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Upper School Newsletter December 11, 2023



Dec 12           Alumni Panel (2pm)                            Dec 14           Winter Chill Out (STUCO)                  Dec 15           US Assembly                                        Dec 15           End of Semester

     Dec 18-Jan 8          Winter Break

Jan 9              First Day of Second Semester              Feb 9-18        Spring Festival/Chinese New Year        Feb 22           DP Fair (4:30-6)                                    Mar 11           Professional Inservice (no school)        Mar 19           Student Led Conferences                      Apr 3-5          Tomb Sweeping/Spring Break (no school)                                                                        Apr 26           Professional Inservice (no school)


Mr. Fursey Gotuaco

Upper School Principal


"WHEN YOU RUN ALONE, YOU RUN FAST.  WHEN YOU RUN TOGETHER, YOU RUN FAR."                                                                                                            African Proverb


                                       Edward Everett Hale   

YOU DO NOT HAVE TO DO IT ALONE... You have a team of people on this campus who are cheering for you... pulling for you... praying for you.. waiting for you to join them just so we can move forward together.  

One of the most important aspects of HIS is our sense of community.  It is found in our students, our teachers, and our parents.  It is seen in every worker on campus no matter how great or small their task.  It is manifested in our guards who walk a young child from the curb to the office so that they don't feel alone.  

For those who read this newsletter on a weekly basis, have you ever noticed that the I usually post 2 photos at the top: 1 of an individual and 1 of a group.  It is symbolic of the kinds of success we have at our school.  We encourage every student to find the very best version of themselves through personal challenge and personal development,  But we also support you with a team, a cadre, a group, a family, a village.  This way, you know that you are not alone.

Psychologist Abraham Maslow identified these critical needs of every human being.  It begins with physiological needs like air, food and water.  But grows into greater needs like belonging, self-esteem, and self-actualization.  Our goals here at HIS is to support every child achieve fulfill these needs by surround them with opportunities and support.  They have the chance to reach their full potential because they know they are part of this group.  They are a vibrant colored thread in a tapestry of international learning.

The sense of 'ESPRIT DE CORPS' (spirit of the group) is palpable.  Its not just rational, it is visceral.  You may not be able to describe it but when you leave here, you'll miss it.  The feeling of camaraderie is real whether its in a classroom or on a playing field.  Whether students are swimming by themselves or hiking on a China Trip, they are keenly aware of the support they get from teachers, parents and classmates.  And it doesn't happen everywhere.  Here, it is special.  Just look at the pictures below of our parent events.  In the last few weeks alone we had huge parent participation at our ACAMIS Volleyball tournament, the same for our Winter Fair, and again at our Fine Arts Night.  Parents from all grade levels came even if they did not have a child in the event.  

When you bring your child to HIS, know that they are part of this community.  They might have come from another school where they could go fast but now that they are here, they will go far.  They might go to another school and enjoy individual grades and honors but here, in this incredibly positive environment, they will know they are welcomed and that they belong.  And that sense of belonging will last long after they have graduated.  Just look at our alumni who come back to visit!  What a testament to all the things that this school does well.  Our kids are happy people.  And in the long run... that might be the most important thing they learn.. 





There are several different reasons why school might continue but the building might be closed.  It could be a bad weather day, special event (like the G20 a few years ago), or even possibly for health concerns.  In the event that we do close the building, rest assured that we do have plans in place to continue offering the best education possible.  We are committed to teaching and learning together through online platforms.  Our plan is outlined in our E-Learning Guidelines.  You can study our procedures by scanning the code below.


Please see attached the QR code to the new Dragon Shop catalogue. This will take you to a page that allows you to browse it as a digital magazine so it's nice and interactive :) 


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HIS PAFA Festive Lunch

A wonderful celebration before the winter break! 

Last week, PAFA Luncheon committee organized a truly delightful event to celebrate the upcoming holiday season. The Conrad Hotel in Hangzhou was buzzing with excitement as parents from all grades came together, dressed in shades of green and gold, to participate in the PAFA Festive Luncheon.

