Head of School Updates, December 6, 2019

Dear Parents, Students, Faculty, and Friends,

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!

Upcoming Events

  • 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
  • Friday, Dec. 13:
    • End of Semester One (Full Day for Students)

Photo From Around Campus

Head of School Updates, November 29, 2019

Dear Parents, Students, Faculty, and Friends,
Come out and celebrate with SCIS this weekend. It has been a busy Spirit Week, and it will be a busy weekend!
– Friday 6:00: The Addams Family: Join us for our Upper School Musical and visual arts gallery presentations. (NOTE: This performance is not LiveStreamed.)
– Saturday:9:30 Early Childhood Education Presentation: The Power of Play-Based Learning. Room 102 (In English and Chinese). Led by Ms. Hunt
10:00 AM: Varsity Boys Basketball (home) vs. YCIS.
10:30: Open House Presentation for families who want to learn more about SCIS. Led by Mr. Luebbe and Mr. Mazer
– 11:30-3:00 pm Winter Festival: Come join us for this special event. Fun. Food. Drink. Crafts. Student Performances.  Organized by our amazing PAFA! Come out and enjoy the day.
– 3:00 pm The Addams Family: Join us for our Upper School Musical and visual arts gallery presentations. (NOTE: This performance is not LiveStreamed.)

As if Saturday wasn’t busy enough, we will be also host 15 math educators from around Asia as they join our SCIS teachers during a 3-day workshop for Math Specialists in International Schools. The cohort is led by mathematics specialist Erma Anderson who has worked with international schools for the last 20 years and has a distinguished career as part of the team that developed mathematics and science standards that are used throughout the United States.  We’re grateful to have all the learning on our campus, and congratulate this cohort of teachers for their dedication to completing the first 3 days of an eventual 15 day experience over the next two years to earn their certificate as Math Specialists. Erma has presented to SCIS parents in the past on the power of teaching mathematics as concepts instead of procedures (which is likely how most of us, including me, learned math as a child). Erma will be back at SCIS in the spring and we will schedule some time for her to meet with parents, share her story, and answer questions at that time.
Lastly, as an American, I want to acknowledge that Thursday was American Thanksgiving. It’s a special day to give thanks for all that we have. As a faculty, we celebrated at school on Saturday Nov. 23, and the words that I and others shared at that celebration are equally applicable for our larger community. 

  1. We are fortunate to be surrounded by people who care about each child. 
  2. We are fortunate to work with colleagues who give of themselves, day in and day out, in support of our children.
  3. We are fortunate to live and work in Shanghai. It is an experience like no other.
  4. We are fortunate to be involved in a profession where we make a difference in the lives of others. 

I wish you all a restful weekend and hope to see you at school to share in our community.
Derek Luebbe

PAFA Transforms SCIS for Winter Festival

A big thank you to our PAFA volunteers who have been busy each and every day this week at the school to transform our lobby and cafeteria area in preparation for the Winter Festival. Thank you for making this time of year come to life for our entire community!

Upcoming Events:

  • Saturday, Nov. 30:
    • Varsity Boys Basketball vs YCIS-PX, Home, 10am
    • PAFA Winter Festival, 11:30 am-3pm
    • Upper School Arts Day, 3rd Floor Gallery, 1pm
    • The Addams Family, Upper School Musical, 3pm-5pm
  • Tuesday, Dec. 3:
    • PAFA Board Meeting, 9:30am-1pm
    • Varsity Boys Basketball @ NAIS, Away, 4:15pm
    • Varsity Girls Basketball vs NAIS, Home, 4:15pm
  • Wednesday to Friday, Dec. 4-6:
    • US Semester Exams
  • Friday, Dec. 6:
    • Varsity Boys Basketball vs SMIC, Home, 4:15pm
    • Varsity Girls Basketball @ SMIC, Away, 4:15pm
  • Saturday, Dec. 7:
    • SSl Swim Meet #3, Nanjing Intl School

Photos From Around Campus

Head of School Updates: November 22, 2019

Dear Parents, Students, Faculty, and Friends,

Today, all parents in the SCIS system received an important email from our Director of Schools, Dan Eschtruth. Highlights from his email include:

  • Background on the upcoming SCIS accreditation process with WASC / IB
  • Introducing our collaborative process to define our new Schoolwide Learner Outcomes (SLOs)
  • Congratulations to our Lower School Principal, Liz Gale, on her promotion for the 2020-21 academic year.

