Our Beautiful Campus
BASIS International School Nanjing (BINJ) opened its doors in September 2019 with 250 Pre-K through Grade 9 day and five-day boarding students. We are fortunate to have a beautiful purpose-built campus in Xianlin University Town, Nanjing. In addition to spacious and well-equipped classrooms, it includes an indoor swimming pool, black box theatre, cafeteria, library, dance studio, student dormitories, and extensive outdoor sports facilities including a running track, football field, tennis courts, volleyball courts, and basketball courts.
Our Amazing Team
We have gathered an amazing team of learning-focused teachers who love working with children and go out of their way to spend time with them. Our teachers also have incredible in-depth knowledge of and passion for the subject(s) they teach, and are always willing to contribute their knowledge and skills to the school’s co-curricular program. Our teachers have a positive and solution-focused attitude and completely embraced the challenges and rewards of working in a start-up school during the pandemic. We also have reflective practitioners who consistently look for new and creative ways to improve and engage in quality conversations about pedagogy with their colleagues.
Highlights of Our Successful Founding Year
I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished in our founding year. Together, we built a vibrant school culture that engages students and helps them learn to love learning. All achievements (whether big or small or from students or teachers) have been fully appreciated and celebrated. In addition, joy and laughter is present in each day of school life. I am proud of our remarkable collegial and collaborative workplace that promotes strong camaraderie between all staff, and builds meaningful and trusting relationships between our faculty and all our students.
One of the first decisions we made was what our school mascot would be. After a few lively meetings and lots of suggestions, we held a vote. The winner was Nighthawk. We then held a logo competition (60 entries) and decided on the following delightful design:
Our Remarkable Staff
Our teachers completed their ‘Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol’ (SIOP) training and also received monthly professional development workshops focusing on ELL strategies that can help them plan and deliver lessons that help their learners develop their English language proficiency.
Each week our teachers met to discuss the whole school and/or grade and subject issues and key initiatives for them. Topics have included effective online learning, the roles/responsibilities of the co-teacher, and differentiation.
We also hosted numerous staff socials, including a chili cook-off, a pizza party, Thanksgiving dinner, and monthly planned excursions to places like the Purple Mountain and Laomendong (the historic center of Nanjing). Our Sunshine Committee also arranged a fabulous Teacher Appreciation Week. It included a crazy hat day, a super hero day, a twin day, and a Mexican-themed party.
Our Great Students
We held Award Ceremonies to award those students who produced impressive academic achievements and/or demonstrated exceptional character in daily school life. Our students’ academic achievements deserved recognition, as did their exemplary personal qualities shown at school toward their teacher and fellow students. For their parents, it was a great opportunity to celebrate their children’s progress in both respects. Character awards were given out to those students who best demonstrated our school’s character pillars of respect, hard work, responsibility, integrity, courage, and kindness.
To foster an ongoing environment that builds character, positive relationships, and school spirit, we introduced a ‘House System’ for all our students and staff. Our resident wizard sorted everyone to be in one of these four houses: Spring (Green), Summer (Yellow), Winter (Blue) or Fall (Red). We then held a variety of House competitions, for example, a dormitory decoration competition, a talent show, and a House logo competition. Everyone wears their House shirts on Fridays. We discovered that the students love collecting House tokens for positive character traits, such as integrity and perseverance.
Our first-ever Halloween Day was indeed ‘frightfully ghoul.’ Our Kindergarten students painted pumpkins and made scarecrows, the Primary students went trick-or-treating, and our Grade 6 students performed Greek tragedies. All the children dressed up in ‘bootiful’ costumes and really got into the Halloween spirit! Our parent volunteers put up ‘spooktacular’ ‘Hallow-scream’ decorations–including a giant spider and skeletons–around campus, organized a scary haunted house, and prepared delicious Halloween themed food for everyone.
To encourage both our students and their teachers to make more connections outside the classroom, explore and cultivate wide-ranging interests through clubs, and create a vibrant school life, we held a Club Fair. It helped both our students and their parents understand our after-school activities more fully and grow the interest in joining them. Thirty-seven clubs were represented at the Club Fair. They involved athletics, arts, science, and the humanities.
We also held several wonderful winter concerts. The PreK1 students performed a short tale about some mice and woodland fairies who had to help Santa get out of a chimney. The PreK2 students performed a British winter classic called “The Gruffalo” by Julia Donaldson. It tells how a mouse strolling in the wood uses his wits to escape from the Gruffalo monster. The Kindergarten students performed “The Gruffalo’s Child” which told how the Gruffalo’s children overcame his fear and explored the black woods on a snowy night. Students from Grades 1-3 each performed the story called “The Elves Break Christmas.” This farcical play follows two groups of elves, the good ones and the evil ones, on their Christmas Eve misadventures. Students danced and sang on the stage. Our grades 6-9 students then perfectly performed in a combined Theatre and Music showcase.
Our Supportive Parents
We also hosted a series of seminars. One was called ‘Effective Home-School Communication.’ It detailed the various home-school communication channels available for the parents. ‘Chinese Language and Culture’ explained the Chinese language curriculum and teaching philosophy in BASIS International Schools, while ‘Summer Experiences’ explained to both parents and students more ways to use summer time effectively to help students prepare for their college applications.
Our Founding Tree
The Founding Faculty and Students’ Tree is a collaborative artwork project started in October of 2019. It had a simple goal: bring together the founding faculty and the student body to create a lasting artwork, showcasing what we can achieve with a true shared vision. We asked students, faculty, and staff to add their fingerprints to our tree using a technique inspired by the contemporary artist, Judith Braum. In her work, she simply presses her finger in some charcoal dust and then drags it across the canvas or a mural to create beautiful patterns. For our tree, we felt that using fingerprints would allow each student, faculty, and staff member to apply their own individualized mark without overwhelming the image. We also decided to use pastel dust instead of charcoal. We thus assigned each grade level its own hue, making our tree a beautiful and remarkably visual gradient of colors. Our finished artwork now has over 300 fingerprints!
I truly look forward to welcoming new teachers and students to our BINJ community, and seeing each and every one of our students continue to grow and achieve their goals and dreams in the coming years.
Best wishes as always,
Dr. Mark Starbuck, Head of School
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