Lower School Principal’s Post #32

April 16, 2021

Student-Led Conferences

A BIG thank you to all parents that attended student-led conferences.  It was truly a magical day and many of the children are saying that their SLC and being able to show their parents around campus was a major highlight of the year.  It was wonderful to see everyone celebrating all the learning that has taken place this year and to finally have parents with children together in school! There was overwhelmingly positive feedback from parents regarding their SLC experience with their child as evidenced through the compilation of the 77 responses from the Parent Feedback Form on the back of the student “passports”.  Below are the results of that survey.

  • 100% agreed or strongly agreed – “My Child was Prepared and Interested in taking part in their student-led Conference.”
  • 100% agreed or strongly agreed – “My Child was engaged while sharing their work and able to reflect upon the pieces they selected to share.”
  • 100% agreed or strongly agreed – “My Child’s portfolio demonstrated careful thought and preparation.”
  • 100% agreed or strongly agreed – “The conference provided me with a greater sense of my child as a learner as well as their strengths and areas for growth.”
  • 99% agreed or strongly agreed – “I was given enough information so I was prepared for the conference.”

If you have any additional suggestions or feedback to improve student-led conferences, please let us know by emailing the Lower School Principal! We look forward to being able to continue to strengthen our school-parent partnerships and welcome parents on campus more in the near future.

Learning Walk

SCIS-Pudong participated in their fourth learning walk of the year. Faculty/staff representing different roles within the school walked to observe students who demonstrated being “Positive Contributors,” one of our Schoolwide Learner Outcomes.

Within all learning environments (PS/PK, Grade 2, and Grade 6 science) that were visited during this morning’s learning walk, there were multiple examples of students demonstrating their ability to be effective communicators and open-minded to the ideas and thoughts of others.  Additionally, there were numerous observations made of students working collaboratively with each other in a kind and respectful manner.  Evidence of community and belonging was seen in abundance across all classrooms. Common themes that emerged from this learning walk or areas that were evident across classrooms included:

  • A high level of student engagement and collaboration.
  • Opportunities for student reflection.
  • A high degree of student voice and input into the learning experience.
  • Students as caring and open-minded communicators.

Photos – April 26th and 27th

Lower School class and individual photos will take place on April 26th and 27th. Below is the schedule. Students should wear their regular uniforms on that day (no PE shirt). Thank you.

We are excited to inform you that Pret-a-Portrait will be visiting the school on Monday, April 26th and Tuesday, April 27th to take fun, professional pictures of the students. Pret-a-Portrait is an international schools photography company that has been working in China for many years. 

The Lower School photography session schedule is below:

  • Kindergarten and Grade 1 – April 26th
  • ECE, Grades 2-5 – April 27th.

The day your child has their pictures taken, they will bring home a slip that tells you how you can view your pictures. Pre-register your details when you receive this slip and Pret-a-Portrait will email you the moment your pictures are ready.  Orders can be placed via their website or via WeChat with the assistance of their customer service team based in Shanghai. 

Images will be available a week or so after their visit, a 25% discount period will be available to all parents and any orders placed for physical prints will be shipped directly to your home address, digital image orders will be emailed to you.  Should you wish to take a look, Pret-a-Portraits website is: www.pret-a-portrait.net. If you have any questions for Pret-a-Portrait at this stage you can contact them via: 

New Buses!

Pudong campus is replacing all older buses (15 in total). Starting next week, all of our buses will be the new blue ones!

Ms. Mabel Update

Ms. Mabel Garcia, the Lower School music teacher is now recovering from surgery. She is doing well and would like to thank all community members for their kind words and thoughts. She loves all the cards and the canvas made by her students which is beautifully displayed in her home.

We will look into rescheduling the concerts for later dates this year, once she is well enough to return to school. Thank you for your patience and thank you to Ms. Preeti for all her hard work to ensure children continue to enjoy music class.

