Head of School Updates, Jan. 18 2019

Dear Parents, Students, Faculty, and Friends,

This Friday-Sunday, Pudong teachers will attend professional development with a worldwide leader in inquiry-based education, Kath Murdoch. We are fortunate to have Kath here at Pudong and will be hosting close to 150 educators from around Asia to ensure that our classrooms are aligned with research and best practices in effective learning.

In light of that, it seems an opportune time to share more about what an inquiry-based education actually means, and how it is different from the traditional form of education that I (and probably you) received when we were children.

My hope is that the better we all understand the philosophy of inquiry-based learning, the more we can strengthen the home-school partnership to help students succeed.

As I’m sure many of you know, SCIS has a few defining attributes. Some schools believe in rigid systems and ask students to fit within those systems; SCIS prides itself on developing a system that can be flexible to meet each child. Similarly, the IB takes a whole-child, approach with it’s philosophy. Instead of rote tests, each child strives to make personal connections to construct their knowledge using inquiry. Unlike traditional units which focus on one topic, the inquiry approach requires that teachers shape their units around meaningful questions which are worth uncovering. This requires a shift – in how we teach, how we view learning, and how we report student learning (grade). As a system of schools, it is something we have been focused upon for the last four years in order to earn our IB Authorization for the IB Programs (PYP, MYP, and DP) in the spring of 2017. 

It will be our job as a school to share what makes the IB and SCIS so unique. As parents, you have some ‘homework’ as well; seek to understand what makes the IB philosophy so unique.

Research links students’ success to the partnership between families and the school. The belief in a true community is something SCIS has valued ever since it opened its doors in 1996. As a community, we will need to work together to ensure that we share a common understanding of what learning means. When parents and educators share a common understanding for student outcomes, it’s the students who ultimately win. 

What is inquiry, and how is it different? To borrow the words of Kate Murdoch, “to suggest that learning is not about inquiry is, in many ways, nonsense. The act of inquiry is critical to our learning and growth.” (Murdock, The Power of Inquiry, 2015.  p11) Yet, often in schools, there is a tendency to push a learner’s natural curiosity to the background. In short, many current teaching practices “present information (rules, laws, principles) together with examples, then ask students to replicate what they have been told.” (14) Inquiry-based learning is based in inductive practices – wherein the learner is challenged to gather and analyze information, review it against existing knowledge, seek connections, notice patterns and gradually build an understanding of a concept.” (14) It is grounded in a belief called constructivist learning, where students need to build (or construct) their own knowledge by connecting it to previous knowledge instead of disconnected memorization and recall of information. The IB itself makes this link clearly by stating that students “become enduringly skillful when learning is authentic and in context. The curriculum should emphasize the active construction of meaning so that students’ learning will be purposeful.” (Making the PYP Happen, IBO)

Allowing the space for students to question sounds great, but I wonder if they are learning any content. How does that work? And, how do teachers actually ‘teach’ with an inquiry mindset? At SCIS, each subject’s curriculum is tied to national standards (example: the USA’s Common Core). One of the great misconceptions of inquiry-based learning is that students may not learn facts and meet standards because they are asking and exploring questions. Inquiry is a philosophy and it is led by the teacher. In effective inquiry-based classrooms, you will still see drills, lectures, and didactic learning. But those methods are not the default. They are means to an end – developing students’ skills in order to give them the tools to effectively navigate the exploration. Quality learning is always linked to standards. Inquiry classrooms believe that students will have a deeper understanding and longer retention of the standards when they build it themselves. Teachers strive to keep students focused on a relevant exploration.

