Middle School Back To School Night this Tuesday

Dear Middle School Parents-

Please join us for ISB Middle School’s Back To School Night (BTSN) this Tuesday evening from 6:00 to 8:30.  We will start with a Parent-Teacher Social time in the Lower Gallery outside the Theater, with food and beverages provided.  So please come right at 6pm and enjoy meeting teachers and other parents.

Click here to see our program for the whole evening.  We have a number of exciting sessions planned for your enjoyment, but you will need to make some choices.  All sessions will be posted online later this month, so if you miss one, don’t worry.  Our goal with these sessions is to give you a deeper look into our motivation, values, and programs in the Middle School.

We will have a few students around to help with directions and video recording, but otherwise students should stay at home for this event.

Hope you can attend our very informative Back To School Night!

Dr. Jon Hill
ISB Middle School Principal

(PS: If you are new to ISB this year, you are invited to a special pre-BTSN event from 5 to 6pm in the MPR.  Our counselors will be there to give you information tailored to parents of families transitioning to life in the ISB community.)

Invitations from the Middle School Principal

Dear Middle School Parents-

I would like to invite you to attend one or more of our upcoming events designed to give you more information about your child’s education at ISB.

August 30, 8:30am, Glass Box- Counselor CHATT – We have new counselors in the Middle School this year!  Their names are Maureen VanderKlippe and Kara Haines.  At this session, you can come and meet the new counselors and hear more about how they can serve you and your child during the early adolescent years.

September 4, 6:00-8:30pm, starting in the Lower Gallery – Middle School Back to School Night – This is one of the most important events of the year for parents to attend.  We will start with a social time with refreshments when you can meet other parents and any of our teachers.  Then we will have a Welcome in the Theater, followed by a number of parent education sessions for you to choose from on various topics.  In those session you will learn about our philosophy and opportunities we provide for your child, as well as suggestions for how you can support your child’s learning.  At the end of the evening, you will meet your child’s Mentor teacher(s).  Please join us! (Note: This event is for parents! Please leave the kids at home.)

September 19, 8:30am, Multi-Purpose Room (MPR) – Middle School Parent Coffee – Come hear our Choir perform, meet our PTA Representatives, and gain insights into the inner workings of the Middle School.  All parents welcome to attend.

Mark these events on your calendar and join us if you can!


Dr. Jon Hill
ISB Middle School Principal

Meet Our New Counselors in the Middle School!

Please join us for coffee with the middle school counselor on August 30th, 8:30am in the Glass Box.  Come to learn more about ISB’s middle school counseling program, connect with other parents and meet the new middle school counselors, Kara Haines and Maureen VanderKlippe. Kara and Maureen welcome your questions and ideas for future counseling presentations. 


First Day a Success!

Dear Students, Parents, and Teachers of the Middle School-

It was really wonderful to have the students back in our halls and classrooms today.  The whole Middle School was buzzing with excitement about seeing friends and learning about the year ahead.  I’m grateful to our teachers for their excellent preparation and care for every student.

At the start of the year, we always encounter a few scheduling challenges.  This year some students will find their class schedule changing a little over the next few days as we balance classes and sort out a few conflicts.  This is normal for us as we accommodate new students and newly offered courses.  If you or your child experience a schedule change this week, please understand we are doing our best to sort things out in the best interest of each learner.

A few other important pieces of information:
All Middle School students will have their photo taken on Monday and Tuesday, August 20-21.  Your child will bring home a form this Friday.  If you need to order copies of the photos, please fill up the form and enclose money in the envelope.  This should be handed directly to the photographer during photo days.

Prearranged Absences: If your child will miss a class or will be away for a day or two, please fill out this form (link)  ahead of time and ask your child to ask for their teachers signature and homework.

Guardianship Form: If parents will be away from Beijing with students remaining here under the care of someone else then the school must know.  This form may be used to inform the school.  Please note that an ayi is not considered a suitable guardian in most cases.  It needs to be someone who can be trusted to make medical decisions in the parents’ absence.

Sports Season 1 begins Tuesday, August 21.  MS Students will learn about our sports program this week.  We encourage all interested students to plan to come to the first practices on Aug 21.

