Lower School Principal’s Post #13

Dear Families,

This PLT is focused on developing a deeper understanding of Positive Discipline and social-emotional learning and development.

At SCIS-Pudong we believe that professional development and collaboration is essential to building a strong curricular program focused on implementing research-based best practices across all subject areas and disciplines throughout the school.  As part of our annual Teacher Growth and Evaluation Process teachers work together in Professional Learning Teams (PLTs) to engage in rich pedagogical discussion and reflection surrounding aspects of their professional SMART goal.  Within the Lower School, all teachers must develop two SMART goals each year related to an aspect of the school’s annual curricular initiatives.  This year, the Lower School has four key focus areas:  Inclusion, Assessment, Social-Emotional Learning, and Mathematics Workshop with a focus on Number Talks.  In this way, all faculty are part of a greater professional learning community that is driven by clear goals and objectives.  According to DuFour and Eaker (1998) the six core principals of professional learning communities are:

  • the promotion of a culture of collaboration
  • the development and implementation of a shared mission, vision, and values
  • the implementation of collective inquiry into best practice
  • action-oriented
  • a focus on continuous improvement
  • a focus on results

We are excited about continuing to develop our PLT model and look forward to sharing the results of our inquiries into best practices within our four key focus areas with you towards the end of the school year.   

Kosei and Soichiro discuss and interested book before the school day begins.

Limiting the Loss of Personal Belongings

With the recent change in weather and the need for students to come to school in multiple layers of clothing, we ask that parents take extra care to label all of your child’s personal belongings.  In the event, that an item is misplaced, the item can easily be returned to its owner if it is properly labeled with the child’s name and grade. 

Lower School Assembly featuring 3J

Student in 3J listen as Jerry explains his reasoning during a class number talk.

The next Lower School Assembly will take place on Thursday, November 21st beginning at 8:15am in the Theater.  3J will be presenting the story, The Great Kapok Tree:  A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest by Lynne Cherry.  This amazing story will certainly get the audience thinking about the disastrous ways in which humans are affecting rainforests and the many beautiful creatures and animals that reside there.  We look forward to seeing many parents at the assembly!

Mrs. Ruf confers with Aedan during writing workshop.

Scholastic Books

All Lower School students should have received a Scholastic Book Catalogue this week.  Information on how to order scholastic books can be found on the back of the catalogue.  Scholastic book orders are due next Friday, November 22nd.   After Friday, students will no longer be able to order books.  Please note, that for every purchase the SCIS community makes towards a book order, the school receives points that can be used for additional book purchases for classroom libraries.

Lower School Winter Concerts

Please mark your calendars for the Lower School Winter Concert Performance which will take place on Friday, December 6th at 1:30pm for students in Kindergarten through Grade 5.  The concert titled, “In Our Happy Place,” will showcase student music videos, original music compositions and lots of singing and dancing. We look forward to seeing all parents at what is certain to be a fantastic event!   Below is information on the concert attire required for each grade level:

  • KINDERGARTEN students are asked to wear their PE uniform as their concert attire
  • GRADE 1 students are asked to wear blue jeans and a white t-shirt
  • GRADE 2 students are asked to wear their favorite pajamas
  • GRADE 3 students are asked to wear all black clothing
  • GRADES 4 & 5 students are asked to wear 1970’s Disco-inspired fashion

Shout-out to 3V

On Wednesday morning, parents of students in 3V joined the class for an interactive inquiry into how the earth changes and what causes the changes.   Students, parents, and other members of the community delved into various experiments were predictions were made, experiments were implemented, and observations were recorded.   Many of the experiments could be easily replicated at home and parents were provided with a wonderful opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of what inquiry-based learning looks like at SCIS-Pudong.

Parent-Teacher Conference Reflection

Although Parent-Teacher Conferences were a little over 3 weeks ago, we’d like to get parents’ opinions on their conference experience.  We request that you take a few minutes to complete this very short survey to help us better understand how Parent-Teacher conferences can be improved for the future.  Thank you very much for your time and feedback!

Lower School Principal’s Post #12

Dear Families,

This Lower School team chaired by Mr. Ethan Schultz is focusing on analyzing and evaluating the different components of the school’s written curriculum.

This has been a short, but fun-filled week within the Lower School.  On Tuesday morning Lower School faculty including Teachers, Mandarin Assistants and Assistant Teachers came together continue work surrounding the IB PYP Self-Study.  As mentioned in last week’s Principal’s Post the self-study serves 3 overarching purposes:

  1. Evaluate the extent to which the school is meeting the IB programme standards and practices .
  2. Improve implementation of the program / curriculum by identifying strengths and weaknesses, and determining areas for future focus. ​
  3. Serve as a vehicle to reinforce the support and commitment for the IB program from all stakeholders in the community through the action plan. 

As a school, we highly value the self-study process because it allows us to think critically about the ways in which we can continue to improve student learning and ensure that children are developing the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and conceptual understandings necessary for overall success in the 21st century.   If you have any questions about the self-study process please feel free to connect with Mr. Ian Sylvester at isylvester@scis-china.org or Ms. Liz Gale at egale@scis-china.com.   We look forward to periodically sharing updates of our progress.

Miss Meidinger is leading this team through the IB standards and practices related to collaborative planning. Prioritizing time for all teachers to plan and reflect is an essential component of an IB PYP school.

Whole Faculty Professional Development focused on Child Protection and Response to Intervention (RTI)

Cross divisional faculty work together to evaluate various scenarios related to child protection.

On Tuesday afternoon the entire SCIS-Pudong faculty came together for additional professional development focused on Child Protection.  Kristen Koehler, SCIS Director of Student Support in collaboration with Laurie Luebbe (Lower School Counselor) and Maja Kelly (Upper School Counselor) led a session to discuss specific child protection policies and practices we have in place to ensure the safety and welfare of all students.    Following this session, Ms. Koehler in collaboration with Zachary Berezowski (Lower School Learning and Student Support Coordinator) and RiAnn Caban (Upper School Learning and Student Support Coordinator) worked with faculty on developing a deeper understanding of the RTI model.  RTI is a multi-tiered approach used by educators to help students who are struggling with learning or behavior needs.  The RTI process begins with high-quality instruction for all children in the general education classroom. Throughout the RTI process struggling learners are provided with interventions at increasing levels of intensity to accelerate their rate of learning. These interventions may be provided by a variety of personnel, including general education teachers, special educators, and specialists. 

