SCIS HoS Update October 13

Dear Parents and Friends,

There is a wealth of information to share with all of you.

Communication at SCIS

Many of you may remember that last year, we embarked on a yearlong Communication Committee which involved parents, students and faculty. The goal of the committee was to strive to find more effective ways for us to communicate throughout the schools.

I’m proud to share a few ideas that are already in action, and announce some newly added improvements.

Communication Improvements Currently in Place

1. The Lower School has implemented the SeeSaw Communication platform allowing:
     A) class communication,
     B) private one-on-one teacher/parent communication, and
     C) private individual student portfolios with parent/student/teacher input and feedback on work shared.

It has been a great success thus far. Since launching Seesaw, on September 1 , we have had over 3,395 parent visits to class and student journals; 3,250 total likes, and 502 total comments on student work.  As Lower School Principal Liz Gale shared in her Bulletin:

“Once again, the support and encouragement students are receiving from a broad and authentic audience surrounding their learning is having a remarkable impact on their commitment to consistently putting forth their best effort.  Please continue to engage with your child on Seesaw and support us in continuing our quest to strengthen the home-school connection.”

2.The Upper School continues to develop the use of ManageBac as the primary tool for giving, receiving, and documenting teacher feedback on assessments, so students and parents can refer to a growing bank learning feedback on student progress toward MYP/DP objectives over the course of the year. Formative and summative assessment tasks will appear in blue in the student ManageBac calendar, and students should expect feedback to be posted within five school days of the due date. Please log in to ManageBac together with your child, refer to the ManageBac video tutorials on our website, or stop by the office for assistance in using this powerful tool.  

3. Led by our PAFA, we have a more formalized use of two WeChat groups to facilitate communication:
     A) The Upper School White Board* WeChat Group allows parents to see the same announcements that students in grades 6-12 see on a daily basis.
     B) The SCIS 17-18 Fantastic Parents WeChat Group* shares information, photos, and updates for the entire school community.

*While school faculty are members of these groups, both of these groups are unofficial. They are not “controlled” by SCIS. The groups are wonderful places for parents to exchange information, ask (and answer) questions, and build our community.  School faculty will usually not respond to questions posted here. Any question written with the intention of a school response should not be shared in the groups. It is far better to share that question via email with the correct SCIS faculty member.  Because WeChat groups (even informal ones) represent who we are as a school community, we also require that all participants abide by our policies of respect and safety:
     A) Users will identify themselves using a WeChat name which also include the names and grades of their children written in English / Pinyin. (Example: “Derek, (Elise 10 Mei Lee 7)
     B) All users will abide by our SCIS WeChat Norms to promote a safe and respectful community.

Join a group by scanning one or more of these QR codes.

4. This newly created Head of School blog allows more frequent posting compared to the monthly Head of School PDF updates. Although this blog is rather new, the anecdotal feedback at PAFA meetings has been favorable. If you have a suggestion for an improvement, email me at dluebbe@scis-china.org

Want to get automatic updates sent automatically to your phone?  To do so, you will have to paste the URL below into your RSS Reader. (There are many RSS readers. For iPhone users, the app Feedly is recommended.)

https://teachersh.scis-his.net/pudonghos/feed/

New Communication Tools

1. While the Lower School has a robust platform in SeeSaw, Dr. Volpe and Ms. Shanks have been working with PAFA to find a communication solution to assist Upper School families. We have now established Grade-Level WeChat groups for grades 6-12. Each group is led by a room parent and includes SCIS faculty. Again, this is not a formal school communication channel. Information and questions are shared by parents – for parents. The Grade Level communication chats are meant to facilitate communication for issues such as field trips, PSAT testing, special dress days, or special presentations taking place.  Additionally, they provide a great place to share photos and highlights for all parents in the grade level to enjoy.

A big thank you goes out to our PAFA representatives who are helping to facilitate this information flow.  Our guidelines and norms (shared above) apply to these groups as well.

2. We are pleased to announce that all parents can follow a new SCISPudong WeChat account. The school can be a very busy place with lots of events – in and out of the classroom – happening each and every day. The new WeChat account provides an easy way that all of our parents can see photos and captions from all around the school on a daily basis. You can follow these updates by adding “SCISPudong” as a WeChat contact.

Parents can join any of the WeChat group by scanning these QR codes.

New Communication Tools on the Horizon

1. Shortly, we will be changing our Principal’s Weekly PDF newsletter to a blog format.
2. We are working diligently behind the scenes to roll out our new SCIS website. Stay tuned.

PAFA Meeting: Highlights from October 10

The morning of October 10 started with an Upper School Coffee Morning with Dr. Volpe and Ms. Shanks. The Coffee Session focused on exploring the frameworks of the IB Diploma and Middle Years Programmes. We also reviewed changes for the upcoming Parent-Teacher-Student Conferences and ensured that everyone had access to the new online interface for booking conferences ,  SignupGenius.