The event kicked off with a creative and engaging activity. Parents used green wine goblets as vases and with the help of oasis, fresh pine leaves, dried pinecones, candles, beautiful Christmas ornaments, they transformed their goblets into stunning festive centerpieces. It was a wonderful way to showcase their artistic talents and set the mood for the rest of the event.

Ms. Renata Branham, PAFA Luncheon committee chair, warmly welcomed the guests. The buffet opened, revealing a magnificent array of seafood delicacies and a variety of delectable dishes. The desserts were a treat to behold, with some specially crafted to match the joyful Christmas theme. The atmosphere was filled with laughter, conversations, and the delightful aroma of holiday delights.

The fun continued with a lively game. Each guest was tasked with drawing a Christmas tree with ornaments, a snowman with all its distinctive features, and a perfectly wrapped present. The catch? They had to draw on a paper plate placed on their heads without looking at it. The creativity and humor that ensued were nothing short of remarkable. The best drawing from each table was awarded, and winners received well-deserved gifts for their artistic prowess.

To keep the excitement going, a thrilling round of Christmas Bingo was played. The guests had cards with pictures on them, and they had to match the pictures called out. The guests enthusiastically matched the pictures on their cards and celebrated their victories with joyous cheers. Prizes were awarded to the lucky winners, adding to the festive spirit of the occasion.

The highlight of the luncheon was the much-anticipated gift exchange. Each parent had brought a carefully selected gift, which was assigned a number upon registration. The parents randomly selected numbers from a bowl, eagerly awaiting the moment to receive their surprise gift. The exchange was filled with delight and gratitude, as parents expressed their appreciation to one another through the thoughtful presents.

As the afternoon ended, the attendees gathered for group pictures, capturing the joyful memories created during this special event. To bid farewell, the air filled with the timeless melody of "Last Christmas" by George Michael. The sight of everyone singing and enjoying the moment truly epitomized the spirit of PAFA, fostering a strong sense of community and togetherness.

We are immensely grateful to each parent who attended the Festive Luncheon and supported the event. Their presence and enthusiasm played a vital role in making this celebration a success. As we bid adieu to this year's events and prepare for the winter break, we extend our warmest wishes to all for a joyous holiday season.

Let us cherish the memories we have created together and look forward to future events that will further strengthen our school community. Remember, we all are PAFA, and we should remain committed to nurturing a vibrant and inclusive environment, where parents, students, and faculty can thrive together. Happy holidays to everyone!

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                                    HIS                                       COLLEGE COUNSELING INFORMATION          

Subject: In-Depth Understanding of PSAT Scores

Dear Parents,

I am thrilled by your active engagement in understanding the PSAT scores. This score report is a valuable tool in recognizing your child’s academic strengths and areas for growth. We are committed to providing comprehensive support for your child's educational journey, and I'd like to highlight a few additional aspects:

Detailed Score Analysis: The document you received is a summary report. For a detailed insights report, please register a the official College Board website using your school email:

Score Range: This range shows how much your scores would likely vary if you took a different administration of the test under identical conditions. It predicts score fluctuations in different test scenarios, helping to understand consistency in performance.

Percentile Ranking: This comparison with peers over the last three years gives a clear position of where your child stands academically on a global scale. A 93rd percentile, for example, means you are in the top 7% globally.

Section Scores: The exam consists of Reading and Writing, and Math sections. The report includes a chart showing performance in specific areas such as:

Reading and Writing: Information and Ideas, Craft and Structure, Expression of Ideas, Standard English Conventions.

Math: Algebra, Advanced Math, Problem-Solving and Data Analysis, Geometry, Trigonometry.

Progress Bars: The report includes progress bars indicating how well students meet standards in each of these areas. More black in the bar represents stronger proficiency.

