Hangzhou Yungu School (Yungu) is an international school using cutting-edge technology to inspire and sharpen young minds while incorporating both the wisdom and philosophy of the East and the achievements of the West. Yungu is fully financed by Alibaba Partners, with Founder Jack Ma serving as Chairman of the Alibaba Partnership Committee. Founded in 2017, Yungu currently offers three classes of kindergarten, Grades 1–3 in primary school, and Grades 7–9 in middle school, with a total of 414 students.
In 2020, Yungu will offer three classes of kindergarten, Grades 1–4, and Grades 7–9 in the middle school, and will establish the high school with the addition of Grade 10. By 2022, the school will extend to become a pre-K–12 school, with an eventual capacity for 2,200 students. Eventually, a boarding program will be available for Grades 9–12. High school teachers, as founding faculty, will have the same opportunity to shape the curriculum and culture of Yungu, just as the existing faculty has done for kindergarten through middle school. Accredited by the Ministry of Education of People's Republic of China, the school currently employs 62 teachers from China and seven from North America and the U.K.
Though currently renting space, Yungu will move to its brand-new campus in the fall of 2020. The campus will extend over 500 acres, with state-of-the-art facilities and resources, supported by a total planned investment exceeding one billion CNY. The stunning and efficient design makes use of the natural setting, with a river running through the campus, which is surrounded by trees. The kindergarten is a low, circular building set on one side of the campus, and the primary and middle school rise on the other side, with a bridge connecting one side to the other. High-school dormitories—divided for females and males—flank the academic buildings, with dedicated common spaces to support the House system. To support the high school’s residential program, some teachers and administrators will live in faculty apartments in the dorm.
The school’s locale—Shuangqiao Village, Sandun Town—is situated where the West Lake District and Yuhang District meet. The area is criss-crossed by waterways and is bordered by mountains to the west, where greenery and fresh air abound. Several historical and cultural sites of interest can still be found among the area’s villages. This region will also soon become the center of National Cloud Computing and Big Data as well as the engine that drives the economic development of Hangzhou. Located in this dynamic part of China, Yungu aims to act locally and think globally. This bi-lingual school is dedicated to providing students with both Chinese and Western language and cultural immersion. All students will engage in international travel prior to graduation to develop global awareness and perspective.
Yunghu will use the internet as its foundation for teaching and learning. The school believes in individualized education supported by technology, with its approach informed by big data, cloud computing, and IoT (Internet of Things). Using inquiry-based learning, Yungu School can realize its mission: to bring out the best in every child.
For students younger than Grade 6, Yungu organizes students into groups of five, according to shared interests and personal characteristics. Each group is assigned a Mentor, who is responsible for supporting their mentees’ growth. Mentors not only help their mentees become self-sufficient, but they also ensure personalized teaching, learning, and nurturing. Mentors collaborate with each other to follow and support a class of students who, in turn, gain experience through interacting with each other.
Yungu’s House System is constructed and managed by both House Mentors and students. Houses have their own names, logos, colors, rules, cultures, and exclusive spaces for activities. Here, students of different backgrounds and grade levels pursue diverse interests and activities together and find a sense of belonging and mutual appreciation. Inter-House competitions enhance cohesion and cultivate team spirit and leadership. Finally, House Mentors offer guidance in developing critical thinking and conflict resolution skills as well as in building healthy, positive relationships. The value of these House activities only increases as students begin boarding school in Grade 9.
As part of the athletics program, all students will be introduced to swimming, tennis, Tai Chi, and football. Through practice and competition, all students build essential character qualities like determination, grit, resilience, and teamwork, and they learn to lead balanced, healthy lives. Furthermore, some students may discover a passion and/or talent that inspires deeper commitment and loftier accomplishments.
Yungu is also committed to creating pathways for students to pursue the arts as deeply as they wish. Students may choose ceramic art, ink painting, sculpture, oil paintings, vocal music, instrumental music, or music composition. Extra-curricular groups such as glee club, orchestra, and the Chinese traditional instrument orchestra provide more opportunities for performers.
As Yungu awaits the arrival of its first cohort of 10th graders in the fall of 2020, the school anticipates offering high school programs such as Model UN, student newspaper, and clubs devoted to drama, debate, finance, investment, and language, and many others, depending on the interests and talents of the group.
Hangzhou Yungu School is interested in hiring singles and couples, including those with a non-teaching spouse. Candidates must have at least two years of teaching experience, but the school is also interested in exceptional, experienced teachers lacking certification or those certified in non-English speaking countries. Those teaching English, however, must be native English speakers. The school will also consider hiring interns. Candidates need not have an academic degree in the subject they will be teaching. Those up to the age of 60 may obtain a work visa. Head of School Peter Warsaw adds,
I am convinced that Yungu has the resources, vision, and team to make a lasting contribution to the world of education. Frederick Buechner said that a calling is where one’s ‘deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.’ Yungu is a calling for my colleagues: engaging in and reimagining education fills them with deep joy; and there is little doubt that the world—especially China—has a deep hunger for a new approach to education . . .
Benefits include a housing stipend and sizable moving allowance as well as one annual round-trip airfare. The housing and moving allowance are tax-free if the vouchers required by the Chinese Tax Law are provided. The school’s monthly housing allowance is proportional to the number of dependents living with the employee, with a maximum consideration of two dependents. The school also contributes 6%–8% to a teacher’s retirement plan. Tuition is covered at 50% for up to two children. Bonuses include a 13th month of salary at Spring Festival, plus a performance-based end-of-the-year bonus, which can be up to about two months’ salary. Local health insurance, including life and long-term disability, is fully covered. Professional development (PD) involves workshops or trainings almost every Friday afternoon. Additionally, PD programs led by experts from China and abroad are offered in the first two weeks of July and last two weeks of August. Teachers are encouraged to find other PD opportunities to attend, for which the school may cover part or all of the expenses. Other bonuses offered by the school include subsidized lunch and memberships to sports clubs. This benefits package is a chance for outstanding savings!
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