Friday, 12 August 2016

eNews Issue 1

HKA eNews: Issue 1

Dear Hong Kong Academy Community,

Welcome back for the new school year! We’re looking forward to seeing everyone next week.
Please note: this year, school begins on a Tuesday:

  • Tuesday, 16th August is a HALF DAY
  • Wednesday, 17th August is a FULL DAY.
We return to our regular schedule the week of 22nd August with a half day on Wednesday.
hkaEats! You’ve heard it said that there’s no free lunch. But next week we’ll celebrate the school’s new food service, hkaEATS, with just that. On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 17th to 19th August, lunch will be FREE for all students. The staff has been enjoying the food this week and we’re eager for the students to also experience the tasty, healthy options available.

You will soon receive an email with registration information for the hkaEATS online system, called "Campus", which allows students to use their ID cards for meals and snacks. Using Campus, you will be able to pre-pay and select meals for PS students, add value for SS students and note any dietary restrictions.
The start of the school year always brings a deluge of information and sometimes it also comes with a deluge of water. Please refresh your memory on HKA’s weather procedures in the event of heavy rain or a typhoon.

And for a refresher on our morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up routines, please consult the 'Arrivals & Dismissals' section of the Family Guidelines. And thanks in advance for not parking on Wai Man Road in front of the school during these periods. The safety of our students is our top priority and using the bus stop in front of the school presents a serious hazard. If you are picking up your child(ren) by car, please proceed through the bus bay on Mei Yuen Street or park you car in one of the nearby lots and meet your child inside the main entrance.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Welcome Back!

Welcome back to HKA for the 2016-17 school year! The new teachers arrived the first week in August (click here to view their bios), followed shortly thereafter by our returning faculty. The school is once again buzzing with activity, and we eagerly await the arrival of students and families. Enrolment is over 640 for the beginning of the year, which is more than 5% growth in the student body.

The first eNews of the year will be sent this Friday, 12th August, ahead of that, I wanted to reach out to you all with a few important items.
Food, glorious food! HKA is debuting a new food service this autumn, hkaEats. We’ve taken the catering in-house with our own chef, Chris Gallaga. Using the Zest model, our menus and service will emphasise fresh and freshly prepared meals at both the cafeteria and the cafe. There will also be a new payment feature using a student ID card where parents can top-up value with the ability to also enrol in meal plans...all online! More information regarding hkaEats and the new online systems will be announced soon!
Facilities Update. Over the summer, in addition to the regular repair and maintenance, we made a few significant changes. I hope you’ll swing by the fitness and multi-purpose space on the Upper Ground area that overlooks the gymnasium. This area has been transformed and provides a wonderful physical education space, especially for our youngest students. The area will also be available for other activities out of school hours. The renovation on this space constituted the first phase of the climbing wall project; we’re looking forward to inaugurating that resource in early 2017.

The Extended Learning and ASA Office is now located near the gym, across from the changing rooms. We’re excited to have this programme housed near the PE office!
Class of 2016. Members of the Class of 2016 are now on their way to their next adventures! Over the summer, initial IB results were announced, and I’m happy to report that this year’s graduates meeting or exceeding their predicted scores. 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 IB exams take place in May of each year, and most exam results are shared in July. Visit for more information about how the IB Diploma works, including the scoring and grading system.
All of HKA’s students who pursued the full Diploma passed the exam, with the highest score being 40 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 performed extremely well. We are proud of them all!

For an overview of HKA’s 2016 IB scores, please click here. To see where the Class of 2016 is heading next, check out the list of university and college offers, matriculations and other choices that are linked in the IB scores overview. Importantly, HKA graduates pursuing tertiary education are attending their preferred institutions. They are pursuing the pathways that are right for them.

While I am always happy to share stories of HKA’s academic rigour and our students’ successes, it’s important to remember that exam results and university placements are only two measures of achievement. With our a student-centred, inquiry-based education, we believe a truly rigorous education prepares students for the lives they are meant to lead. We value a differentiated approach to teaching that stretches and engages all students and helps them develop their talents to their fullest. And we all work together to support this process, faculty, students and parents alike. It’s cliche to say that it takes a village, but it’s also true. And I thank you for being a part of this village.

Friday, 10 June 2016

eNews Issue 39

Thank you to everyone for participating in Portfolio Share Day and the Renaissance Festival. The students were beaming with a well-deserved sense of accomplishment! What a great opportunity for them to share their learnings with us as parents, and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

This is our last eNews of the school year. We bid a special farewell to those families who are moving on from HKA this year. You will be sorely missed, and we hope you’ll stay in touch. We already have HKA events planned in London for 2nd February 2017 and in Singapore for 27th April 2017, so if you’re heading to those cities, please mark your calendars now! And for all of us, whether staying in Hong Kong or moving elsewhere, please follow our Facebook and LinkedIn pages to help our global HKA community stay in touch.

