With just one week left in our formal year, there are likely lots of unique, confusing, and sometimes conflicting thoughts that ending this year will bring. For the sake of your child’s well-being, my hope is that we can acknowledge these within ourselves and likely our child to see how we can be deal with the inevitable transition. School will end for some on next Friday – but not all. Our Summer Program will be heavily attended by students in all grade levels. This situation can be a confusing time for students regarding saying good bye and transitions.
Should I say goodbye on or before June 11?
Which of my friends and teachers will be here after June 11?
How can I acknowledge the challenges of this year and remember to express my gratitude to those who helped me through it – knowing full well that each of us experienced our own set of individual challenges as well.
How will I remember this year? How can I make sure that my perspective remains focused on growth?
And lastly, our youngest learners are returning to school for just a short period of time. How can we best help them understand all that is happening?
Our advice on all of this – as in any year – help take time to acknowledge special people in your life. While it certainly was a year full of challenges, and there is a tendency to want to simply forget and move on in the hopes that August will be entirely different, the reality is that it likely will not be. This is true whether you are staying in Shanghai or leaving.
Use these remaining days help your child bring closure to the year. Say thank you to those that supported you and made your experience better. Take the time – and learn the skill- of saying a proper goodbye to those who you will not see.
We are social creatures, and our experiences in time are rooted in social interactions. While we are in the midst of a pandemic caused by a virus, our experiences and memories of this situation will not be about medical facts. They will be tied to how we felt and how we connected with others.
All my best in making those connections meaningful as we wrap up the 2019-20 year.
Derek Luebbe Head of School
LAST CHANCE: SCIS Community Video
Share a short video to say goodbye, share a memory, or share a story with the SCIS Community. We can accept submissions up to Sunday, May 7 at midnight. We will compile all the videos and share on our portal next week.
On Thursday, May 29, SCIS celebrated the graduation of sixteen outstanding young adults in our Graduation Ceremony. We were joined by 100s of visitors on Zoom from all over the world. In case you missed the event, the entire ceremony will be posted on our Portal. As of this writing, we can share photos of the event and a link to the placeholder for the video.
Like many events this year, it was quite unique but no less meaningful and important. To our graduates, we once again say “Congratulations. Go be you and do great things!” I want to share a special congratulations to all the parents of our graduates. In many ways, you too have graduated ! And I would be remiss if I did not share a special congratulations to SCIS staff members Barry and Tiffany Johnson as their eldest daughter graduated. Barry, as our tech coordinator, played an even more important role in streaming the ceremony to so many around the world to share what is truly a “celebration for our entire community.”
The ceremony was filled with some very memorable student speeches, student awards, and a Faculty Address to the graduates made by Ms. Whiteside. After the ceremony, the Graduates paraded through the school past rows of faculty and students cheering their congratulations before ending up on the field for the traditional tossing of the graduation caps.
We cap off the graduation week with our Senior Dinner tonight with families and friends. A special thanks go out to Sandra Machan for organizing the event in what I know will be another great community experience.
On another note, I encourage everyone to share thoughts from your family on the year with the rest of the SCIS community via the SCIS End of Year Community Video. It’s a great way to build connection. See the flier below for more details.
On the horizon, we look forward to welcoming back our youngest SCIS Dragons in the near future!
I want to begin this week’s blog with a special call to action for everyone in our community. With the government’s recent announcement that we will return to school for all grades, we are closer than ever to trying to having more of our families re-join the physical school community. Over the next few weeks, those numbers will increase.
This semester has been unpredictable and uncertain. In fact, the only thing that is certain is that each person in our community is a unique situation and will respond in a unique way. At the current moment, we know have many high school families who are now getting used to the begin back at school, families in grades 4-8 who just finished their first week, and families of those in grades N-3 who are anxiously awaiting their return. (Hint: See Ms. Gale’s letters today for more information!)
And, I want to share a special acknowledgment to the families and faculty members who have not been able to return to campus. Some are not within Shanghai and some have not returned for a variety of different reasons. Yet, we all remain committed to supporting one another throughout. We continue to know that our individual experiences and circumstances are unique, but we are together in our support. For those of you who are out of the country, we look forward with anticipation to when the borders re-open. In the meantime, know that we are thinking of you and please reach out if we can support you in any way.