Dr. Volpe and Upper School Parents

The Upper School Coffee was followed by a PAFA meeting.  

 

 

  • Update on Air Quality / PureLiving: In late September, SCIS hired PureLiving to conduct the GB/T18883-2002 air quality test in our facilities. The results of this test came back this week and we are pleased to report that all eight pollutants measured were all under the international standards for safe air quality.

Action points discussed in the meeting included:
1) The formation of a small group task force (2-4 parents) to work with Mr. Luebbe to make the air quality procedures and philosophy more transparent for everyone. If you are a parent interested in joining this task force, please contact PAFA President Trish Castillo (pdpafa.president@scis-china.org) by 9:00 am on Wednesday October 18.
2) Scheduling a date for a more detailed Town Hall Meeting with SCIS administration and a PureLiving Representative. This is a follow-up to an earlier request in the September PAFA meeting. The goal of the meeting is to ensure that parents can learn more about the air quality systems we have in place at SCIS, and learn more about air quality monitoring in general within Shanghai. The session will allow time for Q&A.

When will this Town Hall meeting be?
We would like to schedule the session at a convenient time for parents. We have three options:
     1. During Parent-Teacher Conferences (Oct 26) when many parents are here already.
     2. In early November, in the early evening so that parents can come after work
    3. In early November, during the school day in connection with another event such as a PAFA meeting.
We want to hear your opinion. Help us schedule this Town Hall Meeting by taking this one-minute survey by Wednesday, October 18.

  • During the meeting, we also officially announced that SCIS partner with a group called BroadwayLive consisting of working professionals with experience in Broadway (New York City) to host host a summer Musical Theatre Experience at SCIS from August 2-10.  This is a unique opportunity for young, aspiring actors. Because we are hosting, SCIS students receive a $500 (USD) discount on the cost of the program.

The program has limited space, and the program is open to actors from all schools.  We anticipate it will fill up. Registrations are first-come, first-served. The goal is to give SCIS families first priority to sign up.

You can find much more information about the Shanghai summer program and BroadwayLive at this link.

Preview of Student Surveys

In October, students in grades K-12 will complete short surveys of their teachers. We conduct these surveys two times a year. They provide valuable feedback to our teachers – and a valuable voice to students. The surveys are completely anonymous, but we ask for your help in helping students share their honest perspectives.

We are professionals and we all want to improve. Surveys are one way we get the macro data we need to identify trends and take steps to improve. As always, if you (or your child) has a specific question about a class, your first communication should be to discuss the matter with the teacher.

Weekend Swimming at SCIS (Survey)

Coach Vic is exploring the potential of a weekend swim program for students of all ages (and families!). The program would include certified swim instructors and provide different classes for all ages and abilities. In order to determine interest, we ask you to fill out this short survey to help us see if we have sufficient interest.

Parent-Teacher Conferences: October 25-26

Parent Teacher Conferences are scheduled for October 25 from 3:30-6:00 pm and October 26 from 12:00-6:00 pm. Please refer to the specific divisional weekly bulletin (Lower School or Upper School) on our Pudong Portal Website to find out how to sign up for your child’s conferences and additional details.

Halloween Festivities 

Friday, October 27, we will celebrate Halloween at SCIS. Lower School activities run from 1:30 to

3:00 pm. Upper School activities run from 3:00-6:00 pm. For more information, check the weekly bulletins and check the PAFA Post on the Pudong Portal Website.

On The Horizon
October 16-20  Spirit Week at SCIS culminating with us hosting the ACAMIS Volleyball Tournament
November 18  PAFA Bingo Night at SCIS!  Save the date.
December 15   1/2 Day Attendance for Students. Students Dismiss at 11:30

September 29 Update

Dear Parents,

Just some quick snapshots from recent events.

Earlier today, we shared a PAFA Post with lots of information on upcoming events. Click the image to see the full post.

(Personal) Space Camp

The KG-M explored the concept of “personal space” today with their very own Personal Space Camp!  Different activities focused on how to keep your own personal space as you interact with each other, keeping your hands to yourself or not overwhelming the person you are talking to. The students completed different “missions” to complete their quest.

At the end of the day, after their “mission” was complete, the students received their own astronaut suit to prove ‘mission accomplished’.

(Personal) Space Camp
Ms. Meidinger and class

LunchTime Karaoke

Today, the Upper School lunch featured about 10 karaoke artists – both students and staff. The big highlight included our Upper School Vice Principal singing a student-requested German heavy metal song (quite well!).  All in all, a

Steve and Frank

very fun way to celebrate before vacation. Catch a few highlights:

Watch Ms. Bolden and Kevin sing “The Final Countdown”

 

Sophie and Raz

Wishing you all a safe and relaxing October Break.

