Parents Handbook

 

ZHUHAI INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL

PARENT HANDBOOK 2017-2018

 

Dear Parents

The relationship between school and home is best approached as a partnership.  You trust us with the formative years of your children’s development, and we commit ourselves to maximizing all available resources to their education.  Working together, parents and teachers are capable of understanding and responding to the unique needs, passions, and ambitions of each child.

With this in mind, Zhuhai International School is committed to communicating each child’s development with home with frequency, richness and depth.  One of the ways we endeavour to accomplish this is with thorough written reports, at least one per semester, where student achievement is both measured and detailed anecdotally.  We also believe that Parent-Teacher conferences along with Student Led Conferences are invaluable moments in a student’s learning journey, allowing for a truly personalized awareness of learning needs and the opportunity to celebrate the child’s strengths and achievements.

We are excited by the power of technology to create a bridge between home and school as well.  ManageBac provides up to date insight on student learning in the MYP and the DP and offers an unrivalled medium through which students, parents, and school can communicate.  Increasingly classroom teachers in the PYP are adopting WeChat to share learning experiences through the media rich platform.  As a school, we launched our institutional subscription account this year to help supplement the weekly newsletter that is shared through the more traditional routes.

Our teachers are always available for appointments as well – please feel welcome to set a date and time with them to discuss how the programmes are coming to life in their classrooms for your child.

As parents, you are invited to participate in the activities of the Friends of ZIS, a parent-run group that works to enhance school events and school development.  If you haven’t yet considered joining a meeting, please don’t hesitate to attend a meeting at the earliest available opportunity.

Please read on to learn more about some of the protocols that help to guide our daily workings.  Much is addressed in the handbook that follows, from school uniform to inclement weather, but please don’t’ hesitate to inquire in order to seek clarification or to learn more about our programmes.

 

Warmest regards,

Andrew VanderMeulen

Head of School

 

MISSION STATEMENT

At Zhuhai International School we aim to develop dynamic and principled global citizens who have the skills and attitudes to enable them to become compassionate, life-long learners who will contribute positively to the future of our world.

 


Contact with the school

It is your right to contact the school at any time by telephone, fax, email or in person.

Please be advised, however, that should you just turn up at the school without a pre-arranged appointment to see someone in the school it may not be possible to effect your request.  In such a case, the nature of your business will be recorded and dealt with to the best of the school’s ability under the circumstances prevailing at the time.  In such circumstances a further appointment may have to be made and/or you may have to receive follow up from a senior member of staff.

When you do contact the school so, please always give the following information at the start of any communication:-

Your name

Your child’s name

The Year Group and/or Class of your child

 

Points of Contact

1st point of contact [pastoral enquiry] – Class Teacher [Primary], Homeroom Teacher [Secondary]

1st point of contact [academic enquiry] – Class Teacher [Primary] Subject Teacher [Secondary]

If you feel the level of your enquiry is sufficiently serious or particularly confidential you may wish to contact :-

Andrew VanderMeulen : Head of School

Jordan Rose: Head of Early Years and PYP

Vanessa Leah: Head of Secondary

You may in these cases be asked to state the general nature of your enquiry before you are put through. You may also make appointments with these members of staff through the receptionist provided due notice is given.

For enquiries relating to admissions, in the first instance currently please contact :-

Lilian Zhang : Office Manager

For general school enquiries, the receptionist will put you through to the school office.

Parents are encouraged to communicate using the Communication Books [Primary] and Student Planners [Secondary].   Staff will always respond immediately to any messages from parents in these documents.

 

School Uniform

Zhuhai International School has a firm school uniform policy, which we know you fully support. The school uniform is simple and practical. As part of the school fees you are provided with one complete uniform outfit (including PE/games kit and house T shirt) for your child. We respectfully ask you to purchase sufficient further items of uniform so that your child is always properly attired in the correct dress for school and always has the correct dress for P.E./Games.  Purchases can be made through the school office.

There is a winter uniform and a summer uniform but the school does not insist on which uniform a student must wear at any given time ; that is their or their parents’ choice.