Mr. Berezowski leading an activity with Lower School faculty as a way to further unpack the RTI process and develop a shared understanding among teachers.

Lower School Winter Concerts

First grade students practicing their drumming skills in preparation for the winter concert.

Please mark your calendars for the Lower School Winter Concert Performance which will take place on Friday, December 6th at 1:30pm for students in Kindergarten through Grade 5.  The concert titled, “In Our Happy Place,” will showcase student music videos, original music compositions and lots of singing and dancing. We look forward to seeing all parents at what is certain to be a fantastic event!   More information will be forthcoming surrounding concert attire for each grade level.

Lower School students and teachers learning how to do the WAVE at Thursday’s assembly.

Lower School Assembly featuring 3J

The next Lower School Assembly will take place next Thursday, November 21th beginning at 8:15am in the Theater.  We look forward to seeing many parents at this fun community event!

This week’s assembly was hosted by the Lower School Student Leadership Team. They taught the audience about the importance of appropriately using hand sanitizers.

NWEA MAPS Principal’s Coffee Morning

Upper School Principal, Dr. Volpe leading the Principal’s Coffee Morning on the NWEA MAP test.

Thank you to all parents who attended the Principal’s Coffee Morning on Thursday where Dr. Volpe provided a comprehensive overview of how to interpret the NWEA MAPs results received by students in Grades 2-5.   Here is a link to the PowerPoint slides that were shared at the coffee morning.  Just a reminder that the NWEA MAPs test is one piece of the assessment mosaic teachers use at SCIS to measure student progress and determine a student’s areas of strength and areas for growth.  Please feel free to reach out to your child’s teacher or Ms. Gale with any questions that you have.  NWEA MAPs results were shared in a link sent to each parents’ scis-parent email account on Friday, October 18th.

Parent-Teacher Conference Reflection

Grade 2 students uploading reflections to Seesaw.

Although Parent-Teacher Conferences were a little over 2 weeks ago, we’d like to get parents’ opinions on their conference experience.  We request that you take a few minutes to complete this very short survey to help us better understand how Parent-Teacher conferences can be improved for the future.  Thank you very much for your time and feedback!

More Photos from a Great Week including our most recent Learner Profile Recognition recipients

Lower School Principal’s Post #11

Dear Families,

Another exciting week of fun and learning in the Lower School.  At this point, all grade levels are well into their second Unit of Inquiry and students have been engaged in a variety of learning experiences where they have had the opportunity to ask questions surrounding their inquiry topics and work with their peers to begin seeking answers to their queries. 

Julia, Valentina, and Mandisi in 4B work together on figuring out their word sort.

When planning, teachers begin by assessing students’ prior knowledge. Once teachers have an understanding of what students know about a particular topic, they then design meaningful learning experiences that provide the children with opportunities to test and revise their thinking, allow them to make connections between their previous and current perceptions, and give them the freedom to construct their own meaning in a way that is significant, relevant and engaging. 

Below are the Central Ideas that serve as the focus for the current Unit of Inquiry in each grade level:

Isabella, Mila, and Weedema work with Ms. Liu on reading Chinese characters during Mandarin class.
  • Nursery:  We move from place to place in different ways.
  • Preschool / Prekindergarten:  Artists create art to express themselves in different ways.
  • Kindergarten:  People use their senses to help them learn.
  • Grade 1:  Choices we make affect our health.
  • Grade 2:  People have improved their daily lives by using simple machines.
  • Grade 3:  Processes change the earth.
  • Grade 4:  Heroes reveal values and beliefs.
  • Grade 3:  Human migration is a response to challenges, risks and opportunities.

For more information on what and how your child is learning, please take some time to visit their student journal on Seesaw and talk with your child about the different learning experiences they are having at school.  Also, if you like what you see, be sure provide your child with some positive feedback on their work.

Please note, there will not be school next Monday and Tuesday, November 4th and 5th

Wishing all families, a wonderful and relaxing 4-day weekend! 

PAFA SPONSORED HALLOWEEN CARNIVAL

A HUGE THANK YOU to all students and parents that came to campus last Saturday, October 26th to participate in the PAFA sponsored Halloween Carnival.  The children had a wonderful time and it was so fun to see adults and children alike dressed in a wide variety of fun Halloween costumes.  A special thanks to Maria Trantow and all PAFA volunteers who spent a large portion of the day setting up stations, facilitating games and ensuring the event was a huge success!

NWEA MAPS

(Northwest Evaluation Association / Measurement of Academic Progress)

For parents of students in Grades 2-5 you should have received access to your child’s fall NWEA MAPs testing results on Friday, October 18th via the same link that was sent to your scis-parent email account for the mid-semester report.   We recognize that interpreting the test results can be difficult if you are unfamiliar with the MAPs test and therefore, we will be hosting a Principal’s Coffee Morning on Thursday, November 7th led by Dr. Volpe.  The session will begin at 9:30am in room 208.   During this session, parents will develop an understanding of how to interpret their child’s MAP results, have an opportunity to ask questions and learn how to use the data to support their child’s growth and development at home.   Please note, the NWEA MAPs test is one piece of the assessment mosaic teachers use at SCIS to measure student progress and determine a student’s areas of strength and areas for growth.

Next Lower School Assembly

Please note that the next Lower School Assembly will take place next Thursday, November 7th starting at 8:15am in the Theater.  The Lower School Student Leadership Team will be leading this assembly.  We look forward to seeing you there!

Students in 1S say good-bye to Mr. Schultz at the end of the day with a special handshake.

SCIS School Closure

SCIS has confirmed with the proper authorities that our best course of action is to close school on all of our campuses (Pudong, Hongqiao Main, & Hongqiao ECE) on November 4th & 5th in support of the second annual China International Import Expo. As such, all After School Activities (ASA), athletics, performances, mother tongue language programs, and extra-curricular activities will also be canceled on those days. We will re-open with all operations on Wednesday, November 6th.

