Friday, 28 August 2015

eNews Issue 3

The beginning of the year always comes with an onslaught of information for new and returning families alike. Thank you again for taking the time to update your information in Veracross and for reading through the related guidelines and procedures. If you haven’t already done so, please remember to check if your contact information in VC is suppressed. If it is, other families will not be able to see your information.

Thanks also for your time these first few weeks back. Many parents of students in Grades 9-12 have already been on campus for information evenings about higher education and pathways after HKA. Throughout September we’ll look forward to seeing you all at Back to School Nights. As a parent, I know for myself that it can be challenging to get to campus for an evening event during the week, and on behalf of all the faculty and staff, I want to express our appreciation for your partnering with us in this way.

And I’m very happy to announce today that our new website is now live. Please check out to see our new look

Friday, 21 August 2015

eNews Issue 2

Thank you to everyone who came out this morning for the Back to School Coffee, especially our Buddy Family volunteers. But whether or not you’re an official New Family Buddy, please reach out to the newest members of our community!
Our online directory can help with that. Family addresses and phone numbers are easy to find in the Veracross 'Directory'. Please note that the default setting in VC hides your household information from view. In order for people to find you and your children, it is necessary to scroll to the bottom of 'Update Family Profile' and opt in by editing and saving your selected settings. If this setting is not selected, your contact information will not be visible. For families whose information is visible, the 'Directory'>'Nearby Families' tab will help you find others living close to you.
A highlight on campus this week was a visit from Dave Keeling. Faculty, staff and students in the Secondary School all had a chance to spend some time with Dave talking about learning and how we learning. Davie is a vibrant thinker, knowledgeable in the brain science about how we learn, and is particularly engaging on topics such as curiosity, courage and confidence. And he reminded us that Socrates once said that life and learning should be a festival of the mind. What a great thought for the start of a new school year!

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Back to School

I hope you enjoyed today as much as we did! It was wonderful to see families back on campus and the students looking very happy to see each other again at the start of a new school year. The first day back is always hectic, thank you so much for helping make it go smoothly.

Please note that Thursday, 3rd September has been declared a public holiday in Hong Kong and there will be no school that day. We may lose one day in September, but we are gaining it back in May. Buddha’s Birthday will be observed only on Saturday, 14th May 2016 (and not on a weekday), and school will be in session as usual on Monday, 16th May 2016.

Looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible on Friday for the Back to School Coffee. Please note that all are welcome! New families will meet up with their Buddy Families, and the HKACO will talk about volunteer opportunities at HKA.

Friday, 14 August 2015

eNews Issue 1

It’s been a busy week at HKA as we prepare for the first day of school next week. The classrooms are looking great, and the teachers are full of enthusiasm. All we need now is you!
The beginning of the school year is always hectic, with lots of information to absorb and to verify. Today you should have received an email asking you to update your household information in Veracross and to grant various necessary permissions. I realise this can be an onerous task but please take the time this weekend to update your information in Veracross. This is essential for us as we launch into the new year.
You also should have received an email about uniforms. Almost all uniform items are available in all sizes and we are working to address the shortage in cotton polos.
Take a look at the calendar below - the activities ramp right up! Looking forward to seeing you at the Back to School Coffee next Friday, and for those of you with students in grades 9-12, information evenings about higher education are right around the corner.
Big changes are ahead in our hkaCafe: we’re going paperless as of Monday, 24th August. The cafe has new ceramic mugs for hot beverages consumed on campus. If you’d like to take your latte with you as you leave, please bring your own mug or purchase a mug at the cafe.

Welcome Back!

Welcome back to HKA for the 2015-16 school year! I hope you’ve had a wonderful summer and we’re looking forward to seeing returning families and greeting new faces. In the coming days, you’ll be receiving more information about the beginning of the school year, with the regular eNews resuming on 14th August, the Friday before the first day of school.

I wanted to take a moment to update you about some happenings on campus. First, a very warm welcome to our new Secondary School Principal, Leanne Dunlap. For those of you who are new, Leanne joins us from Copenhagen International School. She is a highly experienced educator and administrator who brings much talent and energy to HKA. Welcome, Leanne!

We also delighted to introduce some new teachers and co-teachers. Please click here to view their bios. HKA is fortunate in the diversity of its faculty as well as its student body and these new faculty members bring many interesting perspectives. We also welcome several new support staff to HKA as we expand to meet the increasing demands of our growing programme.

In addition to these new faces, some areas of the campus got a facelift over the holiday. Our Main Reception area has been redesigned to make it more friendly and inviting and I hope you like the results as much as the Leadership Team do. The Secondary School common areas have also had some upgrades and the main courtyard is really coming into its own as a community space.

I’m eager also to give you an update on the Class of 2015. We celebrated 19 graduates last May, our fourth graduating class - 19 students whom we had the privilege of educating and shepherding along their pathways to individual success. We are mindful of this responsibility and of the importance it is to teach young people and we take that very seriously at HKA. We’re passionate about how we teach and we relish in the growth we see before us, every day, as educators.
Most of HKA’s Grade 12 students choose to pursue the IB Diploma or IB certificates, arguably one of the most rigorous academic programmes in the world. The International Baccalaureate exams take place in May of each year and most exam results are shared in July.

For more information about how the IB Diploma works, including the scoring and grading system, please visit

The HKA students who pursued the full Diploma in 2015 had an excellent year. All students who pursued the full Diploma passed the exam, with the highest score being 44 out of 45. Students’ overall results were within one point of their predicted scores, a frequently cited standard of success. The students who took certificates rather than the full Diploma also achieved their personal goals and can be extremely proud of their work.

For an overview of HKA’s 2015 IB please click here. For a taste of the Class of 2015’s next adventures, check out the list of university and college offers and matriculations. Importantly, HKA graduates pursuing tertiary education are attending their first choice or one of their top two choices - they are going to the schools they wish to attend and that are right for them.

While I am always happy to share stories of HKA’s academic rigour and our students’ successes, I also want to put tests and scores in the appropriate context. When we talk about “success” at HKA, exam results and university placements are only a part of the story. At HKA we stress student-centred, inquiry-based education because we believe that such an education prepares students for life, not just the next exam or application. We value a differentiated approach to teaching that stretches and engages all students and helps them develop their talents to their fullest. When people tell me that “there’s something different” going on at HKA, generally I find that this is what they mean and I’m proud of that. And with this approach to teaching, we value parents as partners. Parents contribute so much to life at HKA at every level. Thank you for being a part of this community and see you soon!