Best wishes to you all for the remainder of our first week of school!


Dr. Jon Hill
ISB Middle School Principal


Welcome to ISB Middle School 2018-19!

Dear Students, Parents, and Teachers-

It is my pleasure to welcome you to the ISB Middle School for another exciting year of learning and exploration!  Our teachers have been busily preparing for the arrival of their students and we are all eager for their arrival.

If you attended ISB last year and are returning to ISB, you should plan to arrive at 8:00am on Monday (Aug 13) and go to your homeroom class by 8:15.  We will email parents with homeroom teacher information on Friday evening (Aug 10).  However, students who have not finished placement testing may not receive this homeroom information.  We will also post homeroom assignments outside the Middle School office on Monday morning. Please come to the Middle School Office on Monday morning if you cannot find your homeroom placement information.  Students will receive their full class schedules from their homeroom teachers.

If you are a new student at ISB this year, we look forward to seeing you for our New Student Orientation tomorrow, Aug 10.  You should have received information from our Admissions Office with details.

See you all soon!

Dr. Jon Hill
ISB Middle School Principal

Last Principal’s List of 2017-18 School Year!

It has been a great year in the Middle School, largely due to students who lead by being examples of Global Mindedness, Integrity, Respect, Balance, Service, and Creativity.  Let’s congratulate the following students, recognized by their teachers and advisers for their efforts in the last few weeks.

Grade 6
Edward Zeng, 6.2, showed great detail and astute creative thinking with his Design Technology movie. Congratulation on work well done.
Sybil Beadles showed kindness and respect when we were on our Yanqing mentor trip.  I am sure no one from our lunch table noticed her unassuming caring, but I just happened to be sitting across from her and I did notice. Sybil is a good example for all!
Emily Ng has demonstrated global mindedness with her in depth awareness of her endangered species and it’s role in the world.
Congratulations to Lucas Kang, who ventured out of his comfort zone during the May trip to actively participate in raucous group activities, take part in new adventures, and show us his sense of humor!
Joyce Li showed her respect for others by being supportive of a classmate and a caring friend on the Grade 6 May trip.
Jake Ridlon demonstrated his global mindedness by being a positive, friendly, and approachable ambassador who helped bring classmates together during the Grade 6 trip to Yudu National Forest.
Lucas Jang continues to show his balance and integrity by being an enthusiastic participant in group activities, a hard worker, and considerate classmate who consistently treats others with respect and kindness.
Christina Lin has been a motivational force on the FPR team.  Not only has she stepped out and contacted CNN heroes and other influential people to get great interviews, she has been an inspiring leader to others in FPR and never backs down when a challenge is presented, but her public speaking skills, her ‘no fear’, and her journalistic integrity have also blossomed throughout this year.  Christina did a great job at the ISB Journalism Conference and shone above others, although being the youngest member of our team!
Paul Bezelgues did a great job of working with Jason Moran in creating editing workshops for the ISB Journalism Conference this weekend. Paul also did a great job of facilitating activities for other schools on Saturday.  Paul always had a positive attitude and made friends easily with members of other schools.  His character and his commitment made this conference a memorable experience for many at the conference this year!
Kyungkyu Park has been willing to take risks in music composition and had a wonderful piece of music created during class.
Grade 7
Yizi Ganggang Wei demonstrates creativity, integrity and balance as he consistently strives to challenge himself and find ways to take his Chinese learning and projects to an even higher level. He is phenomenal.
Sveva Familiari has been a key member of 7-3 all year, shining as she helped her classmates learn new dances for our assemblies and always being there to assist anyone who needs a helping hand. Her exuberant personality shines through as she always behaves with integrity and good humor whatever the situation.
Alice Xu has been such an important member of 7-4 Humanities who is always available to solve problems and help others. She is adept at technology and is always willing to assist others who cant quite accomplish the task at hand and does so in such a respectful and easy-going manner.
Stephanie Guo Li always has an incredible “can do” attitude. She comes to Chinese class ready to do her best-which always includes attempting to extend beyond. Stephanie is willing to help others and is a great example of a team-player. Thanks Stephanie for her positive influence in classroom!
Sofia Poulsen did a great job creating a nice video for her Chinese PBL with the cartoon figures, which was fun to watch!
Scarlett O’Keefe is recognised for her willingness to take leadership in group activities, and her creativity in doing the most recent Chinese PBL.
Bessy Belay is incredibly polite and cheerful. Quite simply, I am stoked to have her in my class because she’s just so nice.
Grade 8
Although Jennifer Kang joined our Chinese class for less than two months, she fully demonstrated the responsibility as a learner, and showed respect to her classmates, teacher and the learning time in class. Her commitment to studying Chinese is impressive. Keep it up!
Amanda Cai demonstrated the core value of service when she create a Quizlet for all the class in order to learn more.
Evan Lin stepped up at the ISB journalism conference in the way that he lead workshops but also because of the amazing video that he made OF the conference WHILE it was happening, and showed the finished product during his final keynote speech on Saturday.   Evan has grown so much in his leadership skills and creative capacities.
Shawn Quek has done a fantastic job of leading FPR this year.  At the ISB Journalism conference, he did a great job of leading workshops, facilitating student projects, and gave an inspiring closing keynote speech on the last day of the conference.  Shawn is a talented cinematographer and a passionate youg leader.
Sabrina Lam has done great job of organizing the ISB journalism Conference and has done an even better job of being a leader and facilitator in FPR this year.  Sabrina handled much of the ‘behind the scenes’ work for the journalism conference and without her leadership, the conference might not have run so smoothly.  Sabrina is a problem-solver, a compassionate leader, and a great critical thinker. She also did a great job with her keynote speech.
Lyndon Beadles is another passionate FPR member who did a great job facilitating the ISB journalism conference and delivering workshops for fellow students.  Lyndon’s commitment and passion had him at school at 7 am or earlier on both Friday and Saturday, selflessly giving to others.  Lyndon’s energy is contagious and his commitment is serious.  This conference would not have been the same without Lyndon’s efforts.
Ireland McDermott has always been quietly helpful and supportive in class. Last weekend she served our entire community through her work as part of the ISB team that Live-streamed the ISB graduation ceremony. Great work, Ireland!
Hannah Raustoel has stepped up in her leadership this year in FPR.  She has grown so much as a person and her confidence and ability to tackle projects have also improved significantly.  Hannah put in a lot of the organization work for the conference, she lead engaging workshops, she produced some great content during her workshops at the conference and acted as a committed facilitator to ISB students and students from other schools. Hannah’s  growth is a true testament to her commitment. Thank you for a great year!

