Island School PTA Newsletter

Start of the school year 2016/2017 - AGM 2015/2016

Message from the Co-chairs (2015-2016)

A warm welcome to all Island School families! A new beginning to the school year is always filled with a sense of excitement for parents and students alike.

Our uniform shop and bookshop had the pleasure of serving many of you in the past few weeks, as students got ready to start school. We wish to thank all the parent volunteers who helped out during this busy phase.

The ISPTA Annual General Meeting was held on Monday, September 19th 2016 and we were extremely fortunate to have Nury Vittachi speaking at the meeting on “The 6 ½ secrets you need to know to be a happy Hong Kong parent.”

The following parents have volunteered to be part of the PTA committee for 2016 – 2017

Sonali Laul, Tarja Joro, Jannie Tam, Christine Brendle, Giovanna Cocomazzi, Patti Lam,

Andy Lowe, Sheila Chan, Teena dela Rosa, Gini Lo, Christopher Liu, Angela Wong,

Alefiyah Ebrahim, Alex Chin, Swapna Kotkar, David Fung, Valerie Pijpers, Christine Hickman,

Alisha Ma, Kelvin Lee, Lucia Maruzzelli and Soundari Mukherjea.

We wish the new ISPTA committee the very best in the year ahead!


ISPTA Co-Chairs (2015-2016)

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  • SEPTEMBER 29 (Thursday) 6.30pm: Quiz and Curry Night, 50th Anniversary Celebration event (more details below)
  • OCTOBER 3 (Monday) 5.30pm: New PTA Committee meeting
  • OCTOBER 5 (Wednesday) 2.30-6.30pm: FuturED#4 just email if you wish to attend
  • OCTOBER 6 (Thursday) 6-7.30pm: Parent information session about anxiety in teens,
    by Andrew Stock more details below)
  • OCTOBER 10 (Monday) - 17 (Monday): Half Term Break + CPD Day
  • NOVEMBER 24 (Thursday) - 27 (Sunday): International Schools Theatre Association (ISTA) Weekend (more details below)
  • DECEMBER 3rd (Saturday): "Island Five-0" Arts Festival, 50th Anniversary Celebration Fair

Annual General Meeting - School Hall - 19th September, 6pm

Election to ISPTAL committee

  • There was an invitation for interested parties to stand for the position of Chair or Co-Chair
  • The following parents represent the ISPTAL executive committee for academic year 2016- 2017. Those individuals who have formal voting rights are marked with an asterix, though, as emphasized at the meeting, in practice the opinions of all committee members will be sought.

Alefiyah Ebrahim*

Alex Chin Hon Siang*

Alisha Ma*

Andy Lowe*

Angela Wong*

Christine Brendle*

Christine Hickman

Christopher Liu

David Fung*

Gini Lo*

Giovanna Cocomazzi*

Jannie Tam

Kelvin Ka-yun Lee

Lucia Maruzzelli

Patti Man Shan Lam

Sheila Chan*

Sonali Laul*

Soundari Mukherjea

Swapna Kotkar

Tarja Joro

Teena dela Rosa

Valerie Pijpers-Gorissen

  • In addition to the above parents, the following represent Island School

Chris Binge

Julian Reed

Mary Lacey Vittachi

Rebecca Yip

Stephanie Weathington

Co-Chair’s report: Sonali Laul

• Members were welcomed to the AGM and the collaborative community spirit of ISPTAL was emphasized

• The chair reiterated ISPTAL’s mission to enhance the overall learning experience for IS students and thanked all the committee members from the previous year who she noted had worked tirelessly

• Details were provided of funds raised during the last academic year and a description was given of the various ways in which ISPTAL’s funds had benefitted the school

• The presentation included detailed “wish lists” from the school showcasing the different projects and items that had been funded through the year

• Background on The Nicola Myers and Kenneth McBride Fund (“NMKM”) was provided

• Notable achievements were mentioned

• The co-chair offered especial thanks to Sandra Logan, Christine Wong, Mr Lee, Chris Binge, Julian Reed, Mary Lacey Vittachi and Rebecca Yip for their partnership and noted it had been an honour to serve the ISPTAL in the capacity of co-chair and she wished the committee all the best for the future

Treasurer’s report: Alex Chin

• Total gross income for the year was HK$2,698,000

• Total expenditure before contributions (HK$1,636,000)

