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New Principal Takes the Reigns at BCIS

September, 2006
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“It is difficult, challenging, even frightening probably. At the same time, it is exciting,” said Julian Williams, describing his new job as principal of  Beijing City International School (BCIS). This is Williams’ first semester in the position.

  As one of Beijing’s newest and fastest growing international schools, BCIS opened in August 2005 with 84 students. This semester, more than 220 students enrolled.

  BCIS is an independent, co-educational day school located one kilometer from Beijing’s business district and IMG_2688the China World Trade Center. It opened for the 2005/06 school year with grades kindergarten though six, but now has expanded through grade 10.

  “Very impressive growth,” said Williams. “It is about going for managed growth. With the programs we offer, we are to meet the students’ individual needs.”

  One of BCIS’s unique programs is its emphasis on teaching (Chinese culture and language)(Is this correct? Is this what you mean by “authentically Chinese school”?) alongside Western subjects. The school works with Beijing No 2. Experimental Primary School and Beijing No. 4 Middle School to build a better Chinese education program.

  Though BCIS staff members are mostly expatriates from the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Canada, Australia and the United States, Williams said the school ensures students learn more than just a Western perspective. “What we are trying to do is creating our own [perspective]. It is a fusion of Western and Chinese or Asian thinking to providing a globally oriented but culturally diverse education, with mixing methodologies, mixing curriculum,” he explained.

  “One of the key things we are interested in is developing leadership qualities, decision-making abilities, independent and creative thinkers, and people who are not selfish but compassionate,” said Williams.

  Another special program involves the school’s work with the upcoming Olympics. In June, the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCGO) made Beijing No 2. Experimental Primary School, Beijing No. 4 Middle School and BCIS Model Schools of Olympic Education. BCIS was one of only two international schools honored in China.

  “The Olympics is part of the community experience of Beijing and China. We are articulating the Olympic spirit and making preparations for the Olympics as part of the values of the independent curriculums that we offer,” Williams said.

  To accomplish this, BCIS set up a committee to incorporate the Olympics into each of the school’s eight subjects. For example, in mathematics classes, students look at world records and try to determine the best score or time possible. Students in music, drama and physical education courses learn about athleticism and artistic impression in gymnastics.

  BCIS is also creating school activities marking the countdown to the Games.

  For the 700-day countdown on September 8, students from all the three schools performed (dances? songs?) on the stage at BCIS. The theme of the event was "One World, One Dream, One Voice, One Team." On October 24, the Olympic & International Day Celebration, the school will host a torch-passing ceremony in conjunction with 200 other Model Schools of Olympic Education schools.

  “The Olympic spirit pushes every teacher and student at BCIS to get involved in the preparatory work for the Olympiad,” said Williams.

  Even though he has only been working at BCIS a short time, William has found the school’s staff to be passionate and hard-working. Most BCIS teachers arrive at 6 or 7am but leave at 5 or 6pm, even though classes end at 4 pm.

  “When they get home, they are still working. That is passion. Good teachers are passionate people. In a school, you got to have passion,” said Williams.

 

By Xing Yangjian

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