Head of School Interview with KingLead

Welcome to Shanghai Singapore International School. My name is David Shirley and I’m the Head of School. Thank you for joining me at the KingLead Nobel Innovation Forum. I come to SSIS with nearly 30 years of educational experience. In the last 15 years, I’ve had the opportunity to lead international schools in Hong Kong, Beijing, and now in Shanghai. I’m passionate in developing all learners to be creative thinkers and future leaders of a global community.


25 Years of Excellence

SSIS is now in its 25th year of operation. Now, we have approximately a student body of around 1,200 students. We consistently rank in the Top 8 International Schools in China – in Mathematics, sports, and leadership. We offer our students and our families a rigorous and one-of-its-kind curriculum pathway to develop their skills. We are well-balanced in our approach, and we are a caring and family-oriented community.

Our philosophy is quite simple, but I see it living each and every single day. Our students are resourceful, they are confident in the way they communicate with each other, and they are independent kids. I’m confident when our children graduate in grade 12, they will be future global leaders.

Right now, I’d like you to watch a short video about our amazing school.

What is excellence?

Our world is transforming ever so rapidly, so is the way we live and work. Learning matters beyond the grades achieved, learning happens beyond the walls of the classroom. So think about this: how do we future-proof our next generation of learners to thrive in this new state of unpredictability?

Here at SSIS, excellence is about planting the seed of my dreams, to care for these seeds so that they sprout and flourish. Excellence is about lifelong learning, alighting passions and thinking creatively outside of the box. Excellence is having the courage to be me, to embrace the world through the lens of a global citizen. Excellence is about cultivating my personal values as I adapt to to the pace of change around me. Excellence is about never giving up even when the going gets tough, being focused on my goal, and stretching the boundaries of my potential. Excellence is about wellness, body, mind and soul, while always having a heart for humanity.

This is the excellence we are thriving for, we’re up and coming future global leaders.

We have grand dreams for our students here at SSIS. The outcomes we want them all to achieve are: we want them to be future global leaders with the strength of character and always displaying a love for humanity and a caring nature towards others. To support this idea, we’ve broken down these three areas into these components:

Each and every day, I see my students and my staff show compassion, effectively communicate and respectfully interact with one another. We also believe it is important to develop everyone’s character here at SSIS. Every child and every learner is unique; we want them to develop a character that is well-principledbalanced, and have the opportunities to show resilience and take the courage in their learning and in their life.

Lifelong learning is a mission for all schools. We need to support our students, so they become reflective thinkers. We facilitate them to ask deeper questions and inquire, scaffolding their learning so that they become proficient in the process of  innovation and to become co-creators of their learning environment. When this happens, magic happens right before our eyes.

4 Pillars of Excellence

At SSIS, we have four pillars of excellence. Academic excellence is very important to us. Over the last 25 years, we’ve developed rigorous and well-rounded academic programs that support our learners.

Leadership and character opportunities are vital for their success. Each and every day, all of our students, even our youngest learners, have the opportunity to be leaders for themselves and their friends.

Creativity and innovation are the keys for future success. We offer amazing opportunities where our children can show their creative thinking in the way they solve problems, and also to innovate on solutions, and share their delight in learning with each other.

At the heart of this excellence is holistic wellbeing. We know when a child feels supported, engaged, and loved in a learning environment, their academic potential will flourish.

Year on year, we are delighted with our academic results. Here are the 2021 IB and IGCSE results.

We were very fortunate to get two perfect scores, but also just as delighted and proud of all of our students in the way which they approach their learning. Our teachers add value to their learning, and together they work to achieve their goals.

By working hard, we are also lucky and very proud to announce that each year, our students graduating in grade 12 have the opportunity to enter many well-known universities throughout the world. We’re also very proud of the way which we help support and guide our students and families on that journey.

The Quality Curriculum and Home-school Partnership

Setting your child up for success, starts from a very young age, even from the age of two. And to support them on this journey, we’ve developed and designed a seamless curriculum pathway to support all learners at their age of development.

We start our learning programme using the Singapore framework for teaching and learning. We also use an inquiry-based approach where children can investigate and solve their own problems and look deeper into their interests.

Our primary school curriculum is based on Singapore Maths and Science, and supporting English development through the Cambridge curriculum. This supports the next step of the journey when they enter into our senior school. In grade seven and grade eight, our students undertake the Cambridge Lower Secondary Programme, supporting them well through the transition into the IGCSE programme, which becomes more rigorous and involved. This understanding and deeper knowledge that they gain through the IGCSE really sets them up well for the IBDP. Our students and teachers work together to hone their strengths and dig deeper into their subjects of choice.

Our Singapore-based curriculum gives our students a very strong foundation. Based on good research and good practice, the Singapore-based curriculum is also well-known throughout the world.

Our home-school partnership is very strong. We have an active parent support group, and we meet with them on a regular basis. This feedback is very important and our parents love being involved.

On behalf of the SSIS community, I’d like to invite you to be a part of our community as well. One of the things we are proud of is developing strong relationships with our parents, because we understand it is a partnership, and if we need to serve our students in the best way, we need to make sure we have positive relationships with our parent community. One of the things we always do is ask for feedback and we’re delighted in their response year on year.

One of the main reasons why parents choose us is we have a really good understanding at the importance of holistic education. We know academics is important, but it’s not the only thing. We need to make sure we develop the whole child to make sure we develop a principled young adult who’s ready to take on the world.

Our parents also choose us because of our approach to our teaching and learning. They truly believe it’s important to help our students inquire, and through an inquiry-based approach to teaching and learning, our students make connections with the real world to what they learning in the classroom.

Another reason why our parents choose us is because our focus on our unique Chinese language and Chinese cultural programme. Our students understand the importance of developing an understanding of this culture, but also our staff do as well.

Thank you very much for listening today and I hope to see you all face-to-face very soon.

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2024-04-24 04:27:52
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