Category Archives: 校長的話 / Principal’s Notes

NWCS at ACS meeting on May 27, 28

I would like to thank our contestants and their mentors, parents and teachers for their strong support. Their performances demonstrated great improvement over a year ago and despite our delegates did not get placed in the top three, I am sure our young students will continue to perfect their delivery in the next year. Our outgoing Vice Principal Mr. Ping-Chuan Wang recorded the following videos for the NWCS community. (Be sure to watch handsome Evan in Irish Kilt) We want to set this as the bar for all our students for future speech contests at our school. As for next year’s contestants, we will need to train them on stage performance and singing.

Our new Principal Ms. Francine Fang and Vice Principal Mr. Rick Chan attended with six other teachers and their families. Our school ran the Multimedia Presentation contest and really learned a lot from watching and judging 14 teams’ presentation – definitely not your usual corporate style. In addition, we also took some pictures of the works from the Poster contest – rich, colorful, 3D architectural pieces. These experiences should serve us well in preparing our teams next year.

Lastly, our Chinese Knotting teacher Ms. Wang’s exhibit and student activity proved to be a highlight for the meeting. Streams of visitors and overflowing class not only make Ms. Wang famous but also get many people curious about NWCS! I have also heard other schools try to recruit Ms. Wang to teach for them!

Heritage – Intermediate, given by Benjamin Chang (張彥斌)

CSL- Intermediate, given by Evan Cross (少士)

Heritage – Advanced, given by Darren Wang (王大霖)

CSL – Advanced, given by Claudia Strollo (司徒曉儀)


NWCS Weekly Newsletter – 5/8

Dear NWCS families,

First of all, wish all NWCS moms a very happy Mother’s Day! A poet in the Tang Dynasty named Meng Jiao wrote the following, translated in English.


Threads adeptly brandished by a loving mother,
sewed into garments for a son so soon to depart.

Her sewing picks up pace as the date approaches,
worries of belated return echoing in her heart.

Who dare claim that the green grass
might somehow repay the sun for its warm hearth?

The long delayed raffle drawing will take place this Saturday. Please be there to cheer for the raffle winners. (And nominate them for staff and board openings. Let’s see… we have principal, treasurer, registrar, and several board seats open. This is a volunteer run school so let’s work together to get to 50!)

CSL move up assessment nomination and dates

We have scheduled June 3 and June 10 to conduct the speaking and dialog portion of the move up assessment. Since this year’s move up assessment is voluntary, please work with your teacher to decide if you wish to nominate and let our registrar Mr. Tony Wu ( know. The evaluation dimensions, along with sample pages from students’ workbook, are published at

Registration is open with new fee effective July 4
Fall registration is open at The board has approved the full year tuition to increase from $620(check)/$630(credit) to $670/$680 after July 4. Regular electives are $270/$275 with a $50 discount for language class students. Special electives such as SAT and computer programming have their own per semester fee schedule. We are also increasing the sibling discount to $30 to encourage sisters and brothers to attend Chinese school together.

Last call on speech contest video
We will be sending the trophy lists out to the teachers for confirmation after this Saturday. If your kid missed it, no worries. Send us a video clip. Our judges are happy to review them. We want to encourage our kids to practice and speak in every way we can.

Open house and spring roll
We had a fantastic open house last week! Thanks to all the preparation work, including marketing, flyer and brochure plus the impressive array of spring roll ingredients. Thanks to teachers and students’ work on the posters. The refresh allows us to retire many of the old posters from the past few years. I have posted some photos here. If you have taken some more, please send them to me.

NWCS Book Club
Read a timely book and make a difference for NWCS… and hopefully, the world. Our own Dr. Ifay Chang has offered to donate $10 to our school for every purchase of his new book at $20. Send an email to to reserve your copy.

Here is a summary of the book.