In the Primary School students wear their PE uniform on days when they have PE scheduled on their timetable. This uniform should be worn with white socks and appropriate sports shoes.

Secondary students wear their regular uniform to school each day and change into sports/PE kit when required.  This requires students to take responsibility for organizing their daily schedules.

Please note that students who do not wear [in Primary] or bring to wear [in Secondary] their gym kit will not be allowed to participate in PE/Sports.

House T shirts are only allowed to be worn for PE/Sports for events where house points are awarded.  They are not to be regarded as  part of the regular PE/Sports wear.

If, on any occasion, it is not possible to send your child in the proper school uniform, please give your child a note, briefly explaining the circumstances and indicating when the matter of uniform will be resolved. This will save any embarrassment in a situation where a member of staff may wish to challenge your child over non-uniform. We respectfully request that you do not make a habit of giving out such notes. You may be contacted by the school if we feel there is sufficient cause for concern over your child’s lack of meeting the school uniform regulations.

Please note that we require students to wear black footwear and plain dark blue, black or white socks.  We do not allow flip flops.  The school reserves the right to contact parents about footwear or socks it considers inappropriate with regard to our uniform regulations.  On formal occasions (speech and prize giving days, school concerts etc) black shoes are mandatory.  The school also discourages extremes of fashion or the wearing of excessive jewelry and again reserves the right to contact parents in such cases as it feels are inappropriate.

 

Labeling

Parents are respectfully requested to put a label with their child’s name and class on each item of uniform written clearly in indelible ink.  This will assist reception in returning items of clothing which are found in the school.  (Labels with names and class on other items brought to school e.g. bags, personal books etc would also help.)  The school bears no responsibility for lost items.

 

Attendance

Please do not send your child to school when (s)he is sick. Infection spreads very quickly amongst school children (and staff !) and in cases of sickness, however slight it may seem at times, it is best to keep your child at home.

In the case of sickness preventing your child’s attendance, please:

  1. Telephone the school on/before 08.30
  2. Give your child’s name and year group to the receptionist
  3. Indicate initially (if possible) the duration of absence and the cause
  4. If this is not possible (e.g. you are taking him/her to the doctor before making a decision) please advise the school later in the day (before 16.00) about the duration of absence
  5. If the absence exceeds 3 full consecutive days, please send in a doctor’s certificate and sick note with your child when (s)he returns

If your child has a fever, please keep him/her at home until fully recovered.  In cases of contagious illnesses e.g. mumps, measles, chicken pox etc the local health education service prescribes mandatory times for student absence.  Please check with the school if you are unsure about these.

In cases of extended absence, the school will be pleased to advise you of missed work and will do everything possible to minimise the problem with regard to your child’s academic progress.

The school appreciates that there may be personal instances when you may need for family or other reasons to keep your child off school. In cases where such instances are predictable, please contact the school to discuss the issue in advance. Again, if the time out is substantial, the school will do its utmost to assist with the continuation of any programme of work your child is on. We would hope any such instances are kept to an absolute minimum; a school can be sympathetic to such requests but can never be indulgent of them.

 

Medical Issues

The school has a full-time, fully-qualified nurse on site and also has a doctor and medical centre on call. Should your child receive an injury in any way, the school reserves the right initially to judge the seriousness of the case and act accordingly. Obviously, you will be contacted immediately in serious cases, but you will always be advised even of the slightest injury to which the nurse has had to attend on any given day. This will be written in the Communication Book/Student Planner.

If your child is on medication you MUST advise the school and ensure the nurse is given the correct medication to issue to your child at the right time(s). Children MUST NOT carry any medicines on them around the school or feel they can administer their own medications during the school day. Students will always be allowed out of classrooms to receive medication and clearly it is common sense not to have prescriptive drugs of any kind other than in professional, adult hands within the school environment.

First Aid kits are carried on all buses and are taken on all school trips.

