strict regulations. Before returning to campus, all staff should report to the Head of Supporting Division and inform Security staff in advance, submitting and declaring their planned school hours. All staff returning to school must comply with the current outbreak prevention and control regulations of the campuses and truthfully provide information such as residence, recent travel, and quarantine and health status. Those returning to the city, whether local or otherwise, need to observe the 14-day quarantine. Anyone who fails to provide relevant certificates and health status information, or to sign the commitment letter of quarantine observation/health observation, will not be allowed to enter school’s campuses. All staff working from home have also been submitting daily health declarations, including twice-daily temperature readings.

Our campuses are ready for students and staff to return, and new equipment and spaces have been added in response to the virus. The school has added ozone disinfection cabinets to the five campus libraries, and each campus has added temporary quarantine rooms. Furthermore, all five campuses are equipped with thermal sensing temperature measuring equipment at their entrances. There is also an increased stock level of epidemic prevention materials and the school has prepared an epidemic protection kit for each staff member for when they are back at school. The following steps are the improved requirements for cleaning and disinfection:

Improved Cleaning Requirements 

  • Thorough disinfection three times a day, before additional comprehensive deep cleaning and disinfection in the evening;
  • Regular classroom disinfection and ventilation between classes;
  • Disinfection mats at the school gate and the entrance of the teaching buildings;
  • Disinfection of handles and elevators in public places every 2 hours. It is recommended not to directly touch elevator buttons;
  • Disinfection of air conditioning and fresh air system (no air conditioning during the epidemic);
  • Reduction of the density of seats in the dining area and increased spacing between the dining table to ensure the dining safety of students and staff.

From the very beginning of the outbreak back in January to now, YCIS has taken this situation with the utmost seriousness to make sure all of our students, staff, and community members are protected. We were so pleased to be informed this week that the Shanghai authorities have allowed us to open from next week for our Upper Secondary students.   We look forward to Year 5-9 students returning on May 18.

Receive Global University Acceptance Offers

Written by: Timothy Gartz,University and Guidance Counselor

It has been a joy to be in contact with our Year 13s over the past several weeks as both Early and Regular admission university acceptances have rolled in. To date, we are averaging over 4 acceptances per student which shows the quality of their caliber and recognition from top institutions in the world. Within our class, we have received acceptances to top universities in Canada, The United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, The United States and Hong Kong so far with future offers expected from Australia and Singapore.

 

Our cohort of students plan to study in diverse fields including Pre-Medicine, Economics, Fashion and Management, Mechanical Engineering, Computer Science, Music and the Creative Arts, Liberal and Political Studies, and Sports Management to name a few. They have done particularly well in gaining university entry and we are thrilled to see their success with a number of scholarship offers.

A few noteworthy acceptances include: (UK) University of Warwick, UCL, University of Manchester, University of the Arts London; (US) University of California, Boston University, Syracuse University, Pratt Institute (Canada) University of British Columbia, University of Victoria, University of Toronto and Simon Fraser University (Hong Kong) The University of Hong Kong and a full four-year scholarship to New York University Abu Dhabi in the (United Arab Emirates).

We wish our students the very best as they finish their international baccalaureate work, obtain their YCIS diplomas at graduation on May 28, 2020 and prepare for outstanding opportunities throughout the world in the year ahead.