• Surplus before contributions HK$1,062,000

• PTA Contributions / Donations (HK$730,000)

• Net surplus after contributions/donations HK$332,000

This year PTA contributions were used to fund a wide selection of items and programs, including

• Digital pianos

• Research Endnote software license

• LabQuest 2 Interface system

• Ray Box experiment kits

• Micrometers

• Flatbed scanner

• Student debate team – coaching

• Marquee rental for the IB art exhibition

• Y13 graduation

• NMKM donation

• Counselling

It was proposed to reappoint Chang Leung Hui & Li as the auditor for 2016-2017 and this was unanimously approved.

Principal’s report: Chris Binge

• The student learning advisors have collaborated with teachers to define the “learning journey”. It encapsulates learning at Island School and is an excellent example of students owning their own learning

• 88% of graduating students reached their first choice of university, or changed their choices during clearing to go to better universities than they’d originally applied to

• The spirit fund was described

Sports achievements were noted

• The debate in IS last year was praised by Regina Ip (who participated). Evidently it is the ONLY debate in HK, EVER where both sides of the political spectrum have shared the same table and engaged in a proper debate

• The new school designs are now complete. We continue to wait for an announcement from government on timing for the decant sites

Nury Vittachi, Special Guest at AGM

The 6 ½ Secrets You Need To Know To Be A Happy Hong Kong Parent with Nury Vittachi

View some videos of Nuri Vittachi, AKA Mr. Jam, on

• Nury humoursly described parenting as “performing dangerous experiments on children”

• He shared a number of amusing personal anecdotes about his own children and his experience as a parent, and his experiences as an adult around other people’s children

• He noted the perils of being a “helicopter parent “– all too prevalent in HK – and shared the wisdom that we should “act by not acting”

• He encouraged parents to be more playful and to resist living vicariously through their children and trying to force children into doing things / becoming people that the parents want them to be

• He closed with an inspirational quote from Dumbledore: “It’s the choices you make Harry, not your abilities”.

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Ever dreamed of hosting the next Daniel Craig, Shu Qi, Andy Lau or Meryl Streep?

We need host families and other volunteers to support the next generation of actors during the ISTA - International Schools Theatre Association - weekend, held November 24-27 this year. Find out more here now!

Island School’s outstanding international reputation does not stand on our extraordinary IB results alone. Our leadership in a wide range of human endeavor, including drama, enhances our students’ and alumni’s reputation and is supported by our community. That means you.

On this weekend, approximately 40 students from around Asia will be hosted by families like yours. We need volunteers to be a part of this special weekend!

Only 20 host families will be fortunate enough to host future stars of drama from schools from across Asia. Students need a place to sleep, a packed meal, snacks and your hospitality from November 25 to 27th.

Parents! Audition NOW!

Choose one or more!

1) Host to the Stars! 10 more families needed!

Take in 2 students, aged 11-13, for 3-4 nights from November 24-27. If you can: Feed ‘em, provide a sleeping situation, pack them a lunch each day, pick them up and bring them home - you’re qualified! IS has a detailed description of minimum requirements to ensure student safety that can be sourced here.

2) The Red Carpet Team

Meeting our future stars at the airport on Thursday November 25th - 6 parents needed.

3) Ride with the Stars

15 parents on the day of arrival will meet students at Hong Kong Station to bring them to Island School by taxi. You could be one!

4) Home from the Big Event

Post “Showdown”, the international stars will need six parents to escort them to the HK International Airport with our VIP bus on Sunday Nov. 27.

5) Feed the stars!

Food prep major domos! The Lord’s Kitchen can’t do it all! We need parents to join in food packaging on Nov 24th. Bring your nimble fingers to IS for an hour each morning to help out!

6) Hospitality and Distribution

Be on hand to host a welcome and refreshment table at Island School from 25th to 27th 10.00 - 11.00 am and 3.00 - 4.00 pm: 2 parents needed.

7) Pot luck Social on Saturday 6.30 - 8.00

Please volunteer to bring pot luck food offerings and Welcome table for food distribution: 4 volunteers needed.

If you think you have what it takes to befriend the biggest movie stars of tomorrow, drive Island School’s rep even higher and make a valuable contribution to our student life, then click here now! Or email to become part of the team. We’ll let you know the fiddly details and you too can become part of the Asian Holly/Bolly/Hongkongywood phenomena!