 

Physical Education

Physical Education is an integral part of the school’s Curriculum for all year groups. If at any time your child is unable to participate in these subjects, you must provide him/her with a note clearly indicating the reasons for not taking part. A note is acceptable for a period of two weeks only after which the school expects substantiation via supportive medical documentation for a period of prolonged absence from the P.E. programme.  Again, we would hope such instances are kept to a minimum since protracted absence from this area of the curriculum will mean your child is not completing the school’s requirements.

Students who are not able to participate in P.E. lessons will be accommodated during these lessons according to school and Physical Education department policies.

Secondary students must not wear P.E./Games kit to school.  For all P.E./Games lessons secondary students will be expected to bring the kit with them and change into (and out of) it for the duration of the lesson.

Please note that swimming is an integral part of the P.E. programme and parents will be duly advised as to when the programme operates for the student year groups. The school’s objective is to ensure that every student in Zhuhai International School is a competent swimmer.

The school runs teams in many different sports and students are actively encouraged to participate in these.  Full details of these are sent out in advance to parents.

Throughout the year, the school will be holding various internal sporting competitions (e.g. swimming galas, cross country events, athletics day etc) to which parents will be invited.  News of these will be circulated via the Parent Newsletter and in Student Planners.  Parents are also welcome to attend any sporting fixtures, home or away, in which our school teams are competing.

 

Books

Books being studied in class may be issued to students to take home. These books remain the property of the school and should be cared for carefully. The school reserves the right to charge parents for serious damage to or loss of school texts which obviously results in replacement costs to the school.

At times, worksheets will be issued to students. This is not to be seen as penny-pinching on behalf of the school but many texts are provided in connection with early stage learning specifically to be copied and issued to students separately. Parents are welcome to discuss with the relevant staff matters relating to books and worksheets and will be given access to inspect classroom books and materials accordingly.

 

Equipment

You must provide your child with the following equipment only to bring to school daily or to leave in your child’s locker in his/her classroom:

 

Year 1 – 6 inclusive  :

An English Dictionary

A plastic/zip pencil case with 3 or 4 graphite pencils, a pencil sharpener and Rubber

A plastic 6 inch (15cm) ruler (that fits inside the pencil case)

2 good ball point pens (black or blue ink) for Years 5&6 students only

 

Secondary Department  :

An English Dictionary

A plastic/zip pencil case with pencils, ball point pens (blue and black only), a pencil sharpener and a rubber

A basic geometry set

A non-programmable scientific calculator (including functions sin,cos,tan etc)

A 12 inch (30cm) ruler

 

We strongly urge you NOT to provide your child with a bilingual dictionary (and/or) mini-computer for translation purpose. This could seriously hinder their progress in acquiring and developing English language skills.

Please note that coloured pencils, crayons, felt tips etc will all be provided for students for use as appropriate in classrooms. They therefore DO NOT need to bring their own. Often students who do bring their own lose them, lend them to others etc and this creates problems. Since it has long been acceptable to write in biro (and the quality of these is constantly improving) we discourage the use of fountain pens. Tippex (whitener) must never be used in school or on any submitted school written work. (It is strictly forbidden to take Tippex [whitener] into any internal or external examination.)

Students will be encouraged to complete assignments using computers/word processors and Information and Communication Technology is integrated into the school syllabus with each subject department having written policies concerning the use of this in their subject specialism. There may, however, be specific occasions when this will not be allowed.  In Primary, especially, there will be due emphasis on handwriting and presentational skills and, it must be remembered, at present all tests and examinations are hand written and the days of ‘paper-free’ examinations are, as yet, some years off.

Any Internet use by students during the school day will always be closely supervised and directed by members of staff and will be used only in specific relation to curriculum needs.  Students are never allowed to use the Internet without such supervision.  Parents are also respectfully advised to supervise their children at home when they are accessing the Internet.  For secondary students there is an IT agreement to be signed with regard to proper and acceptable use.

Students should carry their books and materials in appropriate, protective bags/cases. Book bags will be issued to primary students and must be brought and used for borrowed library books : no book bag = no book !  Please ensure the bag being used is a sensible one. There will be storage space in all classrooms and your child should not be unduly burdened with materials to carry to and from school daily. If your child brings a packed lunch, please ensure it is very carefully sealed inside the bag, especially if it contains a drink or a yoghurt.