We understand the importance of these assessments in shaping your child's academic and career path. As such, we are here to guide and support them through this process. For additional resources on understanding the score report, I encourage you to visit the websites:

Our doors are always open for any queries or concerns you may have. Together, we can ensure the best possible educational outcomes for your child.

Warmest regards,

Carrie Sun

From: Carrie Sun

College Counseling Staff

Dear Parents,

I hope this email finds you well. Recently, we've received some questions regarding summer schools, and the university counseling team would like to provide some clarifications on this topic.

Firstly, it's essential to understand that attending a summer school is not a compulsory element of your child's educational journey, nor is it a guaranteed way to enhance their college applications. In other words, it is not going to be as influential as you may think (or as some companies running programs may lead you to believe). The key is to focus on the intention behind attending a summer school and what your child aims to gain from the experience. How can they leverage what they have learnt from the experience and how can it help them moving forward is really what most universities are looking at from a summer experience.

Summer schools can be broadly categorized based on location and type:

By Location:

· Popular application countries like the USA, UK, and Canada offer various programs.

· European countries have recently initiated several summer school projects.

By Type:

· University-organized: These are hosted on university campuses, taught by university staff, with students usually staying in university accommodations. It's crucial to verify if the program is directly organized by the university.

· Institution-organized: These are collaborations between organizations and universities, often inviting university professors to teach. They are generally more accessible, with less stringent application requirements. A good way to gauge the quality of these programs is by their application criteria; higher requirements often indicate a more prestigious program. Also for many of these programs the company running the summer camp is actually renting the space from the university-there is no affiliation.

Common Objectives for Attending Summer Schools:

· Focused Academic Interest: For students with a clear interest in a specific field, such as computer engineering or creative writing, choosing a relevant program is beneficial. Attending a summer program can let a student know that this subject is really what they want to pursue in university.

· University Life Experience: General programs focusing on leadership or communication skills can provide a taste of university life and can really let a student know what university life will be like in general and at that specific campus in particular.

· Arts-oriented Programs: These are ideal for experiencing university-level arts education and understanding contemporary artistic trends.

It's generally not recommended for younger students (middle school students) to apply due to age restrictions and safety concerns. However there are online programs that are targeted to middle -school students.

Common Application Materials:

· High School Transcripts

· Language Proficiency Scores (TOEFL, IELTS)

· Recommendation Letters from Counselors or High School Teachers

Remember, the decision to attend a summer school should be a thoughtful one, considering what the student hopes to gain from the experience.

Here are some university summer school programs for your reference. If you have any questions about summer schools, please don't hesitate to contact us.

The following are extremely competitive US summer programs:

· Competitive US Programs: Texas Tech University Clark Scholars Research Science Institute Stony Brook University Garcia Summer Program University of Florida Student Science Training Program SPARC Camp Yale Young Scholars Program

· Other University-Sponsored Programs:

United States: Embry-Riddle Summer Camps (Ages 7+) RPI Summer Programs (Grades 8-11) Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies (All Grades) New York Film Academy Youth Admissions (Ages 14-17)

United Kingdom: Imperial Global Summer School (16-17 Year Olds)

Canada: University of Toronto International Programs (15-18 Year Olds) University of Waterloo Engineering Science Quest (Grades 2-9)

Hong Kong: HKUST Summer School (Grade 10/11)

Singapore: NUS Summer Camp 2024 (Grades 8-12)

European Program: EHL Hospitality Business Innovation


TEST DATE                       REGISTRATION

   MAY 4                                   APRIL 19

   JUNE 1                                   MAY 17


We encourage students to contact one of the university counselors  with any questions about university entrance requirements. 

                  Mr. Mark Donagher

                          Ms. Iris Zhang

                          Ms. Carrie Sun

                     Dr. Ryan Beddows

                      Dr. Monica Prieto

Last Friday Market of the semester. This Friday from 2:30 to 4:30 pm 

Come for a pleasant afternoon by the Christmas Tree to end the school week, and head out for a relaxing and fun holiday with a happy stomach!

PAFA Dragon Cheer Squad

Support our junior ACAMIS swimmers!  

