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New Year, New Structure at UNIS Hanoi

By Akofa Wallace

Middle School and High School students at the United Nations International School Hanoi (UNIS Hanoi) are benefiting from a personalized and holistic student experience this year, following a split of divisions.
The historic reorganization comes after the school undertook a year of institutional research that comprised a review of pedagogy, resources and school culture which subsequently highlighted a stark need for the separation.
Explaining the move, Middle School Principal, Marc Vermiere said, “Creating this new structure gives us the ability to cater to very different groups of young people. It has also given us the ability to focus staff, leadership and resources so that we can better serve our students.
“Educationally, middle school children are starting to think differently and in more abstract and independent ways. Socially and emotionally, they are developing a greater sense of their own agency, identities, and their relationships with others. This is an important transitional time between childhood and adulthood and in recognition of this, UNIS Hanoi created a distinct program to meet the needs of students in Grades 6-8.”
In addition to specialized pedagogy being practiced, middle schoolers will also benefit from a brand new approach to social and emotional learning. Introduced for the first time this year, Middle School teachers have become ‘mentors’ committed to developing strong relationships with each child and advocating for them in a holistic manner. This initiative is continued in High School with the focus shifting to the unique needs of students in their mid to late teens.
At the helm of the brand new High School is Principal, Scott Schaffner. New to UNIS Hanoi this year, Scott expressed excitement at joining the team at such a pivotal time in its thirty year history. A former Principal at the Dubai American Academy, Scott remarked, “Introducing separate divisions helps to create a culture for the teachers so that they can create a culture for the students which in turn encourages school spirit. Having said that, what we’re finding is that the two divisions are still working together on a daily basis and we’re further unified because we have a Deputy Middle School and High School Principal still in post.”
Now more than a month on, both Principals report an overwhelmingly positive response - from faculty members, students and parents alike.
“The transition has been very smooth and made all the more easier because of Scott’s arrival to UNIS Hanoi which has helped create our new school identities” said Marc.

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