So, how might my child’s unit be planned differently using inquiry? A typical unit is usually focused on a single topic (examples: The French Revolution or Persuasive Writing) with a goal of “What do I want students to know?” An IB Unit of Inquiry starts with the goal of “What do I want students to understand and be able to do?” Initially, you can see that it is rooted in action, applying their learning to be transferred elsewhere. The term understanding is an important and complex term. What does it mean to understand? It is more than summarizing or recalling information about a topic. Understanding comes in layers as we make connections. We peel these layers back like an onion depending on the depth of our understanding. With this we come to see the difference – and the power – in inquiry. IB units of study are different than traditional units because they are focused on over-arching essential questions of inquiry – questions that are concept-driven (not topic-driven), are worth pursuing and whose understandings can be applied in other situations. An example, shared by SCIS Pudong Upper School Principal, Dr. Volpe, will illuminate the difference.

Exploring the MYP question allows connections. It is easy to see that the example of Chinese migration can still be the focus of study, but the goal is to apply those understandings to the broader world. Two aspects of inquiry are worth noting.

  • Strong inquiry questions are concept driven, not topical. They can be used at a variety of age ranges and involve multiple disciplines (geography, economics, science, civics). Using our onion analogy, these questions provide the opportunity to allow different learners to peel back the “next” layer at the level of understanding, challenging each learner.
  • Inquiry learning requires more work than traditional learning. It is not linear. It is somewhat messy as learners inquire and continually shift their understanding. This type of learning more accurately reflects how we all learn in the real world; it is shown below.

By reviewing the models, we can infer that classroom practices within inquiry classrooms also differ compared to traditional classrooms. Practices are never an “all or nothing” choice, but it is fair to say that inquiry classrooms will have…

Inquiry-based learning can be big, ugly. So that’s a beginning towards understanding Inquiry. We’ve unpacked one concept. It can be a bit of educational jargon. But stick with it. And, just as we expect our students to be inquirers, we ask the same of parents as we unpack other aspects of what makes SCIS and the IB Program so unique.

Seek to understand. Ask questions. After all, we’re just peeling back the first layer of the onion.


On behalf of everyone here at SCIS, know that we are grateful for the opportunity to help play a part in helping to shape your child each and every day. I wish each of you a relaxing weekend.

Derek Luebbe
Head of School


Photos from Around Campus


Head of School Updates, January 11 2019

Dear Parents, Students, Faculty, and Friends,

Welcome to the New Year. It was great to see the excitement of (most!) students as they returned to SCIS to kick off 2019.

I hope that each of you had a relaxing break, and are re-charged and ready to enjoy the opportunities that lie ahead in the New Year.

I am actually writing to you today from Bangkok (more on that later), but I spent the first two days back on campus – and the energy and smiles made the day a memorable one.

Our school community continues to grow. We welcomed 39 new students into the SCIS family, bringing our total enrollment to 420. We’re glad to see the growth, and continue to be thankful for the support of our parents in sharing what makes us special. 

We are humbled to be given the opportunity to work with such a diverse group of families, in support of making a difference in the lives of children. We have much more to accomplish this year, and we look forward to your input.

Positive Discipline

I want to give a special shout-out to all the parents who signed up to learn more about Positive Discipline. These workshops are taking place every Thursday this month, and provide valuable strategies for parents. In short, these are strategies aimed at a discipline approach which is logical and builds children’s skills in solving social and emotional challenges instead of relying entirely on carrot/stick consequences (good or bad). Positive Discipline is our philosophical foundation for how we help students build skills; We’d love to share that philosophy with more parents so that students are able to build deeper skills. I know that during the first semester, our Positive Discipline Parent Group was a great success. I’m hopeful that the group of parents involved in January will feel the same. I encourage all parents to become more familiar with this approach, and consider joining an SCIS group. If you are interested, reach out to Liz Gale (egale@scis-china.org) to learn more information.

Teacher Recruitment

Currently, I am writing from Bangkok ,Thailand where I am attending a Teacher Recruitment Fair.  Because our school is growing, we are picking up additional teachers to keep pace with the growth. The fairs are quite interesting places, where over 500 teachers gather to look for positions at over 140 schools.  As you can imagine, there are a lot of factors that go into a teacher’s decision about where to take their next positions. It’s safe to say that SCIS has a very positive reputation internationally, and because of that we are able to attract some of the best teachers in the world. Time and time again, the network of teachers know that SCIS is a place where they will find a diverse international community and be a part of a collaborative team that is committed to growing professionally within the 3-IB Programs.