Sign up now to join the PTA team hosting the Stars of Tomorrow!!!

Thank you so much,

Alisha Work and Angela Wong
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Book your table at The Curry and Quiz Night

Don't miss your chance to sign up and take part in our first 50th anniversary event on Thursday 29th September, The Curry and Quiz Night. Your chance to take on the teachers and show them that you know more than them about Island School, music, films and everything else. Make a team with your friends and/or family and sign up as outlined on the poster. Only 8 tables remain so sign up! and see if you can beat the teachers!
The Quiz Committee

Understanding our teenagers, a parent information session, 6th October

Speaker: Andrew Stock, Clinical Psychologist, Southside Family Health Centre

Date: Thursday 6 October

Time: 6.00-7.30pm

Place: Lower Drama Studio, Island School

What you should know

· Around 20% of children and adolescents (worldwide) have mental health problems.

· Misunderstanding and stigma about mental health is a barrier to young people accessing support. This can seriously affect their ability to function socially and at school.

· Early recognition and intervention can make a huge difference in helping young people to move forward positively with their lives.

Why you should attend

At school, we believe in taking a proactive approach to positive wellbeing. We raise awareness, reach out and support, and try to give our students strategies to help them to be resilient in the face of personal challenge.

Andrew is running sessions with all students in Years 10-13 and with all teachers. We believe that, to complete the circle of support, all parents should access the same information. Now, or in the future, this may well help you to help your child.

Please join us on Thursday 6 October.

To confirm attendance, email

Jenny Hodson (Vice Principal)

Shirralee Sisson (School Counsellor)

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Please take note our traditional winter fair has a new look this year! To celebrate 50 years of Island School it was named "Island Five-0". You can see a preview on the school website.

As part of this Arts Festival which to be held on December 3rd at our school, we are also organising the International Food Stall with a new look too.

The novelty is that we have scheduled non-professional cooking lessons of cuisines from all over the world to get ready for the event.

We are looking for students, parents, teachers and IS staff who want to cook for our community of food lovers or to test themselves in the creation of exciting new international recipes.

Cooking is an art. You are all invited to become an active part of the banquet!

To join us email to

Giovanna Cocomazzi and Lucia Maruzzelli

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It's a good way to be in touch with other parents from your child’s year group and address queries, advices, ideas and help in settling down and being part of the Island School community.

We have 13 WhatsApp groups managed by Parent Representatives of each year group, who help to connect the parent community. These groups are especially useful for parents who are new to Island School.

If you would like to sign up, you can email Angela Wong or Alefiyah Ebrahim – Please send parents name, child name, phone contact & class.


Parent Representatives: if you would like to be Class or Year representative or would like more information on the role, contact


September 5th 2016

  • Two student members from the school’s debate team made an impressive and compelling case to request funding for coaching, which was unanimously approved.
  • The 50th anniversary hoodies have been launched
  • It was confirmed that there will be an international food hall at “Island Five-O” which is the main fair this year, to be held on December 3
  • An external psychologist, will be invited to present to parents on the topic of anxiety and well being
  • The student directory is not going to be published as a hard copy this year, so discussion was had as to the logistics of producing it electronically
  • Principal reported a good start to the year
  • Quiz and curry night will be on Sept 29th

We look forward to seeing everyone at our first PTA meeting of the new committee on Monday October 3th at 5.30pm in room 723 (above the PTA shops and PTA office).

Treasurer’s report

The full year result for 2015-2016 was a net surplus of $331,232.


Second Hand Books

In need of them or would like to sell them?

If you no longer need, or want, your school text books or study guides the PTA bookshop is more than happy to accept donations and sell them to other students.

We have many second hand text books and study guides available for sale now. Please come to the PTA bookshop and take a look. They cost much less than you’d pay for new ones and the money from all sales goes directly back to fund school projects.

School Uniforms

PTA uniform shop opening hours are:

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Wednesday: 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Island School PTA is the owner of the copyright in all content of this publication. Distributing, modifying, copying or using any content of this publication in any manner for public or commercial purposes without written permission from Island School is strictly prohibited. Views expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent those of Island School or the English Schools Foundation.