Welcome to ECC

Come with me and experience our beautiful early childhood center. Listen to the happy buzz of children learning and playing. Feel the warmth of teachers who are dedicated to the task of teaching and nurturing the precious ones in their care. Take a close look at the facility intentionally designed to support the growth and development of little ones. You will find children actively engaged in both teacher-directed and child-directed activities.

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Play is a critical part of our program and from the inside of our facility to the outdoor classroom, it will be clear that our children are growing in a developmentally appropriate environment. These are all things that make our early childhood center an attractive place, the kind of place that makes parents say, “I’d like my child to attend here!” Our Early Childhood Center learning goals encompass everything from children learning Truth and having good character to working and playing well with others and being an excellent learner. We believe that early childhood is a critical age to begin laying a foundation in these fundamental life skills. The nurturing environment of the Early Childhood Center is a perfect place to learn about life. We warmly invite you to come and visit our early childhood center. We’d love for you to become a part of our Early Childhood Center family!


SuJung Ham

Early Childhood Center Principal

Student Handbook

2016-17 ECC Handbook

Foundation Class

Children who turn three by September 30th can join our Foundation Class. Parents have the option of 3 days per week (half days or full days) or 5 days per week (half days or full days). In the Foundation Class, our children’s primary way of learning is through play and active discovery of their world. Children will learn to navigate their emotions and learn how to socialize with their friends. They will be exposed to stories, rhythm, songs, and rhymes to build a foundation of literacy skills. Art, music, and movement will all be incorporated into daily activities. Foundation Class will truly build a solid foundation for subsequent learning.

Junior Kindergarten

Children who turn four by September 30th can join the Junior Kindergarten class. Parents have the option of half days or full days, five days per week. Children in JK learn through a combination of child-directed and teacher-directed learning. Children continue to learn about socialization through frequent opportunities to play with their friends. Math, science, social studies, and language arts are taught in an integrated way through the use of thematic units. Those with strong English skills take Chinese class twice per week. All JK children have special classes for music and Physical Education.


Children who turn five by September 30 can join the Kindergarten class and will attend five full days per week. In kindergarten, children continue to learn through play as well as through more structured learning activities. Many children are beginning to read and write, and so the children are given many opportunities to listen to stories, to read, and to write throughout the day. The children also have lessons in math, science, and social studies. Imaginative play is an integral part of kindergarten as the children are still honing their social skills. Children have special classes for music, PE, art, and technology. Children with strong English skills take Chinese class three times per week. Native Chinese speakers take Chinese class twice per week.

Tree House Playgroup

  • Moms (and dads) with children from birth to 3 years old who hold a foreign passport may come and play in our exciting Tree House playroom at the Early Childhood Center.
  • Playtime is every Wednesday from 10:00-12:00 p.m.
  • This is a great time to meet other moms and let your children play and learn to socialize with peers their age in a safe environment.
  • Bussing is available from some locations. Contact the Early Childhood Center for more information on bussing.

More About Our Early Childhood Center

iPads In The Classroom

Each classroom is participating in our shared iPad program. Children are learning how to use iPads to enhance and share their learning. From scanning QR codes that link to stories to emailing projects or pictures to Mom and Dad, our ECC children are learning that technology is an important part of our lives. Even from this early age, we are teaching the children how to responsibly use technology.


All classes are taught by native English speakers with Chinese staff playing an integral role in assisting the teachers. There is language support available for our Chinese, Korean, and Japanese children. We have a well-trained and experienced teaching staff. Their love for the children and passion for their profession shine brightly in their attitudes and in the classroom environment.


We have designed this beautiful early childhood center especially for our youngest children! Even the tables and chairs are graduated in size. Each part of the facility was carefully designed with the children in mind, and we seek to utilize our space to foster a rich learning environment. Color, warmth, and beauty flow from both the inside and the outside of the building.

Outdoor Classroom

All of our children take part in learning in our carefully designed outdoor classroom. There are climbing and sliding structures, a water area which becomes a tactile area in the winter, a paint area, and a sand area. Children can dress-up, dance, and make music. Children can ride scooters, bicycles, and tricycles. A beautiful garden has been planted and cared for by the Early Childhood Center children and teachers. We have harvested tomatoes, beans, squash, carrots, pumpkins, radishes, and more. The flowers that were planted have attracted butterflies. We believe that the learning that occurs outdoors is priceless and invaluable.

School Lunch and Snack Times

To provide our youngest students with a warm, safe, and family-like environment, their mid-morning snack and lunch are served right within the ECC facility. The school provides a healthy snack that is prepared in our own Early Childhood Center Learning Kitchen. Daily hot lunches are also prepared here on campus and provide students in the Early Childhood Center with both Western and Chinese food. Quality and hygiene standards are carefully monitored by our staff. If parents do not wish to purchase lunches, they are welcome to send along food prepared at home.

Parental Involvement

We value our ECC parents and feel it is important for them to be actively involved in their child’s education. We provide many opportunities for them to visit school and take part with their child. There are special events such as International Day, Sports Day, Parent/Child Visits, Donuts with Dad, Parent Workshops, and ECC Class assemblies. We also welcome parents to join the class for snack time, lunchtime, or outdoor classroom whenever they would like. Parents are always welcome!!

Welcome to Elementary School

Welcome to the Elementary division of Tianjin International School! In the Elementary, we desire students to be active participants in the learning process. Each day students take part in a variety of learning experiences, including both teacher-directed and student-directed activities. The curriculum seeks to provide a continuum in each core content area as the basis for the development of critical thinking and problem solving skills. Our staff seeks to truly get to know the students, building relationships with them that foster trust and support. Through the opportunities provided in and out of the classroom, it is our hope that our students become well-rounded young men and women that actively make a difference in the world around them.

Rachel Scroggins

Interim Elementary Principal

More on Each Grade

1st Grade



First grade is a time of transition from the Early Childhood Center to Elementary School. The First graders enjoy reading many different genres of books and exploring what they most enjoy through reading. As they are learning to write they also get the opportunity to write from their own ideas, which allows them to create a love for writing.  First Graders work on developing math number sense and use it to add and subtract concrete numbers. They focus on how math is used in our everyday lives and the importance it has for everyone. They are also learning to use and understand graphic and reference sources, develop study skills and strategies as well as the research process. Technology is used and integrated into the program with the aid of classroom iPads. First grade establishes a strong foundation in these fundamental skills preparing students for second grade and beyond.


2nd Grade



Second grade at TIS is where students work to solidify the foudational reading and writing skills they have learned in lower elementary and prepare for success in third grade. Second grade students spend time strengthening their number sense in math, focusing on addition, subtraction and beginning multiplication and division. In an integral unit during the second semester, they study the types of animals in science, write an animal report in language arts, use iPad technology to enhance their work, and then participate in a “Second Grade Zoo” to present what they have learned. The second graders demonstrate the economic concepts they studied in social studies by creating a business with a partner for school. Through these and many other interactive projects, second grade at TIS challenges students to apply what they’ve learned to real-life scenarios


3rd Grade


Along with reading, writing, and math our third graders are busy with cursive writing and learning how to type correctly on the computer. Ecosystems, electricity, magnets, rocks and minerals, and the solar system are investigated in science. Third graders explore the continents using the five themes of geography, and visit the World Park in Beijing. The third graders also spend a month learning about and writing varied forms of poetry. Then they present their original works at the “3rd Grade Poetry Slam”. All of these activities assist the students prepare for success in fourth grade.



4th Grade


Fourth grade is a time when students are learning to become more independent in their thinking and problem solving. At TIS we provide the fourth graders with many independent and small IMG_2063group tasks to challenge them as they grow in this way. In science they create a contraption to help an egg reach the ground unbroken as it is dropped from the second floor balcony. In social studies they research one of the ethnic minorities of China by visiting the Chinese Ethnic Culture Park in Beijing. Then they write a research paper and take part in the ‘Fourth Grade Minority Expo’ where they have the opportunity to share what they have learned. In language arts class the students engage in book studies as they work to strengthen their reading comprehension skills. At the end of the year the fourth graders camp out on the school grounds. These activities and many others prepare the students for fifth grade and beyond.


5th Grade
5th Grade Reading Buddy to ECCFifth grade is a stepping stone between the elementary and middle school years. Students in fifth grade begin applying reading skills through book studies. Research is an important part of the learning process with projects in writing, science, and social studies. In math students use problem solving skills to determine the reasonableness of answers and solve a variety of problem types. Study skills and test taking are increasingly important as students enter their last year of elementary school and prepare for middle school. These skills are developed during language arts and other core subjects. Among other areas, grade 5 students will be learning about the endocrine system, cells, and matter during science. They will also have the opportunity to take part in an experiment of their choice, using the scientific method. During social studies students will learn about the first Americans, explorers from Spain, and the Columbian exchange. Fifth grade is a year of growing in knowledge, wisdom, and stature.

