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Mr Carl Mincher: Weekly Update 09/02/2018

09 February 2018

Dear Parents,

This week has been a festival of events and really has offered something for everyone. Two evenings of music recitals, university presentations for families, yet more sporting successes across the city, an ambitious Science Fair, and of course our campus Tet celebrations to round it all off. In combination they have thay have created a truly memorable week for us all.

  • Tet Assembly

Year 8 Science Fair

Can fruit charge a mobile phone? What are the best ingredients to make the bounciest ball? How can the chemistry of soured milk be used to make a super strong glue?

It is said that curiosity is the core of all innovation. Well, our year 8 students have all been exercising their investigative science skills to satisfy their curiosity this week in order to solve some great research questions. And where did these great questions come from...the students themselves of course!

As the culmination of their three week team projects, our Year 8 students took part in the BIS HCMC Secondary Science Fair on Tuesday where they shared their new found knowledge with parents and fellow students from the Junior and Secondary Campuses.

The projects were scrutinised by a panel of judges. We were delighted to welcome our 3 judges to lunch with a group of science ambassadors who found our guests work and passion for their fields of science so captivating.


Thank you to all our judges:

Hannah Clapham is an epidemiologist and mathematical modeller. She uses mathematics to try understand the patterns of disease and how and why infectious diseases spread. She is particularly interested in dengue and other diseases spread by mosquitoes here in Vietnam.

As a geologist, Nha works in a team responsible for finding, drilling and extracting oil and gas from beneath the ground; both onshore and offshore.    

Mary Chambers has a PhD in entomology from University of Cambridge UK. She came to Vietnam 17 years ago to study mosquitoes and malaria transmission in rural areas, but has since transitioned from doing the science to telling the public about it. Mary is now Head of Public Engagement at the Oxford Clinical Research Unit HCMC, working to integrate engagement into OUCRU clinical research studies.

The project teams will find out which projects have been judged winners after the Tet break.

In the meantime our young scientists have been reflecting omn the experience…..

I learned how to be a better presenter of scientific ideas; we don’t need a script, we just need to interact and explain everything we did to show off all our hard work and scientific ideas!” – Janet Ngo

Are you wondering what the research questions were?

And just when they thought it was all over…

Our Year 2 scientists came to join us in the Science labs to find out what their Year 8 peers had been doing.

Year 2 classes visited a different science laboratory and were introduced to a few of the projects by the Year 8 students who had designed them.  The Year 8’s were specifically asked to use terminology such as “Independent and Dependent Variables” and “Conclusion” as they explained their scientific technique to the younger children.  

Both sets of students gained a great deal from the experience.

From a Year 8 student...

We had to really make our experiment much simpler to help the younger students understand, so we had to really know our experiment

This is such hard work!

I didn’t realise that Year 2 already know what a conclusion is! That’s great

Juilliard School at BIS once again...

Paul Murphy, our Juilliard Curriculum Mentor, is becoming quite a familiar face around the BIS HCMC campuses and on his latest visit to BIS he again brought along plenty to share.  

As well as his time in our music classrooms Paul also took the opportunity to meet with the whole secondary teaching team.

Through an increasingly deeper appreciation of one of the Juilliard core pieces he showed us something of the Juilliard approach. We were certainly invited out of our comfort zones as we reflected in different ways on a Bach cello piece.

Ian Alexander, Director of Music, shares more about our most recent Julliard Visit.


IGCSE and IB Music Recitals

This week, we were treated to two fantastic evening concerts featuring our IB and IGCSE music students.

All students performed a selection of their performing coursework to an appreciative audience showcasing the hard work they have put in over the year.

Both evenings featured some stunning playing and an eclectic mix of music chosen by the students themselves. There is certainly no formulaic approach to the teaching and learning of music here. The music team have established an environment where the students’ musical skills can flourish in any instrument, style or genre. Instruments featured were piano, saxophone, violin, cello, bass guitar, guitar and of course voice. Composers featured included Mozart, Liszt, Charlie Parker and a huge variety of others and the different styles of music on display was really entertaining for the audience of parents, teachers and students.
My thanks to all the students that performed so impressively on both nights.

