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

cof

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

Head of School Updates, September 20, 2019

Dear Parents, Students, Faculty, and Friends.

A fantastic day for SCIS as we celebrated the United Nations International Day of Peace (UNIDOP) assembly. It was so great to see so many parents – joining with our faculty and students – to recognize and appreciate the special opportunity we have at SCIS Pudong.

The United Nations’ International Day of Peace day was established in 1982 to promote peace and diversity around the world. Our community recognized the importance of celebrating this day to honor its multicultural student body, made up of over 50 different nationalities. We were inspired by words from Model United Nations representative, senior Thalia Chelouche.

And, of course, we celebrated with our parade of nations which showcased students, parents, and faculty from all over the world. We are so fortunate to have our SCIS community; while we all learn math and reading, we do so in an environment that is continually exposing each of us to perspectives, opinions, and ways of thinking that broaden our perspective of our world. The United Nations was created to help solve some of the world’s global challenges that crossed national boundaries. I can think of no environment better than SCIS to highlight the importance and opportunity each of us have.

Again, a big thank you to the parents who were able to attend. Our community is truly a community when we come together to celebrate and share experiences.

Speaking of thank yous, I want to give a big thank you to our PAFA representatives and all the Pudong Parents who attended Thursday’s PAFA Social at Kathleen’s Waitan. PAFA groups from our Hongqiao and Pudong Campus combined to put together a fantastic event. (Some photos of the night are shared below.)

Lastly, as many of you know, next week will be a unique one for SCIS as our Upper School students and faculty will be traveling to various cities within China for the entire week as a part of our China Go trips. A special thanks to our China Go organizer, Vic Caban and to each of the teams of faculty members who put in the time to prepare a meaningful experience for our students. Join me in wishing each of these grades a memorable experience.

Wishing each of you a relaxing weekend.

Warmly,

Derek Luebbe
Head of School

UNIDOP Photos

Photos from our PAFA Night at Kathleen’s Waitan

Upcoming Events

  • Monday Sep. 23 – Friday Sep. 27, Upper School China Go! Trip Week

Photos From Around Campus

M

Head of School Updates, September 12, 2019

Dear Parents, Students, Faculty, and Friends,

It was a short week, and I trust that everyone is enjoying the long weekend.

I do want to congratulate our 9th graders who organized a quick morning bagel sale and gave everyone a little morning boost on Wednesday. The proceeds from the sale will be used to support the 9th Grade China Go Trip to Inner Mongolia where our students’ funding and efforts will help support additional trees to support the desertification.

9th graders getting ready for Wednesday morning’s Bagel Sale

On Thursday, our entire SCIS Pudong and Hongqiao faculty gathered for full day of Professional Development learning. One of our main topics focused on further defining our learning goals in terms of the evidence we have, and additional evidence we can gather to support our students. It was a great day of productive discussions to help further clarify what we can do to better support students.

SCIS Teachers, learning from and with one another

As a last reminder, Sunday is the deadline for September Parent Satisfaction Survey. If you have not completed the survey, please take two minutes to share your opinion. It helps us improve as a school, and allows us to follow up with students and parents to gather more information about what is working well, and where we can improve.

Wishing you all a restful weekend.

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival.

Derek Luebbe

Upcoming Events:

  • Tuesday, Sep. 17:
    • MS Touch Rugby vs SAS-PD, Home, 4pm
    • JV Girls Volleyball @ SMIC, Away, 4:15pm
    • JV Boys Volleyball vs SMIC, Home, 4:15pm
  • Wednesday, Sep. 18:
    • Varsity Boys Volleyball @ SMIC, Away, 4:15pm
    • Varsity Girls Volleyball @ SMIC, Away, 4:15pm
    • JV Boys Volleyball @ DCS, Away, 4:15pm
    • JV Girls Volleyball @ DCS, Away, 4:15pm
  • Friday, Sep. 20:
    • UN Day of Peace Assembly, 1:30pm-3pm
    • Varsity Girls Volleyball vs NAIS, Home, 4:15pm
    • Varsity Boys Volleyball vs NAIS, Home, 4:15pm
  • Saturday, Sep. 21: CISSA CRE Touch Rugby, SAS-PD

Photos From Around Campus

Head of School Update, Sept. 5

Dear Parents, Students, Faculty and Staff

Next week will be a short – but busy – week. There will be no school for students on Thursday and Friday. Thursday is an important day for our faculty as we collaborate with SCIS Hongqiao faculty for the first big event in launching our WASC Accreditation / IB Authorization process.

