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GSIS Gazette – Issue #76

25th March 2022

Principal's Column

Dear School Community

Earlier this week, Carrie Lam's announcements gave us some hope for an improvement in the situation in Hong Kong. I do not want to dwell on the speculation that has resulted from this, but rather report on facts that concern us and the School. On this note, I would like to address three facts on different levels.

The first topic relates to a change in one of our GSIS departments. For almost four years, Kim Cunningham has played a key role in the development of the Primary Department in the English International Stream and during this time has been supported by Donna Morley, as Deputy Head. Unfortunately, due to family reasons, Kim will be leaving us after this school year to take up a new opportunity close to her family. In our recruitment process to fill the vacancy, we received many applications from qualified candidates, and I am very pleased to announce that Donna Morley was a clear standout against all external competition. Donna will continue the leadership of the Primary Department in the English International Stream in its tradition while at the same time driving modern developments. I look forward to working with Donna in this new chapter of GSIS.

The next topic relates to the entire GSIS. A large school should undergo regular certifications from external assessment bodies to identify opportunities for improvement. During the pandemic, organising such certifications is far more challenging than under normal circumstances. As a result of this, our School Management has decided in agreement with the German authorities (ZfA and KMK) that the next certification (BLI) will be postponed to November 2023. Thereafter, we will aim for the CIS Accreditation in the Spring of 2024. In the meantime, the School will continue to strive for improvements at all academic and governance levels.

The third topic concerns GSIS in a global context. This topic touches me the most. I would like to thank our student representatives for carrying out a project that I greatly appreciate. -- As a symbol of solidarity for the people of the Ukraine, our students have created a collage of photos from members of the school community, wearing white T-shirts as a sign of peace. This collage now enriches our homepage. In addition to showing solidarity with the Ukrainian people, we would like to emphasise that peace and peaceful behaviour are the basis of any society - I thank our students for their initiative.

Let us try, just like our students, to do the right thing. Let us act empathetically on a small scale and in solidarity on a large scale. Let us stand up for a world that develops in peaceful coexistence.

In this spirit, I wish you and your families a wonderful weekend.

With thoughtful regards

Dr Dirk Bennhardt
Principal
Email

Schoolwide News

University Guidance: Upcoming Events (External)

The following events are suitable and available to all students and parents of students in Y10-Y13 and K09-K12: 

HK: CHINESE UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG (CUHK)

CUHK Programme Taster Fair

Saturday 26 March 10:00-2:00pm HKT

A great variety of mini-lectures, taster classes, admission talks and student sharing sessions will be hosted by our eight Faculties. The event welcomes local students from both non-JUPAS and JUPAS tracks, and will be conducted in English and/or Chinese.

For more details and registration, please click here.

For the full schedule, please click here. Please refer to the key on the top right hand corner for the medium of instruction of different sessions.

HK: TECHNOLOGICAL AND HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTE OF HONG KONG (THEi)

THEi offers degree programmes oriented in the principle of work-ready, enabling students to apply specialised knowledge and skills to real-world issues. In the past, the Faculty admitted students from a variety of secondary schools. We witnessed the transition of secondary school graduates to holders of a Bachelor’s Degree and become professionals in the workplace.

Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) in Aircraft Engineering is one of the Bachelor’s Degree programmes in Faculty of Science and Technology(FST). This programme aims to equip students with the professional knowledge and skills to design, propose solutions or make recommendation in the fields of aircraft maintenance and aircraft engineering.  Graduates from this programme will be professionally competent in the aircraft industry. More details can be found in our website - https://www.thei.edu.hk/programme/construction-technology-and-engineering/bachelor-of-engineering-honours-in-aircraft-engineering/

If you wish to learn more about the Aircraft Engineering programme, student life at THEi, and career paths of our graduates, we will be delighted to offer 1) Online Career talk, 2) Taster Programmes, and/or 3) Virtual Tour for teachers and students.

You can find the activities at https://www.thei.edu.hk/page/detail/3539/, and apply. The link to apply is in Chinese, Should you have any enquiries or wish to contact us for arrangements, you can reach us at 2176-1505 or thei-fst@thei.edu.hk. 