It is in your child’s interest not to bring computer games, MP3-players, other music playing systems or any personal belongings of an expensive nature to school. The school also discourages the bringing of mobile phones to school and therefore retains the right to confiscate such items [if used inappropriately during the school day] and return them as convenient. Your child should also not bring large sums of money for personal use to school.  Please note that the school absolves itself with regard to any loss of a student’s personal belongings or money.  Secondary students are encouraged to use their lockers (to which they are given keys) for security of their personal belongings and not to leave their bags or any personal possessions unattended.

There is a collection of lost property in the school and parents should contact reception if they feel their child may have left something at school inadvertently.  Lost property is not held indefinitely (for obvious reasons). At the beginning of each term, the school donates all stocks to charitable organisations. Before stocks are being donated, parents have the opportunity to browse through Lost and Found stock at the termly Friends of ZIS Coffee Morning.

 

Communication Books and Student Planners

Primary : Communication Books.  A Communication book will be issued to all students. It is a very important communication document between the school and parents. It will contain a homework timetable and notes and details of the homework set and when it is due. It is important that you do inspect this daily as there may also be very important notes from subject teachers written in it.  It also offers you a channel of communication should you wish to use it to send messages to your child’s class teacher. Teachers will respond within 24 hours to any messages you may wish to send via the communication book.

Secondary : A Student Planner will be issued to all students. It is a very important communication document between the school and parents. It will contain a homework timetable and notes and details of the homework set and when it is due and it also has school uniform information etc. It is important that you do inspect this daily as there may also be very important notes from subject teachers in the planner. We ask you to sign it at the end of each week. It also offers you a channel of communication should you wish to use it to send messages to your child’s homeroom teacher. (S)He will also be signing it and checking it regularly on a weekly basis.

 

Managebac

This is an assessment and reporting system for students which is used to offer direct and comprehensive information with regard to a student’s performance throughout their time at the school.  It is currently used for MYP and DP students by the staff and is being phased in for use in the PYP Programme.  It is fully endorsed by the IB with regard to their programmes.  All secondary teaching staff are familiar with its use and are responsible for keeping the information about students fully updated so that parents have instant access to their child’s academic performance.  There will be workshops for parents to become familiar with the use of this system early in the school year and parents are strongly encouraged to use the system as a means of checking their child’s progress,

 

Private Tuition

Zhuhai International School firmly believes it is definitely not in your child’s interest to have private tuition in school subjects.  Our educational reasons are as follows :

(a)     By its very nature, private tuition is different from classroom tuition.  Even though the tutor you employ may be completely au fait with the school curriculum and methodology it is likely that the individual (1:1) method of teaching used by the tutor may have slight differences from what your child is receiving in school and this will serve to confuse your child and consequently hinder her/his learning.  Please remember, the greatest hindrance to learning is learning itself : try saying the alphabet backwards and you will see what is meant by that.

(b)     Children who know they will get private tuition in a certain subject (or subjects) are very likely to lose concentration more quickly in the classroom at school.  All children are intelligent enough to ask themselves : Why should I go through this now in class when I know my tutor will do this with me ?  They will therefore not get true value from lessons and may well not only ‘switch off’ from the lesson themselves but seek to distract others.  This, of course, is unacceptable conduct.

If the above two sound educational reasons do not convince you, then the more direct and simple financial one should : you are paying to have your child educated at Zhuhai International School so why pay twice by employing a private tutor ?

Remember, we have an open school policy and you may approach the school at any time on matters of concern relating to your child’s education.