In an earlier post, I shared more about the upcoming synchronized visit with WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges) and IB (International Baccalaureate). It is a special challenge and opportunity to affirm the quality of what we do. Only a few schools around the world (less than 1%) have gone through a synchronized visit from WASC and the IB. It will be a fantastic opportunity for our school to reflect and grow. All school constituents will be involved in the process.

Speaking of parent involvement, I want to remind everyone about our Monthly Parent Satisfaction Survey. An email was sent to all parents on September 4th encouraging each of you to complete a two-minute survey to share your perceptions about SCIS. (If you did not receive that email from “PD News”, please contact the school so that we can ensure we have your correct email address.) A version of this survey will come out each month for parents. Of course, we are all here to better serve our students. So, we will be surveying them as well throughout the year to gather data, hear perceptions, and work with them to make their experience more meaningful.

If you have already completed this short survey – thank you! If you did not complete it, please do so. Each parent can complete it. It only takes two minutes! The deadline to complete this survey is midnight on September 15.

As a reminder, next week we will take student photographs. Check your divisional communication for additional information.

Next week, the school will also practice our emergency fire evacuation drills. For those of you with younger children, we would greatly appreciate your help in talking through this process with your child to help him/her understand that this is a practice.

Morning Bus Pick-Up Reminders:   The bus will not wait for students who are late in the morning. Doing so causes all the students on the bus to arrive late for school. To help keep us on schedule, I have instructed to drivers to leave the bus stop promptly on time. To prevent problems, please be sure that your child arrives at the bus stop  prior to his/her scheduled departure. If you have any bus questions, contact our transportation coordinator Stu Ren at pd-transportation@scis-china.org .  Thank you for your help in keeping our bus times on schedule.

Wishing each of you a restful weekend.

Warm regards,
Derek Luebbe, Head of School

Upcoming Events

  • Tuesday, 4:00 pm: JV Volleyball (Boys and Girls) vs. Concordia (@ SCIS), Varsity Volleyball (Boys and Girls) at Concordia.
  • Tuesday: Lower School student picture day.
  • Wednesday: Upper School student picture day.
  • Thursday: No School for students. Professional Development Day for Faculty.
  • Friday: No school for students. Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!

Photos From Around Campus

Head of School Updates, August 30, 2019

Dear Parents, Students, Faculty and Friends,

With so much happening, it was a fast week.
It was only a week ago when we celebrated as a community during our Welcome Back BBQ. I want to extend a big thank you to all the families that came out to celebrate our SCIS Community. (I also want to thank Mother Nature for stopping the rain at just the right time.)
Our Welcome Back BBQ is a perfect way to start our year together, celebrate the diversity of SCIS, and get to know each other.
We captured a few of the memories of the day in the photos below.

Additionally, this Thursday, our Back To School Night was well attended. It provides the foundation for building a strong relationship between school and home. Three important take-aways from the night:

  1. Lower School parents need to ensure that they are on SeeSaw.
  2. Upper School parents should sit down with their child at least one time per week with ManageBac open to understand work (past and future), and reflect on teacher feedback.
  3. All students and parents are encouraged to communicate with the child’s teacher. We all want this to be a successful year for each child, and that is far more likely when we communicate.

Since the Back To School Night is our last “welcome” event, I will close by re-sharing my goals for a successful year.

  1. Each child is challenged.
  2. Each child is supported in that challenge.
  3. Each child is appreciated for who they are as an individual.

