On May 28th, China Maple Leaf Educational Systems (CMLES) held a grand ceremony to celebrate its 25th anniversary. The conference adopts video conference and Netease live broadcast, live broadcast to all campuses and the community, and all campuses across the country actively watching.
The Joy of Success and the Pain of Suffering
Dr. Sherman Jen, the founder and chairman of CMLES, made a speech at the ceremony, “The 25-year entrepreneurship experiences and the extraordinary history are unforgettable. The joy of success and the pain of suffering make me feel sometime excited, sometime calm and thoughtful. The reason why CMLES could maintain a sustained development today is that CMLES blends the best practice of Chinese and Western education, implements high-quality education. CMLES could not achieve this without the support of the government, the participation and unremitting efforts of all Maple Leaf people! “
In May 1995, Dalian Maple Leaf International School opened with difficulties and doubts. In September, only 14 students were enrolled in school. In the face of various difficulties and challenges, Maple Leaf School struggled in a narrow living space but did not abandon the development of Chinese and Western education innovation.
Looking back at the Maple Leaf school history, Dr. Sherman Jen proudly said:
“We spent 5 years working hard to explore the Maple Leaf education model, that is, three combinations, two accreditation and one transition. The first graduates verified its success. It took us 15 years to summarize and improve the five major systems under the concept of the combination of optimum Chinese and Western education: curriculum system, education system, culture system, talent system and development system. In 20 years, we have consolidated the foundation from the model to system.”
In 2015, the 5th Five-Year Plan put forward the concept of developing Maple Leaf global curriculum, which evolved into the practice of “Creating Maple Leaf Standards to Grow into a World School” today.
The key: To Seize the Three Development Opportunities
“Looking back at Maple Leaf 25-year history, we have seized three development opportunities.” Dr. Sherman Jen analyzed how Maple Leaf has seized previous development opportunities, accelerated development, and stood out.
Firstly, China successfully joined the WTO in 2001. The Chinese government moderately opened high schools in high school and made a commitment to the WTO. Maple Leaf School has been running for six years at this time. With three classes of graduates, it has aroused positive attention in the international education community and the development of Maple Leaf has begun to accelerate.
The second time was in 2010. The Ministry of Education issued the National Ten-Year Medium and Long Term Education Reform and Development Program, encouraging schools and schools at all levels to introduce foreign educational resources. International education became more influential. The Maple Leaf education model brand is widely respected. Governments from all over the country gather in Dalian to discuss cooperation in running schools. The maple leaf asset-light model was implemented, accelerating the development of maple leaf nationwide.
The third time was in November 2014, Maple Leaf was successfully listed on the main board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and became the first share of international education in the basic education stage. The success of Maple Leaf’s listing has further broadened the vision of Maple Leaf’s international horizons. The introduction of international capital has a positive impact on Maple Leaf. During the period of 5th Five-Year Plan, the nation-wide strategic layout was basically completed. The total student number reached 43,000, and the number growth was 2.6 times that of the 4th Five-Year Plan.
Difficulties: Three Crises and Challenges
Dr. Sherman Jen said, “In the past 25 years, many people have seen the brilliant achievements of Maple Leaf. Few people have seen Maple Leaf’s difficult entrepreneurial history. Besides operational difficulties, we have also experienced three crises, including the severe challenges we are going through now.”
The first challenge was in the spring and summer of 2003, when Maple Leaf was starting to develop, and the SARS epidemic quickly spread. We had to close the campus for more than 40 days, and teachers and students could not leave the campus. During this period, an employee’s father passed away and the other employee’s mother passed away. They did not leave the school for the sake of the students. More female employees could not go back home to take care of their children for the sake of Maple Leaf students. The Chinese and foreign teachers and students were united to fight against the disaster. In the summer, students, employees and parents all participated in student recruitment, we turned the crisis into an opportunity. In that year, the number of students achieved record-breaking growth.
The second time was on August 12, 2015, when Tianjin TEDA Maple Leaf International School was preparing for the start of school, it was hit by the explosion of the nearby storage. The doors and windows were damaged. Parents suggested that the students could be distributed to other Maple Leaf campuses. A part of the Group’s management Team also believed that the opening of the school could not be guaranteed and the students should be reallocated. At the critical moment when the Tianjin campus is facing decomposition, the Group firmly agreed with the government, believing in the government’s commitment to complete emergency repairs and guarantee a pollution-free school. The Tianjin campus suggested employees to cooperate fully to ensure the school would start on time and to avoid the Tianjin campus facing difficulty to recover. It proved that the Group’s decision was correct.