Spotlight on Learning: Growing Nexus Learners

Nexus:  an important connection between the parts of a system or a group of things. From Cambridge Dictionary

This week our Geography teachers hosted some of their partners from other HCMC schools to discuss some of the recent changes to the IB Diploma curriculum and how they intend to empower students to problem solve complex global issues.

Nexus thinking is the key to approaching progress and achievement in the Sustainable Development Goals in order to improve the quality of life for people in the poorest of places.

In an increasingly complex and fast-changing world, we are encouraged to look at the interconnectedness of our Global environment. Our students, it is argued need to become nexus learners.

Take a look at what it takes to be a Nexus Learner.


Campus Sport

Following another week of great achievement across a range of sports I ask our Director of Sport, Phil Husband to reflect on the sporting experience on offer to our students.

“We are certainly not an elite sport only school. Nor are we a participation sport  only school. We strive for a utopian mixture of both. Sport for all. Achieving excellence".

In curricular time, we foster pathways for all ability levels to enjoy sport and physical activity in one form or another. The school adopts a broad and balanced physical education curriculum, offering a variety of activity areas so that all students, whether games players, those interested in the physical aesthetics or those who simply want to concentrate on physical training activity, gain a desire to become a lifelong learner in sport.

The PE department pride themselves on not just teaching the what of sport, but also the why. This includes incorporating a range of BIS Learning Skills into each lesson.

In recreational sport, we have two separate pathways. We run recreational clubs for all competitive sports in each age group, so that those who do not make the competitive squads can still train and aspire to get into the squads, or should they prefer, just play for fun!

We also have pathways for sports in which we do not compete against other SISAC schools. These include cricket, softball, netball etc, so that interest for all can be developed in sport.

The school also facilitates a varied programme which utilizes coaches from around HCMC to complement and enhance the existing PE department expertise. This includes 11 additional external sports opportunities for Secondary students.

We are also proud to be now fielding A and B teams in the majority of competitive sports and across the age groups. We compete and succeed locally in HCMC through the SISAC competitions, as well as in many international events across the region.”

So, what has been happening this week? Read on...

2018 BIS Invitational Swim Meet

It was time for our swimmers to shine last Saturday as we hosted the 5th Annual BIS Invitational Swim meet at the Junior and Secondary.

With 350 swimmers from Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and welcoming the Laos Flying King Fish team for the first time there was plenty of action and some lasting memories for competitors and spectators.

The day included many, many successes for our swimmers and Mr Husband, Director of Sport, acknowledges them all in his full report of the here.

My thanks to all the PE team and parent supporters who made the day such a success for our swimmers.


And the sporting successes continue…

SISAC Cross Country Championships

On Tuesday this week our runners were asked to step-up to the starting line once again.  This cross country event is a team event across age groups from U9 to U19 and there were so many smiles on their return as all teams came out victorious in all age groups.

Train hard, win easy” said Mr Husband on their return. “The BIS HCMC teams certainly did make this course look easy with their skill, tactics and determination in each of their races. A huge well done to all of the team and teachers for their efforts.”

Mr Husband, Director of Sport

See who our took part and the full report here.


Sports and PE- the latest Match Reports

Here are the results from some of our most recent SISAC matches

01/02/2018 U19 Boys Football vs TAS 5-4

01/02/2018 U19b Girls Football vs TAS 4-0

01/02/2018 U14 Girls Football vs SSIS 4-0

06/02/2018 U14 Girls Football vs ISHCMC 1-1

06/02/2018 U14 Boys Football vs ISHCMC 3-3

Follow the shortcut to read the full Match Reports


University Guidance Parent Information Evenings February 2018

This week, we welcomed Year 11 and 12 parents and students to our University Guidance Parent Information Evenings which focussed on the university environment and application processes for the UK, USA and other global study destinations.

The audience received a comprehensive overview from our University Guidance Counsellor, Ms Fran Halliwell, including presentations on

Global Overview, US Applications and UK Applications.

For further information please feel free to contact our University and Guidance Counsellors


The Sixth Form Community Committee

Have you met the members of the Sixth Form community committee for 2018?  You will often find them organising campus events or motivating students through project work or presenting to the school community in assemblies and evening events.

