Head of School Updates, June 14, 2019

Farewell 2018-19

Dear Parents, Students, Faculty and Friends,

We have been truly fortunate this year. This week, we shared a number of ceremonies, celebrations and reflections that were great representations of our SCIS Community.

Today in the hallways, there we many personal goodbyes between students, families and faculty members. For most of us, it will just be a few weeks apart, but for those leaving the SCIS community, it may be awhile before you see you again – but we hope we do!

As I shared with the students, we have all played a part in collectively shaping the experience and culture of SCIS. I sincerely hope that everyone leaves with fond memories and that our school community has made you a better person. Additionally, I am sure that the contribution of each of us has added something (big or small) the community we have.

To those of you leaving SCIS, allow me to wish you the best of luck. Once a Dragon; Always a Dragon.

Teachers say goodbye to students as busses depart. Summer 2019 begins!

And, to those of you returning, I wish you and your families a safe and relaxing summer vacation. We will see you in August!

To those returning, we look forward to seeing you on August 13. You will be greeted by upgrades in our facility, new classrooms, an expanding community of teachers and students, and the same Dragon Spirit.

For those curious about next year, please visit the following resources to stay informed throughout the summer.

SCIS Pudong Portal – http://pd.scis-his.net/ : On the portal, you can access the SCIS Pudong Calendar – Get a head start on important schoolwide events by clicking on the calendar icon on the Portal website. And, of course, we will update you all by email and this blog post over the summer.

I wish each of you a restful and relaxing summer with family and friends. Thank you for being a part of the SCIS Community.

Go Dragons!
Derek Luebbe
Head of School

Yearbooks Still Available

It’s not too late!  We still have some extra yearbooks left. If you did not order a yearbook to remember the 2018-19 school year, you can still purchase a book by contacting Joanna (jzhou@scischina.org) in our office.

Head of School Updates, June 6 2019

This week, I was fortunate enough to be a part of two different celebrations of personalized learning that is a part of a small-school experience.

On Wednesday, our 10th graders presented their entrepreneurial Pitch to a panel of judges in our first-ever Dragon’s Den. The Dragon’s Den experience is formatted to simulate the types of investment pitches that entrepreneurs need to make to investors – and it follows the model of the TV show Shark Tank. Under the leadership of Mr. Lawrence, our 10th grade students worked in groups of 2 or 3 to create an eco-friendly business that they could create. Student teams put together business plans and each of those business plans were entered into an online classroom stock market simulation called simCEO. The stock market lasted for approximately 3 weeks while student-CEOs continued to develop their business plans and buy/sell shares in other’s company to provide feedback on each others’ ideas.

The Dragon’s Den is the culminating experience to the unit -allowing students to refine their presentation skills as they ask for funding to launch their business. (We will look at the actual funding and business development next  year – and I will use the opportunity of this blog post to make a request for parent volunteers who might wish to mentor these young entrepreneurs as they launch their project!).

Each of the business ideas had to align with B-Corp standards, making it a sustainable business model serving the greater good.  Each business idea had a prototype created and ready to share with the judges, along with their 10-minute investment pitch, detailing the problem/solution and financial rationale to persuade us to invest. It was a fantastic piece of real-world learning. The students shared ideas and actual prototypes for:

  • Sustainable bar soap
  • Computer cases and bags made from recycled materials
  • Eco-friendly, scented lip balm
  • Sustainable, scented candles
  • Credit card / Transportation card holder that attach to your phone made from recycled materials

Each presentation allowed students the chance to showcase their designs and detail the market need it met. Following each presentation, the panel of judges was allotted time to ask probing questions to the aspiring CEOs. A special thanks to the judges who joined me on the day –  Mr. Willaugher, Dr. Volpe, and Mr. Carel Van Apeldoorn. And a big congratulations to our students and Mr. Lawrence for some fantastic presentations!

Additionally, this afternoon we held our Lower School Variety Show. (Photos will be shared next week.) It’s a showcase of students on stage, sharing their unique talents – from singing to magic to yo yo tricks to stand-up comedians – it was truly a unique and personal way to allow our students to shine and share who they are. Many thanks to the parents who were able to attend, and to all the parents who could not attend but put in many hours at home helping children prepare.

Both of these events are perfect examples of personalized learning within the SCIS Community. Students get opportunities to share who they are – their ideas, their talents, their personalities – while practicing real world skills with the help and support of adults.

These are some of the most important learning experiences we can give our students to build skills and confidence.

With so much going on, please take time to read the Principal’s Posts.

Happy Dragon Boat Festival! Wishing you and your family a restful 3-day weekend!

Derek Luebbe

Upcoming Events:

  • Monday, June 10, Theater Imba (Swedish artists) present to LS
  • Tuesday, June 11:
    • Theater Imba (Swedish artist) present to US
    • PAFA General Meeting, 10am-11am
    • Grade 5 Moving on Ceremony and Family Brunch, 10:30am-12:30pm, Black Box
  • Wednesday, June 12:
    • Theater Imba (Swedish artist) present to US
    • Lower School Field Day (all day)
  • Thursday, June 13, K-5 Lower School Assembly, 8:15am-9:15am, Black Box
    • Notes: Farewell Assembly
  • Friday, June 14:
    • Last Day of School
    • Notes: Semester 2 Reports released
    • Students Dismissal (PD only), 11:30am
    • Faculty Dismissal, 3:30pm

Photos From Around Campus

Dragon’s Den Presentation: The Financials

Head of School Updates, May 31 2019

Congratulations to the SCIS Class of 2019!