Join us for our MS Showcase Concert!

MS Showcase Concert – Wednesday, May 30, 4-5:30pm in Gym 1

The concert is a showcase of the work that has been going on in the band, choir and orchestra classes since The Simply concert series in March.

At this stage of the year groups work on refining skills taught in the earlier part of the year, building solid ensemble skills as well as continuing to develop their own personal technical skills.

The pieces in the program are designed to reflect music from different cultures and backgrounds, as well as different geographical areas.  The rich variety of styles helps students to develop appreciation of music as well and the enjoyment of playing and singing.

Some individual students are also featured as solo players in some of the different pieces – you can see the names in the program.

In the two orchestras featured in the concert you will hear different styles: jazz, Irish, middle-eastern as well as western classical. One of the pieces also has elements of the ancient Japanese art of paper folding – you will see this used in a non-traditional way!

A song where you’re supposed to make mistakes? Pink or Black? Beethoven and the Legend of Sleepy Hollow.   Just a few of the songs that will be performed by the Development and Advanced Bands at our final concert on Wednesday at 4:00pm

Come and join us!  All parents, teachers, and students welcome!  Students will be able to take the 6pm bus home.

Dr. Jon Hill

Middle School United: Parent Survey Results

Dear Middle School Parents-

Thank you for your recent participation in our Spring Conferences back on March 26 and 27.  We called the event “Middle School United” this year to indicate some big changes we made.   This is the second year we have used the Student-Led Conference format for Spring Conferences, and once again, the response from students, teachers, and parents has been positive overall.

Big changes this year: 

  • Move to a new venue in the Gym and Upper Gallery. 
  • Drop in chats with all teachers given as an option for parents. 
  • Offer a menu of Learning Opportunities for parents.  