That’s our challenge as a school – and I hope those are goals which you can support at home as well.

I wish you and your family a relaxing weekend.

Sincerely,

Derek Luebbe
Head of School

PAFA Updates

All parents are invited to the PAFA General Meeting on Tuesday, September 3 at 10:30 in Room 208.
You can learn more about upcoming PAFA events via the PAFA Post.

And, all parents are invited to a special PAFA Parent Social night out on September 19th. This event is a sponsored by the PAFA from SCIS Pudong and SCIS Hongqiao. It plans to be a fun night of relaxation, food, and drink. Busing will be provided. For more information contact Vanessa Thomas at pdpafa.president@scis-china.org .

SCIS Dragon Cup Volleyball – Saturday @ Pudong

Come out and cheer our Boys and Girls Varsity Volleyball Teams in action on Saturday as we SCIS Pudong hosts the Dragon Cup Invitational.

Upcoming Events

  • Saturday, August 31, Dragon Cup Varsity Volleyball @ SCIS Pudong
  • Monday Sep. 2 to Sep. 5, US NWEA-MAP Testing
  • Tuesday, Sep. 3:
    • PAFA General Meeting, 10am
    • JV Boys Volleyball @ YCIS PD, 4:15pm
    • JV Girls Volleyball vs YCIS PD @ Home, 4:15pm
  • Wednesday, Sep. 4:
    • Varsity Boys Volleyball @ WCIS, 4:15pm
    • Varsity Girls Volleyball vs WCIS @ Home, 4:15pm

Photos From Around Campus

Head of School Updates, August 23, 2019

Dear Parents, Students, Faculty, and Friends,

Please join us this Saturday for our Welcome Back BBQ from 11:00-3:00. There will be drinks, food, entertainment, games, and a lot of socializing as we welcome our new families and re-connect with those returning. Children are encouraged to bring swimsuit / change of clothes because there are water games.

The entire day is free of charge.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Stay Connected

As the school year gets moving, it’s important to ensure you are aware and connected to the multiple ways in which we communicate.

  1. Each parent should have an SCIS school email account. This is the official avenue for sending information home. Many parents set up their school email to auto-forward to their personal email account so that they do not miss notifications from the teacher or school. We can help with this if you have questions.
  2. Each school division (Upper School and Lower School) shares each student’s academic information through an online platform. It is very important that parents can use these platforms to stay informed. If you have any questions, contact Barry Johnson at bjohnson@scis-china.org
    1. Lower School: SeeSaw
    2. Upper School: ManageBac
  3. We have a number of unofficial WeChat groups which we use to keep everyone informed and help foster our community connection. For all WeChat groups, we agree to abide by our SCIS WeChat Norms. Three important WeChat groups are:
    1. Fantastic Parents: General information and Q&A.
    2. Your child’s Grade Level WeChat group: Led by a parent-volunteer in the role of Grade Level Leader, this group helps build a grade level community.
    3. Upper School White Board (daily activities and announcements).
  4. Contact your child’s teacher via email or schedule a face-to-face meeting. If you have questions along the way, your child’s teacher is usually the first point of contact. Please feel free to reach out.
  5. On Aug. 22, all parents received an important email regarding our emergency contact system via cell phone text message. Please check to ensure you received that email. Emergencies such a typhoons require that our school community can be reached quickly to ensure safe and successful communication. Note that we will test our emergency contact system at noon on August 27. All cell phone numbers in our system will receive the message below. If you do not receive this message, please check the Aug. 22 email for how to update your contact information.
This TEST Emergency message will be sent at noon on Aug. 27.

If you want to learn about more avenues for communication, please see our earlier post.

Back to School Night: August 29 at 6:00 pm

All parents are encouraged to attend out Back to School Night from 6:00-8:15 pm. This is an important night to meet your child’s teacher, learn more about your child’s program so that you can better support him/her, and strengthen the school-home relationship so that we can partner with you to provide success for students.