On Thursday, we celebrated the achievements of our 22 graduates from 12 different countries. For those of you who were fortunate to be there, it was a extremely touching ceremony – allowing our graduates to share who they are and how SCIS has shaped them. If you were not able to attend, I encourage you to watch our LiveStream recording of the event to get a sense of fine young men and women who are about to go out into the world as proud SCIS graduates.

The ceremony itself – and the feelings that our graduates shared – are great examples of how personalized relationships make a difference. Throughout the entire event, it’s safe to say that everyone who attended found moments to laugh, moments to cry, and moments to celebrate and remember. It was an event that captured the SCIS Spirit.

As a parent of a graduate, I have special reason to be proud of the day. I’m so grateful that these 22 have been a part of our SCIS story, and I know that bigger things await them.

Yearbooks are finished. Order yours today!

Facility Upgrades for 2019-20

Heading into the 2019-20 school year, SCIS Pudong continues to grow – thanks to the support and feedback of our parents. With an estimated 10% increase in our student population, our Board of Directors continues to re-invest in our facility to ensure our students receive the best educational experience. For those of you returning next year, in addition to the typical summer maintenance and upkeep, you can look forward to the following upgrades.

  • The two music rooms will be relocated into larger spaces.
  • A remodel of our lobby / coffee shop area to include greater access for students and parents to gather, socialize, and hold meetings.
  • New furniture (and furniture replacement) in our Upper and Lower School classrooms.
  • The development of a special room for K-12 robotics
  • A re-model of some Upper School rooms and spaces to accommodate more break-out work spaces for students.

We are grateful that our Board of Directors continues to re-invest, and look forward to utilizing the new spaces next year.

Fostering Better Student Reflections Through Inquiry-Based Learning

Let’s start with the obvious. Students can and should be reflective learners in any environment. Many would agree that the most important skill we can teach children is learning how to learn. That only comes with when students reflect. But not all classrooms are equal when it comes to fostering reflection in students.

Inquiry-based classrooms have an advantage.

Let’s first describe what we mean by an inquiry based classroom. Inquiry-based learning is built on questions. These can be student-developed questions or teacher-developed. These questions – and the subsequent questions they produce – drive the unit of study.
When I was in school, we studied with traditional units. These usually had topics like “Migration” or “China” and we would learn lots of information about our topic so that we could summarize it back to the teacher later on a test. Sometimes, I had a fun or innovative teacher who gave us a specific problem such as “Why do rural residents of Anhui province choose to migrate to Shanghai?” These kind of questions are really the foundation of inquiry-based learning. (And later in her career, maybe that innovative teacher worked at an IB school where she learning more about conceptual learning; she then changed the question to: “Why do populations choose to migrate? And, how does this migration change the destination and origin?” Now, students can example multiple examples and students can look for common trends. That’s called conceptual-based learning – and it’s another important part of the IB philosophy. But our focus for this article is on inquiry-based learning, so I should re-focus on the topic.
Inquiry-based learning can be summed up with the following bullets:

  • It builds on students’ individual knowledge and interests, and emphasizes learning how to learn and how to find out
  • Learning within the classroom must be engaging, relevant challenging and significant. There are no time-filling worksheets.
  • It views teachers as ‘facilitators’ and not ‘distributors’ of knowledge.
  • It is constructed in a way that is differentiated or that is specific to the needs of each learner within the classroom. 
    Source: https://www.whatisib.com/inquiry-based-learning.html

The following chart provides more detail.
Inquiry-Based Traditional
Principle Learning Theory Constructivism Behaviorism
Student Participation Active Passive
Student Role Problem solver Direction follower
Curriculum Goals Process oriented Product oriented
Teacher’s Role Guide/facilitator Director/transmitter
source: http://www.brynmawr.edu/biology/franklin/InquiryBasedScience.html

When we transform traditional units of study into rich, inquiry-based units, we provide an environment where high-level cognitive activities have greater potential to surface. Students create additional questions. Students develop their own understanding of issues by constructing their answer around the knowledge that they know. Within inquiry-based learning, we help students take the next step by giving them the tools to collaborate and assess their initial understanding – and build upon it.
For example:

  • As you answer this question, what additional questions come to mind?
  • What information might you need to learn in order to develop a deeper understanding of this issue?
  • Because others are constructing their own answers to this question, what are you learning from their perspective?

    When we look at the questions above, you begin to see a big difference between traditional learning environments (Ex. “Write an essay on China’s migration.”) and inquiry-based learning environments (Ex. Why do rural residents of Anhui Province choose to migrate to Shanghai?”)
    The traditional topic is a task that a student has to finish. The inquiry question is an engaging prompt that can be explored with an ever-increasing complexity. Like an onion, students can learn, layer upon layer.

Reflection can be a part of any classroom. But inquiry-based learning allows for a much deeper level of reflection.
In traditional classrooms, the following examples are typical student reflections.

