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Dear Parents –

I am excited to announce that SSIS will host a very special visitor to campus on Monday and Tuesday, 20-21 April 2015. Mr. Terry Giffen, a recognized expert on college and university guidance, will be visiting SSIS to meet with administrators, teachers, students and parents. We are looking for SSIS juniors and seniors, and the parents of SSIS juniors and seniors, who would like to meet with Mr. Giffen and help improve our university placement program.

As many of you are aware, this is a year of strategic planning at SSIS as we set the school’s direction for the next five years. One of the key areas of interest is the college and universities placement of our students. I would be the first to argue that the value of a SSIS education is much more than grades and test scores, but every one of us with high school aged children know the pressures and the challenges of the college application process. Finding the right fit for our sons and daughters is important to us all.

At SSIS we have two College and University Guidance counsellors in the persons of Ms. Kris Bumpus and Ms. Erin Hawkins. This is an excellent ratio of students to counsellors and allows for a great deal of personalized attention for our students and their parents. Working with our high school leadership team and teachers, Ms. Bumpus and Ms. Hawkins provide counseling and advice for our high school students in applying to colleges or the universities.

Just as our teachers are often sent to conferences and workshops for professional development to improve teaching and learning at SSIS, our counsellors pursue yearly opportunities to improve their skills and knowledge to help our students. On a recent trip to the United States, I made contact through colleagues with Mr. Terry Giffen and invHeadshotited him to Vietnam to review our program and make suggestions for its improvement. His visit is a part of the professional development of our school.

After an early career as an English teacher, Mr. Giffen served as an admissions director for colleges before he was persuaded to “switch sides” and become the director of university and college counseling for elite, private, independent schools in the United States such as Choate Rosemary Hall, Mont
gomery Bell Academy, and the Taft School. Though he has now retired in the United States, Mr. Giffen continues to work with international schools in Korea and Hong Kong to professionalize their university guidance programs.

On Monday and Tuesday, 20-21 April 2015, Mr. Giffen will spend two long days at SSIS, meeting with administrators, teachers, groups of students, and groups of parents. He will then produce a series of recommendation for SSIS for the improvement of our program and the services we offer our students.

If you are a parent of an SSIS junior or senior and are interested in meeting in a small group with Mr. Giffen on Tuesday morning, 21 April 2015, please contact my office at +84 8 54130901 for further details.

Mark Iver Sylte, Head of School

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