Hangzhou International School leads the way in holistic education
As the only school in Hangzhou to have a dedicated school psychologist, Hangzhou International School ensures that students receive tailored care with quality time and hands-on support. In lower school (Kindergarten-Grade 5), we have one support team member per grade level, and in upper school, we have one support team member for every two grade levels.
The qualified Counselors and Student Support Services Team utilize a variety of psychological evaluation tools to assess students' needs on a weekly basis. We prioritize inclusivity by providing individualized support for students with mild learning or sensory differences, with learning support specialists available for both upper and lower school divisions.
In some cases, support may involve implementing classroom strategies that benefit all students. For example, a small group of students might receive a mini-lesson on converting fractions using a scaffolded approach, while another group focuses on developing reading fluency by emphasizing pace and expression.
HIS is proud to be the first member school of SPAN offering transition support for students, teachers and families. SPAN (Safe Passages Across Networks) is a non-profit organization focused on transition care. We collaborate with organizations like FIGT and Globally Grounded to support students, teachers and families in addressing any emotional issues that arise from transitions within the international school community.
To facilitate smooth transitions, teachers establish buddy systems for newcomers, and our counseling team offers emotional support and guidance for departing members, ensuring a supportive environment during farewells. In 2022, we became the first official School Member of SPAN, and currently, our school remains the only member in China.
As an IB continuum school, we prioritize holistic education encompassing personal, interpersonal, emotional and academic development. Our Wellness Program is a schoolwide initiative delivered weekly, starting from kindergarten to grade 12, with a primary focus on mental health.
With over 50 nationalities represented in our diverse community, HIS understands the unique challenges faced by international students.
We offer over 65 different co-curricular activities to help children find connections among peers with similar interests, including robotics, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, chess club, West Lake Model MUN and ceramics.
The curriculum incorporates different approaches to care based on school division. In lower school, the trans-disciplinary theme "Who We Are" introduces students to the concept of agency, allowing exploration of identity, values, health, relationships, cultures and communities.
Middle school students engage with advisory teachers, while high school students attend grade-level seminars and collaborate with counselors for life after school.
To ensure peer support among students, HIS has established the Natural Helpers initiative, where four students per class (Grades 6-8) undergo training to offer peer support in areas like bereavement, stress, and self-harm. This program is particularly important for vulnerable young teens.
We are also the first school in Hangzhou to offer the CAS (Creativity, Action, Service) curriculum at the DP level for high school students. CAS fosters personal growth, leadership skills, and a sense of social responsibility. Our holistic educational approach is designed to prepare students for the future, and our students often find their passion and key strengths, which can lead to fruitful career paths.
(Chantelle Nguyen is marketing manager from Hangzhou International School)