Developing Bilingual and Bicultural Learners

Date: April 26 2017

 It was a full house last night at our Daystar Sanlitun Parent Presentation at the Four Seasons Hotel Beijing.  Parents were eager to meet with the school’s designated Elementary School Principal Ms. Kari King, and hear our in-depth presentation.

The evening kicked off with a warm welcome by Daystar Academy’s Head of School Ms. Elizabeth Hardage. This was followed by our Chinese Principal Tim Lan, who shared how Daystar is embedding Chinese culture in all that we do.


Next up was Ms. King, who is in Beijing visiting before formally beginning her role in August.  Ms. King shared her background, her educational philosophy as well as her vision for the Daystar Sanlitun Campus. Some key takeaways include how she firmly believes we are all inquirers and lifelong learners, and is looking forward to building the Daystar Sanlitun community from the ground up and instill, as its foundation, the ideals of community and collaboration.


Following Ms. King was the entire Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment team, led by Dr. Colt Turner our Director of CIA.  He shared Daystar’s vision, which is to develop Bilingual and Bicultural 21st Century Learners, and how we hope to achieve that. The 21st century skills that we focus on are:


The 4Cs

  •  Critical thinking 

  • Communication

  • Collaboration

  • Creativity 


He then also shared our teaching approach, which are as follows:


  • Bilingual

  • Student-centered

  • Inquiry-based

  • Interest-driven

  • Transdisciplinary 


From left: Colt Turner, Director; Jessica Heyman, K-12 English Curriculum Coordinator; Alice Shi, K-12 Chinese Curriculum Coordinator; Brady Fossenbell, K-12 LEAP Coordinator; Pim Arora, K-12 Technology Integrator; Matt Heyman, K-12 Athletics & ASA Coordinator


Each member of the CIA team then presented their areas of expertise, including details of the English and Chinese curriculum, how we assess our students to understand their current academic level and how best to support them.


We also shared details of our Yuyue program (designed for non-native Chinese speakers), our LEAP program (Learning English for Academic Proficiency) designed for non-native English speakers, and our technology program. Key points from this section include how the Yuyue and LEAP program go beyond the traditional CSL or ESL programs to ensure students graduate truly bilingual, and are able to thrive in an English speaking university. 



When it comes to technology, students are taught how to use technology responsibly, and how it can truly be a wonderful tool for collaborative learning.


The presentation concluded with our K-12 Athletics and After School Activity Coordinator Matt Heyman. He shared the details of Daystar’s sports program, our emphasis on sportsmanship and collaboration, and how parents can support those values at home.


Following the presentation, many parents remained afterwards to chat further with our various senior administrators, and spend some time meeting one another as well!