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Nanjing International School
Nanjing International School
Nanjing International School

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Nanjing International School

Weekly Bulletin: Updates from the Board

Updates From the Board | October 15, 2021


Date: September 24, 2021

Present: (please refer to sign-up list)


Apologies: Othon Irigoyen


Minutes: Georgina Christensen

Status of Agenda Item:


For Action by Board = ACT

For Agreement by Consent = CNS

For Information Only = FIO

Time:  08:10am

Location: Large Group Room, 3F, Centre





Agenda Item


Action + Person(s) Responsible

1. Welcome


Julia Güsten, Board Chair: Welcome

Minute Taker volunteer Georgina Christensen


2. Introduction of Board Members

Julia Güsten – Chair of Board

Andrea Raviolo, Sonia Jaeger, Xiaojiao Traeger-Wu, Ellen Wieck-Mesarosch, Tommy Cheung and Andy Reid

Non-voting members: Laurie McLellan & Angela Romero
Non-voting Board Participant: Othon Irigoyen (not present)


3. Structure of AGM

How is the school structured? Explanation by Board Chair:

  • This school is an association of the parents of NIS school students.
  • It is non-profit, members of the association are the parents, and they make the decisions for by-laws and designate a board who is responsible for (1) mission & strategy, (2) financial oversight and (3) identifying and hiring a director. They are not responsible for or get involved in operations.
  • School board has 10 members. 2 are non-voting (the Director and the staff board member) plus 1 non-voting board participant who can step onto the board if a board member needs to leave the board for any reason during his or her tenure.


4. Approval of Annual Report including Financial Statement

Andrea Raviolo: Thank you to Arek Owczarek and Julia Zhang for their assistance in compiling the report for the finances for the past school year 2020/2021.

Summary of the report below.

  • Actual surplus is 7.4 M (budget -13.8, actual 7.4 M). Surplus is used to enable the school to fulfill its mission.
  • Enrolment 68 students more than budget (budget 540, actual 608 students)
  • Expenses 7.5M down v budget (budget 121.1, actual 113.6 M)
  • Revenue 13.7M more than budget (budget 107.3, actual 121.0 M)

Approval of Financial Statement. 
The motion passed with 38 votes in favor, 1 abstention.

Approval of the Annual Report 2020/2021.
The motion passed with 38 votes in favor, 1 abstention.



5. Approval of the Auditor’s Report

Approval of the auditor’s report from DeLoitte.
The motion passed with 38 votes in favor, 1 abstention.



6. Approval of the appointment of an auditor for the coming school year

Approval of the appointment of DeLoitte to perform the audit for next year.
The motion passed with 36 votes in favor & 3 abstentions.



7. A projected budget and outlook for the current school year


Projected budget:

Andrea Raviolo: Presented the budget for school year 2021/2022

  • Enrolment (students) 20/21 608 (actual), 21/22 620 (budget). 12 students more vs. 20/21.
  • Expenses (M RMB): 21/21 113.6 (actual), 21/22 124.3 (budget). Increased by 10.7M. The changed tax situation in China means that expenses have increased. The school is absorbing these additional costs from reductions in other areas.
  • Revenue (M RMB) 20/21 121.0 (actual), 21/22 126.7 (budget). Increased by 5.7M vs 20/21.
  • Profit and Loss (5+1) shows the profit and loss from 2016/2017 to 20/21 and the budget for 21/22. Enrolments have decreased overall but the financial position has remained in surplus. The school is managing the changing student numbers whilst maintaining the surplus position.

Four questions from members: (Q=Question; A=Answer)
Q1: Why is there a difference between enrolment numbers and surplus – that is, why do they not track together?
A1: Laurie McLellan and Andrea Raviolo: 70-75% costs are human resources (mainly costs of teachers) – when there is an increase to the number of students then there is an increase in teachers to maintain the student / teacher ratio. There was a decrease in enrolments from 2018 to 2020 and it takes a while to adjust these numbers as the school must honor contracts. Growth had been projected but the actual enrolment numbers dropped in 2019/2020. Operating costs are increasing each year due to inflation.
Q2: Question about the current number of students.
A2: Laurie McLellan – just over 630 enrolments currently and the numbers change from week to week and the projection is for growth in enrolment numbers.
Q3: Is there a maximum number of students?
A4: Laurie McLellan – the limit was set at 880 students in the school.
Q4: Please explain about the ratio of students from different backgrounds:
A4: Laurie McLellan. The school has a diversity policy that allows a maximum of 30% of any nationality. The makeup of the student body is changing and now consists of 30-40% of students with Chinese heritage. Many students from Chinese heritage hold non-Chinese passports hence the school tracks both heritage and passport country. Also, the school tracks whether English is at mother-tongue fluency or a different level to maintain diversity in each classroom. The school has a waiting list composed of Korean students who cannot enroll as many classrooms have the maximum 30% of students who are Korean. The school aims to keep to the ratios to maintain a rich opportunity for language acquisition and to maintain diversity in the student population.