Substitute Teachers Needed

Parents, we could use your help. If you, or someone you know, would be interested in substitute teaching, we would love to add names to our list of potential substitutes. Our list of high-quality substitutes is getting shorter, and we would love to help train and support individuals who may be interested. If you are interested in earning some additional money and want to learn more about our substitute roles, reach out to Naomi Shanks at nshanks@scis-china.org

Welcome back once again.   I wish you a great start to 2019.


Derek Luebbe
Head of School

Photos From Around Campus


Head of School Updates, December 14 2018

Dear Parents, Students, Faculty, and Friends

Semester One officially ended today, and it is always a bittersweet experience. The excitement of vacation lies directly ahead of everyone, but we also acknowledge that 20 SCIS Dragons will say goodbye to start new adventures. This is one of the realities of living in an international community, and I’m so proud of the way all of our students step up and are able to share their feelings – a difficult skill indeed. During our Upper School Assembly, Counselor, Maja Kelly talked about the need to build a transition “RAFT”: 

R- Reconcilation
A – Affirmation
F- Farewell
T- Think Destination

The RAFT process is important for students and families – whether you are staying or going. The premise behind the RAFT strategy is that we sometimes limit our effectiveness in our new destination if we have not resolved and brought healthy closure to our past relationships. Whether that means expressing the feelings to a close friend or trying to resolve past problems, leaving on the right foot is an important. I’m proud of our school and students for sharing these skills with students, when so often it is easier to build habits of avoidance. You can learn more about the RAFT process here.

When we return in 2019, we will welcome close to 35 new students into SCIS, and I’m sure our current students will show the same sense of maturity in welcoming them into the SCIS family.

Parents and students at the PS-PK Learning Celebration

This week, we had a number of Learning Celebrations and special events to celebrate the completion of our first half. Some special recognition goes out to our PS/PK teachers and parents who showcased their students’ work within a Learning Celebration that was extremely well attended by all the parents. It was great to see such a huge turnout for the BlackBox event. It’s the type of experience that not only builds our community but provides a more authentic learning experience for our students.  You can see a number of photos from that event below.

Holiday songs welcome students this morning.

Along with that, today the Upper School celebrated with morning holiday songs, an international breakfast, and a celebratory assembly of first semester accomplishments to recap the year thus far.



As a reminder, students start school Monday, January 7th.  I’m sure we are looking forward to the next couple of weeks of vacation, and I hope to see everyone back fresh and re-charged for a productive 2nd Semester.

Best wishes to all within our community for a safe and restful vacation with family and friends.

Go Dragons,
Derek Luebbe
Head of School

Photos From Around Campus





Head of School Updates, December 7, 2018

Dear Parents, Teachers, Students, and Friends

Our Gratitude Board

It’s been a very rewarding and successful first semester. In November, we shared a Thankfulness Board, and the messages left by students, parents, and faculty are a great reminder of what we have. Personally, I’m thankful to be a place where students and adults say hello and good-bye with high fives. It’s a small symbol of something that I think is really special about SCIS.

Last week we had our Upper School Winter Arts Night. Today’s Lower School Winter Concert was another showcase for our students, allowing them to stretch their comfort zone and take chances. Kudos to Ms. Deveor and our students for a fantastic performance of original music compositions.


Last weekend, 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. An event like this doesn’t happen without a lot of planning from our PAFA, led by Vanessa Thomas which includes our MaiTian Mamas. I’m also grateful to the community of parents who make up our WeChat Fantastic Parents. The group has been extremely helpful in helping us share information and success stories; I am appreciative of the fact that everyone in the group has stayed true to the WeChat norms we shared in the beginning of the year. For an experiment that started in earnest last year, it has been a big success in building our community.

