Hong Kong International School

Hong Kong International School (HKIS) is an international Christian private school with campuses in Tai Tam and Repulse Bay, Hong Kong. The school was founded in 1966. Today, HKIS spans from reception one to the twelfth grade. Its Lower and Upper Primary Divisions are located in Repulse Bay and the Middle and High Schools are located in Tai Tam. The Western Association of Schools and Colleges has continuously accredited Hong Kong International School since 1971.

Hong Kong International School
Repulse Bay and Tai Tam, Hong Kong
Established19 September 1966 (1966-09-19)
Head of schoolRon Roukema (Interim)
Number of studentsOver 2,640 students
Color(s)Dark Red, White, Navy
MascotToerche the Drago
AffiliationChristian Lutheran
High School Principal:David Lovelin
Middle School PrincipalBrad Latzke
Upper Primary PrincipalJennifer DeLashmutt
Lower Primary PrincipalGeoff Heney
Campus surroundingsPrivate Campus
Hong Kong International School
Traditional Chinese香港國際學校
Simplified Chinese香港国际学校


In 1964 a Hong Kong-based committee of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS) first submitted a proposal to have the school built.[1]

Hong Kong International School was founded in September 1966, its first location consisting of makeshift premises including residential flats in Chung Hom Kok, housing 120 students. The school was brought to life by the actions of three groups, all working together to the same ends; the Hong Kong Government (which granted land and interest free loans), a group of American businessmen and representatives of the educational arm of the LCMS. On 14 September 1967, HKIS opened the doors to a new camp in Repulse Bay and housed 630 multi-national students. The first permanent school building, with seven stories, 32 classrooms, and a capacity for 750 pupils, cost $5,350,000 Hong Kong dollars. The campus included a cafeteria, library, and gymnasium. It became the first school in Hong Kong with a U.S. education program.[2]

HKIS continued to expand over time, which led to the creation of a second building in Repulse Bay, and finally an additional campus in Tai Tam. Its first primary school building in South Bay Close, Repulse Bay was dedicated in 1975.[3] In the 1970s the school had both American students and students of other nationalities.[4]

Lower Primary and Upper Primary remain in Repulse Bay while Middle School and High School are in Tai Tam. In 2003, HKIS and BrainPop collaborated on an episode of the latter about SARS/MERS. The school has just finished undergoing its fourth major infrastructure development plan around mid-2010 in the Middle School Campus, called the Middle School Annex.

Heads of School

1966–1977 – Robert (Bob) E. Christian
1977–1996 – David F. Rittmann
1997-1997 – Earl J. Westrick
1997–2001 – Charles (Chuck) W. Dull
2001–2004 – William B. Wehrenberg
2004–2005 – James A. Handrich
2005–2010 – Richard W. Mueller
2010–2011 – David J. Condon
2011–2014 – Kevin M. Dunning
2014–2017 – Alan Runge
2017 – Ron Roukema 2018 - Brad Latzke 2019 - Connie Kim



The school is divided into four divisions, all co-educational: Lower Primary (Grades R1 and R2-Grades 1 and 2), Upper Primary (Grades 3–5), Middle School (Grades 6–8) and High School (Grades 9–12). Lower Primary (LP) and Upper Primary (UP) are housed in the original building in Repulse Bay, while the Middle School (MS) and High School (HS) are in the newer building in Tai Tam.

In 2010, HKIS became a 1:1 (one laptop, one student) school, offering education in both the traditional form and through technology. Every student from grade 5 upwards was equipped with an Apple MacBook Pro and younger students learn using a wide range of software using MacBook Pros, iPods, and iPads that remain at school. In 2013 the school switched to MacBook Airs for students participating in the 1:1 program.[5]

Each division of the school has its own administration and student government organization; the high school's is known as the Senate, the middle school's is called the Student Leadership Team, and the upper primary's is called the Student Consul. The entire school is overseen by the current Head of School, Ron Roukema.

For the 2011/17 academic year, over 2,640 students (from over 40 different nationalities) and 500 faculty and staff occupy the two separate campuses of HKIS. Four libraries house a total of 200,000 books, periodicals and technological resources.

Tai Tam
Repulse Bay
Tai Tam
Repulse Bay


The school follows an American curriculum, offering various Advanced Placement courses and 3 foreign languages in Middle School and High School: French, Spanish and Chinese. Chinese language study is mandatory for R1-G5 students.