  • “I should have worked harder / started earlier.
  • “I should have focused more on Chapter 2.” (Usually, this is because the assessment had more Chapter 2 questions than the student envisioned.)
  • “I should have taken better notes along the way.”

    None of these reflections are bad. But they are limited because the tasks tend to be limited. Students are missing out on the chance to reflect on their understanding. When students are asked to do more than summarize, they construct their own meaning. And, because each student will have his/her own personal construction, they each have a unique answer – and therefore can learn from one another.
    In an inquiry-based classroom, students can still reflect about their process. But they can also reflect upon their understanding. For example:
  • When I first answered this question, I only considered the economic advantages of why people move to Shanghai. I had not really thought about the impact on how it affects families who might be separated. It’s more complex than I thought. I now have a few more questions I want to explore because I think I might need to change my opinion.
  • I should have considered different peoples’ viewpoints (employers, government, families, and children) before I came to my conclusion.
  • I started to write my answer to this question too soon. I wish I had asked a few more people their opinions and read a few of my classmates’ answers prior to forming my opinion.

    These the types of powerful reflections that are possible within an inquiry-based classroom. These are also the types of reflections that skilled adults make in the real world everyday.

Upcoming Events:

  • Monday, June 3 to 6, Upper School Semester Exams
  • Thursday, June 6, Lower School Variety Show, 1:30pm-2:45pm, Theater
  • Friday, June 7, Duanwu “Dragon Boat” Festival Holiday (No School)

Photos From Around Campus

Inter-Disciplinary Unit – In Action

Head of School Updates, May 24 2019

Today I had the pleasure of working with ten very dedicated PAFA Leadership Team members for 2+ hours to work through some yearlong goals for next year.

I am truly appreciative of the ideas and dedication of this group. Thus far, they have identified two main goals for 2019-20.

  1. PAFA will add value to the students’ experience at SCIS.
  2. PAFA will increase parent participation through value-added experiences for SCIS parents.
PAFA Ideas – Generating Yearlong Goals

They are in the process of mapping out and prioritizing the many ideas that were generated. It is fair to say that if you wish to be involved in PAFA, there are a large variety of ways you can contribute. You can find more information on the PAFA webpage.

In advance, I want to say thank you to this group for putting in the time to plan so many ways to enhance the SCIS Community.

Leaving SCIS

Being a part of an international school means we become all too familiar with transitions. To all of our departing families – thank you for all that you have contributed to the SCIS Community. Remember: Once a Dragon, Always a Dragon.

We have many families who will be re-patriating at the end of the year. The transition process can be filled with questions. Moving countries – and repatriating back to your home country – are big steps in a child’s life. Below, I’m sharing a few articles to help pave that eventual transition.

Having lived overseas for 23 years, I know that saying goodbye to your current home – and the special people within it – is not always a natural or easy process for children; but it an essential part of making a healthy transition. Help provide your children with the skills to say goodbye to their friends and teachers. It’s important.

Along those lines, we must also say goodbye to a few of the special SCIS teachers who are embarking on new challenges for the next school year. On behalf of the entire community, I want to personally say thank you for the service that each of you have provided to our students and community.

Aloura Pearson
Brenda Dean
Cleo Peterson
Dave O’Reilly
Emily Putnam
Eva Torrontera
Kyeungwon Lee
Kristen Scheiner
Marty Mavec

We wish each of these educators the best of luck on their next adventure!

Somewhere Nowhere

Join us at 6:00 pm tonight for the Upper School Drama Performance: Somewhere Nowhere. Come out to support our students as they showcase their talents on the stage. If you cannot make the performance, it will also be shared on the school’s LiveStream account.

Wishing you a fantastic weekend,

Derek Luebbe

Upcoming Events:

  • Monday, May 27, G7/8 Arts Performance,2:15pm3:00pm
  • Tuesday, May 28, Upper School Sports Banquet, 3:30pm-6:15pm, Black Box
  • Thursday, May 30, Pudong Graduation:
    • Grade 7 IDU Exhibition, 9:35am-10:55am, Gallery
    • Pudong Graduation,4:00pm- 6:00pm, Pudong Theater
  • Friday, May 31, Last Day of ASA 3, End of 3rd Trimester
  • Monday, June 3 to 6, Upper School Semester Exams
  • Thursday, June 6, Lower School Variety Show, 1:30pm-2:45pm, Theater
  • Friday, June 7, Duanwu “Dragon Boat” Festival Holiday (No School)

Photos From Around Campus

Head of School Updates, May 17 2019

Dear Parents, Students, Faculty and Friends,

A big thank you to our newly appointed PAFA Leadership Team. Our PAFA meeting on Tuesday covered a lot of topics – one of which included some group brainstorming for potential PAFA goals for 2019-20.

You can see meet the new PAFA Leadership and review the proposed goal areas in the PAFA minutes from Tuesday’s meeting on the PAFA website.

Today kicked off with a blast as PAFA celebrated Teacher Appreciation with a fantastic breakfast for the entire staff. On behalf of the entire staff, a big thank you for today’s morning fuel – and all the energy you provide throughout the year to our community.

