Head of School Updates, April 18

Dear Parents, Faculty, Students, and Friends,

Just a quick mid-week post to highlight some upcoming events.

  • This Friday, April 20 will be Green and Jeans Day for Upper School Students and all faculty. (NOTE: Because of our Lower School Spring Musical Concerts, Lower School Students will not be in Greens and Jeans. Lower School students will be dressed out-of-uniform on Friday according to Ms. Macoskey’s instructions.)

With so much to celebrate, it seems like a great day to showcase our Dragon Spirit. “What’s going on?” you ask.

  • Our Varsity Boys and Girls Soccer Teams placed 2nd and 1st respectively in the ACAMIS Soccer Tournament in Beijing this past weekend. Congratulations on the fantastic results.
  • We are finishing up our two-week March Madness, Faculty/Student Doubles Ping Pong Tournament on Friday.
  • Our Lower School Spring Concerts will take place on Friday:
    • PK-Grade 1:  10:30-11:15
    • Gr. 2-5 1:30-2:15
  • Next week, our Upper School Musical, Thoroughly Modern Millie. Our students have been preparing for months for this showcase. We hope you and your children can attend one of the shows.
    • Thursday, 4:30.  With advance sign-up, we will provide student bussing for MS/HS students who wish to attend.
    • Friday: 6:30. (NOTE: We made an error in one bulletin, stating the start time was 6:00 pm. The correct start time is 6:30 pm.)
    • Snacks and drinks will be sold during both shows.
  • And, of course, this Saturday is our Annual Art Auction, starting at 5:30 pm and lasting until midnight!  Bring your appetite for fun.


PAFA Update

Last week, our PAFA held a preliminary meeting for the 2018-19 school year. I will be summarizing that meeting shortly with a request to all parents to help take part in PAFA next year. One of our defining elements at SCIS is our sense of community – and the backbone of that community is the parent involvement we see throughout the year. Your involvement truly adds value to what we are able to offer all of our students. Please stay on the lookout for my upcoming email, and in the meantime, consider the unique ways that you and others might be able to contribute to PAFA and the SCIS community next year.  I want to also take this time to say a big thank you to our current PAFA President, Trish Castillo, and all of the PAFA parents who have given of their time, energy, and passion to make this school year such a success. From all of us, thank you!

If you have any questions or suggestions regarding next year’s PAFA, feel free to email me (dluebbe@scis-china.org) or Trish (pdpafapresident@scis-china.org)

MaiTian Clothing Drive

Speaking of contributions, please support the important clothing drive below from the MaiTian group of parents. Your effort supports migrant children in Jiangsu Province. In advance, thank you for your generosity.

Lastly, enjoy a few photos from around the school thus far this week.

Enjoy the warm weather on the horizon!

Derek Luebbe

Photos From Around the Campus

Head of School Updates, April 13

Dear Parents, Students, Faculty, and Friends,

The weather has smiled upon us lately, and allowed a few classroom activities to take place outdoors.

This weekend, our Varsity Boys and Girls Soccer Teams are competing in Beijing at the ACAMIS Tournament. Both our teams have had successful starts to the tournament (they are in action as I type!). If you wish to follow the action, you can find the LiveStream link at https://www.isb.bj.edu.cn/page.cfm?p=1621     Go Dragons!

We are in the midst of our March Madness Ping Pong Tournament (even though it is April). The tournament is modeled after the American college basketball tournament in March.  However, this is a purely a fun-filled way that students and faculty build our SCIS Community. Faculty members and students are randomly partnered up to form a team. We have 64 teams in our draw, and the action started on Tuesday and continues through to the Championship Game on Friday, April 20. You will see from many of the photos below – this is truly a fun activity. Many of the participants have never played ping pong before, but it doesn’t stop us from having a little fun competition during lunch.

Photos From Around the Campus This Week


Head of School Updates, March 30

Dear Parents, Students, and Faculty,

In addition to the normal variety of photos below, you will see two events from this week that merit a bit of description.

Professional Development for our Lower School Faculty with Chris Frost

Chris Frost is an IB Trainer and Workshop leader who also happens to have a strong background in the Columbia University Teachers College Readers and Writers Workshop approach to literacy. Chris visited SCIS Pudong for two days this week, meeting with teachers and administrators to strengthen our literacy practices and better integrate them into the PYP philosophy of inquiry.