I also want to take a moment to give thanks for our vibrant parent community. From Athletic Boosters, to Lego Robotics, to Positive Discipline class, to community-building events like Winter Festival and Bingo Night, we are all fortunate to have such an active parent body, who add to our students’ experience.

Speaking of Bingo Night and parents, a special thank you go Dieter Hildt for sharing the fantastic photos many of you have seen on the Fantastic Parents WeChat group. In this post, I am sharing a link for all of Dieter’s photos from our Bingo Night. Check out some of the fantastic shots.

I encourage you to be a part of our  Positive Discipline Parent Course in English. The Positive Discipline philosophy is an approach we are advocating and using in order to provide students with the skills they need to navigate emotions and conflict. As educators and parents, it also provides some extremely effective best-practices in navigating the childrens’ behavior. We want to move beyond rewards and punishments and try to help students understand the reasons for their actions, and the strategies for understanding and learning how to take more effective actions. You can learn more about Positive Discipline here or contact Liz Gale to learn more about joining the SCIS Parent Study Group starting in 2019.
NOTE: If you are a beginning English speaker, you will not have not have any language trouble understanding the content. Trust me, you will love it.

As we approach our last week, please keep in mind that students dismiss at 11:30 on Friday December 14.

Enjoy your weekend.

Warm regards
Derek Luebbe

Passport to Broadway: Reserve Your Spot!

There will be an event next Saturday in Shanghai, where Passport to Broadway Program Director Amy Weinstein presents the program and answers questions via Skype directly from the heart of Broadway. This is followed by a dance improvisation from artists based here. The important dates are listed below. For more information contact SCIS parent Renata Sommer.

  Q&A session + dance improvization in Shanghai: Dec 8th

– Early Bird deadline: Dec 10th

– Workshop date: Spring Break 2019

Please find both flyers below (Q&A event and workshop), to have all details. Scan the QR Code to register for the Q&A. For more information please click here: www.passporttobroadway.com 


More Photos From Around The Campus


Head of School Updates, November 30 2018

Dear Parents, Students, Faculty and Friends,

We were lucky enough this week to be hosting math expert Erma Anderson. Erma worked with our Pudong faculty on Thursday, and then worked with a group of 30 educators from around Asia (including 7 SCIS teachers) who are in pursuing a two-year course as Math Specialists for International Schools.

Congratulations go out to our Upper School Arts students and teachers for a great Arts Night on Thursday. Our students are fortunate to be led by such a dynamic, versatile group of faculty. A special shout-out needs to go to the 20 students and Mr. Demas for launching our newly formed MS Jazz Band! They did a fantastic job!

On Sunday, all families are invited to join the SCIS Pudong Winter Festival from 11:00-3:00 pm. Food, drinks, activities, crafts, games, shopping and vendors will await you. If you’re lucky, you may even get a special chance to visit with Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus! A special thank you goes out to our dedicated PAFA MaiTian Parents who transformed our cafeteria into a Winter Wonderland in preparation for Sunday’s Festival.

As the first semester comes nears an end, I want to share three reminders.

  • The last day of school is Friday, December 14 and it will be a half-day. Students will be dismissed at 11:30.
  • Because of the government holiday in October, we will return to school on Monday, January 7.
  • December and January are typical times when families transition. We have a growing wait list, and therefore it’s important for us to try to get accurate, timely information. If your chid is leaving SCIS, please notify Laurie Luebbe (lluebbe@scis-china.org) so that we can prepare any necessary paperwork to ensure a smooth transition. It also allows us to proactively communicate with incoming families for January.

As always, we believe we are fortunate to have the opportunity to partner with parents in support of children. We appreciate your trust and our relationship. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out. 