SCIS policy requires makeup days when cancellations are more than one school day per academic year. Given the government directive to cancel two school days, SCIS will adjust our calendar to make up one school day. As such, we will now hold a full day of school for students on Friday, November 22ndwhich was previously identified as a professional in-service day. 

Launch of the PYP Self-Study

This past Monday, all Lower School teachers gathered together in room 208 to take part in the beginning phase of the PYP Self Study.  Each IB World School is regularly evaluated to ensure that the IB standards and practices are being maintained.  Evaluation takes place at least once every five years.  As part of the process, schools engage in a self-study that is a key element in the school’s continual improvement.    

The self-study serves three primary purposes;

  1. Evaluate the extent to which the school is meeting the programme standards and practices ​
  2. Improve implementation by identifying strengths and weaknesses, and determining areas for future focus ​
  3. Serve as a vehicle to reinforce the support and commitment for the program from all stakeholders in the community through the action plan. 

As a Lower School, we have made tremendous curricular growth since the adoption of the PYP in 2016.  Through the PYP self-study process led by our PYP Coordinator, Mr. Ian Sylvester we will certainly be celebrating all of the phenomenal teaching and learning that is currently happening and collaboratively identify the ways in which we can continue to improve. 

Positive Discipline Parenting Workshop

Tomorrow will be the final session for the Positive Discipline Parenting Workshop.  A HUGE thank you to all parent participants and especially to Dr. Molly Myers for doing such a fantastic job facilitating.  If you were not able to participate in this round of parenting workshops, please be on the lookout for our next round of workshops that will likely take place at the start of the second semester.  More information will be forthcoming regarding the start date for the next series of workshops.

Lower School Principal’s Post #10

Dear Families,

What a super busy, but fantastic week at SCIS-Pudong!  I have received many positive comments from both parents, as well as teachers surrounding Parent-Teacher Conferences and I’d like to say thank you to the parents for making the time in your schedule to attend your child’s conference.  Also, thank you to all teachers for the work and effort you put into preparing for the conferences.  

Please keep in mind that conferences can be scheduled at any point in the year should you have a concern or if you’d simply like to touch base and discuss various aspects of your child’s learning.  According to Jane Hull, “the most overwhelming key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of parents” and we look forward to many more opportunities to engage you in your child’s learning journey at SCIS-Pudong this year.

In effort to improve our Parent-Teacher Conference practices we would appreciate if you could take a few minutes to provide us with your feedback by accessing the Lower School PTC Parent feedback survey through the below QR code.   Thank you for your support.

PAFA Sponsored Halloween Party at SCIS

The PAFA Sponsored Halloween Party is tomorrow and we are looking forward to seeing all SCIS families participate in this fun event!  Tomorrow’s event will begin at 12:00pm and conclude at 3:00pm.  Everyone is encouraged to participate and come dressed in a Halloween costume!

NWEA MAPS

(Northwest Evaluation Association / Measurement of Academic Progress)

For parents of students in Grades 2-5 you should have received access to your child’s fall NWEA MAPs testing results last Friday via the same link that was sent to your scis-parent email account for the mid-semester report.   We recognize that interpreting the test results can be difficult if you are unfamiliar with the MAPs test and therefore, we will be hosting a Principal’s Coffee Morning on Thursday, November 7th led by Dr. Volpe.  The session will begin at 9:30am in room 208.   During this session, parents will develop an understanding of how to interpret their child’s MAP results, have an opportunity to ask questions and learn how to use the data to support their child’s growth and development at home.   Please note, the NWEA MAPs test is one piece of the assessment mosaic teachers use at SCIS to measure student progress and determine a student’s areas of strength and areas for growth.

Positive Discipline Parent Event

The third Positive Discipline parenting workshop will take place tomorrow (Saturday, October 26th) from 9:00am-12:00pm in Room 208.  If you are interested in attending this workshop, please contact Dr. Myers immediately at mmyers@scis-china.org.  In addition to tomorrow’s workshop there is one additional workshops taking place on November 2nd

Next Lower School Assembly

Please note that the next Lower School Assembly will take place on Thursday, November 7th starting at 8:15am in the Theater.  The Lower School Student Leadership Team will be leading this assembly.  We look forward to seeing you there!

SCIS School Closure

SCIS has confirmed with the proper authorities that our best course of action is to close school on all of our campuses (Pudong, Hongqiao Main, & Hongqiao ECE) on November 4th & 5th in support of the second annual China International Import Expo. As such, all After School Activities (ASA), athletics, performances, mother tongue language programs, and extra-curricular activities will also be canceled on those days. We will re-open with all operations on Wednesday, November 6th.

SCIS policy requires makeup days when cancellations are more than one school day per academic year. Given the government directive to cancel two school days, SCIS will adjust our calendar to make up one school day. As such, we will now hold a full day of school for students on Friday, November 22ndwhich was previously identified as a professional in-service day. 

Bilingual Parent Education Workshops focused on Early Years

Lower School Principal’s Post #9

Dear Families,

Riho in KM carefully reads through the daily events.

We’ve had another wonderful week of learning and fun at SCIS-Pudong that has included:  a creative, funny and student-centered assembly featuring 4B, collaborative PYP unit kick-off meetings, Professional Learning Team Meetings that are based upon Teacher Growth Goals, and as always, fantastic learning experiences for students in Nursery through Grade 5.   We look forward to welcoming all parents next week on Thursday for your child’s Parent-Teacher Conference.  More information on Parent-Teacher Conferences can be found below.

Parent Reminders

Mr. Cremet greets students as they arrive at school on Thursday morning.

Transportation: Just a friendly reminder to please inform the office staff (Ms. Vicki and Mr. Stu), as well as your child’s homeroom teacher no later than 12:00pm if there are changes in their transportation plans for the afternoon.  It is very difficult to ensure the safety and security of all students if there are last minute changes to transportation plans.