I also want to take this opportunity to congratulate Ms. Gale on her new leadership role starting in August 2020. Ms. Gale continues to be driving force in leading our Lower School program, and her continued leadership and support to our SCIS system accreditation process (which includes our Pudong, Hongqiao-Main, and Hongqiao-ECE campuses) will move all of our campuses forward, collectively. While you will still see her on the Pudong Campus year, it will be less often, and it will be with her new title, Deputy Director of Schools: Teaching & Learning.

Welcome New Lower School Principal: Dawn Brews

Because of Ms. Gale’s new position, we will be welcoming a new Lower School Principal to the Pudong Campus. It gives me great pleasure to welcome Dawn Brews into the SCIS Pudong Community. Dawn will continue the leadership of the Pudong Lower School starting in August of 2020. 

Dawn Brews
Incoming SCIS Lower School Principal for August 2020

Ms. Brews comes to SCIS most recently from five years in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia where she is the Lower School Vice Principal and PYP Coordinator for the Mont’Kiara International School. Prior to that she worked in schools in Dubai for two years and Hong Kong for eleven years.

She holds Masters Degrees in Elementary Education from Phoenix University and another Masters in Educational Leadership from the American College of Education. She also holds a certificate for Dual Language Education (Center for Applied Linguistics) and another certificate in Bilingualism (Harvard Graduate School of Education).

Dawn was one of three finalists to make it past the initial screening introductory interview process. All three candidates were interviewed by three different groups and underwent reference checks with former schools. 

We are thrilled to have Ms. Brews join us in August and continue leading our Lower School program. Her background and experience with the PYP fit perfectly to keep our Lower School moving forward. Thankfully, Ms. Brews has already begun collaborating with Ms. Gale; they will have the added benefit of working collaboratively throughout the year to keep the transition as smooth as possible. 

Ms. Brews will be joined by her husband Darren and her nine-year-old son Dylan. On behalf of everyone in the SCIS Pudong Community, I know you join me in welcoming their entire family to Shanghai.

Grade Two: Solving Problems with Simple Machines

Grade 2: Simple Machines Learning Celebration

Lastly, it was a pleasure to take part in today’s Grade Two Learning Celebration on Simple Machines. Thank you to all the parents who came out to allow our students to share their creations and communicate their solutions to everyday problems. When you unleash children’s creativity toward solving authentic problems, it’s never dull! Congratulations to our Grade Two students.

Below, you will find many more upcoming events. We look forward to your continued participation.

Warm regards for a restful weekend,
Derek Luebbe

Next Parent Satisfaction Survey

Our final Parent Satisfaction Survey of the year will be sent out next week. Please be on the look out for the invitation to compete the survey. We appreciate all the parent feedback and look forward to your responses.

November 30: Save The Date!

Next Saturday, November 30th we are having a full day of events at our campus. Please read the list of events below and attend as many as you can. It is going to be a great day with our SCIS community!

  • Early Childhood Education (ECE) Parenting Classes: 9:30AM-10:30AM. If you are an ECE parent at SCIS (or want to invite a non-SCIS parent), join us for The Power of Play-Based Learning Workshop
  • SCIS Open House: 10:30AM-12:00PM Invite a family to come visit our campus. Take a tour. Meet with administrators, and then join us for our …
  • Winter Festival: 11:30AM – 3:00PM

PAFA is in need of some more volunteers for the Winter Festival. Please contact Maria Trantow at pdpafa.eventco@scis-china.org if you would like to volunteer

If you would like to sign up for Winter Festival bussing please scan the QR code below:

  • From 3:00PM – 5:00PM our Upper School Musical, The Addams Family will begin. Support our talented (and dedicated) Upper School students as they treat us to an afternoon musical performance in the auditorium.

SCIS Hongqiao Winter Carnival

Our Hongqiao Campus is hosting a Winter Carnival this Saturday, November 23rd from 11:00AM to 4:00PM. It will be great fun for the whole family!

