CDNIS, an international school where balanced and innovative teaching and learning focus on preparing students for the future
Renowned for its outstanding academic achievements, Canadian International School of Hong Kong (CDNIS) is equally proud of offering a supportive environment that ensures students develop the self-worth and social confidence to become well-balanced, well-rounded, globally-minded individuals.
Tim Kaiser, the Upper School Principal, says the 1,750 or so pupils from over 40 countries thrive in an atmosphere of positive collegial support and teamwork.
“Embedded in the CDNIS ethos is to encourage students to be true to themselves, and to watch with pride as they support each other as a community,” Kaiser says. “The advantages are felt throughout a student’s time at CDNIS as they benefit from a support network that helps build resiliency through effort, excitement through discovery, and expression through reflection.”
CDNIS is one of five IB (International Baccalaureate) “through-train” or continuum schools in Hong Kong, teaching students from Pre Reception up to Grade 12. The IB model, built on academic breadth and units of inquiry, is progressive in outlook and valued by universities. This year, CDNIS students scored an average 36.6 in the IB Diploma Programme, with two gaining the maximum possible of 45. In tandem, all students also take the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) starting in Grade 9, making it possible to graduate with two widely recognised qualifications.
“Offering the IB Diploma and the OSSD provides students with tremendous opportunities to secure university places with no additional academic burden,” Kaiser says.
Having OSSD credits and marks in Grades 9, 10 and 11, when predicted IB grades are not typically available to universities until Grade 12, allows students to apply early to a wide range of universities, especially in Canada, the US and Britain.
A strong thrust in the curriculum from Pre Reception to Grade 12 is Project Innovate, which encourages all students, not just those in the Upper School, to use creative and critical thinking skills to solve real-life challenges. The overall initiative provides a comprehensive framework for future-ready learning by developing the skills and mind-set needed to succeed in an era of rapid change. Students are presented with more and more opportunities to solve real-life problems using a variety of innovative means.
With Project Innovate, students learn about interfaces between hardware and software through coding, laser cutting, robotics and 3D programming. Kaiser believes that combining academic attainment with technical know-how, creatively synthesizing and applying concepts, and developing social intelligence will give students the transferable skills they need to make good decisions and solve complex and unfamiliar problems.
Another way of providing students opportunities to synthesize and apply knowledge and conceptual thinking is through the CDNIS language programmes that include Putonghua, French and Spanish. “We believe our approach is the best way to accommodate our range of learners and give them multiple avenues for success,” Kaiser says. In Putonghua, separate classes are geared to different levels, from native to beginner and it is possible to complete the IB Diploma exam using either traditional or simplified Chinese characters.
To provide advice on pathways to university, CDNIS has a team of six full-time Guidance Counsellors in its Upper School, four of whom work with students and their families on university choices between Grades 10 and 12. These counsellors also help with academic and career goal-setting, keeping track of graduation requirements and liaising regularly with more than 300 universities around the world – most of whom visit the school on a yearly basis.
Believing that a quality education prepares each student to meet the challenges of the world in different ways, CDNIS also provides an incredibly diverse selection of extracurricular activities for a school of its size. Students can elect to become involved in or practice their leadership skills in more than 70 teams, performing groups, activities and clubs. Students also are encouraged to become involved in both local and global community initiatives and service clubs, particularly those that promote multi-culturalism. Kaiser boasts that the Timberwolves U20 Football team were the 2016-2017 All Hong Kong Schools Champions.
“Whether through academics or extra-curricular activities, or a combination of the two, we believe the future is exceedingly bright for all our students here at CDNIS,” Kaiser says.