To help us celebrate and acknowledge our community, we launching what we hope will be uniting effort to bring us together. We ask you and your family to help share your thoughts and add to our SCIS Pudong Community Video. The directions are below, and we encourage you and your children to share your thoughts with everyone. We know that our sense of community will be needed far beyond June, and our hope is to provide an environment where that community is alive and able to support us. We are stronger together.
Wishing each of you safety and peace during this time.
Derek Luebbe Head of School
SCIS Pudong Summer School
Today marked the deadline for parents to express interest in the SCIS Pudong Summer School Program. The turn out has been strong and we look forward to welcoming our students after June 12. Our staffing models are now determined and we are busy preparing for the additional weeks.
Each Principal has detailed additional information about the structure of the Summer Program. Families can sign up for specific weeks of camp, but please note that all cancellations need to occur before May 31 or a fee of 3500 RMB will be assessed.
Divisional leaders will provide more details including schedules and procedures. If you have any general questions, please reach out to David Mazer via email (firstname.lastname@example.org ) and he will direct your question to the most appropriate person.
During our Summer Program we will continue to place the health and safety of our students and faculty as the primary focus.
We continue to work together during these challenging times. Our spirit of perseverance and collaboration come out in thousands of different ways so that we can all do our best to support students and families.
I encourage you to review divisional blogs learn more about each program, and ensure that you have access to all the resources and information being shared from our systems of schools on our Parent Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) webpage.
Given the uncertain nature of our calendar, your flexibility and our sense of community will be help us make it through. I know that when we do reunite on campus, we will all share a newfound appreciation of being back together.
In the meantime, I wish you, your family, and our entire community health, happiness, and patience as we move forward.
Happy Chinese New Year! We hope you were able to join us this afternoon for our celebration to welcome the Year of the Rat!
We had a busy week leading up to our CNY holiday. On Tuesday, many of you were at school to interact with our students as they shared their (MYP) Personal Project presentations. The Personal Project is a yearlong exploration by each tenth grader into an area of personal passion and curiosity. This is one of the required parts of the IB Middle Years Program, and there are quite a few requirements that structure the process. But at its core, the Personal Project represents the culmination of a process that started in August, involved countless hours of work and planning, (each student was given a Personal Project Supervisor from our faculty) and presented the action taken on a personal exploration.
The presentations in the Black Box were supported by another great learning experience led by students in our MYP Design Class. These students supplied snacks for the day – but not just any snacks. They followed the MYP Design Process to work in groups and create cross-cultural snacks that they hoped would satisfy the tastes of customers. Blending the foods from different cultures produces something entirely new – leaving the cooks and the customers with a brand new experience to share! To share a few examples (along with the accompanying business cards.)
“Made Indi USA” food truck combined Indian and American cultures. They made spicy vegetable and paneer wraps. The Indian culture was represented by the spicy veggies, paneer and masala spice, and the American culture was represented by the idea of wrap.
“Eco-Chez” food truck was a vegetarian Croatian /Brazilian fusion truck idea. They made Croatian pancake with dulce de leche filling. A Croatian pancake recipe was brought from home. The dulce de leche, a sweet confection from Brazil or Latin America, was added and served as a mild, sweet dessert.
Both the Personal Project and the Food Fusion project are fantastic examples of how we use students’ personal passions and our diversity of backgrounds to create unique solutions to existing problems. The SCIS Mission Statement speaks of students who “contribute positively to their communities.” Those types of contributions happen when students are given authentic opportunities to identify their own interests and apply their learning in those areas. These are the experiences that leverage what students already know and stretch that area of knowledge into new territory. Congratulations to everyone who was involved!
On a related note, in the 3rd floor lobby, many of you may have seen the interactive displays shared by our Grade 6 and Grade 9 students for their planetary exhibits.
I also was lucky enough to pop into Mr. Ruf’s class to see their learning celebration on Light. Congratulations to everyone involved in that project.
