31 Jul, 2020
10 : 00
As announced by our CEO and School Supervisor, Dr Betty Chan , before the end of the last semester, our former Vice Principal, Head of Primary School, Mr James Sweeney, has been appointed as the new School Vice Principal on the School Leadership Team (SLT) at Yew Chung International School of Beijing. Starting from August 1st, Mr Sweeney will be working together with his fellow SLT members, Dr Rae Wang and Ms Fanny Du, to oversee the smooth running and continual enhancements of our Honglingjin campus.
Earlier this week, we had a chance to speak with him about his time at YCIS Beijing and what his vision is for the school in his new role.
Time at YCIS BeijingHailing from Birmingham, England, Mr Sweeney secured his master’s degree at the University of Worcester before working as a teacher and school leader in both his home country as well as South Korea. In his five years at YCIS BJ he has taught and led different year levels across the Primary School and was instrumental in the conceptualizing and execution of our school's innovative Learning Communities.
He was a key member of the team that has designed both the physical space but also more importantly the pedagogy that drives our Learning Communities. “We are continuing to develop and enhance our programme and have even been invited to lead several presentations internationally about how our Learning Community approach works here at YCIS-Beijing,” Mr Sweeney remarked.
In addition to the implementation of Learning Communities, he also led teams in the development of the Dimensions of Learning, which are the skills that we aim to develop in our students which will see them thrive both in school and beyond. Besides the continual development of the Primary programme, other significant developments he has overseen include creating further opportunities for all members of our school community to keep connected by leading a range of parent workshops and increasing the use of technology in order to enhance communication between home and school.
Plans for the FutureAccording to Mr Sweeney, the priority at the moment is the beginning of the school year and ensuring a seamless transition. “We are putting plans in place to ensure a smooth start to the school year in what is a very difficult and uncertain time for all. The needs of our students and their families are at the forefront of our plans.” In addition to this, Mr. Sweeney is working with other school members, in correlation with parent feedback, to enhance the e-learning. “Through ongoing teacher training in our e-learning platforms and the pedagogy of e-learning, coupled with keeping abreast of the technological developments during this time, we plan to continue to provide an excellent e-learning experience for our students and ensure that all feel supported during this time, from ECE through to Secondary,” commented Mr Sweeney.
During his tenure as School Vice-Principal, Mr Sweeney sets to enhance the following aspects of our school.
Student Agency"Students must be at the centre of the learning process. They learn best when they are active participants in the learning and teaching process and will as a result have increased pride in what they achieve. Our excellent teachers guide and support our students, giving them greater ownership of their learning. In turn, we see students who want to do well, want to improve and try hard each day to do so.”
Connections Within the Community“I desire to see more members of our community to be on campus working with our students. I love seeing parents involved in their child’s learning, each step of the way. We truly believe that students will achieve their best when home and school can partner together, creating meaningful connections with a common goal."
Improve Transitions Between School Sections.“I would like to continue to work with our different school sections to enhance the transition from ECE to Primary and Primary to Secondary. We will look for ways in which we can streamline these transitions in terms of consistency and support networks both in terms of academics as well as the social aspect to school life.”
Maintain High Academic Results“Our school has a long history of high academic results and we look to continue this. Our students leave YCIS fully equipped and are presented with opportunities to attend a wide range of universities both in Asia and around the world. “
In closing, Mr Sweeney relayed that he is always looking to improve what we do …
"We are an excellent school and we need to build on what we are excellent at which is our bilingual, multi-cultural learning. We have a tremendous cohort of staff who in a school of our size can truly connect with all students and bring out the best in each and everyone. Our school encourages innovation in practice which benefits teachers and students alike. More importantly, YCIS-BJ is a truly is a strong and supportive community with a shared goal. Alongside my fellow SLT members, I look forward to leading such an exciting and vibrant school."