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Mr Sean O'Neill: Weekly Update 25/09/2020

Sean O’Neill
Sean O’Neill (7 posts) Head Teacher, Secondary Campus View Profile

Dear BIS community,

Across many cultures there is a common principle that is accepted as a simple way of finding individual and community wellbeing: that is to focus on what we have, not what we don't have. 

In these times, when we find some of our freedoms and choices limited, this simple principle has never been more important. In such times, we draw even more on our immediate community and together seek to find new ways to overcome the obstacles that come our way. 

This week’s update is full of these two things: community and innovation. Coming together both to learn and to make a difference defines the BIS spirit, and it has been evident in abundance over the last week of school life:  not only in our classrooms and CCAs, but in recent events such as World Clean Up Day and Peace One Day- and in our upcoming Dyslexia Awareness Week.

You will also find in this week’s update how our use of new technology is enabling us to broaden and deepen participation for our students, teachers and parents in so many aspects of school life. From our  first ever Youtube Livestream of the BIS Battle of the Bands competition on 1st October, the continuation of our Parent Webinar series with this week’s IB Options Webinar for Y11 families, to our teachers learning collaboratively online with the world’s best educators, we are finding new ways of connection. 

Whilst technology enables connection, it can also cause challenges - particularly as a parent. I am delighted that our STEAM Co-ordinator, Luke Dyer, and our Learning Technologies Integrator, Peter Cowen, have got together to bring you a podcast full of practical advice on supporting your child’s digital journey. We know through conversations with parents how daunting this topic can be, so I encourage you to listen with your children and use it as a basis for a conversation on what works for you.

I’d like to close my introduction this week by thanking our teachers, students and parents for your support and positivity in the face of some inevitable disappointment at the news that community visits, sporting fixtures and day trips have been temporarily suspended.  We know how valuable these aspects are to our students’ education and remain committed to reintroducing them as conditions allow.

In the meantime, we continue to have a full CCA programme and a rich calendar of BIS community events culminating in International Day on Friday 8th October.  I invite you as BIS families to contribute in any way you can either in person or by connecting online.  

I hope you enjoy reading this week’s  update and have a wonderful weekend.

Sean O’Neill

 

Overview of the week’s activities

IB Options Webinar and Subject Fayre

 

Following on from the successful options events for Year 9 students last week, the options process began for our Year 11 students this week with the Parent and Student Information Webinar on Thursday evening. Information from Ms Fountain, Dr Finnigan and myself was shared around the IB Diploma Programme and its parts, the role of College and University Guidance including access for both students and parents to BridgeU (the application platform we use), and the options process itself. Today, Year 11 students were invited to attend a Subject Fayre in the Auditorium at lunchtime where students had the opportunity to ask questions of subject teachers, Heads of Department and our Sixth Form students who are currently following the IBDP. I am tremendously proud of the levels of support that we have in place to guide our students through this process, and to help them in constructing a pathway that is broad, balanced and appropriately challenging - and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you, as parents, for your role in this process. We recognise the importance of this next step in the students’ educational journey and the impact that these decisions can potentially have, which is why it is so important that we all work together to support informed decision making.

Moving forwards, students will be sent an email on Monday with login details to enter their choices online: this is the start of the curriculum planning process for the following academic year, as the students’ choices play a central role in shaping the number of classes we offer. This doesn’t mean that students cannot change their mind: of course, students mature, gather more information, and sometimes have a change of heart. We understand this and will always listen and do our best to accommodate any changes that students wish to make. 

If you have any questions about any aspects of the process, please consult the Options Handbook or contact us at school: we will be happy to help you and your son or daughter, however we can.

 

Amy Murphy Deputy Head, Curriculum & Learning

 

 

World CleanUp Day 2020

Last Saturday, on 19th September, over 130 members of the BIS HCMC school community, including students, parents and teachers from across the three campuses joined volunteers worldwide and in the city to participate in World Clean Up Day 2020.


 

Peace One Day with the Events Committee

 

Peace One Day falls annually on the 21st September whereby it brings a day dedicated towards non-violence and global ceasefire. Although the organisation itself has already accomplished several of their goals, we must not dismiss the realities in many countries around the world where peace is far from secure.