Upcoming Events:

  • Wednesday, Nov. 27:
    • JV Boys Basketball @ NAIS, Away, 4:15pm
  • Thursday, Nov. 28:
    • US Parent Coffee Morning, Room 411, 9am
    • Turkey Trot Swim Meet (Internal), 3pm
  • Friday, Nov. 29:
    • ACAMIS Table Tennis, Keystone Wellington
    • The Addams Family, Upper School Musical, 6pm
  • Saturday, Nov. 30:
    • ACAMIS Table Tennis, Keystone Wellington
    • PAFA Winter Festival, 11:am-3pm
    • The Addams Family, Upper School Musical, 3pm

Photos From Around Campus

Head of School Updates, November 15, 2019

Dear Parents, Students, Faculty, and Friends,

It’s hard to believe that we have reached mid-November. As can be seen from the photos below, it’s been a busy week of active learning.

A special shout-out goes to Chris Demas and our IB Music students who showcased their talent during the IB-DP Recital on Thursday.  Congratulations are also due to Jill Sculerati–our IB-DP Biology teacher–who organized and facilitated a Job-Alike of approximately 15 other IB Biology teachers from across the region here at SCIS. These job-likes are an important way that professionals share strategies and grow as professionals, ensuring we’re doing all we can to support students.

On Saturday and Sunday, 25 SCIS teachers along with 30 additional teachers from the region will take part in a different professional development opportunity focused on inclusive classroom practices and strategies that allow us to better meet the individual needs of students. It’s an opportune time for us to put into practice our progressive view of rigor – an often misunderstood concept in education.

Many people may define rigor as a high bar that schools strive to have all children reach. Parents may equate rigor with difficult and time-consuming tasks. “If it is hard, it must be rigorous.” While this sounds logical (and slightly mean!), that concept of rigor is flawed. The bar can be arbitrary, an appropriate learning experience for the “average” student. 1) Some students will find it far too difficult and 2) some students will still find too easy. Progressive schools are now redefining rigor. At SCIS we have adopted this definition:

“the goal of helping students develop their individual capacity to understand content and approach dilemmas that are complex, ambiguous, provocative, and personally, physically, or emotionally challenging.”
Strong, Silver and Perini (2001)

What’s different about this definition of rigor?

The big difference in this definition is that rigor is personalized for each child. As a school that subscribes to this definition of rigor, it is not OK for educators to say, “Here is the bar for everyone, I’ve done my job.” Our job is to strive to create experiences that are challenging for each individual student.  

“If everyone’s standard of rigor is individualized, how can there be a standard for learning?”

At SCIS, we are guided by our adopted content standards in each subject. For example, our curriculum for English Language & Literature is aligned to the US Common Core Standards. These standards are the indicators for what skills and content students must demonstrate at each grade level.

We use our understanding of rigor to design experiences that support students’ ability to reach or exceed the standard, always building on their knowledge, skills, and understandings they bring, and facilitating their extension. That can only happen when you begin with the premise that all children are unique, and all children have learning strengths and weaknesses. 

What else is different?

A progressive concept of rigor changes the type of tasks that students are likely to encounter.

If you believe that rigor is an arbitrary bar, then it’s easier to teach with rote tasks that allow students to demonstrate their ability to reach (or not reach) a certain level. 

At SCIS, teachers collaborate to design experiences which allow students to struggle within tasks that are “complex, ambiguous, provocative, and personally, physically, or emotionally challenging.” These tasks are far closer to the real world. As an example, compare these two tasks:

  1. Read chapter 2 and take this quiz.
  2. Create and give a proposal to your Principal in order to …

The first task relies on a textbook selection to determine the level of difficulty.  The task will be easy for some students and difficult for others.

The second task is for more likely to be “complex, ambiguous, provocative, and personally, physically, or emotionally challenging.” Students can approach this problem at their current skill level. From the outset, the task differentiates itself for each student, providing a challenge for each.. The teacher’s job is focused on building on each student’s strengths and addressing areas of weakness in order to improve. This is true for students who have already exceeded a particular standard as well as for students who are struggling to meet a particular standard.

To be clear, both tasks may allow teachers to assess progress towards learning standards. But the authentic tasks not only provide real-world context, these tasks naturally differentiate the learning so that students can approach this task for their proximal zone of development, in order to improve to the next level. 

This weekend, 55 teachers will be studying inclusive classroom practices. It is with this understanding of rigor that we define inclusive learning. Inclusive learning is far more than learning strategies to support learners who struggle. We define inclusive learning as a “rigorous environment where all students are inspired to become increasingly expert learners.”

I’m grateful to be a part of an educational team that sees learning through this lens, and I’m appreciative of our SCIS teachers who are dedicating their weekend to learning more about it.

It’s something that makes us special.