Derek Luebbe
Head of School

 

September 18 Update

Alex. Grade 11 in Kangding Sichuan

Dear Parents,

Welcome back to our Upper School students (and faculty!) who are returning from their China Go trips. Some fantastic experiences and great memories were built – and hopefully a stronger SCIS community as well.

In the previous week, we completed our MAP testing (Measures of Academic Progress) session for grades 3-9. The MAP assessment not only gives our teachers valuable information to better understand each child’s learning strengths, it also allows our school to benchmark ourselves against other schools around the world. Typically, we fall at approximately the 70th percentile. The data also helps us better understand which sub-skills represent our relative strengths and areas of improvement.

Please keep in mind, that we view the MAP assessment as one piece of data. Whether we look at student learning on the individual level or the system level, standardized assessments represents one perspective for one point in time. On the individual student level, we have other data points as well such as IB assessments, teacher-created assessments, more detailed standardized reading assessments (ex. Fountis and Pinnell), and teacher observations.  Equally important, please keep in mind the wise statement: “All that is tested is not necessarily important, and all the is important is not necessarily tested.”

Below are some reminders of events on the horizon.

 

UNIDOP: United Nations International Day Of Peace
Friday Sept. 22 at 1:30

With over 40 nationalities here at SCIS Pudong, we hope you join us in celebrating that diversity in our UNIDOP Assembly. SCIS offers a special environment to celebrate such a day – understanding the unique traits and perspectives that each of brings to school is an important part of what we do. The world can sometimes seem as if it is in continuous conflict, and we can easily be divided by our differences. We use the platform of UNIDOP to highlight the special opportunity we have in helping to raise the future generation to better prevent and overcome these conflicts. Indeed, SCIS represents the perfect such environment to make this happen.

Students will represent their country, dressing in traditional colors or styles, and marching behind their chosen country’s flag. Our parade of students represents a very tangible way that we can help every child feel valued about who they are as individuals, and how they fit into the mosaic of SCIS. Unlike last year, we will not have our international festival of food on this date. We have moved that festival to a later event in the spring, and we look forward to tasting all the fantastic international dishes that are created by parents during our International Day in March.

Parents are encouraged to attend and help us celebrate.

 

PAFA Parents Night Out !

Interested parents can learn more or RSVP to Vanessa at pdpafa.eventco@scis-china.org by September 20th.

 

 

Parent Coffee and Question & Answer Session with the Head of School
When? Tuesday, September 19 at 9:00 am
Where? Room 210
What?  The Coffee Question & Answer Session is a way that parents can learn more about the school program and hopefully get answers to their questions.  We will host a Coffee Morning at least one time each quarter. It’s meant to be a good way to facilitate communication between the parents and school.  Questions should be submitted in advance to the PAFA President, Trish Castillo. (pdpafa.president@scis-china.org). Please send your questions to Trish by Sept. 15 so that they can be compiled and shared with Mr. Luebbe in advance.

So far, we have received the following questions:

  • How can I understand and use ManageBac? 
  • How does the school monitor air quality in regards to materials used in the construction process over the summer?  On a day-to-day basis, how does the school monitor air quality?
  • Why did the planned Grade 12 spring trip change?
  •  How can parents and the school use WeChat to communicate better?

 

Wishing you all a safe and relaxing weekend.

Derek Luebbe
Head of School
SCIS – Pudong Campus

 

Coffee Q & A with the Head of School

As we wrap up the week, and the Upper School prepares for their upcoming China Go! Trips, I wanted to share an invitation for all of you to attend.

Parent Coffee and Question & Answer Session with the Head of School
When? Tuesday, September 19 at 9:00 am
Where? Room 210
What?  The Coffee Question & Answer Session is a way that parents can learn more about the school program and hopefully get answers to their questions.  We will host a Coffee Morning at least one time each quarter. It’s meant to be a good way to facilitate communication between the parents and school.  Questions should be submitted in advance to the PAFA President, Trish Castillo. (pdpafa.president@scis-china.org). Please send your questions to Trish by Sept. 15 so that they can be compiled and shared with Mr. Luebbe in advance.

So far, we have received the following questions:

  • How can I understand and use ManageBac?
  •  How does the school monitor air quality in regards to materials used in the construction process over the summer?  On a day-to-day basis, how does the school monitor air quality?
  • How can parents and the school use WeChat to communicate better?

If you have a question to add, please share it with Trish via the link above.

===========

 

Individual Student Photos are available to be viewed and ordered.  To view your child(ren)’s school photo simply go to

www.intlphotography.com

and use the password:  scispd0817

Within the galleries, you will find links to individual student photos.  Galleries are organized by Grade Level and Advisory/Homeroom Teacher.

