Director’s Notes

(April 01, 2019)

YA Colleagues,

Now that our WASC visit has concluded I would like everyone to know that the Visiting Team gave us and our students many accolades and have offered us a few areas in which we should continue our improvement efforts.

I’m expecting a written draft report back in 7-10 days. The Visiting Team will then send their recommendations to the WASC people in California. That group meets on June 24 and will render their decision sometime in July.

The Admin team wants to give all of you a big Thanks for all your work and thoughtfulness in this extensive and demanding process.

We have come a long way in the last 2-3 years. As you know in our business of education our work is never really finished. We continue to try to get better every day at what we do, both individually and as an organization.

Good luck with PTC and Thingyan. It shapes up to be a great week and end-of-the-year with a wonderful bunch of parents and students, pulling together with such a committed and talented collection of teachers and back office staff. We are very lucky to all be together at this point of our varied lives while living on this little dot of a place, Yangon, on a very big planet. Amazing!

Ad astra! To the Stars!

David Miller
Director — Yangon Academy; Yangon, Myanmar




Note Archives

Good morning Yangon Academy community, Today we had a morning of celebration for our ever-growing collection of individual and team achievements. Once again both our U14 volleyball boys and girls came away as the 2019 MISAC champions with an undefeated run of matches. Congratulations! The overall number of students participating was enormous, roughly 40/99 students in the entire MS. Last Saturday, we had four entries in the Yangon-wide Student Talent Show. The Park Royal Hotel ballroom downtown was packed. All four YA performances were very high quality, ranging from an energetic 7 member dance team number; two beautiful, two and three student voice pieces with instrumental accompaniment that gave me goose bumps; and culminating with an amazing, extended piano solo written by the master, Beethoven. Definitely, these were intensely disciplined and inspiring exhibitions of what our students can do. Additionally, we showcased our growing set of math competition activities and successes, with Ms. Susan adding Math Counts to our list of opportunities for students to challenge themselves academically outside of class. Nine YA students participated in the first round of competitions with four being invited to the last round of Myanmar Math Counts to be held in late February, and hosted by us, Yangon Academy. As you may remember, we already offer the American Math Olympiad (AMO) in October, Kangaroo Math in March, now Math Counts, and the recently added American Math Competition (AMC) also in February. Our students have invariably come away with top prizes in all these events. Good luck students! In closing, I am happy to tell all of you that university admissions offers are beginning to arrive for Grade 12 students. To date, seniors have offers to U. of Massachusetts, Amherst; Purdue U in Indiana; U. of Illinois, Chicago; U. of South Carolina; Pace U in New York City; U. of San Francisco; U. Of Colorado, Boulder; and Illinois Tech; with more offers arriving almost every day. As Dr. Seuss would say, “And that’s not all.” I will try to keep you posted with more good news as it arrives. Please check our Facebook page from time-to-time to keep up with many of our daily events. We are a very busy school at both Elementary and Secondary sections, as you know. All these examples demonstrate the level of commitment and encouragement given by our wonderful teachers, resulting in a continuing string of student success stories. We are quite proud of our track record, and certainly admire and respect both the behavior and achievements of our amazing student body members. Thanks to our accomplished students and to you, the parents, for making Yangon Academy such a great place to be.   Best. David Miller – Director, Yangon Academy
I have wanted to give our Yangon Academy community an update on our ongoing expansion plans and accomplishments for some time now. As you know we are moving quite aggressively in our remodel and expansion of the Elementary campus. The full construction initiative has evolved in three phases, and we are well into the second phase.
  Phase one was accomplished last August 2017 when we moved the entire Secondary into the complex on New University Road, with more than 20 additional classrooms, computer and science labs, a full-sized basketball court and bleachers, among other valuable spaces. The phase two remodel of the existing Elementary building is nearing completion, with the new adjoining five story building ready occupancy for semester 2. Phase three is envisioned to have another four story building erected next to the current gym with a major renovation of the gym itself, to include a futsal court.  
We are very excited to have all this added space and wonderful set of new facilities. I have posted a few examples for your pleasurable viewing. You can also check our Facebook page for more examples.   Ad astra! To the stars.   Best. David Miller – Director, Yangon Academy
Now that the school year has settled into a nice rhythm, I wanted to give everyone an update on various activities and improvements around the two campuses. At the secondary we remain very thankful at the opportunity to move into our new residence since last August 2017. What a difference it has made in our programs, our sports teams, and in our general attitude and happiness with each other. I intend to calendar various parent talks over the next few months. I hope the 3:30 to 4:30 time frame makes it convenient for everyone to attend.