The third challenge is the COVID-19 pandemic we are facing today. Before the end of January, when the pandemic has not attracted widespread attention, we decided to cancel the winter camp group. The group decided to cooperate with Canvas to launch online courses one semester in advance, ensuring that the English teaching in the high school was basically unaffected when the School is closed. It is gratifying that none of the 43,000 students and Chinese and foreign employees have been infected. In particular, the Hubei Education District has implemented preventive measures effectively under tremendous pressure. Various work has been carried out in an orderly manner with innovative promotion method, and the result of spring recruitment is still among the best. We could see Maple Leaf people’s ability to turn crises into opportunities.
Experience: inheriting the spirit of self-improvement and innovation
Dr. Sherman Jen said firmly, “The past 25 years have been the 25 years of continuous struggle and perseverance of the Maple Leaf people. Maple Leaf people’s spirit has created a brilliant career on the journey to overcome challenges.
Over the past 25 years, Maple Leaf has been continually optimizing, inheriting, surpassing, innovating and developing from the model to the system and from the system to the standard. It has explored a market of its own and accumulated valuable experience towards greatness.
First, to persist in the core concept of Maple Leaf. Maple Leaf persists in spreading the philosophy of blending the best of Chinese and Western education and continue to implement our ways in providing quality education. It inherits the mission of providing first-class education services for people of different races, skin colors, and nationalities. It practices the spirit of integrity, innovation, professionalism, execution, respects the laws of education and the law of the market while insisting in developing the advanced nature of Maple Leaf education in innovative practice.
Second, to strengthen the core competitiveness of Maple Leaf. Maple Leaf conforms to the development trend of global economic integration, implements an international school positioning, and realizes the global recognition of Maple Leaf course credits. Maple leaf graduates could apply for foreign universities directly based on their transcripts. The 22-year graduates’ graduation rate is 100%, and the admission rate of top 100 universities in the world remains above 60%. It satisfies the diverse needs of education in current society, and contributes to the development of local business and investment environment. Students have become the biggest beneficiaries of Maple Leaf Education. Maple Leaf’s core competitiveness continues to increase in the process of innovation and development.
Third, to improve strategic execution of Maple Leaf. Maple Leaf persists in scientifically decomposing the organizational vision into phased goals. A work theme every year that proposes solutions to outstanding problems. After the goal is established, whatever problems are encountered, the problems will be solved. Therefore, the ability of the team is improved, the performance is demonstrated, the culture is accumulated, and the strategic execution is continuously improved. After the goals and tasks are clear, the team execution is the secret of Maple Leaf.
Outlook: The Implementation of the 6th Five-Year Plan, Embrace the World
The official launch ceremony of the 6th Five-Year Plan was held at the anniversary ceremony. In September, Maple Leaf will begin implementing the 6th Five-Year Plan. One of the two strategies of Maple Leaf’s 6th Five-Year Plan is the School District Development Strategy.
The School District strategy is to build ten China Maple Leaf school districts and two Maple Leaf Offshore School Districts, which will achieve 100,000 students and no less than 10,000 students respectively. MLES will have more than 150 schools across 50 cities around the globe and with more than 110,000 students. It will enable Maple Leaf to become one of the largest international educational institutes in K12 education around the world.
Under the Framework of the School District System, students who have completed Elementary schools advance to Middle school, and students who have completed Middle school advance to High school. With high admission rates of more than 60% in the world’s top 100 universities, students have the initiative to choose world-famous schools. The 10 major districts have built elementary schools, middle schools and high schools as integration, forming into a closely connected education environment. It will become an unique 12-year education structure. At the end of 6th Five-Year Plan, the internal admission rate of advancing to Middle School will be over 95%, and the internal admission rate of advancing to High school will be over 90%, while reducing external recruitment to High school to below 10%. Maple Leaf’s major regions are relatively horizontally distributed and independently operated to achieve sustainable development. This is the foundation of Maple Leaf’s evergreen educational institution.
The second of the two strategies of Maple Leaf’s 6th Five-Year Plan is the Standard Implementation Strategy. In the next five years, Maple Leaf will complete the transitioning of the Chinese-Canada Program to the Maple Leaf World School Program and complete the task of re-positioning, developing into an international education certified organization that not only runs schools but also outputs standards. Maple Leaf has the same global certification functions as IB and A-level, while integrating Chinese curriculum and cultural elements.