Lastly, I am sure many of you share my concern about the coronavirus and its impact during the Chinese New Year. (Please see below for more information.) I share my personal wishes with each of you for health and safety during the holidays – and beyond. We are so fortunate to live within one of the most dynamic cities in the world, and share in their celebration. Being a part of today’s assembly was just a small reminder for me how lucky we truly are.
To everyone within the SCIS community, I wish to extend my best wishes for prosperity and happiness during the Year of the Rat! Enjoy your time with friends and family during the holiday.
Xin Nian Kuai Le!
Derek Luebbe Head of School
All of you should have received an important email on Thursday from our Director of Schools, Dan Eschtruth. (If you did not receive it, please ensure that you have your SCIS Parent Email set up to forward to your personal email account. Contact Barry Johnson – email@example.com – if you want help with this.)
We have remained diligent, mandating hand-washing and taking extra safety and cleaning precautions. The school will stay in close contact with all relevant agencies during the upcoming days to ensure that we have current, accurate information.
COPY OF EMAIL (BELOW) FROM SCIS DIRECTOR OF SCHOOLS, DAN ESCHTRUTH (SENT ON JANUARY 22)
Dear SCIS Community,
As we close out the various Chinese New Year festivities across our campuses, we prepare ourselves to bid farewell to the Year of the Pig and welcome in the Year of the Rat. These celebrations are but one part of the unique opportunity our students have to engage in meaningful experiences as they develop deeper understandings of our host country, its culture and traditions. Before many of you depart on your travels for the holiday season, I wanted to share the following announcements and updates:
2020-21 School Year Calendar
Please find attached the 2020-2021 SCIS school year calendar, it is also now posted on our main website, please follow this link to find it. As always, this calendar represents our effort to optimize learning while covering all confirmed and expected school and national holidays. Further, it provides opportunities for our work with our WASC/IB accreditation process and adheres to the calendar mandates established by our SCIS Board of Directors.
You will also have received an email from our Admissions Department marking the commencement of our re-enrollment process. Re-enrollment is a vital process for both securing your family’s seat placement for the 2020-2021 school year and our ability to effectively plan for the school year to come. The process of re-enrollment is relatively short and is required for families intending to return and those that are confirming that this will be their final year with us here at SCIS. We are grateful for the opportunity to work with your children and, of course, hope to be doing so once again in the new school year.
WASC & IB Self-Study Update –
Our work focusing on our synchronized WASC/IB Accreditation & Authorization process is well underway. As a reminder, the following dates in February have been earmarked as time available for our faculty to focus on this critical process:
Hongqiao Main & ECE Early Release Dates (2:00 PM Student Dismissal): Feb. 12th & 26th
Pudong Campus Early Release Dates (2:00 PM Student Dismissal): Feb. 10th and 24th
Professional In-Service Day (No School for Students): February 28th
School-wide Learner Outcome Update:
I want to thank the many parents that joined us for both sessions of our School-wide Learner Outcome discussion. Both sessions were inspirational reminders of the incredible community we have here at SCIS. While we had two packed houses, we still aim to get input from as many of you as possible. So, we will take the feedback from the meetings to inform our next steps in gathering parent and, eventually, student feedback into our organizational and educational program.
Health & Safety:
Along with the wonderful opportunities for travel and time with family and friends that this time of year provides, comes the unfortunate increase in illnesses. To be certain, SCIS has already instituted our heightened seasonal cleaning protocols across our campuses and has maintained our effort to remind students of best preventive measures (covering our mouths to sneeze and cough, sufficiently and frequently washing our hands, staying home when displaying symptoms, etc.). However, in addition to the heightened influenza season this year we are also closely monitoring the recent outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) here in China and now the East Asia region. A critical piece for our community is for us to continue to adhere to our proactive and preventative measures established to reduce the spread of any infectious diseases.
That being said, we are working with relevant authorities, our health and safety team, and our school cleaning and clinic providers to initiate additional protocols that will further support our efforts to maintain a healthy learning environment for students, faculty, and staff. For additional information and advice on staying healthy and further resources on the novel coronavirus, please follow this link.