  • On Wednesday, September 26th, I will again present our Measuring Academic Proficiency (MAP) data over the last four years. In October we will be in our fifth testing cycle.
  • On Wednesday, October 17th, I will give everyone an overview of our new K-9 Science adoption with McGraw-Hill, to include the new digital tools available for teachers and students.
  • On Wednesday, November 14th, I will take up a general overview of our secondary curriculum and entertain ideas for improvement.
Sometime in January I will begin a conversation on AP classes and student choices. In my next blog post I will explain more about our continuing and future plans for facility improvement. Thank you for helpfulness in support of our wonderful students. The best. Ad astra! To the stars!
As we continue to grow here at Yangon Academy we have realized the need to expand our leadership team in administration.  This year we have added a new position for secondary assistant principal.  I think we all agree that Mr. Gordon has proven to be a great addition, bringing a team spirit and can-do attitude to the section. Next year, we are asking Rene MacQuillin, our current ECC Principal, to join our current ES Principal Mark Robertson, as an Assistant Principal. Together, they will run the Pre-Nursery program through Grade 5, with Mr. Robertson being the head. We are also very happy to report that Mr. Bob Powers has agreed to join us as our new Curriculum Coordinator. He will be tasked with guiding the continuing enlargement of our curriculum mapping processes, following the Understanding by Design (UbD) format.  This is a very important job needing close attention.  Mr. Powers brings many years of experience in international schools with him, and has a deep background in secondary English, as well as being an accomplished musician. We are very excited to welcome him. I will give you an update on incoming new teachers in the next set of Director’s Notes. As always, Ad Astra! To the stars!
The AP Results Have Arrived! (July 20, 2017) In the 2016-2017 school year we continued to add new AP courses; AP Psychology and AP Physics 1 this time, and the good news is that YA High School students did very well in all subjects when compared to the Global averages. AP scores range from a maximum score of 5 down to a minimum of 1. Generally, scores of 3 or above are given advanced university credit when a student registers for university courses. Take a look at the table below to see the actual data. Congratulations students and teachers! Ad astra! To the stars!
AP Exam Results 2017 27 YA students took 54 exams in 8 subjects.
Mean (Average) Scores 2017
Macroeconomics (14 students) Psychology (18 students) Human Geography (1 student)
YA 3.29 3.83 4.00
Global 2.89 3.06 2.54
English Language (5 students) Chinese (1 student)
YA 4.00 5.00
Global 2.77 4.38
Biology (5 students) Calculus AB (3 students) Physics 1 (7 students)
YA 3.60 3.00 2.43
Global 2.89 2.93 2.40
Note: four students independently studied, with following results:
Chinese - 5, Human Geography - 4, Physics 1 - 2 and 2.
The MAP results for Yangon Academy have arrived, and we are quite happy to report that our students continue to outperform other international students around the globe, sometimes by a large margin. This year we successfully tested all students in grades 3-8, and we intend to add grade 9 and 10 next year. We will add more international data for the Spring 2017 cycle for your comparison as it becomes available from NWEA. Please see for yourself the scores posted in the table below. Congratulations YA students and teachers! Well done! Yangon Academy MAPS Scores (Oct-2014/May-2017) RIT Scores
Math Language Usage Reading
Fall Spring Fall Spring Fall Spring
Grade 3 2014-2015 YA 198 205 203 206 193 196
2015-2016 198 208 198 204 188 196
2016-2017 204 211 203 210 196 203
2016-2017 All Int 190 188 185
Grade 4 2016-2017 YA 213 224 210 215 203 208
2016-2017 All Int 200 195 193
Grade 5 2014-2015 YA 218 225 213 215 206 209
2015-2016 222 230 215 218 210 216
2016-2017 220 229 215 218 211 216
2016-2017 All Int 210 203 201
Grade 6 2016-2017 YA 229 233 220 226 218 222
2016-2017 All Int 216 209 207
Grade 7 2014-2015 YA 236 242 222 225 219 223
2015-2016 233 240 223 225 221 224
2016-2017 237 242 223 227 221 222
2016-2017 All Int 223 213 212
Grade 8 2016-2017 YA 247 248 228 229 226 228
2016-2017 All Int 231 218 217

This is the poem by Carl Sandburg that I read to the graduates and guests. I think it has good advice and applies easily to both boys and girls.

A Father Sees His Son (from the People, Yes; 1936)

Carl Sandburg

A father sees his son nearing manhood.

What shall he tell that son?

'Life is hard; be steel; be a rock.'

And this might stand him for the storms

and serve him for humdrum monotony

and guide him among sudden betrayals

and tighten him for slack moments.

'Life is a soft loam; be gentle; go easy.'

And this too might serve him.

Brutes have been gentled where lashes failed.

The growth of a frail flower in a path up

has sometimes shattered and split a rock.

A tough will counts. So does desire.

So does a rich soft wanting.

Without rich wanting nothing arrives.

Tell him too much money has killed men

and left them dead years before burial:

the quest of lucre beyond a few easy needs

has twisted good enough men

sometimes into dry thwarted worms.

Tell him time as a stuff can be wasted.

