Head of School Update, March 14

International Day Food Festival: Sunday, March 18 11:30-3:00

On Sunday (March 18) SCIS will host a family event to celebrate the diversity of our SCIS Community- the SCIS International Food Festival! Bring your appetite and a smile.

Here are some important details.

Time: 11:30-3:00

Food: The festival is a celebration of the diversity of our SCIS community. This is showcased in the diversity of countries that have volunteered to have a table and share their country’s cuisine!  Here’s a list of all the countries and tables thus far.

If you would like to contribute to your country’s table, reach out to the contact person.

You will notice that there are still some countries which do not have a representative. This means that at this point, we will not have a table set up. So, we are making one last call for country representatives to help out.  If your country is not represented, please reach out to Trish Castillo pdpafa.president@scis-china.org by 9:00 pm tonight (Wednesday).

The food is free. Drinks will be sold separately. So, bring some spending money.

Bussing Is Provided To/From the Following Locations:  Bus riders do need to reserve a spot on the bus to ensure we have enough seats. Email Stu Ren at pd-transportation@scis-china.org

  • Bus 1: 10:55 am Yanlord Garden .. 11:00 am Shimao Riviera
  • Bus 2: 11:00 am Green Court … 11:05 am Seasons Villa
  • Bus 3:  11:20 Emerald Club House
  • Bus 4: 10:45 am from SCIS Hongqiao Campus (Puxi)
  • All busses return at 3:10.

Entertainment: There will be stage acts: singing, dancing, etc. Today is the last day to sign up to help showcase the diversity of talent and cultures we have at SCIS. All acts are welcome; family and country-specific acts are especially encouraged. The deadline to sign up is today (Wednesday) at 9:00 pm. Contact Laurie Luebbe at lluebbe@scis-china.org if you are interested.

In addition to stage entertainment, there will be small booths and activities for young and old alike!

Open House for Non-SCIS Families: The International Food Festival is open to non-SCIS families. If you wish to invite a family, bring them along. We will have an Open House tour of during the day in case new families wish to learn more about the school. If you know of a family that might be interested, reach out and invite them to see our community in action.

We hope to see you this Sunday.

Other big dates on the horizon

  • Friday, Senior Big Game Varsity Soccer vs. NAIS @ SCIS. Varsity Boys start at 4:00 pm
  • Sunday 11:30-3:00 International Food Festival.
  • Monday, March 19, 4:30 PM, IB Art Exhibition
  • Wed/Thur, March 21/21: Student Led Conferences
  • Thursday Morning (time tbd): Upper School Science Expo in the Cafeteria
  • Saturday, April 21: PAFA Art Auction. Get your discounted tickets now for this fun event.
  • Thur./Fri., April 26 & 27: Upper School Musical Performance: Thoroughly Modern Millie

Photos From Around the Campus



Head of School Update, March 9


Student-Led Conferences, Wednesday and Thursday

This week, Principals shared some important information via PAFA regarding the upcoming Student Led Conferences (SLCs).  The conferences are student-led for a reason. They are also different than the fall conference in another way – they focus on student learning skills, and perhaps less so on grades.

What do we mean by this focus on learning skills?

Learning in the 21st Century is much more then mastering content. Successful workers (and citizens of the world) need to develop skills in thinking critically, communicating, and seeing/solving problems. We are now educating children for a world 20 years in the future – a world where the biggest skill is learning how to learn. You will see a distinct focus in our conferences in students demonstrating these 21st century Learning Skills through their work. The focus is largely on the skills themselves (and their self-assessment of those skills), as demonstrated by the work they have produced in classes. Traditional conferences are a time when parents typically ask “What is your grade?” In today’s school environment – with ManageBac and SeeSaw – parents have more access than ever. Our goal for the conferences is for students to share with you the evidence of their skills, noting insights into strengths and weaknesses, into these 21st Century skills through their work. We hope you enjoy the day, and your child is able to better articulate his/her understanding of these important skills.

More information about Student-Led Conferences, including sign-up procedures, are shared in the Principals’ Update.