Student/Staff Doubles Ping Pong Tournament

And, you may be wondering about our last picture, the 2nd Annual Student/Staff Doubles Ping Pong Tournament at SCIS. The picture is of the tournament draw which we released this week. This is one of those fun, community-building events that helps builds relationships with students and staff. While it is structured as a tournament, this is a fun event. Ping pong experience (and even talent!) is optional in order to participate. What is not optional is a fun attitude. The actual tournament begins in April and short games are played at lunch. Perhaps the SCIS sports pages will be able to help everyone keep up to date with the action.

Lastly, don’t forget about the upcoming Art Auction on April 21st. The lobby has turned into a display center to showcase just a few of the pieces up for sale. This is one of those can’t-miss experiences on the SCIS calendar. See the PAFA Post for more information about the event.

Wishing everyone a safe and relaxing Spring Break.

Derek Luebbe

Photos From Around the Campus


Small group sharing / learning during the Chris Frost visit.
Consultant Chris Frost working with SCIS Teachers
Grade 3 is ready for the Art Auction on April 21. Are you?


Students check out the Tournament Draw
Student/Staff Doubles Ping Pong Tournament Draw

Head of School Update, March 23

Dear Parents, Students, and Faculty

A beautiful Friday afternoon will see the SCIS Dragons Girls Soccer Team in action today versus SMIC on the Dragon Field. Hoping that all of you are able to take advantage of the warm weather and spend some time outdoors this weekend.

In yesterday’s post, I shared many important items regarding next year’s enrollment process and some updates on campus events that have taken place recently.

In today’s update, I want to share a New Family Survey so that we can better understand the perspective of families who started at SCIS during the 2017-18 school year. What did we do well? And, where can we improve? The survey is accessed from the link below. It will take a few minutes to complete. In advance, we thank you for your feedback.


While the survey above is only for new families, know that we value feedback from everyone. It’s how we improve and better serve our students.  If you wish to share your feedback, please feel free to reach out to your divisional Principal or me at any time.

Enjoy the weekend ahead, and the photos from around the campus!

Derek Luebbe,
Head of School


Head of School Update, March 22

So many events… So little time…

It’s been a busy week at SCIS – so busy, that I think we’ll need two blogs this week just to share the photos of all that has happened this week. (They won’t all fit in this post!)  You can read about the various events below.

With all that happening around campus, the energy is truly alive and well. We are already preparing for the 2018-19 school year, and early indicators look to be promising. We have hired all of our teachers for next year, an extremely highly-qualified group. I will share introductions on them in coming weeks.

This year, we have already surpassed our enrollment projections with a 103 new families who joined SCIS in 2018-19.  New families are also touring at strong levels, and we are anticipating some grade levels filling up next year. I want to point out that one of the main reasons for our growth has been the referrals that you – our current families – share with incoming families. Nothing can really replace word of mouth when it comes to sharing what’s important. Many of our new families have arrived at our school ‘sold’ on becoming a part of the SCIS Community before they even set a foot in the door. That is because of your help. Thank you.

On that note, in tomorrow’s blog, I will share a survey for all 103 new families to SCIS this year. This is a special survey intended to hear the perspectives of those who joined SCIS in 2017-18. Like any good organization, we are open to constructive feedback on how we can improve. We’d love to hear your opinion on what we are doing well and where we need to improve.  Although the survey is just for new families, the invitation to provide feedback is true for all our families. My door is always open.

I also want to take a moment and acknowledge the committed faculty and parents we have. Take a look at all the special events in the last week, and you will find some dedicated individuals (namely, Mr. Caban, Ms. Whiteside, Mr. Mavic, Ms. Hedderson, Mr. Dobson, Mr. Bilz, Coach Tarsi… to name just a few in this post) who shared their time and energy to make these events special for students and families. Events like the International Day are not special if they are only attended by a small population of our community. But when the cafeteria is filled with 40+ nationalities as it was Sunday, it’s a great day for everyone. Even behind the scenes today, there is significant planning going into future events like our US Musical, Thoroughly Modern Millie (April 25 and 26) and the upcoming PAFA Art Auction (April 21).

Because of our growth, it is more important than ever that we maintain accurate admissions information. If your family has not already re-enrolled for next year, please do so at the earliest convenience. The deadline to confirm re-enrollment was March 16. Our admissions department will be sending follow-up emails in the next few days.  If you have any questions or if you can update your status (re-enrolling or likely leaving SCIS), please reach out to Laurie Luebbe (lluebbe@scis-china.org).

Lastly, I wanted to close by reminding all of our community about the importance of mother-tongue language. SCIS has always valued these classes, and we currently run 3 after-school programs. Research has shown that ensuring a strong mother-tongue is a key indicator to faster and deeper learning of other languages (example: English).   Today, I was fortunate to connect a German language teacher with a German parent, in the hopes of starting after-school, native, German Language courses. With these connections, we can provide more services to our German families.