Tell him to be a fool every so often

and to have no shame over having been a fool

yet learning something out of every folly

hoping to repeat none of the cheap follies

thus arriving at intimate understanding

of a world numbering many fools.

Tell him to be alone often and get at himself

and above all tell himself no lies about himself

whatever the white lies and protective fronts

he may use against other people.

Tell him solitude is creative if he is strong

and the final decisions are made in silent rooms.

Tell him to be different from other people

if it comes natural and easy being different.

Let him have lazy days seeking his deeper motives.

Let him seek deep for where he is born natural.

Then he may understand Shakespeare

and the Wright brothers, Pasteur, Pavlov,

Michael Faraday and free imaginations

Bringing changes into a world resenting change.

He will be lonely enough

to have time for the work

he knows as his own.

Some of may be unaware that Yangon Academy for the last two years has been hosting a challenging math competition called the American Mathematics Olympiad (AMO -- for Yangon Academy students in Grade 3 through Grade 8. Students from all over Myanmar compete at their grade level. This year we again had quite a few participants and award winners. Thanks to Ms. Susan, our MS math teacher, who helped organize the practicing sessions.

Our 2016-2017 winners:

Name Nickname Grade Award
Zeyan Htet Zeyan Htet Grade 3 Bronze Award
Simon Htut Simon Htut Grade 3 Silver Award
Kaung Htet Lynn Tut Tut Grade 4 Gold Award
Hein Htet Nay Daniel Wu Grade 5 Silver Award
Nan Thiri Htet Nan Grade 6 Bronze Award
Hein Min Htet Peti Grade 6 Gold Award

We also had Yangon Academy students win awards at a second international math competition recently – the Math Kangaroo Competition.

Name Nickname Grade Award
Kaung Htet Lynn Kaung Htet Lynn Grade 4 Silver Award
Nan Thiri Htet Rosy Grade 6 Bronze Award
Hein Min Htet Peti Grade 6 Gold Award

Going forward for next year, we intend to add even more opportunities for students to challenge themselves in various competitions, to include science as well.

Congratulations to all student participants and award winners! And good luck next year!

The 2017 College and University acceptances are beginning to roll in. Our current Seniors have done very well. I do see a tendency for a University of California preference.  These are all great schools, as are the others around the U.S. and world-wide. Congratulations to our YA students, teachers, and Mr. Willard for contributing to such successes. Please see the growing list below. We celebrate their successes!

College/University Acceptances – YA Graduating Class of 2017

11 Graduating Students; Australia and a few U.S. schools not reporting yet

  College/University Student   College/University Student
  Bishop's U. 1   U. of California, Davis 2
  Pennsylvania State 1   U. of California, Irvine 1
  Purdue U. 1   U. of California, Los Angeles 1
  Savannah School of Art and Design 3   U. of California, Merced 1
  SUNY, Stony Brook 1   U. of California, Riverside 1
  U. of Denver 1   U. Of California, Santa Cruz 1
  U. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign 1   U. Of California, San Diego 2
  U. of Manitoba 1   San Diego State 3
  Valparaiso U. 1
  Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen Netherlands 1

I want to announce to both students and parents that Mr. Willard (our counselor) and I will soon be opening up discussions concerning HS course choices for next year. We will be coming to the individual homerooms during our morning reading times to talk about possibilities; shortly thereafter we will distribute course sign-up sheets for each HS student to take home for parent conversations and signatures. As the HS continues to grow, we anticipate again extending our elective choices for students, like we did this year.

Grade 10 will again have one elective choice equal to 1.0 credits. Possibilities might be taking a second science course (additional to the regular Biology); perhaps general Chemistry or general Physics. Or may be a second Social Studies class (in addition to our regular World History Americas); perhaps general Psychology or general Economics. Or even another set of Art, Music, or P.E. classes.

Of course, Grades 11 and 12 will have many elective choices to add to their required courses in English, Math, Social Studies, and Science. Please check the school website for a listing of graduation requirements.

I welcome parent input for ideas about electives for our students. Please feel free to drop by my office to offer suggestions.

Thank you.

In response to suggestions from various members of the Yangon Academy school community, what follows is meant to be the first of many regular announcements and thoughts for discussion as seen from my seat as the School Director and Secondary Principal. I hope to regularly solicit your ideas as well, and invite you to visit me in my office for a deeper exchange of ideas to move the school forward.

Firstly, I’m happy to announce that we have hired a new Elementary Principal to join us next year. Mr. Mark Robertson has many years of experience, both as a teacher and in school administration. He will be coming from Kent, Washington, U.S.A. with his non-teaching wife and two young children.

We also have hired a new Assistant Secondary Principal joining us from Boston – Mr. Michael Gordon. Mr. Gordon is single, and has been deeply involved with his current school, both as a teacher and in administration, for many years too.

Please welcome them to Myanmar and to Yangon Academy. We will be distributing more details of their individual biographies soon.

Ad astra! To the stars!