PYP Exhibition

Thank you to all the grade 5 parents who attended last week’s Principal’s Meeting on the PYP Exhibition. Mr. Kelly has shared the presentation slides with all grade 5 families. We look forward to celebrating this learning journey with the grade 5 students and attending the Exhibition in late May.

Spirit Week This Week – April 19th-23rd

Thank you to the student council representatives who have decided on the upcoming Spirit Week themes. During the week of April 19th-23rd, Lower School students may dress according to the schedule below. Have fun and let’s hear the dragons’ roar!

  • Monday – Free Dress! (dress any way you like, pajamas, superhero, athlete…)
  • Tuesday – Twins/Triplets! (dress like a friend or form a group)
  • Wednesday – Wacky Hair! (how crazy can you get?)
  • Thursday – Wacky Tourist! (look like a crazy tourist!)
  • Friday – Jeans and Greens Spirit Day! (show your school spirit!)

Important Dates

  • April 19th-23rd – Spirit Week!
  • Photo Day – April 26th and 27th

Lower School Principal’s Post #31

April 9, 2021

ECE Disco Party

Today, the Nursery, Preschool, and Prekindergarten students celebrated the end of their unit on “movement” by having a disco party! Students had a blast demonstrating the moves they inquired into over the past few weeks and even taught the teachers some new and very fancy moves! ECE literally ROCKS!

Lower School Assembly

Congratulations to the students in Ms. Cat’s grade 4 class! Thursday, they performed a short skit on ways we can all be guardians of our Earth by following the 3 Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. It was mentioned that April 22nd is Earth Day and our community has been challenged with finding ways to help our Earth by making some changes here at school. Thank you to the grade 4 students for these important reminders of how we can all be caring and responsible community members.

Mid-Progress Report

Mid-progress reports were published today. Please check your school email address for the link to your child’s mid-progress report on Managebac.

Spirit Week – April 19th-23rd

Thank you to the student council representatives who have decided on the upcoming Spirit Week themes. During the week of April 19th-23rd, Lower School students may dress according to the schedule below. Have fun and let’s hear the dragons’ roar!

  • Monday – Free Dress! (dress any way you like, pajamas, superhero, athlete…)
  • Tuesday – Twins/Triplets! (dress like a friend or form a group)
  • Wednesday – Wacky Hair! (how crazy can you get?)
  • Thursday – Wacky Tourist! (look like a crazy tourist!)
  • Friday – Jeans and Greens Spirit Day! (show your school spirit!)

Student-Led Conferences

Thank you to all families who have already signed up for Student-Led Conferences. Below is a repeated reminder to please sign up for a conference time if you have not done so already. It is confirmed that Student-Led Conferences held on April 14th will take place with parents and students on campus. On that day, all students will be dismissed at 11:30 a.m.

Please note that the first Lower School sign-up time is scheduled for 12:15 p.m. and the first Upper School sign-up time is 12:30. These times are purposefully staggered to allow parents time to transition if they have children in both divisions. All students will be asked to take the bus home and return with their parents for conferences. As a parent, if you would like to pick up your child at 11:30, go to lunch in the local area and return for the conference, please be sure to notify the divisional secretaries via email. Finally, for students taking the bus home and returning back to school, please take your child’s transportation time into account when signing up for your conference time. Please don’t hesitate to contact the divisional secretaries or administration with questions. 

Below are the links to sign up for conferences for students in Kindergarten to Grade 5. Nursery, Preschool, and Pre-Kindergarten homeroom teachers communicate directly with parents to sign up for a conference time.

Kindergarten – Malika Meidinger & Amy Jauch
Grade 1 – Leanne Kridl
Grade 1 – Larisa Mount
Grade 2 – Stacey Poncia & Emily Johnson
Grade 3 – Arelle Gutierrez
Grade 3 Marlene Muy
Grade 4 – Ryan Brown
Grade 4 – Cat Harstad
Grade 5 – Bart Kelly

Photographers will take professional class and individual photos on April 26th and 27th. Your child’s teacher will confirm which day your child will have photos taken. Children should wear their regular uniform on that day. Thank you.