This weekend our junior swimmers will be travelling to participate in the ACAMIS Senior Swim Competition.

Cards will be available from Wednesday, December 06 during morning arrival with Ms. Andrea, or at the main office to start collecting signatures.

Students can collect signatures from many of them during the next days.

Friday, Dec. 15, they can exchange at the Cheer Squad table for a prize.

Please, encourage your child to get their Bingo card and signatures! 




Congratulations to our HIS Dragons swimmers on some fast swimming this past weekend at the ACAMIS Senior Swimming Championships 23-24 in Beijing. All swimmers represented HIS very well, and everyone improved their times. Congratulations on their astounding achievements! 56 Personal Best Times, 12 US National Age Group Motivational Times, and 5 ACAMIS new records broken! Outstanding experience and tremendous performance from all student-athletes! Great support from our parents, coaches, and community. Kudos to our medalists, Harry Wang and Tina Liu.  

Tina Liu – Gold Medal 

100 Freestyle – 57.82 (ACAMIS Record) 

100 Backstroke – 1:04.96 (ACAMIS Record) 

100 Butterfly – 1:04.13 (ACAMIS Record) 

200 IM – 2:23.73 (ACAMIS Record) 

400 Freestyle – 4:31.98 (ACAMIS Record) 

Harry Wang – Silver and Bronze Medal 

400 Freestyle – 4:17.62 (Silver) 

100 Butterfly – 1:03.39 (Bronze) 


Hats off to the swimmers who set new HIS School Records from HISAC Round 1 and ACAMIS Senior Swimming Championships. 

Age 9-10 

Luke Petring – 4, Carol Zhong – 1  

Age 11-12 

Jean Mao – 6,  

Relays - Shirley Lin – 2, Coco Jin – 2, Lisa Wu – 2, Helen Zhong – 2 

Age 13-14 

Tina Liu – 7, Harry Wang – 7, Carlos Chu – 1, Richard Xu – 1,  

Relays – Paweike Tukula – 2, Anderson Lai – 1, Richard Xu – 2, Harry Wang – 2  

Age 15 & Over 

Amalia Borsdorf – 3, Ethan Li – 2  

HIS Swim Records Link 

Results Link: 


Bravo, Jean Mao (6) & Tina Liu (8)!  

SEMESTER 2 SWIMMING   Swim Training resumes on Tuesday, January 9, 2023 (Afternoon sessions only from January 9 – 12). The swimming schedule will remain the same. There will be NO additional registration needed. Our swim coaches will conduct a swim placement assessment during swim practice in January upon our return from the break. 


We appreciate you taking the time out of your weekend to support our young swimmers as they get the opportunity to experience our swimming program at HIS. Heartfelt thanks for your unwavering support! Thank you for making a difference in the lives of our young swimmers! 

Lane Timers: Vivian Chen, Bella Yun, YunJeong Son, Anna Galuszka, Emlyn Majoos, Lan Lan, Sunny,  Shaoyun, Natalia Bohorquez, Limeng Jia, Laxmi Agarwal, Carli Borsdorf, Allison Wang, Amber Lam, Naomi Xia  

Marshals: Simay Bastedo, Luna Yu, Young Kelly, Jodi Wood, Joanna Yan, Tina Liu,  

Bullpen Lead: Zhipeng Xu 

Announcer: Jeremy Moen 

Runner: Doris Iburg, Aditya Sharma 

Heat Winner Ribbon Volunteers: Summer Zhang, Vivian Chen, Sunny, YunJeong Son, Bella Yoon, Abby Wen, Maria Alejandra Jahn 

Starter: Jeff Stubbs 

Data & Scoring: Natalio Liares, Ruyi Fu 

Tech/Music: Jacob Zhang 

Swimmer Entries: Donal Sha, Kiki Hu 

Nurse: Mandy Lai 

Festive Cupcakes: Filipe Nogueira and Athletics Department 

Event Poster and Swim Cap Design: Marketing Department 

Hospitality: Andrea Stubbs 

Event Set-up/Take-down:  