UK: NINE UK ARTS UNIVERSITIES

Discover Creative Studies in the UK- Free Online Sessions

30-31 March

Please join us to learn more about studying for a creative degree in the UK. We will be offering a variety of sessions covering specific creative disciplines, preparing a portfolio, creative careers and finding the right university for you. There will also be an opportunity to hear directly from current students about their experiences studying for a creative degree in the UK.

Sessions will include a minimum of three UK universities offering creative studies to ensure a broad representation in all topics. Some sessions are offered twice to suit the different time zones. Please choose the session that suits your schedule.

The following universities will be participating in this event:

  1. Arts University Bournemouth
  2. Falmouth University
  3. Goldsmiths, University of London
  4. Leeds Arts University
  5. Loughborough University
  6. Norwich University of the Arts
  7. Ravensbourne University London
  8. University for the Creative Arts
  9. The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts

Register

UK: UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD

Webinars for parents (Primarily for parents, though students can accompany)

Thursday 7 April

Designed for parents to learn more about Oxford and have their questions answered. We will run these live across three time-slots, plus broadcast a fourth pre-recorded stream.

Book here

UK: SUMMER CAREER OPPORTUNITIES

InvestIN is a UK-based organisation that provides students aged 12-18 with an immersive experience of their dream career.

More than 45,000 students from over 100 countries have attended our programmes, which take place both in person around the world and live online. Our team is currently based in London and Manchester and we offer programmes in London, Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham, Edinburgh, New York, Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong. We provide students with an immersive experience of their dream career before they start university, so they can get a head-start over their competition.

Students should register soon for our life-changing summer experiences, which are getting booked-up quickly: immersive work experience activities under the guidance of successful professionals at top industry locations around London. Shadow doctors in a London hospital, argue a case in the Supreme Court and much much more.

View & Register: Ages 15-18

View & Register: Ages 12-14 

USA: UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, IRVINE

Jump into academic and social life at the University of California, Irvine with these flexible programs that give you the experience of university courses at one of the top 10 universities in the country. If you’re looking for participation in the summer with credit-bearing courses, the Division of Continuing Education can get you there.

Experience University Research (EUR) Remote Summer Programs

Academically challenging and culturally immersive programs help highly motivated students build practical skills and gain invaluable experience to further their academic and professional careers. Students will gain first-hand experience in their selected track with a curriculum that focuses on practice, problem-solving and application while improving their ability to communicate their subject area. Students will participate in project-based learning to build practical skills, gain invaluable experience, and better prepare to attend a competitive university. EUR is also an excellent way for students to enhance their college applications and obtain letters of recommendation from experienced instructors and industry professionals. Classes will be delivered 100% online through live instruction with distinguished faculty from a top-ranked global university.

Please find attached the EUR Summer 2022 Course Descriptions.

Apply here.

INTERNATIONAL: CANADA, UK, USA

Meet Hopkins, Cambridge, and UToronto

The University of Cambridge, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Toronto have partnered to showcase the opportunities for undergraduate students at three of the world’s best universities. We’re pleased to offer students a series of virtual events hosted by members of the student recruitment teams at each university. These webcasts will feature an overview of the postsecondary education in each country and will highlight the wealth of opportunities that we offer both inside and outside of the classroom. Most importantly, you’ll also learn about the application and admission processes for high school students. We are also offering student panels, where you can hear from current undergraduate students at each university and have the opportunity to ask any questions you may have.

Highly Selective Admissions in Canada, the U.K., and U.S.

Tuesday 29 March 7:00am-8:00am EDT (7:00pm-8:00pm HKT)

Register

Student Panel with Undergraduates from the University of Cambridge, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Toronto

Thursday 31 March 7:00am-8:00am EDT (7:00pm-8:00pm HKT)

Register

RECORDINGS OF PAST EVENTS

We have recordings of two past university events. Below are the links to access them.