Students in the High School division are required to study interdisciplinary Humanities, American History, Biblical Studies, Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and also meet various requirements in Fine Arts, Information Technology, Asian Studies, and Physical Education & Health. Religious education is a compulsory element of the curriculum.

Independent Study and Senior Option, where students design their own coursework and present their studies to faculty advisors, are also offered.

HKIS students constantly outperform the US SCAT/SSAT/SAAT results. The US national mean scores in 2011 were; critical reading 497, math 514, writing 489. HKIS results for that year were 620 (+123), 677 (+163) and 633 (+144), respectively.

Fine arts

HKIS' High School has an extensive fine arts program, offering numerous courses in the Performing and Visual arts. At least one arts credit is required for graduation, with at least one half-credit course in performance/studio arts and, if only the minimum requirement is met, a one half-credit fine arts survey course.

HKIS is a member of the Association for Music in International Schools (AMIS), which hosts honour festivals for students of international schools. Acceptance is highly competitive and HKIS' Middle School and High School bands, choirs, and strings programs have been well represented at AMIS festivals since 2009. HKIS' high school has also hosted the annual Southeast Asia Honor Band Program, inviting several major schools from the region (i.e. Jakarta, Taipei) to participate. At these festivals, HKIS also provided three honor bands of its own: the Middle School band, the Junior Varsity band and a Varsity honor band. In 2005, the High School Wind Ensemble earned first place at the Hong Kong Schools Music Festival. The High School band also travels to various countries for the APAC Festival, where students work with talented composers such as Robert W. Smith to put on a full length concert in a few days. This festival has been held in places like Seoul and Shanghai. The Middle School band performs twice annually: once publicly, often in Stanley or City Hall, and once privately, usually in the Middle School Gymnasium. Other instrumental programs include the Strings program, which performs twice a year. They placed first in the Hong Kong Schools Interflow Music Festival in 2010 and again in 2014. In 2011, they placed third in the American String Teachers Association National Orchestra Festival in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

In Middle School there are two performances per year, a musical and a play. Along with these there are also Musical Theater classes, drama classes and classes on theater craft. The HKIS has also been part of http://www.ista.co.uk/ since spring 2012 and has attended a festival in Singapore. In the 2012–2013 school year the Middle school will be participating in 2 Ista festivals one in Bangkok and another in Hong Kong, which will be hosted at French International school.

Finally, HKIS has various choirs: the Upper Primary choir of 60, several Middle School Choirs totalling over 100 singers, and three High School choirs with a total membership of 80. Every year, the Madrigal Singers perform at the American Club's tree-lighting ceremony, the Rugby Sevens, and the Middle School choir sends a contingent to AMIS festivals around the world every year, in locations such as Kuala Lumpur (2012), Jakarta (2010), Scotland (2009), and Paris (2010).

The High School visual arts' program offers classes of various levels in 2D studio art, 3D studio art, photography, and more recently, graphic design. Classes at the introductory level are more structured, with students gaining more freedom in project direction as they progress in the curriculum. There is a strong emphasis on socially conscientious art; students from the High School art program were invited in 2005 to participate in The Art Miles Mural Project, as well as the 100 People World Portrait Project (100People.org). The film program has also expanded in the past several years, now boasting the Tai Tam Virtual Film Festival, judged by industry professionals as well as media instructors throughout Hong Kong and the Asia region.

Students in both High School and Middle School are also able to participate in school plays and musicals, both backstage and onstage. In the past three years alone, HKIS' HS and MS have produced many shows, including Into the Woods Jr., The Apple Tree, Aida, The Crucible, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, Thoroughly Modern Millie Jr., and The Bald Soprano.


In 1969 the school had 900 students from 26 nationalities, with 80% being U.S. citizens.[6]

Student life

Students are involved in many extracurricular activities, the diverse offerings including student government, various publications, social activism, athletics, forensics, Christian clubs, service clubs, and the performing arts.


Club involvement is considered an "integral aspect of the educational experience" at Hong Kong International School.[7] As of the 2007–2008 school year, HKIS High School has a total of 70 registered clubs, with an especially strong focus in community service. Students in the High School are able to form their own official clubs with the approval of the faculty and student government.

