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GSIS Gazette – Issue #81

10th June 2022

Principal's Column

Dear school community, 

Hong Kong is a fantastic, diverse, and surprising place. I was able to experience all these attributes during my first year at GSIS. The Christmas concert was fantastic as one of the very few events that could take place in person. Diverse were the different requirements due to the pandemic, even if we could have happily done without them. And the weather is always surprising. Heavy rain, typhoons and landslides hardly let us have a boring day. However, I continue to be most impressed on how members of the school community handle these occurrences with the utmost flexibility and professionalism. Thank you all for that.

A thank you to the teachers

Of course, the greatest achievement this year was once again accomplished by the students. An outstanding performance by the students is usually supported by several external factors. The pivotal contribution is made by the teachers, who continue to inspire the students to new learning achievements. The teachers who attend to everyone, be it in online or face-to-face lessons and who, with their expertise, help uncover young people's mindset to reach new shores. 

A thank you to the parents 

I would like to thank all the parents, represented by the Parents' Committee, for inviting the school staff to a celebration to express their appreciation for all the excellent work the staff do. As a teacher, I know that such a gesture is powerful and gives new motivation for the next year. This Friday we will be able to celebrate with the colleagues of Kindergarten and Primary as well as parts of the administration team at The China Club. Next Friday the Secondary and rest of the administration team will be able to enjoy a wonderful evening. - I am looking forward to meeting all colleagues in a relaxed atmosphere.

A look ahead to the next school year at GSIS

When we look at the international school environment in Hong Kong, the situation is tense in many ways. On the one hand, there is a considerable outflow of students at many schools and on the other hand, not every teaching position could be filled satisfactorily. GSIS has an excellent reputation among the teaching staff that we have been able to fill all positions with excellent candidates, all, with the exception of one art post in the German Stream. The total number of students is expected to be just below the previous year's number. Together with the Board, the school has set itself the goal of optimising the criteria and scope of student admission. - I am excited to see how well this will be achieved.

Countdown of weeks

Now there are two weeks left and the entire school community will take advantage of the summer holidays to recover from a challenging school year. 

My wife and I are going to Germany and we are looking forward to seeing our daughters, our parents and our friends again. - I hope you have similar plans and can spend the time with your loved ones. 

Until the next Gazette, I remain with a positive outlook and very warm wishes.

Dr Dirk Bennhardt
Principal
Email

Schoolwide News

University Guidance: Upcoming Events

We would like to remind students and parents of students in Y10-Y12 and K09-K11 about the following GSIS internal events scheduled for next week.

Why Oxford

Tuesday 14 June 6:00 pm HKT

Registration link

Keeping Current - A panel event involving senior leadership from several top US institutions: Stanford, NYU, UPenn, Columbia, Brown

Wednesday 15 June 9:00 pm HKT

Registration link

 

Best regards.

Claire Wilkins
Head of University Guidance
Email

Beatrice Ugolini
University Guidance Counsellor
Email

Senior Library – End of school year updates and announcements

As the school year is coming to an end, I would like to share some updates and announcements here.

Reading, Learning and Study Research

We are celebrating another fruitful year with a high daily head-counts, library reading and research classes scheduled by teachers from both streams in the Senior Library. Access to databases and online resources are interrupted when school went online in Spring.

Summer Borrowing 2022

Summer loan services will be available for students and staff returning to GSIS in the coming August. Each student and staff account may borrow up to 20 items on the condition that their previous library loans are returned by Friday, 17 June. The borrowing period will start on Monday, 20 June.

We are asking for the full support from your family to cover any potential loss. This consent form [URL] must be filled out by parents/ guardian before students take books out for the summer.

Message from the Librarian

I want to congratulate all winners of Antolin reading prizes and the Hong Kong Battle of the Books competition. I would also like to borrow this chance to encourage all of you to enjoy eLibrary and online resources via the library homepage at https://destiny.gsis.edu.hk/ while you are off from school. [Click the links to view reading lists and popular titles.]

Have a great summer - Happy reading!