Our goal is always to partner with parents, so if you have any questions, please reach out a Principal or me. 

There are two important events on the horizon – our Upper School Musical The Addams Family and our Winter Festival, put on by our ever-dedicated PAFA! Attending these events is easy because they both happen on the same day: November 30. See more information below, and reach out with any questions you might have.

Wishing you and your family a pleasant weekend. Enjoy the sunshine!

Derek Luebbe
Head of School

Upcoming Events

  • Saturday, Nov. 16:
    • CISSA CRE Soccer, Boys @ SAS-PD, Girls @ Dulwich Shanghai
    • SSL Swim Meet #2
    • Varsity Boys and Girls Basketball @ Concordia, 10am
  • Wednesday, Nov. 20:
    • Varsity Girls Basketball Home Game vs Dulwich College, 4:15pm
    • Varsity Boys Basketball @ Dulwich, Away, 4:15pm
  • Thursday, Nov. 21:
    • Lower School Assembly (3J), 3rd floor theater, 8:15am
    • Waterloo Math Contest, Room 414, 9am
  • Friday, Nov. 22:
    • Varsity Girls Basketball @ SAS-PD, Away, 4:15pm
    • Varsity Boys Basketball @ SAS-PD, Away, 4:15pm

Photos From Around Campus

Head of School Updates, November 8, 2019

Parent Outreach Program

We need your help making our SCIS Community even stronger.

You can help families who are new to Shanghai and/or SCIS have questions. If you are interested in being a resource for prospective and newly enrolled families, please take our short Parent Outreach Survey.

Even if it’s just occasionally answering emails from a prospective family from your home country, we believe your contribution would be a vital part of reinforcing our school community. In advance, thank you.

November Parent Focus Group

This past Thursday we had our second Parent Focus Group. We talked about the results of our monthly (October) Parent Satisfaction Survey. The theme of the focus group was parent/faculty alignment of beliefs. We had a great discussion about what SCIS does well and opportunities for improvement. Stay on the lookout for November’s survey where we will be asking you to vote on your topic for next month’s Focus Group.

David Mazer and I are grateful to have the opportunity to discuss various issues with parents. Feedback really does help us improve. While the discussion was focused on how parents and the school can foster stronger alignment of beliefs, there was significant overlap with areas of communication on general. The discussion allowed everyone to share strengths and potential areas for growth. The discussion brought up the following points.

  • WeChat can be a double-edged sword.
  • WeChat is an unofficial SCIS communication channel, and why it is that way.
  • There is a lot of information (great!) but lots of potential places for parents to go. Are there official places to look?
  • How can parents better support what is happening in the classroom at home?
  • Can parents navigate ManageBac to get teacher feedback on student work?

Open House November 30th

On November 30th, from 10:30AM – 12:00PM at our campus, we are having an Open House for prospective families interested in our school. The Open House is available for parents/students who do not currently attend SCIS. If you know of any parents who would like to join the Open House, please have them RSVP with David Mazer at dmazer@scis-china.org. Following the Open House will be our Winter Festival!

November 30: Save The Date !

November 30 will be a busy day at SCIS Pudong.

  • Early Childhood Education (ECE) Parenting Classes: 9:30-10:30. If you are an ECE parent at SCIS (or want to invite a non-SCIS parent), join us for short session of sharing and learning together about how to set up an appropriate environment for learning for children ages 2-5.
  • SCIS Open House: 11:00-12:00 Invite a family to come visit our campus. Take a tour. Meet with administrators, and then join us for our …
  • Winter Festival from 11:30 – 3:00 pm. This is a food, drink, and fun Festival. (See the flier below.) We will provide a bus sign-ups for families to attend.
  • And lastly, stay at SCIS for the 3:00 pm showcase! Our Upper School Musical, The Addams Family. Support our talented (and dedicated) Upper School students as they treat us to an afternoon musical performance in the auditorium.

I want to reach out with thank you to the parents who attended yesterday’s Principals Coffee meeting with Dr. Volpe and Ms. Gale on the topic of understanding MAP testing. I also want to say thank you to all the parents who came out to support the Grade 7 & 8 Arts Performances yesterday in the Black Box. The “theater in the round” concept was a great way to promote a cozy community feel. Our parents, students, and faculty provided a great audience for them to showcase their skills and creations. And, of course, a big thank you to our arts department for putting in all the pre-planning that goes into making an event like that so special.