For now, we turn our attention to bidding farewell to the Year of the Pig and welcoming in the Year of the Rat. May it bring all of us great happiness, health, and prosperity! 新年快乐! Happy Chinese New Year!
Sincerely, Daniel Eschtruth Director of Schools Shanghai Community International School
It was a truly energizing week, largely due to the two fantastic parent meetings we held to introduce our Schoolwide Learner Outcomes (SLOs), shown below.
I want to start by saying thank you to the 20+ Pudong parents in attendance and to Liz Gale for planning and organizing the kick-off process.
After a short explanation about the process and history, we moved into small groups (each facilitated by one an SCIS Principal) to clarify and strengthen our understanding of each of the SLOs. It was an exciting discussion, focusing on the incredible potential we have at SCIS to continue building something special for our students. As Liz shared, “the ideas shared give me goosebumps” about what’s possible.
Prompts for the small group discussion included: – What does this SLO “look like”? Sound like? Feel like? – In what ways is SCIS already meeting this SLO? – In what ways could SCIS better meet this SLO?
The development of our SLOs has thus far included administrators and all SCIS faculty (Hongqiao and Pudong) over the last six months. Our introduction and development with parents and students will continue this semester. Our goal is to have a set of collaboratively developed Schoolwide Learner Outcomes by June of 2020!
Because our SLOs will serve both campuses, we repeated this introductory presentation for our Hongqiao parents on Thursday. It was another exciting meeting.
Our next job will be to compile all of the parent ideas and share with everyone. We will have follow-up parent meetings to build our shared understanding of these outcomes. As an organization that constantly seeks to improve, we have to continue to understand where we are meeting the needs of our students and in what areas we can improve. We hope you will join us on this journey during our future discussions.
On a different note, this week, the Pudong faculty was treated to some important professional development from visiting author and consultant Jennifer Abrams. Her work centers on group development by sharing research-based strategies for structuring difficult conversations. The work with Jennifer ties in nicely to the development of our SLOs. As we consider what our school can become, we must be able to acknowledge and overcome the obstacles that prevent it. That means that all constituents have to become comfortable with effectively confronting about where we can improve.
This weekend, send out your “Good Luck Dragons!” thoughts to our Upper School Model United Nations representatives who are at work this weekend at Concordia International School, and to our Varsity Basketball teams as they compete at Shekou International School for the ACAMIS Tournament.
Wishing each of you a relaxing weekend,
Go Dragons! Derek Luebbe Head of School
Invitation to Chinese New Year Celebration
Don’t forget about our upcoming Chinese New Year celebration on January 23rd at 1:00 pm. All parents are invited to attend as we celebrate our host country.
Saturday, Jan. 18:
MUN Conference @ Concordia
ACAMIS Basketball @ Shekou
Sunday, Jan. 19:
MUN Conference @ Concordia
Tuesday, Jan. 21:
MYP Personal Project Exhibition, Black Box, 2pm-2:45pm
Thursday, Jan. 23:
Chinese New Year Assembly, Theater, 1pm-1:40pm
LS Chinese New Year Temple Fair, Black Box, 1:45pm-2:45pm
Just a short update this week to welcome everyone back. It’s always a refreshing surprise to see the reactions of friends re-connecting after the holiday. I want to share a special welcome to our 18 new SCIS students! Just to share a few quick reminders.
The start of the second semester is the perfect time for a personal mid-year review. Have a quick conversation about the progress made in the first semester. What went well? In what areas did you improve? What goals do you have for June 2020? And, where would you like to improve / focus in Semester Two in order to reach your goals?
Parents, you are invited to an important meeting on Tuesday, January 14 at 10:00. SCIS Director of Schools Dan Eschtruth, I, and the Pudong Leadership Team will lead a one-hour parent informational and Questions/Answer Session to introduce our newly developed Schoolwide Learner Outcomes (SLOs). Please see the invitation below. Together, we are beginning the process of defining the future goals for all SCIS students. Our SLOs are in draft form and will be approved at the end of this academic year after gathering additional feedback from all constituents: faculty, parents, and students. Come join us on Tuesday to learn more.