Email inquiry: seniorlibrary@learning.gsis.edu.hk

Caroline Chan
[Librarian - Senior Library] [Bibliothekarin - Senior Library]
Email

German International Stream

Kindergarten Corner

Dear Parents

This is already the next-to-last edition of the Gazette before the summer holidays and we would like to share some essential information with you before the end of the academic year.

Summer Library Loan Program from the PFL Campus library 

As some of you will remain in Hong Kong during the summer break, we are pleased to offer interested families the option to borrow four Library books during the summer holiday. As we have limited books in our PFL library, we cannot offer more books. 

To participate, your child must:

  1. Be a returning student and
  2. Have returned all currently loaned library book(s) by Friday, 17 June.

Parents should ensure that all replacements or payments for replacements are complete before any borrowing can occur.

Parents are required to fill in the form Agreement to the Summer Loan Program before 16 June.

The class teachers will select the summer break books, which must be returned on 25 August 2022 (Kindergarten Welcome Coffee Morning) to the Pok Fu Lam Campus. 

For enquiries, please contact our PFL Secretary, Ashley Banach, PFL_Secretary@gsis.edu.hk 

Mandatory Bus Policy at Pok Fu Lam Campus

Today we would like to draw your attention again to the "Mandatory Bus Policy" for our Pok Fu Lam Campus. The Mandatory Bus Policy is an important part of our Pok Fu Lam Campus lease renewal with the Education Bureau and the Southern District Council.

The Mandatory Bus Policy is integral to our Pok Fu Lam Campus lease renewal with the Education Bureau and the Southern District Council.

We would like to remind all our parents to register their children for the school bus for the school year 2022/2023. Click here (password: GSIS) to register now!

Only the following are exempt from this regulation:

  1. residential addresses within walking distance (from Chi Fu Gardens to 140 Pok Fu Lam Road) and
  2. children with severe health issues (a doctor's certificate is required)

Otherwise, this regulation applies to all students studying at the Pok Fu Lam Campus (KG, Y01 and DVOR).  We look forward to your support in keeping in line with this rule.

Important school matters:

  • Your child will receive their Summer Break books on Thursday, 23 June.
  • On the last day of school, Friday, 24 June, the school will end at 10.45 am. Your children will arrive home earlier by bus. We will send you the amended arrival times by email next week.
  • We will hand out the final reports of the kindergarten children on the last day of school.
  • We will email you information about the start of the new school year as soon as possible.

We wish you a nice 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, 

This will be my second last message, here I would like to give you a brief preview of the new school year.

Staff News

At the end of this school year, we have to say goodbye not only to many students but also to valued colleagues from the primary school who are leaving Hongkong. 

  • Mrs Isabelle Vögelin

She moved back to Switzerland in the middle of May.

  • Mrs Sabine Troll-Diefenbach

After four years her time here at GSIS comes to an end and she will fly back to Germany. 

  • Mrs Lena Widmann

Unfortunately, we could only enjoy Mrs Widmann for two years. She will leave Hong Kong for a new adventure. 

We would like to thank you very much for your tireless and endless efforts in Primary. They have both contributed so much and will surely take their bag of experience and learning with them on their journey through life.

Our two volunteers Ella Weindel and Luke Frenken are also leaving us at the end of the school year. We wish them all the best in the next step of their future. They have experienced a lot in Hong Kong and are returning to Germany more mature and experienced.

As I mentioned above, many families will also be leaving Hong Kong or have already flown away. We wish you all the best in your new home and would be happy to hear from the families again. 

This change also has an impact on the Primary. With the declining number of students our classes are getting smaller and smaller and we decided not to replace a teacher and to merge the future K02 class.

Here is an overview of the future teachers.

DVOR A: Inke Donlevy and Tracy Donaghy

DVOR B: Barbara Kohl and Tracy Donaghy

K01A: Gerda Troy-Tretheway

K01B: Elvira Häberle

K02: Gabriele Wurm- Bussemer

K03A: Muriel Roquette

K03B: Lena Scharwei

K04A: Manuel Deingruber

K04B: Nadine Greuter NEW

Clippy class: Julia Wahlmüller NEW

We would like to welcome Ms Nadine Greuter and Ms Julia Wahlmüller to our team. They will introduce themselves before the start of the new school year.