Please mark the calendar for next week’s Upper School Drama Performance: Somewhere Nowhere
Thursday, May 23: 4:30 – 6:30
Friday, May 24: 6:30-8:30

Be sure to check out the each division’s Principal’s Post for more detailed information.

As we near the end of the year, it is always a busy time of the year. Please take a moment to reflect with your child on all that they have accomplished. I remain grateful for all the people who make up our SCIS community by giving of themselves to try to make each child’s experience a special one.

Wishing you and your family a great weekend,
Derek Luebbe

Upcoming Events:

  • Saturday, May 18, Middle School River Event Basketball,9:00am-10:00am
  • Monday, May 20 to Friday May 24,IB Exams and LS MAP Testing
  • Monday, May 20:
    • US Counselor’s Coffee, 9:00am-10:00am, Library Conference Room
    • Notes: Information session for parents on applying to University in Hongkong, Singapore and Japan.
  • Thursday, May 23, Upper School Drama Production: Somewhere, Nowhere,4:30pm-6:30pm, Theater
  • Friday, May 24:
    • Grade 12 Reports Released
    • Upper School Drama Production: Somewhere, Nowhere,6:00pm-8:00pm, Theater

Photos From Around Campus

Head of School Updates, May 10 2019

Dear Parents, Students, Faculty and Friends,

I start today’s blog with an important announcement about student safety primarily intended for parents of Upper School students – and helpful to share with everyone.

As the end of the year approaches, it is an exciting time for celebrations and social events. It’s also provides an opportunity to talk to your child about their choices during some of these events which could include drugs and alcohol. While each family will have different norms around a child’s social life, we are all living in China. The following information applies to everyone. We share it in the hopes that it helps you have a discussion with your child to help ensure understanding. 

Recently, we have received important information from discussions with other international schools. There have been reports of international students all around Shanghai being pulled aside by police at clubs/bars and administered random drug tests. An article from That’s Shanghai provides more detail on the situation. Our own SCIS Government Relations Office verified this information and identified additional information. They report:

In cases such as this, if the individual is in possession or tests positive, the police are requiring that the individual share a list of names of other suspected users.  The police will then sometimes show up at the person’s home, and in some cases may even request an on-the-spot drug test. Should this happen, it is advised for everyone to remain calm and becooperative and in no way confrontational. 

While we trust you will find this message helpful, we are also aware that you may have additional questions. To support you in answering these questions, SCIS will welcome a representative from the US Consulate, Mr. Owen Johns. While a representative from the US, his presentation is to help clarify the legal requirements of China. This will include an explanation of the typical consequences of any violation and the actions that Consulates can take (and not take) in helping students and families. The presentation for students and parents is scheduled for Tuesday, May 21 from 11:30-12:10. 

Specifically for parents, we have added an additional option for this important discussion:

  • Part 1: On Tuesday, May 14 at 10:00 am during the PAFA meeting, we will be sharing key slides from the Consulate presentation to preview the information and help answer any parent questions. We can also share additional advice we have from our SCIS Government Relations Office.
  • Part 2: We have requested a Parent-Only Q&A session with Mr. Johns following his presentation to students. The Parent Session will take place on May 21 from 12:15-12:45.

Parents are invited to attend both sessions. If you need any additional support or advice for how to approach this topic with your child, please feel free to reach out to our Upper School Counselor, Maja Kelly (mkelly@scis-china.org).

At SCIS, we are thankful to have wonderful students who benefit from the support of our community.  Proactive opportunities like the visit above help us all continue to educate and guide our students on such important matters.

Derek Luebbe

PAFA Leadership Team Survey

Our next General PAFA Meeting is Tuesday, May 14 at 10:00. During the meeting, we will be welcoming the new PAFA Leadership Team. Earlier, we posted our PAFA Leadership Survey on the PAFA website . If you not completed the short survey already, please do so.

I also want to share a collective “THANK YOU” to our current PAFA Leadership Team for the their service to the school in 2018-19.
– PRESIDENT – Vanessa Thomas
– TREASURER- Roshni Shah

and a shout out to some of the other PAFA contributors which included:
– Booster and Swim Team Chairs: Gitte Thomasen, Preeti Shah, and Christina Hui
– MaiTian Charity – Therese Malmgren, and Cris Borio
– PAFA Post – Sandra Machan

And, one more thank to each of the PAFA Grade Level representatives!

We are a better school because of the efforts that each of these individuals give to the SCIS Community. Thank you!

We hope you can attend the next PAFA meeting on May 14 at 10:00 am. The agenda is posted on the PAFA Website

PAFA Invites You To…

Element Fresh Supports IB 12th Students

We’re grateful to Element Fresh for supporting our IB 12th Graders prepare for their upcoming IB Exams. What better way to counteract the anxiety of the IB tests than to enjoy a stack of pancakes while you study! Our 12th grade IB Science students joined Mr. Bilz and Ms. Sculerati in a weekend study session at Element Fresh, with free food and drinks to fuel everyone’s brain power ! In addition to the academics, I want to thank our teachers and students for coming together on a Saturday to dig a little deeper into the material. A big thank you to owner (and SCIS parent!) Scott Minoie for his help and support. It’s a great example of our community coming together to help our students.