Children’s Use Social Media

During the PAFA meeting, Upper School Principal, Dr. Volpe led a short discussion and shared some important reminders about the need for parents to play a role in helping to monitor social media use.

The main take-aways include:

  • Talk with your children.
  • In discussing social media use, we encourage parents to stress values and beliefs compared to “parental control” of your child’s technology use. Children will often finds way around technology; but values and beliefs remain.
  • You can find a wealth of resources for parents at https://www.commonsensemedia.org/
  • SCIS will invite a representative from the Community Center to a future PAFA meeting to share more insights into how parents can communicate with students.
  • SCIS does cover responsible social media/technology use within our advisory program. But social media use is truly a family issue, and to effectively help children navigate these tools requires a collaborative approach.

International Food Fair, Sunday March 18

Next Sunday (March 18) SCIS will host a family event to celebrate the diversity of our SCIS Community- the SCIS International Food Festival! Bring your appetite and a smile.

To encourage your participation, the school will be providing free busing to this event from a few pick-up points around the city.

This will be a fun-filled day (11:30-3:00 pm) for families with food, drink, booths, games, and entertainment. Most importantly, it’s a great way for us to celebrate the the special community represented at SCIS. We encourage families from each country to come together to set up a table to share special food and perhaps some quick games, facts, or  special elements that make your ‘home’ special. 

There is no cost for the food – it is largely provided on the volunteer basis of each country doing its part, sharing food and fun, and bringing us all together to enjoy a good time.  (Drinks will be sold.)  We are still looking for a few parents to act as “lead volunteers” for a few countries. To learn more about how you can help, scroll down to earlier posts on this blog from PAFA President Trish Castillo or review the information on the WeChat “Fantastic Parents” group.

Do you know a family that would like to learn more about SCIS?  Bring them along!  We are planning an Open House tour as part of the day as well.

Bagel Sale This Morning

A big thank-you to the Maitian Parent Group for selling bagels this morning. It was a great way to start to day. Thank you!

Maitian: Ready to Go: The “before the chaos” picture at 7:45 am.


IB Art Exhibition and Reception, Monday March 19

All parents are cordially invited to attend the showcasing of our IB Seniors’ Visual Arts Exhibition. It will be held in the 3rd floor gallery on Monday, March 19 at 4:30 pm. Grab a drink, a snack, peruse the art, and discuss the work with our student-artists to see some of the culminating pieces from their two years of study. 

Many thanks to Ms. Whiteside for organizing the showcase, and for her continued work in developing the creativity of our artists.



What’s Happening Around Campus?

Enjoy the photos below, and a relaxing weekend.

Derek Luebbe



Head of School Update, March 2

 Hello Parents, Students, and Faculty,

I find myself lucky enough to be in Macau today, attending a professional development conference for the ACAMIS region. ACAMIS stands for the Association of China and Mongolian International Schools, and our school membership allows us to participate in student activities (sports & clubs), and we benefit from learning about about trends in other international schools. The keynote speaker, Sir John Jones inspired and challenged each of the 500 attendees to help schools better meet the needs of schools.  You can get a feeling for John’s work from this short YouTube video (vpn needed). Having the opportunity to meet with colleagues from around the region truly affirms what makes SCIS special.

Back at SCIS, there are a few items on our school calendar that I want to bring to your attention. 

  • Tuesday, March 6, 10:00-11:00 AM PAFA General Meeting   The meeting will have a short presentation and discussion on the topic parents’ role in monitoring children’s social media. Today’s Principal’s Updates provide more information, and the PAFA meeting will allow a more personal venue to share ideas and questions.
  • March 7 – 14:  Grade 12 IB Mock Exams
  • Sunday, March 18  11:30-3:00 pm SCIS International Food Festival  More information is included in the flier below.
  • Wednesday, March 21 3:00-4:30 and Thursday March 22  12:30-5:00   Student Led Conferences More information has been sent out by divisional principals.

You can learn more about the International Food Fair and PAFA information from the fliers at the end of this blog, underneath the following photos of what’s been happening around the school.

