The transformative learning projects made possible by ISB’s new student grants
Mission collage

By Nick Yates, ISB Communications

Two High School clubs working on a sophisticated radio-controlled airplane and providing free education for underprivileged local children are among the first student groups to earn grants from a special fund set up for the International School of Beijing’s (ISB) 40th anniversary.

The Birthday Gift Fund was launched this year to support initiatives proposed by ISB students and aligned with the school’s Mission, Vision, and Core Values in the areas of service learning, sustainability, and creative learning in academics, arts, design, and athletics. ISB community members including the Board of Trustees, parents, staff, and alumni gave over 200,000 RMB to the fund before it officially closed for the year on May 31.

Donors were very generous in the knowledge that the money would be used to further opportunities for students in the Elementary, Middle, and High Schools in areas that have long been valued by ISB faculty and families. For example, classes at ISB are encouraged to learn through service – they are regularly involved in charitable and benevolent work. And ISB students have become agents for environmental improvement since the launch of sustainability goals that have made the campus a significantly greener place.

The Birthday Gift Fund Committee – chaired by the director of ISB’s Advancement Office and comprised of faculty members, support staff, and representatives from the Parent Teacher Association and Booster Club – has been busy reviewing and approving student funding applications.

Meet the successful grant applicants

The Maker’s Club was the first student group at ISB to successfully apply for money from the Birthday Gift Fund. Students in the club make all kinds of objects and their main project since November 2020 has been a radio-controlled airplane. They have put a lot of research into the technology and dynamics of flight. After reaching out to Airbus, the Maker’s Club has had advice from engineers at this leading aircraft company.

SangYoon L, Grade 9, explained that the Maker’s Club helps students practice their practical and math skills. Working in ISB’s high-tech design facilities, they commonly use recycled materials. So far, the fuselage of the plane has been completed, and Maker’s Club members are now working on the wings. The grant will be used to buy specialist parts including a motor and wheels, said SangYoon.

Everyone at ISB is looking forward to the aircraft’s first test flight!

A video messaging screenshot with children making the V sign
Empowerment Through Self-Esteem Education students are engaged in teaching underprivileged local children in person and online

Meanwhile, the High School’s Empowerment Through Self-Esteem Education (ESEE) service group will use its grant to buy stationery and books for use in its programs teaching underprivileged local children. ESEE is committed to enhancing literary experiences for its beneficiaries. The club uses sheltered instruction principles to facilitate learning every Sunday – generally in person, on campus; or more recently, through online learning.

While promoting equal learning opportunities for all, ESEE benefits the ISB students involved in running the program by giving them leadership training and encouraging creative thinking.

Philanthropy brings student benefits

The Birthday Gift Fund has flourished in 2020-2021 as ISB has celebrated four decades of commitment to education services dedicated to Beijing’s inspiring international community. ISB is preparing to close out its 40th anniversary year with events including a whole-school picnic lunch and a Celebrating 40 Exhibition to launch a Memory Book of ISB photos and stories.

The extra opportunities for students won’t stop with the end of the academic year. It is intended that this community fundraising drive for student grants will become an annual initiative (possibly in a revised format) beyond the 40th anniversary year.

The fund is an initiative of the ISB Advancement Office, which was established in 2018 to consolidate ISB’s strong community networks and leverage them to finance transformative educational opportunities. In 2019-2020, financial donations from parents and community members of more than 2 million RMB supported faculty professional enrichment programs to enhance teaching quality.

With a recent gift to the Advancement Office of 1 million U.S. dollars (more than 6.5 million RMB) from ISB parents Bin Lin and Daisy Liu, the spirit of philanthropy is alive and well at the International School of Beijing! Students are already starting to really see the benefit.

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