Study Abroad Fair

16 March

Please see links to the live sessions that took place during the fair:

Durham University: Virtual Sessions for Students

Session Dates: 1 March – 14 May

These sessions are aimed at Year 13s who have applied to Durham, but we welcome anyone considering applying. Sessions include

  • Student life at Durham
  • A day in the life of a Durham student
  • Living in a college at Durham

All recordings for the sessions that have taken place to date can be found here: Student Experience Live Recordings - Durham University

Claire Wilkins
Head of University Guidance
Email

Beatrice Ugolini
University Guidance Counsellor
Email

Attachments

https://www.gsis.edu.hk/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/EUR-Summer-2022-Course-Descriptions-for-advanced-high-school-students.pdf

German International Stream

From Head of Stream

Dear Parents

Once again, we are about to complete another phase of our school year, as we look back on seven weeks that have been quite an emotional challenge for us all. In addition to the developments in the COVID-19 figures in Hong Kong and the additional restrictions that came with them, school life also held considerable challenges in store for us, including continuous online classes, written Realschule and Abitur exams, and exams for the German Language Diploma (DSD).

Yet there were some compensations last week with our Secondary students enjoying a week full of mindfulness and wellbeing. For our traditional Wellbeing Week, our Health and Wellbeing Group once again put together an extremely inviting programme with a wide variety of ideas and offerings, which was enthusiastically embraced by the students, even in its online format. In class as well as during breaks, colleagues addressed topics and offered activities that promote children's mental health and wellbeing. I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to the entire GSD staff who supported Wellbeing Week with great commitment and thoughtfulness. I would like to express a very special thanks to the Health and Wellbeing Group for the intensive and extremely successful organisation, as well as to Ms Neumann-Hillebrand and Ms Grab for actively supporting all classes during the week.

Over the past two weeks, all departments held their second semester Parent Information Days in the now familiar online format. I hope that you had the opportunity to have many good and trustful conversations with your children's teachers and receive positive feedback. I would like to thank all the colleagues of the German International Stream who always prepare the Parent Information Days with great care and go about them in such a sensitive and appreciative manner.

Almost two years ago to the day, our then-Principal, Mr Weghoff, and I sent a letter to parents of the German International Stream announcing what we saw as an existential change for the 2020/21 school year - the introduction of the Fasttrack Programme (FTP) in the German Secondary Department. By introducing this lateral entry opportunity, we aimed at making our GIS programme more attractive to non-German speaking target groups and to secure a more diverse student body for a sustainable future. Presumably, this change was viewed sceptically by some at the time, and even we could not guarantee the success of the FTP. Two years later, I can announce exceedingly good news and proudly say that it has become a successful model in a very short period of time. Yesterday, the enrolment of the third FT generation for the 2022/23 school year was completed and all available spots were filled. Since its inception, 30 students have enrolled in German Secondary through the Fasttrack Programme, adding to the diversity of our department. However, this extraordinary success is only possible due to the united commitment of all teachers, who for the past two years have worked tirelessly and put in a great deal of additional effort to make the programme a success.

I would like to express my sincere thanks to them for this. However, the fact that this project was initiated at all is primarily thanks to Dr Leitner. He has led the entire process from the very beginning and has developed, introduced, evaluated and further advanced the Fasttrack Programme with the utmost commitment, great resilience and certainly some sleepless nights. I would like to sincerely thank him for his outstanding work and look forward to celebrating the Abitur graduation of our first FT generation in just a few years.

Have a great weekend

Grit Cichon
Deputy Principal / Head of German International Stream
Email

Kindergarten Corner

Dear Parents

The news of reopening the Kindergarten after the Easter holidays made us all euphoric. Unfortunately, we have not yet received any further information from the Education Bureau on requirements we must meet or measures to observe. We will be in contact as soon as we know more about the opening, and we can put plans in place.

We would like to thank all families who already took part in our survey regarding their child/children's vaccination status and would ask those families who have not yet found the time to answer our short survey to please do so. Your participation is very much appreciated.

We also would like to reach out to you to let us know if you need any support or share any feedback, and please feel free to email either Frau Burdel or Ms Mah.

Even though the weather forecast does not look promising, we would still wish you a pleasant, relaxing weekend.

Sophie Burdel
Head of Kindergarten
Email

Eileen Mah
Deputy Head of Kindergarten and Deputy Child Protection Officer Pok Fu Lam Campus
Email

Departmental News and Announcements

No updates / announcements this week

Primary Corner

Dear Parents

We are very happy about the latest news as reported in the SCMP and are now eagerly waiting to see what requirements we have to comply with in order to welcome the children back to the primary school building as soon as possible.