Labelling Personal Belongings:  As the weather becomes colder and students begin to dress in layers, please ensure that your child’s personal belongings are clearly labelled with their name so they may be easily returned in the event they are misplaced.

Mid-Semester Progress Reports:

Please take a moment to access your SCIS Parent email account to receive your child’s Mid-Semester Progress Report. The purpose of the Mid-Semester progress report is to provide parents and teachers with an opportunity to reflect on the student’s attitudes and actions that lead to academic success at mid-semester.  The report is meant to serve as a baseline for discussion during Parent-Teacher Conferences, during which time, parents will receive additional information about their child’s areas of strength and areas for growth.

NWEA MAPs:

For parents of students in Grades 2-5 you will also be able to access your child’s fall NWEA MAP scores for Reading, Language Usage, and Mathematics today via the same link that was sent to your scis-parent email account for the mid-semester report.  For more information on the NWEA MAP test please visit https://www.nwea.org/parent-toolkit/

Congratulations to 4B

A BIG SHOUT-OUT goes to 4B for their fantastic assembly performance that took place at Thursday’s Lower School Assembly.  Students collaborated on developing a funny and informative skit that taught the audience about the importance of having a growth mindset.  Grade 4 students have just completed their unit of inquiry on growth mindset focused on how the brain functions, how to grow a mindset and the effects of different mindsets on individual and group growth.  

Parent-Teacher Conferences

IK enjoys listening to Ms. Kridl during a fun read-aloud before recess.

Parent-Teacher Conferences are almost here!  We are so excited to talk with you about your child’s learning journey and the progress they have made since the beginning of the school year. 

During your 20-minute conference with your child’s homeroom teacher, you will have an opportunity to discuss your child’s areas of strength, as well as areas for growth related to their social, emotional and academic development.  You will also be able to ask questions and collaborate with the teacher on setting both short and long-term goals for your child.  During your time at SCIS, you are also encouraged to visit your child’s specialist teachers, who will be able on a first come, first serve basis.  Specialists will be located in their classrooms.

To sign-up for Parent-Teacher Conferences (if you haven’t already done so), please click on the name of your child’s Homeroom Teacher on the right side of this blog post or scan the QR code below.  The link will take you to a Sign-up Genius form where you will be able to select one 20-minute slot that suits your schedule on Thursday, October 24th.  Please note that conferences will take place throughout the day and therefore, there will not be school for children on this day.

If you are unable to attend any of the scheduled conference times stated below, please contact your child’s teacher directly to arrange for an alternative conference.

Professional Learning at SCIS-Pudong

This PLT composed of Mr. Berezowski, Ms. Cremet, Mr. Ruf, Ms. Rainey, Ms. Gutierrez, and Ms. Lawrence is focused on learning more about inclusion and the UDL framework.

At SCIS-Pudong we believe that professional development and collaboration is essential to building a strong curricular program focused on implementing research-based best practices across all subject areas and disciplines.  This past Monday all Lower School teachers met with their Professional Learning Team (PLT) that was created based upon teacher’s professional growth and evaluation goals set for this school year.  Over the course of the 2019-2020 school year these groups will meet regularly to participate in rich conversations, analyze student work, design and evaluate learning experiences and share effective instructional practices.  These team meetings will certainly provide a valuable forum for teachers to discuss and share the many ways that students can authentically develop the skills and dispositions necessary to be successful both in school and in life.  They will also help teachers reflect on their own practices and brainstorm ideas for ways to make learning even more meaningful and engaging.   

In addition to the PLTs, teachers regularly collaborate surrounding all aspects of planning, instruction and assessment through unit kick-off meetings, grade level meetings and team meetings. 

The Grade 5 Team, Mr. Kelly, Mrs. Ruf, Mr. Berezowski, and Mr. Sylvester meeting to discuss the upcoming based upon the PYP Transdisicplinary Theme “Where we are in Place and Time” focused on Migration

Introducing the 2019-2020 Lower School Leadership Team Representatives

Grade 5 students, Alex Luo, Julia Rando, and Athena Hildt introducing the purpose of the Student Leadership Team to students at the Lower School Assembly on Thursday.

Congratulations to the students below who will be leading the Lower School Leadership Team for the 2019-2020 school year.  Involvement in Student Leadership Team provides SCIS Lower School students with a unique opportunity to have direct input into school operations and events. The Student Leadership Team will provide a forum to enhance student participation in the life of the school.  Members of the Student Leadership Team partner with the administration, teachers, parents and Lower School students on various aspects of school improvement.  The Lower School Leadership Team Advisor for this year is PYP Coordinator, Mr. Ian Sylvester.

  • Grade 3:  Lucas, Spoorthi, Darien, Amelie, Ashley, Thais
  • Grade 4:  Amit, Gabriel, Riddhiman, Cadence, Khanak
  • Grade 5:  Athena Hildt, Julia Rando, Alex

Counselor Connection

Mrs. Luebbe has recently added a new article to the Counselor Connection on the right side of this blog on the negative impact of physical discipline with a particular focus on hitting children. Be sure to check it out!

Positive Discipline Parent Event

Finn in Grade 2 designs a airplane using Dominos while waiting for the school day to begin on Friday morning.

The second Positive Discipline parenting workshop will take place tomorrow (Saturday, October 19th) from 9:00am-12:00pm in Room 208.  If you are interested in attending this workshop, please contact Dr. Myers immediately at mmyers@scis-china.org.  In addition to tomorrow’s workshop there are two additional workshops taking place on October 26th and November 2nd.  The cost for each participant is 500RMB.  As a parent, this is an opportunity you will not want to pass up!

Halloween at SCIS-Pudong:

Halloween is right around the corner and PAFA (Parents and Friends Association) is busy preparing for the Halloween Carnival that will take place on Saturday October 26th from 12:00pm-3:00pm on campus.  All families are encouraged to attend as children will have an opportunity to participate wear their Halloween costumes while participating in fun games and other events. 

On Friday, October 25th, Lower School students will be able to wear their Halloween costume to school or change into their costume at any point during the school day.  Please keep in mind that Halloween costume accessories such as guns, swords or other potentially dangerous objects will not be allowed.  Additionally, it should be noted that participating in the Halloween festivities is optional for students and families.  There will not be any Halloween parties or events happening at school, apart from students having the opportunity to wear their costume to school. 

