Thursday, 30 April 2015

eNews Issue 32

It was a short week this week, but a full one nonetheless! The Secondary School celebrated “Allusion Day” today and the halls were filled with students dressed as allusions to characters in Shakespeare plays. As you’ll see from the photos, togas were extremely popular! In the Primary School, Maths Family Fun Night lived up to its name with enjoyable activities around mathematics. It’s great to see the intersection of joy and rigour in learning!
It’s important week for us parents, too, with the Board of Trustees election. Adrian Valenzuela will be joining the Board and we welcome him and thank him for his willingness to serve.

Friday, 24 April 2015

eNews Issue 31

At Hong Kong Academy, we understand that assessing (what we used to call “testing” when I was a child) a student’s knowledge is a highly nuanced activity. While pop quizzes and standardised testing serve an important purpose, they are only one part of a much bigger picture. We think of assessments as being “formative” and “summative”. That’s ed-speak, so to declutter the jargon, a “formative” assessment is when we monitor a student’s progress to provide feedback we can use to enhance their learning. This type of assessment is continuous and frequent and allows teachers to adjust or change strategies or content as needed. A “summative” assessment is when we evaluate a student’s learning at the end of a unit or course of study, giving us the opportunity to evaluate the end product such as a final exam. We believe that the right mix of these two different types of “tests” give us a solid understanding of a student’s growth over time.
  
While we don’t over emphasise the need for standardised tests, we do make every effort to use certain tests wisely, such as the International School Assessment (ISA). The tests are completed by HKA students in Grades 3-9 every October. We communicated the school’s results to parents at an evening meeting earlier this week. ISA allows us to take a snapshot of where our students are and how they compare to other students around the world. It’s a “health check” that confirms that HKA students are learning and growing and it is further proof that students from HKA can transition to other schools when they move. We know this from ample anecdotal evidence as well but the ISA results provide that information in a standard form.
 
If you have any questions about assessment at HKA, please feel free to contact me, Virginia Hunt or Doug Musco.

Friday, 17 April 2015

eNews Issue 30

Welcome back from Spring Break! I hope you all had a good holiday. I know the students are generally eager to head out on their vacations but I also see how excited they are when they return to campus after a break. We learn best when we learn together and a school is a very special community indeed.
A part of that community spirit is giving. At HKA, we’ve penned a Culture of Philanthropy statement to describe giving at HKA. We believe that our students, our faculty and our parents are gifts in and of themselves and are grateful for everyone’s presence. People give in different ways, including time, expertise and finance with all gifts being valued.
I had the pleasure this week of attending and presenting at the annual Asia-Pacific Conference of the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). At this conference, advancement professionals from schools and universities all over Asia gathered to talk about the ways in which they “advance” their schools’ missions and programmes by raising resources in their communities. It was inspiring to hear so many stories of generosity and support in other schools that so closely mirror the support we receive at HKA.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

eNews Issue 29

This was a big week for exploration at HKA. In Grade 4, the students used their “How the World Works” unit to investigate the idea of energy and its sources. The atmosphere generated by these Young Scientists was as electric as some of their projects! The students' work also reminds us that you don’t have to be a grown up scientist in order to apply the scientific method to a line of inquiry. That sort of creativity and problem-solving is for everyone.
In the Secondary School, our Grade 12 students are on the cusp of a different type of exploration as they make plans for their post-secondary educational experiences. I’m happy to report that our G12's continue to gain admission to their top choice universities and, as another sign of our growing Secondary School, HKA held a university fair yesterday on campus for a number of schools in the United Kingdom that are eager to get to know our students. With our fourth graduation soon upon us, it’s exciting to see how quickly HKA has emerged as a lead school in this age group.