You have already contributed greatly to this by completing the Vaccination Status Survey - thank you all very much.

School newspaper

We are pleased to present the next issue of "Wir Schlaumeier".

In this issue you will again find suggestions for activities at home, puzzles, comics, but also a survey on Online Learning, which the children have filled in.

Many thanks to all the students who wrote a report. 

We hope you enjoy reading this issue.

School newspaper

 

Priska Erni
Head of German Primary Department
Email

Beate Weihnardt
Deputy Head of German Primary Department
Email

Departmental News and Announcements

No updates / announcements this week

Secondary Corner

Dear Parents of the German Secondary Department

I would like to take the opportunity of today's Gazette to thank you for your participation as well as my colleagues for hosting the Parents Information Days last week. We experienced the exchange of information, suggestions and ideas as highly beneficial. We now look forward to staying in contact in the coming weeks and to continuing this exchange accordingly. The hope of being able to return to face-to-face teaching after the Easter break is great for all of us.

Our Abitur students and the students of K10 have completed their written exams and are now preparing for the oral part of their final examinations. We wish them all the best of luck and success.

In addition, under the excellent leadership of Ms Grab and Ms Neumann-Hillebrand, we were able to benefit from a Wellbeing Week in the past week, which has given us all ample opportunity to think more intensively about our everyday lives and how to shape them, and to perceive our daily lives somewhat more consciously. This was a chance for students, but also for parents and teachers to turn to new topics every day.

Mr Leitner and I, as well as my colleagues from the German Secondary Department, wish you above all health and happiness as well as perseverance to stay well through these challenging times.

Frank Weinhardt
Head of German Secondary Department
Email

Arnold Leitner
Deputy Head of German Secondary Department
Email

Departmental News and Announcements

Diercke Wissen 2022

English International Stream

From Head of Stream

Dear Parents

School Opening?

We may have some reasons to be cheerful on the horizon in light of the Chief Executive’s announcements earlier this week, which suggested that there are plans to reopen schools after the Easter break. This is likely to depend on the number of students and staff who are vaccinated so we are very thankful to everyone who has responded to the survey from Kindergarten to Year 7 to confirm their status. Students in Years 8 to 13 had previously declared their vaccinations and we will ask this group one more time before the break to gauge where we stand as a community (we promise it will require a very quick response!). Thank you to everyone for their swift responses.

Public Examinations

As our Year 11 and Year 13 students will be starting their public examinations from the week beginning 25th April the Lower Ground floor of the Lower Building, including the Exam Room will be cordoned off for the sole use of examinees and invigilating staff. We have adjusted the seating to ensure effective distancing and will subject all areas to regular cleaning and disinfection. A huge thank you to the academic and facilities staff who will collaborate to ensure that these examinations can take place without incident.

#StandWithUkraine

Thank you to all the parents, students and staff who shared photographs for our #StandWithUkraine collage. It is now available to view on our website. Particular thanks to Vincent Capol, Emma de Jong and Hayley Yeung for initiating the project and for sharing the collage with other German school communities across the world.

Many of our students will be aware that a large number of the refugees displaced by the war in Ukraine are children. We have seen heart-breaking images of children affected by the conflict and the increased incidence of indiscriminate bombardment in urban areas. This will inevitably resonate amongst our own children. I share the following advice from the UK to help parents and teachers support their children in talking about the conflict:

  • Establish the facts by pointing pupils towards “trusted, reputable sources that explain the what, where, when, why and who”. It encourages us to challenge incorrect information when we see it and to present evidence for facts
  • Explore a range of diverse perspectives by considering different voices or views . . . seek to model understanding of potentially marginalised views
  • Be comfortable without an answer for everything – and help your children feel comfortable with that too – in many circumstances, there is no one ‘right’ answer

In my Years 12 and 13 Theory of Knowledge classes over the past three weeks, we have been looking at the distinction between misinformation and disinformation as these tools have become strategies in presenting key events that seek to capture the hearts and minds of different groups but by their very nature they are not reliable:

