Letter from Principal

Myles d’Airelle
Secondary Principal

Dear Secondary Families,

In Secondary at the Western International School of Shanghai, we take our mission to craft an unparalleled IB education very seriously while also focusing on our culture of care and inclusion. We regard it as incredibly important that we look at the whole child as they journey through one of our three IB Programmes. Building the skills to be resilient and inquirers allow our students to take on the IB Programmes’ academic challenges.  

With our team of teachers hailing from around the world with a common interest in international education, we can support a strong understanding of intercultural awareness.   

Our students and staff are encouraged to challenge themselves and cultivate a passion for lifelong learning. At the same time, this starts in the classroom and is developed through our after-school and experiential activities.     

Each year, our graduates are accepted into prestigious and recognized university and college programs around the world, which reflects our rigorous curriculum.  

We look forward to sharing this journey with you.  

Myles d’Airelle

secondary

The Secondary grades at the Western International School of Shanghai offer students an unparalleled International Baccalaureate education within a caring and internationally diverse community.  Students are at the center of everything that we do, and the variety and quality of academic, athletic, artistic, and extracurricular options available to students is something that we are very proud of.

Our students develop their knowledge, skills, and conceptual understanding through inquiry facilitated by caring and supportive teachers.  Secondary students participate in experiential and collaborative learning opportunities with increasing depth and specialization, including in-depth science labs, artistic expression through creation and composition, musicals and plays, and various curricular and extracurricular physical education and athletics.

SECONDARY CURRICULUM

At the Western International School of Shanghai, the International Baccalaureate is in our DNA. We stand out from other IB schools in China because we offer unparalleled choices to our students. WISS is the only school in mainland China that offers all four of the IB programmes, and three of the IB programmes (IBMYP, IBDP, and IBCP) are housed in the Secondary.

Students also have an incredible number of choices for learning languages – an essential part of our mission to create internationally-minded global citizens. Students can take language acquisition and language and literature classes in English, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, German, and French with multiple phases and levels that support students and ensure their language development. Similarly, we offer a wide breadth of options in the Creative Arts, Humanities, Sciences, and across the curriculum. Offering many choices in every school aspect helps us keep class sizes low to facilitate the high quality of learning and teaching that we are known for.

IB LEARNER PROFILE

In Secondary, the journey for our children from the start of Grade 6 to graduation day in Grade 12 is one of tremendous growth in self-discovery and intellect. As part of a vibrant international community, we embrace all our learners and provide the support and the structure to allow our students to develop into mature, confident, and independent young people ready for the world’s challenges. Everything that we do at school is to encourage our graduates to exhibit the qualities and traits of the IB Learner Profile: Knowledgeable, Inquirers, Reflective, Communicators, Open-minded, Thinkers, Principled, Inquirers, and Caring. By embracing the IB Learner Profile attributes and through purposeful learning opportunities, WISS is committed to developing global citizens who:

– Value the culture, language and unique histories of others
– Act upon local and global issues
– Advocate for fairness, justice, respect, and equity
– Promote sustainable development

The Middle Years Program (IBMYP)

The Middle Years Program (IBMYP) is for students aged 11-16 at the Western International School of Shanghai. This programme builds upon the inquiry-driven and concept-focused foundation created during the PYP.  IBMYP students deepen their disciplinary understanding in the subject areas while focusing on key concepts and interdisciplinary links that tie subject areas together – such as Systems, Relationships, Logic, and Creativity.

By focusing on concepts, students can make connections across subjects and link prior learning to new material.  We also strongly believe that learning happens best when it is set in a specific Global Context. Students are guided to approach units of inquiry through a contextual lens of Globalization and Sustainability, Scientific and Technical Innovation, Fairness and Development, etc.

Learning in the IBMYP programme is recognized at the end of Grade 10 with the awarding of the IBMYP Certificate to those who complete the rigorous requirements of the Personal Project, ePortfolios, meaningful Service as Action, and eAssessments.

The Career-related Programme (IBCP)

The Career-related Programme (IBCP) is an excellent choice for Grade 11 and 12 students who have already decided on a career path and would like to specialize and even earn college credit during high school.  The IB Career-related Programme (IBCP) facilitates an in-depth exploration of a career-related study which is complemented by study in selected IBDP courses.  The CP Core is composed of the Reflective Project, Personal and Professional Skills course, Service Learning, and self-directed language development.  The Reflective Project is an academic research paper examining an ethical dilemma related to their career-related study.  Students also complete the  Personal and Professional Skills course to prepare students for professional conduct and personal life skills.

The IB Diploma Programme (IBDP)

The IB Diploma Programme (IBDP) at the Western International School of Shanghai offers students a well-rounded, rigorous, and internationally recognized curriculum. The IBDP seeks to develop breadth and depth of knowledge, and WISS students have a wide range of options available to them within the IBDP model.  Students also extend their learning across the disciplines through the DP Core: Theory of Knowledge, Extended Essay, and CAS.

Special PROGRAMS/ACTIVITIES

At the Western International School of Shanghai, we provide many opportunities for students to participate in activities that allow them to grow and develop as individuals outside of the classroom. CP pathways in various topics, including Aeronautics, Sports, Business Management, Art and Design, and Sports, offer a unique path for dedicated and driven students in these career areas.  WISS has an active Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Programme and supports all students to participate in adventurous journeys and residential projects. Students in Grades 6-10 take their learning outside the school walls through our week-long Explore China trips. These annual trips build bonds through physical activity, cultural experiences, community service, and adventure.  Students have so many ways to get involved in school life through our robust extracurricular and after school activity program. Students can participate in clubs and activities like Model United Nations, Stoke City FC Academy, Saturday School, the Global Alliance for Innovative Learning, the annual Secondary Musical, Summer Internship Opportunities, and more.

