Let me start by wishing each of you a restful upcoming Spring Break. Virtual Learning will resume March 30th.
I know it is not the break that any of us envisioned months ago, but it is certainly needed. The past seven weeks are hard to put into words. As a school community, with little notice, we have created an entire virtual learning model. It has not gone without challenges; we’ve had to make adjustments along the way, and we will continue to do so. But it is has been an outstanding accomplishment by our entire community – to make something so complex work for our students. The past two months have challenged our flexibility, ingenuity and resilience but we’ve made it work through everyone’s dedication to students. Our community is due for a much needed break. Do ensure you rest, relax, take care of yourself, and find the time to connect with your family and friends. Above all stay safe.
In the past few weeks, I have been contacted by more than a few offers from educational companies who are sharing their resources free of charge with students impacted by campus closures. Here is a useful site that has compiled and shared many of them for those families who might wish to learn more.
This past week I returned to work from the unfortunate loss of my father, John Luebbe. He passed away suddenly but peacefully in his sleep on March. He was a fantastic man, and my family had so much to celebrate about his life. I want to say a thank you to our faculty for the emotional support they provided during this time, and a special thank you to Dr. Volpe and Ms. Gale who stepped up in my absence. As a school community, we celebrate the good times and support each other through the difficult times. I feel very fortunate.
Today, you will receive a parent update from Dan Eschtruth. While we see progress regarding the virus within China, many other countries are now struggling to contain its spread – bringing a whole new set of challenges to those returning. It has brought a whole perspective to how we are all a part of a connected, global community.
It is hard to believe that it has been five weeks since we last saw each other. The situation continues to challenge us, and hopefully bring out the best in our resourcefulness, perseverance, and empathy. I know that everyone in our community -faculty, students, and parents – are working extra hours to help support student learning. I remain appreciative, grateful… and tired. But we will come through this period as a stronger community, and as stronger individuals. My wife Laurie and I have already shared many discussions about how special and celebratory it will be when we are all able to be together again.
In the last few weeks, thanks to the feedback of teachers, parents, and students we continue to adjust our program to increase our opportunities for interaction. Teachers are increasing our use of features such as Live Learning sessions, online office hours, and virtual class meetings. We believe these methods increase learning and continue to foster the contentedness and relationships which make up our SCIS community, an increasingly important aspect as our time apart grows.
Today, all parents will receive another check-in survey from the Principal(s). We appreciate your input in helping us better understand and support students.
No matter where we are geographically located, this event has brought on new challenges that each of us must navigate. Our SCIS community provides an important opportunity to support one another.
I continue to refer everyone to our SCIS Parent FAQ webpage where you can review all of our COVID19 resources, information, and updates from SCIS Director of Schools, Dan Eschtruth – including today’s email update to all parents.
I ask for your continued patience as we proceed through this unique period in time.
We continue to work together during these challenging times. Our spirit of perseverance and collaboration come out in thousands of different ways so that we can all do our best to support students and families.
I encourage you to review divisional blogs learn more about each program, and ensure that you have access to all the resources and information being shared from our systems of schools on our Parent Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) webpage.
Given the uncertain nature of our calendar, your flexibility and our sense of community will be help us make it through. I know that when we do reunite on campus, we will all share a newfound appreciation of being back together.
In the meantime, I wish you, your family, and our entire community health, happiness, and patience as we move forward.
We conclude our second week of virtual learning, and I continue to be immensely proud of our faculty, students, and parents. It’s clear that the expectations and professional tone set in the first weeks by the faculty and Principals has been supported and adopted by the parents and students. I know the last few weeks of learning have not been without challenges and hard work, but it does reinforce our shared commitment to students.
Our second week did see a shift into smoother learning routines. Thank you.
We recognize that while the second week gave us a better sense of routines, we are still seeking to improve our shared understand of how to best support students within the virtual learning environment. I am proud of our Principals for seeking your continued input along the way with the surveys that went out today. Please take a moment to share your thoughts about the second week.
In regards to school policies and updates regarding the closure and health situation, I am choosing to direct parents to the SCIS Parent FAQ Page which contains all of our communications from Director of Schools Dan Eschtuth along with other useful information.
Our closure has also brought challenges to our lives beyond the academic. I want to encourage parents to explore the FAQ page for the newly added social/emotional resources from our counseling department to help students and families during this time.
I know that we will greatly value our time together once we return, and I look forward to that day.
I wish each of you health and safety during this time.