The Changing Giants: The U.S. and China
By Ifay F. Chang

The U.S. and China are the world’s two major countries undergoing rapid changes. If you follow the media, you will find that the U.S.-China relation has swung from worse to better, and better to worse in the past few years while each has been changing politically and economically. The recent change for the worse in the U.S.-China relations is worrisome for the entire world. The already complex relationship between the two giants is further compounded by the fierce 2016 U.S. Presidential election resulting in a new administration which prefers to play Trump cards in a no-trump game (bridge jargon). The new U.S. Administration seems to disregard old game rules, conventional suits and existing contracts, thus creating great uncertainty in its China policy which is troubling and challenging China, and bewildering the U.S. allies. China, on the other hand, is gearing up more efforts to inject itself into global affairs while trying to maintain its healthy economic growth and keeping the U.S. at arm’s length. Whether the two giants will change for better or worse is the author’s quest for answer in his writings. The Changing Giants – The U.S. and China is Dr. Chang’s third book following Understanding the U.S. and China (2015) and U.S.-China Relations (2014) to track the development of the U.S. and China, as well as monitor their changing relationship. In this book, Dr. Chang closely examines the current events happening between the two nations and interprets their consequences in the light of the unique historical background of each nation. Through the pages of this book, the author hopes that better understanding of the past can lead people to influence the future. The author hopes that the two changing giants will develop a collaborative relationship for the sake of world peace and prosperity.

Here is a link to the summary in Mandarin.

Your principal,
Yuan-Chi Chang 張元極

NWCS Weekly Newsletter – 5/3

Dear NWCS families, 
We are holding Open House this Saturday, with spring rolls and yummy treats from Breakfast Club to show off the benefit of studying at NWCS. Hope you are excited as I am to welcome and introduce our wonderful school to perspective families. We will also be opening fall registration that day. 
Classroom conduct
I would like to remind all students not to touch or move any properties in the classroom, besides using the desks and chairs. Smart boards, TVs, and teacher’s chair and desk are forbidden for any use. Except for preK and kindergarten students, food and drinks are not permitted in the classroom. Walk, do not run in the hallways. Our counselors have been taking photos before and after class to make sure we restore the classroom and seating arrangement after use. These photos also tell us if any items other than desks and chairs were moved. We are leasing the space from the Briarcliff school. We must respect properties of Briarcliff teachers and students who graciously share these classrooms with us.  
Trophies, trophies
We will be conducting the final round of speech contests this Saturday. If your kid missed the scheduled contest, encourage him or her to submit a video recording. Trophies will only be given to students who participated in the contest. I am also happy to bump any honorable mentions to the 3rd place upon parent’s request. I would like to send a positive encouragement to every student who made a genuine effort to prepare and practice. 
Our Heritage I and dance teacher Ms. Wen-lin Murray, is very environmentally conscious and proposed to recycle old trophies for redistribution. Ms. Murray’s son and daughter have done very well in the past years and collected many trophies. The trophies can be cleaned and put on new name plates instead of going into the dumpster. If you or your kids wish to donate trophies so we can recycle and give them out, please let me know. If you would like to help with the recycling, please let me know also. 

Your principal,
Yuan-Chi Chang 張元極

CSL Move Up Assessment

Dear CSL parents:

We will be conducting move up assessment at the end of the Spring semester to recommend students who are ready to move up to the next level. The purpose of implementing this assessment is to help students find the most appropriate learning level. The move up assessment is meant to evaluate readiness for the learning material in the next book.

The move up assessment is voluntary when a student feels she or he is ready for the 2017-2018 school year. We do not wish to force a student to go through the assessment until she or he feels prepared. After a student passes the assessment, he or she can attend class at the next level. For Advanced II students, this means they can receive academic achievement diploma at the graduation ceremony.

Students may also request to have move up assessment at the beginning of a semester, say September or February, should she or he catch up the learning level during the break.

The passing score is 60 by weighing two components: 70% from the move up assessment score and 30% from the current semester’s final grade. Please see the example test material from the PDF link below.

Please feel free to ask any questions or discuss with your teachers, Dean or me. Let’s work together to make sure our students learn well at NWCS.

CSL assessment

NWCS Weekly Newsletter – 4/1

Dear NWCS families,

Our host school’s PTA ​is postponing the​ 5K run ​to​ April ​2nd due to rain and cold.