If your country is not represented in our mother-tongue after-school program, and you would be interested in learning more about how to establish one, please contact your divisional Principal.

On that note, enjoy the summaries (and photos) from the following important events during a busy week at SCIS Pudong. More to follow on Friday.

Derek Luebbe

Our MYP Personal Projects Exhibition on Friday, March 16

This is one of the culminating assessments for our 10th Graders, as each has pursued a passion project over the course of the last 5 months. Working in tandem with an SCIS faculty member, each 10th Grader shared the results of their work in the MYP Personal Project Exhibition last Friday in the Black Box. It was a great example of real-world learning!

Lower School Assembly, Led by Grade 3

Check out the photos as our 3rd graders brought down the house in Friday’s assembly.

International Day Food Festival, Sunday March 18

What a day! Food, fun, families and faculty made for a fantastic day to showcase the diversity of the SCIS Community. There are too many photos to possibly share, but check out the Fantastic Parents WeChat group for even more.

IB Art Exhibition, Monday, March 19

Congratulations to our IB Visual Art Students and Ms. Whiteside for a fantastic exhibition on the 3rd Floor Foyer. Parents, students, and faculty enjoyed a relaxing night, enjoying the arts, snacks, drinks, and getting to know our student-artists in more detail. This is the culminating exhibition for these students after two years of dedicated work.  Congratulations again.

Math Competition in Suzhou, March 22

Mr. Bilz travelled to Suzhou with our Upper School Math team today to compete in this regional competition. Good luck.

SSIS Dragon Swimmers Off to Suzhou, March 22

Good luck to Coach Tarsi and our Swim Team who travelled to Suzhou today for the ACAMIS Swim Meet!

Student Led Conferences

Many thanks for all the parents who came out to share with your child during our Student Led Conferences today and Wednesday. The buzz around the school was fun to see; proud students sharing where they are in the learning process and where they want to go.

I’ve shared a few photos from Day 1 below, but none yet from Day 2. Those will have to wait until Friday.

I’ve also neglected to share any photos from today’s Upper School Science Exhibition which was held in the cafeteria. Our Upper School students shared their experiments and results with parents and other students during the morning session. A congratulations goes out to our entire Science Department for their work in preparing the students – and all the logistics!


MYP Personal Project Exhibition
Director of Schools, Dan Eschtruth, at the MYP Personal Project Exhibition
Just ‘hanging out’ at the MYP Personal Project Exhibition
MYP Personal Project Exhibition


Grade 3, leading the LS Assembly
A full house in the Black Box for the Grade 3 Assembly


Dragons got talent during Friday’s Assembly.


International Day (Sunday) – Far more than just food!
Part of Sunday’s Entertainment Line Up
Sunday kid-fun
Sunday Adult-Fun
The calm before the storm at the American table!
If you didn’t get one, you missed out!


The Girls Soccer Team cheers? on our Boys During Big Game Night last Friday.



Student Led Conferences
Student Led Conferences
Student Led Conferences

Head of School Update, March 14

International Day Food Festival: Sunday, March 18 11:30-3:00

On Sunday (March 18) SCIS will host a family event to celebrate the diversity of our SCIS Community- the SCIS International Food Festival! Bring your appetite and a smile.

Here are some important details.

Time: 11:30-3:00

Food: The festival is a celebration of the diversity of our SCIS community. This is showcased in the diversity of countries that have volunteered to have a table and share their country’s cuisine!  Here’s a list of all the countries and tables thus far.

If you would like to contribute to your country’s table, reach out to the contact person.

You will notice that there are still some countries which do not have a representative. This means that at this point, we will not have a table set up. So, we are making one last call for country representatives to help out.  If your country is not represented, please reach out to Trish Castillo pdpafa.president@scis-china.org by 9:00 pm tonight (Wednesday).

The food is free. Drinks will be sold separately. So, bring some spending money.

Bussing Is Provided To/From the Following Locations:  Bus riders do need to reserve a spot on the bus to ensure we have enough seats. Email Stu Ren at pd-transportation@scis-china.org

  • Bus 1: 10:55 am Yanlord Garden .. 11:00 am Shimao Riviera
  • Bus 2: 11:00 am Green Court … 11:05 am Seasons Villa
  • Bus 3:  11:20 Emerald Club House
  • Bus 4: 10:45 am from SCIS Hongqiao Campus (Puxi)
  • All busses return at 3:10.

