Page 31


Hong Kong International School The elite American school in Tai Tam prioritizes spirituality, charity and the holistic social development of its students. By Evie Burrows-Taylor

Founded by six businessmen united by their faith in the Lutheran Church, Hong Kong International School (HKIS) promotes the importance of spirituality and a high moral grounding among its students. Alan Runge, who took up the post of Head of School at HKIS earlier this year, is keen to highlight the importance of the school’s religious tradition, though students of all faiths are welcome. “We want our students to find the value of having a spiritual foundation and to find it for themselves,” he says. “It may not be the version of Christianity that the school was founded on, or even Christianity at all”, he says. Launched in the 1960s, the founders were inspired by the growing number of American families being asked to relocate to Hong Kong, and their desire for a school run according to the US system. Together with support from the government and Lutheran Church, the school opened its doors in 1966. Split into four divisions: Lower and Upper Primary, Middle School and High School, HKIS is currently home to 2,585 students. The school has remained largely American both in terms of its staff and intake, with US passport holders accounting for around 60 per cent of the student body, followed by Canadians, then Brits. The rest of the students are made up of around 40 different nationalities. Hong Kong and Chinese nationals make up around just 9 per cent of the school’s pupils. The Tai Tam site, currently home to the Lower Primary, Middle school and High School students, benefits from spectacular views of Tai Tam Harbour and the surrounding hills of the Southside. It’s light and spacious, with plans to upgrade its already impressive facilities. “We don’t want to have more students; we want to have more space,” Runge explains. In terms of its curriculum, the HKIS leadership team firmly believes in independence, promoting self-directed and active learning. “The most important thing to remember is the child themselves; learning is not mechanical. We’ve moved beyond | 29

Expat Parent Magazine July 2015  
Expat Parent Magazine July 2015