Encouraging Student Leadership

Students are encouraged to get involved in the many opportunities for student leadership, activity, creativity, and service at WISS. With exceptional athletics, creative arts, and STEM facilities, engaging students through clubs and activities is a natural extension of classroom learning and a lot of fun!
The Student Council meets regularly and offers students a voice in school decisions and policy. The iShare group is a student-led initiative that aims to create inclusive and fun events in Secondary and the entire WISS community.

ROUTINES

Students in Secondary follow a rigorous and varied academic program each day.  Students in the Middle Years Programme take a broad range of classes, including Physical Education, Visual Arts, Music, Media, Drama, Dance, and can choose from various Language Acquisition and Language and Literature classes. In the IBCP and IBDP, students can select from an impressive number of courses, including History, Geography, Economics, Business, and Psychology in the Humanities field alone. Additionally, IBCP students follow a routine centered around their selected career-related study while also undertaking the core requirements, including undertaking the challenging Reflective Project.

Social and emotional learning is a core component throughout every programme at WISS.  Each day, Secondary students have advisory meetings with a small group of 6 or 7 students. A caring mentor-teacher leads community circle discussions around social and emotional development, organization, self-management, academic skills, and life skills.  Advisory time is also used to support student goal setting, self-reflection, and community service initiatives.

Finally, classroom learning at WISS is enhanced through a variety of core elements in the IB programme. Grade 10 students work throughout the year to create a culminating Personal Project, and showcasing their work is a highlight for them and the entire community. Extending this, our IBCP and IBDP students complete Service Learning and Creativity, Activity and Service, as well as writing high-level academic research papers through the Reflective Project and Extended Essays.

HOME-SCHOOL PARTNERSHIP

Students joining Secondary are supported through a detailed orientation, school tour, a WISS Student Handbook, and a buddy to guide the student around.

Similarly, at WISS, the parents of children in Secondary often enjoy attending parent evenings, socials, clubs, concerts, exhibitions, plays, and after-school community activities, including the Community Orchestra, Community Choir. Many parents also actively support the school through volunteer work. Events such as the WISS Sundowner, “WISStival,” International Day, and many others showcase what we feel is a unique and vital partnership and community.

TEACHING APPROACH

Learning and teaching in Secondary features small class sizes supported by knowledgeable and caring staff.  Teachers facilitate student inquiry through engaging units and topics that build on students’ prior knowledge.  We believe that student learning is best accomplished through experiential and cooperative tasks. Throughout the three IB programmes delivered in Secondary, students explore conceptual topics, make multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary connections, and develop as global citizens.

After school Activities

After school activities are led by school staff and experienced and professional local providers. Participating in extracurricular activities extend the opportunities for students to develop new skills, hobbies, and passions.  You can find a sample list of the Secondary after school activities below.

  • Student Council

  • iShare
  • MUN
  • The Sapphire
  • GAIL
  • Secondary Musical
  • Dance Company
  • WISS Scuba Diving Club

 

**The activities listed are just a sampling of our after school activities at the Western International School of Shanghai.  The after school activities offered may change throughout the year.

list of after school activities

After-school activities extend the students’ opportunities to develop their passions and skills further. These activities are student-driven and represent a cross-section of local and school-based providers. You can find a list of the Early Years after school activities below:

  • Tigers Dance Company (Seniors)
  • WISS Community Orchestra
  • WISS Community Choir
  • WISS Badminton
  • Tigers Swim Team
  • Tigers Running Club
  • French (Mother Tongue)
  • WISS Debate Club
  • WISS Saturday School Service Club
  • G6-12 French (Beginners)

**The activities listed are just a sampling of our after school activities at the Western International School of Shanghai. The after school activities offered may change throughout the year.

Facilities

Our Secondary building houses large, bright, modern classrooms.  Nearly every space on the campus features large glass walls that look over the gardens, courtyards, and sports fields surrounding the Secondary.  The abundant natural light creates an ideal environment for learning.

Helping our students develop healthily through the important adolescent years, Secondary facilities provide regular physical and health education opportunities utilizing several fields, including the recently renovated Gordon Banks Field, the multipurpose and custom-built Tiger Hall, a 25m swimming pool, and a dedicated fitness center.  The revamped Student Support Services wing offers learning support and confidential counseling in private, welcoming, and comfortable spaces.

The Creative Arts are also valued at WISS.  Soundproof and well-equipped music classrooms allow students to break into small and large ensembles to practice their favorite music genre, whether it’s classical, jazz, or rock.  Students regularly perform in our spacious and innovative Orsini Theatre, while smaller recitals can be held in the more intimate John Altman Recital Hall -named after a patron of the arts at the Western International School of Shanghai and Oscar-winning composer of scores including the film Titanic.  Theatre, drama, and dance each have a dedicated and purpose-built space.  The Visual Arts wing houses three art studios, a digital art lab, and break-out areas for fashion design, pottery, and mixed media.

Students across all three IB programmes offered in Secondary can access specialized Design Labs for product design, digital design, and robotics.  These labs house state-of-the-art 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC machines, various electronics and robotics platforms, and competition fields.