Derek Luebbe
Head of School

Photos From Around Campus

Head of School Updates, November 23 2018

Dear Parents, Students, Faculty, and Friends,

Bingo Night Planning Committee with our MCs

Initially, a huge thank you to everyone who was a part of SCIS Bingo Night 2018. What a fantastic event! Trish Castillo and the PAFA Bingo Planning Committee led the efforts for a turnout of over 300 parents, students, and faculty. Our MCs for the night (Mr. Kelly and Coach Vic) kept it moving – and somehow managed a wardrobe change every 30 minutes. And, a special thank you to all the behind-the-scenes people who just make the event run smoothly and leave us a with a great memory. Those of you on the WeChat Fantastic Parents group know that a big thank you goes to Dieter for sharing such fantastic photographs of the night!

Bingo Night: Food, Fun, and Community

As we approach the end of the first semester, the activity level at school increases significantly.

Teachers collaborate on Concept-Based Learning.

Professionally, our big highlight this week included a 3-day visit from Concept-Based Learning expert Tania Lattanzio. She worked with the staff in small groups to further their understanding in this area, and today (Friday) were were fortunate to have her work with our entire faculty together. It’s been a great week of professional collaboration.

SCIS Teachers engage in a day of learning with Tania Lattanzio.

As you can see the from the photos below, the school is buzzing as well. I want to thank all the parents who joined us for the SCIS Turkey Trot Swim Meet, basketball games today

Dragon Swimmers compete in the Turkey Trot.

and tomorrow (SCIS Dragon Cup at SCIS HQ) and the various Lower School Learning Celebrations where students showcased their learning. When our students see us involved in their efforts, learning and growth is more connected and authentic.

Operationally, I want to announce that we will return from the Winter Holiday in the midst of a main lobby re-design! Working in collaboration with PAFA and with the special help of parent Victor Ngo (whose design expertise has been invaluable!), we will begin a re-design of the Illy Cafe and main floor central corridor to make it more inviting, collaborative, and create additional meeting spaces for parents and students.

Strategically, the planning for 2019-20 has already begun. The short story is that SCIS Pudong continues to grow! Our year-on-year school tours continue to increase – and so much of that is because of the large number of parent referrals we get from all of you. (Thank you.) While we have reached capacity at a few grade levels this year, we anticipate that next year there will be many grade levels near capacity, especially in the lower grades. Sadly, with each break we must say goodbye to a few families who make up our SCIS Community. If your family is relocating, please reach out to SCIS so that we can prepare your departure packet. Know that you are always welcome to come back and visit. “Once a Dragon; always a Dragon.”

To meet our anticipated enrollment growth, our Board of Directors have already approved additional teachers to be hired for August of 2019, and we have already started the hiring process. Because we’re located in Shanghai and we now have an established IB Program (PYP, MYP, DP), SCIS remains an attractive place to work and grow professionally.  Our reputation and SCIS community is well-known by teachers internationally, and this allows us an added advantage in the hiring process.

As you know, Friday December 14 is the last day of the first semester. Students are dismissed at 11:30 am on this day.

This week, all new families to SCIS in 2018-19 should have received an email survey from me to hear. If you did not receive this email, contact Joanna at jzhou@scis-china.org . Whether you are a new family or a long-term Dragon, your feedback helps us improve. We remain open to your suggestions and encourage you to communicate with PAFA to plan ways that we can better serve students and families.

This weekend, we have the SCIS (Hongqiao) Winter Festival on Saturday from 11:00-4:00 pm. Our Pudong Winter Festival is Sunday, December 2nd from 11:00 – 3:00 pm. We encourage you to join these festive events – and share in the SCIS Community!

Wishing you a restful weekend.


Derek Luebbe
Head of School


Photos From Around the School


Head of School Updates, November 16, 2018

Dear Parents, Students, Faculty, and Friends,

Parents prepare for Bingo Night

If you were lucky enough to visit the school this week, you no doubt saw a dedicated group of parents in the lobby preparing for Saturday’s Bingo Night. You will see a few more photos later in the blog to showcase the great work that is being done.

The finished product! Two of our beautiful bingo baskets are just waiting for a lucky winner!