Repeated Announcements

Positive Discipline Parent Workshop – Register Now!

Dr. Myers and Olive Sun are offering another series of weekend parent workshops on Positive Discipline and registration is now open! There is an English and Chinese version available. Please see the below flyer for details and a QR code for registration.

Important Dates

  • Wednesday, April 14th – Student-Led Conferences (11:30 a.m. dismissal) 
  • April 19th-23rd – Spirit Week!
  • Photo Day – April 26th and 27th

Lower School Principal’s Post #30

April 2, 2020

Grade 5 Gets Ready for the PYP Exhibition!

The PYP Exhibition Introduction

This week, grade 5 students started tuning into the PYP Exhibition (PYPX). What is the PYPX? According to the IB (Primary Years Programme Exhibition guidelines, published July 2008), the Primary Years Programme (PYP) exhibition represents a significant event in the life of a PYP school and student. Students are engaged in the PYP Exhibition in the final year of the PYP (grade 5 at SCIS). The exhibition is an opportunity to unite the students, teachers, parents, and other members of the school community in a collaborative experience that incorporates the essential elements of the PYP as well as the IB Learner Profile attributes that have been developing throughout their engagement with the PYP.

The Purpose and Key Features of the Exhibition

The PYP exhibition has a number of key features and purposes including giving opportunities for students to:

  • engage in an in-depth, collaborative inquiry
  • explore knowledge that is significant and relevant
  • identify, investigate and offer solutions to real-life issues or problems
  • demonstrate independence and responsibility for their own learning
  • explore multiple perspectives
  • synthesize and apply their learning of previous years and reflect upon their journey through the PYP
  • engage in action

The last component mentioned above, action, is an essential component of the programme. Throughout the inquiry process, students should demonstrate an ability to reflect on and apply their learning to choose appropriate courses of action and carry them out; this action may take the form of personal involvement with the planning and implementation of the exhibition and/or service-orientated action; action may not always be clearly or immediately visible or measurable but evidence should be recorded whenever a particular behavior results from the learning involved.

Grade 5 Parent Coffee Morning – the PYP Exhibition

To Learn More about the PYP Exhibition, all grade 5 parents are invited to join Dawn Brews (Lower School Principal), Briton Coombs (PYP Coordinator), and Bart Kelly (Grade 5 Homeroom Teacher) for a virtual coffee morning on Friday, April 9th at 8:30 a.m. Click here to join the meeting. We hope to see you then!

Student-Led Conferences

At this time, it is confirmed that Student-Led Conferences held on April 14th will take place with parents and students on campus. On that day, all students will be dismissed at 11:30 a.m.

Please note that the first Lower School sign-up time is scheduled for 12:15 p.m. and the first Upper School sign-up time is 12:30. These times are purposefully staggered to allow parents time to transition if they have children in both divisions. All students will be asked to take the bus home and return with their parents for conferences. As a parent, if you would like to pick up your child at 11:30, go to lunch in the local area and return for the conference, please be sure to notify the divisional secretaries via email. Finally, for students taking the bus home and returning back to school, please take your child’s transportation time into account when signing up for your conference time. Please don’t hesitate to contact the divisional secretaries or administration with questions. 

Below are the links to sign up for conferences for students in Kindergarten to Grade 5. Nursery, Preschool, and Pre-Kindergarten homeroom teachers communicate directly with parents to sign up for a conference time.

Kindergarten – Malika Meidinger & Amy Jauch
Grade 1 – Leanne Kridl
Grade 1 – Larisa Mount
Grade 2 – Stacey Poncia & Emily Johnson
Grade 3 – Arielle Gutierrez
Grade 3 – Marlene Muy
Grade 4 – Ryan Brown
Grade 4 – Cat Harstad
Grade 5 – Bart Kelly

Teachers Train Teachers

Every Monday, teachers get together for various professional development opportunities. This Monday’s early release day was dedicated to the IB/WASC reaccreditation self-study process. In addition, we were able to schedule some TTT (Teachers Train Teachers) time! All teaching had a choice of various mini-workshops held by our very own teachers. This week’s topics included: Brain Study, Positive Discipline, Student Work Analysis, Play-Based Learning, Mandarin Immersion, and Flexible Schedules. Thank you to all the teachers who facilitated groups and for everyone’s enthusiasm and participation.

