June 11, 2021
Grade 5 Moving On Ceremony
On Wednesday, the grade 5 students and their families gathered together in celebration of their transition from grade 5 and the PYP to grade 6 and the MYP. The students performed the song “Count on Me,” followed by student speeches from Ms. Katelyn Qu and Mr. Junseong Kwak, who both spoke about their memorable experiences at SCIS-Pudong; their friendships, hardships, and good times. This was followed by each student being called off to receive a certificate and shake hands with Dr. Volpe, the Upper School Priincipal. Of course, students and parents had the opportunity to thank their grade 5 teachers and we are also very grateful for the dedication and hard work to ensure these students had an amazing year of learning and growing into the young men and women they have become. Thank you to Mr. Kelly, Dr. Myers and our grade 5 teachers and a to all parents for attending the ceremony and for your support this year. A special thank you to Freda Ching Yee Yui, Louise Hellestam, and Judit Varnai for helping with the celebration (decorations, video, cake, photo album, and teacher gifts).
End of Year Farewell Assembly
Thank you to Dr. Molly Myers who led yesterday’s End of Year Farewell Assembly. It was a beautiful opportunity to celebrate this year while also taking the time to say goodbye to those who will be at different schools, cities, and countries next year.
We are truly a close community and I, for one, am very grateful to have been part of it. Wishing everyone a safe and relaxing summer and a wonderful 2021-2022 school year. Once a Dragon, Always a Dragon!
Build Your Farewell RAFT
During the assembly, Dr. Myers spoke of the importance of building a RAFT during times like these when we need to say goodbye to our friends and colleagues. Whether it is a transition to a new grade, change in school, saying goodbye to friends, making new friends, or moving to a new country, everyone will be experiencing change in one form or another. At SCIS-Pudong, we refer to the R.A.F.T acronym, developed by the late David Pollack, to help children and families transition smoothly to new environments throughout their international lifestyle.
- Reconciliation: Making the relationship with someone right again
- Affirmation: Letting those important and special people in your life know how much they mean to you
- Farewell: Saying goodbye to your home
- Think Destination: Thinking about the place you’re going next
During the RAFTing process, it is important that children and adults make time to reflect on their positive memories in SCIS-Pudong. The “R” and the “A” in RAFT stand for “Reconciliation” and “Affirmation”. After Reconciliation (making the relationship with someone right again) and Affirmation (letting those important and special people in your life know how much they mean to you), the next two concepts in the RAFT’ing process are: “Farewell” (Saying goodbye to your home, people, places and things) and “Think Destination” (Thinking about the place you’re going next).
Farewell is the third term and Think Destination is the fourth, but not necessarily the final steps, in the RAFT’ing process. These four concepts (Reconciliation, Affirmation, Farwell, and Think Destination) are sometimes happening simultaneously and repeatedly throughout the final months/weeks. Additionally, the process and timing of these concepts can vary for each individual family member.
Children who will not be returning to SCIS next year will need the adults in their lives to help them think of how to best say their farewells to different people in Shanghai and to plan and schedule time for special gatherings, playdates, or events. Saying goodbye to their favorite places and things that they are parting from is also important as it will help children have a sense of control about the departure and the opportunity to become excited about their new beginning in their next destination.
Think Destination is what drives the change and helps your family to be motivated about the upcoming destination. Thinking about the place you are moving to helps children stay positive, become excited, and ideally, feel less angst about the upcoming changes. Parents can engage children in a discussion about how their new destination will differ and how it might be the same. Families can also research and read information to discuss what they are looking forward to and what they might miss about SCIS or their home in Shanghai. Ultimately, it is completely normal to have a variety of feelings about leaving as the departure comes closer.
Message from Dawn Brews, Lower School Principal
Speaking of RAFTing, I would also like to take this opportunity to say my own farewell.
As most of you know, this past year has been an incredibly challenging time for our family, with my husband, Darren, being unable to join us in Shanghai. We have persevered in the hopes that things would open up, and I am in awe of how our son, Dylan, has handled the separation from his father for so long.
With borders still closed to many countries and no sign of them opening up in the immediate future, we have had to make the difficult decision to return to the United States and reunite as a family. We have exhausted all options, and unfortunately, we cannot continue being separated for what could be an indefinite amount of time. This was one of the toughest decisions that we’ve ever had to make, but ultimately, being together as a family is what is most important to us.
I have sincerely learned more in the past year from working with everyone at SCIS than I did in all my previous schools. It has been a privilege and an honor to have worked with such talented and dedicated faculty and staff and to get to know so many of our families. Thank you for welcoming me into this very special community. I look forward to keeping in touch and am wishing everyone a wonderful summer and year ahead.
As you know, we are very fortunate to have the SCIS Hongqiao ECE Vice Principal, Ms. Heather Knight serve in the capacity of SCIS-Pudong Interim Lower School Principal for the 2021-2022 school year. Heather would like to share the following message.
“I look forward to joining the SCIS Pudong community next year as the Lower School Interim Principal. For the last nine years, I have worked at the SCIS Hongqiao ECE campus. During this time, I’ve had the opportunity to come over to the Pudong Lower school on many occasions. I have found a caring, dedicated learning community. I am looking forward to getting to know you all as we work together next year.”