Have a great weekend.
Derek Luebbe
Head of School


Ms. Gale and the Grade 2 Team in their Weekly Unit Planning Meeting



Head of School Update, Feb. 27

Welcome Back Everyone,

No urgent news to report from SCIS. But I just wanted to welcome everyone back from what I hope was a restful Chinese New Year break.

We are back in the swing of things at school, Below, you will find a few photos from around the campus the last few days.

I’m sure the Grade 12 students are back with a purpose as they prepare for their IB Mock Exams (Practice Exams) starting next week. We wish them the best of luck!

Derek Luebbe





Head of School Update, Feb. 14

Happy Chinese New Year

It was a busy and memorable day at SCIS.

A big thank you to all the parents who attended our assembly and Lower School Temple Fair – and especially those parents who donated their time and energy to running a station. The Temple Fair was such a big success for the Lower School students, filled with hands-on learning.

This week has seen a celebration of Brazilian Carnival and Chinese New Year. As a parent myself, I’m grateful for the diversity of SCIS – and the parents who take pride in sharing their culture – to give all of our students an exposure and experience that they would otherwise miss.

There is something special about any cultural celebration in a school with 45 nationalities. Today in our assembly, I shared with students that the first step of celebrating is appreciating. Living in China in the year 2018, attending SCIS, and experiencing a Chinese New Year celebration that is thousands of years old is a humbling experience. It makes you appreciate where you are in place and time.

Needless to say, the day was fantastic – and I want to share a special thank you to our Mandarin faculty who led the planning and preparation with students. All the fun is more than a little tiring!

I’m sure we are all ready for a short vacation; I know I am.

On behalf of the entire faculty, I hope your Chinese New Year vacation provides you with time to recharge and reconnect with family. 

In the meantime, enjoy some photos from around the campus today.

Derek Luebbe
Head of School

Photos From Around the School

Our HS Girls showcase their dance routine.
Upper School Strings
The start of the Lion Dance
The assembly was led by many of our 5th Grade MCs. Great job to all!
SCIS students kick off the assembly with drums.
Upper School lunch activities
Ms. Scheiner “brushes” up on her calligraphy.
Sarah on the Chinese Yo Yo…
… and Ms. Shanks gives a try as well.


Unofficial champion on the chopsticks !
Our Lower School Temple Fair featured activities for students…
…and parents.
Behind the scenes of shadow puppets. Who knew they were laughing back there the whole time?
The Temple Fair featured some Chinese hackysack
The morning started with a showcase of the Olympics. (Canada won the curling!)
All that action can certainly be tiring!

Enjoy a restful vacation everyone!

Head of School Update, February 13

Health Notice

Dear Parents,

I am writing to inform you of a health and safety issue.  This morning, I was alerted to the fact an individual was working at the school yesterday fell ill, left school, and was diagnosed last night with the H1N1 (Swine Flu).  The employee was in contact with the ECE floor/children. We have taken a number of preventative measures, outlined below. But because the H1N1 Flu is contagious, we wish to notify everyone of this event.

Our entire staff, and especially our nurse, are diligent in monitoring the situation. Thus far, there have been no student cases identified.   While no students have been affected, it is important to be aware of the symptoms and the steps that SCIS is taking.

  • SCIS has initiated our emergency cleaning protocols:
    • More frequent cleaning of “High Contact Surfaces” (door handles, toilets, soap dispensers, toys, etc.) during school hours
    • Increased ventilation procedures (this is the intake of outside air into our building which now takes place nightly) 
    • Increased cleaning procedures by the transportation and cafeteria providers 
  • What are the signs and symptoms of this virus in people?
    The symptoms of 2009 H1N1 flu virus in people include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea. People may be infected with the flu with respiratory symptoms but without a fever. A more detailed description of the H1N1 Flu is described at the following link: https://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/qa.htm
  • Our nurse performed a temperature check on every ECE child this morning. She will continue to be a resource for students who are not feeling well. She will contact parents if a child has a fever or feels nauseated.  If a child is feeling ill, please have the child stay at home.
  • We have asked faculty to continue to reiterate healthy habits (covering mouths when coughing/sneezing, hands/fingers/toys/pencils out of our mouths, etc.) and be additionally diligent on the frequency and quality of hand washing routines.  We ask parents to do the same.
  • We will continue to monitor the situation and ask parents to do the same.

