Vanke Meisha Academy (VMA) is a private, international, bilingual boarding high school that aims to cultivate respectful, responsible, and highly-skilled leaders ready to be of service to the world. Excellent teachers and a proactive counseling program deliver an innovative curriculum, emphasize academic achievement, impart healthy habits, engage students, and foster both interpersonal and emotional growth.
VMA is licensed by the Shenzhen Education Bureau and accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Currently enrolled are 598 students in Grades 9–12, 98% of whom are Chinese. Using inquiry-based learning, the school follows the U.S. Common Core and A Levels curricula along with a selection of Advanced Placement courses. The teaching staff of 112 includes 75 Chinese teachers and 31 North Americans.
Borrowed from the British system of organizing students across grades, the House system in this boarding school mixes students of all four grade levels. The aim is to create a lively atmosphere of friendly competition, in which students can learn leadership and teamwork. To appreciate China’s heritage and long history, the Houses have been named after dynasties, with their mascots taken from the Chinese zodiac, and with their core values, songs, and iconography (symbols, flags, colors, etc.) drawn from traditional Chinese culture.
VMA has a student counseling center that promotes student well-being and self-reliance as a foundation for effective academic growth and for good working relationships. The counselors help students to face challenges and pressures positively, to better understand themselves, to determine their needs and goals, and to discover what they believe and what they’re working toward.
Every VMA student participates in the arts and sports. The arts program encompasses both Western and Eastern elements and perspectives, with students often working collaboratively to create art projects and put on performances. The school offers an artist diploma for pre-professional students who want to pursue an art major in college. VMS also offers eight physical education athletic programs: martial arts, basketball, football (soccer), track and field, badminton, table tennis, flag rugby, and beach volleyball.
In addition to the VMA organized extracurricular activities for students, there are more than 70 clubs run primarily by students pursuing passions that may or may not be explored in the academic curriculum. These clubs offer students opportunities to try out different of kinds of roles, discover new talents, collaborate with peers, and lead one another, demonstrating what they’ve learned. The incredible range of choices includes, but is not limited to, all kinds of sports, choir, math and physics competition, different languages, debate, Model UN, computer programming and game development, dancing, investments, fashion, photography, Chinese painting, music performance, Le Cordon Bleu Dessert Club, Classical Music Club, Psychology Club, Pop Music Club, The Seed Biology Club, Tide Magazine Club, Architecture Club, Calligraphy, Martial Arts Club, Criminology and Investigation Club, and Youth Volunteer Club.
Because VMA values student exploration of global social issues and civic engagement at the local level and beyond, the school has developed a comprehensive service curriculum. In the course of various community service and social practice projects, this experiential curriculum promotes growth through self-exploration and cognition, development of social and communication skills (increasing emotional and social intelligence), and a sense of achievement in building community solidarity. The program has three prongs:
First, students explore personal areas of interest and research possible careers. They then select, apply for, and participate in weeklong (or more) volunteer internship programs to gain a deeper understanding of their chosen fields, which teach skills and expose them to various leadership styles and approaches to team-building, all while developing their sense of responsibility and initiative. Second, students attend Leadership Camp, where they study examples and situations, and through practicing specific skills, students recognize their own potential for leadership. Finally, students take part in Student Community Volunteer Days twice each semester. These service opportunities give them the chance to learn more about human needs and concerns, feel empathy and compassion, demonstrate patience and tolerance, recognize the dignity of all people, and contemplate what more can be done to care for others.
VMA prefers to hire singles and married teachers with a non-teaching spouse. They will consider teaching couples, experienced local teachers lacking certification, exceptional newly-certified teachers, and those certified in non-English speaking countries. All candidates must, however, must have at least two years of teaching experience and possess a bachelor’s degree in the subject they will be teaching. The school adds, “rigorous hiring practices and opportunities for advancement have allowed us to retain over 95% of our faculty and staff.”
Benefits include a monthly housing stipend, a moving allowance, annual airfare, and full tuition for dependent children. The school has recently negotiated a comprehensive global health insurance plan for all foreign teachers. This fully-covered benefit includes life and dental insurance as well as emergency evacuation. After a teacher has worked at VMA for three years, the school will contribute to a teacher’s retirement fund, equal to one month of the teacher's salary. The school also gives a holiday travel allowance and a daycare allowance. Teachers can apply for generous professional development (PD) funds in a variety of areas, like Advanced Placement training workshops, conferences of the National Association of Foreign Student Advisers (NAFSA), WASC workshops, college counseling fairs, and many more. PD disbursements often cover the cost of training, travel, and accommodation. VMA also has plans to expand, and soon will be looking to fill many positions across its campuses. The school says,
With plans to build approximately 100 K–12 campuses in the coming years, VMA will be seeking not only world-class classroom teachers, but also talented, devoted administrators to fill a variety of director, coordinator, dean, assistant principal, and principal positions, and our commitment to internal promotion ensures extensive opportunities for career advancement and leadership.
To gain access to Vanke Meisha Academy’s full profile on the Search Associates database, including a list of all open positions, candidates can apply for membership by clicking here. Candidates already registered can easily access the school profile directly through their dashboards.
Please note: The information presented about this school was valid on the date published. This information may change, and the most up-to-date information can be found on the school profile.