Entertainment: There will be stage acts: singing, dancing, etc. Today is the last day to sign up to help showcase the diversity of talent and cultures we have at SCIS. All acts are welcome; family and country-specific acts are especially encouraged. The deadline to sign up is today (Wednesday) at 9:00 pm. Contact Laurie Luebbe at lluebbe@scis-china.org if you are interested.

In addition to stage entertainment, there will be small booths and activities for young and old alike!

Open House for Non-SCIS Families: The International Food Festival is open to non-SCIS families. If you wish to invite a family, bring them along. We will have an Open House tour of during the day in case new families wish to learn more about the school. If you know of a family that might be interested, reach out and invite them to see our community in action.

We hope to see you this Sunday.

Other big dates on the horizon

  • Friday, Senior Big Game Varsity Soccer vs. NAIS @ SCIS. Varsity Boys start at 4:00 pm
  • Sunday 11:30-3:00 International Food Festival.
  • Monday, March 19, 4:30 PM, IB Art Exhibition
  • Wed/Thur, March 21/21: Student Led Conferences
  • Thursday Morning (time tbd): Upper School Science Expo in the Cafeteria
  • Saturday, April 21: PAFA Art Auction. Get your discounted tickets now for this fun event.
  • Thur./Fri., April 26 & 27: Upper School Musical Performance: Thoroughly Modern Millie

Photos From Around the Campus



Head of School Update, March 9


Student-Led Conferences, Wednesday and Thursday

This week, Principals shared some important information via PAFA regarding the upcoming Student Led Conferences (SLCs).  The conferences are student-led for a reason. They are also different than the fall conference in another way – they focus on student learning skills, and perhaps less so on grades.

What do we mean by this focus on learning skills?

Learning in the 21st Century is much more then mastering content. Successful workers (and citizens of the world) need to develop skills in thinking critically, communicating, and seeing/solving problems. We are now educating children for a world 20 years in the future – a world where the biggest skill is learning how to learn. You will see a distinct focus in our conferences in students demonstrating these 21st century Learning Skills through their work. The focus is largely on the skills themselves (and their self-assessment of those skills), as demonstrated by the work they have produced in classes. Traditional conferences are a time when parents typically ask “What is your grade?” In today’s school environment – with ManageBac and SeeSaw – parents have more access than ever. Our goal for the conferences is for students to share with you the evidence of their skills, noting insights into strengths and weaknesses, into these 21st Century skills through their work. We hope you enjoy the day, and your child is able to better articulate his/her understanding of these important skills.

More information about Student-Led Conferences, including sign-up procedures, are shared in the Principals’ Update.

Children’s Use Social Media

During the PAFA meeting, Upper School Principal, Dr. Volpe led a short discussion and shared some important reminders about the need for parents to play a role in helping to monitor social media use.

The main take-aways include:

  • Talk with your children.
  • In discussing social media use, we encourage parents to stress values and beliefs compared to “parental control” of your child’s technology use. Children will often finds way around technology; but values and beliefs remain.
  • You can find a wealth of resources for parents at https://www.commonsensemedia.org/
  • SCIS will invite a representative from the Community Center to a future PAFA meeting to share more insights into how parents can communicate with students.
  • SCIS does cover responsible social media/technology use within our advisory program. But social media use is truly a family issue, and to effectively help children navigate these tools requires a collaborative approach.

International Food Fair, Sunday March 18

Next Sunday (March 18) SCIS will host a family event to celebrate the diversity of our SCIS Community- the SCIS International Food Festival! Bring your appetite and a smile.

To encourage your participation, the school will be providing free busing to this event from a few pick-up points around the city.

This will be a fun-filled day (11:30-3:00 pm) for families with food, drink, booths, games, and entertainment. Most importantly, it’s a great way for us to celebrate the the special community represented at SCIS. We encourage families from each country to come together to set up a table to share special food and perhaps some quick games, facts, or  special elements that make your ‘home’ special. 

There is no cost for the food – it is largely provided on the volunteer basis of each country doing its part, sharing food and fun, and bringing us all together to enjoy a good time.  (Drinks will be sold.)  We are still looking for a few parents to act as “lead volunteers” for a few countries. To learn more about how you can help, scroll down to earlier posts on this blog from PAFA President Trish Castillo or review the information on the WeChat “Fantastic Parents” group.

Do you know a family that would like to learn more about SCIS?  Bring them along!  We are planning an Open House tour as part of the day as well.

Bagel Sale This Morning

A big thank-you to the Maitian Parent Group for selling bagels this morning. It was a great way to start to day. Thank you!

Maitian: Ready to Go: The “before the chaos” picture at 7:45 am.