Perhaps the biggest change was the addition of Learning Opportunity sessions.  We had over 220 participants in all of the Learning Opportunities combined.  We were quite pleased with this.  Getting that many people to better understand what goes on here at ISB can really help us create stronger partnerships and unite as a community.  I’m very grateful to all of the presenters and organizers, as well as the parents and students who attended these sessions.

Key feedback from parents:

  • 200+ returned a parent survey and the following data is from those surveys.
  • 75% of parents found the level of conversation at Student-Led Conferences “More Informative” than the conversations at home about academics
  • 79% of parents felt their children were “Well Prepared” for the student-led conference
  • 74% of parents reported that they visited at least one teacher for a drop-in chat
  • 35% of parents reported that they attended a Learning Opportunity session
  • Sample comments from parents:
    • I hope that meeting time for each child could be extended. (Translated from Chinese.)
    • I hope that teachers discuss more about how does my child do in school during the conferences. It will allow us to learn more about our child’s learning attitude, academic stands, and whom he/she interacts with during the day. (Translated from Chinese.)
    • This new format is very convenient for us; it allows communication between the teacher and the parent to be more effective. I like it! (Translated from Chinese.)
    • I suggest that we have opportunities to reserve times to communicate with teachers.  (Translated from Chinese.)
    • Yes, learning opportunities are very helpful.  This new conferences way is very impressive and informative.
    • A better portfolio of work would be better to review.
    • This was a very good format and easy to get to see the main teachers which is very important!  So very pleased with this new layout.
    • I thought it was really good.  Totally enjoyed listening to my daughter talk about her school year thus far.  It felt very natural and “unscripted” and was just a great way to spend an hour and celebrate all the things she has worked on /through this year.  Thanks!
    • I would like to spend time one-on-one with teachers, without my child.
    • More private locations for SLC.  Broader criterias for evidence so things like artwork can be assessed.
    • As an ISB parent, I strongly believe this format of SLC is very helpful to understand my daughter’s learning.
    • Well organized!  Impressive!

Of course it was not possible to include all comments from parents, but we will be considering everyone’s comments as we work to improve our conferences next year.  We recognize that there is a large variation in opinion on our spring conference format and there’s no way to accommodate everyone’s wishes, but we will do our best to improve opportunities for bringing students, parents, and teachers together for meaningful conversations about learning.

Next year we will continue to follow the same general pattern with “Parent-Teacher Conferences” in October and “Student-Led Conferences” in March.  We will look for ways to make both of these conference experiences more meaningful and informational for parents.

Here are a few suggestions for parents, following our conferences.

  • If you feel you want a longer conversation with a teacher, it is ALWAYS your privilege to request an appointment.  Please contact your child’s teachers to make an appointment or request additional information at any time during the school year.
  • Now that you know your child has so much to say about their learning at ISB, keep the conversation going at home!  Many of our students reported how much they enjoyed having their parents’ undivided attention for an extended time.  
  • Look for future opportunities to learn more about our programs here at ISB.  Come to the MS Parent Coffee on April 25 at 8:30am in the MPR.  Watch for special parent-focused presentations throughout the year.  Plan to come to Back To School Night in September.  Make an appointment with an administrator or teacher to ask any questions you may have.  We are eager to talk to you!

Thank you again for entrusting us with the education of your children!


Dr. Jon Hill
ISB Middle School Principal


Middle School United Update

Dear Middle School Parents-

Middle School United is more than just spring conferences.  It is a chance for you to learn more about what happens at ISB and build relationships with teachers, parents, and students.

The event has two parts: Student-Led Conferences and Learning Opportunities.

Student-Led Conferences: Hopefully you have already reserved a time for your student-led conference.  Conferences will be held in Gym 2, the Upper Gallery, or the Futures Academy space.  After a brief check in with one of your child’s teachers, your child will independently conduct the conference with you.  This will take around 30 minutes.  Following the Student-Led Conference, parents will be welcome to visit any teacher in the Middle School for a brief (less than 5 minutes), optional chat.   Please note:  If you need more than 5 minutes with any teacher, you should make an appointment with the teacher to meet on a different day.