Our Seniors Prepare for IB Exams at Element Fresh

Upcoming Events

  • Monday to Friday, May 13:
    • IB Exams
    • US MAP Testing
  • Tuesday, May 14:
    • US Counselor’s Coffee, 9:00am-10:00am, Library Conference Room (Notes:Information Session for parents on applying to University in the United States. )
    • PAFA General Meeting, 10:00am-11:00am
    • Middle School Basketball vs SMIC, 4:00pm-5:00pm
  • Thursday, May 16:
    • G11 Group 4 Project
    • K-5 Lower School Assembly,8:15am-9:15am, Blackbox (Notes: Grade 4 students present this month’s Lower School Assembly.)
    • US Counselor’s Coffee, 10:00am-11:00am, Library Conference Room (Notes: Information session for parents on applying to University in Canada, UK and the Netherlands. )
    • Middle School Boys Basketball Green @ Wellington, 4:00pm-5:00pm, Away
    • Middle School Boys Basketball White vs NAIS, 4:00pm-5:00pm, Home
  • Friday, May 17:
    • G11 Group 4 Project
    • Teacher Appreciation Breakfast, 7:30am-8:30am
    • Due day to sign up for the LS Variety Show with Mrs. Luebbe. (See her for permission form)
  • Saturday, May 18, Middle School River Event Basketball, 9:00am-10:00am

Photos From Around Campus

Head of School Updates, May 3 2019

Dear Parents, Students, Faculty and Friends,

Initially, a big thank you to our entire SCIS Community in celebration of last weekend’s International Food Festival. It was a fantastic day to be Dragon, showcasing 46 nationalities in food, song, dance, and festivities. Thankfully, the weather cooperated as well. Take a look at the photos below to relive just a few of the highlights – and check out the Fantastic Parents WeChat group to see so many more!

The end of year approaching fast. And, it is with a great deal of pride and sorrow that I announce that today was the last day of full classes for our seniors, the the SCIS graduating class or 2019! As both an educational leader and parent of a 12th grader, I’m proud to call these young adults SCIS graduates. As you may know, the next few weeks the Seniors will be engaged in their IB exams – the culmination of 2 years of work in each of their classes. We wish them well on their exams. Their success is a testament to not only the 12th grade teachers but the effort and passion of all of our entire faculty and the school community that supports them. I invite you to mark the date of our graduation on May 30 to celebrate their accomplishments.

Today also marked a major milestone for our Grade 5 students – the PYP Exhibition. Groups of 5th Graders worked with mentors over the last few months to explore and take action on topic of choice. Students, teachers, and visiting parents each visited the groups, allowing them to share their understanding, answer questions, and take action to help improve our school community.

Today, we also held an afternoon informational session for parents of 5th Graders in preparation for the upcoming 6th Grade year. The presentation was entitled “A Transition to the MYP”. A special thank you to Dr. Volpe for leading the session. If anyone was unable to attend, and wants to ask questions about the MYP, please contact Dr. Volpe.

Lastly, I want share a personally inspirational experience. Over the last four days, twenty-five leaders in the SCIS faculty from each campus in Shanghai took part in the Adaptive Schools Training. The training was led by Kendall Zoller, and helps us explore the strategies, skill sets, and research behind developing more effective schools. As a learning organization, these are the shared experiences that continually push us to be better. As always, the end result of our efforts will be the students. Listening and learning from my colleagues, I leave the experience with Kendall more committed than ever to the idea that SCIS is an adaptive school, focused on supporting students.

With so much happening, I know I will enjoy a restful weekend. I wish the same for you and your family.

Derek Luebbe

Upcoming Events:

Monday, May 6 to Friday May 10, IB Exam

Tuesday May 7, MS Girls Basketball @ Wellington, 4pm-5pm


  • MS Boys Basketball White @ Wellington, 4pm-5pm
  • MS Boys Basketball Green vs LFS-PD, Home, 4pm-5pm


PAFA General Meeting, Tuesday May 14th at 10:00 am

Our PYP Exhibition, 5th Graders in Action!
Kendall Zoller our Adaptive Schools workshop

Head of School Updates, April 26 2019

Dear Parents, Students, Faculty, and Friends

The Mission of SCIS is “to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring learners who contribute positively to their communities.” Today’s post is a good example of how we try to meet our mission.

As you will see below, our photos (some of which are from last Friday’s celebrations) showcase a few of the opportunities for students to express their learning – and themselves. You’ll see photos of our Upper School poetry recital – where students shared their own creations. You will also see photos from our Lower School Music Celebration where are students shared their original creations.

One of the benefits of the IB Program is that it moves students beyond understanding of content and into creation with content. Having a small school certainly helps – as students get a much greater chance to make meaning with the help of their teachers, and then express that meaning. But it is our faculty who are the real heroes in this story. For example, take a look at the photos below from Mr. Willauer’s MYP Design Class. They are taking the understanding of design content and the design cycle and putting it into action by designing games which the Lower School students will play during the International Festival this Saturday (11:30-4:00 pm). To take action like this requires application of knowledge, and that application allows real-world feedback along the way – as various members of the faculty circulated through the Design Room the last few days to give their feedback on the designs and games. Of course, the real test will come on Saturday when hundreds of youngsters will actually play the games. Some will go smoothly, and I’m sure some will not. But the reflection on Monday morning will focus on why. The entire process is a great application of how we try to make learning personal and meaningful for students in a way that allows them to contribute positively to their community.