As I write this on Friday afternoon, we wish our Upper School Model United Nations students the best of luck during this weekends Model UN Conference in Hangzhou. Model UN is a fantastic experience for students, and if parents wish to learn more they can contact Dr. Volpe, Ms. Shanks, or our coordinator Mr. Steele.

Wishing each of you a relaxing weekend.

Derek Luebbe
Head of School

With every purchase of the Epermarket Advent Calendar, a portion will be donated to Heart to Heart!

Upcoming Events:

  • Tuesday Nov. 12:
    • Varsity Boys Basketball vs YCIS, Home, 4:15pm
    • MS Boys Soccer Team Nicholaides @ YCIS, Away, 4pm
    • MS Boys Soccer Team Newell vs DCS 2, Home, 4pm
  • Saturday Nov. 16:
    • CISSA CRE Soccer, Boys @ SAS-PD, Girls @ Dulwich Suzhou
    • SSL Swim Meet #2
    • FLL Robotics Workshop, Concordia International School, 9am
    • Varsity Boys and Girls Basketball @ Concordia, 10am
  • November 30: Winter Festival… and so much more

Photos From Around Campus

Head of School Updates, November 1, 2019

Dear Parents, Students, Faculty and Friends

As you hopefully know, there will no school for students on Monday, November 4th and Tuesday, November 5th. Enjoy your long weekend!

SHORT INVITE: I’m looking forward to tonight’s Upper School Java Jam starting at 6:00 pm. It features student (and faculty!) performances in a relaxed atmosphere. We do our best to transform the 3rd floor lobby into the SCIS Coffee House for a few short hours to provide a platform for our students to showcase their talents. As a parent of a teenager myself, I know that parent attendance at such events is not always overtly appreciated by your child. Yet, I know that deep down, they appreciate your support and interest. So, if you’re in the mood come join us for food, drink, and performances at 6:00 pm. (You can sit behind a plant if you wish to hide !)

Last weekend we celebrated the Lower School Halloween celebration on Saturday and this week the Upper School students and faculty showed off their costume choices. Both were fun events – with a healthy dose of creativity and fun.

You can see few more Halloween photos at the bottom of this post, but if you’re really looking to relive the experience, check out the PAFA webpage where you can find so many more memories of the day!

Winter Festival, and…

Save the date for the upcoming Winter Festival at Pudong on Nov. 30. This day will be coupled with an Open House for new families. Invite your friends and neighbors to experience the SCIS Community with some food, drinks, and laughter…

US Musical: The Addams Family

… Then move right from the Winter Festival and stay for the 3:00 pm showing of our Upper School Musical, The Addams Family. We have some truly talented students who have been rehearsing since August. Come out to see and hear their performance at 3:00 pm in our auditorium.

November’s Parent Focus Group

On November 7th at 10:30 am, we invite all parents to our November Parent Focus Group. Our monthly Focus Groups are an important way we want to hear from parents to help us better understand your needs.

Each month we take a topic from our Monthly Parent Satisfaction Survey to talk in more detail. Last month’s topic was “Understanding Academic Rigor in the IB Program.” Thank you to the 54 parents who have already completed October’s Parent Satisfaction Survey. If you have not yet completed this One-Question Parent Satisfaction Survey, please do so now. It only takes two minutes.

The 10:30 am Focus Group will be held after our 9:30 am Parent Coffee Morning which is an informational session for parents to better understand your children’s MAP Test data. MAP stands for Measures of Academic Progress, and it is a computerized standardized assessment used by SCIS two times each year. Come learn more about what it measures, what it does not measure, and how it can be useful as one piece of data in better understanding your child as a learner.

Wish you and your family a restful 4-day weekend.

Derek Luebbe
Head of School

Upcoming Events:

  • Thursday, Nov. 7:
    • Lower School Assembly, 3rd floor theater, 8:15am
    • Principals’ Coffee: MAP Testing, 9:30am
    • Schoolwide Parent Focus Group, room 208, 10:30am
    • PAFA Board Meeting, 12:30pm
    • G7/8 Arts Performance, 2:15pm
    • MS Girls Soccer vs WCIS1, Home, 4pm
  • Friday to Sunday, Nov. 8-10, West Lake MUN, Hangzhou International School
  • Saturday, Nov. 9:
    • Dragon Cup Basketball @ SCIS-HZ
    • SCIS Family Fun Day: NCAA PAC-12 Basketball Game, 9am

Photos From Around Campus

Head of School Updates, October 25, 2019

Dear Parents, Students, Faculty and Friends,

REPEAT MESSAGE:School Closed Nov. 4 & 5

The important message below is a repeat from an important email sent out on November 24. If you did not receive the email below, please double-check your email address with our office to ensure you receive future communications.

