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Mr Carl Mincher: Weekly Update 01/12/2017

01 December 2017

Dear Parents

It was all about balance this week for our IB Students and parents as we have been focussing on how to build a healthy and balanced lifestyle for each of our Sixth Form students to achieve personal and professional success into their futures. The opportunity to learn together and discuss these topics was certainly well received by those parents who joined us.

The week has also been one of great success for our stage performers, mathematicians, on the field of play, in the mud of  Cat Tien. The end of term may be approaching but there is still a great deal happening in the lives of our students on campus and beyond.

Tomorrow is a huge day in the BIS calendar which is definitely not about balance though - it is all about Christmas and the spirit of giving as we enjoy the opportunity to come together as a community and raise much needed funds for those less fortunate than ourselves. As I write, a merry band of Santa’s helpers, parents, students and staff are preparing for our big day and even before the event has begun I have to applaud the monumental effort that the Parent Group have put into creating this year’s Christmas BISzaar….

Community Christmas BISzaar at BIS HCMC

It’s finally here!  Our Parent Group have been working so hard over the past few months to organise the annual festive Christmas BISzaar tomorrow, Saturday 2nd December at 10am - 2pm

As always, it promises to be a day filled with fun and festivities but this year we’ve added a little extra Christmas magic with an extra special focus on our Community Service Projects. I hope to see as many of you as possible at this great community family event to share in all the festivities!

To see the full list of Community Projects included check the events schedule or better yet, come and see.


Spotlight on Learning

As follow up to our Wellbeing Weekly activity last week- Food For Thought, our students are collaborating with their teachers by taking part in a '5-day breakfast-selfie challenge' to understand the importance of eating a nutritious breakfast.

Whilst we await the winning entries, here's our first staff entries from Ms Murphy and Mr Lewis. Clearly, a lot of healthy and happy family starts to the day!


International Life Skills and the importance of ‘Wellness’ for our IB students….

Sixth form IB students were provided with the opportunity to hear from  ‘wellness experts’ during their ILS sessions this week. A team from Mandala Wellness, based here in Thao Dien, joined us to share their skills and techniques regarding Nutrition, Reaching Goals, Stress Management and Dealing with Transition and Change.

The very productive discussions that followed have focussed on which areas students will benefit most from learning more about. Upcoming ILS sessions will build on thes and so I would like to thank Mandala Wellness for offering their time and providing our IB students with such well considered and pertinent advice.


Go Vap Orphanage Visit

Last weekend students and staff once again visited the Ky Quang 2 Pagoda in the outskirts of Go Vap district.

Those who are involved with this community partnership invariably report that the connections made change their perspectives on life.

Whilst sharing their experiences after spending time bonding with the children at the orphanage sixth form students Anh Khoa Tang and Victoria Fethke said, ‘Arriving back at school, we brought back with ourselves  lessons learned of gratitude and from the positivity of the children.’

For an update of all our Community projects and how you, as a parent,  can support the efforts of our students and community partners read the Community Update


FOBISIA Design & Technology Online Competition

Analyse, Deconstruct, Analyse, Perfect, Test.  ADAPT!  That’s what designers do.’ This is the mantra from Jim Myers, judge of the FOBISIA Design & Technology Online Competition 2017

In the first of this year’s DT challenges our Year 9 designers created some very smart innovations. Having pitched against their peers here at BIS the winners were put forward to the FOBISIA Competition for judging.

All of our Year 9 students have been working on designing and making their products over the last 10 weeks and the BIS HCMC entry was decided following competitive presentations involving justifications of design, materials selected and commercial aspects.

Against a wide range of excellent designs regionally I am pleased to congratulate Ben Gilmore, Gemma Handscombe, Sakura Kume and Cathy Jeong whose project secured second place. A well done to you all for the creative thinking and teamwork behind the project!

Read more about their successful project

For more about the variety of collaborative events and activities that we share through FOBISIA see the Student Events calendar here


Key Stage 3 Show Antigone

This week Key Stage 3 students gave a stunning performance of the Greek Tragedy Antigone. Audiences were amazed at the very high standard of performance and were full of praise for the cast who stepped beyond their comfort zone to take on this ambitious production.

