15 Nov, 2019
10 : 00
This week, the YCIS Shanghai community came together to celebrate an exciting new addition to the school. CEO & School Supervisor, Dr Betty Chan Po-king and Chairman, Professor Paul Yip Kwok-wah were delighted to attend the building dedication ceremony and officially open the new YCIS Shanghai, Puxi A-Building at the Primary (Hongqiao) Campus. The A-Building is situated near the original site of the very first YCIS Shanghai campus, which first opened 26 years ago as the city’s first international school recognised by the Chinese government.
The ceremony, which took place in the beautiful, airy atrium space in the A-Building, included addresses by Dr Chan and Professor Yip and wonderful performances by student musicians and choirs. In her address, Dr Chan thanked the attendees and warmly welcomed them to YCIS’ newest facility, while Professor Yip talked about the history of the school, its close ties with the local Shanghai community, and the tremendous support of the Shanghai government.
Additionally, during the ceremony, Dr Chan accepted the prestigious LEED Gold Award for the A-Building on behalf of the school. LEED stands for ‘Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design’ and the awards are administered by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Only high-performance schools that undergo a technically-rigorous construction process – which includes the incorporation of environmentally-friendly building materials to achieve an efficient and healthy indoor environment for students, faculty, and staff – are eligible for certification. In fact, this is the second-ever LEED award presented to a school in Shanghai, with the first being given to YCIS Puxi’s ECE (Ronghua) Campus – which opened in 2018 and is also the recipient of a LEED Gold Award – making YCIS Shanghai a veritable leader in creating the healthiest possible environment for students and staff.
When the addresses, performances, and awards came to an end, the distinguished guests – including government officials, members of the YCIS Executive Board, YCIS Alumni, parent representatives, and media – were taken on exclusive guided tours of the new building and its facilities, before reconvening to chat and enjoy refreshments at the reception. Dr Chan and Professor Yip also gave a press conference, answering questions from journalists about the school’s history, the new A-Building and its design and learning concept, and the vision for YCIS and how the school will continue to break new ground and innovate going forward.
In addition to its proven green credentials, the four floors of the A-Building feature a large atrium for assemblies and performances, a spacious library, a cafeteria, administrative offices, and specially designed Learning Community spaces for Lower Primary students. The inspiring spaces encourage collaboration and thought provocation. To engage children in creative and interdisciplinary learning, the building contains a media centre, STEAM lab, ICT suite, and Art and Music studios. YCIS Shanghai once again worked with the award-winning architectural firm Fielding Nair International to design the building.
The Learning Community concept is a disruption of the traditional schooling model, where for over a century, classrooms have been arranged along long corridors and rooms are packed with rows of desks and chairs, with students all facing one direction. In Dr Chan’s speech, she explained that “the old classroom design no longer fits the needs of the 21st Century, and in this technological age, students must be empowered to be active learners, working in groups or individually to research and seek answers to questions.” Learning Communities allow teachers to act as facilitators of learning, with spaces that are designed to support interdisciplinary collaboration by students and teachers.
Dr Chan also highlighted other significant areas of focus during her speech, sharing how the school has been reviewing all aspects of the curriculum to ensure that it best supports the Learning Community approach and that it has been providing many opportunities for professional development for all staff, to ensure that teachers are trained and prepared to deliver a 21st century pedagogy and curriculum to students.
Furthermore, data analysis is being utilised in school to help teachers clearly monitor students’ progress in this flexible learning environment: "I am proud to say that we have introduced an online student tracking system, developed in-house, where our teachers can use data to scientifically track and analyse the progress of every student, to ensure that everyone’s needs are fully supported in this Learning Community.”
The students have now started their Learning Community journeys in the fantastic new A-Building, making use of its open, collaborative, environmentally-conscious spaces. Being in an environment where deep and purposeful teaching and learning can take place, ensures a bright future for all students and embodies the YCIS vision for the future of education.