Head of School Updates, November 2 2018

Dear Parents, Students, Faculty, and Friends,

It was a busy and fun-filled Spirit Week at SCIS Pudong. A collective thanks to your Student Council for the fun events, and it’s not over yet. Friday afternoon will also include a Student-Staff Volleyball game where we shall all see who shall win between youth and wisdom…  

Tonight, the Upper School hosts our Annual Java Jam on the 3rd Floor Gallery – an open mic celebration of music, poetry, and skits from our students and faculty.

Student groups presenting re-design ideas to parents and faculty

For the last two days, I was fortunate to be part of an audience of parents and Dr. Volpe who were able to hear eight different student-groups from our MYP Design Class share their ideas for a potential re-design of our 4th Floor HS Lounge space. There were some great ideas shared, all with rationale and 3D software to help us better envision the student ideas. Congratulations to our Design Teacher, Mr. Willauer for all his work with the students in preparation. It’s the kind of real-world learning that we strive to provide – an environment where there are clear goals but no clear pathways. It’s a project with an authentic purpose, aimed at a specific audience, where the achievement level is not judged by right-wrong answers but by the quality of ideas and the effectiveness of the communication. In short, it’s how learning should be.  I know the audience members were impressed by how far the students developed their ideas, and we’re all eager to continue to work with the students to make the eventual re-design a reality. Lastly, I want to share a special thank you to the parents who took time to be a part of the audience and ask such probing questions. Students need authentic audiences – and when parents can help support our program by making the audience more authentic, the level of learning is increased significantly

Authentic audiences were also on display on Thursday after school in the auditorium where IB Music Teacher Mr. Demas led the IB Diploma Music Students in their semi-annual IB Recital for an audience of teachers, parents, and students. Thank you to those who came out to support (and enjoy) some fantastic music. It’s another example of how learning and the assessment of learning is more authentic when it’s presented to a natural audience. These performances are recorded, and will be submitted to the IB as part of a formal assessment. 

We’re lucky in many ways to have such a small school filled with dedicated people who are willing to give their time to provide these types of opportunities. Our students benefit from it.

Lastly, our administration team was fortunate enough to meet this week with a representative of the US Consulate who came to learn more about what our school has to offer. Listening and sharing to that explanation was a rewarding experience in and of itself, as it showcased how our day-to-day experience is shaped by our educational beliefs. These include:

  • Our belief in a research-based best practices curriculum using the IB’s PYP, MYP, and DP framework to provide a personalized and rigorous environment.
  • Our belief in a personalized, inclusive approach to helping each child reach their potential. Children need to feel safe, happy, and comfortable within a nurturing relationship before they will take academic risks and share personal opinions.
  • Our belief in a collaborative, instead of competitive, environment. We value supporting all students into the rigor of the IB DP Program over being selective and only allowing our top students to experience such a program. (Research, again, reinforces this approach.)
  • Our belief in maintaining and leveraging our diversity so that students learn from and with one another – not only a teacher.

There are so many photos from this week (including the hugely successful weekend Halloween event on Saturday – Thank you PAFA! and the MS Halloween Dance on Friday night) that I can’t fit them all in.  Suffice it to say, many more are on the Fantastic Parents WeChat.

As you know, there will be no school on Monday or Tuesday. On behalf of all the faculty, enjoy the long weekend. We will see everyone back on Wednesday, fired up for SCIS to host the Boys and Girls ACAMIS Volleyball Tournaments on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

Go Dragons!

Derek Luebbe
Head of School

Photos From Around Campus



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