​We will however, keep the 8:30 am start but we can use our regular parking area.​​

Breakfast Club salty finger food bake sale on April 1
Vivian told me to emphasize the point that it is salty finger food, not sweet finger food. The belief is salty finger food does not cause cavities. :-)
This is also not an April Fool’s prank. So prepare $5 and lick your fingers.

April 8th clarification – we have school!!!
Due to a website error, the old calendar with the wrong Easter Break date of April 8th was still online. The correct Easter Break date is April 15th and was corrected on October 1st and uploaded but not readily accessible. As a result, some families have made plans to be away, so we will ask teachers to allow for make up Midterm exams when we come back on 4/22.

Your principal,
Yuan-Chi Chang 張元極

NWCS Weekly Newsletter – 3/22

Dear NWCS families:

Week 5 is coming up this Saturday. If you haven’t spoken to your teacher, please make an appointment to discuss your kid’s learning progress. I would also highly recommend students who wish to practice more speaking and listening to join our wonderful tutors at 11 am at Room 111. Speaking and listening will be an integral part of proficiency assessment at the end of this semester. If your kids are here to learn Chinese, we want them to speak and speak well.

Calling for volunteers at ACS conference
As you know, our school is part of the second region of the Association of Chinese Schools responsible for organizing and running the 2017 annual event in Hartford, CT on May 27 and 28. We are responsible to run the Multimedia student contest, the vendor display tables, the student activity program and the trophies. While our teachers are busy attending education sessions to improve their teaching, it is up to the rest of us to help running the program. I expect the Multimedia contest in particular to encounter all the usual techie challenges including projection, sound track, cables and laptop settings, etc. If you would like to help out, please let me or Mr. Rick Chan know so we can include your family in the hotel list. Yes, we do need to book the rooms before the reserved lot at Hilton Hartford runs out.

Yummy dumpling a great success
Thanks to our wonderful Breakfast Club and all the eager chefs for making dumplings at this grand scale, likely a record in Westchester if not in New York. I have posted some photos here
My only plead is next time we hold the event, we need to reserve some of our teachers. It was like by 10:40 (!), the trays were all clean and washed up already. Thank you for supporting the school but let’s not forget about our teachers.

Your principal,
Yuan-Chi Chang 張元極

NWCS Weekly Newsletter – 3/15

Dear NWCS families:

It surely feels like we are back in winter. Hope nobody’s back was hurt shoveling snow. Stay warm and safe but do come to school on Saturday.

Mr. Rick Chan to serve as acting vice principal
I wish to announce that our vice principal Mr. Ping-Chuan Wang, who orchestrated graduation ceremony and Chinese New Year performance in the past two years, will be temporarily absent ​from school ​in the next few months. Mr. Rick Chan has kindly agreed to step in and serve as acting vice principal.​ Coincidentally, Mr. Wang’s wife Ms. Huang teaches CSL Intermediate II while Mr. Chan’s wife Ms. ​Kan teaches Heritage III. They are true, dedicated NWCS families whom we fully exploit their good will and labor. :-) Ping-Chuan and Rick, we appreciate and thank you for your services.

What did 5th graders do during winter break?
Ms. Kuo, our Heritage V teacher, kindly shared with us the winter diaries of her class. Read the diaries if you would like to find out what our 5th graders did during the break. 謝謝郭老師和班上的小朋友!! Please see

I welcome any form of Chinese writing from our students – diaries, travel journals, stories – on any subject and topic. If you wish to share your child’s work, please send me an electronic copy and I will post it. 

Raffle tickets on sale
We will be selling raffle tickets in the cafeteria. The donated raffle prizes include Amazon Echo (Hello Alexa), Saks Fifth Avenue, Starbucks, CVS gift cards and more. To those who have been feeling lucky (who isn’t?), this is your chance to grab many prizes and help our school.