Our period of school closure has been a time of great anxiety and uncertainty for everyone in our community. Our students, our parents, our faculty have been thrust into a brand new learning environment in the midst of struggling with the endless personal challenges confronting each of us regarding health, safety, travel, and the potential separation from loved ones.
I cannot share enough how impressed I have been with our faculty for their flexibility, creativity, professionalism and work ethic as they create meaningful learning activities, and sustain a personal connection with students. In times like these, it is important to maintain that sense of community to keep the learning personal and relevant. Each of us, no matter where we are located, are a member of a classroom and the SCIS Community. Our children know that their teachers are there with them throughout this time.
I can promise you, we are working very hard to make this a period of meaningful learning and an opportunity to build our SCIS Community. I am so appreciative of the parent and faculty feedback thus far. To be sure, learning in an online environment is different; it poses many more challenges and frustrations. But I have seen so much flexibility from parents, students and teachers as we work through the inevitable bumps. It’s reassuring.
Not every day will be easy, and a child’s reaction to the school closure can manifest itself in many different ways. If you find that the situation is getting stressful for you or your child, please remember to reach out to your divisional counselor for advice and resources.
One of the best ways we can successfully navigate this time of uncertainty is to make sure we keep our community informed. You may have noticed that you have not heard from me much during this time. Instead, our Director of Schools Dan Eschtruth has shared messages to our entire community. This is on purpose. It is considered best practice to have a “one-voice” approach when communicating in a situation such as this.
To promote this “one-voice”, I hope that each of you have visited our newly developed Parent Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Page. We built this page as an effective resource for information for our entire community. As the situation within Shanghai evolves, we will continue to update this site with our most recent information.
Despite all that is happening within our own community, I hope we all take a moment to reflect and discuss the larger implications of this situation. While I am certain this has been a time of personal discomfort and moments of frustration for many of us, it pales in comparison to those who were directly affected through the deaths or severe illness of loved ones due to the coronavirus outbreak. Our thoughts and prayers go out these families. They are the center of this global story. And, in many ways, they give us a sense of perspective about our role within it.
I am more appreciative than ever of the SCIS community. I have seen countless examples of support and caring. And, I’ve seen educators pull together these last few weeks to work tirelessly to provide some fantastic learning opportunities despite our campus closure.
It is my sincere hope that we are able to see each other face to face soon. Until then, be safe and healthy.
Happy Chinese New Year! We hope you were able to join us this afternoon for our celebration to welcome the Year of the Rat!
We had a busy week leading up to our CNY holiday. On Tuesday, many of you were at school to interact with our students as they shared their (MYP) Personal Project presentations. The Personal Project is a yearlong exploration by each tenth grader into an area of personal passion and curiosity. This is one of the required parts of the IB Middle Years Program, and there are quite a few requirements that structure the process. But at its core, the Personal Project represents the culmination of a process that started in August, involved countless hours of work and planning, (each student was given a Personal Project Supervisor from our faculty) and presented the action taken on a personal exploration.
The presentations in the Black Box were supported by another great learning experience led by students in our MYP Design Class. These students supplied snacks for the day – but not just any snacks. They followed the MYP Design Process to work in groups and create cross-cultural snacks that they hoped would satisfy the tastes of customers. Blending the foods from different cultures produces something entirely new – leaving the cooks and the customers with a brand new experience to share! To share a few examples (along with the accompanying business cards.)
“Made Indi USA” food truck combined Indian and American cultures. They made spicy vegetable and paneer wraps. The Indian culture was represented by the spicy veggies, paneer and masala spice, and the American culture was represented by the idea of wrap.
“Eco-Chez” food truck was a vegetarian Croatian /Brazilian fusion truck idea. They made Croatian pancake with dulce de leche filling. A Croatian pancake recipe was brought from home. The dulce de leche, a sweet confection from Brazil or Latin America, was added and served as a mild, sweet dessert.
Both the Personal Project and the Food Fusion project are fantastic examples of how we use students’ personal passions and our diversity of backgrounds to create unique solutions to existing problems. The SCIS Mission Statement speaks of students who “contribute positively to their communities.” Those types of contributions happen when students are given authentic opportunities to identify their own interests and apply their learning in those areas. These are the experiences that leverage what students already know and stretch that area of knowledge into new territory. Congratulations to everyone who was involved!
On a related note, in the 3rd floor lobby, many of you may have seen the interactive displays shared by our Grade 6 and Grade 9 students for their planetary exhibits.
I also was lucky enough to pop into Mr. Ruf’s class to see their learning celebration on Light. Congratulations to everyone involved in that project.
