Dear Colleagues,

Agnes and I are writing to thank you for helping to make this year one of the most exciting and productive, and to recap just a few of the many successes we enjoyed this year. We began the year by welcoming over 50 exceptional new students and four outstanding new teachers to the faculty; Trish Jin, Hannah Han, Emily Adams and Juney Jung. It’s a joy to watch each of them become part of our SIS community and contribute to our Tiger strengths. In addition to our new students and colleagues, we announced support for three upcoming new programs. Christina Demers set up a Buddy Bench to help eliminate loneliness and foster friendship, a new Makerspace program was approved and this class will give our students the opportunity to deeply engage in the arts, science and engineering practices. Finally, under Adam Call’s leadership, we spent almost an entire year looking at and analyzing various math programs. I am proud to say that we have chosen one of the best – Eureka Math. Our students will be able to solve unbelievably complex math problems, collaborate and share their thinking with pride and enthusiasm.

Those are just a few of the accomplishments we achieved this year. There seem to be more things to be proud of this year than ever before. For starters, we had 4 ES concerts this year, our Winter and Spring Concerts and our two Suzuki Concerts. Our students brought the house down at these performances. We are so blessed to have such gifted music teachers here at SIS; HJ Park, Julia Kim, Michael Ganus and Whitney Meininger. Speaking of Ms. Meininger, our Junior Choir, under the direction of Ms. Meininger, proudly represented SIS at the KIMEA Elementary Chorus Festival held at YISS. There were choirs from 11 Elementary International Schools from all over Korea singing solos and in groups. Parents were invited to the final performance where our ES Junior Choir members sang brilliantly and behaved exceptionally well.

As part of out 11th Annual Heifer Read-a-Thon a Kick-Off a Favorite Book Character Costume Assembly was held. Andrea Goodrich created another fabulous video highlighting our talented ES students and staff promoting reading. As a school we raised a whopping 18,758,311 won to donate to the Heifer Organization and Hope for Nepal. Thank you, teachers, parents and students for collecting all that money during the Read-a-Thon and through additional fundraisers.

Throughout the year, our 5th Grade Spirit Club was involved in donating toiletries to Anna’s House, sending funds to the Animal Shelters, helping with Heifer and Hope for Nepal. Teachers and students also donated funds to help purchase bicycles for children in Cambodia so these children can get to school each day.

The 4th grade hosted a successful day in Korean Politics by inviting guest speaker, Mrs. Haewon Lee, to give an informative workshop on the history of the Korean government as well as the currently governing policies in Korea.

The best selling book, Wonder, was read by all 4th and 5th grade students and teachers. After finishing the book, the teachers and students went to see the movie, Wonder. As you can imagine, there wasn’t a dry eye in the audience. The 4th grade team designed a bulletin board with Wonderful sayings about the importance of kindness.

Our first ES Reading Olympics was outstanding as all students in Grades 1, 2, and 3 participated in a fun and exciting competition. Much thanks to the entire First, Second and Third Grade teams superbly led by Mr. Call. Also, a big shout out to Kaushal and our workroom TA’s, Mrs. Park and Mrs. Choi, who helped create the medals and ensure that these games will leave a lasting positive legacy long after the closing ceremonies.

Our amazing After School Enrichment, ASE, coordinated by Paula Scott went from 30 kids to over 90 with Paula’s magical and organizational leadership. Our Boosters Program was equally as popular with over 90 kids coming to school every Saturday morning. Thanks to Marie G’s leadership making Boosters such a success for all grade levels. Our after school tutoring program ran smoothly due to Paula as well as her amazing tutors, Jinfei, Trish, Hannah, Emily, Kaushal and Sarah, all helping our children. David Robinson was there after school every Wednesday and Friday with our kids teaching our 4th and 5th graders an important life lesson through sports; there’s no winning and losing, there’s just winning and learning. Sarah Kim and Tim Gardes took on the Battle of the Books after school with our 4th and 5th grade students. Each student read 3 books and competed along with several international schools. As you can see we had a plethora of after school programs for our ES kids.

The Tiger Assemblies this year raised the bar forever. Each assembly was truly outstanding. The students sang songs, wrote and performed skits, created videos and shared their learning about our Tiger Values in creative and engaging ways. The most enjoyable part is watching these assemblies being run by the kids.

We had an abundance of field trips as well and they all proved to be great learning experiences for our students. This year, several classes went to the Yongin ECO Park for the first time and the kids, teachers and parents all loved it. I am sure many classes will definitely be going to this park again next year. Classes went on a number of other trips such as the Seoul Grand Park Zoo, Gwacheon National Science Museum, Nogdowon Farm, Kidzania, Lotte World Aquarium, Seoul Forest and the Korean War Museum, just to name a few.

Earlier in the year, three 5th graders demonstrated real courage and leadership by turning their persuasive essays from Grade 4 into Ted Talks and sharing them, not only with the elementary students but also with the 6th grade middle school students and the ES parents at an EPC meeting. These students did an outstanding job and were inspirational to all who heard them speak.

Our students participated at various international school competitions including a chess tournament where 9 ES students represented out school exceptionally well. We also sent our ES teams to a Basketball Jamboree at SFS and to GSIS for a Soccer Jamboree. These are just a few events, but it’s fair to say that the entire ES staff is very proud of the many accomplishments that our children have experienced this year.

We are also pleased to report that the Curriculum Leaders worked together to increase support for excellence and achievement at all grade levels. Teachers worked on shoring up Stage I and began working on Stage II, after our Math Adoption ended. Next year we will continue on Stage II.

Along with these many achievements, the children have improved their behavior out on the playground and on the buses thanks to the efforts of both teachers and our monitors. The monitors did a great job communicating any unhealthy situations and they really worked hard at keeping the peace with our students. Looking back, we are in awe at all our beautiful hallways, bulletin boards and decorated door displays. Remember those Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Spring themes and how they each made coming to work that much more pleasurable. Kudos to our wonderful Teaching Assistants, Mrs. Choi, Mrs. Park, Mrs. Woo Ri Lee, Mrs. Sun Nam Lee for decorating and thanks to Mrs. Lim for checking in/out our books in the Library. Our children were safe not only on the playground, but also in the pool thanks to our lifeguard Ms. Ji Young Lim, and Jimmy who were both there with Cindy and David teaching our kids how to enjoy swimming and become safe swimmers.

At the heart of our school, inside the office, keeping everything going and running smoothly, communicating to staff, students, parents, and administration was our wonderful, Mrs. Lee, Assistant Deputy Supervisor. I can honestly say that without her, and all that she accomplishes we could not have been so successful. Mrs. Lee is a cheerleader, problem solver, organizer, communicator, translator, helper to all, and she does it all with true love and kindness. She truly embodies the Wonder Woman Character displayed on the ES office door.

The wrap up of the year during the last few weeks is filled with plenty of excitement with picnics, parties and the End of the Year Assembly on the last day of school when we will celebrate the successes of the year, thank our departing teachers and wish them our best. We will also take time to bid our amazing 5th graders farewell as they prepare to move on up to the Middle School.

At this time of celebrations and thank you’s, we offer deep appreciation for all each of you did this year to strengthen our fine academic programs.

We wish you all the best for a relaxing and fun filled summer.

With warm regards,

Agnes and Art