Dear SSIS Parents –
SSIS operates under a license from the Vietnamese government which governs some of our policies and procedures and which can change from time to time. One important change occurred recently when it became possible for us to accept a limited number of students with Vietnamese passports in all grades. This was a very positive change for our school. Our Vietnamese students bring an important element of diversity to our student body and have wonderful connections with our host country. Our Vietnamese students share the same cultural value for education and hard work that is found in our other communities in the school and they vigorously pursue Academic Excellence. Finally, increased student numbers allow us to hire more teachers and specialists and to offer new courses, especially in the high school.
Students who carry Vietnamese passports, however, do have some additional requirements from the government to fulfill in order to remain enrolled in our School. These are met with additional classwork time in Vietnamese language and other subjects such as literature, history, and philosophy.
In the elementary school, these requirements are met through our Vietnamese classes which are built into the regular school day. All elementary students in every grade level in elementary have special times when they are assigned Vietnamese studies courses based upon their level of Vietnamese, from beginners to native speakers.
In the Middle and High School, however, all Vietnamese passport holders are required to spend 90 minutes each week on this additional coursework. These classes are held on Wednesday afternoons from 3:15 – 4:45 pm. The choice of Wednesday is deliberate in order that these students can also participate in our co-curricular offers in the arts and athletics. Although the grades earned in these classes do not appear on the SSIS grade reports in middle school, nor on the high school transcript, attendance at these sessions is a requirement for any student admitted under a Vietnamese passport.
New middle and high school students holding a Vietnamese passport will have a mandatory placement exam next Wednesday, 16 August 2017, in A311. Following that placement exam, they will be group in appropriate levels of language for courses which will begin on Wednesday, 23 August 2017.
While we understand that additional classwork brings additional demands to our students’ academic course loads, we support the importance for all students to remain connected to their home countries, cultures and languages.
Mark Sylte, Head of School
PS: Some families of middle and high school students who hold non-Vietnamese passports have expressed interested in continuing the study of Vietnamese language. We do allow non-Vietnamese students to participate on a space available basis as a way of encouraging even deeper connections with our host country. Interested families should inquire in my office.