Dear Parents and Friends,
There is a wealth of information to share with all of you.
Communication at SCIS
Many of you may remember that last year, we embarked on a yearlong Communication Committee which involved parents, students and faculty. The goal of the committee was to strive to find more effective ways for us to communicate throughout the schools.
I’m proud to share a few ideas that are already in action, and announce some newly added improvements.
Communication Improvements Currently in Place
1. The Lower School has implemented the SeeSaw Communication platform allowing:
A) class communication,
B) private one-on-one teacher/parent communication, and
C) private individual student portfolios with parent/student/teacher input and feedback on work shared.
It has been a great success thus far. Since launching Seesaw, on September 1 , we have had over 3,395 parent visits to class and student journals; 3,250 total likes, and 502 total comments on student work. As Lower School Principal Liz Gale shared in her Bulletin:
“Once again, the support and encouragement students are receiving from a broad and authentic audience surrounding their learning is having a remarkable impact on their commitment to consistently putting forth their best effort. Please continue to engage with your child on Seesaw and support us in continuing our quest to strengthen the home-school connection.”
2.The Upper School continues to develop the use of ManageBac as the primary tool for giving, receiving, and documenting teacher feedback on assessments, so students and parents can refer to a growing bank learning feedback on student progress toward MYP/DP objectives over the course of the year. Formative and summative assessment tasks will appear in blue in the student ManageBac calendar, and students should expect feedback to be posted within five school days of the due date. Please log in to ManageBac together with your child, refer to the ManageBac video tutorials on our website, or stop by the office for assistance in using this powerful tool.
3. Led by our PAFA, we have a more formalized use of two WeChat groups to facilitate communication:
A) The Upper School White Board* WeChat Group allows parents to see the same announcements that students in grades 6-12 see on a daily basis.
B) The SCIS 17-18 Fantastic Parents WeChat Group* shares information, photos, and updates for the entire school community.
*While school faculty are members of these groups, both of these groups are unofficial. They are not “controlled” by SCIS. The groups are wonderful places for parents to exchange information, ask (and answer) questions, and build our community. School faculty will usually not respond to questions posted here. Any question written with the intention of a school response should not be shared in the groups. It is far better to share that question via email with the correct SCIS faculty member. Because WeChat groups (even informal ones) represent who we are as a school community, we also require that all participants abide by our policies of respect and safety:
A) Users will identify themselves using a WeChat name which also include the names and grades of their children written in English / Pinyin. (Example: “Derek, (Elise 10 Mei Lee 7)“
B) All users will abide by our SCIS WeChat Norms to promote a safe and respectful community.
Join a group by scanning one or more of these QR codes.
4. This newly created Head of School blog allows more frequent posting compared to the monthly Head of School PDF updates. Although this blog is rather new, the anecdotal feedback at PAFA meetings has been favorable. If you have a suggestion for an improvement, email me at email@example.com
Want to get automatic updates sent automatically to your phone? To do so, you will have to paste the URL below into your RSS Reader. (There are many RSS readers. For iPhone users, the app Feedly is recommended.)
New Communication Tools
1. While the Lower School has a robust platform in SeeSaw, Dr. Volpe and Ms. Shanks have been working with PAFA to find a communication solution to assist Upper School families. We have now established Grade-Level WeChat groups for grades 6-12. Each group is led by a room parent and includes SCIS faculty. Again, this is not a formal school communication channel. Information and questions are shared by parents – for parents. The Grade Level communication chats are meant to facilitate communication for issues such as field trips, PSAT testing, special dress days, or special presentations taking place. Additionally, they provide a great place to share photos and highlights for all parents in the grade level to enjoy.
A big thank you goes out to our PAFA representatives who are helping to facilitate this information flow. Our guidelines and norms (shared above) apply to these groups as well.
2. We are pleased to announce that all parents can follow a new SCISPudong WeChat account. The school can be a very busy place with lots of events – in and out of the classroom – happening each and every day. The new WeChat account provides an easy way that all of our parents can see photos and captions from all around the school on a daily basis. You can follow these updates by adding “SCISPudong” as a WeChat contact.
Parents can join any of the WeChat group by scanning these QR codes.
