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New US school to STEAM ahead with learning ‘through-train’

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Situated in an attractive setting close to an MTR exit in Tai Po, the American School Hong Kong (ASHK) welcomes the rst intake of students in September this year. The school will initially cater for children from kindergarten age through to Grade 6 (ages 5-12). Ultimately, with the Middle School scheduled to open in 2017 and the High School in 2018, ASHK will provide full-scale K-12 high-quality education to around 1,000 students.

ASHK director John Jalsevac is condent that the school will provide for its students an exemplary international education program with facilities to match. He is a strong advocate for instilling a balanced and holistic learning environment in the school community to support a student’s full intellectual, physical, moral and social development. “We look forward to making a positive contribution to the Hong Kong community by providing a world-class education environment where children are genuinely inspired to be the best that they possibly can be,” says Jalsevac, who has held senior education management positions in Asia for more than 12 years.

John Jalsevac, School Director of ASHK

The spacious purpose-built campus, which is undergoing a HK$140 million retrot, is designed and equipped for 21st century teaching and learning initiatives. Computers, iPads, mobile devices, smart screens, and classroom management software are connected throughout the school via an intelligent infrastructure. Emphasis will also be placed on an innovative STEAM program which refers to the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and incorporates the Arts. “In our technicallyfocused world, individuals must also be creative and use higher order critical thinking skills to build upon the knowledge gained from the study of Math and Science. STEAM teaches exible thinking and creative problem solving. It requires constant collaboration and teamwork. The goal is to foster true innovation.” Jalsevac says.

In addition to STEAM focus classrooms, ASHK will also have laboratories for Biology, Chemistry, and Physics, a well-resourced Library, specialist rooms for Music, Art, Drama, and a modern gymnasium. The school will also have access to outdoor sports facilities and the open green environment in the Tai Po region. “Sports and physical well-being are an integral part of a well-rounded education,” says Jalsevac, who subscribes to a “sound body, sound mind” notion of physical and intellectual development.

ASHK is designed as a “through train” system, or continuous education program from kindergarten to grade 12, the last year of high school. “This allows teachers to monitor growth and follow a student’s journey through their various developmental phases. It also provides for us an opportunity to build a strong sense of community within the school” notes Jalsevac. He adds that an important part of ASHK’s vision is to help students take ownership and responsibility for their education so that they can apply knowledge to overcome challenges and view the world around them as a rich and welcome resource.

Taught by an experienced and enthusiastic, largely North American, faculty, the Elementary and Middle School sections will follow a curriculum in line with the US Common Core standards, while the High School will offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme. Students will graduate with both a certied American High School Diploma and the IB Diploma. “We believe the IB programme is a gold standard holistic approach to learning that promotes wider thinking and opens many doors for students beyond High School” says Jalsevac. The school’s inquiry-based learning method requires students to develop their research skills by utilizing numerous sources of information covering a wide range of topics.

ASHK students will also receive daily Putonghua lessons, and depending on their abilities, have a choice of learning to write using traditional or simplied characters. Extracurricular activities will also form a strategic part of school life with faculty and experienced personnel supervising sports, arts, clubs, leadership activities and community service work. Jalsevac says extracurricular activities give students the chance to explore different areas while developing their talents and passions as well as their co-operation and communication skills.

ASHK’s sponsoring body, Esol Education, has a 40-year record of providing high quality education to thousands of students on three continents. Currently, Esol serves more than 11,000 students at nine international schools. Like its sister schools within the Esol Education family of ten top-tier international schools, ASHK will benet from the Esol network, including international accreditation from leading bodies, university recognition, a global alumni and professional, fully-qualied teachers.

ASHK Media Center

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Issue: March 24, 2016