The cast have been working on the production all term and they created a performance that showed real maturity and understanding, demonstrating once again that our students are capable of so much when they challenge themselves. The show was a wonderful success with a number of extremely strong performances from the students involved.

Congratulations to all and we look forward to seeing you take the stage again in the future.


Vietnamese History Museum Visit

The Ho Chi Minh City Museum was the venue for a Year 8 lesson with a difference this week. The Museum, in District 1, is a very popular tourist destination but for us it was all about building our learning skills.

Our Year 8 students explored the current exhibition researching hard to respond to the 10 challenges they had been set. Students discovered a great deal about a variety of topics from the geography of Saigon in the map collection room to the history of patriotic Vietnamese soldiers in the ‘revolutionary struggles room – 1930-1975’.

Whilst the trip was a brief one, our students seized the opportunity to practise and develop their research skills in a different environment.

Well done to the Year 8 students involved


Support for Flood Victims in Ninh Hoa Area

The region of Khanh Hoa Province, near Ninh Hoa is predominantly fishing villages and rural area and so when one of our staff members, An Ho, Welfare & Guidance Administrator and a part of our Student Centre team, heard that the recent Typhoon Damrey event in the area had left many families without basic supplies so she and her friends stepped up to help.  Through sharing their idea amongst family and friends, An and her friends raised funds and gathered clothing and supplies to share with families in Ninh Hoa.

Last weekend the group travelled to the area to deliver their gifts.  

On arrival An and friends found that the intense winds of Typhoon Damrey had removed rooves of even the strongest dwellings, with some buildings completely destroyed.  Families have lost tools and equipment which could be used, not just to live, but to help them rebuild.  Also notable in an area sustained by primary industry was how the storm has affected the small shrimp farmers and fishing families.  The waters around Khanh Hoa province were stirred up a lot during the storm and as a result the delicate environment required for shrimp fishing has been disturbed.  This in turn means that even as homes are rebuilt and supplies restored, it will be some time before some of these families, even communities will return to their fully independent capacity.  

In speaking with An, bright and bubbly in spirit and generous of heart, who has done these things before, she was quite overwhelmed by the journey.  An was able to sum it up quite simply ‘I normally feel happy when giving to others, but this felt sad, because it was not enough’.

I commend An on her efforts to help those less fortunate and on being such a great role model to our students in doing so. Thank you An!


Saigon Intermediate Mathematics Competition

Last weekend, two teams of BIS Mathematicians took part in the Saigon Intermediate Maths Competition and they performed to an outstanding level.

After several challenging rounds where each team accumulated points BIS Team 1 (Jun Seop Lim, Yoon Su Jang, Woo Kyung Shim, Joseph Kang) brought home second place on the relay round , and  also a second place on the Crossword Round.

BIS Team 2 (Alden Ng, Min Ho Kim, Seo Hyun Kim, Yoon Young Choi) took third place on the Pass Back round and first place on their relay round. At the close of the competition BIS team 1 secured the top spot and were crowned CHAMPION TEAM of 2017. BIS team 2 were a close second, securing Runners Up of 2017.

As if this wasn’t enough success for the team, four of our students (Jun Seop Lim, Min Ho Kim, Seo Hyun Kim, Joseph Kang) scored an amazing 100% on the Individual Round. Seo Hyun Kim took overall third place and Jun Seop Lim won the overall competition becoming the Individual Champion 2017.

A wonderful performance by both teams - huge congratulations to you all!


Year 12 Parent Workshop

‘Pressure. Challenge. Results’ These are words that are often used in relation to the IB programme and, having overheard conversations around the campus, our students are no exception to this.  As a school, we strive to support our students and we know that parents do the same at home: on Wednesday, we welcomed parents of Year 12 students to the Sixth Form Common Room to explore how we can best work together to support our students through the challenges of the IB Programme.