 

Suspension and Exclusion and Re-Registration

The school reserves the right to suspend temporarily or, in serious cases, exclude permanently a student whose conduct is totally unacceptable within the school community.  It also reserves the right to stop re-registration of students. Naturally, before embarking on such action all possible avenues to prevent what is the school’s severest disciplinary measure will have been discussed with the parents and attempted with the student.  However, parents must realise that should a student be involved in any of the following activities, (s)he will be instantly excluded permanently and there will be no right of appeal :

  1. Bringing narcotic substances or alcohol into the school either for her/his own use and/or for distribution to other students
  2. Any deliberate action that endangers the well-being of any member(s) of the school community. This includes cyber bullying on social media e.g. twitter, facebook etc
  3. Bringing offensive weapons into the school
  4. Criminal damage to any part of the school or its property
  5. Theft of any item or money from the school or any member of the school community

In such cases there will be NO refunds of fees paid.

Parents should also note that it is made very clear to students that their actions inside and outside of school are equally as important and that any behaviour outside of school that the administration deems unacceptable and brings the school into disrepute will merit disciplinary action in school and that could involve suspension, exclusion or refusal to allow re-registration.

Please understand that the school does not discuss the merits or demerits of any action it may take against individual students with parents other than those of the individual student with which it is dealing. For further information please consult the Student Conduct regulations.

 

Travel

Your child will be allowed to travel on school buses to and from school daily as this is charged separately. Pick up points will be clearly advised and we will try to plan routes such that the time travelling on buses is kept to a minimum. You will be advised of morning pick up times accordingly. Safety and security on buses will be monitored and, in the event of traffic problems, you will be advised as promptly as possible of delays. It is important the school is fully advised of who may call at the school to take the child home (on occasions) and who will receive each child off the homebound bus or if a parent wishes the child to go home with a friend.

All students are required to wear seat belts throughout their journeys on school buses.  All buses have a school appointed monitor who will record and report any misbehaviour by students on buses.  In such cases, parents will be informed and the school reserves the right to disbar students from using a school bus for any period of time it sees fit and this may include a permanent ban.  If a student damages any part of the bus, parents will be held responsible for paying for the damage.  We know you will support our efforts to ensure student behaviour on buses is exemplary as it is not only in their own personal interest but in the health and safety interests of all passengers.  If a student is banned from using a bus, the parents are responsible for ensuring he/she gets to and from school on time.

If parents require their son(s)/daughter(s) to travel on a bus other than their usual designated one (e.g. to go home with a friend) notice IN WRITING must be given AT LEAST 24 hrs IN ADVANCE.  Failure to do so may mean your son/ daughter is not permitted to change buses.

The student agreement for behavior on buses which has to be signed by the student and the parent is to be found in the appendices.

 

Educational Visits

The school actively promotes educational visits for the students. However, there are two types of such visits:-

(a)    Those integrated with the curriculum and seen as an absolutely essential part of the course. As such they are compulsory and students (and parents) will be made aware of this element and a large proportion of the costs of such visits is incorporated into the school fees.  In such cases where substantial travel is involved parents may be asked to cover the fares for the cost of the journey.

(b)   Other visits are entirely optional. Naturally, the school will always point out the benefit of such visits and would always encourage parents to send their child(ren) on the trip. However, we recognise we cannot insist on this. Students, who by parental request, do not go on trips will be fully supervised in school and follow as normal a course of study during the day as possible.

Parents are welcome to give practical support to the school on educational trips. Those who wish to do so should give their names and contact phone numbers to the classroom teacher or leader of the excursion   and when a trip is arranged contact will be made to see if you are able to attend and assist the staff during the visit. We would welcome this as active participation and assure you that should you be involved in this way you will naturally be covered under the school insurance regulations.

 

Reports and Parent/Teacher Meetings

The school calendar gives the dates and times of all scheduled meetings with parents and the curriculum evenings/parent workshops which are presented to keep parents fully informed of the school curriculum and assessment procedures for all students.  We hope parents will make every effort to attend these.

 

Updating Changes in Personal Data

Parents should inform the school of all changes to their address, contact telephone numbers, email address by :

(a) sending an email, a fax or a letter to the school office or

(b) by notifying the class teacher/homeroom teacher through the Communciation Book and/or Student Planner

It is essential we receive such information in written form for obvious reasons.  We therefore do not accept a phone call detailing such changes.

The school will do regular checks on such information to ensure updating and in particular that emergency phone numbers are correct.