Thankfully, we do not see any examples of this sickness taking place at SCIS. Nevertheless, I wanted to share it with all of you to simply raise awareness.

Please keep yourselves healthy. Eat well, drink lots of water, and stay active in your own healthy habit routines.


Derek Luebbe
Head of School, SCIS Pudong

Special Dress Day: February 14


To celebrate CNY, tomorrow is special dress day. Students can wear red to help celebrate. Jeans or khakis are fine.


Today at the Pudong Campus

We had some great experiences for students today, the sharing the diversity of our international school.

In preparation for tomorrow’s Chinese New Year Celebration, our Upper School students benefited from the expertise of professionals who shared the crafts of Chinese Yo Yo and Kung-Fu with our students. As a reminder, our All-School Assembly is scheduled for tomorrow at 1:00 pm. Parents are invited. Starting at 1:30, Lower School students and parents will take part in our CNY Temple Fair located in the Black Box.

Also pictured below some fantastic photos from our fantastic parents from the Brazillian community. These parents, along with some Brazillian dancers, worked with and performed for all of our students to celebrate Brazil’s Carnival!  They were assisted by the Upper School band, and brought some lively festivities to our afternoon.

It was a great afternoon to be an SCIS Dragon!  Thank you parents.





Middle Schoolers try their luck with Chinese Yo-Yo
Here’s the start…
… and here’s the finish
Kung Fu
Balance is the key
Carnival Festivities!
Our Brazillian dancers working with our Lower School students.
Dancers in action.
Our Upper School band in action with some swing music.
Learning to samba


Head of School Update, February 9

Dear Parents,

As you may have read in my earlier post, we are celebrating Chinese New Year on Wednesday Feb. 14. Additionally, we have changed the date for our International Food Fair to Sunday March 18. Details of both events are shared in the most recent post.

Hoping you enjoy some of the action photos from around campus this week. Enjoy your weekend.

Derek Luebbe,
Head of School, SCIS Pudong

Photos From Around the Campus

MS Girls Volleyball Action on Thursday vs. Dulwich.
Students sharing their work  and their thinking is what makes them authors – and what makes it a celebration.
Mr. Schultz learns how to make cookies.
It was a fantastic parent turn-out in Ms. McCabe’s class. We are lucky to be an environment where 1) parents get involved, 2) our students get to share their successes with all parents – not just their own!
Badminton in the Gym
Badminton In The Gym ???
Upper School Students Practice Their Dumpling-Making Skills

Head of School Update, February 8


Dear Parents,

As we prepare for the upcoming Chinese New Year Break, I wish to share some important information about upcoming activities.

Chinese New Year Celebrations: March 14

As you know, Chinese New Year is right around the corner. Our big celebration day will be Wednesday, February 14. This will be  free dress day, and we encourage students to wear red to celebrate.  Our activities this year have changed from previous years. Instead of a long assembly for the entire school, we have shorted the assembly to run from 1:00-1:30 pm. Following the assembly, Lower School students will be involved in our first-ever Temple Fair from 1:30-2:30. The Temple Fair allows our Lower School students to have a hands-on experience participating in a host of cultural activities led by our parents and outside presenters.   Our Upper School students have already begun some of these special presentations in their classes (see the photos below) and these activities will continue next week. From a parent’s perspective, all parents are invited to attend the day, but Upper School parents should be aware that the assembly will not be as long as in previous years due to the change. I know that Lower School Liz Gale will be sending home more detailed information to Lower School parents tomorrow.

Change of Date: International Food Festival Now March 18

In an attempt to encourage participation by avoiding a few other school activities, we have moved our SCIS International Food Festival to Sunday, March 18 from 11:30 am-3:00 pm. (It was previously scheduled on March 17.) To encourage your participation, the school will be providing free bussing to this event from a few pick-up points around the city.

This will be a fun-filled day for families with food, drink, booths, games, and entertainment. Most importantly, it’s a great way for us to celebrate the diversity represented at SCIS. We encourage families from each country to come together to set up a table to share special food and perhaps some quick games, facts, or  special elements that make your ‘home’ special.