This can be a busy night with lots of information and introductions. Please note that this is not a night when you should plan to meet about your child with your child’s teacher. On this night, the teachers have limited time. We encourage individual meetings, but one-on-one meetings should be scheduled for a different day. Thank you for your understanding.

We look forward to welcoming you August 29, and hope to see you all tomorrow afternoon.

Warm regards,
Derek Luebbe

Upcoming Events

  • Tuesday Aug. 27:
    • LS Swim Team Tryouts
    • JV Girls Volleyball & JV Boys Volleyball @ SAS-PD, 4:15pm
    • Varsity Girls Volleyball & Varsity Boys Volleyball vs SAS-PD @ Home, 4:15pm
  • Thursday Aug. 29, Back To School Night, 6pm-8pm
  • Saturday Aug. 31, Dragon Cup Volleyball, SCIS – PD, 9am – 3pm

Photos From Around Campus

Head of School Updates, Aug. 16, 2019

Dear Parents,
We’ve reached the end of a busy Week One.

In my earlier post, I highlighted a number of different upcoming school events. Review that post if you were unable to read it. It included:

  • Ms. Gale’s temporary absence
  • Our summer facilities upgrades
  • Communication channels at SCIS: Do you know our WeChat norms?
  • Important School Contacts
  • Read the PAFA Post (Parent and Friends Association)
  • Upcoming Events:
    • PAFA Meet & Greet Coffee Morning, Tuesday Aug. 20, 9:30-11:30
    • Welcome Back BBQ, Saturday Aug. 24, 11:00-3:00 pm
    • Back to School Night, August 29, 6:00 pm

It’s been a fun week for me to roam the hallways and try to connect with the 80+ new students, and of course all of our returning students as well. The school year has a great community feel to it.

Speaking of community, I am proud to announce the arrival of a new SCIS Dragon over the summer. On July 24, SCIS teachers Mr. and Mrs. Ruf welcomed the birth of their first child, a girl named Charlotte Reese Ruf. Everyone is smiling (or crying!) as should be expected. Seeing them all together is sure to brighten anyone’s day!

During my introduction to new families, I highlighted our focus on the development of the whole child. As a Three-Program IB school (PYP, MYP, DP), our academic program is strong and at the forefront. But we strive to be more than the IB – to help children develop socially, emotionally, athletically, and ethically. This is called educating the whole child.

During the welcome message, I shared three foundational goals we have for every child’s experience. They are worth repeating as they apply to all children.

  • We strive to challenge each child, to push toward improvement, in each of these areas.
  • We strive to support each child within this challenge.
  • We strive to appreciate each child for who they are at this point in time.

I know that if we are able to do that, we have the foundation for a very successful school year.

As the year begins, on behalf of everyone here at SCIS, I wish to express how fortunate we feel to have the community we have. We are all here for the success of children. If, at any point in the year, you have questions, please reach out to your child’s teacher, principal, or me.

Hoping your year is off to a successful start.
Respectfully,

Derek Luebbe
Head of School

Uniforms & Greens and Jeans

SCIS Green Spirit T-Shirt

If you have any uniform needs, please see Ann in the SCIS Student Store. New families also received a Green SCIS T-Shirts. Next Friday will be a Dragon Spirit Day in preparation for our Welcome Back BBQ on Saturday. Friday the 23rd will be Green & Jeans Day. This means students do not have to come in the SCIS uniform as long as they come in their SCIS Green T-shirt. They can also wear jeans or other appropriate shorts/pants. It’s a fun day to celebrate who we are, and the fun will continue into Saturday’s BBQ.

Welcome Back BBQ: Saturday August 24, 11:00-3:00 pm


The Welcome Back BBQ is an annual tradition filled with food, drinks, games, entertainment and socializing to connect (and re-connect) our SCIS Community. Come out for a fun day of family relaxation. Busing will be provided from designated pick-up points. Busing will be provided to / from selective spots in the city. You must reserve your spot using the QR code below by Thursday at 3:00 pm

Scan for bus sign-up

This is a free – and fun – event!

