Head of School Updates, April 19 2019

Dear Parents, Students, Faculty and Friends,

A very busy week here at SCIS Pudong.

As I write, our soccer (sorry, football) boys and girls teams are away in Beijing, having completed the first day of the ACAMIS Tournament undefeated!

This week, all students were able to meet with visiting author/poet Andy Cravens-Griffiths in both small and large groups. Sessions culminated in students sharing their creative works and developing skills as writers and in creative expression. Andy’s rapport with our students and his diversity of skills (poet, story teller/writer, song-writer, and musician) have really resonated with many students and given them an access point to develop their expressiveness. A special Thank You to PAFA for funding Andy’s visit to work with our students!

A very busy week ended with two fantastic celebrations that really left me proud of our students and faculty.

  • Today, the Lower School celebrated with their Spring Music Concert; thanks to all of the parents who were able to attend. It strengthens our community and provides such a valuable and authentic audience for our students to showcase their talents.
  • At the end of the day, Andy-Cravens Griffiths met with the Upper School students, some of whom shared some incredible poetry which was crafted throughout the week.

If you were fortunate to attend one or both, you witnessed two great examples of our philosophy in action. In both instances, we had students creating and sharing expressions of themselves. As an educator and administrator, one of the never-ending questions we face is balancing self-expression from structure/choreographed/formulaic performances. SCIS certainly values the former over the latter as a better model of learning – but everyone knows you need both. Musicians, poets, athletes and scientists all need to be taught and understand the structures before beginning to deviate from them to create their own choices. I was so proud to see how both of these events were set up to nurture student self-expression, and so proud of our students for feeling safe and secure enough in front of their peers and larger community to express themselves. I want to thank Ms. Deveor Rainey for leading the LS Music Celebration and Ms. Emily Williams (organizer), PAFA (for funding), Andy Cravens-Griffith, and all the teachers who supported the Poetry Workshops.

I also want to highlight our recent PAFA meeting on Tuesday, April 16. We shared more information on the newly updated PAFA website. You can also navigate to it from the Pudong Portal website. One of the main agenda items included a good discussion about the the goals and roles within our PAFA Leadership Team. In case you were unable to attend, we are currently seeking to transition to a new PAFA Leadership Team for the 2019-20 school year. Leadership positions are each defined by job descriptions which you will see on the website, and our hope is to have nominations secured by April 24. I would like to encourage each of you to review the website, and consider nominating yourself or another parent for a possible role in the Leadership Team. Our PAFA is an incredibly important resource in helping provide opportunities for our students. Your assistance makes us stronger. If you have any questions about the process, please contact PAFA President Vanessa Thomas (pdpafa.president@scis-china.org ) or me (dluebbe@scis-china.org)

On a related note, I want to invite all parents to the next PAFA meeting on May 14 at 10:00 am. Two important topics will be discussed.

  1. We will be (hopefully) announcing the new PAFA Leadership Board, and leading a discussion to help PAFA prioritize for the upcoming year.
  2. SCIS Self-Study: Starting on May 14 and over the next six months, I (and others) will be leading a discussion-based Parent Survey of SCIS strengths and weaknesses. Who are we as a school? What aspects do parents and students appreciate? What areas do we need to improve upon? Developing a deeper understanding of these issues helps us focus our energies in the most appropriate areas. This discussion is just a beginning. We will send the survey out online for all parents following the meeting to solicit ideas from those who were not able to attend. Along the way, we will share information based on what we discover.

Lastly, next Friday, April 26 will be a Green & Jeans Day as we take an all-school photo.
And, don’t forget to save the date (and sign up transportation if you need it) for the International Food Festival on April 27.

Wishing you a relaxing weekend and hoping you’re able to take advantage of the spring weather.

Warm regards
Derek Luebbe

Upcoming Event:

Saturday, April 20, SISAC Badminton, Concordia International School

Monday, April 22, First Day of ASA 3, Begin 3rd trimester

Tuesday, April 23, MS Girls Basketball vs Concordia, 4pm-5pm, Home

Thursday, April 25, US Spring Arts Night, 5pm-7pm

Friday, April 26, Green & Jeans DayAll-School PictureUpper School SCIS Oscars, 2:15pm-3pm,

Saturday, April 27, PAFA International Food and Music Festival/Art Auction

Photos From Around Campus

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