 

No Smoking Policy

The whole school site is a designated no-smoking area. All staff and all visitors to the school will be made fully aware of this with appropriate on-site notices. Thank you for respecting this policy.

 

Zhuai Government Regulations with regard to inclement weather

In cases of severe weather (tail ends of typhoons, rain storms etc) sometimes experienced locally in September and October, the school may be advised by the local government to remain shut.  Should this be the case an email will be sent as early as possible to all parents via a news flash from the Head of School and parents will be contacted by telephone if and as necessary.  A text message system will also be put in place for such eventualities.

Air quality is monitored at the school twice daily : once at the start of school 08.45 and once just before lunch around 12.15.  If the index is 200 or above, students will be kept indoors at breaks and for any scheduled outside games lessons.

 

English

Since the medium of teaching within the school is English we would respectfully encourage you to speak English at home at times with your children. We do not in any way wish to discourage your own language or culture but we feel you will be positively helping your children in this respect in their school work.  A booklet offering guidance and advice which has been prepared by Learning Services is available on request from reception.

Parents should understand that English cannot be enforced in the playground at break times.

 

Lunch

Students may take school lunches or, if they wish to do so, may bring their own packed lunch. Please note that the school does not provide microwave ovens and students can therefore only bring a cold lunch.

 

Parent Newsletter

This is e-mailed to all parents on Friday weekly.  Some back issues and the latest issue can be downloaded from the school website (www.zischina.com)

 

Friends of Zhuhai International School

All parents are regarded as members of Friends of Zhuhai International School and therefore eligible to join Friends of ZIS.  The aims of Friends of ZIS are to promote activities in the school on behalf of the students which are parent led and supported by teachers or vice versa.  All parents [and teachers who are free at meeting times] are welcome to attend the meetings [usually held on Fridays at 09.00] and make suggestions and form working parties in relation to such supportive activities. All activities will have to be sanctioned by the Head of School and they will then appear on the school calendar where they will be afforded due priority.  The Friends of ZIS will publish a welcoming booklet detailing their purpose and activities as early as possible to all new parents at the start of the school academic year.There is always a space on the Parent Newsletter reserved for information about their activities and with links to minutes taking during their meetings.

 

Individual Music Tuition

The school has offered a variety of music lessons to students – please inquire to learn of which instruments are available for tuition:

Violin, Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone, Trumpet, Trombone, Electric guitar, Acoustic guitar, Piano

It is hoped to expand this provision. Parents are invited to register their child for individual music tuition.  The charge for lessons (depending on the instrument) is 150RMB or 160RMB (one hundred and fifty renmimbi or one hundred and sixty renmimbi) for one half hour lesson which will be arranged on a rotational basis so that a student does not miss the same lesson(s) repeatedly in school time.  There will be a series of 12 to 15 lessons per semester.   Parents have to be make payments in cash direct to the tutors for these lessons.  (Acknowledgement of receipt of payments will be issued by the tutors.)  Failure to maintain payments will mean lessons are discontinued.All students receiving individual music tuition are issued with a practice notebook so that both the student and  his/her parents may see details of the work covered and what has to be done for the subsequent lesson.  All students are also initially issued with an instrument which after 3 months they should either opt to purchase at the original purchase price or return it to the school and discontinue lessons unless they go ahead and buy their own instrument.

 

Money Into School

From time to time students may need to bring money into school e.g. to update their cafeteria swipe card, to pay for music tuition, to cover costs of activities etc.  In such cases we respectfully request that parents send in exact change in a sealed envelope on which is clearly written :-

The student’s name

The student’s year and class group

The date on which the money is being sent in

Along with the money inside the envelope, the parent should write the amount that is enclosed

Parents should expect an acknowledgement for the amount sent in within 48 hours.

 

School Website

General information concerning the school, copies of parent bulletins, staffing information and photo galleries of trips and events are all available on the school website www.zischina.com  This will be regularly updated.

 

Zhuhai International School is an authorized school for the IB Primary Years Programme, Middle Years Programme and Diploma Programme.