Learning like this takes time. It’s messy and complex. It’s not as easy for the student (or the teacher) as simply sharing knowledge and then having students recall that knowledge in a test. But we know that these are the valuable skills our students need. And it’s a good reason why we’ve chosen the IB as the framework that best aligns to our philosophy. Remember, not all that is tested is important, and not all that is important can be tested.

Re-Enrollment Reminder: 2019-20

Reminder: If you are planning to return to SCIS next August, please ensure that you reserve your child’s seat. We have already reached capacity in multiple grade levels and expect to fill up others as well. We anticipate enrollment growth around ten percent, and want to ensure that our current families have had ample opportunity to reserve a spot while they remain.

New Faculty Introductions: 2019-20

Speaking of next year, it gives me great pleasure to introduce you to our newly hired faculty. We have been fortunate this year in finishing our recruiting early and wish to introduce you to the newest SCIS Dragons joining our faculty in August 2019.

Adika Kay Cremet

Kia Ora and greetings SCIS-Pudong community! As a Third Culture citizen, I was born in Singapore and grew up in several countries which eventually led me to China. Coming from a mixed parentage background and being Eurasian, helps me to understand what it means to be internationally minded and tolerant to every culture and people. Both my French husband and I are avid travelers and we have enjoyed living in Shanghai for the past 2 years. I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Teaching (Early Childhood Education) from Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand), as well as a Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing and Management from The Chartered Institute of Marketing (United Kingdom).

I started my teaching career in 2005, right after graduating from university. Since then, I have taught for 8 years in different schools and settings in New Zealand, before moving to Denmark to teach at an international school. I taught there for nearly 5 years before moving to Shanghai for another teaching position. From all these teaching experiences, I have been in several roles including Homeroom Teacher, Head Teacher, Centre Manager, Team Leader and PYP Coordinator.

As a passionate educator, I strongly believe in the rights of every child to deserve quality education and care. I am privileged to serve this international community here in Shanghai, with hopes to contribute, share, learn and reach for the stars together!

Ryan Brown

Hello SCIS Pudong! I am originally from the San Francisco Bay Area. I earned my Bachelor’s degree at Sonoma State University and my teaching certification is from California State University East Bay. I’ve been working with elementary school students since 2003 and I’ve been teaching since 2010 with my most recent experience being in Beijing, as a Homeroom teacher. When I’m not working as an educator you can find me playing music around town as both a guitar player and bass player with my favorite styles of music being Rock, Jazz, & Funk. I am excited to be working here at SCIS this year. Go Dragons! 

Leanne Kridl

Hello SCIS! My name is Leanne Kridl and I am thrilled to be teaching first grade at SCIS! I received an undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of California Santa Barbara and my teaching credential from San Francisco State University. I have previously taught Kindergarten for two years in Qatar and then back home for three years in California. I am so excited to be continuing my international journey in Shanghai. I am looking forward to exploring new places and food in China. I love teaching literacy as I always have a book on hand and I love to see my students learn to love reading the same way I do. In my free time, I love to read, hike, and search for every dog I can pet.

Andrew Shearer

Hello, my name is Andrew Shearer and I am very excited to be part of the SCIS Pudong community, where I will teach MYP/DP Mathematics and DP Economics. I previously worked at the Hongqiao campus of SCIS and before that I taught in Mongolia, and the Falkland Islands, where penguins outnumber humans by 300 to 1. I have been lucky enough to travel the world while teaching, which has fueled my curiosity about how different countries work and the ways in which they are connected, a curiosity that I hope to pass on to my students by exploring the applications of Mathematics and Economics. I’ve enjoyed exploring as much of China as possible since moving to Shanghai and the sheer variety of landscapes, peoples and cultures within a single country has never, and hopefully will never, cease to amaze me.

Ian Sylvester

I’m excited to bring my passion in Learning Support and the PYP to help lead and support Lower School students and teachers at SCIS. I began my own learning journey as a student at Fairview Elementary School in the great state of Delaware. There I found connections to a love of reading, outdoor education and sports, which have continued to be lifelong interests of mine. Later, in university, I studied Psychology and received a Masters degree in Special Education. I have been part of classrooms across the USA, Australia and Southeast Asia, with students from three years old to Grade 6 in private, public, and IB World Schools. I believe in the power of agency, inquiry and access for all of our learners. In my spare time, I enjoy coaching soccer, rock climbing, travelling, and dog walking.

Marlene Muy

Hello!  My name is Marlene Muy and I was born and raised in Canada.   I received my bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto and my teaching certification from La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia.  My first teaching position was in a children’s hospital working with students who had epilepsy.  From there, I worked on a cruise ship for a year and a half; combining my love for travel and teaching children.  Teaching has also brought me to the countries of Kuwait, Singapore, Switzerland, and the United States.  During my free time, I like to spend time with my husband and two children.  I also like to exercise, read, and watch movies.  I am excited to be working at SCIS, and am looking forward to the new year.