  • How to identify mis- and disinformation (e.g. conspiracy theories, clickbait, manipulated media);
  • Exploring fact versus opinion, including how sensational content can be used to drive user engagement;
  • The benefits and pitfalls of a ‘personalised web’, including algorithms and filter bubbles;
  • Understanding unconscious bias and how it influences our worldview;
  • Analysing ‘us vs them’ narratives, and how online echo chambers may widen social divides;
  • Responding effectively to hate speech and forging more inclusive digital communities;
  • Creating inspiring digital content to champion causes, promote positive messages and support peers.

https://educationhub.blog.gov.uk/

Date accessed: 23rd March 2022

Engaging students with a range of news stories is a useful way to get a perspective on the development of the conflict and allows you to address underlying concerns that may otherwise go unspoken.

We will give the older students an opportunity to discuss some of these perspectives with staff in some specially arrange forums from next week.

The past few months have been a particularly challenging time for all of us with more stringent restrictions, online learning and an international conflict. Please do reach out to your child’s class teacher or one of our counsellors if you or your child would benefit from further support.

Kind regards

Simon Misso-Veness
Deputy Principal / Head of English International Stream
Email

Kindergarten Corner

Dear Parents

The news of reopening the Kindergarten after the Easter holidays made us all euphoric. Unfortunately, we have not yet received any further information from the Education Bureau on requirements we must meet or measures to observe. We will be in contact as soon as we know more about the opening, and we can put plans in place.

We would like to thank all families who already took part in our survey regarding their child/children's vaccination status and would ask those families who have not yet found the time to answer our short survey to please do so. Your participation is very much appreciated.

We also would like to reach out to you to let us know if you need any support or share any feedback, and please feel free to email either Frau Burdel or Ms Mah.

Even though the weather forecast does not look promising, we would still wish you a pleasant, relaxing weekend.

Sophie Burdel
Head of Kindergarten
Email

Eileen Mah
Deputy Head of Kindergarten and Deputy Child Protection Officer Pok Fu Lam Campus
Email

Departmental News and Announcements

No updates / announcements this week

Primary Corner

Dear Parents

We are very happy about the latest information reported in the SCMP and are now waiting eagerly to see what requirements we have to comply with in order to welcome the children back to the primary school building as soon as possible.

You have already contributed greatly to this by completing the Vaccination Status Survey - thank you all very much.

School newspaper

We are pleased to present the next issue of "Wir Schlaumeier". In this issue, you will find again suggestions for activities at home, puzzles, comics, and also a survey on Online Learning, which the children have filled in.

Many thanks to all the students who wrote a report. 

I hope you enjoy reading this issue.

School newspaper

 

Kim Cunningham
Head of English Primary Department
Email

Donna Morley
Deputy Head of English Primary Department
Email

Departmental News and Announcements

No updates / announcements this week

Secondary Corner

Departmental News and Announcements

No updates / announcements this week

Wellbeing Corner

Online Schooling and Social Media - Find a Balance

The current online schooling is accompanied by increased screen time. Additionally, children are meeting in their own Meets to share and spend time together "without interruption."  As a parent, you may be wondering, "How much screen time is good for my child, and how can we work together to create healthy screen time patterns?"

Here are our tips:

Family Plan - Screen-Free Times and Places:

Establish times and places where no cell phones, tablets, computers or TVs are allowed. A media plan for the whole family can help everyone pull together.

Set boundaries:

Make it clear what rules are non-negotiable, such as no cell phone time in bed. In return, a time slot can be agreed upon in which your child can use social media without asking for permission. This is something your child can look forward to and you can point out in appropriate situations.

Shared screen time:

Find age-appropriate videos, games, or series to enjoy together with your child. Check out commonsensemedia.org for helpful resources. Additionally, incorporate new board games into your daily routine or introduce your child to podcasts and audiobooks.

Develop an understanding of healthy media consumption together.

Talk with your child about how they feel (physically and emotionally) during or after screen time and other activities.
Work out together what impact high social media consumption has on your child's well-being.

Record your new rules - Make a contract.

Write down the mutually agreed screen-free times and places, as well as accompanying rules.
It is important to note that all signatories of the contract agree to abide by the new rules.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

We wish you a nice weekend!

Your School Counsellors

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