We will be sharing more information after the Chinese New Year, but for now, download the flier below and save the new date!

Food Festival and Open House

We will also be hosting an Open House to coincide with the International Food Festival. So if you would like to invite a non-SCIS family to join in the celebration, please contact Laurie Luebbe at lluebbe@scis-china.org to reserve a spot.

Some Photos From Around Campus

The Upper School students engage some Chinese Culture with the help of some visiting specialists in preparation for Chinese New Year.

Chinese Calligraphy
Dumpling making
The finished product.
MaiTian starts Thursday off right – with a bagel sale! It was such a hit that we had to revive our fast-food service skills to ensure we got through the hungry customers in time!

February 2, Head of School Update

Dear Parents, Students, and Friends,

Things are back in swing in 2018!

A few new students continue to trickle into campus, making 39 new students who have joined SCIS in January. I want to officially welcome all the new families and students to the SCIS Community. It marks the largest growth in six years, which is always a good sign that Shanghai is on the up-swing! Our enrollment continues to grow, and we are now at 360 students.

Enjoy the articles below and your weekend ahead!

Derek Luebbe
Head of School, SCIS Pudong

A Growing, and Well-Connected Community

As we all know, transitioning into a new school can be a stressful and confusing time. I’m really proud of our existing students, they seem to intuitively know it’s tough being new, and it’s always reassuring to see them help integrate new students. New families should be aware of the wealth of resources we have to help support the transition. If your child does have anxiety or is having any trouble making connections, please reach out to either of the SCIS counselors: Laurie Luebbe (lluebbe@scis-china.org) in the Lower School or Maja Kelly (mkelly@scis-china.org) in the Upper School.

As a new family, we want to do our best to connect you with our existing school networks as easily as possible. Each Lower School classroom has a SeeSaw group, to stay updated. There are a number of WeChat groups in the school, some sorted by groupings (grade level or whole-school) and some groups share information in a preferred language. However you wish to connect, we hope we have a mechanism to do so.

All of this is truly supported by our Parents and Friends Association (PAFA). We encourage all families to stay actively involved in PAFA. You can reach out to PAFA President Trish Castillo to discover more ways you can help contribute to building a great experience for our students.  You can view the most recent PAFA post on our school’s website. Be sure to check out all that is happening, and pay particular attention to two big events in the near future.

  • Wednesday, February 14: Chinese New Year Assembly Celebration and Temple Fair
  • Saturday, March 17:  International Day Festival at SCIS Pudong

Chinese New Year, Parent Wanted!

This year we will celebrate the Chinese New Year with even more gusto! We invite all parents to our whole-school assembly on Wednesday, February 14. In the days leading up to the 14th our Upper School Mandarin teachers, behind the planning of Ms. Daisy Mi, have arranged for special in-class presentations in class on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Our Lower School Mandarin Team has arranged a Temple Fair to take place downstairs, where students will have the option of experiencing many different Chinese Cultural activities. The Temple Fair is a fun, hands-on way our students get to experience Chinese Culture. All parents are invited. Parents of students in grades PK-KG can come to accompany their child or a small group as they go from station to station. We are also very grateful to the approximately 20 parents who have volunteered to run stations for the students. We still need a few more. If you are able to donate your time, we would love to have you help. Contact Mandarin teacher Olive Sun at osun@scis-china.org to learn more and help out. The more parental involvement, the more opportunities we are able to give our students!

SCIS Competes at the FIRST Lego League (FLL) Robotics Tournament

A big congratulations to SCIS Robotics Team, led by Mr. Johnson,

SCIS Robotics Team, problem-solving in action


Mr. Johnson and the SCIS Robotics Team after the FLL Tournament

Students Reflect in the new SeeSaw Phone Booth

Lower School students and parents are well aware of the SeeSaw – our online student portfolio and communication platform to bridge the communication gap between school and home. The newest addition to our 1st Floor Hallway is the SeeSaw Phone Booth shown below. The phone booth is the brain child of Gr. 1 teacher Mr. Schultz. Seeing how much fun students were having reflecting on their work and sharing it with parents, he wanted to create a quiet, fun place where students could go to share their thinking.  Students bring their iPad into the phone booth, press record, and share their reflections about specific pieces of work. The reflections and student work are added to the student’s online portfolio – visible to teachers and  the child’s parents. And the SeeSaw Phone Booth provides just the environment!