  • Strategic Policy F4 - NIS should make every attempt to maintain operating reserves equal or no less than 20% of anticipated budget expenses.
  • Bank balance cannot go below 20% operation costs – this reserve is invested in a bond with interest. There are peaks and troughs in the net cashflow due to timing of receiving of school fees and operating costs. The key point is that the bank balance is positive. Previously the school had bank loans to build the campus – this was paid off several years ago and the school is debt free.
    MBRPs = Main Building Renovation Projects – the school uses surplus money to invest in building projects at the school.


  • Julia Güsten
    Board goals for 2021/22
    1. Ensure an appropriate and regular risk management process, focusing on:
    (a) teacher retention & recruitment
    (b) board succession
    (c) financial

    2. Evolve our understanding of inclusion and diversity through the lens of JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion).


Outlook for the current school year:

Laurie McLellan

  • Teaching and Learning
    -Establishment of Secondary School Grades 6-12: NIS was previously divided into Primary, Middle and Upper. School enrolments are likely to remain in the range of 600-650 (not 700) in the future. The structure of the school was changed to be divided into two sections: Primary and Secondary.
    -Introduction of two College/University Counsellors. Most students graduate with US style diploma and IB qualification. This year’s Grade 11 has a large class (58 students) and this would be the biggest graduating class (normally around 30 students in the graduating year). Therefore an increase to 2 staff members (from 1 staff member) to assist students to work on their university and college applications.
    -Enhanced student choice with first NIS students studying Global Online Academy (GOA). Students taking subjects from GOA are taught by teachers around the world (mainly US) and this increases the subject choices. Between 9th and 10th grade there are currently 15 students who are doing GOA courses – these subjects are included on the student transcript in the same manner as subjects which are delivered by teachers on-campus. This is helpful for students who can study their (niche) subject interests. LM predicts that there will be growth in students who are studying a range of subjects including from other schools through similar programs over the next decade as there are many advantages to allowing students more choices and they can follow their passions.
    -Building on highest IB Diploma results for 2nd year in succession. NIS is not a selective school – the only requirement is to have a certain level of English. As a school we are working with a range of students, and it is rewarding to see the academic success of students, and this is excellent when benchmarked with other similar inclusive schools.
    -There were many learnings from online learning – for example, some students said that they felt less inhibited in learning when “learning alone” in the online learning mode. LM’s conclusion is that we can increase student wellbeing by infusing aspects of development of wellbeing by understanding student’s needs (by asking them).
    -Early teacher recruitment for 2022-23. It is very difficult to bring new school staff from overseas (expats) with their children due to the current restrictions and it is possible that this problem may persist into next year. The applications received for teaching positions in the school are about 10% of what has been received in previous years. This problem is common to all schools in China. This has extended the recruitment process (interviews have started now whereas they would normally start in December)


  • Campus development

The school has completed the upgrade to foyer, including additional meeting facilities and PTA shop. The school believes that this stunning new area better reflects the great facilities in the school. The school is working towards changes to the HUB – this is held up due to approvals. Also planning has commenced for an upgrade to the running track.


  • JEDI = Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion:

Lead faculty and staff through initial training in JEDI. In NIS we have embedded diversity and NIS is an inclusive learning community which welcomes people with different learning approaches. There have been global movements such as the MeToo movement, Black Lives Matter which address institutional discrimination and this has sparked thinking within the school about how we can continue to imbed justice, equity and diversity into our school beyond counting the numbers of students from different backgrounds. For example, the percentage of students with Asian heritage has steadily increased within the school and represents the majority of students. NIS remains an English-speaking school and teachers are mainly from Western liberal tradition – and this model of teaching encourages student voice and supporting them to find their own way.
Design and publish plan to infuse JEDI into all aspects of NIS community life.
Total focus on evolving our understanding of what ‘an inclusive learning community’ means at NIS. We need to strive to have a deeper understanding of our ideas – and work out which continue to be relevant for our school. The first work (with US-based consultants) is about sense of belonging. The board have been involved also with this training. The result is to evolve understanding about the school’s inclusivity goal.

  • Director’s Goals 2021/22
    1. Undergo a market analysis of teacher pay and conditions.
    2. Fill crucial leadership position for 2022-3 (Primary Principal, IB MYP Coordinator)
    3. Lead faculty and staff through initial training
    4. Design and publish plan to infuse JEDI into all aspects of NIS community life
    5. Start construction of the HUB

Julia Güsten thanked everyone for their attendance and closed the meeting.


Minute taker’s name:  Georgina Christensen