Physical Education and Athletics

At TIS we believe that we are all designed for healthy living and physical activity, which is an essential ingredient in a well-rounded life. Physical Education aids students in attaining physical, mental, emotional, and social skills. Individual, small group, and large group activities are included. Skills, strategies, and vocabulary are introduced throughout each unit. There is an emphasis on Attitude, Character, and Effort. Elementary Students will:


  • Demonstrate the motor skills (i.e., kicking, throwing, catching) and movement patterns needed to perform a variety of physical activities, and develop manipulative skills at the introductory level.
  • Demonstrate loco-motor movements at the intermediate level, for example skipping, hopping,etc.
  • Participate regularly in physical activity by discovering the positive effects physical activity has on the body.
  • Discover the positive effects physical activity has on the body (i.e., enhances respiratory functions, stimulates muscle growth, decreases hyperactivity, increases heart rate). Explain the importance of a physically active lifestyle.
  • Exhibit responsible personal and social behavior that respects self and others in physical activity settings.
  • Understand the importance of cooperation and respect for other students while participating in a physical activity. Accept and respond to winning and losing with dignity and understanding.

Sport Skills introduced in Elementary PE: Racket Sports, Track and Field, Basketball, Hockey, American Football, Soccer, Volleyball, Frisbee, Jump Rope, Team Building, Rhythms, Gymnastics

iPad in the Classroom

In the elementary we feel that incorporating technology is a great way to enhance teaching and student learning. In our first and second grade classrooms we have shared iPads, which means that each classroom will have four to eight iPads for students to use in order to complete various projects in one-on-one and small group settings. In third through fifth grade we have a 1:1 iPad program. Each student in these grades will have their own iPad to be used for a variety of educational purposes. This program gives students another tool to be actively engaged in their learning and helps to teach them how to be responsible digital citizens.

More About Elementary School


    At TIS we feel it is important that our students are well-rounded, balanced members of society. In order to assist our students in this path, we provide a variety of after school clubs for students to take part in. There are various clubs being offered after school this year including:

  • Lego Robotics
  • Dance
  • Drama
  • Art
  • Handbells
  • Chinese culture

Special Academic Events

Speech Meet

The TIS Elementary hosts an annual Speech Meet in the spring. Our goals for this program are to encourage effective speech in an audience situation and to help students develop techniques to speak audibly, articulately, expressively, with poise and confidence to develop communication skills that will contribute to effective leadership. Students in 1st through 5th grade will be required to participate by giving their speech to their class in their classroom speech meet. Two finalists per category from each classroom will then go on to participate in the Speech Meet Celebration. On the day of the Speech Meet Celebration, parents are invited to join the elementary as their students perform their speech on the stage.

Other Annual Events

Musical Performances

The Elementary has two large stage performances each year; at Christmas and in the spring. One performance is a musical production. The other is a performance of different selections that reflect what the students have been learning in their music classes.

Field Day (Scipmylo)

In the fall, the elementary will have a half-day of fun, games, and prizes to develop team spirit and an attitude of service. Parent involvement in Scipmylo (Olympics spelled backwards) is welcomed and encouraged.

Welcome to Middle School

Getting to serve on the Tianjin International School Team has truly been an honor. Over my eight years at TIS, it has been a joy to see so many young women and men pass through our doors on their way to becoming global citizens who exemplify our School-Wide Learning Goals of Truth, Integrity, Service, and Excellence. The middle school plays an important part in this transition and our team of passionate teachers and support staff are both enthusiastic and thankful for the opportunity to serve so many expatriate children at TIS over our thirty years of history.

James Delzer

Middle School Principal

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TIS middle school students are challenged daily in a variety of classes, while being supported on a personal level through individualized instruction and after school opportunities. They exercise both body and mind through various school learning experiences and are encouraged to try new things as they transition into high school. In all, the TIS middle school is a great place to grow!

Student Handbook

The Secondary Student Handbook and Planner includes three important Appendixes:

Appendix 1 – TIS Technology Acceptable Use Policy (page 39)
Appendix 2 – TIS Athletic Guidelines (page 42)
Appendix 3 – TIS Community Agreement (page 48)

Click to download the 2016-17 Secondary Handbook


This information is designed to provide parents and prospective students an overview of our middle school courses. We invite you to visit or write to learn more about these, and the many other aspects of our extensive and integrated programs designed especially for these middle school years. Besides the core subjects listed below, our middle school students will have the opportunity to participate in Model United Nations, Kids Read Competition (an inter-school competition) and much more.

Language Arts

We will be exploring both the grammar and vocabulary of the English language in relation to literary topics such as short stories, novels, non-fiction and folk literature. At each level set books are studied as students develop both skill and appreciation for the English language.


Due to differing developmental needs, interests, cultural backgrounds and goals, we provide opportunity for students to pursue math at the level that best suits them according to those differences. Students may be able to take Pre-Algebra in either 6th or 7th grade depending on their level. As stated in the prerequisite guidelines, students are assigned to a particular math level according to their previous math scores, degree of motivation to pursue higher mathematics, teacher recommendation, and organization skills. Students may later be re-evaluated and moved to a higher level given the individual’s overall class load as well as the previously stated prerequisites. Math courses offered by grade are as follows:

Math 6
  • General Math
  • Pre-Algebra
Math 7
  • Pre-Algebra
  • Honors Algebra 1
Math 8
  • Algebra 1
  • Geometry

More Courses Offered in Middle School



The Middle School Science Program utilizes a structured balance of content and hands-on activities that help students develop a solid foundation in scientific principles while becoming versatile thinkers and problem solvers. Students will work on mastering scientific terminology related to the topics of study, put the scientific method into practice, work cooperatively in groups in a variety of activities, projects and lab experiences and build on basic skills of observation, measurement, classification, communication, inferring and predicting.

Science 6

The following topics are taught: Astronomy / Weather /8th Grade Science Dissection Experiment with ECC students observing - 01 Rocks and Minerals / Environmental Science / Plate Tectonics

Science 7

The following topics related to Physical Science are taught: The Atom / Periodic Table / Chemical Bonding / Forces and Motion / Energy / Waves / Electricity and Magnetism

Science 8

The following topics related to Life Sciences/Biology are taught: Cells / Microorganisms / Genetics / Reproduction / Simple Life Forms / Human Body Systems / Matter and the Environment / Plants and Animals


Social Studies

Western World Geography 6

Western World Geography provides an introduction to geography and map skills while focusing on the regions of North America, South America, and Europe. Sixth graders are taught to understand the study of geography and make sense of our complex world. The course seeks to make geography relevant to the student by making the connection between regional and global issues and the community in which they live.

Eastern World Geography 7

Eastern World Geography examines the constantly changing world in which we live focusing on the regions of Africa and Asia. Seventh graders are taught to understand the study of geography and make sense of our complex world by examining its various landforms, climates, peoples, languages, foods and cultures; and giving special and recurring emphasis to major geographical themes of location, place, movement, human environment interaction and region. The course seeks to make geography relevant to the student by making the connection between regional and global issues and the community in which they live.

United States and Chinese History 8
Chinese Character Writing in Middle School - 0016

United States History is a semester long survey course (first semester) tracing the major events through a process of historical inquiry beginning with the discovery of North America through the American Civil War.  Students are guided through United States history by identifying and connecting key people, events, and ideas to build core historical knowledge.  Chinese History is a semester long survey course (second semester) tracing the major events of ancient Chinese dynasties through current day Chinese issues.  Students will focus on themes in Chinese history, and the curriculum is designed to acquaint the students with the rich and varied culture and history of the Chinese people.  Throughout the year, basic geographic concepts learned in sixth and seventh grade are applied to promote problem solving and critical thinking with special emphasis placed on acquiring and using historical skills.


Information Technology


1-1-Computer-AmeliaThroughout the middle school years, the focus of computer instruction will be integrated within the 7th and 8th grade classes and iPad integration within the 6th grade classes.  All middle school students will receive technology skills training. Students will be introduced to ethics and etiquette in the technology environment. They will also explore appropriate and safe use of technology. Please see our 1:1 program for more information on IT at our school.




Introduction to Bible

This course is designed to help new students understand the Bible as a single, purposeful record of God’s dealings with man. It is helpful for students who have never been exposed to the Bible before, as well as for those who are already familiar with it. With this course as a foundation, students will be equipped to take full advantage of other Bible courses to follow.

Bible 6-8

Bible in grades 6-8 cover the foundational truths of the Christian faith, the life of Christ and an overview of the Old Testament.


