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The Principal’s Newsletter

Hanova welcomes new and returning staff

By Mr Martin Hughes

Dear Parents and

New Staff appointments. Owing to the development of the school and our continued determination to make Hanova a top quality international school with the extensive teaching and support staff to deliver programmes of the highest quality, we have 4 new teachers who have joined us since Christmas or who are joining us this month.

We are absolutely delighted that the very popular Mrs Jeannie Rice is able to rejoin the school.  She, her husband and 4 children, are flying into Xi’an from USA on 24th January.

Mr Tony Manning  Year 5 class  Mr Manning has nearly fifteen years experience teaching as a homeroom teacher, a PE teacher and teaching in Special Schools.  Some of this experience has been teaching the Primary Years Programme (PYP).  He has taught in UK and Botswana as well as in his native New Zealand.  Both his Diploma of Teaching and his Bachelor degree majoring in Physical Education were attained in New Zealand.

Ms Karin Hiscox Differentiation  Coordinator (Primary)  Ms Hiscox is an experienced educator who has spent most of her career to date teaching across the broad range of the Primary school, mainly as a Homeroom Teacher.  She was Head of a Pre-School in her native South Africa and then taught in UK for 4 years.  For the last six years she has taught in the Middle East, 5 of them in the same school, latterly as Special Education Needs (SEN) Coordinator setting up the programme of learning support for students outside the usual range in the classroom – both learning delayed and advanced. Her goal has been for students to become independent learners.  She has a BA in Primary Education and Diplomas in SEN, and training across a broad range of needs including behavioural, as well as Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. She joined us this week.

Mr Francesco Masetti is an addition to the Secondary team.  He will initially join the Secondary staff as Maths, Science and Technology teacher.  It is planned that he will also support the marketing team in the longer term as he has extensive business and educational experience. Mr Masetti arrived in Xi’an yesterday (13th).

Ms Rebecca Xu has joined our staff team after gaining her Masters in Education from Columbia University in USA.  Initially as she gets to know the school she will work as PA to Ms Natalie O’Connor.

IB Diploma Authorisation Celebration Dinner. As part of our celebrations on achieving IB World School status offering the IB Diploma Programme (IB DP) we wish to acknowledge the support of the parents and students who took an active role in helping us succeed. To this end, we would be honoured to invite all the parents and students of Years 10 and 11 to a celebratory dinner on Friday, 30th January. The Board of Directors, academic and support staff involved will also attend this event and we hope that everyone will join us. Since we are a school community and this is a celebration of our school, the dinner will take place in our school auditorium. More details will follow but please keep this date free!

University and Careers News. Our University and Careers Counsellor, Ms. Sharon Zhu, has been busy over the last weeks establishing contact with UK universities. She has contacted the top 100 UK universities and colleges, inviting them to come to Hanova to speak with our Secondary School students. We are pleased to announce that, so far, we have received letters of interest from the following universities:

Kings College London                             St. Andrews University                      York University

Lancaster University                               University of Essex

Parents and students will be advised when these visits will take place but, in the meantime, should do some independent research on these universities. As ever, Sharon is available for individual consultation.

Library. From this semester, Primary Year Programme (PYP) students will have enhanced library lessons focusing on particular areas.  These will be run by Amy Hou.

For younger students the topics and related skills are:

How to take care of books; Story time and story elements; Parts of books; Literature appreciation; Fiction and nonfiction books; Book location skills; Simplified book reports.

For older PYP students:

How to take care of books; Parts of books; Literature appreciation; Fiction and nonfiction books; Dewey decimal system; Use of reference books (encyclopedias, dictionaries and similar); Library online catalogue; Research skills; Biography; Online research skills; Presentation skills; Book reports.

The progress through the programmes by each year group will be displayed on the whiteboard in the PYP library room.  Parents are, of course, welcome to see this when they visit Hanova.

Air Quality. The air quality in Xi’an is a concern for many of us. This week has been the first spell this school year when the AQI has been above 300 for long spells.  This has necessitated the children being kept indoors.  We know they, especially the younger ones, need to get outside, but the dangers from poor Air Quality cannot be ignored.  Multiple times, during the school day, we check a website with regards to the air quality index. If the AQI is 300 or above, we keep all of the students inside.  Staff are notified of the AQI and instructed to put the air filtering system on when the AQI gets above 300.  For prolonged vigorous activity such as in PE lessons we do not allow the children outside if the AQI is above 200. 

Parents may choose to indicate to their child’s teacher if their children should stay inside if the AQI is between 200-300 during break and lunch times.  At the moment there are two families who have requested this.  Please let us know if you wish to exercise this option.

The website西安/高新西区 is the closest station to Hanova so gives the most accurate data.

Year 4 Shopping Mall. Year 4 have been designing activities for a mini shopping mall as part of their Unit of Inquiry about advertisements and economic activities. The children are selling things (snacks, books, homemade origami and similar) or they are organising a game (for example bow and arrow shooting) for which they have to make an advertisement. The Primary and Secondary students are invited to visit the Y4 Plaza in the auditorium on Wednesday, 21st January.

The Homeroom teachers may ask your child if they would like to bring some money to enjoy the visit more.  15-20rmb would be plenty to buy something and play a game.

Reports and Parent Consultation:

Middle and Diploma Years You should have received your child’s report for the first semester just before the mid Winter holiday in December.  There may have been matters that you would like to discuss with one or more of the teachers following these reports.  Please do not hesitate to contact the Liaison team or directly the relevant teacher(s) to make an appointment, the same as at any time of the year, when there is something you would like to discuss.  The next general Parents Consultation for Middle and Diploma Years students will be held towards the end of the school year on Monday, 15th June.  This consultation will be a most important opportunity for you and your child to review with the teachers goals and subject options, if relevant, for the following year.

Primary Years  These reports are being finalised as I write this and we aim to distribute them by email to parents this week or next.  There may be a slight delay from the original published date of 16th January owing to unanticipated staff changes for which we apologise.  If this delay causes you any difficulties please do not hesitate to contact us.  Portfolios will be sent home with your child during the next week. Parent Teacher Consultations for PYP will held during the first week of February. Parents will receive an appointment date and time.  We hope you will be able to attend.

Best regards,

Martin Hughes


Forthcoming events                

Thursday, 15th               MYP     Assessment workshop for parents 9am

Tuesday, 20th                Meet the teacher (Y5 parents) 2:30pm

Wednesday, 21st          ECA block 2 starts

Wednesday, 21st          Year 4 Shopping Mall

Friday, 16th-23rd            PYP reports to be emailed to parents.  Portfolios home

Friday, 30th                    Y10 and 11 Parents and Students IBDP Celebratory Dinner with Board and Staff


Monday, 2nd to Friday, 6th Primary Parent consultations week

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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