Good luck to our Varsity Basketball Teams, competing this weekend in their SISAC Tournament!
Over the holidays, my family spent time in our home in North Carolina. It was a wonderful time to recharge. While I reconnected with my two daughters currently in university in the USA, I was also lucky enough to take part in another sort of reunion. As the youngest of six boys, I was able to join in a memorable – if chaotic – reunion of about 30 family members. While fun for sure, I think this is one of the rare breaks where I can say that I’m thankful for the “peace and tranquility” of Shanghai.
I’m hopeful that the holiday provided each of you some time to reconnect with family and friends. I look forward to reconnecting with each of you, and wish you the best for a successful 2020!
It has been a very busy and successful semester. That past few weeks has been filled with celebrations, assemblies and program. I want to thank so many parents who have taken part in these events; it strengthens who we are.
I’m happy to share some updates on important initiatives below.
Our enrollment remains stable for the year. To those of you who are leaving SCIS, we wish you all the best. Please remember to stay in touch. Once a Dragon, Always a Dragon! And, of course, we will welcome new families into the SCIS community in January and beyond.
Over the break, there will be a number of facility and construction upgrades. The most notable of these will be new furniture in our cafeteria and some classroom/hallway re-designs to make for a more open learning environment. We continue to invest in making sure we have a first class learning facility.
Our WASC/IB Accreditation process continues to make progress. As we shared last month, we’re are excited to be refining our Schoolwide Learner Outcomes, and look forward to discussing these further with parents in 2020. We have have an initial meetings scheduled for January (one in Pudong and one in Hongqiao) to provide clarity and gather input from parents. Our Pudong meeting will take place during our regularly scheduled January PAFA meeting: January 14 at 10:00 am. We hope you can attend.
With the additional collaboration involved in the WASC/IB process, we will dismiss school at 2:00 pm on four school days in the 2nd Semester. The dates for the Early Dismissal at the Pudong Campus are February 10, February 24, April 6, and April 27. More information is available in an email sent to all parents today at 3:56 pm from our Director of Schools, Dan Eschtruth.
For the vacation, my family is traveling back to North Carolina, and I am looking forward to a family reunion with two of my daughters in university, and an extended family reunion with my five older brothers and their families. I wish each of you a relaxing and well-deserved vacation with family and friends. We shall see you in 2020.
Derek Luebbe Head of School
Parent Satisfaction Survey
We continue to share our Monthly Parent Satisfaction Survey. It only takes two minutes to complete. Your feedback helps us gain valuable data to improve. Take a moment now and fill out the December Survey to share your feedback.
Monday, Jan. 6, 2020:
First Day of Semester Two
New Family Orientation, Lower Schoo and Upper School, 1pm
Today’s Lower School Winter Concert was a fantastic way to cap off a busy week of student performances. Kudos to Ms. DeVeor and our students for their performance of original music compositions, allowing our students to stretch their comfort zone and take chances.
Last Saturday, we celebrated our Pudong Winter Festival, and the campus was certainly alive with action. Special crafts, performances, vendors, and visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus all came together to make it a memorable day for students and parents. The Festival was the central piece in busy day on our campus. It was preceded by:
An ECE Parent Workshop hosted by Ms. Ginny and Ms. Adika.
Our Varsity Boys Basketball in action vs. YCIS.
An event as vibrant as the Winter Festival doesn’t happen without a lot of planning from our PAFA, led by Vanessa Thomas – and a host of dedicated parents and faculty who volunteer in different capacities to make it an eventful day.
During and immediately after the Festival, our Upper School Arts Showcase Gallery featured our students’ creativity in Visual Art, Film, Design, and Music.
The afternoon was capped off by the 2nd amazing performance of this year’s Upper School Musical, The Addams Family. Special thanks to Ms. Riddle, Ms. Whiteside, Mr. Demas, and Ms. Williams (and the ever-present Mr. Johnson) for putting the countless hours over the last four months to our dedicated cast a crew. It truly ended the day with a bang!