Lower School Principal’s Post #8

Dear Families,

It has been a great week at SCIS-Pudong as teachers gear up for the busy month of October.  There are many exciting events happening over the next few weeks involving students, teachers and parents.  Please take a moment to review the important dates mentioned on the right side of the blog post and carefully read through the information below to ensure you are kept informed of all exciting events and happenings pertaining to the Lower School and your child(ren).   Please do not hesitate to reach out to your child’s teacher with any additional questions you may have.

Farewell Ms. Linda Zhang

Today students and faculty bid farewell to Ms. Linda Zhang who after 11 years of commitment to the SCIS-Pudong Lower School will begin her retirement and the next chapter of her journey.  Ms. Zhang has been instrumental in shaping the Lower School Mandarin Program for native students and students and teachers alike will miss her dearly.  Please join me in thanking Ms. Zhang and wishing her all the best on this new phase of her life.  

Learning Celebrations Galore!

Hats off to students in Grade 5 for completing their first unit of inquiry focused on body systems.  As a culminating learning experience for the unit, students worked in groups to investigate the function of one body system, develop an understanding of how body systems depend on each other, and explore the ways in which choices affect our health.  Each group presented their findings through creating an interactive PowerPoint or keynote presentation, building 3D models, and designing posters. 

On Friday morning, Kindergarten students invited parents and community members to be part of two learning celebrations that began with a celebratory Reading Parade during which students showcased some of their favorite reading materials to other students and teachers throughout the school.   The Reading Parade was followed by a Unit of Inquiry Learning Celebration in the Black Box where students showcased their work surrounding their current Unit of Inquiry, How We Organize Ourselves focused on Community.  During this informative and fun event students shared information surrounding someone they believe to be an important community helper and what that community helper does to contribute to the success and organization of the community.  Throughout this unit, students formulated an understanding that everyone has a role to play in the community

Positive Discipline Parent Event

The first Positive Discipline parenting workshop will take place tomorrow (Saturday, October 12th) from 9:00am-12:00pm in Room 208.  If you are interested in attending this workshop, please contact Dr. Myers immediately at mmyers@scis-china.org as there are still available spots.  In addition to tomorrow’s workshop there are three additional workshops taking place on October 19th, 26th and November 2nd.  The cost for each participant is 500RMB.  As a parent, this is an opportunity you will not want to pass up!

Lower School Assemblies

At SCIS-Pudong Lower School assemblies serve several purposes.  They provide a venue for students to practice their speaking and presentation skills and share authentic aspects of their learning to a broader audience.  Additionally, they are a forum through which schoolwide information can be communicated to students surrounding policies, procedures and special events. Lastly, they are meant to bring the LS community (students, teachers and parents) together in order to celebrate various aspects of student learning and growth.  All parents are invited to attend Lower School Assemblies. 

Our next Lower School Assembly will take place next Thursday, October 17th in the Theater starting at 8:15am.  Students in 4B will be presenting on their most recent unit of inquiry focused on growth mindset.  We hope to see you there!

Mid-Semester Progress Reports

Next Friday after school, you will be able to access your child’s Mid-Semester Progress Reportthrough a link received in your SCIS-parent email account.  The purpose of the Mid-Semester progress report is to provide students, parents and teachers with an opportunity to reflect on student’s attitudes and actions that lead to academic success at mid- semester.  The report is meant to serve as a baseline for discussion during Parent-Teacher Conferences, during which time parents will receive additional information about their child’s areas of strength and areas for growth.  Specialists will not be providing comments for mid-semester reports this year.  However, parents are encouraged to visit Specialist Teachers during Parent-Teacher Conferences.  Specialists will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis.  

For parents of students in Grades 2-5 you will also be able to access your child’s fall NWEA MAP scores for Reading, Language Usage, and Mathematics.  For more information on the NWEA MAP test please visit https://www.nwea.org/parent-toolkit/

Parent-Teacher Conferences

Parent-Teacher Conferences are almost here!  We are so excited to talk with you about your child’s learning journey and the progress they have made since the beginning of the school year. 

During your 20-minute conference with your child’s Homeroom Teacher, you will have an opportunity to discuss your child’s areas of strength, as well as areas for growth related to their social, emotional and academic development.  You will also be able to ask questions and collaborate with the teacher on setting both short and long-term goals for your child.  During your time at SCIS, you are also encouraged to visit your child’s specialist teachers, who will be able on a first come, first serve basis.  Specialists will be located in their classrooms.

To sign-up for Parent-Teacher Conferences (if you haven’t already done so), please click on the name of your child’s Homeroom Teacher on the right side of this blog post or scan the QR code below.  The link will take you to a Sign-up Genius form where you will be able to select one 20-minute slot that suits your schedule on Thursday, October 24th.  Please note that conferences will take place throughout the day and therefore, there will not be school for children on this day.

If you are unable to attend any of the scheduled conference times stated below, please contact your child’s teacher directly to arrange for an alternative conference.

Lower School Principal’s Coffee Morning on PTCs

There will be a Principal’s Coffee Morning on Thursday, October 17th following the Lower School Assembly in room 208 focused on Parent Teacher Conferences and how parents and teachers can “get the most” out of their conference time.  We are looking forward to seeing many parents in attendance for this important topic.  

Lower School Principal’s Post #7

Dear Families,

As we head into the October break, it is amazing to think about all that has been accomplished over the course of the past 7 weeks.  Since the first days of the school year, teachers have observed students demonstrate their ability to be risk-takers, communicators and inquirers who openly embrace new environments, teachers, friends, procedures and learning experiences.  The observations we make on a daily basis confirm the fact that we are not only a diverse community of learners who bring a wealth of experience and backgrounds to school each day, but we are also a school that truly supports and encourages one another in achieving our personal best. 