Lastly, I am sure many of you share my concern about the coronavirus and its impact during the Chinese New Year. (Please see below for more information.) I share my personal wishes with each of you for health and safety during the holidays – and beyond. We are so fortunate to live within one of the most dynamic cities in the world, and share in their celebration. Being a part of today’s assembly was just a small reminder for me how lucky we truly are.
To everyone within the SCIS community, I wish to extend my best wishes for prosperity and happiness during the Year of the Rat! Enjoy your time with friends and family during the holiday.
Xin Nian Kuai Le!
Derek Luebbe Head of School
All of you should have received an important email on Thursday from our Director of Schools, Dan Eschtruth. (If you did not receive it, please ensure that you have your SCIS Parent Email set up to forward to your personal email account. Contact Barry Johnson – email@example.com – if you want help with this.)
We have remained diligent, mandating hand-washing and taking extra safety and cleaning precautions. The school will stay in close contact with all relevant agencies during the upcoming days to ensure that we have current, accurate information.
COPY OF EMAIL (BELOW) FROM SCIS DIRECTOR OF SCHOOLS, DAN ESCHTRUTH (SENT ON JANUARY 22)
Dear SCIS Community,
As we close out the various Chinese New Year festivities across our campuses, we prepare ourselves to bid farewell to the Year of the Pig and welcome in the Year of the Rat. These celebrations are but one part of the unique opportunity our students have to engage in meaningful experiences as they develop deeper understandings of our host country, its culture and traditions. Before many of you depart on your travels for the holiday season, I wanted to share the following announcements and updates:
2020-21 School Year Calendar
Please find attached the 2020-2021 SCIS school year calendar, it is also now posted on our main website, please follow this link to find it. As always, this calendar represents our effort to optimize learning while covering all confirmed and expected school and national holidays. Further, it provides opportunities for our work with our WASC/IB accreditation process and adheres to the calendar mandates established by our SCIS Board of Directors.
You will also have received an email from our Admissions Department marking the commencement of our re-enrollment process. Re-enrollment is a vital process for both securing your family’s seat placement for the 2020-2021 school year and our ability to effectively plan for the school year to come. The process of re-enrollment is relatively short and is required for families intending to return and those that are confirming that this will be their final year with us here at SCIS. We are grateful for the opportunity to work with your children and, of course, hope to be doing so once again in the new school year.
WASC & IB Self-Study Update –
Our work focusing on our synchronized WASC/IB Accreditation & Authorization process is well underway. As a reminder, the following dates in February have been earmarked as time available for our faculty to focus on this critical process:
Hongqiao Main & ECE Early Release Dates (2:00 PM Student Dismissal): Feb. 12th & 26th
Pudong Campus Early Release Dates (2:00 PM Student Dismissal): Feb. 10th and 24th
Professional In-Service Day (No School for Students): February 28th
School-wide Learner Outcome Update:
I want to thank the many parents that joined us for both sessions of our School-wide Learner Outcome discussion. Both sessions were inspirational reminders of the incredible community we have here at SCIS. While we had two packed houses, we still aim to get input from as many of you as possible. So, we will take the feedback from the meetings to inform our next steps in gathering parent and, eventually, student feedback into our organizational and educational program.
Health & Safety:
Along with the wonderful opportunities for travel and time with family and friends that this time of year provides, comes the unfortunate increase in illnesses. To be certain, SCIS has already instituted our heightened seasonal cleaning protocols across our campuses and has maintained our effort to remind students of best preventive measures (covering our mouths to sneeze and cough, sufficiently and frequently washing our hands, staying home when displaying symptoms, etc.). However, in addition to the heightened influenza season this year we are also closely monitoring the recent outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) here in China and now the East Asia region. A critical piece for our community is for us to continue to adhere to our proactive and preventative measures established to reduce the spread of any infectious diseases.
That being said, we are working with relevant authorities, our health and safety team, and our school cleaning and clinic providers to initiate additional protocols that will further support our efforts to maintain a healthy learning environment for students, faculty, and staff. For additional information and advice on staying healthy and further resources on the novel coronavirus, please follow this link.
For now, we turn our attention to bidding farewell to the Year of the Pig and welcoming in the Year of the Rat. May it bring all of us great happiness, health, and prosperity! 新年快乐! Happy Chinese New Year!
Sincerely, Daniel Eschtruth Director of Schools Shanghai Community International School
It was a truly energizing week, largely due to the two fantastic parent meetings we held to introduce our Schoolwide Learner Outcomes (SLOs), shown below.
I want to start by saying thank you to the 20+ Pudong parents in attendance and to Liz Gale for planning and organizing the kick-off process.
