At WYIS, we have a unique opportunity to help create innovative educational and social experiences to equip students for the unique challenges of an ever changing world. We value both academics and character growth and aim to give all of our students the same opportunities and experiences regardless of whether they are here for a few months or numerous years.
We aim to ensure all students feel valued as individuals, but also feel part of the wider WYIS Buffalo team!
Our programs are designed to help students think for themselves and gain confidence in the various disciplines we offer. Students are supported by a team of dedicated teachers and support staff and also have a unique learning opportunity through online courses.
We believe our approach to education works and helps students achieve balance and perspective as they approach adulthood. Our mission is to ensure they have the academic results, physical wellbeing, and social experiences to be prepared for their next challenge.
As Secondary Principal, I look forward to helping your student thrive here at WYIS.
Welcome to our community!
WYIS is a place of workmanship. Each child is an individual with strengths, hopes, passions, dreams. Our curriculum reflects both what happens in the classroom and every interaction teachers have with students throughout the day. This integrated approach is part of our school culture – teaching students to effectively communicate ideas, to address conflict in a positive way, to think beyond the obvious. We are inclusive to all learners. Teachers and support staff work together to ensure every student’s learning is supported and challenged.
Each day opens with an opportunity to build community and expand ideas. In this 10-minute Advisory time, groups might discuss a trending TED Talk, challenge another group to a game, or review last minute homework questions. In Advisory, we’re learners together.
The week is divided into A days and B days, both of which have five periods each day. Periods 1 and 5 are 50-minute blocks, and periods 2 through 4 are 80-minute blocks. A student’s schedule alternates, depending on whether it’s an A day or a B day. Over 85 different courses are offered in English, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Technology, Physical Education and Health, Fine Arts, Service Learning, College and Career Preparation, and Ethics. All courses except world languages are offered in English.
With class sizes averaging eleven students, teachers focus on each individual. Middle school (Grades 6-8) focuses on developing responsibility, gaining independence, growing in understanding and empathy for others. High school (Grades 9-12) deepens subject knowledge, and explores various leadership and career paths. Twenty four credits are required for high school graduation, based on the semester credit system.
Advanced Placement (AP) courses are offered in Chemistry, Physics 1, and Biology.
Science courses in high school offer students a survey of the core sciences through lab-based instruction. In all classes, students design unique and genuine experiments. Ninth graders are taught many practical skills and concepts using the physical sciences to prepare them well for higher-level thinking and communicating effectively as a future scientist in advanced courses. Starting in tenth grade, students can select a traditional route or an accelerated route. Depending on the route taken, students have numerous choices during junior and senior year designed to support any college aspiration. AP Biology, AP Physics 1, and AP Chemistry are offered to students who have met the prerequisites.
The English curriculum follows a developmental progression of increasing sophistication in grammar, vocabulary, discussion skills, writing, and reading. In each grade, texts are pulled from the American, British, and World canon to provide a wide range of diversity and organized by theme. We offer Composition & Communication for 9th graders and World Literature for 10th graders. For 11th and 12th graders, British Literature, American Literature, AP English Literature & Composition, and AP English Language & Composition are offered on a rotational basis.
The high school history/social studies curriculum begins in ninth grade focusing on global history and geography from the evolution of early man and development of the first civilizations to the global convergence in the 13th-15th centuries. In tenth grade, students examine the formation of the modern world through the lenses of history, politics, the environment, and geography. With this solid background in world history, eleventh grade students are ready to focus on the study of the major forces that have shaped the United States such as political liberalism, nationalism, industrialization, and imperialism. In twelfth grade, students will choose from a series of electives during the first three quarters based on both teacher expertise and student interest.
While the electives will cover a variety of topics, all of the senior courses are designed to have students apply their historical thinking skills to the modern, global world. The underlying goal of the curriculum is to enhance students’ understanding and appreciation of how forces influence the course of global human history, from antiquity to today. Students learn through projects as well as texts (primary and secondary sources), debate, research analysis, document analysis, written analysis, discussion. By asking students to apply their knowledge of the past to the challenges of the future in an increasingly “globalized” world, students develop a critical global perspective as well as an understanding of the responsibilities they have as individuals and citizens in a democratic society.
At the high school level, the performing arts program is designed to allow students with interests in music or drama further develop their skills through both exploratory and performance-based courses. Students are encouraged to build their knowledge of music theory, musicianship, and notation as a part of these classes. The goal of the theatre performance programs is to educate and expose the student to a broad range of theatrical styles by presenting diverse performances and productions for cultural enhancement. The theatre department also strives to prepare students for post high school study in theatre performing arts.