And, if that wasn’t enough, congratulations are also in order to our PS/PK team (Ms. Tami, Ms. Aleksa, Ms. Adika, and Ms. Amy) for the interactive learning showcase that they organized for parents, faculty and students on Thursday in the Black Box. It was a celebration of learning.
Throughout all of these events, I want to thank the parents and SCIS community for being present. Student learning is more relevant with a purpose. Opportunities like the ones described above are great ways to learn. And these same events take on even more meaning when they are shared with an engaged audience. Whether you were able to attend the performances or just be engaged with your child at home about them – thank you for your involvement in our SCIS community.
Go Dragons ! Derek Luebbe
Parent Satisfaction Survey
Thank you for supporting our parent satisfaction survey initiative throughout the semester. The feedback you have provided has been invaluable. Here is the link to our final survey of the semester: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DecParentSatisfactionSurvey . We look forward to continuing our parent focus groups and surveys next semester.
Upcoming PAFA Events
There are two upcoming PAFA General meetings. The first will be held on December 10th and the next general meeting will be on January 14th.
To Sign up for the PAFA General Meeting on Tuesday, December 10th from 10:00AM – 1:00PM please scan the QR code below!
Monday, Dec. 9:
US Semester Exams
Tuesday, Dec. 10:
PAFA General Meeting, 10am-11:30am
Wednesday, Dec. 11:
BIG GAME NIGHT Varsity Girls and Boys Basketball vs Wellington, Home, 4:15pm
Thursday, Dec. 12:
Varsity Boys Basketball vs Pudong Ballers, Home, 3:30pm
Dear Parents, Students, Faculty, and Friends, Come out and celebrate with SCIS this weekend. It has been a busy Spirit Week, and it will be a busy weekend! – Friday 6:00: The Addams Family: Join us for our Upper School Musical and visual arts gallery presentations. (NOTE: This performance is not LiveStreamed.) – Saturday:9:30 Early Childhood Education Presentation: The Power of Play-Based Learning. Room 102 (In English and Chinese). Led by Ms. Hunt – 10:00 AM: Varsity Boys Basketball (home) vs. YCIS. – 10:30: Open House Presentation for families who want to learn more about SCIS. Led by Mr. Luebbe and Mr. Mazer – 11:30-3:00 pm Winter Festival: Come join us for this special event. Fun. Food. Drink. Crafts. Student Performances. Organized by our amazing PAFA! Come out and enjoy the day. – 3:00 pm The Addams Family: Join us for our Upper School Musical and visual arts gallery presentations. (NOTE: This performance is not LiveStreamed.)
As if Saturday wasn’t busy enough, we will be also host 15 math educators from around Asia as they join our SCIS teachers during a 3-day workshop for Math Specialists in International Schools. The cohort is led by mathematics specialist Erma Anderson who has worked with international schools for the last 20 years and has a distinguished career as part of the team that developed mathematics and science standards that are used throughout the United States. We’re grateful to have all the learning on our campus, and congratulate this cohort of teachers for their dedication to completing the first 3 days of an eventual 15 day experience over the next two years to earn their certificate as Math Specialists. Erma has presented to SCIS parents in the past on the power of teaching mathematics as concepts instead of procedures (which is likely how most of us, including me, learned math as a child). Erma will be back at SCIS in the spring and we will schedule some time for her to meet with parents, share her story, and answer questions at that time. Lastly, as an American, I want to acknowledge that Thursday was American Thanksgiving. It’s a special day to give thanks for all that we have. As a faculty, we celebrated at school on Saturday Nov. 23, and the words that I and others shared at that celebration are equally applicable for our larger community.
We are fortunate to be surrounded by people who care about each child.
We are fortunate to work with colleagues who give of themselves, day in and day out, in support of our children.
We are fortunate to live and work in Shanghai. It is an experience like no other.
We are fortunate to be involved in a profession where we make a difference in the lives of others.
I wish you all a restful weekend and hope to see you at school to share in our community. Derek Luebbe
PAFA Transforms SCIS for Winter Festival
A big thank you to our PAFA volunteers who have been busy each and every day this week at the school to transform our lobby and cafeteria area in preparation for the Winter Festival. Thank you for making this time of year come to life for our entire community!