After a short explanation about the process and history, we moved into small groups (each facilitated by one an SCIS Principal) to clarify and strengthen our understanding of each of the SLOs. It was an exciting discussion, focusing on the incredible potential we have at SCIS to continue building something special for our students. As Liz shared, “the ideas shared give me goosebumps” about what’s possible.
Prompts for the small group discussion included: – What does this SLO “look like”? Sound like? Feel like? – In what ways is SCIS already meeting this SLO? – In what ways could SCIS better meet this SLO?
The development of our SLOs has thus far included administrators and all SCIS faculty (Hongqiao and Pudong) over the last six months. Our introduction and development with parents and students will continue this semester. Our goal is to have a set of collaboratively developed Schoolwide Learner Outcomes by June of 2020!
Because our SLOs will serve both campuses, we repeated this introductory presentation for our Hongqiao parents on Thursday. It was another exciting meeting.
Our next job will be to compile all of the parent ideas and share with everyone. We will have follow-up parent meetings to build our shared understanding of these outcomes. As an organization that constantly seeks to improve, we have to continue to understand where we are meeting the needs of our students and in what areas we can improve. We hope you will join us on this journey during our future discussions.
On a different note, this week, the Pudong faculty was treated to some important professional development from visiting author and consultant Jennifer Abrams. Her work centers on group development by sharing research-based strategies for structuring difficult conversations. The work with Jennifer ties in nicely to the development of our SLOs. As we consider what our school can become, we must be able to acknowledge and overcome the obstacles that prevent it. That means that all constituents have to become comfortable with effectively confronting about where we can improve.
This weekend, send out your “Good Luck Dragons!” thoughts to our Upper School Model United Nations representatives who are at work this weekend at Concordia International School, and to our Varsity Basketball teams as they compete at Shekou International School for the ACAMIS Tournament.
Wishing each of you a relaxing weekend,
Go Dragons! Derek Luebbe Head of School
Invitation to Chinese New Year Celebration
Don’t forget about our upcoming Chinese New Year celebration on January 23rd at 1:00 pm. All parents are invited to attend as we celebrate our host country.
Saturday, Jan. 18:
MUN Conference @ Concordia
ACAMIS Basketball @ Shekou
Sunday, Jan. 19:
MUN Conference @ Concordia
Tuesday, Jan. 21:
MYP Personal Project Exhibition, Black Box, 2pm-2:45pm
Thursday, Jan. 23:
Chinese New Year Assembly, Theater, 1pm-1:40pm
LS Chinese New Year Temple Fair, Black Box, 1:45pm-2:45pm
Just a short update this week to welcome everyone back. It’s always a refreshing surprise to see the reactions of friends re-connecting after the holiday. I want to share a special welcome to our 18 new SCIS students! Just to share a few quick reminders.
The start of the second semester is the perfect time for a personal mid-year review. Have a quick conversation about the progress made in the first semester. What went well? In what areas did you improve? What goals do you have for June 2020? And, where would you like to improve / focus in Semester Two in order to reach your goals?
Parents, you are invited to an important meeting on Tuesday, January 14 at 10:00. SCIS Director of Schools Dan Eschtruth, I, and the Pudong Leadership Team will lead a one-hour parent informational and Questions/Answer Session to introduce our newly developed Schoolwide Learner Outcomes (SLOs). Please see the invitation below. Together, we are beginning the process of defining the future goals for all SCIS students. Our SLOs are in draft form and will be approved at the end of this academic year after gathering additional feedback from all constituents: faculty, parents, and students. Come join us on Tuesday to learn more.
Good luck to our Varsity Basketball Teams, competing this weekend in their SISAC Tournament!
Over the holidays, my family spent time in our home in North Carolina. It was a wonderful time to recharge. While I reconnected with my two daughters currently in university in the USA, I was also lucky enough to take part in another sort of reunion. As the youngest of six boys, I was able to join in a memorable – if chaotic – reunion of about 30 family members. While fun for sure, I think this is one of the rare breaks where I can say that I’m thankful for the “peace and tranquility” of Shanghai.
I’m hopeful that the holiday provided each of you some time to reconnect with family and friends. I look forward to reconnecting with each of you, and wish you the best for a successful 2020!
It has been a very busy and successful semester. That past few weeks has been filled with celebrations, assemblies and program. I want to thank so many parents who have taken part in these events; it strengthens who we are.
I’m happy to share some updates on important initiatives below.
Our enrollment remains stable for the year. To those of you who are leaving SCIS, we wish you all the best. Please remember to stay in touch. Once a Dragon, Always a Dragon! And, of course, we will welcome new families into the SCIS community in January and beyond.