We are looking for PERFORMERS who want to sing, dance or play an instrument at the AUG 24th WELCOME BBQ. Contact Laurie Luebbe if you or your child(ren) are interested. DEADLINE Friday Aug 23. Email Laurie: lluebbe@scis-china.org

Synchronized IB / WASC Accreditation Visit: Preparation

In this week’s blog, I would like to provide a very short introduction into an important strategic process that SCIS will undertake in the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school year. You will hear much more about this process in weeks to come.

This year we embark upon the task of preparing for an accreditation visit. Accreditation is very important process for a school; it is similar to an educational audit, performed by visiting educators. SCIS is a fully accredited school since it’s inception in 1986. We are one of the rare schools in the world that is authorized by both the IB (International Baccalaureate) and accredited by WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges) in the USA. In the spring of 2021, educators from both both organizations will visit SCIS for approximately one week to verify our internal self-study.

Why is accreditation so important?
An accredited school allows everyone around the world to know that this school meets high standards of quality. It allows universities and other K-12 students to accept students, knowing that the standard of quality has been verified.

Is SCIS already accredited?
Yes. We have are fully accredited by both agencies. Accreditation terms run for a maximum of six years. Our term is up for renewal. What makes this visit so special is that we have aligned both organizations into one, larger, synchronized visit.

This seems over a year away. Why are we learning about now?
Over the course of the next 18 months, SCIS will be going through a rigorous self-study using the externally provided criteria from WASC and IB to learn where we are strong and where we can improve. Our self-study process is a detailed analysis of all stakeholders’ perspectives (students, teachers, parents, support staff, administration, Board members, etc.) to better understand SCIS. The self-study will be published next school year and available for all.

As a parent, how might this affect me?
As a parent (or a student), you can expect that you will receive a few more surveys than in previous years. We will also be organizing feedback sessions to talk about the results of the survey, and solicit more detailed, nuanced perspectives. You can expect to hear more about these in the future.

Is accreditation basically just a stamp of approval?
No. The accreditation process is an opportunity for a school to renew its purpose, review its practices against standards-based criteria of effectiveness, and then benefit from an educational audit from educators from around the world who specialize in each aspect so what we can learn and continuously improve.
We are looking forward to the journey, and sharing more about it this year.

Upcoming Events:

  • August 20, PAFA Welcome Coffee Morning, Black Box, 9:30am-11:30am
  • August 24, Welcome Back BBQ, 11am-3pm

Photos From Around Campus

Head of School Update, August 13

Welcome back Kriday and Anousha

Welcome (Back) Dragons!

We are off and running on a the fantastic journey that will be the 2019-20 school year.  We look forward to partnering with you to make it special. Let me officially welcome all of you to what I know will be a rewarding year for your children.

It was fantastic to see such a large turnout at our New Family Orientation. This year, we welcome over 80 new SCIS Dragons. Our school continues to grow as we open with 400+ students, and we look forward to all the connections, relationships, and experiences that we will share as an SCIS Community over the 2019-20 school year.

For those of you who are new, this Head of School Update is one way in which we aim to stay in communication with families throughout the year. Principals also share a Principal’s Post at the end of each week. You will also notice that we added some new features and links to this blog that parents typically reference.

The first day was filled with boundless energy – old friendships renewed, new students a little nervous, returning students welcoming new students, and a lot of supportive parents and faculty trying to make sure the first day is a positive one.

Ms. Gale’s Absence

As I shared during New Family Orientation, Ms. Gale is home in the United States for a few days. Unfortunately, earlier last week, Ms. Gale learned of her mother’s declining health. As such, she rightly decided to leave on Sunday for the USA for a short period of time to be with her mother and family. As a community, I know we send our thoughts and prayers to her at this time.

She worked diligently over the previous days to ensure that all the pieces were in place for a successful school opening. In her absence, the entire Lower School team has stepped up in support. From a parent’s perspective, if you have questions that would normally be directed to Ms. Gale, please reach out to the Lower School Counselor, Laurie Luebbe (lluebbe@scis-china.org).