Your principal,
Yuan-Chi Chang 張元極

NWCS Weekly Newsletter – 3/8

Dear NWCS families:
We have another incident last Saturday reported by our host school about items moved in the classroom and smart board drawn with dry erase markers. I wish to remind and emphasize to everyone that we must respect teachers’ and students’ material and do not eat or drink in the classrooms. Students should not use markers unless they are asked by the teacher. We have been with the Briarcliff Middle School for eleven years and we have been always a welcomed tenant. Let us work together to keep it that way. 
Spring Contest coming up
Like last year, we will be moving up middle to upper grades’ speech and multimedia contests toward the end of this month so we can nominate a strong team to represent NWCS at the annual ACS conference in May. For lower grades, including the happy preschoolers, their speaking contests remain in May. And yes, we plan to hand out trophies to every student who works hard to prepare. At NWCS we are all winners, just some win bigger. :-)
Community news
Lightly-played solid wood/cherry finish Yamaha upright piano for sale, model M450TC, like-new condition, $3,000. This model is discontinued, but is comparable to Yamaha’s M560 which sells for $6,999. Please contact Mrs. Constance Clemmons. 
That’s Mandarin’s Summer Chinese Camp – The Chin children attended this immersion summer camp in July of 2015.  Calvin and his family highly recommend it! Homestay, Day Camps, Family Camps and Chinese Classes only Camps are available to all NWCS students, sign-up today and save 5%. Visit their website
Your principal,
Yuan-Chi Chang 張元極

NWCS Weekly Newsletter – 3/1

Dear NWCS families:


pring is in the air! I hope all the skiers are done on the slopes for the season (so we will see better attendance this Saturday). 

CSL move up

I would like to congratulate two students Jason Zhang (张明皓) and Natalie Roc-Sennett (玲玲) passed oral evaluation to move up one level in the CSL track. Head teachers and I sat down with them to chat casually over a couple of topics randomly drawn from the textbook. We were pleased and impressed by their readiness for the next level. As described in this guide, the CSL track is divided into competency levels instead of age-based grades. I will be posting assessment guidelines shortly to help students understand how they will be evaluated for readiness for the next level. As parents and volunteers, we want our kids to fully take advantage of time at NWCS to speak Chinese, in addition to other fun things they do with friends. We can all work together toward this goal. 

Raffle tickets on sale
We will be selling raffle tickets in the cafeteria. The donated raffle prizes include Amazon Echo (Hello Alexa), Saks Fifth Avenue, Starbucks, CVS gift cards and more. To those who have been feeling lucky (who isn’t?), this is your chance to grab many prizes and help our school.

Your principal,
Yuan-Chi Chang 張元極

NWCS Weekly Newsletter – 2/24

Dear NWCS families:
Welcome back, after a long, warm winter break. Our spring semester starts this Saturday so be sure to set your alarm o’clock. 
We have reopened the registration system for SAT and new family enrollment. The rest of us who have gone through the fall semester, please do not send us another check. Tuition is paid once for the entire school year, not per semester. With that said…
First ever NWCS Challenge Grant
The board is pleased to announce that two families are offering a challenge grant in the amount of $5000. They will match up to $5000 in donations from other families and sources. This challenge grant is good until March 31. As we mentioned in the general meeting, NWCS is expecting a financial gap at the end of this school year estimated in the range of $15,000. While we have reserves, the board feels it is fiscally responsible to narrow the gap as much as we can.
ACS student contests
This year, NWCS along with 8 other Chinese schools from southeastern New York to western Connecticut will be hosting the annual ACS conference in Hartford, CT. As in the past year, I would like to encourage our best and brightest to represent our school at the student contests, ranging from singing, YoYo, multimedia, poster, to speech. Speech contests are open to the heritage and CSL tracks. Our teachers are committed to work with our student representatives to form and train the best teams. We also need parents’ support so you can participate in this annual event with us. You will soon be hearing from your teachers about what contests we aim to enter. Although the registration deadline is April 15, it never hurts to start early. 
There are both Chinese and English announcements at the conference website
You are welcome to check it out and talk to me or our ACS liaison Mr. Rick Chan to find out how you can help.  
Raffle tickets on sale
We will be selling raffle tickets in the cafeteria. The donated raffle prizes include Amazon Echo (Hello Alexa), Saks Fifth Avenue, Starbucks, CVS gift cards and more. To those who have been feeling lucky (who isn’t?), this is your chance to grab many prizes and help our school.
Your principal,
Yuan-Chi Chang 張元極

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