Welcome to the 2018-2019 school year! We are excited to begin our academic school year, as many great things are in store for us at Wuhan Yangtze International School. My name is Latasha Carter and I am so excited to introduce myself as the new Elementary Principal. I consider it an honor and a privilege to be a part of this amazing school.
Throughout my 10 years of working in education, I have been fortunate to work in various leadership positions. I consider my most important job to be that of a child advocate. I look forward to getting to know your children and their special characteristics. I will celebrate their successes, encourage them daily, and remind them they are valued and have a special place in our school community.
My goal is to ensure that all WYIS children are provided with a superb education and opportunities to develop emotionally, socially, physically, and spiritually. I look forward to working closely with staff, parents, and the community to provide the best learning experience for our students.
Our goal is to see that our students are introduced to technology early on. Curriculum integration and modeling are used by teachers to integrate technology into the classroom. Our tech specialist works with teachers to help integrate technology into the classroom, and students are provided with regular technology instruction. Every child at WYIS is encouraged to learn and explore through reading. Whether your child learns through books housed in the classroom library or if they get lost in the captivating storytelling during a scheduled reading in the library, we desire for each child to fall in love with the gift of reading. Elementary students have regular times to visit the library to listen to storytime and to borrow books. Books of all levels are plentiful in our spacious and comfortable library, allowing students the ability to choose books that speak to their sense of wonder and creativity.
The primary goal of language arts instruction in the lower school is to inspire students to read for pleasure, learn new information, share their thoughts and feelings, and speak confidently and dynamically. To meet those goals, teachers in grades K-3 focus on reading skills that include print knowledge, alphabet awareness, phonological awareness, phonemic awareness, decoding, vocabulary, and fluency. In grades 4 and 5, reading instruction focuses on vocabulary development, fluency, and comprehension. Students learn and practice three types of writing in grades K-5: opinion/argument writing, narrative writing, and informative writing using a workshop model where students are provided with clear goals, as well as responsive, assessment based feedback.
A strong understanding of social studies and history is the foundation of well-informed, civic-minded citizens. Our 1-5 scope and sequence begins with exploring relationships that students have within their immediate circle of family, friends, teachers, and neighbors. Then students learn the basics of geography, economics, and citizenship in the context of expanding their view to include the local community. Learning broadens from there to an awareness of local and global communities, the exploration of different cultures, and public service roles. Finally, students begin to learn about American history from the first migration into the Americas to the 20th Century.
Just as children explore concentrically larger circles of community in social studies, the science curriculum teaches them to understand and appreciate the physical world around them. Students take part in engaging, hands-on investigation focused on the following four areas.
- Plants and animals - their impact on the environment, parts and functions, interdependence in ecosystems, variations of traits of different organisms, functions of internal and external structure in growth, reproduction, and information processing, role of decomposers, consumers, and producers in a healthy ecosystem.
- Matter & forces - properties and functions of different kinds of matter, how they effect the way objects move, how light and sound travels, effect of balanced and unbalanced forces, patterns in wave motion, how energy is transferred by sound, light, heat, and electric current, identify matter as particles of matter too small to be seen.
- Weather - how it changes over time in recognizable patterns, quantify and predict weather conditions, interaction among the geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere.
- Sun, moon, and stars - patterns in the apparent movement, processes that shape Earth over long periods of time, weathering, erosion, and deposition in shaping Earth’s surface, patterns caused by the relative position of the Earth and sun.
K-5 math instruction and curriculum are carefully designed to allow students to connect with, build upon, and refine their mathematical understandings. Students use metacognitive strategies when they engage in solving mathematics problems to not only understand specific concepts, but also the process by which they learned them. Six content strands are at the core of instruction in all grade levels: number and numeration, operations and computation, data and chance, measurement and reference frames, geometry, patterns, and functions, and algebra. These six areas are broken down further into grade-level goals that are linked to formative assessments. Using a Professional Learning Community model, teachers analyze the assessment data and support each student’s developmental stage of understanding. They work closely in teams to design instruction of both remedial and enrichment needs allowing them to support students at all levels.
