By Nick Yates, ISB Communications

A new academic year is about to begin at the International School of Beijing (ISB), with all the excitement that brings. The campus is gleaming, with plenty of additions and enhancements made over summer. Returning students are excited to meet newly enrolled classmates, and there will be some new faces to greet them on September 1 as ISB has expanded its team of experienced, high-quality teachers, faculty, and support staff.

A group of people in blue uniform shirts sitting under a Chinese pavilion
ISB’s new hires for 2021-2022

The ISB community last year settled into new facilities that are, quite simply, stunning. The Elementary School (ES) Arts Center and Theater, Middle School (MS)/High School (HS) Performing Arts Center, Early Years Learning Community, and MS/HS Art & Design Center will allow for many more inspiring learning experiences in 2021-2022.

Elsewhere on the world-class campus, the ES Cafeteria and MS/HS Cafeteria have both been refurbished, and anyone climbing the ES staircase or pausing in the reception area will get a breath of fresh air – literally – thanks to living green walls. Green walls are vertical structures covered in plants for their healthy, environmental qualities. With sponsorship from the Parent Teacher Association, the introduction of these walls is the culmination of a project by Middle and High School students to bring nature into the school.

The Admissions Office also has a new look, giving an even more pleasant welcome to any families looking for a leading education in Beijing.

Plants on a wall handrails in the foreground
This new green wall is a result of a student project to bring nature into the school

ISB has continued its policy of hiring only the best-qualified, most passionate candidates from around the world. The scores of new hires for 2021-2022 have a range of backgrounds and will enrich the multicultural educational experience at ISB.

New Yorker Daniel Rubenstein will lead ISB as the new Head of School. From Early Years to Grade 12, educators from countries including the U.S., Canada, China, France, South Africa, Kenya, Zimbabwe, and Ukraine will bring fresh perspectives to roles ranging from High School Principal to counselor to speech language pathologist to teachers of various subjects.

New High School French teacher Linda Worsley said, “I knew ISB was a top school and I wanted to be part of it. The fact that ISB has such a strong community was very appealing; I like that there is such a sense of solidarity.

“ISB also offers a curriculum that is really broad and it has the students’ needs and interests at heart. I’m really excited to deliver the curriculum.”

Every year, ISB provides its new hires with an orientation program before school starts so they are prepared to hit the ground running and be at their best for the students. “We feel so supported already in the school. I am as well prepared as I possibly can be,” said Michael Clarke, who will soon be wielding paint brushes and creating masterpieces with Elementary School students as their new visual arts teacher.

There are more than 1,700 students, from 40 countries and regions, enrolled at ISB for the start of this year. Many families have joined from China and abroad for the first time, attracted by the school’s diverse strengths. The excellent teaching team and facilities serve a progressive, modern approach to education, enshrined in the Mission, Vision, and Core Values statements.

Lew Olowski from the U.S. said he and his wife Heather enrolled their two children at ISB after noticing the care with which the school’s learning programs were designed. “Seeing that the school is thoughtful about this area gave us great confidence.”

Two Asian adults and two Asian children sitting on a bench
New ISB students Suzie and Hareum with their parents Taehwan and Hannah

From South Korea, Suzie K and Hareum K have joined ISB in Grade 5 and Grade 1 respectively. Parents Taehwan and Hannah chose ISB based on strengths including the school’s reputation and its facilities. “We valued ISB’s solid reputation,” Taehwan and Hannah explained. “Being non-profit attracted us as it gave us the impression that everything at ISB is focused on students’ growth. And the stunning facilities, especially the new performing arts center, were attractive as we are concertgoers and love music. Given our kids love making friends, the size of the school affected the decision, as they can learn more by socializing, particularly in different cultural settings.”

The South Korean couple also praised the admissions process. “We deeply appreciate the ISB admission team’s assistance and patience as our family was moving to Beijing this summer,” Taehwan and Hannah said. “The orientation process helped us to understand the values and visions of ISB and to be connected to the community. We feel truly welcomed!”

The past year and a half has been an unforgettable, challenging period for the whole world. Throughout it all, ISB has innovated to help its community stay strong and to continue providing challenging and joyful learning. Beijing schools’ start to 2021-2022 was delayed by local authorities as a Covid-19 safety measure. With anticipation built up over this extended Summer Break, we couldn’t be more raring to go for another great year!

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