Today was Professional In-Service Day

Teachers worked on the final revisions of the WASC Self-Study Report! The IB reports have been submitted. These are huge accomplishments and we look forward to the synchronized WASC/IB virtual visit scheduled DATE

Musical Performances Postponed

Ms. Mabel, our Lower School music teacher, is not well and she will be on medical leave until further notice. She is very hopeful that she will be able to return in a couple of weeks, but we cannot confirm a date at this time. For now, we will postpone the K-grade 5 musical performances. As soon as Ms. Mabel has recovered and is back at school, we will communicate the new concert and musical dates with families. Thank you for your understanding and for everyone’s best wishes for Ms. Mabel’s speedy recovery.

Repeated Announcements

Positive Discipline Workshop – in English and Mandarin – Registration Now Open!

Dr. Myers and Olive Sun are offering another series of weekend parent workshops on Positive Discipline and registration is now open! This is a 12-hour workshop that takes place over 4 weekends taking place in April and May. All materials will be provided and parents will receive a certificate of participation. Childcare will be available upon request.

Cost: 500RMB for all four sessions. 
Dates: April 17, April 24, May 1, May 8
Times: 8:30am-11:30
Location: Room 208 (English), Library (Mandarin)

Other: Light refreshments will be provided

Please register by emailing Dr. Myers or Olive Sun by Thursday, April 8th, 2021. If childcare is needed, please request at the time of registration.
* Dr. Molly Myers (English) at mmyers@scis-china.org
* Ms. Olive Sun (Mandarin) at osun@scis-china.org

Lower School Assembly

Our next Lower School assembly is on Thursday, April 8th featuring the grade 4 students in Ms. Harstad’s class! We will begin at 8:15 a.m. Here is the Livestream Link to join us. Hope to see you then!

Important Dates 

  • Monday, April 5th-Tuesday, April 6th – Spring Holiday 
  • Thursday, April 8th Lower School Assembly
  • Wednesday, April 14th – Student-Led Conferences (11:30 a.m. dismissal) 

Lower School Principal’s Post #29

March 26, 2021

A Grade 5 Poetry Party Learning Celebration

Today, Grade 5 students celebrated the culmination of their Poetry unit. Students worked with their teachers to transform the Black Box theater into an interactive exhibit of their learning. The students designed how the celebration would be arranged, what elements would be featured, and worked together to create posters and displays that aligned to the styles of poetry they learned. They worked together to set up the space and make it inviting for all.

To showcase their love of poetry, all students hung their own work in  the Grade 5 Poetry Gallery, created booths to teach others how to write six different styles of poetry, created a kid-friendly library for guests to read poetry books, set up a magnetic poetry station, and performed their poetry on a small stage live. The six styles of poetry that were featured were: Blackout Poetry, Acrostic, Haiku, Limericks, Shape Poems, and Free Verse Poetry. During the live performance, which was livestreamed to families in real time, students chose poems to read aloud on stage. Some students even had a rap battle using elements of poetry they learned throughout the unit. Hopefully everyone who attended learned something new about poetry and had fun seeing the Grade 5 students beam with pride at their hard work and slamming poetry skills.  

Special thank you to Dr. Molly Myers for making this happen!

Celebrating learning didn’t just happen in grade 5! Throughout the week, students in all grade levels were proud to share what they were working on. Below are just a few of those examples from Music, PE and Art classes! Enjoy

Teamwork in PE with Ms. Abhilasha

Open Art Studio with Ms. Briton

Creating Musical Treats with Ms. Mabel

Are there any DJs in the House?