Physical Education

Volleyball Team Formation 1TIS students will learn life-long habits of health and fitness. Middle school students will be introduced to a variety of athletic activities and physical concepts during the school year. Students will have exposure to the following sport areas, including but not limited to: Basketball / Fitness / Football / Frisbee / Hockey / Ping Pong / Soccer / Softball / Team Handball / Track-n-Field / Volleyball

More about Middle School

Student-Led Conferences

Student-Led-ConfAll middle school students participate in student-led conference at two grading periods during the year. Student-led conferences (SLCs) differ from the traditional parent/teacher conference style and offer tremendous benefits to students, parents, and teachers. In SLCs, the students meet with their advisory teacher, together with their parents. The students lead part of the discussion, showing their parents examples of work of which they enjoyed, together with pieces that they felt were challenging. They also share their personal goals with their parents. In addition, before the meeting each subject teacher will have prepared a comprehensive report on the student’s work, attitudes and behavior in their classes. This will have been passed to the student’s advisory teacher, who will take a few minutes of SLC time to share these points with the parents. Initially, students benefit from the increased accountability for their learning; they learn to evaluate their own progress, gain greater commitment to school work and learning, gain confidence, communicate with their parents, and become actively involved in their learning. Parent benefits include receiving more information, understanding more about their student’s learning and developing skills, becoming more active in participating in their student’s learning (thus helping the student set positive goals). Student-led conferences help the students take ownership of their learning.

Houses and House Council

The middle school students also divide into Houses. These are multi-grade groupings that meet every week for at least twenty minutes. This year, the five Houses will meet together each Wednesday. Houses have the following objectives:


  • IMG_4937Break down barriers and anxieties between grades
  • Encourage caring and understanding across the grades
  • Promote leadership in the student body
  • Provide opportunities for socialization across the grades
  • Provide opportunities for students to learn from one another
  • Strengthen the middle school philosophy
  • Teach leadership through service to the community


At the beginning of the school year, Houses select their names, design their flags and create a ‘House cheer’. The objective of these activities is to develop a group identity while collaborating and building on each other’s strengths. At Middle School Fall Camp a presentation of each House’s work will be made. As Houses, there are many other activities that will be engaged in. One of them is the Middle School House Council. Each House will elect two representatives to the Middle School House Council. Elected members represent their Houses in the House Council and will be responsible for leading House meetings and planning special events. Community Service involves small-scale projects that are selected, planned and executed by houses under the leadership of their council representatives. These provide meaningful opportunities to develop the relationship between the school and the community.

Guidance and Counseling

Guidance and counseling services are offered at the middle school in a variety of areas including: academic counseling, parent relationships, peer relationships, teacher-student relationships, study skills, and group testing. Additional services are offered to students who are struggling academically. The TIS Middle School schedule includes two 20-minute advisory times each week. The advisory teacher will meet with students during advisory in order to look at their work and help them to set goals for further development. This advisory teacher will also be the person who meets with the student’s parents in the student-led conferences that meet at the end of the first and third quarters.

Advisory Groups


Middle school students are divided into small advisory groups, each consisting of approximately 10 students led by an advisory teacher. Advisory groups are primarily to provide the following support for students:


  • keli-counselorGuidance
  • Helps with personal goal-setting
  • Help and preparation for student-led conferences
  • Pastoral support


We hope that the advisory teachers will be viewed as key adults in the lives of the middle school students. Advisory teachers can be a main point of contact with parents on school related matters, however, parents certainly may contact other teachers or the middle school principal at any time.

Welcome to High School

Welcome to the high school division, where over 150 students are pursuing a four-year college-preparatory program of study. Our teachers challenge students to become effective thinkers and communicators, but are also ready to provide academic and personal support when students need it. Students who wish to explore college-level academic subjects can choose from 12 different Advanced Placement (AP) courses. Students who wish to develop their gifts in the Fine Arts can pursue instrumental music, vocal music, theater arts, and visual arts.

Read more

Students who are interested in athletics can choose from three different team sports options. Our 1:1 computing program provides an opportunity for teachers and students to integrate technology tools into the teaching and learning process. Welcome to our webpage, and I hope you enjoy learning more about the high school at Tianjin International School!

Ryan Witt

High School Principal

Introduction to High School

All high school students at Tianjin International School enroll in a rigorous college-preparatory program that affords students the opportunity to enter universities and colleges around the world. Since our first graduating class in 1988, our graduates have gone on to study in countries around the world, such as the United States, Australia, Canada, England, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Japan and Korea, to name a few. High School students have many choices available to them and we seek to combine student passion within the structure of our rigorous program. Students will meet with the Guidance Counselor and the high school Principal to discuss their program. You will find more information on our extensive Fine Arts, Athletics, and Chinese Language Programs under the Fine Arts section, Athletic section and Chinese Language section.

More About High School

Student Handbook

The Secondary Student Handbook and Planner includes three important Appendixes:
Appendix 1 – TIS Technology Acceptable Use Policy (page 39)
Appendix 2 – TIS Athletic Guidelines (page 42)
Appendix 3 – TIS Community Agreement (page 48)
Click to download the 2016-17 Secondary Handbook

Honors and AP Class Offerings

Honors classes parallel the curriculum offered in the corresponding regular classes but will cover additional topics. Also, Honors classes will move at a faster pace and cover topics in greater depth. Students in Honors courses will receive 0.33 additional grade points for grades of C- or higher. In order to register for Honors and/or AP classes, prior teacher/administrative recommendation must be given. An Advanced Placement (AP) course is designed to prepare students to take the College Board sponsored Advanced Placement (AP) exam in May. Students who are enrolled in an AP course must sit for the exam in May and test fees will be paid by the school. Students in AP classes will receive 0.67 additional grade points for grades of C- or higher. TIS currently offers the following AP courses:


  • English Literature and Composition
  • English Language
  • Macroeconomics
  • Microeconomics
  • Biology
  • Physics 1
  • Statistics
  • Calculus AB
  • Chinese Language and Culture
  • Computer Science
  • Studio Art 2-D Design, Studio Art 3-D Design and Studio Art Drawing
  • Computer Science Principles
  • US History
  • Human Geography
  • Psychology


Both Honors and AP courses will require more homework than regular classes. Advantages of Honors/AP Classes

  • Students have the opportunity to challenge themselves in a more demanding class
  • Honors/AP classes expose students to information they might not otherwise encounter in high school
  • Students who do well on the AP exams may earn college credit when they enroll in a college or university
  • College and university admissions departments may look favorably on students who take more challenging programs

College Entrance Preparation

TIS provides the following college entrance exams for student seeking college or university admission around the world:

  • PSAT® (Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test)
  • SAT® (Scholastic Aptitude Test)
  • ACT® (American College Test)

All 10th and 11th graders participate in the PSAT® The Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which is co-sponsored by The College Board and National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). It is developed, administered and scored for the co-sponsors by Educational Testing Service. The PSAT/NMSQT measures critical reading, math and writing skills that are important for success in college. Critical reading and math sections test a student’s ability to reason with facts and concepts; the multiple-choice writing skills component assesses communication skills. Most students take the SAT and/or ACT in 11th grade, but some take it in 10th grade or earlier. Information obtained for test results can help students plan their education beyond high school. PSAT/NMSQT scores can be used to estimate probable performance on the SAT®.

TIS will be an SAT testing center for the following dates during the 2017-18
  • October 7
  • November 4 (subject test only)
  • December 2
  • March 10
  • May 5
  • June 2 (subject test only)
ACT dates:
  • October 28
  • December 9
  • April 14

Guidance Counseling

In addition to college entrance counseling, guidance services and counseling are offered at the high school in a variety of other areas including: academic counseling, parent relationships, peer relationships, teacher-student relationships, study skills, and group testing. Additional services are offered to students who are struggling academically.