Getting students to reflect on their learning is a vital piece of the learning process. “Why did I do this? What do I like about my work? What would I do differently next time? How did this work connect to other things that I’m learning about?”  These are the questions that drive learning, and the SeeSaw phone booth just makes that process a lot more fun for our students.

Reflections happening in the SeeSaw Phone Booth

Other Happenings Around Campus

Grade 5 Students partner with our Nursery Students as reading buddies.
Parents, teachers, and students sign the SCIS School Song at the Lower School Assembly on Thursday, led by the First Graders.
Grade 2 M students, inquiring, building, and reflecting in the classroom.


Head of School Update January 12

Hello Parents, Students, and Faculty,

Happy 2018!  We welcome approximately 35 new students to SCIS this January, the largest growth we’ve seen in six years.

My update will be brief, as I have been off campus during the first week of school attending a teacher recruiting conference in Bangkok. SCIS continues to be well-known within the international teaching community, and this is only strengthened by our addition of the MYP and PYP programs, making SCIS an attractive destinations for many top-quality teachers. I’ll provide a full recruiting update in the near future.

Wish our Varsity Boys and Girls Basketball Teams luck in their ACAMIS Tournament this weekend in Beijing.

The big news today (of course) is the early dismissal due to a power outage.  I am copying my note on the situation below. (It was also sent via email.)

I look forward to the 2nd semester and returning to activity of the SCIS hallways. On behalf of our entire staff, we thank you for the opportunity to work with and help shape your children.

Have a restful weekend.
Derek Luebbe


Dear Parents,

As you know, today we experienced a power failure and sent students home at 2:00 pm. With this email, I want to provide more information on the situation and remind everyone of the importance of our emergency contact information.

Power Outage and Dismissal

The power stopped working at approximately 11:30. This affected all of the power in some classrooms, our heating system and our plumbing/toilets. We immediately called the power company to investigate further. Power company representatives shared that the outage was due to neighborhood construction but were not optimistic that the power could be restored by 3:00 pm.

At approximately, 12:45, due to health and safety reasons, I made the decision to dismiss students at 2:00 pm. We began communicating with families shortly thereafter. When we have an unexpected dismissal, we work hard to ensure that each student can safely return home and a parent/guardian awaits for Lower School students. If a parent/guardian is not present to meet each Lower School student, our bus ayis are instructed to keep the student on the bus and continue on with the bus route. If our efforts to contact the parent are unsuccessful, then the child will return to the school by bus. We will then, continue to call parents until we are successful.

We will continue working with the power company over the weekend to restore power to the school. We feel confident that the situation will be solved this weekend and classes will continue on Monday. If we receive further information that could affect our operations on Monday, I will share that with all of you.

Emergency Contact Information

In cases of emergency, the school will do all it can realistically do to notify parents. Our formal method of communication in case of emergency is by phone or SMS text. Because this situation involved an early dismissal, we utilized multiple communication methods to ensure that parents were informed and children were not dropped off to a home without a parent/guardian present. This included:

  • Phone calls home
  • An SMS text message
  • SeeSaw grade level text messages for the Lower School
  • WeChat groups

As of 2:00 pm, we had already successfully personally communicated with over 95% of families.

Thankfully, this emergency was not a serious one. But it does allow us to test our systems and ensure that we have each family’s accurate contact information. I ask for your help in the following important steps.

  • Ensure that you received a text message (not WeChat or SeeSaw) emergency alert on your cell phone.
  • If you did not, contact your divisional school secretary with your updated contact information.

Lower School Secretary: Vicky Xu vxu@scis-china.org

Upper School Secretary: Jelly Ling jling@scis-china.org


Using a day like today as an important test will make sure that we are better prepared for a future emergency.

I wish each of you a relaxing weekend.   May your power stay on!

Derek Luebbe

Head of School