As of 2:00 pm Friday, the Black Box has been transformed into the SCIS Bingo Hall, and we’re expecting over 300 parents, students, and faculty to join the fun. It’ll be great night of fun, food, drinks, and prizes.




Boys and Girls Volleyball bring home some trophies!






The week was a little calmer than last week’s ACAMIS Volleyball Tournament Congratulations go out to everyone in the

SCIS community for making the weekend such a great experience for our students. The Dragon Spirit was alive and well. Our SCIS boys captured 3rd Place in the tournament, and our girls team left the weekend undefeated as ACAMIS champions! 

Another big shout out goes to our returning MUN (Model United Nations) students who took part in the Model United Nations Conference in Hangzhou. While the MUN Conference doesn’t give our trophies or award winners, our students to developed diplomatic problem-solving skills while tackling global issues – a skill the world badly needs!

Next week, our faculty is gearing up with for three special days of fantastic professional development. We will be visited by renowned expert, Tania Lattanzio, who has helped support schools around the world in their development of teaching IB units with a Conceptual Understanding. Tania will be working in small-groups with faculty throughtout Wednesday and Thursday, and we will take advantage of our Professional Development Day on Friday to have Tania work with our entire staff. REMINDER: Students do not have school on November 23.

Lastly, as you can see from the fliers below, there are many community-building activities coming up in the near future. We have two different Winter Festivals! Our SCIS Pudong Festival is on Sunday Dec. 2. The SCIS system (representing all three campuses, Pudong, Hongqiao, and Hongqiao ECE Campus) is planning a Winter Festival for all families within the SCIS system on November 24. The System Festival is held at our Hongqiao Campus. These are special events and we will provide parent bussing to both of them, to help encourage your attendance! Stay tuned for bussing sign-up information.

I’m sure I will see many of you this Saturday. I must admit, I am feeling lucky and plan to win a few of the bingo baskets!

Wishing each of you a relaxing weekend.
Warm regards,

Derek Luebbe
Head of School

Join Us For These Upcoming Events


Photos From Around The Campus


Head of School Updates, November 9 2018

Dear Parents, Students, Faculty and Friends,

Boys in action – with heavy support from the SCIS student body.

Today (and yesterday) we’ve been in the midst of the ACAMIS Volleyball Tournament as 7 other teams from around China and Mongolia have descended upon SCIS. The atmosphere in the gym has been electric, and it’s as loud as I’ve ever heard it. As of this writing, the round-robin portion is completed with the boys team taking 2nd place and the girls 1st in their division. Starting this afternoon, the knock-out stage of the tournament is set to begin; both teams are in action today and tomorrow as they strive to become ACAMIS champs.

A huge event like this couldn’t happen without the planning of our AD Coach Vic, and lots of other individuals. A big congratulations to our PAFA Booster Parents who have run the all-important concession stand throughout the 3-day tournament. And, and thank you to all of the parents who have donated baked goods to raise money and sell to the athletes and fans.

Boosters keep up the energy level!
Sanni and Lexi lead the Lower School Cheerleaders.

The tournament started at 11:30 on Thursday with an Opening Ceremony that included speeches, music from students and the first appearance from our Lower School Dragon Cheerleaders to kick off the event.

The cheerleaders were led by two Upper School students (Sanni and Lexi) who ran an ASA the last quarter with the Lower School students as part of their CAS (Creativity, Action, and Service) Project. They should all be proud of what they have accomplished.

Yale Basketball practice at SCIS

As Thursday wasn’t busy enough, in the morning, we welcomed the Men’s Basketball Team from Yale University (USA) to practice in our gym.  Yale plays Cal (California) on Saturday in Shanghai. It was a fantastic experience for some of our students to witness, as they saw the intensity and dedication from these student-athletes from the most competitive level of university athletics.