Learning Opportunities: Throughout both conference days, we will be offering special Learning Opportunities for parents and students.  Here is the schedule as a PDF: MS United Learning Sessions    Please look over this schedule carefully and decide which sessions you would like to attend.  There is no need to sign up for sessions, just come and enjoy any sessions that interest you.  Bring your child (or children) with you.

If you need to reschedule your student-led conference, we ask that you make a phone call to the Middle School Office: 8149 2345 ext 1084.  We will do our best to help you!

See you soon!

Dr. Jon Hill
ISB Middle School Principal

MS Principal’s List for March 19

At ISB, we honor members of our community who demonstrate our core values of Global Mindedness, Integrity, Respect, Balance, Service, and Creativity.  The following Middle School students have recently demonstrated these values in a special way.

Grade 6
Ashley Wang, 6.1, showed great detail and astute creative thinking with his Design Technology movie. Congratulation on work well done.
Emily Parker spent one whole class time helping set up the Book Art Hidden in the Stacks exhibit in the MS Library. Her outstanding willingness to participate made a difference to the whole class being able to share their work with others. Emily’s willingness to help is one of the many great things about her!
Sybil Beadles, 6.3, showed great detail and astute creative thinking with her Design Technology movie. Congratulations on work well done.
A student came to me with a locker problem.  They couldn’t open their locker and therefore could not get the materials needed for class.  I could tell the student was a little nervous about not being prepared for class.  Joshua Libby got up out of his seat without being asked and said, “Come on, I’ll help you open your locker.” This example is just a sample of Joshua’s attitude of respect and helpfulness.
Annie Wang demonstrates many ISB core values in how she conducts herself every day. Annie gives her best effort in class, works hard, is mindful of others, and is respectful to all those people she meets. Well done, Annie!
Kaylyn Park demonstrates the core values of Respect and Balance in the way she tries hard to maintain a positive attitude, exhibits a growth mindset, is courteous and considerate of her classmates and others, and gives her best effort in her studies.
Elizabeth Wise-Maldonado, 6.6, showed great detail and astute creative thinking with his Design Technology movie. Congratulation on work well done.
Grade 7
Harry Seo demonstrates the core value of service when he helps Theo in his wheel chair moving from class to class.
Jasmine Zhou has consistently been a positive contributor in class, offering help to her teachers and classmates and demonstrating a growth mindset.
Joel Kumi was very helpful to another student in class today who needed assistance going from one class to another due to his injury. He willingly and immediately volunteered to help out when I asked if anyone would “like” to help this person. I appreciate this about Joel–his kindness and caring for others and willingness to help out.
Edric Kan was kind and helpful today, stopping what he was doing to help me carry a heavy item back to my classroom. I appreciated that he took time to stop and help me, regardless of what else he was doing! Great showing of empathy, respect and integrity! Great job, Edric!
Daniel Lee stopped and help me pick up a big pile of papers I dropped as I was hurrying to class! I really appreciated his kindness in stopping and assisting a teacher in need! Great job, Daniel
I appreciate how Scarlett O’Keefe enters each day with a positive attitude, includes others into group works and pushes herself into leadership roles by speaking in front of others and organizing her fellow classmates and helping them stay on task.
Scarlett O’Keefe regularly shares her thoughts and knowledge during class discussions. Her critical thinking skills are evident and a valuable part of the discussions. Thanks Scarlett!
Sofia Roy is consistently a model citizen. She treats everyone with respect and dignity. She is a quiet participant, making it evident she is engaged when she contributes to conversations. If needed she takes steps to better understand a concept. Thank you Sofia!
Grade 8
Sophia Yan has demonstrated great respect for herself and her peers in Algebra through the consistently excellent effort she has been putting into learning and through the way she helps others in a positive and encouraging manner. You are appreciated, Sophia!
Isabel Su demonstrated the core values of creativity and service by designing a Power Point about French Speaking countries.
Michael Chan has been really passionate and engaged with how to inspire awareness for people with disabilities. He’s been really creative and forward thinking in his ideas. Good job!
Over the past month, Angela Zheng has demonstrated integrity and service in Volleyball.  She is always doing exactly what she should be doing, without reminders or prompts.  She also takes initiative to help clean up equipment without being asked.