As I walk through the Lower School classrooms, hallways and common spaces it is so wonderful to see the establishment of strong routines, procedures and fantastic student-centered learning environments.  Student agency and providing opportunities for students to take ownership of their learning is readily apparent across grade levels and content areas.   This is a direct result of the hard work and commitment of our phenomenal Lower School faculty who are constantly looking for opportunities to create fun, and meaningful learning experiences that result in high levels of student engagement and motivation.

As parents, I encourage you to continue to look for ways to extend your child(ren)’s learning outside of school.  Providing children with opportunities to make connections between their life outside of school to the learning they are experiencing in school, will help them formulate a deeper understanding of how the skills, knowledge and attitudes they are developing can be applied in multiple contexts.   We continue to appreciate your support and look forward to a great year of learning together.   I wish all families a relaxing and enjoyable October break!

October National Holiday

Please note students will not have school during the October National Holiday which willtake place from September 28th – October 6th.   If your child will be leaving early for the break or returning later, please be sure to inform your child’s homeroom teacher.

Literacy Learning with Erin Kent

Last weekend, several Lower School Teachers participated in a wonderful professional development workshop on best practices in literacy instruction with a specific focus on amplifying inquiry in reading and writing workshop.  The workshop was led by the Erin Kent Consulting Team including Erin Kent, Tonya Gilchrist, and Faiza Martin.  On Tuesday, Lower School Teachers worked with Mrs. Kent and Ms. Gilchrist on delving into assessment in Reading Workshop by developing a deeper understanding of the varying levels of text complexity.  We are so fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with Mrs. Kent and her team and are eager to continue our quest to ensure students are acquiring the essential literacy skills needed for success in and outside of school.  

Grade 3 Learning Celebration

On Wednesday, Grade 3 students had an opportunity to share some of their amazing learning with parents and other community members focused on their current Unit of Inquiry, Who We Are focused on Culture.  During this celebration students shared information surrounding what makes their culture or identify unique and how their culture has shaped who they are.  Additionally, students developed an understanding of what culture entails, the similarities and differences in cultures and how culture influences our actions.   During the learning celebration students worked with parents and other community members to create a culture collage.  Congratulations to all Grade 3 students and teachers on facilitating a wonderful learning celebration.

Positive Discipline Parent Event

This is the FINAL CALL for parents interested in signing up for the Positive Discipline parenting workshops scheduled for October 12th, 19th, 26th and November 2nd from 8:30am-11:30am.   If you are interested in attending this workshop, please contact Dr. Myers at mmyers@scis-china.org immediately.  As a parent, this is an opportunity you will not want to pass up!

Mid-Semester Reports

At SCIS students, parents, and teachers are provided with an opportunity to reflect on a student’s attitudes and actions that lead to success at mid-semester (mid-October and mid-March).  Mid-Semester reports are accompanied by Parent-Teacher conferences in October and Student-Led Conferences in March.  As we seek to develop students’ thinking skills, communication skills, social skills, self-management skills and research skills, we will reflect with students on the actions they are taking to achieve success in class at the mid-semester.   This information will be used to inform Mid-Semester Reports which includes an inclusive Homeroom Teacher comment that will address the student’s approaches to learning, as well as their ability to demonstrate the attributes of the Learner Profile.  The student’s ability to meet the academic standards will be reported on during the semester report and discussed with parents during Parent-Teacher Conferences in October.   Mid-Semester reports will be distributed via email on Friday, October 18th.  In order to access your child’s mid-semester report you will need to access your SCIS parent email account.

Parent-Teacher Conferences

Parent-Teacher Conferences are right around the corner taking place throughout the day on Thursday, October 24th.  As a reminder, there will not be school for students on this day.  A link to a sign-up genius site will be sent out via Seesaw to parents following the October Holiday.  Parents will be able to sign up for a convenient conference time using this link.  Parent-Teacher conferences will be scheduled in 20-minute blocks with your child’s Homeroom Teacher.  During this time, you will have an opportunity to discuss your child’s areas of strength, as well as areas for growth related to their social, emotional and academic development.   You will also be able to ask questions and collaborate with the teacher on setting both short and long-term goals for your child.   During your time at SCIS, you are also encouraged to visit your child’s specialist teachers, who will be available on a first come, first serve basis.  Specialists will be located in their classrooms.

Lower School Principal’s Coffee Morning on PTCs

There will be a Principal’s Coffee Morning on Thursday, October 17th following the Lower School Assembly in room 208 focused on Parent Teacher Conferences and how parents and teachers can “get the most” out of their conference time.  We are looking forward to seeing many parents in attendance for this important topic.  

Lower School Student Photos

Individual student photos are now available for purchase online.   To order photos simply go to www.intlphotography.com and follow the order link using the password scispd0919.  Within the galleries, links can be found to individual portraits.  Lower School Galleries are organized by Grade and Teacher.  Print orders will be available through October 5th.

No Toys at Recess

Over the past few weeks we have had several incidences of students bringing toys from home to school and misplacing them on the playground during recess or in some cases toys have been damaged.  As parents, please note that we do not allow students to play with toys from home at school or on the playground, unless it is specifically requested by the teacher and relates to an aspect of learning.  This includes Pokeman Cards.  While we recognize that students might use toys for entertainment purposes on the bus as they ride to and from school, these toys should remain in the student’s backpack once they arrive at school.   Thank you for attention to this.

Lower School Principal’s Post #6

Dear Families,

It has been an amazing week of learning and celebration at SCIS-Pudong.   Throughout the week students have been enthusiastically engaged in a variety of learning experiences across subject areas and grade levels that reflect their abilities as independent inquirers, as well as collaborative communicators.  As we approach the weeklong October National Holiday, most grade levels will be wrapping up their first unit of inquiry and moving into their second unit for the 2019-2020 school year.  As a parent, please continue to regularly talk with your child about their learning experiences at school and explore opportunities to extend their learning into the home environment or greater community.  

Below is an overview of each grade level’s first unit of inquiry including guiding questions that students have inquired into over the course of the first 6 weeks of the school year.  The questions are a fantastic conversation starter to help you engage in developing an understanding of your child’s perspective and what they have learned over the course of the unit.