At WYIS we are committed to seeing that every child has an opportunity to learn and grow. In most cases, the needs of individual students are able to be met by the classroom teacher with the use of some individualized assistance or curriculum modification as necessary. We are willing to discuss the needs of each child and determine if the necessary resources needed for success are available. In certain cases, one-to-one assistance can be offered.
Our school counselors meet with students who may be having emotional or social difficulties and help determine the best courses of action, which may include a recommendation of counseling. Conversations are confidential. Counselors are available on campus to individuals or groups of students for discussion of problems relating to emotional growth, social adjustment, academic achievement, or any other issue.
Director of Student Services
Elementary School Counselor
ADDITIONAL PROGRAM FEATURES
For decades, WYIS students have been invigorated by language education, with past students using their language skills in many areas from diplomacy, law and education to international trade, marketing, banking and finance.
The English language is central to the way in which students understand, critique and appreciate their world, and to the ways in which they participate socially, economically and culturally in society. The study of English encourages the development of literate individuals capable of critical and imaginative thinking, aesthetic appreciation and creativity, as well as productive participation in a democratic society in the 21st Century. Through the English curriculum and our literacy program, which begins in the ECC, students initially focus on spelling and word study, phonemic awareness and handwriting, which leads into the key discipline concepts of texts and language, and the many dimensions of reading, writing, speaking and listening that develop as students progress through their schooling.
CHINESE LANGUAGE & CULTURE
Although the study of English and the ongoing development of important literacy skills are fundamental elements of the curriculum, our students are also part of the global dialogue where multiple languages are advantageous. As an American school with an international perspective, we believe that a strong language program enhances the educational journey and encourages our students to develop alternative perspectives, cultural understanding and empathy.
Beginning in kindergarten, Elementary students have the opportunity to study Mandarin. There are three main goals for Elementary school students interested in learning Mandarin: 1) Building up a strong foundation of high-frequency vocabulary. Frequent and consistent exposure to high frequency vocabulary greatly increases the comfort level of students as they begin to communicate in a new language. 2) Working on the basic grammar rules, sentence structure, and discourse patterns. Chinese can seem very intimidating to students when they first begin learning the language; however, the introduction of common sentence patterns coupled with frequent practice in relevant contexts can greatly increase the rate at which students develop language proficiency. 3) Developing cultural knowledge and global awareness. Lastly, a critical goal for lower school students in the Mandarin classroom is to provide opportunities to understand the similarities and differences between their own culture and that of various Chinese populations around the world. Students have the opportunity to go on field trips, eat new foods, learn about daily life for students their own age in China and learn about and celebrate the various important Chinese holidays.
At WYIS, we see technology as a tool that supports a school community and facilitates learning. We recognize the enormous potential of modern technology to enhance and enrich learning, and are committed to preparing our children to be successful in a society permeated with technology.
As an important tool, both inside and outside of the classroom, students use technology to inquire, communicate and safely take risks. Through our technology program, we ensure that every student in our community has access to campus and worldwide electronic resources, enhanced classrooms and a learning management system employed by higher education institutions. These tools encourage students to adopt and employ technology during their tenure at WYIS, preparing them for college and professional environments as true digital citizens.
Every building on the campus is connected to our data networks allowing students to wirelessly access electronic material in all academic and community spaces. School bandwidth has significantly increased over the past few years to better support classroom initiatives, cloud computing, multimedia and improve the overall student experience. In accordance with our standards, students must abide by acceptable use policies and guidelines found in the school handbook. To help encourage these standards our network is regularly monitored and acceptable barriers have been put in place for the safety of our students.
The WYIS library is a vibrant, welcoming environment for students, staff and parents to enjoy for recreational and educational purposes and is specifically organized to service our diverse school community. We strive to ensure that not only are learning needs met but also that every child feels valued and happy. Our Library resources support the teaching of the curriculum and develop our student's interests and hobbies. Incorporating the use of iPads for searching the library databases, library lessons are also linked to the curriculum and teach essential information skills for 21st Century learning.
Our Library Strives:
- To ensure learners grow as competent, ethical users and producers of ideas and information.
- To prepare life-long learners who are effective communicators, critical researchers and problem solvers.
- To collaborate and share with audiences beyond our school walls.