Zachary Berezowski

I am thrilled to be a part of the SCIS community and getting to know everyone.  I was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and my family is proudly Polish-Canadian. I have been married for 10 years and have 2 sons.  I have been teaching for 11 years and I am passionate about helping students achieve great things.  I have been fortunate to have taught in many different parts of the world from Kuwait to Singapore, to Switzerland, and currently in Atlanta GA, USA.  I have worked in IB schools, specifically the PYP,  for the past 9 years first as a grade 3 lead teacher and then focusing on supporting students with Learning Differences in all grades. My goal is to make learning accessible to all and support everyone in the learning community.  In addition to teaching, I am passionate about coaching basketball.  My family and I also love to travel and explore new places.

Maitane Arruti

My name is Maitane Arruti and I am excited to be part of the SCIS community. I am originally from San Sebastian, Spain, and earned a BA and MA in Philology of English from the University of the Basque Country. After further studies in Education and Spanish as a Foreign Language I had the pleasure to teach in Germany and South Korea. My husband, Mark Turner, teaches at SCIS Hongqiao Campus and we both share the same passion for teaching and learning. We have two young children with us, Eneko and Ibai, and love spending time with them when we are not working. Shanghai is being a great city for us and we are happy to call it our new home. I am looking forward to meeting my new students and having an exciting and successful academic year. 

Kyounghee You

I am very excited to be part of the SCIS community as a Korean teacher. I was born in Korea and finished my bachelor’s degree and teacher’s certificate courses in Seoul. To become a better educator, I studied at Mansfield University and received master degree in Education. For the last 13 years, I have been working in different countries as a PYP teacher, librarian and a DP Language A Korean teacher. I truly believe in the International Baccalaureate Program, as it, in my opinion, truly helps students to become lifelong learners and global citizens. In my free time, I love hiking, traveling, reading, and watching tv shows and movies. I also love to try new and different foods from around the world!

Dan Olsen

I’m delighted to be part of the SCIS community as a learning support teacher. I completed my degree at the University of Toronto in English Literature, and my Bachelor of Education and recent Master’s degree at Simon Fraser University. I have taught English Language Arts in Taiwan and Colombia, and most recently I have worked as a learning support teacher in my hometown of Vancouver, Canada, supporting a diverse group of exceptional students and coordinating the support personnel in my school.  I have a great passion for inclusion and helping to create classrooms that support the needs and enrich the lives of all learners. I am also a trained musician and have a keen interest in cooking and being out in nature. My wife and fellow teacher, Lisa Marcos, our two children, and I are all excited to experience everything Shanghai has to offer.

Lisa Marcos

Hi! I’m Lisa Marcos, and I’m thrilled to be teaching at SCIS. I earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of British Columbia, then went on to pursue both Bachelor and Master degrees in Education at Queen’s University. One of the things I love about teaching is inspiring young people to learn through their experiences. I have taught from the inside of a shark habitat at the Vancouver Aquarium, in bogs and on mountaintops across Canada, and on a tall ship as it sailed around the world with my students. I’ve also taught at international schools in Colombia and in Taiwan, as well as at home in Vancouver. Outside of school, I love trying new foods, painting or sketching, and hiking trips in nature. It’s wonderful to be exploring Shanghai along with my husband, Dan Olsen, and our two children. We are delighted to be a part of the SCIS community as a family.

Ivana Nedeljkov

Hello. My name is Ivana Nedeljkov and I am excited to be working at SCIS Pudong. I grew up in Serbia where I completed my BA and MA in Special Education at the University of Belgrade. I also hold a Post Graduate Certificate in Special Educational Needs Coordination from Leeds Beckett University. Previously I have thought, as a learning support teacher, in Serbia, Bangladesh and UAE. My professional experience has enriched me with knowledge of numerous strategies and methods that enable children to learn and reach their highest potential in all fields. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, reading, traveling, doing yoga. 

Amy Jauch

Hello SCIS Community! My name is Amy and I am so excited to be starting my first year as a Dragon! I was born and raised in British Columbia, Canada. After I moved to Switzerland, I went to the University of Teacher Education Central Switzerland where I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Pre-Primary and Primary Education. I have taught in multi-age classrooms in both Switzerland and Germany, before my thirst for adventure took full hold of me, and I made the move to China in 2017. I have been enjoying eating my way through South-East Asia in my free time. I am thrilled to be part of the inspiring, and nurturing community at SCIS! 

Arielle Gutierrez

Howdy! My name is Arielle Gutierrez. Born and raised in Houston, Texas, land of Beyoncé, NASA, and tacos, I earned my bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Houston. My teaching journey began at Edgar Allan Poe Elementary, where I taught third grade and kindergarten for several years. With a passion for education as my super power, I strive to build genuine bonds with every student, develop their strengths and hidden talents, and cultivate a love of leaning, to name a few. Beyond school, I shop until I drop, catch live music shows and theater performances, study the Mandarin and French languages, and explore the city and all the tasty food it has to offer. I am honored to be a part of the SCIS family and look forward to a great school year!  