Under the principle of Maple Leaf Standard Implementation Strategy, Maple Leaf will provide educational resources and accreditation services for private schools in China and abroad, to build MLES school accreditation community. The advantages of the Maple Leaf Standard will enable more private schools in China and abroad to achieve resource sharing and development achievements. This is the energy source for Maple Leaf to build a long-lasting and great educational institution.
Looking back at the past, Maple Leaf has gone through 25 years of struggle with the development of the country. 25 years is only the first step of a century-old foundation. Maple Leaf has a long way to go to build a great educational institution with a long-standing foundation.
Dr. Sherman Jen firmly believes, “The development of Maple Leaf is in the same direction with China’s integration into the world and leading the future world. The future layout of Maple World School will be established along the Belt & Road. Maple Leaf World School Program Standards will connect different countries and regions. We will follow the strategic direction of Maple Leaf’s 6th Five-Year Plan and the Belt&Road to complete the mission of Maple Leaf Education. Let us shoulder the historical mission with ideals and pride, inject new vitality, vigor and energy into Maple Leaf, an innovative ship in education. Let us forge ahead towards our goals and embrace the World!”
Awards: Maple Leaf Lifetime Achievement and the Highest Honor Medal
The awarding ceremony of the Maple Leaf Lifetime Achievement and the highest honor medal are the highlights of the school anniversary celebration. The representatives of them delivered speeches.
The Maple Leaf Lifetime Achievement is awarded for the first time in Maple Leaf’s development history. The five people who were awarded the Gold Medal for Lifetime Achievement are:
Mr. Li Wanqing
In 1993, Mr. Li Wanqing assisted the CMLES Founder for creating the foundation of Maple Leaf. He served as a Vice President of long-term, as in charge of industrial logistics. In present, he is the Lifetime Honorary Chairman of CMLES. During the 27 years, Mr. Li Wanqing has been leading the constructions of hundreds Maple Leaf campus as one million square meters in total, compiled the Management Standards of Maple Leaf Science and Education Industry Standardization (Volume I & II), Maple Leaf Construction Management Standards (Volume I & II), enriched the
Maple Leaf industry standard system. Even he is already over eighty, still keep on working, the spirit worth all Mapleleafers learning forever.
Ms. Zhang Jingxia
Ms. Zhang Jingxia is one of the assistant founders of CMLES, and now the Executive Director and CFO of CMLES, is in charge of the overall operation of Maple Leaf finance management. She is diligent and selfless, working six days per week over 20 years, and leading an outstanding and honest financial team. Ms. Zhang Jingxia’s self-discipline, loyalty and dedication will become an excellent example for all Mapleleafers.
Mr. Peter Owen
Mr. Peter Owen is the Director of the CMLES Board, a great supporter, architect and witness of the CMLES development, playing an irreplaceable and important role in the crucial periods. He significantly contributed to accomplish the transformation from BC Programs to Maple Leaf World School Program.
Mr. James Beeke
Mr. James Beeke left BC Ministry of Education and joined Maple Leaf as the Superintendent of BC Programs in 2005. He is the authoritative and academic leader of the international teachers’ team and teaching evaluation. In 2014, Mr. Beeke was appointed as Executive Director on CMLES Board of Directors and Superintendent of Global Education. He established the foundational direction, quality standards and guiding documents for Maple Leaf’s World School Curriculum and led the team that wrote the first version of its 35 high school courses, which embedded Maple Leaf’s 12 key teaching and learning strategies in all courses across the curriculum. He is regarded as the major founder of Maple Leaf’s Program. Mr. Beeke’s faithful service, educational leadership and professional influence has significantly contributed to Maple Leaf’s internal development and external reputation.
Ms. Shao Ling
Currently, there are three Elite & Model Schools among all Maple Leaf, two of them were established with the involvement or under the leadership of Ms. Shao Ling, having earned the high recognition from the government and parents. She moved from the north to the south, became invincible, pioneering twice and succeeding twice. She can be regarded as a model of the Maple Leaf headmaster/headmistress’s profession.
Maple Leaf’s highest honor medal is awarded to outstanding employees who have made outstanding contributions to Maple Leaf education and those who have given great support to Maple Leaf development. This time, 20 Maple Leaf employees and 5 members of the public won the Highest Honor Medal.