- To model our school’s mission and support learners in the pursuit of aesthetic growth and personal learning pathways.
To this end, a collection of books has been developed to support teaching and learning activities. Chinese books have also been acquired to support language learning. In addition, we have a collection of e-resources including online newspapers and magazines, which children can access on their iPads. We use a color code system to help our English language learners to find books with more ease and encourage families to donate fiction and nonfiction books in Chinese and Korean to help round out our diverse collection.
Our elementary library is a spacious child-centered environment filled with educational and enjoyable children’s books. Our library sponsors reading programs to encourage elementary students to read books of their choice. Awareness of a variety of books, school library materials and reinforcement of language learning are a few of the goals anchored in our reading programs.
We are constantly seeking to strengthen our partnership with parents and one of the ways we do this is through reporting to parents and actively involving parents in their children’s learning.
At the start of the year, we have orientation sessions for both new and returning families. This is an opportunity for parents to meet the new class teacher and to find out about the year group routines, special events and expectations. Each term, we welcome parents to an open morning, which provides an opportunity for children to share and celebrate their learning. We also have more formal Parent Teacher Conferences in Fall and Spring. This is an opportunity for parents to meet with their child’s class teacher on an individual basis and review their child’s learning and next steps. Progress Reports are written at the end of the first semester and all children receive a summative report in June.
Although there are many structured opportunities for parents to meet with teachers, parents can also make appointments with teachers throughout the year to discuss any concerns they may have.
PARENT TEACHER CONFERENCES
At WYIS, we plan specific days within the school calendar for conferences to be held as we believe it is important to communicate with families. The fall and spring conferences are all day events and allow for families to schedule 20-minute conferences with their teacher in Elementary. Special area teacher conferences are 15 minutes and can be scheduled separately. Phone conferences are a possibility on these days, as some families may have difficulty scheduling time to leave work/commitments to travel to school.
PowerSchool is the most widely used web-based student information system, supporting 10 million students over 65 countries. Benefits for parents and students include: real-time grades, attendance, comments, assignments, scores and much more…right from the teacher’s gradebook directly to students and parents.
The best learning is active and engaged. It can be found in ordinary places. Take our open gym nights or our elementary dance troupe practices, for example. These activities energize students and help them to see the holistic connections between mind, body, and spirit. Activities outside the classroom are not merely add-ons to the core curriculum. They are a continuous enrichment, a way to sustain and deepen learning.
At WYIS, we believe that co-curricular activities are an important part of education that extends beyond the classroom. Co-curricular activities provide motivation for learning, character building, physical growth and creativity while developing confidence and educating the whole child. Students are encouraged to participate and explore all opportunities that interest them. Students who are involved in Co-curricular opportunities become more invested in the school experience, therefore increasing the opportunity for higher academic performance and social well-being.
The goal of physical education is to develop physically competent individuals who have the knowledge, skills and confidence to enjoy a lifetime of healthful physical activity. Our elementary PE classes begin with stretching, running, and other exercises because we want to encourage our students to develop a life-long habit of being physically active. PE lessons continue by teaching students a skill needed to play a particular sport. Classes conclude with students playing a game related to specific sports, such as soccer, basketball, badminton, and volleyball.
Elementary school artists use paint, clay, collage, sculptural and digital media to explore artistic expression in a structured and supportive environment. In the process, they learn about artists, art movements and how to move from concept to creation. Students learn the vernacular of art and build a vocabulary that grows with them as they progress from grades 1-5.
Movement, singing, and playing are second nature to children. Our elementary school performing arts curriculum uses a mixture of American curricula and Kodaly-based methodologies to take full advantage of these innate skills. Spoken word with rhymes, games, songs, and dances become learning tools as students are encouraged to improvise, compose, and interact musically as a group. In addition, first and second grade students jump right into developing fundamental skills, learning how to identify musical notation, including rhythms, pitches, and dynamics symbols. In the third through fifth grades, students continue to build their knowledge of written music and improvisation by learning to play more complex instruments.
After-school activities are a great tool in our aim to develop well-rounded students. The school sponsors a number of after-school activities that give elementary students an opportunity to explore and excel in a particular sport, hobby, or area of interest.