The media offers a platform in which communication by broadcasting, publishing and the internet can be collectively considered. However, prevalent Media Bias results in a skewed representation of information, where specific news are selected by the producer over others. 

 

Over the past week, an exhibition assembled by the Sixth Form Events Committee has been displayed in the Undercroft which highlights a few of the many crises innocent people suffer everyday. Our aim was to tackle these biases by focusing upon conflicts around the world which currently are kept in the dark and also lack the peace we so desperately seek. 

I would like to say a huge thank you to the Events Committee and younger students who showcased their involvement through creative artworks and poetry, dedicated towards conveying what Peace means to them, supported by their subject teachers. We hope that students have been able to take this opportunity to learn and grow, so that the BIS community can work together towards a more just and inclusive world. 

 

Maika Pederson, 13S

 

 

Cyber Security Podcast: Working together to support your child’s digital journey

 

Keeping children safe in the digital world can be daunting as a parent. 

Our STEAM Co-ordinator, Luke Dyer and our Learning Technologies Integrator, Pete Cowen have got together to bring you this podcast full of practical advice on supporting your child’s digital journey.

 

 
 

BIS HCMC Learning Alongside the World’s Best

Over the last 2 weeks members of the Performing Arts team at BIS HCMC have been attending online training with our wonderful counterparts at the Juilliard School in New York alongside teachers from our Nord Anglia family all over the world.  It was a chance to reconnect with others in our teaching disciplines, forge new connections and be reinvigorated by our wonderful Juilliard specialists.

Ms Cat Molloy, Head of Drama, shares more about the Juilliard Teacher Training.

 

 

University Destinations 2020 Update- Dr Finnigan

Due to the diverse timelines and application windows of global universities, confirmation of attendance is ongoing for our Class of 2020 and will continue for the next couple of months. Additionally, every cycle sees around 10% of BIS students not take up a university place immediately due to a planned gap year, National Service obligations or similar commitments. That said, we now have accurate information for the majority of students who received their IB results last July and the outcomes have been truly impressive.

Of the 76 students with confirmed places, 45% of those are enrolled at Top 50 QS ranked universities and a further 18% are at institutions ranked between 51 and 100. In short, around 2 out of every 3 students from our Class of 2020 are attending elite global universities. And it’s getting better all the time - we expect that number to increase when pending Australian and Korean applications are confirmed later this year. Our students really have followed the advice to be ambitious and these excellent outcomes are clear evidence of that approach.

I would like to thank Dr Finnigan and the CUG team for the support they give our students and their families in securing these futures.  I know we are all proud of our students’ achievements which reflect their hard work but also the collective input of families and teachers. We wish them well wherever they are headed to and are excited to hear about their new adventures

This year’s application cycle is well underway, see here an Oxbridge Support Sessions Update: to follow the latest session "Disputed Ownership of Significant Historical Artefacts", click here.

 

Senior Internal Swim Meet

On Tuesday 22 September at the Secondary campus swimming pool, our Senior Swim Squad had their first Internal Swim Meet. There were 29 students participating in 3 individual events. The meet ran smoothly with 59 new personal best times including outstanding performances of Alex Joo (50 Breast), SeeEun Kim (50 Bk and 100 Free), Ingrid Mah (100 Free), ZhenYang Chew (100 Free), and Cong Danh Pham (100 Free).

Well-done Quynh An Tran – Girls Champion of all 3 events. Congratulations to Khoa Tran –Boys 100 Free and 50 Back Champion, and Harry Park – 50 Breast Champion.

This was an opportunity of our students, parents, and staff to become familiar with our new installed touchpad system.

A big thank you to the 11 lovely parents that assisted the running of our swim meet. We would not be able to run it without your help, what a great community at BIS!

We were so proud of our students who achieved their new personal best times. We did see a lot of improvements in technique and the approach and execution of racing.

 

Aquatics Department.

 

Dyslexia Awareness Week - September 28th to October 2nd

 

 

This coming week - September 28th to October 2nd - is Dyslexia Awareness Week at BIS. 

Dyslexia remains the most common learning difficulty on the planet and affects around 1 in 10 people worldwide. It primarily affects the brain’s ability to “decode”: turning letters and phonemes into sounds and words that we understand. It is considered to be a spectrum condition, which means that it affects each individual differently in terms of severity and presentation.

However, this week is not only about educating our school community about Dyslexia and its challenges but also its many strengths. There are successful people with Dyslexia in every profession: from world-famous actors to heads of state to the CEOs of major companies. This is because the difficulties associated with Dyslexia frequently inspire new ways of thinking, creativity, and an overall ability to develop unique solutions to problems. For this reason, our theme this week will be: “Focusing on disAbility.”

Throughout the week, students will participate in activities to better understand the challenges that people with Dyslexia face, as well as the strengths that arise from their decoding difficulties. In their forms, students will engage in learning experiences that have been designed by our Sixth Form students from the Events Committee. In addition, they will be designing and submitting Scrabble pieces for our Dyslexia mural, based around our theme for the week. These contributions will count towards points for their houses. Then, on Friday, we will hold our third Decoding Challenge, where students have to read a scrambled passage of text as quickly as they can, and with as few mistakes as possible. This is designed to highlight the significant impact that Dyslexia has on the reading speed and accuracy of otherwise capable people.

As it has been in past years, participation by our Sixth Formers has been incredible. These students have given their time graciously and really taken on the spirit of the week, furthering their own awareness in the process of creating these activities. The MAC team once again went above and beyond in their support of this event with the creation of amazing posters and displays. And, finally, this could not have been possible without the efforts of the Learning Support Team (Mrs Cullen, Mrs Laddaran and Ms Viney) who organised and executed this event.

I look forward to a week ahead where our BIS community will come together to build understanding and awareness. One where we learn that differences in learning are not a disability, but provide a diversity of abilities and strengths to our society.

 

Be involved

Battle of the Bands Livestream- Thursday 1st October 

 

Opening the musical events for the year is the much anticipated Battle of the Bands.  This year the invitation to attend will be open to all students and staff.  We are excited that this year there will be a Facebook live stream of the show for all parents who wish to watch, please click HERE to set your reminders.

For students, tickets can be collected from the Student Centre or Reception.

 

Event details

Date: Thursday 1st October

Time: 7pm

Location: Secondary Auditorium and on 

International Day 2020 - Friday 9th October

 

Preparations are continuing in earnest for the International Day Food Court and Cultural Activities.  With over 20 of our countries represented this year promises to be a great festival atmosphere to celebrate our BIS community.

 

Event details

Date: Friday 8th October

Time: All Day

Location: Secondary Campus

 

Contact Katie Walsh for more information. 

 

Looking forward to hearing from you!

 

Teachers Book Reviews - Read A New Book Month

‘Reading books that we know we’ll like is a wonderful way to escape the stresses of daily life. But sometimes a new type of book allows us to see the world in a different way.’ (Worldbook, 2020)

Listen in to our latest teacher recommendations of their favourite books to inspire your reading choices this week.

They can be found at Soundcloud BIS HCMC - Read a New Book Month 2020.

 
 

Dates for your Diary

News & Events

Monday 28th September to Friday 2nd October Dyslexia Awareness Week (SISN)

Thursday 1st October Battle of the Bands, Secondary Auditorium, students only

Thursday 1st October Geography Photography Competition Launch

Friday 9th October International Day, Secondary Campus

Monday 12th to Friday 16th October Half Term Break

 

Reminders

Health & Safety Update: Message from our Principal, Mr Rowlands

 

All parents received an email on Thursday 24th September from our Principal, Anthony Rowlands with a Health & Safety update affecting  off-site school events. In the email- entitled “BIS HCMC Update” outlines:

“The safety and wellbeing of our school community is always our number one priority. Although the current COVID-19 situation within Vietnam seems to be stable at the moment, as a wider Nord Anglia Education group we have been carefully monitoring the resurgence of the pandemic from a worldwide perspective. Given the present global situation, as a group we have taken the decision to suspend all off site school events until further notice. This includes sporting fixtures, both home and away, day and residential trips.”

Whilst off site activities are paused, we can confirm that in school CCAs and in-school events will continue. We will regularly review the picture across our Nord Anglia Education family and Mr Rowlands will update you with further details in due course.

Thank you for your continued support of our school and wider community


 

Have a wonderful weekend,

Kind regards,

 

Sean O’Neill

 

Head Teacher

Secondary Campus