Please note that school starts on a Tuesday next year, which is a deviation from our normal pattern. See you on Tuesday, 16th August for a half-day of school, followed by a full day on Wednesday, 17th August.

Our annual Back to School coffee morning will be on Friday, 19th August. The eNews will resume on Friday, 12th August with more details.

Have a wonderful summer!

Friday, 3 June 2016

eNews Issue 38

The theme of this week was gratitude.
Last night, our Grade 12 students received their HKA diplomas. 26 strong, they did this in much the same way as other Secondary School students around the world. But one of the things that set them apart last night, I believe, was their sense of community and spirit of gratitude.They gave their parents and teachers a round of applause. In their speeches, they thanked each other for friendship and support. And of course, everyone in attendance congratulated them and thanked them for all they’ve contributed to HKA.
Last night, our Grade 12 students received their HKA diplomas. 26 strong, they did this in much the same way as other Secondary School students around the world. But one of the things that set them apart last night, I believe, was their sense of community and spirit of gratitude.They gave their parents and teachers a round of applause. In their speeches, they thanked each other for friendship and support. And of course, everyone in attendance congratulated them and thanked them for all they’ve contributed to HKA.
The Primary School focused on gratitude this week as well, with their Service Learning Fair. At this fair, we celebrated many of our philanthropic partners, and students had a chance to take part in a variety of activities to support the local community. The photos tell the story.

We’ll continue the theme of appreciation next week by thanking you, the parents. Please join us at the Parent Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast on Tuesday, 8th June at 8:30. If you haven't already done so, please rsvp via this online form so that we have enough coffee and pastry on hand. I’m looking forward to thanking you in person.

Friday, 27 May 2016

eNews Issue 37

Between the Hot Cocoa House and the Art Show, the school was buzzing today with artistic expression. The Hot Cocoa House never ceases to amaze me; our students are truly remarkable in their gifts and how they share them. The student leadership involved in the Cocoa House is also always impressive; the kids take on a lot of responsibility for making the morning a success. Thanks to everyone for supporting our students as they learn, grow and understand!

At HKA, a big part of how we think about learning, growing and understanding has to do with how we engage in responsible action both locally and globally. We want students to understand concepts of global citizenship as they apply to them as individuals. We are all leaders in our own way, and it’s important to define leadership broadly to encompass our own strengths and interests. With that in mind, HKA has become a member of the Global Citizenship Diploma programme, Programme co-ordinator Damian Pitter was with us from Yokohama International School to talk with Secondary School students and parents about the opportunities the GCD facilitates. I’m looking forward to sharing stories with you as it evolves.

And I hope many of you were able to enjoy the wonderful visual arts showcase around campus. Our students create exceptional and thought-provoking work!

Friday, 20 May 2016

eNews Issue 36

The end of the year is a good time to reflect on highlights from the previous months and be grateful! We have a tradition at HKA of thanking volunteers at an annual breakfast, and I am delighted to invite you to join us for light fare on Tuesday, 7th June at 8:30am in Room 319. I promise no long speeches except to say thank you for your ongoing support of the school and to offer you a token of our appreciation. Please rsvp online by Friday, 3rd June.

We truly benefitted from parent volunteers this week as we made the decision to take our food service in house next year by engaging Zest as our caterer. A task force comprised of parents provided valuable insights and feedback, and we thank you for being an essential part of this process.

We held the school’s Annual General Meeting this week. For those of you who were not able to join us, you may find copies of the school’s audited financial report and annual report on our website.

Friday, 13 May 2016

eNews Issue 35

Dear Hong Kong Academy Community,

The Grade 5 Exhibition is certainly a highlight for the Grade 5s and the Primary School. It’s also a highlight for the entire school as we enjoy learning from these dedicated students about issues that matter to them. The photos say it all: eager Grade 5 students sharing their knowledge with peers, other students, parents and other adults. The Grade 5 Exhibition demonstrates rigorous learning. It also reminds us of the joy of learning together. Congratulations to the students, and many thanks to their teachers and the exhibition mentors. This year, we expanded the mentor team to include Secondary Students from the GIN team. Having more student leadership involved was a great addition to the process!
And in more good news: we’ve reached the top! With the success of last Saturday’s Rocktail Party and bowl for the goal, we have surpassed our goal of HK$1 Million for the school’s first ever annual fund effort. And more importantly than the funds raised, support for the effort has been extraordinary, with well over half of our families contributing time, talent and treasure to this effort. Thank you to everyone for your support! With a few weeks left in the school year, we’ll see by how much farther we can go beyond our goal.