I also want to thank Dr. Volpe and Ms. Gale for Wednesday’s Parent Session to help develop understanding in the recent NWEA MAP test results. Approximately, 20 parents were in attendance, and the Q&A was very informative. If you have questions your about your child’s results, please contact your child’s teacher. If you have questions about the MAP test in general, feel free to reach out to Dr. Volpe or Ms. Gale.

Lastly, upon returning to school on Wednesday, we were greeted by the hard work within our Indian community, who spent part of their weekend coming into school to help our students understand and celebrate Diwali – the Indian festival of lights. Our parents made a traditional sand-art rangoli display, adding so much to the experience of all of our students. Thank you!

Our Diwali rangoli transforms the main lobby!

Although it was a short week, it was a busy one. Having all of these experiences – along with the upcoming ones shared below – reiterates how important the contributions of community are in helping our students access these types learning experiences. Getting caught up in the daily details, it’s too easy to take for granted the student experiences we all  make possible.  Our students are lucky to be part of such an inclusive, involved community. I know I speak for the faculty when I say we are fortunate to be a part of such a community as well.

Wishing each of you relaxing weekend. (Wear some green, and come out to school on Saturday to support our Dragon Volleyball Teams!)

Go Dragons,

Derek Luebbe
Head of School

Save The Date: SCIS Pudong Bingo, November 17

Join us on November 17 for a family-fun night of laughter, food, drinks, and prizes.  Download and fill out your Bingo Registration Form 2018 .

Reserve your space!  Questions? Contact Trish Castillo at pdpafa.eventco@scis-china.org

Save the Date: SCIS Winter Carnival at HQ Campus, November 24

You are cordially invited to join us for the Second Annual SCIS Winter Carnival hosted at the Hongqiao Main Campus on Saturday, November 24th from 11am – 4pm.

We have partnered with the Community Center Shanghai (CCS) who will host their annual Winter Bazaar full of great holiday shopping, delicious foods, and warming winter drinks. SCIS will provide the fun, including games, activities, and entertainment for the entire family, with a few winter surprises and special gifts you won’t want to miss.

Admission is FREE and ALL family and friends of SCIS are encouraged to join us for an exciting day of fun. We hope to see you there! Please look for more details coming soon!

Save The Date: SCIS Pudong Winter Festival, Sunday December 2

Photos This Week From Around Campus




Head of School Updates, November 2 2018

Dear Parents, Students, Faculty, and Friends,

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

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

Student groups presenting re-design ideas to parents and faculty

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Go Dragons!

Derek Luebbe
Head of School

Photos From Around Campus



Head of School Updates, October 26 2018

Dear Parents, Faculty, Students, and Friends,

It was certainly a busy week. Today’s Halloween festivities meant the campus was fulled with action, fun, and a lot of costumes. And, the Halloween fun won’t stop today – Saturday from 12:00-3:00 all families are invited to take part more Halloween games, food, drink, prizes and the SCIS Haunted House.

Bus pick-ups and drop-offs are available to assist in your travel. (See previous post.) Families who reserved a space have a spot reserved and other spaces on the bus will be on a first-come, first serve basis.

It promises to be a fun-filled day. And, it would not be right to not recognize our wonderful PAFA group of parents who have dedicated their time the last few days to transform the basement into the games, booths, and Haunted House that will provide all the Saturday fun. Thank you PAFA!


On Thursday, we concluded our Fall Semester Parent-Teacher Conferences. We had approximately 80% of parents attend this important event. If you were unable to attend, please reach out to your child’s teachers. This event is one of the best ways that we can partner with parents to help ensure a successful year for children. You will see some of the photos from Thursday below.

Lastly, during part of today’s Halloween celebration, I was able to have some fun with students as well Below, you will see a few photos of me dressed as crazy dentist. My goal was to try to convince students to let me do an inspection on their teeth with my outdated tools and methods. I’m proud to say that all students had the common sense to not let me work on their teeth.

Wishing you a relaxing weekend, as we prepare for next week’s Spirit Week!

Warm regards

Derek Luebbe
Head of School

Photos From Around Campus