New Communication Tools on the Horizon
1. Shortly, we will be changing our Principal’s Weekly PDF newsletter to a blog format.
2. We are working diligently behind the scenes to roll out our new SCIS website. Stay tuned.
PAFA Meeting: Highlights from October 10
The morning of October 10 started with an Upper School Coffee Morning with Dr. Volpe and Ms. Shanks. The Coffee Session focused on exploring the frameworks of the IB Diploma and Middle Years Programmes. We also reviewed changes for the upcoming Parent-Teacher-Student Conferences and ensured that everyone had access to the new online interface for booking conferences , SignupGenius.
The Upper School Coffee was followed by a PAFA meeting.
- Update on Air Quality / PureLiving: In late September, SCIS hired PureLiving to conduct the GB/T18883-2002 air quality test in our facilities. The results of this test came back this week and we are pleased to report that all eight pollutants measured were all under the international standards for safe air quality.
Action points discussed in the meeting included:
1) The formation of a small group task force (2-4 parents) to work with Mr. Luebbe to make the air quality procedures and philosophy more transparent for everyone. If you are a parent interested in joining this task force, please contact PAFA President Trish Castillo (firstname.lastname@example.org) by 9:00 am on Wednesday October 18.
2) Scheduling a date for a more detailed Town Hall Meeting with SCIS administration and a PureLiving Representative. This is a follow-up to an earlier request in the September PAFA meeting. The goal of the meeting is to ensure that parents can learn more about the air quality systems we have in place at SCIS, and learn more about air quality monitoring in general within Shanghai. The session will allow time for Q&A.
When will this Town Hall meeting be?
We would like to schedule the session at a convenient time for parents. We have three options:
1. During Parent-Teacher Conferences (Oct 26) when many parents are here already.
2. In early November, in the early evening so that parents can come after work
3. In early November, during the school day in connection with another event such as a PAFA meeting.
We want to hear your opinion. Help us schedule this Town Hall Meeting by taking this one-minute survey by Wednesday, October 18.
- During the meeting, we also officially announced that SCIS partner with a group called BroadwayLive consisting of working professionals with experience in Broadway (New York City) to host host a summer Musical Theatre Experience at SCIS from August 2-10. This is a unique opportunity for young, aspiring actors. Because we are hosting, SCIS students receive a $500 (USD) discount on the cost of the program.
The program has limited space, and the program is open to actors from all schools. We anticipate it will fill up. Registrations are first-come, first-served. The goal is to give SCIS families first priority to sign up.
You can find much more information about the Shanghai summer program and BroadwayLive at this link.
Preview of Student Surveys
In October, students in grades K-12 will complete short surveys of their teachers. We conduct these surveys two times a year. They provide valuable feedback to our teachers – and a valuable voice to students. The surveys are completely anonymous, but we ask for your help in helping students share their honest perspectives.
We are professionals and we all want to improve. Surveys are one way we get the macro data we need to identify trends and take steps to improve. As always, if you (or your child) has a specific question about a class, your first communication should be to discuss the matter with the teacher.
Weekend Swimming at SCIS (Survey)
Coach Vic is exploring the potential of a weekend swim program for students of all ages (and families!). The program would include certified swim instructors and provide different classes for all ages and abilities. In order to determine interest, we ask you to fill out this short survey to help us see if we have sufficient interest.
Parent-Teacher Conferences: October 25-26
Parent Teacher Conferences are scheduled for October 25 from 3:30-6:00 pm and October 26 from 12:00-6:00 pm. Please refer to the specific divisional weekly bulletin (Lower School or Upper School) on our Pudong Portal Website to find out how to sign up for your child’s conferences and additional details.
Friday, October 27, we will celebrate Halloween at SCIS. Lower School activities run from 1:30 to
3:00 pm. Upper School activities run from 3:00-6:00 pm. For more information, check the weekly bulletins and check the PAFA Post on the Pudong Portal Website.
On The Horizon
October 16-20 Spirit Week at SCIS culminating with us hosting the ACAMIS Volleyball Tournament
November 18 PAFA Bingo Night at SCIS! Save the date.
December 15 1/2 Day Attendance for Students. Students Dismiss at 11:30