SCIS has confirmed with the proper authorities that our best course of action is to close school on all of our campuses (Pudong, Hongqiao Main, & Hongqiao ECE) on November 4th & 5th in support of the second annual China International Import Expo. As such, all After School Activities (ASA), athletics, performances, mother tongue language programs, and extra-curricular activities will also be canceled on those days. We will re-open with all operations on Wednesday, November 6th.

SCIS policy requires makeup days when cancellations are more than one school day per academic year. Given the government directive to cancel two school days, SCIS will adjust our calendar to make up one school day. As such, we will now hold a full day of school for students on Friday, November 22ndwhich was previously identified as a professional in-service day. 

Your patience and understanding are greatly appreciated. You will receive further clarification directly from divisional principals and teachers regarding necessary adjustments to programs (i.e. event rescheduling, assignment deadlines, etc.). While it remains our hope that we will have earlier notification for events such as these, we will do our best to incorporate the annual potential into our calendar planning for the 2020-21 school year and beyond. 

Parent Teacher Conferences

Thank you, parents, for attending Thursday’s Parent-Teacher Conferences. It was great to see such a strong turnout. Please know that the communication between school and home is not limited to this one day. We encourage you to stay in communication with your child’s progress throughout the year via ManageBac (Upper School) and SeeSaw (Lower School). If you ever want to learn more or have questions, send an email or arrange a visit with your child’s teacher. Even better, help your child develop self-advocacy skills by supporting them to be a part of the communication process well. As both a parent and an educator, I can attest that most issues are best resolved when the student, teacher, and parent are all clearly communicating expectations together.

You’ll notice below that the next few weeks will be busy in terms of school activities. We encourage you to be as involved as you can to help build our school community.

Wishing each of you a relaxing weekend.

Derek Luebbe

Monthly Parent Satisfaction Survey

Please take a few moments to complete our October Parent Satisfaction Survey. We appreciate your valuable feedback and will talk about the results at our next Parent Focus Group. Please click the clink below to take the survey:

October Parent Satisfaction Survey

Upcoming Events:

  • Tuesday, Oct. 29, MS Boys T1 and T2 @ Concordia, Away, 9am
  • Wednesday, Oct. 30, PSAT Grades 10-11, 8am-11am 
  • Thursday, Oct. 31, MS Girls Soccer @ SAS-Pd, 4pm 
  • Friday, Nov. 1, Java Jam, Gallery, 6pm-8pm 

Upcoming Parent/Community Events:

Over the next few weeks we will be having events focused on parents and our community. You can find a list of events below:

  • Saturday, October 26th from 12:00PM-3:00PM, PAFA Halloween Event – Dress in your Halloween costume and enjoy tricks and treats with all of our parents and students
  • Tuesday, November 7th at 9:30AM, Principals’ Coffee – This informational session will provide parents with an understanding of how to interpret the NWEA MAP assessment
  • Tuesday, November 7th at 10:30AM, Parent Focus Groups – Join other parents as we talk about the results from our monthly parent satisfaction survey. We will answer questions and discuss ways to improve our school
  • Saturday, November 9th, SCIS Family Fun Day – Come join SCIS families as we cheer on U.S. college basketball teams. We will provide transportation and a light breakfast on campus before the game

Photos From Around Campus

Head of School Updates, October 18 2019

Dear Parents, Students, Faculty and Friends,

We look forward to welcoming you to our Parent-Teacher Conferences next week on Thursday Oct. 24. There will be no school for students on the day. You can read more about the importance of these conferences and the sign-up procedures for each division within the Upper School or Lower School Principal’s Post.

Conferences provide meaningful time to have an important conversation regarding your child’s growth. In order to use that time effectively, I encourage parents to read this helpful tip sheet (below) put out by the Harvard Family Research Project.

Parent Satisfaction Survey

In September parents completed their first monthly parent satisfaction survey. Two weeks ago we held our first monthly parent focus group to discuss the results from that survey. You can learn more about the results from last week’s blog post.

On Monday we will be sending out the October parent satisfaction survey. It is a fast one-question survey and your feedback is greatly appreciated.

