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  • Topping out ceremony held for Kunshan K-12 school

    Wednesday 26 Jun 2019

    A celebration was held on Saturday 22 June 2019 to mark the completion of vertical construction on Dipont Education’s new K-12 school in Kunshan, China.

    The ‘topping out’ ceremony was held at the site of the school’s construction in the Kunshan Economic and Technological Development Zone and was attended by representatives of all partners involved in the project.

    Person giving a presentation in front an audience at the topping out ceremony

    A topping out ceremony was held for the new school construction

    The new school is set to open in 2020. It is the latest K-12 campus to be developed by Dipont in a unique partnership model with local government and a leading Chinese school, in this case The No. 2 High School of East China Normal University, commonly referred to as Hua’er.

    The new school, which is currently under construction, covered in scaffolding

    Construction on the school has moved into a second phase

    During the ceremony, speeches were given by Carol Santos, the newly appointed founding head, Zhicong Li, principal of The No. 2 High School of East China Normal University, and Hui Li, deputy mayor of Kunshan Municipal People’s Government, among others. All expressed their appreciation for those who had worked on the construction as well as their high expectations for the school’s future development.

    Carol Santos, the school's new founding head, gives a speech at a podium

    The new founding head, Carol Santos, gave a speech

    In the building industry, topping out is a builders’ rite traditionally held when the last beam (or its equivalent) is placed atop a structure during its construction. Guests at the event witnessed this important step, marking the start of phase two of construction on the site.

    Attendees to the ceremony walk around the construction site wearing hard hats

    Attendees to the event toured the site

    Leadership team in place

    The first appointments to the new school’s leadership team have been made and work has already begun on planning the curriculum, which will integrate educational practices and principles from the US into a bilingual Chinese curriculum.

    Zhicong Li will serve as general principal. Having been principal of The No. 2 High School of East China Normal University since 2000, he has deep knowledge of Hua’er’s ethos and the Chinese educational system, which he will bring to the Kunshan project.

    Attendees to the topping out ceremony line up for a photograph in front of a red board with Chinese characters

    Representatives of the project partners attended the event

    Carol Santos brings with her 25 years of experience as an educator and senior leader in prestigious independent schools in the United States. After serving as the assistant head at Groton School and then associate head of Miss Porter’s School, both premier boarding and day schools, Carol became the head of Centennial Academy, leading its conversion from a traditional US public school to a public charter school. 

    Core members of the new management team, such heads of departments, are gradually being put in place. Educators from across the world will be sought for these positions in order to create a high-quality multicultural team. Vacancies will be advertised on Dipont’s website as they become available.

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