5 FAST FACTS ABOUT ONE OF HONG KONG’S NEWEST SCHOOLS
Looking for a new international school in Hong Kong’s competitive education sector? Stamford American School Hong Kong is part of the Cognita group, and it opened its doors in Ho Man Tin in 2017. We spoke with Head of School Karrie Dietz to find out why she feels Stamford stands out from the pack.
#1 Data-driven personalised learning
“The school is passionate that students experience learning that is tailored to them as individuals,” Karrie says. Stamford uses continuous Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) testing to assess maths, literacy and, once students reach upper elementary, science skills. This style of testing dynamically adapts in response to each individual child’s level. It means teachers can track and benchmark students appropriately and plan learning goals based on this dynamic data.
Also, students who may need support can be identified easily. “For children who might need additional types of support, the school provides support services or recommendations to ensure that every child can achieve more they believe they can,” Karrie says. The personalised approach also extends to ensuring there is a dedicated accelerated learning program for non-native English speakers.
Personalised learning is key at Stamford
#2 Future-Focused Innovation Program
Stamford utilises the STEMinn curriculum, which is where science, technology, engineering, maths and innovation are woven into units of inquiry to create critical thinking skills from a multi-disciplinary approach. As Karrie explains: “If students are learning about plants in science, for example, they will be drawing them in art, and designing and printing one on the 3D printer.”
Stamford has a dedicated STEMinn team, and classes are structured so that time is given to explore the latest technology from coding to Artificial Intelligence (AI), and also via virtual collaborations with other schools. Concepts are brought to life by visiting experts, Karrie adds. The school recently hosted environmentalist and entrepreneur Cesar Jung-Harada, the MakerBay founder, who shared how innovation can be used to solve environmental problems. Cesar showed students how to construct boats from scratch and bring the design cycle to life. Another guest was Brinc.io founder Bay McLaughlin, who worked with students to look at the Internet of Things (IoT) and how technology can improve our lives.
#3 Daily World Language Programs
Today’s kids are going to be competing in a global environment when they graduate, and a grasp of global languages is therefore of utmost importance. Karrie says the school offers a bilingual option, with classes being taught in both Mandarin and English from pre-primary to Grade Two level. Alternatively, it offers daily Mandarin or Spanish, with 40 minutes of language instruction each day. And there’s no need to worry if your child may not be at the same level as their peers, as the curriculum for languages is also personalised to allow learners from beginner to advanced levels to achieve.
James Scott, one of of Stamford American School’s Global Mentors, at a recent basketball clinic
#4 Diverse co-curricular activity programs
Ensuring your child has a rounded education includes participating in co-curricular activities, which have long been recognised as having enormous benefits. According to Karrie, Stamford has 19 programs for pre-primary to Grade Seven students, including fencing taught by a medal-winning Olympic coach, basketball, Chinese calligraphy, robotics, and more. “Co-curricular activities are vital to develop the whole child and allow them to pursue passions beyond the classroom,” she says. Even better, many of the programs are at no additional cost to parents.
#5 Global Cognita Community
Stamford is part of the Cognita family of schools, with 70 schools (and counting!) in eight countries. While the Hong Kong campus is relatively new, Stamford has a proven track record in Singapore for top-notch academics. Karrie believes Stamford has the ability to attract and retain the best staff. “One-third of the Hong Kong faculty comes from Cognita schools, with an average of nine years of experience and, including those coming for the 2018-2019 year, 73 per cent have Masters degrees,” she says.
This article first appeared in Expat Living Hong Kong