Parents are invited to attend our next parent focus group on November 7th at 10:30AM, where we will discuss the October survey in more detail. 

Halloween Bash

Next Saturday, October 26th we are having a Halloween Bash. PAFA is working hard to put together a great event for our community. All families are welcome to attend! Please contact Maria Trantow at pdpafa.eventco@scis-china.org if you would like to volunteer for the event. Any help would be much appreciated.

Upcoming Events

  • Tuesday, Oct 22, MS Boys T1 and T2 @ Dulwich, 9am
  • Wednesday, Oct 23 to Saturday, Oct 26, ACAMIS Volleyball @ NIS
  • Thursday, Oct 24, Parent-Teacher Conferences (No School for Students)
  • Saturday, Oct. 26, PAFA Halloween Event, 12pm-3pm

Photos From Around Campus

Head of School Updates, October 11, 2019

Dear Parents, Students, Faculty, and Friends,

It was a busy week, so let me recap some of the more notable events.

Parent September Survey Results & Focus Groups

On Tuesday, Oct. 8, SCIS Community Relations Officer David Mazer and I met with a group of interested parents in our first Monthly Parent Focus Group. The Focus Groups will occur each month. They are an extension of the monthly Parents’ Satisfaction Survey. A big thank you to the 84 parents who completed September’s survey! The survey allows parents to better communicate their feedback with the school so that we are better able to work together to serve students. The survey provided some open-ended responses from parents, and the purpose of Focus Group was to dig deeper into the some of these responses in order to find out what is working well and what could be improved. The topics from the September comments are listed below, however, the Focus Group only had time to dig into the first topic.

Understanding the academic rigor of the IB  (PYP/MYP/DP) programs
•Bi-lingual parent communication
•Supporting our students’ social and emotional growth

Following a protocol to encourage participation, parents formed three groups and shared opinions and rationale for various perspectives relating to the IB Programs and the concept of rigor.

Parents share feedback on our discussion topic: Rigor and the IB Program.

It was an extremely productive work session, and I want to thank the parents who contributed, and encourage everyone to attend our next Focus Group meeting on November 7 at 10:30 am, when we will address a topic or two from the upcoming October Parent Satisfaction Survey (scheduled to be sent out October 21).

To the left, you can see the parent-generated input which was converted into the Wordle image below.

The meeting was actually the second parent meeting of the day. Earlier, Dr. Volpe, Ms. Shanks, and US Counselor Maja Kelly held an informational session and Q&A to help explain an introduction to the Upper School IB Program (MYP & DP) and the upcoming Sexuality and Relationships units of study. You can learn more about those topics in this week’s US Principals’ Post.

Celebrating Reading with KG Students

Our KG students shared a celebration of reading today. It was a quick parade around the Lower School followed by an interactive session in the Black Box. The students celebrated by presenting to parents, other students, and faculty about their unit on community helpers. Congratulations to Ms. Meidinger and Ms. Mount for making the day such a success for our students. We also offer a special thank you to all the parents who were a part of the celebration. Your participation provides the audience that helps make learning more authentic! Thank you.

Big Game Night (Senior Night) Volleyball Wednesday

Big Game Night crowd vs. Dulwich…

Our boys and girls volleyball teams took on Dulwich on Wednesday in our annual Big Game Night to honor our Seniors. It was a great way to celebrate the achievements of our Senior student-athletes. It is truly a community affair. The Student Council sold snacks, Mr. Demas and the SCIS band provided musical spirit, the coaches (Mr. Vanta, Ms. Caban, and Mr. Caban) gave personalized speeches for each 12th grade player along with a small parting gift, and last-but-not-least a big fan base cheered on our Dragons.

…even the SCIS bus drivers got into the spirit!

There was plenty of action for everyone show off their Dragon Spirit as the boys team lost two close sets and the girls team was victorious in straight sets. Congratulations to all of our volleyball players and coaches as their season concludes later in October. In the meantime, both teams are in action on Saturday for the Annual SISAC Tournament against other international schools in Shanghai.

Freedom From Chemical Dependency

An FCD Small-Group Session

Lastly, this week our Upper School students were treated to a visit from a representative from the US-based Freedom from Chemical Dependency (FCD). FCD is an internationally recognized group that works with schools all over the world to help students better understand and navigate the decisions around alcohol and substance abuse.

