Letter from Head of School



1 June 2015

Dear SSIS Parents and Guardians,

In only a few short days our students and teachers will wrap up the end of the 2014-2015 school year and many will depart Saigon for a summer of adventure, study, and relaxation. We are justly proud of our teachers and students and the reputation they have built for SSIS as the best international school in Vietnam, with unsurpassed results in both the IB Diploma Programme and the College Board A.P. offerings and a friendly, hard-working community.

As always, though, we are committed to continuing to look for ways to improve what we offer to students and their families.

Every great school is constantly in search of improvements to the institution and programs, and SSIS is no exception. Along with earning the top IB scores in Vietnam, we have seen some dramatic changes this year. The look of the campus has been improved and new spaces have been open up for parents and students with the “greening” of the atrium and the new seating and flags in the plaza area.

The elementary school has been busy designing “super units” that fully integrate the core areas of language arts, social studies, science, mathematics and the arts. Assemblies have been focused on our Core Values and the leadership has been active observing the great work of our teachers. Many Middle School students have been challenged with new and earlier offering in Algebra I and Geometry, have enrolled in new offerings in robotics and coding, and explored more sophisticated argumentation in Social Studies DBQs (document-based questions). The high school returned to single-year science class offerings in Grades 9 and 10, increased the AP options (including in Grade 10) in areas such as history and English, and offered our first mobile app writing course for students passionate about technology.

As next year opens we will begin implementing our three-year Strategic Plan to strengthen our Core Values teaching, further develop the curriculum, and improve our community engagement with SSIS families. Elementary will open their “MakerSpace” area, offer drama classes and increased EAL support, and see a real improvement in technology through the Grade 4 & 5 Macintosh laptop program. Middle School students will also move to Macintosh laptops, focus on assessments for learning, and see facility improvements over the summer. The high school will welcome a new teacher in English (leading to smaller classes and more attention to students), as well as offer fewer co-listed courses (e.g. AP and IB courses together), which should also improve student learning. Our high school teachers are also working to provide more opportunities for extra help outside of class to support your students.

We are pleased that your family will remain at SSIS next year. Enclosed is the school invoice of tuition and fees for the coming school year. Please note that there is a 6% discount on tuition if all school fees are settled by 01 July 2015.

I would like to explain each of the invoice fees to you.

Parent Teacher Association (PTA) Annual Dues: These fees are not mandatory but it is our expectation that all SSIS families will support our PTA. PTA dues are based on a fee of VND 400,000 per student. These funds are used to provide programs for parents and students and events that draw the community together and we are grateful to so many of you who volunteer your time to become involved with PTA activities.

Week Without Walls Fee: This fee covers all costs associated with the Week Without Walls activity for middle school (Grades 6-8) and high school (Grades 9-10) students, both of which are scheduled for the Fall 2015. This program is part of the curriculum and required of all students. These fees are a “break-even” cost for the trips in each respective division. Fees for middle school and high school are different because of the duration of the trips and their destinations. Our middle school trips are planned to explore Vietnam and Vietnamese culture while our high school trips are outside the country.
Due to the significant deposits necessary to reserve accommodation, transportation and to arrange program activities, we are asking that the WWW fees be paid at this time.

Technology fee: Please note that SSIS will no longer be charging a technology fee for students in Grades 4-9. Instead, as announced elsewhere, these students are required to bring their own Macintosh laptop to school next year. Please note, too, that any new computer brought to campus by a student in Grade 10-12 must also be a Macintosh computer.

Specific questions about the laptop program should be sent to our ICT Director, Mr. David Perkin (ictdirector@ssis.edu.vn) or by calling the ICT Office at ext.#13170.

Please do not hesitate contacting the business office at extension #31280 with any questions you may have or further clarification you may need regarding the invoice for school tuition and fees.
We want to thank our parents for the trust they place in us as a School, and as individuals, to work with your sons and daughters as they mature into young men and women of character. We work hard every day to earn that trust.

Sincerely yours,


Mark Iver Sylte
Head of School