End of Year Message from Dr. Gale, Head of School – Pudong Campus / SCIS Deputy Director of Schools
Dear SCIS-Pudong Dragons,
We’ve made it! The incredible 2020-2021 school year has officially concluded. While this year has undoubtedly been characterized by ongoing challenges related to the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has also been a year that has been characterized by tremendous strength, resilience, perseverance, and compassion. These traits have permeated every aspect of our community over the course of the school year and have served as a foundation surrounding our commitment to supporting each other and doing our utmost to persevere and ultimately prevail during the challenges we have faced this school year.
Our ability to overcome the difficulties encountered this year have repeatedly proven that SCIS-Pudong is a world-class environment where teachers, parents, and the administration continually work together to provide students with meaningful experiences and real-world opportunities. Opportunities that constantly foster the development of the SCIS schoolwide learner outcomes; students who are innovative thinkers, knowledgeable inquirers, self-directed learners, and positive contributors. Students who learn relevant new skills and knowledge, accept responsibility, work collaboratively with others, and most importantly laugh and enjoy their learning journey each day.
As we prepare to head into the summer holiday, I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you. Thank you to our amazing parents for your support this year and always. Thank you to our extremely talented students for your ongoing enthusiasm, positivity, open-mindedness, and ability to be resilient and adaptable learners. A huge thank you to our incredible SCIS-Pudong teachers who have repeatedly demonstrated an unwavering commitment to ensuring each and every student experiences success and develops a life-long passion for learning. Thank you to our support staff who play a vital role in the success of the SCIS-Pudong campus and supporting the achievement of our mission. And thank you to the SCIS administration for dedicating countless hours to ensuring all stakeholders are supported and have the resources needed to provide an exceptional student experience each day.
I would specifically like to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Frank Volpe for the tremendous work he has done for the SCIS Pudong Upper School program and community over the past five years. Dr. Volpe’s vast knowledge, commitment to research-based best practice, and quest for continuous improvement has allowed for the ongoing growth and development of an exceptional Upper School program. While we will miss Dr. Volpe and his family tremendously, we are very excited for him as he takes on a new position as Director General at the American School of Quito.
Additionally, I would also like to thank Mrs. Dawn Brews for her contributions and commitment this year as the Lower School Principal. Despite the challenges Mrs. Brews has encountered this year being separated from her family, she has demonstrated incredible flexibility, organization, a deep knowledge of curriculum, and a “positive can-do attitude.” She has shown great strength, determination, and resilience throughout the entire year and the SCIS-Pudong Lower School has grown under her leadership.
For our departing faculty (Mr. Johnson, Mr. Shearer, Ms. Williams, Mrs. Caban, Coach Caban, Mr. Demas, Ms. Broad, and Ms. Jauch), as well as our departing staff (Mr. Justin Zhu, Ms. Liz Wang, and Ms. Xinyi Wang) we are so appreciative of your contributions and commitment to the SCIS-Pudong community and wish you the very best in all your future endeavors.
For all departing students and families, whether you have been at SCIS for one year or many, you will always be part of the SCIS-Pudong dragon community. We wish you the best of luck as you embark on exciting learning adventures in new schools, cities, and countries.
For all returning students and families, I hope you have a fantastic summer, and I look forward to seeing you when we return to school in August.
It has been an honor and privilege to serve the SCIS-Pudong community as the Head of School this year. I look forward to the 2021-2022 school year and collaboratively carrying forward our relentless commitment to developing inquiring, knowledgeable, and caring learners who contribute positively to their communities.
Go Dragons! Dr. Gale
Lower School Academy
There is exciting news in Pudong Lower School in the 2021-22 school year! In August, we will be welcoming a new Learning Support Academy program for students in grades Kindergarten through five who need highly modified curriculum and instruction in order to achieve educational success. At SCIS Pudong, we believe that student learning is maximized in a diverse and collaborative environment where all students feel a sense of belonging.
The Academy program provides students with developmental or intellectual disabilities a positive learning experience that builds on individual strengths to create increased self-advocacy, social competence and independence. Students enrolled in the Academy receive instruction in a combination of a specialized classroom setting and the grade level classroom setting depending on the student’s individual needs. A goal for each student in the Academy is to be integrated with typically developing peers to the greatest extent possible. Specially trained learning support staff create instructional programs focused on functional academics, social, emotional and life skill development. Academy staff also support students in grade level classrooms through regular collaboration with subject teachers and/or direct support in the classroom
We are excited about the Academy for our school community because it offers many opportunities for students, faculty and families:
- Typically developing students are exposed to all types of learners and have the opportunity to develop caring and flexible social skills with peers who learn differently.
- Opportunities are provided for students to act as positive role models and offer natural support for peers.
- The school will have more access to specialized resources for the community, e.g. a full-time speech and language therapist and additional educational psychology support.
- Specialized Learning Support faculty will have increased opportunity to collaborate with teachers for differentiation designed to accommodate all students including students requiring enrichment opportunities.
- Families will have a program option for students with disabilities that is not currently available in any other international school in Shanghai.
- Families with a child with a disability will have the option to send all of their children to the same school rather than separating the child in a special school.
We thank you in advance for your support as we continue to promote our inclusive school community that celebrates each student for the unique gifts they bring as we support all students to fulfill their greatest potential.