School Newspaper

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

Many thanks to all the students who have written a column. 

We hope you enjoy reading it!

 

school newspaper

 

 

 

Priska Erni
Head of German Primary Department
Email

Beate Weinhardt
Deputy Head of German Primary Department
Email

Departmental News and Announcements

No updates / announcements this week

Secondary Corner

Departmental News and Announcements

No updates / announcements this week

English International Stream

From Head of Stream

Dear Parents

Our penultimate edition of The Gazette for this academic year includes a series of farewells to departing staff.

At the end of the academic year, we say auf wiedersehen to Kim Cunningham who will be returning to the USA to be closer to her family. We thank Kim for all her efforts in keeping the English Primary Department operational and productive during some challenging times. Please do review the list of staff leaving and arriving on the EPD page.

In the English Secondary Department, the following staff will be leaving us:

Nathalie Comty, Head of Student Support (3 years)

Nicola Culican, Subject Leader for Art (14 years)

Jessica McCarroll, Teacher of Mathematics and Head of Year 7 (4 years)

Vicky Ngo, ESD Secretary (1 year)

Sapna Ramanathan, Teacher of Geography (1 year)

Tanya Shindler, ESD Counsellor (5 years)

Shirralee Sisson, ESD Counsellor (maternity cover)

Julia Surman, Teacher of Geography and Global Initiatives Coordinator (7 years)

Chris Taylor, Subject Leader for Chemistry (11 years)

Mr Taylor will be retiring at the end of this academic year having been at the school for 15 years. We thank him for his contribution and service to learning at the school and wish him the very best for a well-deserved retirement.

New Staff

And as the page starts to turn to the next academic year, we congratulate Donna Morley on her appointment as Head of English Primary as well as the following staff who will be joining us in August.

Andrew Hull as Head of Art

Kate Moran as English Teacher

Helen Ta as Head of Student Support

Clara Tai as Mathematics Teacher

Philip Truman as Geography Teacher

Yenga Yan as Chemistry Teacher and Liz McCardle will continue as the Subject Leader

Discovery Week 2022

We have started to make plans for this year’s Discovery Week that will take place over three days prior to the mid-term break (19th to 21st October). The format will be very similar to last year with Year 7 and Year 8 enjoying some shared experiences in Hong Kong to build collegiality and friendship, whilst Years 9 to 11 will have the option for activities within school and Hong Kong. Years 12 and 13 will remain in school focused on university preparation and the IB Diploma Core. Further details to follow next term!

School events

Thanks to the parents and alumni who supported our Careers Day on Tuesday; this went very well despite some technical challenges and provided a worthwhile opportunity for students to meet professionals. Huge thanks to Claire Wilkins, Beatrice Ugolini and our amazing IT Support Team for hosting this event. Hopefully, next year we will be able to provide this in person.

Thanks also to Laura Maddison for running an excellent online event for parents on Cannabis Awareness and Prevention. We are grateful to Mehek Gidwani for speaking with our audience from the perspective of a person recovering from misuse. We are keen to offer more face-to-face events next year to support parents in meeting the needs of their children both educationally and social-emotionally.

Extended Essays

Our Year 12 have just submitted their 4,000-word academic essays as part of their IB Diploma and I just wanted to share a few of the titles with you so you can have an insight into the areas of research our students are engaging:

To what extent does the health pass violate the most fundamental French principles: Liberty, Equality and Fraternity of the national motto?

The Economic Implications of Legislation to Reduce the Inequalities Caused by Algorithmic Bias

A Bourdieusian Reading of Pygmalion and Symbolic Violence: How does George Bernard Shaw depict issues of marginalised identities in Pygmalion?

Does the economic status of a state within the US impact the degree to which CRISPR (gene editing) is an effective treatment protocol?

