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.


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.

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