IB Art Exhibition and Reception, Monday March 19

All parents are cordially invited to attend the showcasing of our IB Seniors’ Visual Arts Exhibition. It will be held in the 3rd floor gallery on Monday, March 19 at 4:30 pm. Grab a drink, a snack, peruse the art, and discuss the work with our student-artists to see some of the culminating pieces from their two years of study. 

Many thanks to Ms. Whiteside for organizing the showcase, and for her continued work in developing the creativity of our artists.



What’s Happening Around Campus?

Enjoy the photos below, and a relaxing weekend.

Derek Luebbe



Head of School Update, March 2

 Hello Parents, Students, and Faculty,

I find myself lucky enough to be in Macau today, attending a professional development conference for the ACAMIS region. ACAMIS stands for the Association of China and Mongolian International Schools, and our school membership allows us to participate in student activities (sports & clubs), and we benefit from learning about about trends in other international schools. The keynote speaker, Sir John Jones inspired and challenged each of the 500 attendees to help schools better meet the needs of schools.  You can get a feeling for John’s work from this short YouTube video (vpn needed). Having the opportunity to meet with colleagues from around the region truly affirms what makes SCIS special.

Back at SCIS, there are a few items on our school calendar that I want to bring to your attention. 

  • Tuesday, March 6, 10:00-11:00 AM PAFA General Meeting   The meeting will have a short presentation and discussion on the topic parents’ role in monitoring children’s social media. Today’s Principal’s Updates provide more information, and the PAFA meeting will allow a more personal venue to share ideas and questions.
  • March 7 – 14:  Grade 12 IB Mock Exams
  • Sunday, March 18  11:30-3:00 pm SCIS International Food Festival  More information is included in the flier below.
  • Wednesday, March 21 3:00-4:30 and Thursday March 22  12:30-5:00   Student Led Conferences More information has been sent out by divisional principals.

You can learn more about the International Food Fair and PAFA information from the fliers at the end of this blog, underneath the following photos of what’s been happening around the school.

Have a great weekend.
Derek Luebbe
Head of School


Ms. Gale and the Grade 2 Team in their Weekly Unit Planning Meeting



Head of School Update, Feb. 27

Welcome Back Everyone,

No urgent news to report from SCIS. But I just wanted to welcome everyone back from what I hope was a restful Chinese New Year break.

We are back in the swing of things at school, Below, you will find a few photos from around the campus the last few days.

I’m sure the Grade 12 students are back with a purpose as they prepare for their IB Mock Exams (Practice Exams) starting next week. We wish them the best of luck!

Derek Luebbe





Head of School Update, Feb. 14

Happy Chinese New Year

It was a busy and memorable day at SCIS.

A big thank you to all the parents who attended our assembly and Lower School Temple Fair – and especially those parents who donated their time and energy to running a station. The Temple Fair was such a big success for the Lower School students, filled with hands-on learning.

This week has seen a celebration of Brazilian Carnival and Chinese New Year. As a parent myself, I’m grateful for the diversity of SCIS – and the parents who take pride in sharing their culture – to give all of our students an exposure and experience that they would otherwise miss.

There is something special about any cultural celebration in a school with 45 nationalities. Today in our assembly, I shared with students that the first step of celebrating is appreciating. Living in China in the year 2018, attending SCIS, and experiencing a Chinese New Year celebration that is thousands of years old is a humbling experience. It makes you appreciate where you are in place and time.

Needless to say, the day was fantastic – and I want to share a special thank you to our Mandarin faculty who led the planning and preparation with students. All the fun is more than a little tiring!

I’m sure we are all ready for a short vacation; I know I am.

On behalf of the entire faculty, I hope your Chinese New Year vacation provides you with time to recharge and reconnect with family. 

In the meantime, enjoy some photos from around the campus today.

Derek Luebbe
Head of School

Photos From Around the School

Our HS Girls showcase their dance routine.
Upper School Strings
The start of the Lion Dance
The assembly was led by many of our 5th Grade MCs. Great job to all!
SCIS students kick off the assembly with drums.
Upper School lunch activities
Ms. Scheiner “brushes” up on her calligraphy.
Sarah on the Chinese Yo Yo…
… and Ms. Shanks gives a try as well.


Unofficial champion on the chopsticks !
Our Lower School Temple Fair featured activities for students…
…and parents.
Behind the scenes of shadow puppets. Who knew they were laughing back there the whole time?
The Temple Fair featured some Chinese hackysack
The morning started with a showcase of the Olympics. (Canada won the curling!)
All that action can certainly be tiring!

Enjoy a restful vacation everyone!