Written by Damien Hehir, Co-Principal YCIS Pudong
One thing that we can always be sure of in Shanghai and China in general is that the future is hard to predict and that change is inevitable. A few years ago, with more international schools opening up and less new families coming into China, we decided to move our Year 5 students back to the Regency Park Campus. The landscape has changed dramatically since then. Over the past few years we have seen far less withdrawals across the school and a significant increase in new student intakes.
In order to accommodate these changes, we have informed our current Year 4 parents that when their child is in Year 5 in August 2019, they will be based at Century Park Campus. This will enable us to continue to grow the Early Childhood and Lower/Middle Primary School, as well as continue to develop the Century Park Campus as a site for both Upper Primary and our Secondary. We explained the many benefits of the Year 5s being at Century Park Campus and the opportunities this would present those students in the letter we sent home. Click here if you would like to read the full letter where this was communicated. The students were ecstatic when we informed them and they can’t wait to make the move.
One key new component of our School’s revamped Mission, Principles and Practices document which was officially launched in 2018 is the development of Learning Communities. As stated in the School’s new guiding statements:
We believe that ‘Learning Communities’ best enable students and teachers to creatively and holistically explore different fields of knowledge, fostering individual and collaborative learning skills that are critical for the 21 Century.
Learning Communities is an innovative approach towards student learning which focuses on the individual needs and learning styles of the students. It starts with creating flexible learning spaces for students in which they can: collaborate, direct their own learning, have spaces for quiet and reflection, have spaces for being creative and showcase their learning.
The model of sitting in rows and listening to a teacher talk for most of the lesson is dated and doesn’t meet the needs of all learners. In order to make this all happen, we will be starting to develop flexible learning spaces for our Primary Students at Century Park Campus. This will no doubt make their learning more engaging and fun, and we expect parents will notice a difference in them.
We will also be setting up a flexible learning community space in the IB wing in 2019-20 for the Year 12 and 13 students. Again, the re-modelling will be based around meeting the needs of the students, enabling them to work with each other and key staff, and giving them the best possible learning environment to enable them to be successful. We have been working with staff to start to shift their thinking about classroom spaces and pedagogy and will continue to work with parents to better explain our model and plans for the future. These are very exciting times to be a YCIS student.
As we moved to a new School Leadership Team (SLT) structure for 2018-19 with whole school Co-Principals and a Business Manager working together to oversee all aspects of the school, we felt that a 3 Year strategic plan for the school was a good way to start. We hired an Education Consultant to lead us in this process. We looked at an incredible amount of data including: survey information from parents, staff and students; assessment results, Admissions and Withdrawal information and then worked with leaders across the academic and non-academic sections of the whole school in Pudong to identify key strengths and areas of growth and development. After an initial two-day retreat, we formed a taskforce to continue to work on the plan and began the process of implementation. The culmination of this work for the past eight months will be the official launch of Pudong 21 on the evening of January 16. At this evening we plan to share our vision and major goals for the next three school years, taking us to July 2021 (hence the 21).
Members of our community are welcome to attend this special launch of Pudong 21 on Wednesday, January 16, 2019 at the Century Park Campus Theatre, beginning at 6:00pm.
During this event, we will share the following with our community:
- Introduce our ‘Pudong 21’, our three-year Strategic Plan, explaining the areas of focus and how this will benefit our students;
- We will highlight recent successes and opportunities for our students;
- You will hear stories from our students, alumni, and some of our parents;
- A student panel will answer questions from parents; and
- We will share major renovation plans for the Century Park Campus.
After the presentations have concluded, parents are invited to join us for a reception, where there will be a number of booths set up for parents to visit and speak with our specialist leaders in subject areas including Performing Arts, Chinese, Mathematics, English, Physical Education, and many more. In addition, our section Coordinators for ECE, Primary, Lower Secondary, IGCSE, IB, and our University Guidance Counsellor will also be available to talk with parents about the programmes the school offers and to answer questions. Doors will open from 5:30pm and staff will be available to talk to parents from that time onwards. If you have not yet registered and would like to do so, click here. There will be limited spaces so don’t wait, register now.
We are excited about the future at YCIS Pudong and we want you to be a part of it. As always, we are very grateful to our parent community and we thank you for your ongoing commitment and support.