Graduation Requirements

DSC_0029General Information

  1. One-fourth credit is given to courses that meet twice per week for a semester
  2. One-half credit is given for a course that meets daily for a full semester
  3. 24 credits are required for graduation
  4. One-fourth credit is given to courses that meet daily for one quarter
  5. A failing grade does not earn any credit
  6. The following credits are required for graduation:
  • 4.5 credits of English (including Speech)
  • 3 credits of Mathematics
  • 3 credits of Science
  • 3 credits of Social Studies
  • 2 credits of Foreign Language
  • 0.5 credit of Bible per semester enrolled in high school
  • 2 credits of Physical Education/Health
  • 1 credit of Fine Arts (music, art, or drama)
  • Electives as required or desired

Load Requirements

  1. 9th-11th grade students must take a minimum of six credits per year
  2. Students taking two AP courses may take 5 credits
  3. 12th grade students must take at least five credits per year

Academic Requirements


  1. Each student shall successfully complete 4.5 credits of English credit
  2. Required Courses: (unless honors equivalent is taken)
  • Composition I & Literature I
  • Composition II & Literature II
  • Speech (unless test out and enrol in the MUN or Drama program)
  • Literature III (American Literature) or Advanced Placement English Language
  • Literature IV (British Literature) or Advanced Placement English & Composition


  1. Each student shall successfully complete 3 credits of mathematics
  2. Required mathematics courses to graduate are:
  • Algebra I (if not taken prior to high school)
  • Geometry (if not taken prior to high school)
  • Algebra II
  • Additional math course(s) to attain the 3 credits


  1. Each student shall successfully complete 3 credits of science
  2. Required science courses: (unless honors equivalent is taken)
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • One additional science credit from the course offerings

Social Studies

  1. Each student shall successfully complete 3 credits of social studies
  2. Required social studies courses to graduate are:
  • Ancient World History
  • Modern World History
  • One additional social studies credit from the course offerings

Foreign Language

  1. Each student shall successfully complete 2 credits of foreign language
  2. Students must take 2 years of Chinese unless they have previously completed 2 years of Chinese Language studies


  1. Each student shall successfully complete .5 credit of Bible for each semester they are enrolled at TIS

Physical Education/HealthPE

  1. Each student shall successfully complete 2 credits of physical education/health credits
  2. Students may earn 0.5 credits through participation in a maximum of 2 varsity sports (0.25 per season)
  3. Required physical education/healthcourses to graduate are:
  • 9th Physical Education
  • 10th Physical Education
  • 11th Physical Education
  • 0.5 additional physical education/health credits from the course offerings

Fine Arts

  1. Each student shall successfully complete 1 credit of fine arts
  2. Students may select from among the courses offered to obtain the 1 credit


  1. Students may select from among the elective courses offered to fulfill the remaining credits needed to meet the required 24 credits to graduate.


After school clubs are initiated by students. Students who have a desire to learn a particular skill or have a group of students join them in an activity submit an application for approval. Student-initiated clubs require a faculty advisor and the approval of the principal and student council. Clubs vary widely each year depending on student interest. We currently have a variety of clubs including a Weekly Video News Club, Physics club, and Service club and others.


Students who have completed the AP Computer Science class may opt to take VEX Competitive Robotics in the following school year. Students will have the opportunity to go further in their programming skills as they prepare for competitions and the school’s science and engineering fair held each spring. Participation in Competitive Robotics requires payment of additional fees. Read more details about robotics on the Competitive Robotics tab.


Model United Nations (MUN): First-year students participate in a formal class and attend one MUN conference in the Spring Semester. Students with high school MUN experience are eligible for the MUN II, which involves attending an international conference in the fall and a domestic conference in the Spring. Participation in MUN requires payment of additional fees.


Each year at the high school commencement ceremony, the school board will present awards in recognition of student excellence. The following awards will be presented.


An award will be presented to the graduating senior with the highest grade point average. To be eligible for consideration as Valedictorian, a student must have completed no fewer than three semesters at TIS and have a GPA of at least 3.7 for those three semesters.


An award will also be presented to the graduating senior with the second-highest grade point average. To be eligible for consideration as Salutatorian, a student must have completed no fewer than three semesters at TIS and have a GPA of at least 3.3 for those three semesters. If there are several students with qualifying GPA’s in a particular class, the top two students will be recognized as valedictorian and salutatorian.

The Claude A. Meyers Scholarship Award

This award, which honors the founding principal of the school, is given to the high school student who ranks highest in his/her studies for the school year. Consideration is given both to academic average and GPA. This award recognizes a commitment to academic excellence and commends the student for disciplined study and diligence.

The John P. Cragin Honor Award

This award, which honors the founder of MTI, goes to the high school student who, in the estimation of the high school faculty and student body, best exemplifies excellence in character and conduct, exerts a positive influence in the school, has an attitude of genuine friendliness and interest in helping others, and exhibits a daily lifestyle which brings honor to our Creator.

The Robert S. Owlsey Award

This award, which honors the longest serving teacher-coach at TIS, goes to the student who, in the estimation of the high school coaches and athletes, best exemplifies excellence in both academics and athletics. Qualifying students must have a current year GPA of at least 3.5 and have participated in at least two different high school sports in both of the past two years. They must also be recognized for their strong commitment to achieving their best, for their integrity, and for gracious, humble leadership in their competitive endeavors.

The Gregg A. Vossler Award

This award, which honors the longest-serving principal of TIS, goes to the high school student who, in the estimation of the high school faculty, best exemplifies good citizenship and bridges cultural barriers in the school. He/she is very sensitive to the different needs of the student body and contributes to unity in diversity.

2017-2018 Course Description Booklet



Students have class two days each week. During those classes we sing, play glockenspiels, recorders, boomwackers, hand bells, and rhythm instruments in order to practice five basic skills:

  • Read music daily
  • Perform
  • Compose short songs
  • Analyze musical structures and lyrics
  • Collaborate and Integrate Biblical principles

Twice a year, TIS puts on an elementary performance. The first performance is a musical done in collaboration with the theatre department. All elementary students perform by singing, playing instruments, and or participating in the play. Students also participate in “The Journey of Learning.” This performance showcases the skills and creations students have worked on in their various grade levels.

More of Elementary Music

Intro to Band for 5th Grade

Fifth grade students have the opportunity to try different instruments from each of the families in a concert band. Students spend 8 weeks learning each instrument after which an assessment is taken. The program gives fifth graders the opportunity to play high quality instruments and learn the basics of ensemble playing as well as make an informed decision about which instrument to pursue in middle school. Students perform once at the end of the year.

Piano Lab

Piano Lab is offered after school with limited slots available. Students have the opportunity to practice reading music, compose short melodies, collaborate with other musicians, and perform at the end of the semester. Students receive group piano instruction for a half an hour once a week and are required to have a piano or keyboard at home on which to practice.

Enrichment Music Clubs

Each year, students sign up for clubs in which they can explore a topic further. Clubs change from year to year. Currently we offer Handbells and Chinese Music Games.

Visual Art

Elementary art classes build creative thinking skills in students and allow them to explore a range of art media while learning the elements and principles of design.


Students have the opportunity to improve their public speaking through the drama club. Students learn how to follow stage directions, what to do with a script, overcome stage fright, take care of props and costumes, as well as the importance of non-verbal communication.

Middle school

We believe students should have a well-rounded education rich in academics, athletics, and the arts. TIS is proud to have strong art programs. Secondary students have the opportunity to express themselves in a variety of aesthetic means. The middle school curriculum allows for 6th graders take three fine arts including visual art, choir, and band. 7th and 8th graders may choose two electives of visual art, choir, and band. TIS produces two plays throughout the year, and rehearsals are held after school. The fine arts programs continue into the high school years where students have the ability to enhance their skills.



In band, students learn how to play an instrument from one of three families that make up a concert band including woodwinds, brass, and percussion. Students develop music reading and ensemble playing skills through exploration of band literature. TIS has a beginning 6th grade band, intermediate 7th and 8th grade band, and an advanced high school band. Secondary band students perform two to three times a year. Second and third year students have the opportunity to audition for the AMIS (Association of Music in International Schools) Middle School Band Festival and the ACAMIS Middle School Cultural Convention.


The TIS Middle School has three choirs: 6th Grade Choir, 7th Grade Choir and 8th Grade Choir. Choir students study sight-singing, vocal technique, and standard choral literature. Each year the choirs perform a Christmas Concert, a Spring Concert and participate in the ISCOT Choral Festival. Middle School students have the opportunity to audition for the AMIS (Association of Music in International Schools) Middle School Choir Festival. Past festival destinations with TIS students include Doha, Qatar and places in China such as Shekou and Beijing.

Visual Art

Middle school art classes allow students to explore a range of art media while gaining a working knowledge of the elements and principles of design. Students will also build the skills necessary for creating artwork that fully and accurately expresses their creativity and ability. This is accomplished through in-class projects and weekly drawing assignments.


Middle school students have the opportunity to practice using the skills they learned in elementary in two major theatrical performances each school year.

High School


Concert Band

High school students have the opportunity to enhance their ensemble skills in concert band. Students build upon the foundation set in middle school to perform standard band literature. Secondary band students perform in Christmas and Spring Concerts as well as the ISC band festival. High school band students have the opportunity to audition for the AMIS (Association of Music in International Schools) High School Honor Band Festival. Past destinations with TIS students include Aberdeen, Scotland.

Concord Choir

The Concord Choir is the high school performing choir. Choir students study sight-singing, vocal technique and standard choral literature. The Concord Choir performs a Christmas Concert, a Spring Concert and participates in the ISC Choral Festival. High school choir students have the opportunity to audition for the AMIS (Association of Music in International Schools) High School Honor Choir Festival. Past festival destinations with TIS students include Turkey, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Beijing, China.

Jazz Band

Jazz Band is as an after school enhancement of the band program at TIS. High school students have the opportunity to play traditional and modern jazz music as well as learn to improvise and create their own solos. It’s a swinging good time! Students perform two to three times a year.