Jennifer Arvay

It is a pleasure to be part of the teaching and learning community in the Secondary School at the SCIS Pudong campus. I graduated from University of Missouri St. Louis with a B.F.A. in Art Education and emphasis in Printmaking. After spending 5 years teaching in St. Louis Public School, I have taught Visual Art in Kuwait, China, and Cambodia over the past 7 years. Shanghai is a rich cultural background of visual inspiration for our student’s creativity to thrive and I am passionate about creating a comfortable environment for my students where they can experiment and take risks. Along with teaching and practicing Art, I enjoy engaging in service opportunities and mindfulness with my students. I also train for half marathons, teach yoga, and love cycling and weightlifting. 

Upcoming Events at SCIS PD

International Festival, Saturday April 27

  • Monday, April 29, Spirit Week- PJ Day, come in your comfiest clothes.
  • Tuesday, April 30, Spirit Week,come in your grade assigned color:
    • Nursery – Red
    • PS/PK – Purple
    • Grade 1- Blue
    • Grade 2 – Green
    • Grade 3 – Orange
    • Grade 4 – Yellow
    • Grade 5 – Black
  • Wednesday, May 1, Labor Day (No School)
  • Thursday, May 2:
  • Spirit Week- Mismatch Day, dress in a crazy combination of clothes that don’t match   
  • MS Boys Basketball Green vs SAS PD,4:00pm-5:00pm, Home 
  • Friday, May 3:
    • Spirit Week- Green and Jeans
    • Last Day of DP12 Classes for IB Diploma Candidates
    • Upper School Principal’s Coffee, 12pm-1pm, Library Conference Room
    • PYP Exhibition, 1pm-2:30pm, Black Box

Photos From Around Campus

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

Head of School Updates, April 12 2019

Dear Parents, Students, Faculty, and Friends

Welcome back to school everyone. I’m hoping everyone enjoyed a relaxing Spring Break.

There are a few pieces of important information that I want to draw to your attention.

1. We are now seeking PAFA parent nominations for the 2019-20 SCIS PAFA Executive Leadership Team. Please consider offering your talent and ideas to add to benefit our students and community. The nominations are open until April 24. You can nominate yourself or another parent who you feel would add value to our school community. Learn more about the important role of PAFA, here. And, review our new PAFA Job Descriptions to see if you or someone you know could contribute to SCIS.  You are all invited to the next PAFA General Meeting on Tuesday April 16 at 10:00 am where we will talk more about this process, and the planning for the 2019-20 school year.

2. Reminder to save the date, April 27th, for the International Food Festival. We will provide bus sign-ups for those that don’t wish to drive. Come join us for a fun day!

3. WASC Accreditation – on the horizon

For me, it was a delayed return to SCIS after the Spring Break. I was absent most of this week after returning from Beijing. I took part in a 5-day WASC Accreditation Visit for another IB school in Beijing. WASC stands for Western Association of Schools and Colleges. For most of this week I was part of a team that was reviewing another school for potential accreditation.

SCIS is WASC accredited. Our last visit was five years ago (which is the maximum accreditation term). We will have our WASC visit in 2 years which means next year parents will see opportunities to become involved in contributing to our self-study process.

How does the accreditation process work?
The accreditation process is like a big educational audit with the goal of focusing the school’s future efforts into a viable action plan. Members of WASC are educators from around the world. The entire process is a significant amount of work; The school works for 18-24 months in analyzing their own school and sharing a detailed report in advance of the WASC visit. The visitors read this report of approximately 200 pages before the 5-day visit so that they can confirm the self study while at the school. The process ends with the visiting team working with the school to develop the priorities and areas of focus for future work.

Why is accreditation a big deal?
Completing a successful visit earns a school a term of accreditation for a certain number of years.  Schools which are accredited can communicate to the world that the educational program is meeting high quality standards and that students who graduate and transfer to other schools can be accepted by universities and other schools.

How do WASC visits help SCIS grow?
Obviously, when we begin our self-study and go through our visit, the school will benefit from the increased focus, by all constituents (teachers, parents, students, support staff, etc.) into determining priorities.

Additionally when SCIS faculty volunteer their time to be on a WASC visiting committee to another school, we can bring back a more detailed understanding of that school’s practices in order to help guide areas where we can improve. Additionally, we get to appreciate the unique qualities of our school, children, and community. For me, this visit was an affirmation of so many of the positive elements I take for granted at SCIS.

4. Next week, SCIS will host visiting author Andy Craven-Grifiths. Andy will be leading writing workshops with Upper and Lower School students, and we should all be grateful to our PAFA group who have worked with our librarian, Ms. Emily Williams, to support this opportunity for our students.  More information is available from the Principal’s Posts.

Wishing you and your family a relaxing weekend.

Derek Luebbe

Events on the Horizon

Monday, April 15:  Author Visit Andy Craven-Grifiths (through Friday)
Tuesday, April 16:  PAFA General Meeting – 10:00 am to 11:00 am

Thursday, April 18:

  • ACAMIS soccer @ Harrow Beijing
  • K-5 Lower School Assembly, 8:15am-9:15am, Black Box
  • Note: Grade 5 students present this month’s Lower School Assembly
  • Lower School Principal’s Coffee Morning on the PYP Exhibition, 9:15am-10:15am, Room 208

Saturday, April 20, SISAC Badminton, Concordia International School

Saturday, April 27 – International Festival – 11:30 am to 4:00 pm
Friday, May 17 – Teacher Appreciation Day

Photos From Around Campus