Facilities Upgraded

Returning families will see a campus that has seen significant upgrades. Check these out the next time you’re in school.

  • Thanks to PAFA for the funding, and to parent Victor Ngo for the awesome design ideas. The Lobby/Lounge Space has been re-built to allow more informal and formal meetings for parents, teachers, and students
  • A new Upper School Music room was added to the 4th floor. 
  • Lower School Music will moved to a much bigger room on the Lower Level.
  • Dedicated individual learning spaces built into Upper School Rooms 310 / 308.
  • The addition of a fourth PS/PK classroom to accommodate growth.
  • The addition of a (new) second Grade 5 classroom to accommodate growth.
  • The addition of an ECE indoor play-room.
  • Additional space added to create 3 Mandarin rooms on the 2nd floor.

We continue to be very fortunate that our Board of Directors continues to invest in the facility to ensure we have spaces that align with research-based best practices for learning.

Our new lobby design… Thank you PAFA (and Victor !)
Mr. Demas in the new US Music Room

Communication at SCIS

As we kick off the new year, I want to ensure that all families are aware of the importance of communication, and each of you are aware of the various communication methods we use throughout the year.
We want to partner with you in pursuit of making this year a success for your child. Personal communication is the most important aspect of developing our relationship and clarifying our shared understanding of our program and your child’s needs.

Here are a couple important reminders:

Communicate first and foremost with the person most directly knowledgeable about your child’s problem. Usually, this is your child’s teacher. Email is a great way to communicate, and if needed, a personal visit can always be scheduled.

We maintain a number of unofficial WeChat groups to facilitate communication. (The addition of WeChat groups resulted from a yearlong Communication Task Force – involving students, parents, teachers, and administration in 2016-17 – aiming to strengthen our communication practices.) We are a unique school in the way in which we utilize WeChat to help facilitate parent communication. Some reminders about the WeChat groups.

As unofficial groups, a school faculty member is always included in each group, but the school (or the representative) does not typically reply to WeChat messages or questions posed by parents. We officially communicate through other channels, noted in the chart below.

Utilzing WeChat groups is an exercise in trust in our collective ability to self-monitor the conversation and ensure that it stays healthy, professional, and supportive of the school and each other. We have developed SCIS WeChat Norms to clarify these expectations. Please review these norms. For example, WeChat should not be used to complain about a particular person or policy. If you have personal questions or comments that you would like to make which may violate these norms, those questions/comments are likely best communicated in person,  via email to the specific person, or raised to PAFA representatives for broader discussion.

PAFA is an excellent conduit of information and source of knowledge. Please feel free to reach out to this year’s PAFA president Vanessa Thomas (pdpafa.president@scis-china.org ) if you have questions, comments, or suggestions.

Below is a helpful chart to summarize the various ways that we stay connected as a school community.

Unofficial Communication Channels

  • (Wechat) SCIS Fantastic Parents Group – an excellent source of connecting and learning about what’s happening from parents within the SCIS community. Daily questions and online conversations. (NOTE: As of Aug. 13, PAFA is still using the 2018-19 Fantastic Parent group. If you are not a part of this group, please ask someone to add you. In the near term, a newly created group for the 2019-20 school year will be added, and individuals can add themselves via a new QR code. Stay tuned !)
  • (Wechat) Grade Level Groups – Connect with all the parents who are in your child’s class.
    As a school, we are always looking to strengthen our community by expanding our ability to communicate with one another. If you have an idea, email me our School Community Officer, David Mazer at dmazer@scis-china.org and/or PAFA President Vanessa Thomas at pdpafa.president@scis-china.org

Important SCIS Contacts

David Mazer, School-Community Officer, dmazer@scis-china.org

Dr. Frank Volpe, US Principal, fvolpe@scis-china.org
Jelly Ling, US Secretary, jling@scis-china.org
Maja Kelly, US Counselor, mkelly@scis-china.org

Elizabeth Gale, LS Principal, egale@scis-china.org
Vicky Xu, LS Secretary, vxu@scis-china.org
Laurie Luebbe, LS Counselor, lluebbe@scis-china.org

Stu Ren, Transportation Coordinator, sren@scis-china.org

Upcoming Events

We have a number of important school wide events. Please mark your calendars. There are a number of PAFA events shared on the PAFA Post (below).