In high school, students can take a variety of visual art courses designed to enhance their skills and hone their talents. In the areas of drawing, painting, three-dimensional design/ceramics, photography, and computer art, students take a sequence of classes of increasing skill level to meet the art requirements. High school electives combine studio work with theory, aesthetics, criticism, and understanding of the arts. Introductory level courses cover critical skills and concepts such as composition, color fundamentals, and understanding of materials and techniques involved in the specific medium that is being practiced. As students progress to higher level classes, they use these skills and develop more complex techniques, leading to individual and unique styles of artwork. For high school students who seek more intensive studies, AP Studio Art, Senior Portfolio, and Senior Projects in the arts are possible.
The middle school physical education program gives our students a physical outlet during the school day and teaches them foundational skills for participation in competitive and recreational athletics at WYIS. Students also use our fitness room in order to learn more about strength training and cardiovascular health. Classes are held in the school gymnasium, outdoor turf field, and the fitness room at WYIS. The goal of the PE program is to create an inclusive atmosphere where students can participate in new sports and build the confidence to take part in WYIS sports at a competitive level.
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 counselor and advisory teachers 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 with a professional provider. Conversations with the school counselor are confidential unless there is a threat of harm to oneself or others. 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.
Appointments may be made by emailing or visiting Sandra Carpenter.
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.
All middle school students have the opportunity to study Mandarin. There are three main goals for middle 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.
The campus is connected to our data network allowing student and guests to wirelessly access electronic material in all academic and community spaces. 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.
Our Middle School curriculum takes full advantage of digital resources and tools carefully selected to enrich learning across disciplines. As a parallel to teaching students how to form letters and words with pencil and paper, they also learn iPads starting in 1st grade. Research and critical thinking skills are introduced through web searches protected by the school’s robust firewall and filters. Our lower school STEM program includes robotics and computer programming to enhance student understanding of “how things work” in our technology driven world.
Each student in Kindergarten through third grade is provided an iPad for classroom use in which they use to practice core computing skills. All 3rd grade and older students are issued their own iPad, in part to teach them the responsibility of caring for the devices, and for easy access to a wide array of online resources. Upon enrollment, each student is also assigned a WYIS e-mail address to communicate asynchronously with their teachers. Our job in teaching technology is to empower students with the tools they need to communicate and express themselves as 21st Century digital natives.
The Wuhan Yangtze International School 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 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 new families. This is an opportunity for parents to meet some teachers and to find out about the school routines, special events and expectations. Each term, we welcome parents to a Principal’s Coffee where they hear about the current trends and information about what is happening at the school. We also have Student Led Conferences at the end of the first and third quarters. This is an opportunity for students to meet with their parents and teachers in order to explain their work and progress throughout the term. It is a child centered program and specifically about students learning to talk about themselves and their work. Progress Reports are written in the form of report card comments at the end of the first semester and third semesters.
Although there are many structured opportunities for parents to meet with teachers, parents can also make appointments with teachers throughout the year to discuss their concerns.
STUDENT LED CONFERENCES
We plan specific days within the school calendar for conferences to be held. The fall and spring conferences are all day events and families are scheduled for 20-minute student led conferences with their child’s advisory teacher in Middle School. All middle school students are required to have at least one SLC a year.
- In the weeks ahead of a conference, check in with kids about how they're doing on homework and in each subject. Review homework and any recent projects, tests, quizzes, report cards, or progress reports.
- Ask if there are questions or issues your child wants you to discuss with the teacher.
- Plan to bring something to take notes with (paper and pen or a laptop or other device).
- Share a few things about your child with the teacher — interests, strengths, favorite subjects — to help the teacher know your child better.
- Write down questions or topics you'd like the conference to cover.
- Students prepare their SLC portfolios during their Advisory meeting times. They pick work that highlights their strengths and areas for growth to be used to guide their conversations with their parents and teachers.
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 placesand co-curricular activities are great learning opportunities for students. 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.
WYIS has a fantastic athletics program that grows our students in the knowledge of the sport and then teaches them how to compete at their highest levels. In high school, the emphasis is on students maximizing their potential as a team to achieve success. This means that playing time is not always equally distributed, but every student is given meaningful playing time. Students all receive the opportunity to play in key times of matches so they can grow in their abilities as an athlete. They learn how to play together, and how to best achieve victory in each match. We feature volleyball, basketball, and soccer for high school.
2017-2018 TOURNAMENT LOCATIONS
High School Volleyball – Wuxi
High School Basketball – Tianjin
High School Soccer – Wuhan
CONCERTS & PERFORMANCES
Public performance is a fantastic way for young learners to develop confidence and is an integral part of our program. Throughout the year, Middle School students showcase what they’re learning for peers and parents at seasonal performances in the winter and spring. When students graduate from Elementary school, the goal is that they have a strong knowledge of the written mechanics of music and a greater sense of the community, character, and creativity that are built by singing, playing, and creating music together.
Clubs are a great tool in our aim to develop well-rounded students. The school sponsors a number of activities that give Middle School students an opportunity to explore and excel in a particular sport, hobby, or area of interest.