Student Publications

Junto, Hong Kong International School's High School student-run newspaper, is published monthly and uses an investigative journalism format to write stories about HKIS news and events.

Ambrosia Magazine, currently in its 29th volume, is an annually-published arts and literary magazine featuring poetry, prose, and artwork by members of the HKIS community. Every year, the publication names a Poet Laureate to honor the best poetry submission.

Chuan Long(傳龍) Magazine is Hong Kong International School's bilingual publication. Released regularly, the magazine features articles written both in English and Chinese, maintaining a focus on Asian culture.
The Chuan Long website is http://dragonnet.hkis.edu.hk/hs/chuanlong%5B%5D

Orientale is Hong Kong International School's yearbook. High School Senior Year Graduates receive half a page to customize, with their own personal quote, portrait, description, and collage, and students get anywhere from 2–6 pages to have signed by friends, or customize however they like.

Inklings Is the middle school magazine, run by a group of student editors, is a magazine that features middle school students literary works. This magazine comes out yearly.

Student Government

The main body of student government in the High School is the Student Senate, which consists of mostly elected student representatives and several faculty advisors. The High School annually elects an Executive Council, composed of the Presiding Officer, the Senator of Student Life, the Senator of Academics, the Senator of Service, the Senator of Public Relations, the Senator of Interim and Athletics, the Senator of Discipline, Senate Treasurer, and Senate Secretary. Additionally, each grade elects a President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer to act as class representatives.

Summer school

By 2004 the school established an extracurricular summer school, which was one of the largest in Hong Kong.[8]

Recent developments

During the 2016–2017 academic year, HKIS celebrated its 50th anniversary[9]. One of the biggest events included the 50th Anniversary Ball, among a series of other celebrations held throughout May 2017.

The Middle School completed a new annex during the summers of 2009 overlooking Tai Tam Bay. The annex includes administrative offices, a boardroom, several new Modern Languages classrooms, and a flexible seminar/meeting space. Some of these classrooms have been earmarked to house the R1 classes during the redevelopment of the Lower Primary building.

In June 2011, HKIS announced that it would be redeveloping the Lower Primary school building in Repulse Bay. The project will require the Lower Primary students to move to a new school building for a period of three years. During the redevelopment, the old building will be leveled and a new state-of-the-art building created using the latest in educational research on the environments necessary to foster the best in early learning. After turning down temporary campuses in Chai Wan and Hung Hom, HKIS announced in the Spring of 2013 that the lower primary students would move to the Tai Tam campus starting in the 2014-'15 school year. Offices and support staff rooms at Tai Tam will be retrofitted into classrooms, along with some space in the Middle School being turned over to the Lower Primary. Work will begin in 2014. When completed, the new campus will feature an indoor swimming pool, large auditorium and gymnasium as well as indoor and outdoor learning spaces and housing facilities for some teachers.

Notable students and alumni

See also


  1. "Proposal for US-based international school submitted". South China Morning Post. 7 August 1964. Retrieved 10 November 2018. - Online: 6 October 2016 - Print: "School with U.S. Curriculum Proposed"
  2. "An American education-Authentic US curriculum offered at Hong Kong International School". South China Morning Post. 7 January 1968. Retrieved 10 November 2018. - Online: 21 November 2016 - Print: "The American Way of Schooling: U.S. curriculum and programme at H.K. International School"
  3. "HKIS primary school dedication to take place this week". South China Morning Post. 28 October 1975. Retrieved 10 November 2018. - Online: 5 October 2016
  4. "Quality over quan29ty: New HKIS expansion plans focused on providing world-class student service". South China Morning Post. 29 October 1975. Retrieved 10 November 2018. - Online: 6 October 2016
  5. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 July 2013. Retrieved 29 May 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. "HKIS hosts discussion on American schools in Asia". South China Morning Post. 26 November 1969. Retrieved 10 November 2018. - Online: 16 October 2016 - Print: "Discussion on U.S.-Run Schools in Asia"
  7. HKIS School Clubs Archived 25 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  8. "An elite summer school, too". South China Morning Post. 15 May 2004. Retrieved 10 November 2018. - Re-posted on 12 July 2017.
  9. "Fiftieth Anniversary - Hong Kong International School". www.hkis.edu.hk. Retrieved 23 May 2019.

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