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The Principal's Newsletter

Years 3 & 4 “I’m a Survivor” EOTC

By Mr Martin Hughes

Dear Parents and

New staff. We have been working hard to source the best teachers we can find to build on the first year of Hanova, as the school is growing faster than we anticipated.  I know the most important aspect to ensure high quality education is the best possible teachers.  Since January we have considered about 80 applicants and interviewed 40, many of these given two interviews.  When we are considering appointing an applicant I always make a phone call to their current line managers to listen to their views and check the impressions gained during interviews.  New staff added for August so far are:

Sherryl Manneheim  is a very experienced IB Diploma Programme teacher and examiner in Visual Arts and Art and Design with more than 25 years experience in her native Australia and internationally.  Her last post has been as Head of Arts in a large international school in Shanghai.  She has also taught in the Czech Republic, Japan, Costa Rica, Hong Kong and UAE.  Sherry is a practising oil paint artist in her own right and looks forward to exhibiting in Xi’an.

Catherine Low is also an Australian.  She has much experience as a Deputy Principal and has specialised in Early Years, teaching most recently using the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) programme.  This is the same one as we use to underpin our IB Primary Years Programme (PYP). Catherine has 15 years experience with the last 7 being in Romania  and Indonesia.  She will be teaching in our Early Years.

Gerda Neppelenbroek will join us from her current teaching post in Iraq where she has been teaching the IB’s Primary Years Programme (PYP) to Y3s. She has more than 20 years teaching experience some as Principal, much of this in international schools in UAE, Thailand, Pakistan as well as her native Netherlands, where she also undertook her degree and teaching qualifications.  Gerda will be a primary teacher at Hanova.

Amy Ranger is a USA citizen who graduated with a BSc in Political Science before training as a teacher for Y1 to Y10 focusing on the teaching of Reading and English to non mother tongue speakers.  She has 5 years teaching experience post qualification, coming to teaching after spending some time as a Manager of a Family Care Centre.  This will be her first overseas teaching post and she will join our English Language Support (ELS) team.

Martin Herben is a Science graduate with a Masters Degree in Economics as well as having Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) qualifications.  He started his working life as an Environmental Consultant before deciding to become a teacher.  Most recently he has been Director of Studies and teacher at an English language school in Xi’an where he has 5 years teaching experience.

This appointment list is not yet complete.

As you may realise from the list above Mrs Carrie Varjavandi is moving on to do new things both with her family and with her art.  Mrs Varjavandi has taught and enabled the children to produce some fantastic work in this our first year.  As our school is expanding we are now appointing a full time art teacher.  We thank her very much for the work she has done and is continuing to do.

Year 3/4 trip "I'm a Survivor". Last Friday, the Year 3/4 students had the opportunity to enjoy their first overnight field trip experience.  The day began with a trip to the Shaanxi Museum of Science and Natural History near the TV tower.  The students really enjoyed the interactive displays in the science portion of the museum and the interesting animal and dinosaur displays in the natural history portion.  This museum was a great support to our unit on environments and how people interact with them. After the museum, the students were able to stay overnight in a house in the DaYanTa area.  The students had the chance to show their learning by completing their unit assessment task.  The students were put into teams and given the task of finding the essential elements of survival in 3 different environments that had been set up in the home.  We had lots of fun too:  making cookies, eating pizza, and enjoying a unit-themed movie.  The students "survived" a night without mom or dad and even had to help make their own breakfast!  Every student really seemed to enjoy the experience, and although a little sleep-deprived, the teachers had fun too!

Mosaic. Some parents are coming in to school to work on the mosaic on Tuesday afternoons – about 1:30-3:30pm.  This will start on Tuesday, 2nd June and be every Tuesday from then on.  Please come along and join in the fun and help to produce a major piece of community art for Hanova.

Playgroup. Please note that the Playgroup is moving from Tuesday to Thursday.  As before the sessions start with free play at 2:30pm, and teacher directed activities at 3pm.  Sessions finish at 4:30pm.

International School Prom. On Friday, June 7th from 6-10 pm, our Year 9-13 students, as well as students from other international schools in Xi’an, are invited to attend the Prom for International Teenagers in Xi’an at the Kempinski Hotel. An information letter and parent permission form was sent home with Year 9-13 students. We hope this event along with the sporting events we are playing with Xi’an International School will be the start of further collaboration between international schools for shared events for students in Xi’an.

Best regards,

Martin Hughes


Forthcoming events

Thursday, 30th                            Playgroup

Thursday, 30th                            PSA meeting 3:00-4:30pm

Friday, 31st                                   Offers for school places at Hanova sent to new parents


Tuesday, 2nd                                Mosaic working party for parents 1:30-3:30pm

Wednesday, 5th                          Y2 trip to Art Museum

Friday, 7th                                    N-Y1 trip to Aquarium

Friday, 7th                                    Y9-13 Prom at the Kempinski

Wednesday, 12th                        School closed for Dragon Boat Festival

About the Author

Martin Hughes

Former School Principal

Mr Martin Hughes was the founding Principal of Hanova from 2012-15. Prior to his time at Hanova, he already had 23 years of experience as Principal in the UK and China at five different schools - including posts at Wuxi EtonHouse and EtonHouse's flagship Suzhou school. During his time as founding Principal at Hanova, he helped support the initial IB Diploma Programme authorisation (2014) and used his educational vision to help plant our then brand new school on a firm foundation. Under his leadership, Hanova's motto emerged, "Enabling children to become independent, creative and lifelong learners!"

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