This has been a busy week for all of our staff and pupils, and particularly for the secondary school where a full programme of 40 lessons has taken place, ahead of the mid-semester assessments which our students will complete over the next seven days. I encourage all of our secondary pupils to pay serious attention to these assessments. Through their hard work and the dedicated support of their teachers, they have all had the opportunity to make valuable progress over the past 8 weeks of online learning; the coming week will be an important opportunity to demonstrate this progress and every student should seek to show themselves at their very best.
After that, we will operate a modified programme during the week of 6-10 April, which was originally scheduled as the spring break. During that week we will encourage the boys and girls to reduce their screen time and study predominately offline on project work and reading tasks. Teachers will set work in advance, to be completed over the week and followed up in the week beginning 13 April. We will also be encouraging everyone to get outside to enjoy the warm, fresh air; whilst there may be limited opportunities to travel at present, there is much to be enjoyed in the spring time climate of Beijing, as we all look forward to easier times ahead.
Whilst we have worked hard to support our students and staff in the present, myself and Principal Xu have also been looking to build our leadership team for the year ahead and I am therefore delighted to share with you news of the appointment of Ms Farah Sun, who will take up the position of Director of Enrichment at Chaoyang Kaiwen Academy in August. Ms Sun is currently Head of the Secondary School at Yew Chung International School in Beijing, where she has taught for 7 years. She holds a Bachelor degree in Physics and Astronomy from Durham University in the UK and a Master’s degree in International Educational Leadership from UCL in London.
Ms Sun’s appointment reflects the growing importance we attach to the enrichment programme which we offer at CKWA and our plans to further improve and extend this programme in the new academic year. The significance of our enrichment programme cannot be underestimated. It is crucial in supporting the university applications of our pupils, given the emphasis which US and UK universities place on holistic experiences beyond the classroom. The programme also plays an important part in building boys’ and girls’ self esteem and sense of enjoyment and engagement with school.
Through this and through the links which exist between enrichment activities and the regular curriculum, such an holistic educational programme strongly supports the academic progress of our pupils: enriching STEM activities, such as Robotics classes, support both Science and Maths learning, artistic enrichment activities support creative writing in both English and Chinese classes, whilst school trips support learning in History, Geography and many other subjects, as we exercise our mantra that learning must happen well beyond the confines of the school walls. Furthermore, the concepts of Creativity, Action and Service are central to the IB Diploma, making enrichment activities necessary for those aspiring to pass through our scholastic high school programme.
For this reason, we have planned for next year a substantial outdoor education programme with both day trips and residential trips of both an academic and extra-curricular nature. We also plan a further enhancement to our leadership programme, giving more of our boys and girls additional opportunities to support and guide their peers, and to develop greater opportunities for service to others. Furthermore, as I shared a fortnight ago, we have very exciting plans for the development of our feature programme of artistic, sporting and STEM activities. This will bring opportunities for many boys and girls to represent CKWA in sports teams in various different age groups, whilst others engage in drama productions, musical performances and dance shows, and while yet more of our busy students take varied opportunities within the realm of technology and engineering.
Whilst we all continue to work hard, then, on progressing the boys and girls learning in the present, through our highly regarded online learning programme, we anticipate with great excitement the enhancements to our holistic curriculum which are planned for the 2020/21 academic year. We look forward to sharing these opportunities with your children in due course.