All online orders will be shipped to SCIS for distribution.   The due date for orders is September 30. Parents are encouraged to provide your full name when prompted on the final order page.

===============

Earlier today, Lower School Principal Liz Gale and I were interviewed by the Kindergarten class. We had a great time finding out what they thought our jobs entailed, and then doing our best to summarize what we do within our roles. ( I never knew how hard it was to answer this question to a 5 year old:  “What happens if there was no Head of School?“)

Needless to say, it was a learning experience for all ! 

Wishing you all a restful weekend, and a special bon voyage to our Upper School students as they prepare for their China trips!

Mr. Luebbe
Head of School

Sept 6 Updates and PAFA Parents Night Out

Dear Parents, Students, and Faculty,

Just to keep everyone informed on some recent happenings.

  1. Mark your calendars for September 23rd for our PAFA Parents Night Out. Come out and celebrate our community. Details are below.

Scenes from last year’s PAFA night out

 

 2. Volleyball Today (Home) 4:30 vs. NAIS. Come cheer on the Dragons !  If you can’t make it to school, you can catch the LiveStream via our school’s website (http://pd.scis-his.net/) so you don’t miss the action.

 3. PAFA Welcome Meeting:  We wish to thank all the parents who came out to our first PAFA (Parents and Friends Association) meeting on Sept. 5. And, we offer an even bigger thank you to the large group of PAFA volunteers who are already gearing up to make the year a great one with a host of events. We are fortunate to have such a community! Please know that we are always on the lookout for new ideas and new people who can help contribute to making SCIS a great experience for the students. If you’d like to get involved – or just learn more about PAFA – contact Trish Castillo at pdpafa.president@scis-china.org

 

 4. Morning Bus Pick-Up Reminders:   The bus will not wait for students who are late in the morning. Doing so causes all the students on the bus to arrive late for school. To help keep us on schedule, I have instructed to drivers to leave the bus stop promptly on time. To prevent problems, please be sure that your child arrives at the bus stop  prior to his/her scheduled departure. If you have any bus questions, contact our transportation coordinator Stu Ren at pd-transportation@scis-china.org .  Thank you for your help in keeping our bus times on schedule.

5. Student Individual Photos have now finished. Soon, parents will receive information about how to review and order photos.  

6. What’s happening around SCIS? Check out a few photos. 

 

As always, let us know how we can work together to support students. If you have feedback or questions about any information in this update,  feel free to email me at dluebbe@scis-china.org . 

Enjoy your evening.

Derek Luebbe
Head of School
SCIS – Pudong Campus

 

Hello, SCIS Pudong Community!

Hello SCIS Pudong Community,

Welcome to the test-drive of our new Head of School blog. Last year, we published a monthly Head of School Newsletter to help keep parents updated. Now we plan to continue the monthly format – and more!  This blog will be posted each month to highlight happenings at SCIS. And, we will also post some other news and photos along the way.

This blog idea is the result of a yearlong Communication Task Force which was completed last year. The Task Force included multiple meetings of student, teachers, administrators, and parents to try to better streamline our communication efforts for the school community. The HoS Blog is one result, but we have more to follow in the near future. Stay on lookout this semester for other improvements:

  • increased use of WeChat through the development of a new account
  • a new SCIS website with a more personalized communication portal for you to customize the information you want to receive
  • the development of the SeeSaw website and phone app to facilitate communication in the Lower School through digital student portfolios, classroom communication, and personal communication with your child’s teacher. Lower School Principal Liz Gale has emailed information to all Lower School parents’ SCIS email addresses already on August 30. (If you have a Lower School child and you did not receive this email, contact Barry Johnson at bjohnson@scis-china.org )
  • the development of increased feedback for Upper School students and parents within ManageBac

We hope that this blog format is an improvement compared to the previous PDF newsletters. The rationale for the change includes:

  • Blogs offer one-stop shopping for information. If parents can’t recall a specific piece of information, they no longer have to open up multiple PDF documents to try to find it; they can simply search or scroll through one blog to find it.
  • Increased efficiency in posting due to ease and flexibility of formatting.
  • Occasional mistakes or changes can be easily corrected. The newest version is always online with any corrections clearly noted.
  • Parents have the choice to follow a blog, and therefore be alerted when new information is shared – if they desire.
  • Blogs, rather than emails, provide a better balance between updating parents with current information versus potentially overloading them with information in their inbox.  Those that choose to follow frequent updates can. Those who choose to wait for the end of the month can continue to receive an email with a summary of campus information.

As we continue with this experiment, we’d like to hear your thoughts. How does this better communication? What new problems does it bring?  Your feedback helps us improve.

Yours in the hopes of improved communication,

Derek Luebbe
Head of School, SCIS Pudong