I am delighted to introduce Trinh (Chair), Victoria (Vice-Chair), Thu (Secretary), Jenny, Ashley, Cat Tien, Ngoc and Crystal.


The Community Committee is keen to raise awareness of our community partners and engage in community service and fundraising activities.

They have already been busy helping out with the Tet Box Collection and in coming months they will turn their minds to planning and organising the Go Vap Orphanage visit.

One project that I look forward to sharing with the whole community is their video about the many community ECAs at the Secondary Campus and what takes place every week. Watch this space!     


Chúc Mừng Năm Mới to our Community Partners

Thank you to everyone who has given a shoe box for the Tet collection!  We have received an overwhelming response from all areas of the school.

We have already started to distribute boxes with the help of our Secondary Community Committee!  So far Shoe boxes have been delivered to Binh An school, Binh Tho School, the Christina Noble Children’s Foundation and Mai Tam House of Hope as a part of their Tet party at the Secondary Campus.

This Thursday we also shared another ninety boxes with students from Phan Huy Ich School, who regularly visit BIS to take part in our Year 5 project and also Project Impact Club. Our connection to Phan Huy Ich School is through our ongoing relationship with Poussières de Vie (PdV)

We look forward to delivering the remaining boxes over the next few weeks. Here you can see Victoria from our Community Committee busy sorting boxes ready for delivery...nearly there Vicki!

Variation on the theme…

Thank you also to Secondary parents who have contributed to making Tet handbags for the women from our community partners which will also be delivered along with the shoeboxes.  Your enthusiasm for this project has quite overwhelmed us all.

Alumnus Visit

Today we were visited by Phuong Pham, Graduating Class of 2012, who came to speak to our current Psychology students about his university experiences.

Phuong shared his pathway through an undergraduate degree in Psychology and Philosophy to a Masters in Psychotherapy, both at the University of Nottingham, UK. Phuong is currently working as a person-centered therapist and will soon begin his research towards his Phd in Parent Psychology. It was great to hear about his time at university and look forward to finding out about his future research.


Save the date -  Two great Parent Events on March 1st

On the evening of March 1st there will be a PTG dinner held in the Auditorium with food provided by The Caterers and a panel of speakers including educators, parents and students providing insight into  the lives of ‘Third Culture Kids’ and implications for their families and their learning.

Full details to follow shortly.


Following this term’s opening of the new Infant Campus, the creation of the Junior Campus and the amalgamation between An Phu Primary and Tu Xuong Primary, I would like to extend an invitation to all parents to come and join us for a coffee morning after the TET holiday:

  • Date: Thursday 1st March

  • Time: 8.15am

  • Venue: Early Years and Infant Campus (EYIC) canteen

This will be a great opportunity for all parents to come together and get to know each other (even more) in an informal, school setting.

Please come along to support and further strengthen our already thriving BIS HCMC community. All parents are very welcome!


Chúc Mừng Năm Mới and enjoy a safe and Happy Tet Break

Tet is a very special time of year and with it was a privilege and ajoy to hold our own Tet celebration this week.

Ms Mai, Head of Vietnamese and her team of students and staff created a spectacular event of dance, music, culture and customs that blended the traditional and contemporary Tet celebration.

My thanks go to all who made this event such a special way to celebrate Tet as a campus together.


As is traditional, we offer a link to a guide that might support those who will be staying in HCMC during the Tet period. Santa Fe Relocation have shared  a few tips to help enjoy the Tet Holiday period. Tet Survival Guide 2018

I wish you relaxing and enjoyable break wherever you are.

Chúc Mừng Năm Mới


Upcoming Events

Monday 12 to Friday 23 February:  Tet Break

Tuesday 27 February: Year 11 Parent Teacher Student Conference, 4pm-6pm

Wednesday 28 February to Saturday 3 March: KS3 Drama FOBISIA, Kuala Lumpur

Wednesday 28 February to Saturday 3 March: UNISMUN, Hanoi

Thursday 1 to Sunday 4 March: South-East Asia Mathematics Challenge, Manila

Tuesday 6 to Friday 3 March: Year 12 Geography trip, Da Lat


Kind Regards,


Carl Mincher

Head Teacher

Secondary Campus