Visual Art

Drawing and Painting

Students develop observation and accuracy skills as they progress through a variety of projects such as still life drawings, perspective drawings, portraiture, figure drawing, and landscape paintings. A wide range of drawing and painting media will be used such as graphite, charcoal, ink, pastel, oil pastel, color pencils, watercolor and acrylic, oil painting, Chinese painting, and gouache. Students continue to develop compositional understanding by applying the elements and principles of design to their sketches, drawings, and paintings. Students discover a variety of artists’ relevance in art history and in relation to the individual student’s work.

Intro to Art

Art I allows students to explore a range of art media while gaining a working knowledge of the elements and principles of design. Students will also build the skills necessary for creating artwork that fully and accurately expresses their creativity and ability. This is accomplished through in-class projects and weekly drawing assignments.


In this course students continue to build on concepts and skills learned in Art I, with a particular focus on ceramics. The ceramics course will be a continued study in making clay forms through a variety of different processes including slab construction, pinch, and coil formation and wheel throwing. Techniques in glazing, decorating, and firing will also be explored. Throughout the course of study, the focus will be on creating original works as well as examining significant works and styles from art history.

More of High School Visual Arts Offerings

Art History

The purpose of this class is to provide students with a basic introduction to some of the more important artistic movements, periods and styles throughout history. This will be accomplished through reading materials, in-class discussion, and projects related to various art time periods and/or artists.


This class approaches digital imaging with a focus on the use of the digital camera with studio and location lighting. Students learn beginning to intermediate photography skills, digital/manual camera operation, and graphic editing software. Topics right exposure, shutter speed, aperture, composition, lighting, portraits and landscapes. The focus for this course is photography as an art form and as a vehicle of self-expression.

Art Portfolio

This course encompasses various techniques and media, expansion of foundation skill and the development of a personal style and themes (voice) shown in artwork. A portfolio completed by the student will demonstrate a variety of experiences in the formal, technical, and expressive means available to art in preparation for the Advanced Placement portfolios – Drawing, 2D Design and 3D Design.

AP Studio Art

Students performing satisfactorily in the requirements of this course may earn college credit and/or advanced placement. This course can prove valuable to students seriously interested in the practical experience of art – whether or not their college plans involve a visual arts major. Art provides incomparable exercise in critical thinking valuable to any pursuit. Group and individual critiques enable students to learn to analyze their own work and their peers’ work. Ongoing critical analysis, through individual critiques, enables both the students and the teacher to assess the strengths and weaknesses in the work. The student’s individual “voice” would be clearly evident.

Our Visual Arts Students Have Been Accepted to:

  • School of the Art Institute of Chicago
  • California Institute of the Arts
  • Maine College of Art
  • Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Massachusetts College of Art & Design
  • Parsons The New School of Design, New York
  • SVA (School of Visual Arts) New York
  • Korean National University of Art
  • The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York
  • Hong Kong University


In addition to being able to take part in at least two major theatrical performances high school students have the opportunity to take four theater arts specific courses. These courses are structured to help students develop first-hand knowledge of what it’s like to be “on the stage.” Emphasis is placed on theater history and fundamentals including voice and stage movement, as well as improvisational skills. In addition, courses focus on the full range of auxiliary roles needed to stage a production, including set design, sound, lighting, costuming and makeup.

Tianjin International School strives to offer Chinese language learning to all students who attend TIS. Students are required to participate in language learning from junior kindergarten through at least two years of high school.

Language study takes students through stages of language proficiency as they develop the ability to use language for purposeful communication. Proficiency stages describe students’ practical skills of speaking, listening, reading, writing, and understanding in the language they are learning.

At TIS we are looking at the performance and proficiency of each student as they progress through the stages of proficiency. Students may spend a minimum of two years and a maximum of five years in any given stage of proficiency. Students are individually assessed and will advance according to the demonstrated proficiency. Learning will progress through the years with repetition of key vocabulary, pinyin, strokes, grammar, etc. until the student has been assessed as proficient and ready to move to the next level.

High school students will have the opportunity to take the AP Chinese exam and many prepare for the HSK exam. Almost all TIS seniors who have taken the AP Chinese exam have scored a 5, the highest score possible.

Early Childhood Center (ECC)

Students in ECC begin Chinese class in Junior Kindergarten. Students in Junior Kindergarten and Kindergarten have two to three periods of Chinese each week. From Kindergarten, we offer Introductory Chinese for second language speakersand Advanced Chinese for native speakers. The purpose of ECC Chinese class is to provide students with a general language experience.

The ECC practices theme-based teaching and our Chinese language program covers a wide range of topics to integrate Chinese culture and grade level curriculum. E.g. numbers, family, food etc.


  • Chinese Treasure Chest
  • Children Riddle Books

Course Content

  • Listening practice
  • Speaking practice

Please note: ECC children who do not have a firm grasp of English will notparticipate in Chinese class and will participate in English language activities during language center time.


Grades 1 through 5 have daily Chinese classes for 30 minutes unless the student is enrolled in English Language Services. There are four levels in elementary Chinese. Students will gradually learn Pinyin, strokes, radicals, Chinese characters, vocabulary, grammar, Chinese proverbs, folk stories, etc. according to their level.

In order to foster an interest in learning Chinese language and culture, Chinese classes focus on integrating cultural information and practical language for real life situations. Textbooks recommended by the AP Test Center. These selected textbooks are particularly designed for students in international schools. Local Chinese curriculum is also integrated into our highest Chinese levels.


  • Chinese Made Easier for Kids (Book 1-Book 4)
  • Chinese local Textbook (Grade 1 – Grade 4)
  • Sing Chinese Songs
  • Elementary Chinese
  • Chinese Treasure Chest
  • Better Chinese

Course Content

  • Pinyin
  • Chinese Characters
  • Grammar and sentence structures
  • Listening practice
  • Speaking practice
  • Reading skills
  • Writing skills


Elementary students will take a Chinese proficiency assessment twice a year. The assessment will include listening, speaking, reading and writing and is designed to assess each student’s current Chinese proficiency. The grade will not be included in their report cards. Students must meet a required proficiency level in order to advance to the next level of Chinese study.

Middle School

Chinese Language study is required for all middle school students who have a good mastery of the English language. The middle school Chinese language program includes three stages and is designed to emphasize the development of communication skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing by adopting a holistic approach.


  • Easy Steps to Chinese Series
  • Chinese local Textbook (Grades 5-8)
  • GCSE Chinese
  • Learning Chinese with me
  • HSK materials
  • Qiao Liang
  • A variety of texts and materials selected from online that reflect different areas of traditional and modern life in China
  • A variety of anthologies selected from works both classical and modern in various literary genres

Course Content

  • Pinyin
  • Chinese Characters
  • Grammar and sentence structures
  • Listening practice
  • Speaking practice
  • Reading skills
  • Writing skills

The Focus of Each Stage

Students are placed in the appropriate stage and level of Chinese based on their proficiency in all aspects of the language. The following describes the three stages however it may take 2-3 years to be proficient in any one stage:

Stage 1

Comprised of 3 separate levels. Stage 1 students will focus on the following:

  • Pinyin
  • Stroke and stroke order
  • The structure of Chinese characters
  • Radical and simple characters
  • Listening skills
  • Speaking skills
  • Reading skills
  • Writing skills

More of Middle School Curriculum

Stage 2

Compromised of 2 separate levels that follow proficiency of Stage 1. In Stage 2 students will focus on the following:

  • Radical and simple characters
  • Formation of phrases
  • Expansion of vocabulary
  • Simple grammar and sentence structures
  • Listening skills
  • Speaking skills
  • Reading skills
  • Writing skills
  • Exposure to modern China and Chinese culture


Stage 3

Compromised of Middle School Advanced Chinese and Middle School Literature. Stage 3 students will focus on the following:MS Chinese Class


  • Expansion of vocabulary
  • Grammar and sentence structures
  • Listening and speaking skills through spontaneous interaction
  • Reading practice on a daily basis
  • Writing skill
  • Exposure to modern China and its culture
  • Contemporary topics: current issues around the world


Middle school students will take a Chinese proficiency assessment twice a year. The assessment will include listening, speaking, reading and writing and will give students the opportunity to show proficiency in their current level and be challenged with the next level. Each student will receive a final grade based on what they have learned in the current school year in their current class level. Their proficiency grade will also decide if they need to stay in the current level or move to a higher level.

High School

Each student shall successfully complete two credits of foreign language.
 High school students who have completed at least two years of Chinese language study may choose to study another foreign language.


  • Chinese Made Easy Series
  • Harvest
  • Chinese local Textbook (Grade 9-Grade12)
  • GCSE Chinese
  • Learning Chinese with me
  • HSK materials
  • Qiao Liang
  • A variety of texts and materials selected from online that reflect different areas of traditional and modern life in China
  • A variety of anthologies selected from works both classical and modern in various literary genres

Course Content

  • Pinyin
  • Chinese Characters
  • Grammar and sentence structures
  • Listening practice
  • Speaking practice
  • Reading skills
  • Writing skills

Below is the sequence of Chinese language courses offered in high school.