While at SCIS, FCD presented to students, parents and faculty in large-group contexts, and then met in smaller grade-level group sessions.

You can read more about FCD here, and learn more about their work with SCIS students in our Upper School Principals’ Post.

Closing Comments

Don’t forget to check the upcoming events below. One event that is particularly important is the Parent-Teacher Conferences on October 24th. Sign-up forms were sent out via email on Thursday October 10, and they are available via each of the divisional Principal Posts.

  • Upper School students are encouraged to attend conferences with their parents.
  • Lower School conferences are between the parent and the teacher only.

With all that is going on, it’s easy to lose sight of the small things that can so be taken for granted – the interactions, the friendships, the moments of learning and growth that happen in the classroom, in activities, and at home. I invite you to peruse the photos below and keep those thoughts in mind.

As always, it’s a fun but humbling experience to be able to play a part in developing these moments with your children. We are appreciative of the trust you place in SCIS and look forward to continuing our work with you the rest of the year.

Sincerely,

Derek Luebbe

Upcoming Events:

  • Tuesday, Oct. 15, MS Boys T1 and T2 @ WCIS, Away, 9am
  • Thursday, Oct. 17:
    • Lower School Assembly, 3rd floor theater, 8:15am
    • Lower School Parent Coffee Morning, room 208, 9:15am
    • MS Girls Soccer @ Dulwich, Away, 9am
  • Friday, Oct. 18, Varsity Volleyball Phoenix Friday, Concordia, 5:30pm
  • Thursday, Oct. 24: Parent Teacher Conferences (No school for students.)

Photos From Around Campus

Ms. Shanks shares IB information during Tuesday’s Parent Coffee Morning.

Head of School Updates, September 27, 2019

Dear Parents, Students, Faculty and Friends

Today, we say “Welcome Back” to almost all of our Upper School students and faculty who were away in different destinations all over China this week experiencing our China Go Trips.

  • Grade 6 – Anji, Zhejiang
  • Grade 7 – Shaolin
  • Grade 8 – Beijing
  • Grade 9 – Inner Mongolia
  • Grade 10 – Yangshuo (Habitat for Humanity)
  • Grade 11 – Chengdu (Habitat for Humanity)
  • Grade 12 – Suzhou

These are fantastic experiences for our students, and a great way to build the grade level relationships early in the year which are the foundation of our community. A big thank you to our Upper School teachers who were on call 24/7 to make this experience a memorable one. Take a look at some of the great photos here, and be sure to visit Upper School Principals’ Post to see many more!

Keep reading for more information about our first ever Parent Focus Groups and a reminder for our upcoming Halloween Celebration.

Wishing you and your family a safe and relaxing National Day holiday.

Derek Luebbe
Head of School

Photos from US China Go Trips

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SCIS Parent Focus Group Invitation

Tuesday, October 8th at 10:30AM we will have our first Community Focus Group Session.  For this session we will focus on the following topics which were shared from our September survey:

  • Understanding the academic rigor of the IB  (PYP/MYP/DP) programs
  • Bi-lingual parent communication
  • Supporting our students’ social and emotional growth

In order to help us estimate the number of parents who might be present, if you are interested in attending, please scan the QR code below:

SCIS Halloween: Volunteers Needed!

Our SCIS Halloween Event is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, October 26 from 11:00-3:00 pm. This is a fun-filled day for our students to dress up and enjoy food, drinks, candy and different Halloween games.

We are still in the planning stages, and working hard to get volunteers to make the event a success. If you can give of your time and energy to help support the event in any way, please email our PAFA Events Coordinator, Maria Trantow at pdpafa.eventco@scis-china.org by Thursday, October 10th. (Thank you!)

Upcoming Events

  • Sep. 28 – Oct. 6, National Day Break and School Holiday
  • Oct. 9 Wednesday:
    • Varsity Boys Volleyball vs DCS, Home, 4:15pm
    • JV Girls Volleyball @ NAIS, Away, 4:15pm
    • JV Boys Volleyball @ NAIS, Away, 4:15pm
    • Varsity Girls Volleyball vs DCS, Home, 5pm
  • Oct. 10 – 12, Thursday to Saturday, ACAMIS Tennis, WAB/ISB
  • Oct. 10 – 11, Thursday to Friday, Freedom from Chemical Dependency
  • Oct. 12, Saturday, SISAC Volleyball Tournament @ CIS

Photos From Around Campus