United Nations International Day of Peace (UNIDOP)

To end the fantastic week of learning, the whole school came together for the spectacular United Nations International Day of Peace Assembly which served as a tribute to the diverse and dynamic makeup of our SCIS community.  With over 51 countries represented, the assembly provided a wonderful opportunity for all participants to reflect on how fortunate we are to be part of such a multi-cultural and internationally-minded learning community.  A huge thank-you to Mrs. Luebbe for the pre-planning and organization she put into ensuring the success of this event.  Additionally, a big thank-you to Ms. DeVeor Rainey for working with the Grades 3, 4, and 5 students and preparing such a fun and energetic performance to start the assembly.

October National Holiday

Please note students will not have school during the October National Holiday which willtake place from September 28th – October 6th.   If your child will be leaving early for the break or returning later, please be sure to inform your child’s homeroom teacher.

SCIS WeChat Groups and Norms

As a school we recognize that WeChat is a convenient communication tool for parents.  However, grade level WeChat groups are an unofficial communication channel that is not recognized by the school and in the event that a concern is brought to a grade level WeChat group, parents are encouraged to communicate their concerns directly to the classroom teacher. 

Below is a statement that discusses the school’s stance on WeChat groups including the SCIS WeChat Norms.   

  • Utilizing WeChat groups is an exercise in trust in our collective ability to self-monitor the conversation and ensure that it stays healthy, professional, and supportive of the school and each other. We have developed SCIS WeChat Norms to clarify these expectations. Please review these norms. For example, WeChat should not be used to complain about a particular person or policy. If you have personal questions or comments that you would like to make which may violate these norms, those questions/comments are likely best communicated in person, via email to the specific person, or raised to PAFA representatives for broader discussion.

We appreciate your support surrounding this matter.

Positive Discipline Parent Event

There are still spots available for parents to attend the Positive Discipline parenting workshops scheduled for October 12th, 19th, 26th and November 2nd from 9:00am-12:00pm.

We hope that hosting the workshop on the weekend will result in an increase in parent participation.  If you are interested in attending this workshop, please contact Dr. Myers at mmyers@scis-china.org no later than next Friday, September 27th

No Toys at Recess

Over the past few weeks we have had several incidences of students bringing toys from home to school and misplacing them on the playground during recess or in some cases toys have been damaged.  As parents, please note that we do not allow students to play with toys from home at school or on the playground, unless it is specifically requested by the teacher and relates to an aspect of learning.  This includes Pokeman Cards.  While we recognize that students might use toys for entertainment purposes on the bus as they ride to and from school, these toys should remain in the student’s backpack once they arrive at school.   Thank you for attention to this.

Health and Safety

As we approach the flu season which typically accompanies a change in weather, please be reminded of the school’s policy surrounding student illness.

If your child is sick or has been diagnosed as having a contagious disease or illness, please notify the school nurse immediately with symptoms. Any chronic illness needs to be disclosed to the nurse as well as the classroom teacher.

Children with contagious illnesses should be kept at home until a doctor verifies that the period of contagion is past. This information is critical to help contain the spread of illness.

Children should NOT come to school if they have any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever (over 99 F/37.2 C)
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Discharge from the eyes or ears
  • Heavy nasal discharge
  • Persistent cough
  • Unidentified rash

A child with a fever of 99 F/37.2 C or more will be sent home. The child may return when fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medicines.

If a child becomes ill while at school, they are taken to the nurse for an assessment. If the nurse determines that the child needs to go home, the following steps will be taken:

  • A parent will be called to pick up the child. If a parent cannot be reached, the emergency contact person(s) designated in the student’s file will be contacted. Students who are ill should be picked up within 60 minutes of notification from the nurse.
  • The child will be kept in the clinic and monitored by the nurse until a parent or another designated individual arrives.

In the event of physician approval that a child can return to school, the administration may still require the child to be excluded for the following reasons:

  1. The illness prevents the child from participating comfortably in school activities.
  2. The illness results in a greater care need than the teacher and assistants can provide without compromising the health and safety of the other children.

Lower School Principal’s Post #5

Dear Families,

It has been such a joy coming back to campus this week, after being away due to a family emergency, and seeing students in nursery through grade 5 comfortably and confidently engaging in nurturing new friendships and immersing themselves in exceptional learning environments and experiences designed to meet their needs as individuals and learners. 

Having been unable to kick-off the school year with students and teachers, I’d like to extend my sincere gratitude to all members of the lower school faculty for their unwavering commitment to ensuring the 2019-2020 school year has undoubtedly gotten off to an outstanding start.   In particular, I’d like to thank Mr. Ian Sylvester, Mrs. Laurie Luebbe, Mr. Zachary Berezowski, and Ms. Stacey Poncia for taking on additional responsibilities in my absence.   Similarly, a big thanks to Ms. Emilee Van de Laarschot, Dr. Molly Myers, Miss Malika Meidinger, and Mr. Bart Kelly for leading various teams and providing meaningful and effective professional development for lower school teachers during the past four weeks.  

While my absence was due to unfortunate circumstances, my return to school has been nothing but heartwarming.  I continue to be grateful to be part of such a phenomenal community and am sincerely looking forward to an extraordinary year ahead.  I look forward to seeing all returning families and getting to know all new families in the coming days.

SCIS Launches the Official Start of the WASC and IB Self-Studies

On Thursday, September 12th faculty across the system gathered at Hongqiao Main Campus for an inspiring day of professional development where Teachers, Mandarin Assistant Teachers, Assistant Teachers, and System Administration came together during a four hour morning session to participate in purposeful conversation surrounding our Schoolwide Learner Outcomes (SLOs) and the ways in which we are providing opportunities for students to develop the skills, character attributes, and competencies essential for success in the 21st century.    

The afternoon session led by Mr. Ian Sylvester was focused on providing Lower School Faculty with an opportunity to delve more deeply into the processes and protocols related to the IB PYP self-study process.  Teachers participated in collective conversations surrounding various IB standards and practices and brainstormed potential evidence that could be gathered to ensure effective implementation of each practice.

United Nations International Day of Peace

Next Friday, September 20th is the United Nations International Day of Peace Assembly starting at 1:30pm in the Theater.   On this day, students are encouraged to wear clothes representative of their home country.   Students have the option of wearing these clothes to school or changing into their “outfit” prior to the assembly.   