The event began with Ms Easter, in her role as Achievement Data Coordinator, sharing her insight into the outcomes of the recent CEM assessments completed by the students.  Used by education professionals for over 30 years in over 70 countries, CEM (Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring) is one of the largest and longest established research groups providing learning assessment for children of all ages.  The testing outcomes, along with IGCSE grades, provide us with one piece of information about the potential IB points scores our students could achieve.  However, as Ms Easter pointed out, our students are human beings – not just a set of numbers – and there are many ways in which we can, as a school community, use this data to inform us of the ways in which our young people may need our guidance.

Ms Hall, our Head of Sixth Form, followed this session with a practical workshop exploring the pressures that some of our students experience with IB Diploma Programme. The IB requires excellent time management skills, a positive lifestyle balance and a great deal of commitment. Many students find the start of Year 12 to be a very steep learning curve and parental support is vital during this time and throughout the two-year course.  We all want our students to realise their potential: Ms Hall’s excellent workshop looked at how home and school can work more closely in helping every student to achieve all of which they capable.

Thank you to those parents who attended the event.  The presentations from the evening can be found here: CEM Assessments and Year 12 Parent Workshop


International Award Expedition

The Year 10 and 12 International Award groups successfully completed their practice Expedition in Ta Lai last weekend overcoming heat, mud and leeches in order to complete their jungle routes in Cat Tien National Park. These intrepid students used the expedition to  practise their camping skills, trekking, off-road cycling, navigation and cooking in the wild, as well as collaboration and perseverance!

Well done to the whole group who returned home exhausted but more confidently prepared for the Qualifying Expeditions that will take place next term .

Phuket Football 7s Tournament 2017 Update

It is great to see another group of developing sports people returned from the highly competitive Phuket 7s Tournament.  With a challenging two days of competition against international schools from a variety of our Asian neighbouring countries, our U13 Boys and Girls teams came up against many challenges to their skills and their commitment.  It is wonderful to see their dedication and perseverance shine through under pressure and I look forward to seeing how the experience develops their skills for life and for football.  Read the Phuket 7s Update


FOBISIA, the highlights reel and a message from our PE Department

Just a quick message from your PE Department to all prospective U13 FOBISIA students, ‘Please take note...this is how much fun the U15 team had at the recent FOBISIA Games’


Upcoming Events - plenty more before the end of term!


Underneath the Christmas Tree- December 7th

The annual Christmas performance combining students from Tu Xuong Primary, An Phu Primary and An Phu Secondary will take place at Ben Thanh Theatre on Thursday 7th December.  A limited number of tickets are still available at all campuses

Christmas Concert Poster 2 (00000002).jpg


Library Sleepover, The SNAB- December 8th

For more about this Starry Night of Ambitious Bookworms, see next week’s update.


Community Football Tournament- December 10th

Celebrating our connection to our Community Partners through sport.  


Job Opportunity: Examination invigilators needed

We are currently looking to expand our team of invigilators by recruiting reliable and confident people to assist throughout our busy examination periods of January and May/June each year.  

This team supports the Examinations Officer and supervises examinations at IGCSE and IB level during both internal and external examinations.

Responsibilities include:

  • Preparing the examination venue prior to examinations in accordance with regulations

  • Distribution of scripts and supervision of students during examinations

Teamwork skills and flexibility are essential though no specific experience is required as full training will be provided.

The position is on a casual basis with days/hours being variable depending on examination demands.

For further information, please contact Tracey Brownrigg (Examinations Officer) at Tracey.Brownrigg@bisvietnam.com


Upcoming Events

Saturday 2nd December: Christmas BISzaar, 10am - 2pm

Wednesday 6th December: Year 7 Short Report

Thursday 7th December: Whole school concert 'Underneath the Christmas tree', 6.30pm, Ben Thanh Theatre

Friday 8th December: Year 13 Full Report

Friday 8th December: Library Leaders Sleepover

Sunday 10th December: Community Football Tournament - Open to Year 5, 6 & 7

Sunday 10th December: Clubs and Activities Finish

Wednesday 13th December: Inter House Athletics Day

Friday 15th December: Year 9 Short Report


I hope you all enjoy a wonderful weekend ahead and look forward to seeing as many of you as possible tomorrow at the BISzaar.


Kind regards,


Carl Mincher

Head Teacher

Secondary Campus