These extended essays are a core feature of the final diploma and are written in the style of an academic paper, which is a tremendous preparation for life at university and a major bonus of an IB Diploma education.

After two huge misjudgements on the nature of the weekend weather in my previous two articles, I am just going to wish you all a wonderful weekend.

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

Kindergarten Corner

Dear Parents

This is already the next-to-last edition of the Gazette before the summer holidays and we would like to share some essential information with you before the end of the academic year.

Summer Library Loan Program from the PFL Campus library 

As some of you will remain in Hong Kong during the summer break, we are pleased to offer interested families the option to borrow four Library books during the summer holiday. As we have limited books in our PFL library, we cannot offer more books. 

To participate, your child must:

  1. Be a returning student and
  2. Have returned all currently loaned library book(s) by Friday, 17 June.

Parents should ensure that all replacements or payments for replacements are complete before any borrowing can occur.

Parents are required to fill in the form Agreement to the Summer Loan Program before 16 June.

The class teachers will select the summer break books, which must be returned on 25 August 2022 (Kindergarten Welcome Coffee Morning) to the Pok Fu Lam Campus. 

For enquiries, please contact our PFL Secretary, Ashley Banach, PFL_Secretary@gsis.edu.hk 

Mandatory Bus Policy at Pok Fu Lam Campus

Today we would like to draw your attention again to the "Mandatory Bus Policy" for our Pok Fu Lam Campus. The Mandatory Bus Policy is an important part of our Pok Fu Lam Campus lease renewal with the Education Bureau and the Southern District Council.

The Mandatory Bus Policy is integral to our Pok Fu Lam Campus lease renewal with the Education Bureau and the Southern District Council.

We would like to remind all our parents to register their children for the school bus for the school year 2022/2023. Click here (password: GSIS) to register now!

Only the following are exempt from this regulation:

  1. residential addresses within walking distance (from Chi Fu Gardens to 140 Pok Fu Lam Road) and
  2. children with severe health issues (a doctor's certificate is required)

Otherwise, this regulation applies to all students studying at the Pok Fu Lam Campus (KG, Y01 and DVOR).  We look forward to your support in keeping in line with this rule.

Important school matters:

  • Your child will receive their Summer Break books on Thursday, 23 June.
  • On the last day of school, Friday, 24 June, the school will end at 10.45 am. Your children will arrive home earlier by bus. We will send you the amended arrival times by email next week.
  • We will hand out the final reports of the kindergarten children on the last day of school.
  • We will email you information about the start of the new school year as soon as possible.

We wish you a nice 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 approaching the end of our school year again. We have been fortunate to welcome back some of our programs, such as camps and ECAs. We are looking forward to resuming our music and sports programmes next year if allowed!

We will be wishing Kris Cayrouse well on her retirement, sending our good wishes along with Don Benson as he takes a year’s sabbatical, and unfortunately saying goodbye to Jamie Tsang as he moves to a full-time position as a Secondary PE Teacher. 

I am also sad to be saying goodbye to Hong Kong and GSIS. The past four years have been an incredible experience, working along with some of the best educators in the world and teaching the most engaged and enthusiastic children! I am grateful that I had this opportunity and excited for the future of the EPD.

As was announced earlier this year, Donna Morely has been named the new Head of EPD for the 2022/2023 academic year. Donna will be fabulous in this role with her background at GSIS and her extensive experience within Hong Kong and the UK. In addition, our new Deputy Head has been appointed, and two new primary level teachers. Please join me in welcoming them to GSIS. 

Donna Morley

Donna has been the Deputy head of EPD for 6 years. She has over 26 years of experience in both international and UK schools, including 12 years in senior leadership.  Her leadership roles have included: Two deputy headships, IB Primary Years Programme coordinator,  Head of Key stage 2 and Pastoral care, Maths Leader, Assessment Leader and Professional Development Leader.

Providing the highest quality learning to students is Donna’s passion and she has successfully taught all ages from Year 1 to 6, being consistently judged outstanding by inspectors and colleagues.