Student council members took it upon themselves to take action and create a better cafeteria experience by playing a variety of music during lunchtime! Students in grades 3-5 seem to be enjoying it tremendously! Thank you, Student Council!

Mark the Dates for our Lower School Spring Concerts and Musicals – Message Below from Ms. Mabel

Dear Parents of Kindergarten to Grade 5 Students,

I am proud to announce the upcoming Lower School Spring Performances! This year, there are three Spring performances. Please take note of the dates. All performances will take place in the theater. If the presence of the parents in the school is still not possible, we will Livestream the concerts/musicals and you will have the opportunity to appreciate the talents of your children from home. Thank you for your support.

  • Grades 2-5: “We Will Rock You” Spring Concert on Wednesday, April 21st at 1:30 pm. On the day of the concert, students should wear jeans and their green SCIS spirit shirt.
  • Grade 1: “There’s a Sunflower in my Supper” musical production on Wednesday, April 28th at 1:30 p.m. Homeroom teachers will communicate any costume requirements with families soon.
  • Kindergarten: “Eddie and the Penguins Save the World” musical production Wednesday, May 5th at 1:30 p.m.  Homeroom teachers will communicate any costume requirements with families soon.

Service Learning

You may recall that the grade six cohort has been involved in a service-learning initiative, teaching lower school students based on their specific needs.  This week was the final week and it was a huge success! Below is a description of their service-learning activities.

Grade 4: The Grade 6 Physical Movement Team visited the Grade 4 class to play a game called “Blob”. After reflecting on the first visit, the grade 6 students wanted to work on communicating clearly and confidently, in a manner that was accessible to their audience. Moreover, to facilitate an engaging, achievable activity, that requires cooperation.

Grade 1: The Grade 6 Academic Team visited the Grade 1 class to teach students how to tell time using digital, analog, and 24-hour clocks. They facilitated matching games that required students to match digital times with an analog clock and followed it up with a Kahoot time telling game, helping them practice reading the 24-hour clock.

Kindergarten: The Grade 6 Team Building Team visited the Kindergarten class to run extension lessons on team building and reflection. This week, the students ran two mini activities, the ‘hula hoop circle challenge’ and ‘jump rope knots’. Both games required students communicate in order to complete the task within 5 minutes.

This round of visits went more successfully and allowed ample opportunity for meaningful reflection in following advisory lessons. The Grade 6 Cohort and Advisors would like to thank the Lower School teachers and students for welcoming us into their classes and appreciate these valuable experiences. This was a great opportunity to build relationships between grade levels and we hope to continue something similar in the coming months.

Very special thank you to the grade 6 students and their teachers; Lisa Marcos, RiAnn Caban, Mike Nicholaides, and Xinyi Wang for their hard work and support in helping the lower school students learn through service. 

Grade 6 Student Reflections from the Service-Learning Project

I Noticed…

The Jump rope game was harder than I thought
They wanted to do the game we did last time
They liked the hula hoop game
They seemed to like games that were more simple
Kids have lots of energy
They’re better at reflecting in small groups
We didn’t follow the reflection plans well
We had too many transitions
We were scared to raise our voices

I wonder…

Is there another attention getter that would work for us?
I wonder if we can make own attention getter?
I wonder if it was too easy?
I wonder if bigger games can happen outside?
Is space an issue?
I wonder why they shook the jump rope?
I wonder if we all had schedules would that improve communication?

Ideas for Improvement

Have job buddies
Less jobs per person
Less teacher transitions
Minimal transitions for students
We should all know all the jobs
Have extension and alternative games ready 
The reflection process needs more planning

Speaking of music, Ms. Mabel has been working very hard with all students as they prepare for upcoming Spring Performances.  Please see her letter below for details.

Positive Discipline Workshop – in English and Mandarin – Registration Now Open!

Dr. Myers and Olive Sun are offering another series of weekend parent workshops on Positive Discipline and registration is now open! This is a 12-hour workshop that takes place over 4 weekends taking place in April and May. All materials will be provided and parents will receive a certificate of participation. Childcare will be provided upon request.

