It’s really hard to believe that it is March already, and we head towards our Spring Break holiday, after which we are full steam ahead with everything that leads us towards the end of another year at BSB, notably the academic examinations for our secondary school students, which start in earnest at the beginning of May. But March itself is also a really busy month, and I hope to see many of you at our events before the end of term:
- Our curriculum adviser from The Juilliard School visits us again from 8-10 March. These visits are always a highlight, and this time she is also hosting a workshop for parents – further details available from Miss Haley Clark, Director of Music
- On 10 March, it is our Year 13 Visual Arts Exhibition. This is always a stunning display of student talent and well worth a visit for anyone who enjoys really high quality art.
- At the same time, we are hosting the Principals and Heads from over 50 FOBISIA schools for their annual business meeting. We are excited to be showing these colleagues are school and they are looking forward to meeting the BSB family!
- Our Primary School Production, “Ali Baba and the Bongo Bandits”, takes place on 17 and 18 March. Over 80 children are involved. I have seen a few rehearsals already – it is certainly really ambitious – and it looks like being amazing! Tickets are on sale at school and I know it will be very popular.
- It is the turn of FOBISIA students to join us from March 22-24, for the annual U13 FOBISIA Games, hosted here at BSB Shunyi.
- At the same time, our Primary music students head to Kellett School in Hong Kong for the FOBISIA Primary Music Festival.
- And finally, on Friday 31 March (the last day of term) it is our Primary School Easter Picnic. Please do join us for this fun community event – primary colleagues will send out further details soon.
So….. indeed a busy time but one which helps to build our family and our community, as well as providing great opportunities for our young people alongside those crucial academic studies.
Secondary School Leadership Team (Please click the link below to read this section in Chinese & Korean)
A few parents have been asking about the new members of our leadership team, and obviously especially regarding replacements for Mr Lewis and Ms Pratt as they head off to Cairo together in the summer. We warmly congratulate Mr Lewis on achieving the goal of becoming Principal in his own school after his four years of dedicated commitment here, and we will miss them both, as we of course will Mr Carlisle.
I didn’t want to write out with the details until we had absolute certainty about the future, or in any way undermine our current team as they continue to lead the school to even greater success, but I am now absolutely delighted to inform parents that we have attracted extremely experienced and high quality colleagues to lead our secondary school from August.
Mr. Jeff Shaw - Head of Secondary
Our Head of Secondary will be Mr Jeff Shaw, who is currently the Headteacher of a Chinese international school in the south of China, having previously been the long-standing Deputy Head of the International School in The Hague. Jeff therefore already has good experience of living and working in China, but is also expert in the British curriculum, a range of international schools, and the IGCSE and IB Diploma examinations. He comes with a strong reputation, especially on his love of working with young people and his excellent relationships with students and parents in his schools.
Mr. Rob Khan - Deputy Headteacher
Our new Deputy Headteacher is Mr Rob Khan, who also comes originally from the UK, where he taught Chemistry and was a Head of Science, but was also involved in teacher training. He has worked in international schools for 15 years (he is currently already a Deputy Headteacher, ironically at a school in Cairo), and comes with a simply outstanding reputation; I personally know two of the school Principals he has worked with, and they cannot speak highly enough of him.
Mrs. Jennifer Upsall - Assistant Headteacher, IB Coordinator
Our IB Coordinator next year will be Mrs Jennifer Upsall. Like Jeff and Rob, Jennifer began her teaching career (in Modern Languages) in the UK, but has been working in international schools for over 10 years. She is exceptionally experienced in the IB Diploma, having been part of the team that set up the Diploma in her current school nearly ten years ago, and having been involved in whole school IB leadership ever since. Ms Pratt has already begun regular meetings with Mrs Upsall to make sure she hits the ground running, and knows our students (and our systems) really well by the time she joins us. Ms Pratt tells me she is really impressed by Mrs Upsall – by her knowledge and skills in IB, but also her warm and engaging personality.
As you know, our Principal Richard Thornhill will be starting at BSB on 1 May (I will be remaining to work with him until the end of June), and we have invited these new colleagues to spend a few days at the school during May to make sure they understand the school well, and meet key people, as part of their introduction to the school.
I do believe it is a measure of how successful BSB Shunyi has been academically over the past few years, that we are now able to attract truly high calibre candidates to all these senior posts in the school. It is a fact that quality leaders now wish to work in our school, and I am exceptionally grateful to all our leaders, staff, students and parents for making this the case.
I know that parents are understandably concerned when school leaders changes, but these things are of course normal in international schools. I am absolutely confident that you will see no change, and that these new colleagues, perhaps most especially in the area of IB where the relationship between parents, students and IB Coordinator is so critical, will be 100% what you would hope for from the BSB team. I have of course personally interviewed them all and am very aware of what you are looking for in doing so.
Portable Magic and the Big Read
This is now a fully established part of the BSB calendar, and it just seems to grow from strength to strength every year. Last week, primary and secondary students gave an even stronger focus than usual to books and reading, with events ranging from primary students (and teachers!) dressing up as their favourite books characters, an amazing foyer display, ‘Drop Everything and Read’, and the poetry competition. It all culminated in the weekend events:
- The overnight Readathon where primary and secondary students came together for a mass reading sleepover, which they all seemed to thoroughly enjoy
- The annual community Big Read, which brought readers of all ages together to perform, share, listen and simply enjoy the pleasure of reading.
Our sincere thanks go to all those involved in making this a very special event, notably Mrs Cannon and Miss Vines in the Primary School, Mrs Smedegaard who was the driving force behind the Primary School poetry competitions, Mrs Jiang and Mrs Harrison in the library, Mrs Gardin and the Secondary English Team, our Chatterbox volunteers, and all those colleagues and supporters who attended the events. Reading has so much power in our lives and we look forward to an even bigger event next year.
Finally, isn’t it wonderful to see the first signs of Spring around Beijing – it is getting warmer, green shoots are beginning to appear, and we have experienced days and days of good air (ranging from the relatively good to the exceptionally good – my AQI app showed AQI of 8 recently). It is usually a lovely time and I hope we can really make the most of it in school and in the community.
With my very best wishes as ever