She has been invited to consult on curriculum development in several schools both in Hong Kong and the UK and has led professional development at schools and conferences in Europe and Asia.

She gained her teaching degree from the University of Leeds in 1996 and achieved the National Professional Qualification for Head teachers in 2016. She was recently awarded the Certificate in School Leadership and Management from Harvard Graduate School of Education and is a member of the Chartered College of Teaching.

She enjoys outdoor activities with her family, is a keen amateur photographer and printmaker and loves learning languages. 

Kerry Dandie

Kerry has been teaching in Hong Kong for 8 years and is joining us from Kingston International school, where she has worked for the last 5 years. At Kingston she taught year 4 and year 5 and also had responsibility for leading ICT. Prior to working in Hong Kong, Kerry spent 2 years teaching in South Korea.

She is originally from Scotland and has a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in Drama from the University of Hull in the UK. 

Her interests and passions include outdoor activities, playing sports, theatre, reading and travelling.

Laura Truman

Laura is joining us from Dunraven primary school in London where she is a Year 2 teacher and head of writing and creative arts. She has written art schemes of work for the local education authority and has experience in leading maths mastery workshops in London.

She has also worked in the corporate world as a project manager to develop financial literacy programmes for schools. 

Laura is moving to Hong Kong with her husband, who will be joining ESD as a Geography teacher, and baby Ted.

Eleanor Cowling

​​Eleanor joins us from Generations Christian Education where she has been working as Vice-Principal for Strategic School Developments for the past year. Prior to that, she worked at Island Christian Academy for five years. During her time there she taught Year 3 and 4, was "Learning Leader" and became Vice-Principal for Curriculum and Assessment and gained the National Professional Qualification for headship.

Eleanor is originally from Reading in the UK. She trained as a teacher at Oxford Brookes University and taught in the UK before moving to Hong Kong. Eleanor loves planning fun and engaging learning experiences and working creatively to solve problems. She has a wide range of leadership skills and is passionate about the effective use of data to support and reduce teacher workload. She also loves organising timetables and schedules! In her spare time, she enjoys eating good food, baking and doing craft projects. 

As is normal with the EPD, we shift staffing around every few years. We ensure that new staff are placed with GSIS teachers who have been here for a few years so that they have a great induction to our expectations and culture. We have made a few adjustments for next school year:

Year 1      Anna Cooke and Maggie Marsh

Year 2      Jang Yoon and Jessica Varty

Year 3      Stephanie Gilchrist and Laura Truman

Year 4      Dan Crowther and Mica Rasborn

Year 5      Suzanne Haynes and Kerry Dandie

Year 6      Anushka Abraham and Resham Premchand

Have a wonderful weekend!

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

Student Achievements & Initiatives

Leia Music Achievements

Teresa Wong ()

Leia (YO4B) has been awarded gold medal in cello playing and silver medal in vocal singing for 2022 Quebec Music Competition. She has also participated in the International Youth Music Competitions (Atlanta USA) in the "Informal Music Makers" category for composition and got First Prize.

https://www.gsis.edu.hk/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Leia-Cello-photo.jpg, https://www.gsis.edu.hk/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/IYMC-Music-Maker-Cert.jpg

(Click thumbnail/s to enlarge image)

Wellbeing Corner

Procrastinating? Try the 'Three Minute Rule'

Many of us are familiar with procrastinating and know that this in itself can become a significant source of stress.

Psychologists now say that you can put off procrastinating by approaching unappealing tasks for three minutes at a time. In a trial, psychologists found engaging in a task for 20-minutes was still too daunting for many, but when participants tried three minutes, 98 per cent kept going longer.

The theory behind it is that aiming for three minutes only will snap you out of an avoidance mindset and can help a task feel less overwhelming. Three minutes quickly rolls on to become more and before you know it you’re fully engaged in the task and have a good chance of completing it.

The three minute rule works for fitness regimes, phobias and even social anxiety.

See if it works for you. One, two, three – start!

Your School Counsellors

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