Reconciling academic excellence and student well-being

Qianying (Clara) Hong never felt like a new student at ISS International School in Singapore. From day one, her teachers and friends were there for her. With their help, she quickly overcame her biggest obstacle: the language barrier. She discovered that on the ISS, making mistakes was acceptable, even encouraged.

“I am grateful to my teachers and classmates for their support which helped me integrate into the school’s English language environment and really benefit from the English language acquisition program at the ISS,” Clara says.

ISS educates to make a difference with accredited academic programs led by experienced and caring educators. It encourages students to be independent thinkers in a safe and sustainable environment. With a 1:5 teacher to student ratio, students receive individualized attention, strategies, and pathways created just for them.

“Because we are a small community, the teachers and staff at the ISS watch over each of us even if they are not our class teachers for the year,” Clara explains. “The IBDP coordinator, Mr. Garden, helps me organize and expand my thoughts further, making me feel cared for and supported.”

The school’s unique personalized learning program, developed by teachers and administrators over several years, is based on research from the world of psychology and current thinking about the best way to learn. Revised annually and customized to fit the diverse context of ISS, the program is aided by the school’s investment in a powerful student achievement database.

From kindergarten to 12th grade seniors, the program is used daily in their classrooms. Each student has a profile that tracks their performance through a minimum of four data points including internal assessments, standardized tests, and anecdotal evidence. This gives teachers an accessible snapshot of each student’s performance and helps them identify students who need additional work extension to reach their potential.

The ISS program is highly personalized and goes beyond the traditional goal-setting exercises found in most schools. Source: ISS International School, Singapore

After three years at the ISS, Clara is now in grade 12 pursuing the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IBDP). It is the culmination of a comprehensive plan that not only addresses Clara’s academic subjects and learning needs, but also welfare and community services.

The plan is tailor-made for each student. Frequent dialogue with teachers and parents opens up opportunities for reflection, celebrating progress, and enhancing students’ self-esteem and creative thinking. Students become independent learners, essential to their success in school and in life.

For IBDP students, this plan is further modified and implemented by the whole school. “At the start of the G10, students are asked about their inclination, IBDP subject preference and academic major,” says Mr. Christopher Garden, Deputy Academic Director and IBDP Coordinator. “We use this data to review subject offerings and staffing for the following year. It also allows us to create a unified data profile and program structure tailored to our students. »

From these conversations, the school has offered two new subjects this year. “We strongly believe in giving our students the ability to personalize their own learning journey,” says Garden. “This requires extensive consultation with students, families and the university advisor. Diagnostic data, results from previous years and, most importantly, the voice of the student, are taken into account in these decisions.

Plus, an academic team helps ISS students understand how they learn best. By analyzing their extensive data, the team explores each student’s aspirations and what they need to achieve their goals.

ISS International School, Singapore

ISS ensures that every student succeeds and is supported, as recommended by its latest Joint Accreditation Report (February 2022) of the Council of International Schools (CIS) and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) . Source: ISS International School, Singapore

Thanks to this consultative approach, Clara takes ownership of the selection of subjects that she is passionate about, in which she excels while meeting the admission requirements of the universities of her dreams. “Because most universities in the UK have subject-specific requirements, I chose my IB subjects very carefully under the guidance of Ms Jeyaram, our University Advisor,” she says.

Students like Clara should succeed in college and beyond. This year, ISS students achieved a 100% pass rate at IB Diploma level; 15% above the world average. 96% of students obtained a bilingual diploma (well above the world average of 27.64%) and the average of the points obtained was 35; three points above the world average. These excellent results place ISS in the top 10 schools offering the IBDP in Singapore.

Such excellence is based on ISS’ focus on student well-being. The campus is a haven of peace where students gain confidence and feel valued. It is an optimal space for learning and one that encourages creativity, high-level thinking and innovation – essential skills for succeeding in our world.

“When our teachers notice that a student is under stress, they arrange a private meeting between the student and the counselor so that the student can receive timely support,” says Clara.

ISS looks after students holistically. “My favorite wellness initiatives are those that focus on our diverse cultural backgrounds, developing students’ international openness and cross-cultural understanding. They go beyond just knowing about cultural celebrations,” says Garden.

“Honoring and celebrating the rich traditions of our school community creates a greater sense of identity and enhances the well-being of all of our students. Being a diverse and inclusive community, we place a strong emphasis on our commonalities. ”

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