By Nick Yates, ISB Communications
Communities are defined by relationships. That’s why the International School of Beijing (ISB) places so much value in helping its people form and maintain strong peer relationships across national, linguistic, and cultural lines. For students, parents, faculty, and staff, ISB is an inclusive school built on how its people get along and understand each other.
Since the start of the 2023-2024 academic year in August, ISB parents have been enjoying a host of school events and occasions designed with this in mind. These coffee mornings, workshops, and socials have been organized to maintain strong ties between school and home, to get parents together to share experiences, and to keep ISB families informed on their children’s learning. ISB works hard to engage with parents in order to understand what they want from the school and to share the ISB educational philosophy with them.
Semester 1 highlights
Here are just some of the events that parents at this school enjoyed in Semester 1:
· A New Family Welcome Breakfast plus receptions hosted by the Head of School for newly enrolled families at the start of the year.
· ISB’s annual International Day. Coordinated by the Parent Teacher Association (PTA), International Day honors all the cultures found at school. The event featured the traditional International Day parade, an opening ceremony with a keynote address from the United Nations Resident Coordinator in China, plus an expo with community members showcasing food and entertainment from their home cultures.
· ISB organizes regular coffee mornings with the Head of School and the Elementary, Middle, and High School principals and leaders from around the school. Parents get updates on major ISB projects and what’s happening in their children’s education and have chance to ask plenty of questions. ISB has also begun to offer such events at venues around Beijing as an alternative to coming to campus.
· Back to School Nights (BTSNs). Parents meet with teachers to discuss objectives for the year ahead and learn how ISB programs are carefully put together based on the latest research and best practice in pedagogy at these annual highlights. Click here to read parents’ takeaways from a past BTSN.
· In the Parent Education Series of talks and workshops, guests learn the principles of a quality modern education from experts from ISB’s faculty and outside the school.
· Focusing more on contemporary topics and current affairs, the ISB Leadership Talk Series is new for this year and gathers experts including from ISB’s alumni network for talks open to the school’s own students and parents and the wider community. The first talk was on the video games industry. The second will be on AI.
· The bleachers were packed for big sporting events including ISB’s invitational Great Wall Shootout basketball tournament and APAC baseball. High School students also organized charity volleyball and basketball matches, with ticket proceeds going to local causes.
· For theater fans, the Elementary and High School productions were unforgettable experiences in ISB’s world-class performing arts spaces.
· The Elementary School has welcomed parents to join assemblies run by students. As celebrations of learning, these are joyful occasions very different from the memories many grown-ups will have of such get-togethers in their own school days.
Plenty to look forward to in Semester 2
And there’s lots more coming up as Semester 2 is underway! This infographic shows a few highlights. ISB community members, please keep checking the ISB Calendar and the ISB Weekly newsletter for further details and updates on all events.
Case study – ‘A community that truly cares’
One activity that was a particular hit with parents lately was a book club run by ISB’s Middle School counselors on how to raise teenagers. Over two months, there were weekly meetings in which the group of parents discussed their reading of a popular textbook on the topic and shared tips from their own experiences.
As well as being of practical assistance, the book club really helped strengthen bonds in the ISB community as a parenting support group was established. One member started a social media chat group so the new friends from the course could stay in touch.
“In the ISB family, our counselors play a vital role in nurturing the well-being of parents and students. Together, we build a community that truly cares,” said course participant Vicki Zhao (far left in the picture), who also volunteers as a Middle School representative for the PTA.
Middle School counselor Liz Young (center, front row in the picture) said, “We had a really fun, productive time with this book club, learning a lot and building new relationships in our international community. The school-home partnership is so important, and we wanted to help parents in their relationships with their children and also to strengthen relationships between ISB families.
“With all its events, ISB is engaging parents and making sure this is a place where all families, students, faculty and staff belong and get along. I think our parenting book club was a fine example of that. We can’t wait to run another course next school year!”
Parent events help with ensuring strong relationships across the school community, which is among three main Strategic Focus Areas for ISB. After a consultation to establish what ISB families value most, these Strategic Focus Areas were drafted to consolidate ISB’s efforts and resources around what’s most important. This news article is part of a series looking at aspects of ISB that are examples of the three Focus Areas. To find out more, click here.