Chinese I

This is an introductory course for Secondary-Chinese-Classes-Make-Mooncakes-for-Mid-Autumn-Festival-2-1024x682students just beginning in the study of Chinese language and culture. Chinese 1 encourages interpersonal communication through speaking and writing, providing opportunities to make and respond to basic requests and questions, understand and use appropriate greetings and forms of address, participate in brief guided conversations on familiar topics, and write simple sentences using characters. This course also emphasizes the development of reading and listening comprehension skills, such as recognizing letters and sounds of familiar words and comprehending brief oral directions. Additionally, students will examine the practices, products and perspectives of Chinese-speaking culture; recognize basic routine practices of the culture; and recognize and use situation-appropriate non-verbal communication. This course further emphasizes making connections across content areas and the application of understanding Chinese language and culture outside of the classroom. Students who satisfy the requirements of this course will be eligible to advance to Chinese II.

More of the High School Chinese Curriculum

Chinese II

Prerequisite: Chinese I or entrance test

Chinese II builds upon the knowledge gained in Chinese I, it continues to encourage interpersonal communication through speaking and writing, providing opportunities to make and respond to requests and questions in expanded contexts, participate independently in brief conversations on familiar topics, and write sentences and descriptions using characters. This course also emphasizes the development of reading and listening comprehension skills, such as using contextual clues to guess meaning and recognizing words and characters through stroke order and stroke count. Additionally, students will describe the practices, products and perspectives of Chinese-speaking culture; report on basic family and social practices of the target culture; and describe contributions from the target culture. This course further emphasizes making connections across content areas and the application of understanding Chinese language and culture outside of the classroom. Students who satisfy the requirements of this course will be eligible to advance to Chinese III.


HS-Chinese-Page-2-1024x682Chinese III

Prerequisite: Chinese II or entrance test

Chinese III builds upon the knowledge gained in Chinese II. It continues to encourage interpersonal communication through speaking and writing, providing opportunities to initiate, sustain and close conversations; exchange detailed information in oral and written form; and write simple paragraphs using characters. This course also emphasizes the continued development of reading and listening comprehension skills. Additionally, students will continue to develop understanding of Chinese-speaking culture through recognition of the interrelations among the practices, products and perspectives of the culture; discussion of significant events in the culture; and investigation of elements that shape cultural identity in the culture. This course further emphasizes making connections across content areas as well the application of understanding Chinese language and culture outside of the classroom. Students who satisfy the requirements of this course will be eligible to advance to Chinese IV (Pre-AP Chinese).


Chinese IV (Advanced Chinese)

Prerequisite: Chinese III or entrance test

This pre-AP course will place emphasis on strengthening Chinese listening, writing, reading and conversational skills as well as introduction to preparation for the Advanced Placement Chinese Language and Culture Exam. It provides opportunities for students to interact and exchange information in culturally and socially authentic and/or simulated situations to demonstrate integration of language skills with understanding of Chinese-speaking culture. This course emphasizes the use of appropriate formats, varied vocabulary and complex language structures within student communication, both oral and written, as well as the opportunity to produce and present creative material using the language. Additionally, students will continue to develop understanding of Chinese-speaking culture through investigating the origin and impact of significant events and contributions unique to the target culture, comparing and contrasting elements that shape cultural identity in the target culture and the student‘s own culture, and explaining how the target language and culture have impacted other communities. Students who satisfy the requirements of this course will be eligible to advance to AP Chinese.


Advanced Placement (AP) Chinese Language and Culture

Prerequisite: Chinese IV and/or teacher recommendation

The AP Chinese Language and Culture course is designed to be comparable to a fourth semester university course in Mandarin Chinese. Coursework reflects the proficiencies exhibited throughout the Intermediate range, as described in the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Proficiency Guidelines.

The AP course prepares students to demonstrate their level of Chinese proficiency across the three communicative modes (interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational) and the five goal areas (communication, cultures, connections, comparisons, and communities) as outlined in the Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century. The aim of the course is to provide students with varied opportunities to further develop their proficiencies across the full range of language skills within a cultural frame of reference reflective of the richness of Chinese language and culture. Students who satisfy the requirements of this course will be eligible to advance to Pre-Chinese Literature.


Chinese-Culture-Trip-to-Beijing-229High School Advanced Chinese

Prerequisite: AP Chinese or entrance test

This class is an advanced level Chinese course designed for the student who has mastered the fundamentals of the Chinese language and is now ready to apply his/her ability in a wide variety of topics. This pre-Literature course will place emphasis on strengthening Chinese listening, writing, reading and conversational skills as well as introducing Chinese history and literary works. Reading selections from famous Chinese poetry, novels, and dramas will give the student a deeper insight into Chinese culture and history. Through readings, students are exposed to Chinese traditional and contemporary artists, literature, history, current events and philosophy. Students who satisfy the requirements of this course will be eligible to advance to Chinese Literature I.


Chinese Literature I & II

Prerequisite: MS Chinese Literature, MS Advance Chinese or teacher recommendation

This course is to strengthen reading and comprehension skills through analysis of short stories, essays, drama, poetry, and selected novels. Students will continue to develop their knowledge of more advanced vocabulary and grammar. Students will write descriptive essays. Further study of the culture is included.



High school students will take a Chinese proficiency assessment twice a year. The assessment will include listening, speaking, reading and writing and will give students the opportunity to show proficiency in their current level and be challenged with the next level. Each student will receive a final grade based on what they have learned in the current school year in their current class level. Their proficiency grade will also decide if they need to stay in the current level or move to a higher level.

Welcome from Ms. Whaley

Welcome to Academic Services. I know that every child is an individual and my goal is to ensure that each child has his or her academic needs met. I look forward to supporting your family as they adjust to the academic rigor of TIS. Many students will be learning in language different from the one spoken at home. I realize this creates unique challenges and we are privileged to work with you, as parents, to provide an excellent education for your child.

Melva Whaley

 Director of Academic Services

Academic Services Team

Tianjin International School is committed to excellence and believes all students can reach their highest potential through a quality education program. Our staff works diligently to ensure that all students are given the proper support to succeed. We celebrate the fact that many of our students are doing something what few of us ever attempted to do: receive an education in a language not spoken at home. Students come to us at various places along their journey toward fluency in a second language. Our goal is to tailor the services we offer to the needs of each student to help them thrive at TIS. Our team firmly believes that each student is unique. We understand and appreciate that all students are not the same and do not learn, behave nor transition to overseas life, in the same ways. Therefore, the Academic Services department offers a range of support services for our students with varying needs.

Languages Service Program

Academic-ServicesEvery aspect of TIS is characterized by a commitment to excellence. TIS offers a rigorous academic curriculum designed to equip individuals with the skills and knowledge required to succeed in an English speaking university. Due to the fact that students come to TIS from a variety of academic, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds, TIS provides language support based on individual student’s needs as determined by an evaluation team. This team uses standardized criterion-based assessment as well as historic grades and classroom performance to guide decision-making as to the level of support needed. Students will be assessed periodically, to monitor progress and language support needs, with the end goal being that the student gains the language skills required to become an effective communicator. This program is for students from 1st through 8th grades. When students enter high school they are expected to function without support from Language Services. Each semester students may be tested to assess progress. Alterations may be made to the student’s programming to allow for the services that will best foster independence yet offer support for success.

Upon entry, TIS students will be given the Woodcock Language Survey®–Revised Normative Update (WMLS®-R NU). This test will give a cognitive academic language proficiency (CALP) level in the areas of reading, writing, listening and speaking. CALP level scores are the standard criteria that US schools use to determine English learners educational needs. These scores along with past records and teacher input will help determine the level of services required for the student to be successful at TIS. Each semester students may be tested to assess progress and make any alterations to the student’s programming to allow for the services that will best foster independence yet offer support for success. Our services offered may include all or some of the following depending on the Evaluation Team assessment and recommendation:


A standards-based curriculum specifically designed to teach students to navigate through an English intensive environment at TIS and beyond. This class is an opportunity for students to focus on academic language that will allow further success as they progress toward mastery of all areas of the English language. This is offered from one to three class periods a day based on grade level and need.

English Language Centers

Students in English language centers acquire skills that maximize their success in all content area classes. In addition to continued development of specific reading and writing skills, an emphasis is placed on speaking and listening, which are crucial skills in cross-cultural university and career settings. Materials include multimedia programming to allow students practice in listening and speaking skills as well as increasing proficiency in reading and writing ability.


Designed for middle school students whose English proficiency allows them to access the curriculum from a traditional classroom setting, yet may need additional structured English instruction to clarify and enhance what is happening in daily classes. These students will receive continual feedback on growth and goals and will also participate in the English Language Center. They will have an additional teaching professional monitoring classroom work, homework, grades, completed work, and overall English development.


This allows students after school practice with trained English speakers, providing time to practice what they have learned, building confidence in their spoken English, and receiving clarification on homework assigned by classroom teachers. Our Coaches Service is provided for middle school students only.

Educational Support

TIS provides a wide range of educational support services from one-on-one tutoring to small group classes. We offer support and assistance in all aspects of the school program. We closely with our students to challenge them toward growth, providing supportive programs uniquely designed for each student receiving support.

Secondary Schools

During the school year our rigorous PE program provides students the opportunity to develop skills and explore sports and activities they may not have tried before such as tennis, badminton, ultimate frisbee, table tennis, etc. Beyond our regular PE program, TIS offers middle school and high school basketball, volleyball and soccer to all qualifying students. TIS is a member of ISAC (International Schools Athletics Conference) and ISC (International Schools of China). This provides regular games and tournaments between 3 international schools in Tianjin and 11 international schools in Beijing as part of the ISAC league. Our athletes also travel to other cities across China to participate in tournaments with other ISC schools. Our well-guided sports programs provide opportunities for young men and women to gain important life skills by teaching them the value of good sportsmanship, teamwork, commitment, hard work and the importance of physical activity to support a healthy lifestyle. We are proud of our student’s achievements on the field both in skill and attitude. Parent support and participation is always welcomed as a vital part of student development.

For the volleyball, basketball and soccer seasons, we have varsity and junior varsity teams in high school for both boys and girls. Middle School also has a team for each of the seasonal sports. Within the ISAC competition teams are ranked and placed according to their game record. Please see each sport below for more information.


Our boys and girls varsity teams are both in the highest ranked division of the ISAC competition. They enjoyed a very competitive season and rounded out the year with both teams playing nail-biting games; the boys placing second in the overall season competition. Our junior varsity boys team is in division 3 and placed second after a very close final. At the ISC tournament our varsity boys teams brought home the 1st place trophy and the girls 3rd place.


Our strong boys and girls varsity teams are both in division 1 of the ISAC competition while our up and coming JV players participate in division 3. The purpose of this team is for the players to improve their skills, to prepare to play for the Varsity team and to have fun. Sportsmanship is an important part of the coaching as in all TIS sports programs. Each year, the JV boys team gets a little better which is a tribute to the commitment of the players and coaches.


Soccer season begins in late February and we look forward to another competitive season in both the ISAC and ISC tournaments. Our varsity boys team will again compete in division 1 while our JV boys and both our girls teams will compete in division 2.


Besides physical education classes, elementary students may join Saturday Soccer. Saturday Soccer students meet Saturday morning for coaching, then twice a year they participate in the ISCOT tournament, which allows students to engage in competition against other international schools here in Tianjin. Saturday soccer is a great way for them to develop their skills ready for a higher level of competition in middle school. Students may also participate in badminton that has competition with another international school in Tianjin.


Service at Tianjin International School is not something that we do, it is who we are. We have a strong belief that regardless of our race and nationality we owe something back to the country, which is our host, China. In addition to a sense of gratitude we are international citizens. We must have a global viewpoint. We refuse to turn a blind eye to the needs that surround us.

Our teachers, administration and staff are committed to service in their own lives. Many give of their time, talents and resources to areas that they are passionate about. Our students are following their model.

TIS is interested in more than a student’s academics. We desire to send out “people of truth and excellence who effectively influence society.” Our vision for our students to become “global citizens … impacting the world.” This is something that is better experienced than taught.

Service and servant leadership are concepts that students begin to experience in the Early Childhood Center and continue through each grade to their graduating year. Age appropriate activities are incorporated at each level of the student’s experienced.

Honor students receive a Certificate of Outstanding Service for a special project that they have personally planned and executed. We truly believe that our students will impact the world.

Trips Offered

At each level of the school, occasional field trips are planned by classroom teachers to supplement what is taught in class. They are strategically planned to balance educational benefit and enjoyment. Secondary school students participate in two main trips each year.

Fall Camp

This three-day, two-night outing takes place during the first quarter, soon after school starts, and is designed to facilitate cross-grade team-building among students. Middle school students attend a different venue to high school students. In the High School camp, teams compete in a variety of games and activities, including a stew cook-off and skit presentation. During the Middle School camp there is House competitions which help facilitate the goals of the camp. All students are required to attend Fall Camp and the cost of the camp is covered entirely by the school.

Spring Camp

Every spring, TIS takes the secondary students on week-long trips in China. The purpose of these trips is to expose students to the land, culture, history, and people of China. As a result, students will sometimes encounter conditions, which are less pleasant than they typically experience. Such experiences help them to develop a more complete view of the world and a greater appreciation for the life they experience. The trips also include a service project component providing students the opportunity to assist local communities. All secondary students are required to go on their class trip and trip expenses, aside from any personal purchases, are borne entirely by the school. Middle school students take trips to Liaoning Province, Shandong Province, and Nanjing and Suzhou. High school students take trips to places such as Inner Mongolia, Guilin, Gansu and Guizhou Provinces or Hainan Island. Spring Trips tend to be one of the most fondly-remembered aspects of student life at Tianjin International School.

Summer Camp

TIS currently leads four purposeful summer trips to Mongolia, Cambodia, Chang Bai Shan (at the North Korean border) and Yunnan Province. Summer trips = transformation. We go to serve, to learn, to grow, to be challenged and transformed into mature people who love their neighbors. Students on summer trips are able to engage in leadership development, team building, cross-cultural travel, wilderness challenges, service opportunities and community living, all within the context of a tight and vibrant team, where they can explore how their individual gifts and abilities fit within their community and the world around them. As students are immersed into different cultures they begin to see more clearly their unique and important place in the global community. Summer Trips are an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime adventure that never fail to deepen friendships and broaden perspectives.

1:1 Computing

Technology Philosophy Statement

Technology is playing a powerful role in the minds, hearts, and wills of today’s youth. TIS seeks to use technology in an appropriate way as one of several important supports for the educational process. We seek to enable students to become responsible and skilled users of technology. Integration of technology fosters creativity and innovation, communication and collaboration, research and information fluency, critical thinking and problem solving, digital citizenship, and mastery of technology. Student use of technology is monitored while they are at school to ensure time is used wisely and appropriately.

Why 1:1 Computing

Students today live in an on-demand, technology-dependent world. They learn differently and approach schoolwork differently than students did a few years ago. This impacts the way they learn. Students now often need to get answers instantly; they need to communicate as they learn. How they creatively prepare information and share it with others has greatly changed even within the last few years. 1:1 computing and wireless internet access means students are able to learn in an environment where technology brings subjects to life. Students own their learning environment and are so engaged that learning is meaningful. At TIS we have carefully considered the learning environment for our students, the world in which these young global citizens find themselves, and have planned accordingly.

How Does 1:1 Computing Work at TIS?

From 7th grade onwards all students are required to have their own MacBook that meets the required standards of our program. They will be using their MacBook to research, access our virtual learning environment (Moodle), student/teacher collaboration, complete and submit assignments etc. TIS provides a high-performing wireless network, extra technical support staff, additional server processing and storage, client management software, different classroom furniture, and extra power access.


Educational Vision

1: What are the educational reasons for laptops?

Laptops were chosen to provide students with ubiquitous access to information at school and at home. Students and teachers are able to easily hook their laptops up to projectors to share their work, and take their work with them wherever they go.

2: What will 1:1 look like in a few years?

Technology will change in ways that we cannot predict over the next few years. TIS will continue to strive to provide current best practices in technology integration each year. We expect this to involve less paper and pencil and more on-screen learning. TIS students will be not merely consumers of technology but producers of technology.

3: What is the vision?

Our vision for students is that they will become global citizens of truth and excellence in every vocation, impacting the world and inspiring others to do the same. We believe it to be beneficial and often necessary to integrate technology in the learning process to achieve this vision. 1:1 is an approach to this end.

4: Will the laptops be used in all classes?

All 7th through 12th grade students are required to bring their laptop to school, charged every day. Laptops may not be used during each lesson but students will take them to every class and be prepared. The point of 1:1 education is not to use a laptop a lot, but rather to increase access to technology as a tool for learning.

5: Will students be allowed to use the computer all the time in class?

Use of the computer in classroom settings will be at the discretion of the teacher.

6: What happens if my child is better at learning with pen and paper?

Pen and paper learning will not go away soon, or perhaps ever. Certain skills are best learned through pen & paper methods (such as writing Chinese characters, sketching geometric drawings, learning to solve equations, etc.). Students will be encouraged to use digital methods as an aid to learning, but if pen & paper better supports the learning for a particular student, we will seek to make accommodations as needed.

Timeline and Logistics

7: What is the computer that students will use in 2018-19?

The minimum requirements are a 2015 (or later) MacBook, MacBook Pro, or MacBook Air with the most recent Apple operating system. However a newer model will help ensure more years of use. TIS will provide the generally required software however other course specific software may be required depending on a students’ enrollment.

8: Is it possible to use my own laptop with the TIS 1:1 program?

Yes. Provided it meets the requirements as stated above. TIS computer services will install all necessary content filtering and security software.

9: What is the school policy concerning personal software and media?

Software and media piracy are rampant. TIS expects all students and staff to maintain integrity in this area. In order for TIS to maintain software agreements with educational discounts, we must be sure that every computer used on the TIS system is free from illegal software, and illegal digital media.

10: What if the laptop needs repair?

The TIS IT Helpdesk have a certified Apple technician and work closely with the local Authorized Apple Service Center. We will provide support through the IT Helpdesk but costs for replacement parts and non-routine labor will be in accordance with the warranty you have on your laptop. If a laptop fails, we aim to provide student with a spare machine to use until the repairs are completed.

11: How will TIS address the weight of school bags?

Weight of school bags due in large measure to heavy print textbooks is already a key concern and laptops should be a solution to this problem to some degree. One of the key reasons to consider a one-to-one approach is to enable easy access to online textbooks.

Progressively more courses are adopting digital textbooks, or a combination of digital and print (the print textbook can stay at home, and the digital textbook is used at school). As a result, students have fewer physical textbooks to bring to and from school.

12: What happens if a student forgets to bring the laptop to school?

Forgetting to bring a laptop is considered being unprepared for class and may lead to a consequence being given by the teacher. Another advantage of having a standard platform across campus is that the TIS technology department will have back up laptops available for students who forget to bring their laptop. Students will be required to sign a laptop check-out form to receive a loaner. Usage of this service is not to be seen as an alternative to bringing a laptop to school.

13: What is the battery life? What will happen if the laptop’s battery runs out during class?

Laptops today have an excellent battery life and if fully charged at the beginning of the day should serve the students well. There are power points in most TIS classrooms and in public areas. Students will need to bring their laptop’s power supply to school everyday.

14: Is Internet access required at home?

Yes, all students are already required by TIS to have internet access at home. In addition, teachers will be assigning homework that will require the use of the internet at home.

15: Will the files on my child’s laptop be backed up?

Your child’s files are not backed up by TIS. We aim to educate your child with regards to the proper use of technology, and this includes teaching children to backup their files to external media. We recommend that students have access to an external hard drive, or at least a flash drive for backup purposes.

16: What happens if my laptop is lost or stolen?

The student’s family is responsible for the laptop computer. If the computer is lost or stolen, the family will need to replace the computer.

17: What happens if my laptop is damaged accidentally?

The student’s family is responsible for any and all damage to the computer.

Platform and Considerations

18: Why is the school using Apple computers as a standard platform?

The key criteria for platform selection in a school, in order of importance are as follows:

What is best for teaching and learning and;
Ease of use, support and maintenance.

In a way these criteria are related. The easier to use and more reliable a platform is, the better it is for teaching and learning. Apple has been a proven partner for education for many decades. They go beyond the normal vendor relationship by supporting schools with professional development networks. Further, the software that comes pre-loaded on Macs is the best choice for its inherent creative expression capability.

19: Why not just let the students bring in any laptops?

This initiative more than doubles the number of computers on campus. Having a support system in place is key. Our strategic partnership with Apple will mean there is an onsite service center that students and families can access to receive computer maintenance onsite. If a standard computer breaks it will be immediately replaced with a loaner unit identical to the original computer, allowing the user to continue in their educational pursuits uninterrupted by the need to learn a new system.

Furthermore, with a common platform, everyone is speaking the same “digital language.” Teachers can expect standard features and laptop capabilities and can plan lessons around them. Students too can collaborate with each other seamlessly both within the classroom and outside. The importance of this point cannot be understated. Our research tells us that 1:1 schools that did not enforce a standard platform experienced significant problems that negatively influenced learning.

Other Questions

20: Why not create more computer labs or laptop carts?

Computer labs and laptop carts generally require that you take students to the technology rather than the technology being a seamless tool that is available when it is needed. The nature of institutional computing that requires login, locking away in carts makes use of computers more difficult and time consuming and inevitably takes away from valuable class time. Bottom line, 1:1 allows all students access to the computer at times in which they need it.

Support / Training

21: How will teachers be supported in the use of these computers such that they enhance student learning?

Robust and personalized professional development for all our employees will be critical in supporting teachers in the use of technology to support their students. Professional development in the use of technology will be led by the TIS Digital Leadership working group comprised of Technology Facilitators as well as a group of lead teachers who are advocates and mentors to their colleagues.

22: Are other schools 1:1 schools?

There are numerous schools both international and local that are 1:1 schools now. Some schools went 1:1 as early as the 1980’s. More recently there has been an acceleration of schools moving towards 1:1 to make learning more relevant in our digitally saturated society. The number of tools, accessible through computers that have the potential to enhance the learning experience and make education relevant and engaging to 21st century learners including multimedia tools and online social and information tools.

23: How will parents be supported?

The TIS help desk will be available to answer technical questions as they occur.

24: Will my student be able to access inappropriate sites at home?

Yes. It is impossible to filter out all inappropriate material. Parents should discuss the appropriate use of technology within the family context.

25: How will the school deal with prevalent social networking and “inappropriate” non-educational use of the Internet at school? How does the school internet work – does TIS block sites?

The school does employ network security equipment and services with two primary functions:

  • To protect the schools network from viruses, malware, hacking, etc
  • To monitor and filter internet traffic and block particular websites in categories the school deems detrimental to the learning environment

26: Will there be education/training on how to use software?

Yes. Students will receive instruction on how to use specific software and Internet sites through the direct instruction of their subject teachers. Subject teachers are supported by the TIS Technology Facilitator who works full-time to train teachers in the proper use of technology in the classroom. We also have online resources with many training videos regarding specific applications and technological issues. In addition, student may receive help from their teachers and the tech department on the third floor.

Robotics Programming and Design

In order to incorporate higher levels of learning through STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), Tianjin International School offers a competitive Robotics Program using the VEX Robotics System.

Robotics helps students unlock the power of their imagination by designing, coding and constructing radio-controlled robotic devices that can lift, throw, climb, gather and expand the boundaries of experimental intelligence. By working together to create robots that perform exciting challenges, students also gain valuable problem-solving and team-building skills.


Tianjin International School offers the Competitive Robotics class as a full year course with a pre-requisite of AP Computer Science. This complex, problem-solving course has limited seats, so students are asked to apply in writing and communicate why they should be afforded a place in this program. Below are some student testimonials:

“Ever since I first took the AP Computer Science class at Tianjin International School, I felt that coding would heavily influence my life.”
“I know this class will help me towards my future career as a robot and software engineer.”
“Competitive robotics has provided me exciting and challenging experiences that have helped me in my future college decision.”

Students taking this course will be working on the VEX Robotics Systems.

Competition Schedule 2015-16

ASIJ VEX Robotics Challenge, November 13-14th, Tokyo Japan

  • 2 Trophies Won in Japan
  • THINK Award
  • Judge’s EXCELLENCE Award (Judges Highest Award to the Most Valuable Robot)

Vex Robotics Challenge at Taipei American School, December 4-5th, Taipei, Taiwan

  • 5 Trophies Won in Taipei
  • Judge’s EXCELLENCE Award (Judges Highest Award to the Most Valuable Robot)
  • PROGRAMMING SKILLS Challenge Award
  • DESIGN Award

ROBOTC Nothing But Net Winter Competition, February 1-2, Xian, China

Tianjin VEX Robotics Challenge, February 19-20, Tianjin, China


Model United Nations at TIS

High School Model United Nations (MUN) first-year students participate in a formal class and attend one MUN conference in the Spring Semester. Students with high school MUN experience are eligible for the MUN club, which involves attending an international conference in the fall and a domestic conference in the Spring. Participation in MUN requires payment of additional fees.

Model United Nations for Middle School

Middle School Model United Nations (MUN) is an after-school program that is open to 7th and 8th graders. The students start working in November researching the country they will be representing and the topics their committee will be debating. Students also need to write a resolution on at least one of their committee’s topics, which helps to give a solution to the issue. The middle school program culminates in February when the students attend a conference in Beijing (DIMUN) with around 200 other students where they lobby, debate, and pass their resolutions within their respective committees.

Bonus Media and Journalism Opportunities

In addition to learning important global current events, research and debate skills, students also have an opportunity to get involved in the media side of MUN. Many have been chosen to represent TIS at Singapore’s THIMUN and QingDao’s MUNiSC in the media team where students publish a conference newspaper.