PAFA Welcome Back Coffee Morning, Tuesday, August 20 from 9:30 – 11:30.

Come meet in the Black Box for this introductory meet and greet.
– Hear from Mr. Luebbe and divisional representatives,
– Meet the PAFA Executive Team,
– Learn about volunteering opportunities, events, and other ways to build our school community,
– Join a break-out group to meet other parents in your child’s grade level,
– Participate in our annual “Uniform Swap”,
– Just relax and connect with others in the SCIS Community.

Welcome Back BBQ – Saturday, August 24 11:00-3:00 pm

Come join us for a day of family fun.

The Welcome Back BBQ is an annual tradition filled with food, drinks, games, entertainment and socializing to connect (and re-connect) our SCIS Community. Come out for a fun day of family relaxation. Busing will be provided from designated pick-up points. See Friday’s blog post and Fantastic Parents for more information on how to sign up for busing.

This is a free – and fun – event!

We are looking for PERFORMERS who want to sing, dance or play an instrument at the AUG 24th WELCOME BBQ. Contact Laurie Luebbe if you or your child(ren) are interested. DEADLINE Friday Aug 23. Email Laurie: lluebbe@scis-china.org

Back To School Night, August 29, 6:00 pm

Join us for a night to meet your child’s teachers, learn about our program, and build the school-home relationship.

Let us know how we can help!

On behalf of everyone at SCIS Pudong, I welcome you to the 2019-20 school year. Our job is to partner with you to make this a memorable year for your child. If we can be of any help, please reach out at any point throughout the year.

Warm regards,

Derek Luebbe
Head of School

Photos from Campus: Day 1

Ms. Marcos leads a fast-paced, “Get to Know You” game

Head of School Updates, June 14, 2019

Farewell 2018-19

Dear Parents, Students, Faculty and Friends,

We have been truly fortunate this year. This week, we shared a number of ceremonies, celebrations and reflections that were great representations of our SCIS Community.

Today in the hallways, there we many personal goodbyes between students, families and faculty members. For most of us, it will just be a few weeks apart, but for those leaving the SCIS community, it may be awhile before you see you again – but we hope we do!

As I shared with the students, we have all played a part in collectively shaping the experience and culture of SCIS. I sincerely hope that everyone leaves with fond memories and that our school community has made you a better person. Additionally, I am sure that the contribution of each of us has added something (big or small) the community we have.

To those of you leaving SCIS, allow me to wish you the best of luck. Once a Dragon; Always a Dragon.

Teachers say goodbye to students as busses depart. Summer 2019 begins!

And, to those of you returning, I wish you and your families a safe and relaxing summer vacation. We will see you in August!

To those returning, we look forward to seeing you on August 13. You will be greeted by upgrades in our facility, new classrooms, an expanding community of teachers and students, and the same Dragon Spirit.

For those curious about next year, please visit the following resources to stay informed throughout the summer.

SCIS Pudong Portal – http://pd.scis-his.net/ : On the portal, you can access the SCIS Pudong Calendar – Get a head start on important schoolwide events by clicking on the calendar icon on the Portal website. And, of course, we will update you all by email and this blog post over the summer.

I wish each of you a restful and relaxing summer with family and friends. Thank you for being a part of the SCIS Community.

Go Dragons!
Derek Luebbe
Head of School

Yearbooks Still Available

It’s not too late!  We still have some extra yearbooks left. If you did not order a yearbook to remember the 2018-19 school year, you can still purchase a book by contacting Joanna (jzhou@scischina.org) in our office.