As Principal, I would like to take this opportunity to welcome both new and existing parents and students of our community-based school, and I would like to outline a few features of our plans for our future.
However, before I do this, I would like us to appreciate our current status as a school and how we got here.
I wish to acknowledge the great efforts made by our current and previous members of the Hanova community in achieving what we have done so far.
We are now a fully authorized IB Continuum School – one of only several hundred in the world – and we now offer IB Primary Years Programme (PYP), IB Middle Years Programme (IB MYP) and the IB Diploma Programme (IB DP).
The success of our IB Diploma students has now been established through two examination sessions and graduating classes. The May 2018 examination results showed a 100% Diploma pass rate, with an average point score of 35 points – five points above the world average. All our Diploma graduates have joined their predecessors in enrolling in top class universities across the world.
In addition to this, we have established affiliations and accreditations with such institutions as Cambridge International Examinations (CIE), Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award and ACAMIS (Association of China and Mongolia International Schools) among others.
This is a significant achievement – enviable by other international schools – and has been made possible in a comparatively short time since our foundation in August 2012. Therefore, I would like to thank the efforts of all concerned – academic and support staff, parents, even students and, of course, the ongoing support of our Board of Directors. We are, indeed, a ‘community-based’ school.
All this being said, at this point of Hanova’s history, it is now time for a consolidation phase before we embark on the next chapter of our school’s history, which is the establishment of our new Chang Ba campus in 2020-2021. This will mean a thorough review, subsequent trial and implementation of all our current school policies, practices and documentation – before we get to the new school. This is essential because we do not want any disruption to our students’ education.
As part of this review process, as an IB Continuum School, we are obliged to undertake a ‘Self Study Review’ based upon standards and practices required by IB. These are required on a five year basis. Having been authorized for offering the IB Diploma Programme in 2014, our first IB Five Year Review (IB 5YR) is scheduled for October 2019.
I must stress at this point that these IB reviews are very thorough and pose many challenges – but, ultimately, they ensure better standards and practices that, in turn, ensure a better education for our students. In other words, this is an opportunity for Hanova to become an even better school!
This process will be taking place over the whole of the academic year 2018-19 and I am keen to involve all our stake-holders – parents, students, the community and our staff – in making Hanova an even better school!
As a pedagogical leader of an IB Continuum School, I am fully aware of the requirements of our community: our students from Nursery up to Year 13, our parents, our staff – both academic and support, and the vision bestowed by our Board of Governors.
To this end, you will see in me an embodiment of many of the IB Learner Profile attributes. First and foremost, it is essential that I maintain a sense of professional and personal integrity – I cannot lead others or set an example to our children, without being principled myself.
We are a community. To this end, I will strive to ensure that our community – parents, staff, students – are more fully informed and involved in school affairs this year and beyond. And, as an IB World School, we need to develop our ties with local, national and international organizations and institutions. This will be attained through enhanced communications and marketing.
In keeping with our school priorities, as outlined by our school mission statement and that of the IB Mission Statement, we will continue to strive to support our students’ academic, emotional and social skills with a compassionate and caring approach.
When you come and visit our school, you will be immediately impressed by the close working relationship between our staff and students. You will see how happy and motivated the students are, and the excellent guidance given by our highly qualified and experienced teaching staff.
Please feel free to contact our school at any time. I am always available to give you a warm welcome to the Hanova community.
Robert C. Muntzer
Xi’an Hanova International School
Robert’s career in international education actually took shape back in his own school days. He achieved a scholarship to one of England’s oldest grammar schools; Steyning Grammar School dates back to 1616 – the year of William Shakespeare’s death. Apart from learning Latin, French and German, the subjects at Steyning followed Classical education, exploring the arts, history, archeology, sciences among others. Deeply inspired by his own History of Art lecturer, Robert decided – at the grand age of 15 – that he would pursue a career that would enable him to explore all the cultural and historical sites around the world.
Now, many years later, he has achieved – more or less – what he set out to do. Having now worked in, studied in and travelled in almost 50 different nations around the world, not only has he managed to study the world’s great cultural and architectural wonders, he has become – as he would describe himself – something of a ‘cultural chamelion’.
In between his university and college studies, his study tours of Meso-America, Egypt, the Middle East, Europe, Asia and Africa were all self-researched and financed. He first qualified as a periodical (magazine) journalist, worked as a sub-editor, and, disillusioned with journalism, decided to return to university.
Winning a scholarship to Warwick University, UK, he went on to graduate with an Honours degree in English. At that time Warwick had already established ties with several universities in China. Robert was asked to come to China to teach in two universities and now, having been in China for six years, he declined the offers then.
Starting out as Assistant Head of English at an international school in Ethiopia, Robert’s pedagogical career has almost continuously been in IB World Schools. This is a conscious decision: he remains convinced that IB provides the best curriculum and programmes in the world.
Back in 1991, he was asked by the Minister of Education of the newly-liberated country of Eritrea to establish its first international school.
Shortly after this, Robert returned to Ethiopia where he established a marketing and public relations company. During its four very successful years, his company provided services to the United Nations, various NGOs and he established Ethiopia’s first two international trade fairs and its first international music festival.
When asked to join Bangkok Patana School in Thailand, he became Head of English there. After this, he went on to become Head of IB Languages in Vietnam and in Dulwich College back in Thailand. After a brief time as IB Diploma Coordinator in an international school in Zambia, he was asked by Repton School, UK, to become its founding Director of Studies in their new campus in Dubai, UAE.
This was the second time that he had been involved in a ‘new build’ school and, at Repton School Dubai, he was involved in its design, its construction, facilities and staffing so that it met the IB requirements.
After three years in Dubai, he was asked to join Dulwich College Shanghai as their IB Diploma Coordinator. During his time there, the IB Diploma students achieved the school’s first 100% pass rate and the school average increased by two points to 36.
On leaving Shanghai, Robert has been Deputy Principal and IB Diploma Coordinator in schools in India, Malaysia until he first joined Hanova International School, Xi’an in January 2014. By the end of that year, Robert, the Secondary School team, the school Board and the school community managed to achieve an outstanding IB Verification Visit and authorization for Hanova to become an IB World School to offer the IB Diploma.
As has been said, Robert remains committed to IB and, during the course of his career, he has been a pivotal and leading member of five IB authorizations and reviews in different schools. So, with the imminent IB Diploma 5 Year Review this year in Hanova, his experience will be of use.
Robert has been married to his long-suffering wife, Noi, for almost 22 years, and their two children, Thanya and Josselin, are very definitely IB international children and graduates. In his ‘spare time’ he remains an avid reader; his favourite writers include John Donne, Samuel Beckett, Albert Camus, Haruki Murakami, Italo Calvino and, of course, William Shakespeare.