Due to the timing of the assembly, the students in ECE Program (Nursery, Preschool and Prekindergarten) will not be participating unless they are accompanied by a parent. 

We hope to see many SCIS parents on campus throughout the day and encourage parents to also come dressed in clothes representative of their home country.   If you plan to attend the afternoon assembly and will be taking your child(ren) home with you afterwards, please make sure to let the front office know that your child(ren) will not be riding their regular school bus home.  The assembly is scheduled to end at 2:30pm prior to 3:00 dismissal.   This is a very special event and certainly one that you will not want to miss.

SCIS Policy Surrounding the Acknowledgement of Taiwan, Macau and Hong Kong:

“SCIS is licensed and authorized to enroll students holding “foreign passports,” who are not citizens of China. Taiwan, Macau and Hong Kong are considered part of China by the Chinese government and the United Nations.  For mutually advantageous reasons, China tacitly allows the enrollment at international schools of students holding Taiwan, Macau, and Hong Kong residence documents. 

It is the policy of SCIS, therefore, not to risk any confrontation with Chinese authorities over the display of flags in ceremonies or more permanent displays on school campuses.  No flags of Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan should be displayed on campus or during events, nor should they appear in any official SCIS publications.”

However, the PRC (CHINA) flag for all Chinese and Taiwanese students, the Hong Kong SAR (red flag white flower) and the Macau SAR (green flag with white flower) are allowed to be displayed as they are PRC derived flags.  All Taiwanese families must either use the China flag to represent their nationality on UNIDOP and in the yearbook or they may also choose to not represent themselves with a flag.  We cannot allow the ROC flag to be on display, worn by a child, published, in any way.”

Positive Discipline Parent Event

There are still spots available for Parents to attend the Positive Discipline parenting workshops scheduled for October 12th, 19th, 26th and November 2nd from 9:00am-12:00pm in room 208.  Even if you have already taken the Positive Discipline Parenting course please keep in mind that as your children grow and develop their needs and behaviors will likely change.  As such, your responses to their needs and behaviors may need to be adjusted.  As a parent, this course is one that can be taken as many times as you’d like.  Learning from other parents, while reconsidering your child’s social-emotional needs is something that will undoubtedly have wonderful long-term benefits for both you and your child(ren).

If you are interested in attending this workshop, please contact Dr. Molly Myers no later than Friday, September 27th.    

Principal’s Post #4

Dear Families,

Ms. Briton sharing with 3V to explore the transdisciplinary links between Visual Arts and Grade 3’s Unit of Inquiry.

It’s been a wonderful week of learning throughout the Lower School as students across grade levels are well into their first unit of inquiry for the school year.  As you will see, based upon the chart below, many students are immersed in the transdisciplinary theme, Who We Are or How we Organize Ourselves.  These two units are ideal for the beginning of the school year as the overarching focus is on the nature of the self, as well as the importance of building relationships with, and appreciation for, those within your community. 

Similarly, students are formulating an understanding of how communities work together and structure themselves for success based upon societal decision-making processes.  As parents, we ask that you continue to actively be involved in your child’s inquiry journey by regularly checking their seesaw journal, providing positive and growth mind-set-oriented feedback and continuing the “learning conversation” at home.  The below image is an overview of the current unit of inquiry for all grade levels as well as the central ideas, lines of inquiry and questions that guide each of these units.

Grade 1 students are building and exploring during Indoor Recess

Evacuation Drill Announced for Tuesday

Next Tuesday, September 10th at 9:00 am, the whole school will be having our first evacuation drill. Teachers will be sharing the procedure with all classes on Monday so all students are well prepared to exit the school safely.

Indoor Recess

At SCIS-Pudong we are very fortunate to have plenty of indoor learning spaces for students to utilize during rainy days when the weather does not allow outdoor play or on days in which the AQI is over 200.   As part of our facility enhancement improvements that occurred over the summer a lower school rock climbing wall and a large block building area were added to the basement floor near the ball room.   Additionally, the lego creation space continues to evolve as more legos are added and students continue to explore, create and build in this fun and interactive learning space. 

The Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) MAPS

Starting next week, the NWEA MAPS (Measurement of Academic Progress) test will be administered to students in Grades 2-5.  During this online assessment, students will be tested in the areas of Reading, Language Usage, and Mathematics. The MAPs test is not a traditional test that students can or should study for.  Rather it will provide a snapshot of the students’ abilities within these curricular areas at this point in time.  The best thing you can do to support your child is make sure they are well rested, and eat a good breakfast, as we hope they do for every school day.   Teachers receive immediate results with MAP that show what students know and what they are ready to learn.  For more information on NWEA MAP visit www.nwea.org

After School Activities Session 1:  Off to a Great Start!

It has been a successful first week of after school activities and students have enjoyed the range of ASAs that have been provided this session.  At the beginning of each ASA, the teacher or provider responsible for the ASA reviews the expectations and agreements that students are required to adhere to, to ensure success and full participation within the ASA.  Please note, that it is a privilege for students to have the opportunity to participate in the After School Activities program and in the event a child demonstrates their behavior is not in line with the expectations of the ASA provider, they will be dismissed from that ASA.  If you have any questions surrounding your child’s ASAs please contact Coach Vic Caban (vcaban@scis-china.org) or Ms. Vicki Xu (vxu@scis-china.org).

Birthday Celebrations

At SCIS-Pudong we want to help students celebrate their birthdays.  However, please be mindful that class birthday celebrations are restricted to no more than 30 minutes and should be in conjunction with snack, lunch or the end of the school day.  Additionally, the giving of gifts is prohibited including goodie-bags or party favors.  Food options need to be considerate of allergies and preferably include healthy choices.  Parents are asked to keep celebrations simple and clear all plans with the classroom teacher well in advance. 

Picture Day on Tuesday

Picture Day will be next Tuesday. Classes will be smiling from ear to ear.

Warm Regards,

Liz Gale & Ian Sylvester

Lower School Principal & PYP Coordinator