Over the break, there will be a number of facility and construction upgrades. The most notable of these will be new furniture in our cafeteria and some classroom/hallway re-designs to make for a more open learning environment. We continue to invest in making sure we have a first class learning facility.
Our WASC/IB Accreditation process continues to make progress. As we shared last month, we’re are excited to be refining our Schoolwide Learner Outcomes, and look forward to discussing these further with parents in 2020. We have have an initial meetings scheduled for January (one in Pudong and one in Hongqiao) to provide clarity and gather input from parents. Our Pudong meeting will take place during our regularly scheduled January PAFA meeting: January 14 at 10:00 am. We hope you can attend.
With the additional collaboration involved in the WASC/IB process, we will dismiss school at 2:00 pm on four school days in the 2nd Semester. The dates for the Early Dismissal at the Pudong Campus are February 10, February 24, April 6, and April 27. More information is available in an email sent to all parents today at 3:56 pm from our Director of Schools, Dan Eschtruth.
For the vacation, my family is traveling back to North Carolina, and I am looking forward to a family reunion with two of my daughters in university, and an extended family reunion with my five older brothers and their families. I wish each of you a relaxing and well-deserved vacation with family and friends. We shall see you in 2020.
Derek Luebbe Head of School
Parent Satisfaction Survey
We continue to share our Monthly Parent Satisfaction Survey. It only takes two minutes to complete. Your feedback helps us gain valuable data to improve. Take a moment now and fill out the December Survey to share your feedback.
Monday, Jan. 6, 2020:
First Day of Semester Two
New Family Orientation, Lower Schoo and Upper School, 1pm
Today’s Lower School Winter Concert was a fantastic way to cap off a busy week of student performances. Kudos to Ms. DeVeor and our students for their performance of original music compositions, allowing our students to stretch their comfort zone and take chances.
Last Saturday, we celebrated our Pudong Winter Festival, and the campus was certainly alive with action. Special crafts, performances, vendors, and visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus all came together to make it a memorable day for students and parents. The Festival was the central piece in busy day on our campus. It was preceded by:
An ECE Parent Workshop hosted by Ms. Ginny and Ms. Adika.
Our Varsity Boys Basketball in action vs. YCIS.
An event as vibrant as the Winter Festival doesn’t happen without a lot of planning from our PAFA, led by Vanessa Thomas – and a host of dedicated parents and faculty who volunteer in different capacities to make it an eventful day.
During and immediately after the Festival, our Upper School Arts Showcase Gallery featured our students’ creativity in Visual Art, Film, Design, and Music.
The afternoon was capped off by the 2nd amazing performance of this year’s Upper School Musical, The Addams Family. Special thanks to Ms. Riddle, Ms. Whiteside, Mr. Demas, and Ms. Williams (and the ever-present Mr. Johnson) for putting the countless hours over the last four months to our dedicated cast a crew. It truly ended the day with a bang!
And, if that wasn’t enough, congratulations are also in order to our PS/PK team (Ms. Tami, Ms. Aleksa, Ms. Adika, and Ms. Amy) for the interactive learning showcase that they organized for parents, faculty and students on Thursday in the Black Box. It was a celebration of learning.
Throughout all of these events, I want to thank the parents and SCIS community for being present. Student learning is more relevant with a purpose. Opportunities like the ones described above are great ways to learn. And these same events take on even more meaning when they are shared with an engaged audience. Whether you were able to attend the performances or just be engaged with your child at home about them – thank you for your involvement in our SCIS community.
Go Dragons ! Derek Luebbe
Parent Satisfaction Survey
Thank you for supporting our parent satisfaction survey initiative throughout the semester. The feedback you have provided has been invaluable. Here is the link to our final survey of the semester: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DecParentSatisfactionSurvey . We look forward to continuing our parent focus groups and surveys next semester.
Upcoming PAFA Events
There are two upcoming PAFA General meetings. The first will be held on December 10th and the next general meeting will be on January 14th.
To Sign up for the PAFA General Meeting on Tuesday, December 10th from 10:00AM – 1:00PM please scan the QR code below!
Monday, Dec. 9:
US Semester Exams
Tuesday, Dec. 10:
PAFA General Meeting, 10am-11:30am
Wednesday, Dec. 11:
BIG GAME NIGHT Varsity Girls and Boys Basketball vs Wellington, Home, 4:15pm
Thursday, Dec. 12:
Varsity Boys Basketball vs Pudong Ballers, Home, 3:30pm