Making a Difference

Overview

‘Making a Difference’ appears as the school’s tagline – but this is far more than a tagline. We aim for our students to live this philosophy, breathe it, but most importantly, learn to act on it during their time at SIS and beyond. South Island School wants its members to take sustainable action to “Make A Difference” within its own community, the local community and chosen global communities to make an impact on the lives of others and their own.

Making a Difference – more than a tagline

“Making a Difference” (MaD) is more than just a tag line; it has become a powerful force for change which has been fully embraced by students, staff and parents and drives innovative and forward-looking practice. (Extract from CIS/WASC 5 year review report 2016)

What is ‘Making a Difference’?  

In 2012, our newly formed ‘Making a Difference’ Student Council were tasked with defining this philosophy – and this is the vision statement they came up with, which was later ratified by the SIS school community:

Our aim is to develop an awareness and compassionate mindset in our students and school community. We aim to change ourselves, other peoples’ lives, and the environment, for the better. This begins with the school community, and widens to include the local and global community. We believe it is an important aspect of learning that should permeate all areas of the school community. It is our responsibility as members of society to raise social awareness and to demonstrate this in all aspects of our work.

(MaD Vision statement SIS 2012)

The Learning Aims

We want students to have the opportunity to:

  • grow as compassionate and aware citizens, learning from their own MaD experience through ongoing participation and reflection
  • make connections to their local community and beyond
  • make a difference to others and themselves
  • participate in a range of creative, activity and service activities (CAS)
  • participate regularly and form long term ‘Making a Difference’ habits and attitudes
  • challenge themselves

How do we ‘Make a Difference’ at SIS?

We promote and encourage this philosophy through the opportunities on offer within our 3 curricula – academic, pastoral and ‘Values in Action’. Specific examples of ‘Making a Difference opportunities include:

  • Our annual SIS ‘Making a Difference’ Week, when timetables lessons are suspended and all students have the opportunity to make a difference to themselves, the local community, and on service trips outside Hong Kong
  • Hong Kong Award for Young people (HKAYP) at Bronze, Silver and Gold level – many of our students in Year 10 and above are very involved in this important programme which is similar to the Duke of Edinburgh programme in the UK
  • Contributing to House ‘Making a Difference’ Councils, as well as the whole school MaD Council, whose task it is to steer, promote and develop the MaD philosophy in school
  • The many and varied student-led events in school – International Evening, The Innovation Fashion show, Diwali Night, SIS TEDx, SIS Chef
  • Opportunities in the curriculum in English, InterD, Global Perspectives, Global Politics
  • CAS groups in school, working to raise awareness of causes and organisations, and working with other schools and groups to take meaningful action on issues such as the digital divide, social justice, environmental issues
  • House links with causes, NGO’s, charities and topical issues
  • Our sustained support of our Family Academy in Bacolod, Philippines – we have worked with ICM, a Hong based charity, over the past 3 years to fund and support a Jumpstart kindergarten in Bacolod, to which we run a school service trip each year. In 2017, this changed to supporting a ‘Family Academy, which provides more holistic educational and social support to the ultrapoor in Bacolod.

More about Making A Difference @ SIS