8.0 Support Services

8.01 Student English Language Support Programme

SSIS has a high proportion of students who do not have English as their first language. There is a need for these students to receive appropriate levels of English language support to ensure that they are able to experience success in their studies in English at SSIS.

English Language Support Program in Elementary (N-PK)

Students in the Elementary Program (N–PK) are supported in the acquisition of English as an additional language through a rich and inviting environment in which the language of instruction and teacher-initiated interaction is English. Students receive gentle and supportive encouragement to use English themselves as well as direct instruction in English language through age appropriate activities. Students may also receive additional English language support through small group lessons that target students with little or no English.

English Language Support Program in Elementary (K-5)

Initial Placement

On entering the school, students from a non-native English speaking background will be asked to attend an English placement assessment. The results of this test will determine class placement for that student to best meet their needs.

All of these placements will be reviewed periodically. If concern is expressed that a student has been placed in an inappropriate group, and after discussion between the Divisional Head, the ESL Coordinator and all the teachers concerned, the situation can be reviewed, in order for the most appropriate level of English to be assigned.

Outline of Programs

Three levels of language support are offered: Beginner (Phase 1), Intermediate (Phase 2) and Advanced (Phase 3).

All students are placed in mainstream classes with careful consideration of English language levels to ensure a balance within each class. Students are carefully observed and assessed as to their English level. If appropriate, students are withdrawn from class for periods and receive direct English support at an appropriate level. The extent of this support would depend on the particular needs of a student at the time. In addition, all students, irrespective of their language level will benefit from in-class support provided by our team of Language support experts.

Students whose English level is assessed as beginner level Phase 1 will not receive Chinese language classes but will attend additional English classes instead. Phase 2 students receive different amounts of support depending on what grade they are enrolled in. Phase 2 students in grades 1 and 2 do not attend additional English classes but are supported by an ESL specialist in class. In grades 3-5, Phase 2 students continue to receive additional English language classes and will not attend Chinese. All Phase 3 students in every grade attend Chinese classes and receive in-class support only.

English Language Support Program for Secondary School

Initial Placement

After an application is accepted, all students are given an English Language Placement Test. This test includes elements of writing, listening and speaking of English.

Based on the outcomes of this test, students are placed in the appropriate English class so that they can achieve maximum support. In Grade 6 through 8 there are several levels of sophistication for English classes and students will be constantly monitored to ensure that progress is being made. The classes offered may include:

English A classes contain students who are native speakers, or who display an excellent grasp of the language.

English B Advanced classes contain students who have strong skills in use of the language, but who cannot yet be described as those in the English A class. These students are typically at Phase 4 and Phase 5 of the IB Language Acquisition continuum.

English B Standard classes typically contain students who have little experience in the language, but who are beyond the level of “absolute beginners”. These students are typically at Phase 3 of the IB Language Acquisition continuum.

English B Foundation classes typically contain students who are new to the language but have developed beyond a basic level. These students receive additional English instruction in lieu of a separate Humanities class but still have access to the appropriate Humanities curriculum with more focused support in the area of language acquisition. Students at this level are typically at Phase 2 of the IB Language Acquisition continuum.

English Intensive (Jump Start) classes typically contain students with limited English. These students have 50% of their timetable comprised of intensive English language acquisition in small classes. In addition to English, students take classes in Maths, Art, Physical Education and World Language.

For more information about the school’s Language Policy, please click here (you will require your DragonNet username and password to access this document)


Monitoring and Progression

Students’ progress in all subjects is closely monitored. In English, a student’s progress is scrutinized very closely indeed, as we view it as imperative that each student is placed in the level which best matches his/her needs. Teachers outside of the English department are expected to contribute to this monitoring process in consultation with the Student Assistance Team for each Grade Level. Parents are always included in any discussions regarding their child’s progress and placement in English classes

8.02 Student Academic Services Program

Support Services (SS)

Elementary and Secondary School Learning Support Departments provide assistance to students who have learning diversities and who require support in order to fully participate in the school’s program. Learning Support is provided by specially trained teachers and can involve support within the classroom or on a withdrawal basis either individually or as part of a small group. In Secondary, each student works towards individually assessed and accountable academic or behavioural goals devised by the Learning Support Teacher in consultation with Homeroom, specialist teachers, Grade Level coordinators and parents. In Elementary, the learning support team, counsellors, homeroom teachers and parents work together to identify individual needs and program adjustments.

The Learning Support Department aims to identify and provide resources to support students strengths and areas of need and offers a variety of programs suitable for students of all grade levels. Observations, teacher evaluation, one to one student contact, parent interviews, assessments, and academic reports are all used to determine the best programme for each individual student.

For information about the Special Educational Needs Policy at SSIS click here. (You require your DragonNet username and password to access the document)8.03 Student Counselling Services

From time to time, students may have difficulty dealing with the pressures of school and life in general. The counsellor may offer a different perspective and can help with developing new strategies and solutions.

There are a range of counselling services available to all students and families at SSIS which include: Information, individual counselling, referral and consultation.

Counselling Team

Elementary Counsellor: Ms Emma Barnes

Email: emmabarnes@ssis-suzhou.net

Secondary Counsellor: Ms Carly Santos

Email: carlysantos@ssis-suzhou.net

Secondary Counsellor: Mr Lance Paul

Email: lancepaul@ssis-suzhou.net

College Counsellor: Ms Jennifer Cheong

Email: jennifercheong@ssis-suzhou.net

College Counsellor: Mrs Ellie Goodwin

Email: elliearna@ssis-suzhou.net

College Counsellor: Mr Hyuk Sang Son

Email: hyuksangson@ssis-suzhou.net

College Counsellor: Ms Michelle Mi

Email: michellemi@ssis-suzhou.net

8.04 Parent School Partnership (PSP)

The School believes in the importance and value of support between the parents, school and students. As a result, SSIS is committed to providing opportunities for its parents to become an integral part of school life. Parents are strongly encouraged to take as active a role, as their schedule permits, in their child’s education. SSIS will provide appropriate and meaningful venues for parents to become involved, one of which is the PSP, where parents will have a role in making our school the best it can be. 

8.05 Parent Support

In addition to the PSP we also have a number of parents who volunteer their help with hearing children read, working in the library, field trip supervisors, etc. We are always pleased to hear from any parents who would like to offer their services to help in this way. Please contact your child’s homeroom teacher to see if you can assist in organizing activities, etc.