Christine Shi, Felicity Jin, Xiao Han, and the Operations Team 

Swim Coaches: Donal Sha, Kiki Hu, Zhipeng Xu, Ruyi Fu, Young Kelly, Simay Bastedo, Jodi Wood, Luna Yu, Nat Liares 

Referees and Lifeguards 



January 20 & 21 – SSL Round 3 (NIS) 

February 24 – SSL Round 4 (SASPX & SCISHQ PD) 

March 15 & 16 – ACAMIS Junior Swimming Championships (XLIS) 

March 30 (TBC) – HISAC Round 3 (WCIS) 

April 13 & 14 – SSL Championships 

International Baccalaureate  Diploma Programme



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Winter Break Wellness: 5 Tips for Supporting Your Child's Mental Health

As the winter semester break approaches, consider these five practical tips to foster your child's well-being:

Balance Activities and Downtime: Maintain a healthy equilibrium between planned activities and unstructured downtime. Allow your child moments of spontaneity for play, reading, or creative pursuits during the break.

Encourage Outdoor Adventures: Embrace the wonders of winter by encouraging your child to engage in outdoor activities like nature walks. Fresh air and physical activity contribute positively to mood and well-being.

Prioritize Quality Sleep: Uphold a consistent sleep schedule for your child during the break. Quality sleep is essential for mental health, supporting resilience and the ability to face daily challenges.

Foster Family and Friend Connections: Strengthen social bonds by facilitating connections with family and friends. Whether through virtual calls or in-person visits, these interactions provide a sense of belonging and emotional support.

If you have any questions or worries about your children please contact Dr Ryan Beddows by email


Student Leadership is a priority here at HIS. 

Each week, we spotlight a student leader and give them an opportunity to tell you about their clubs, sports, and activities.  


Wendy Zhu

Founder of TEA CLUB

I am Wendy from 10th grade, and my family is a generation tea maker. I have also received training as a tea maker and learned more about tea culture. I started CCA on tea culture with the aim of sharing this traditional intangible cultural heritage with the school community.

On my CCA, I led my classmates to learn about the classification of tea, different methods of brewing tea, and how to taste different kinds of tea. What’s more, recently our CCA also went to Hangzhou to conduct on-site inspections and learning at the Tea Expo. Among them, we had exchanges and communication with multiple tea experts and even tasted some tea varieties that were not seen in daily life, we have really gained a lot.

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Middle School Uniform Guidelines 6-8

Middle Schoolers should wear tan shorts, trousers, or skirts and a navy blue polo shirt (short or long sleeved) with the HIS book logo. A navy fleece or cardigan sweater with the HIS logo or other approved outerwear such as the HIS hoodie sweatshirt can be worn in the cooler weather. All students must wear laced shoes.

High School Uniform Guidelines 9-12

High Schoolers should wear tan shorts or trousers, or plaid skirts (girls only) and a light blue Oxford cloth button down short or long sleeved short with the HIS book logo. A navy fleece or cardigan sweater with the HIS logo or other approved outerwear such as the HIS hoodie sweatshirt can be worn in the cooler weather. All students must wear laced shoes.

Students will be asked to remove outerwear (coats, hoodies, sweatshirts, etc) in lessons unless they carry the HIS logos. Students who are cold will be invited to go to the Dragon Shop to purchase acceptable HIS items. 

Families can purchase items at the Dragon Shop open 

Mondays to Fridays from 

8:05am - 2:45pm and 3:15pm - 4:00pm

For more information, please contact the Dragon Shop:


See the updated lunch menu weekly and monthly as posted on the school website. 

Lunch Menu

HIS Mission Statement

We provide international learners with opportunities to pursue academic and personal excellence within a caring community.

Hangzhou International School
2190 Xiangbin Road, Bin Jiang District, Hangzhou 310052
Phone: +86 571 8669 0045
Email: Website: