About Dwight School Seoul
Classes & Grades
Sports and Athletics
About Dwight School Seoul
How was Dwight School Seoul formed?
The Dwight School Seoul is part of the Dwight Family of Schools, with the parent school being The Dwight School in New York which is owned by the Spahn family. Mr Stephen Spahn opened the school with the aim of establishing high quality international education and preparing young people to become future world leaders.
How big is the school?
Dwight School Seoul has a maximum capacity of 540 students from age 3 to 18. Class size is limited to no more than 20 students and each grade level is limited to 40 students. The school is spread over 6 floors and includes an auditorium and has its own playing fields.
Is the school only for international pupils?
No, Dwight School Seoul provides high quality education for all pupils – both local and expatriate. Please refer to the Admissions page for detailed information about Dwight’s Admissions Qualification Policy. The language of instruction at Dwight is English. A wide range of other languages are taught including: Korean, Mandarin and German. The school can provide mother tongue instruction for almost any language.
Why does the school teach the International Baccalaureate (IB)?
The key to the IB is in engagement in learning. It is about taking the best of the traditional curriculum and adding inquiry-based learning, critical thinking, internationalism, creativity, action and community service. The IB is holistic, relevant to today’s global community. The IB curriculum encourages independence and confidence, and it helps students of all ages to understand how to be effective learners. This is a blend that suits both local and international families, and it is well respected and sought after by universities worldwide.
What does my child leave the school with?
At the end of Grade 5, children complete a Primary Years Programme (PYP) Exhibition and they leave with a PYP Certificate. Most transition to Upper School, some return to their home country and others opt to move to traditional independent schools. Those schools are able to understand the value of the PYP, and we have an excellent record of success with pupils who opt to take entrance examinations to other schools.
At the end of Grade 10, students are assessed in the Middle Years Programme (MYP) and they receive a Record of Attainment and an MYP Certificate. The MYP grades are moderated by the IB Examination Centre, which is in Cardiff. It is straightforward to make a comparison between MYP grades and GCSEs. In our experience, there is no problem in gaining acceptance onto ‘A’ level courses elsewhere if that is the preference. For those students who do not choose to follow on to the IB Diploma, it is not difficult to use the MYP to gain admittance into further education.
At the end of Grade 12, students complete the IB Diploma in six subjects and would normally use their results to gain places at universities in the UK or world wide. University admissions officers are well aware of the strengths of the IB, and the majority of our students gain places at their first choice universities.
How long has the IB been offered at our international school in Seoul?
Dwight School Seoul is a candidate school for the Primary Years Programme and Middle Years Programme. Dwight School Seoul has passed authorization for the Diploma Programme and has been awarded IB World School status. For more information on the different IB programmes, please visit the IB Answers website.
Why should I choose Dwight School Seoul for my child?
Dwight School Seoul is a positive learning environment, where every young person has the chance to develop into a successful, caring, capable and compassionate citizen. We understand different learning styles, but we have high expectations and accept that some students are academically more able than others – so we challenge and support. We know our students well and provide a safe and secure, stimulating experience. ‘We aim to uncover the spark of genius that exists in all children and to use that to build a better world.’
What is the schools view on tardiness and attendance?
Good attendance and punctuality are important in order for a student to make good progress. Students should aim for a 100% attendance record and be prompt especially in Upper School for all lessons. Lateness and attendance figures are recorded on school reports and will always be checked. Lateness caused by difficulties with school transport will not reflect on the student.
We do recognize that as a Seoul international school our families often need to travel. If we are given sufficient notice, then we will usually authorize any required leave from school.
Classes & Grades
How does the school decide on grade placement in Lower School?
Most teachers appointed by Dwight School Seoul are qualified to teach across a range of year groups such as ages 2 to 4, 5 to 8 and 9 to 11. On appointment, we look at experience and preferences but we recognize too that it is good for teachers to gain experience in other year groups. Sometimes a teacher may move up a year with a group, at times they are always the teacher for a specific year group and at other times they may be asked to teach (with support) slightly outside their comfort zone.
How are parallel classes are organized – gender/ability/number etc?
In most cases, we try to balance parallel classes so that they have an equal spread of ability and mix of gender. When making any changes to class groups, we may involve parents in discussions e.g. when considering friendship grouping.
Is there a maximum number of students in each class?
From Early Childhood to Grade 12, we set a maximum of 20 students to each class. In preschool 3s to grade 2, each class is taught by a class teacher and there is a Teaching Assistant in place. In Upper School, classes are set at 20 but because of the nature of subject options, teaching groups may be much smaller.
The school is committed to a maximum class size of 20 students and will adhere to this commitment, except in exceptional circumstances. Those circumstances will only include sibling enrolment and withdrawn notice. Any increase in class numbers above 20 is expected to be a short term situation. The school will inform parents affected by any increase and will give an estimate of the date when the class will return to the optimum size.
How does the school decide on subject teaching in Upper School?
Dwight School Seoul teaches the full range of subjects normally found in most schools and IB schools. The School Leadership Team will discuss the subject options available, particularly in the IB Diploma, and then look at the subject specialists currently employed and then may consider the possibility for additional recruitment. Some teachers in Upper School are qualified to teach two subjects – most commonly Math and Physics. Some teachers will offer their own subject plus Sports.
How is the quality of teaching and learning monitored at Dwight School Seoul?
The quality of teaching and learning is monitored in many ways. Principals, coordinators and subject leaders are all involved in assessing planning, observing lessons, work sampling and lesson review. Formal inspections happen through one of two accrediting agencies and the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO). The whole school is seeking IB authorization in 2013, and we hope Dwight School Seoul will be fully accredited by 2014.
How does the school communicate with parents?
Dwight School Seoul has an open-door policy. We welcome drop in visits, calls and emails from the school community, and respond to questions and concerns as quickly as possible. We have many ways to communicate with parents:
Newsletters are sent out monthly from the Head of School, the Lower School Principal and the Upper School Principal
The website (www.dwight.or.kr) is used and updated regularly. The website also links to the Dwight School Seoul Facebook and Twitter page, which are used to share reports, photos, etc.
Letters are sent home with students when important information needs to be communicated with parents.
SMSpia is a texting service we use to inform parents of any important changes to events, school closures or other changes.
Student planners are used to correspond with parents regarding homework, reminders and schedules.
Parent Link is a volunteer parent who acts as the Parent Link representative. Originally set up to coordinate social events, Parent Link may also be involved in school development planning and improvement. There is a Lower School Parent Link Group and an Upper School Parent Link Group.
School Consultative Group (SCG) is group made up of volunteers across the school to be a Governing Body. The group is active in school strategic planning, advice, accountability and complaint resolution.
Reports, workshops and consultations are a few of the many opportunities for parents to discover how well their child is doing. In Lower School, there are termly ‘Meet the Teacher’ sessions. Interim and full written reports for all students are sent home each semester. Parents are also invited to consultations about progress. Frequent workshops take place to update parents about the PYP, MYP and Diploma about university admissions and trends in learning and parenting.
Parents are invited to school social functions, presentations and performances.
How do teacher contracts work? Is Dwight School Seoul a positive work environment?
Teacher contracts are initially for one year with a three-month probationary period. After the successful completion of the first year, teachers have ‘tenure’ and can remain in post for as long as the post exists. Contracts now require six months notice, although historically, some staff may give just one half terms notice. Ideally, teachers will only leave school in June but their contracts allow for mid-year resignations. Korean employment law is precise about the termination of employment. Should a teacher underperform then support must be given. If necessary, a competency procedure is acted upon which may result in the removal of a teacher from the school.
Our school supports teachers with training and preparation time. Salaries paid are in line with international teacher pay scales, and increments or stipends are paid for additional responsibilities. Dwight School Seoul encourages teachers to take advantage of the teacher pension provision.
How does the school handle leave for illness or professional development?
In most cases when a teacher is away sick, existing Dwight School Seoul staff provides cover. This means that the cover teacher is likely to know the classes even though the subject or year group may not match their specialism. This system relies on the goodwill and flexibility of Dwight School Seoul staff, who end up losing non-contact time, and who are often needed to complete additional supervision duties. When the absence is known and planned, then lesson plans are prepared for the cover teachers to use. In extreme cases, the school will contact a supply agency for daily cover. If a lesson is missed due to the absence of a peripatetic teacher, e.g., music instruction, Quest or EAL, then every effort will be made to make up the time at another date.
How does the school provide professional development for its teachers?
Every Dwight School Seoul member of staff has access to professional development (PD) and support. Part of our ongoing accreditation as an IB World School requires that all teachers receive specific IB training. A cycle of training is developed, linked to performance management, which gives access to IB courses. These courses usually take place in the IB region of Asia Pacific. Consequently, our teachers have to travel to places such as Singapore, Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo and Dubai for IB accredited training – this is costly both in time and money. Dwight School Seoul teachers also take advantage of:
- Key staff members lead in house training or specialists are contracted to deliver training during the INSET days that take place before each school term. ‘Early release’ in Upper School on Mondays and the six ‘Development Mondays’ in Lower School allow for a planned program of whole department training to take place.
- Other courses are provided by KORCOS, EARCOS, the IBO and universities and colleges.
Dwight School Seoul provides financial sponsorship for staff who wish to complete additional personal professional training.
What are the facilities like at Dwight School Seoul?
The school is a technologically advanced urban school situated in Digital Media City, Seoul, and as such, creative and flexible use is made of the space. Our school is well resourced with computers and technology, science labs, libraries, SEN /Quest Centers, a lecture hall, gallery and a large cafeteria. There are specialist rooms for Art, Music, Drama, IT and Technology, and the teaching classrooms are bright and spacious. The School has an auditorium, two gymnasiums, a lecture hall, a climbing wall and many spaces around the building that can be used for productions and other events. Swimming pools are leased for Upper and Lower School students to use. Upper School also has access to local facilities such as tennis courts, football fields, a golf course, riding stables and other local amenities.
Are there additional fees for Quest and English as an Additional Language (EAL)?
Tuition fees cover mainstream teaching. Individualized or intensive support such as Quest and EAL require additional fees, which are the responsibility of the child’s family.
Who inspects Dwight School Seoul?
Dwight School Seoul is a member of the European Council of International Schools (ECIS) and is seeking accreditation from the Council of International Schools (CIS) and New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). The provision for the under 5s follows Dwight’s very own Early Childhood Development program. The school is an accredited IB World School, and will have regular five year accreditation visits for the PYP, MYP and Diploma Program.
How is the International Baccalaureate accredited?
The International Baccalaureate (IB) was founded in Geneva, Switzerland in 1968 as a non-profit educational foundation.
• IB programmes are recognized around the world and ensure an increased adaptability and mobility for IB students.
• The curriculum and pedagogy of IB programmes focus on international perspectives of learning and teaching, while insisting that students fully explore their home culture and language.
• IB World Schools must undergo an exhaustive authorization process in order to offer one or more of the programmes, which includes a study of the school’s resources and commitment to the IB mission and philosophy.
• IB teachers participate in a wide variety of professional development opportunities to constantly update their knowledge and share their expertise with colleagues around the world.
• Many students graduating from the Diploma Programme find that it enhances their opportunities at tertiary institutions. The IB works closely with universities around the world to gain recognition for IB programmes.
• The core components of IB programmes encourage students to participate in creative and service-oriented activities, while at the same time emphasizing the importance of reflection on a personal and academic level.
• The IB produces publications for schools to inform and support them as they offer IB courses. It is now beginning to work closely with selected publishers and providers to offer material for students.
Dwight School Seoul is visited by teams from the IB who carry out re-authorization visits, usually on a five year cycle.
How does Dwight School Seoul recruit its teachers?
When a teaching vacancy is confirmed, the Head of School or Principal will place an advertisement on the IB Jobs Website, Search Associates or in the Times Educational Supplement. Teaching agencies may also be contacted. A job specification is drawn up and is sent out to applicants. Interviews take place in school; often a demonstration lesson will be required. References are requested and a criminal record check is sought. Usually key issues are: relevant successful teaching experience, IB and international school experience, energy and enthusiasm and a positive approach.
What happens when there is an unexpected school closure, e.g., snow days or typhoons?
Dwight School Seoul uses a system called SMSpia to get in touch with parents in emergency situations. In cases of bad weather, a text message will be sent out to all parents by Clarion Call and a message will also be posted on the school website. The website should be checked daily for updates on openings/closures. In cases of extended closure, the teachers will provide work packs that the students can use at home and they will be in touch via email.
What happens on “Development Mondays”?
Development Mondays take place weekly in School. They allow all staff to work together on planning, evaluation and training. This is high quality in-service time to help the School improve, and is in addition to the five full days of training that both Lower and Upper School staff take part in during the school holidays. Dwight School Seoul teachers are also required to take part in regular before school briefings and after school training.
Will the school contact parents in the event of incidents of poor behavior/bullying etc.? What does the school do about reporting behavior and progress to parents?
We are proud of the accepting and respectful attitude of our students. Most day to day matters are dealt with routinely, but when there is a cause for concern parents will always be contacted. Positive news is shared in assemblies, notes in diaries, newsletters and reports. The school’s ethos, which is influenced by the IB, encourages tolerance, understanding and confidence. Students across the school are taught about the impact of positive behavior through personal, social and health education. To prevent bullying, we carefully supervise and have a clear process to follow, which moderates the behavior of the bully and gives support to the victim. In extreme cases, a student may be excluded from Dwight School Seoul.
How is Learning Support provided?
Dwight School Seoul offers a personalized approach to learning; recognizing that a student body consists of students with a broad spectrum of abilities. The system of support is called Quest, and it involves one-on-one instruction, small group work, therapies and liaison. Some students require additional support and are identified according to standards set by the curriculum. A student’s needs are met by the class/subject teachers, usually by modifying the task. We use the expertise of Learning Support/Quest teachers, and Individual Education Plans (IEPs) are drawn up in consultation with parents. At that time, students may have a Statement of Special Education Needs supported by the local authority – this sets out the student’s strengths, targets and entitlements and often comes with funding.
Sports and Athletics
What sports do we offer?
In both Lower and Upper School, a wide range of sports are introduced. Some examples are: football, basketball, volleyball, cross country running, badminton, swimming and rock climbing on our indoor wall. There are many teams and competitive fixtures – the school has recently had KORCOS competitions in different parts of Korea.
What happens if school transportation is late or suspended?
If there is a problem with school transportation, you will be contacted by our busing coordinator. She has the mobile telephone numbers of families using the school buses, and parents have her contact details. The driver for School Buses is also reachable in case of emergency. SMSpia is used to contact parents quickly.