Cost: 500RMB for all four sessions. 
Dates: April 17, April 24, May 1, May 8
Times: 8:30am-11:30
Location: Room 208 (English), Library (Mandarin)

Other: Light refreshments will be provided

Please register by emailing Dr. Myers or Olive Sun by Thursday, April 8th, 2021. If childcare is needed, please request at the time of registration.
* Dr. Molly Myers (English) at mmyers@scis-china.org
* Ms. Olive Sun (Mandarin) at osun@scis-china.org

Lower School Assembly

Our next Lower School assembly is on Thursday, April 8th featuring the grade 4 students in Ms. Harstad’s class! Save the date!

Reminder – Early Release Day on Monday 

This is a gentle reminder that this Monday, March 29th will be our last Early Release Day of the school year.  All students in Kindergarten through Grade 12 will depart campus at 1:40 pm.  Students in Early Childhood (N, PS, PK) will depart school at 11:30 am.     

The purpose of the Early Release Days is to provide SCIS-Pudong faculty and staff with an opportunity to collaborate and engage in the IB/WASC reaccreditation self-study process.  The self-study process is an ongoing school improvement process that assists a school in looking in-depth at what currently exists and what needs to be improved in relation to student learning and the school’s program.  As a dually accredited school, we have an obligation to ensure that our practices not only meet but exceed the standards set forth by these esteemed educational organizations.  As such, it is paramount we set aside the time for faculty and staff to engage in this process in order to ensure we are providing an exceptional, world-class educational experience for your child(ren).    

If you have any questions surrounding early release day logistics please do not hesitate to reach out to your child’s teacher or the divisional Principal.   

No School for Students on April 2nd

This is also a gentle reminder that there is no school for students on April 2nd. Teachers will be working on the final revisions of the WASC and Self-Study Reports. We hope everyone enjoys the Spring Holiday and we look forward to seeing everyone back to school on April 7th.

Important Dates 

  • Monday, March 29th Early Release Day (1:40 dismissal, 11:30 ECE) 
  • Friday, April 2nd No School for Students 
  • Monday, April 5th-Tuesday, April 6th – Spring Holiday 
  • Thursday, April 8th Lower School Assembly
  • Wednesday, April 14th – Student-Led Conferences (11:30 a.m. dismissal) 
  • Wednesday, April 21 at 1:30 p.m.- Grades 2-5 Spring Concert
  • Wednesday, April 28th at 1:30 p.m. Grade 1 musical performance
  • Wednesday, May 5th at 1:30 p.m. Kindergarten musical performance

Lower School Principal’s Post #28

March 19, 2021

Dear Families, 

We had another fantastic week at SCIS-Pudong filled with excellent and informative learning experiences.  When walking around, it was clear that reading was enjoyed by all. Students were found reading with each other on a comfy couch, sharing their favorite book with a friend, and recording a book reflection on Seesaw!  We love books! 

This week, kindergarten students explored one of the school’s 3D printers!  Using their mathematical and inquiry skills, and with the help of Ms. Meidinger, Ms. Amy, and Mr. Johnson, students began to design a 3D image to be printed soon!  Very cool, Kindergarten! 

Lower School Assemblies –   Congratulations to the Grade 3 Students and Teachers! 

Today, with Ms. Mabel’s support, grade 3 students showcased their newly acquired recorder skills as a sneak peek into a couple of songs they have learned for the upcoming Spring Concert on April 23rd.  The next Lower School assembly will take place on Thursday, April 8th featuring Ms. Cat’s grade 4 students.  We hope you can join via Livestream then! 

Student Safety 

Bus Transportation Handbook 

Please review the Bus Transportation Handbook which outlines our bus protocols and procedures including student expectations. Please let your divisional principal know if you have any questions or concerns.  

Changes to the Schedule 

We would appreciate your support by letting the school know, no later than 2:00 pm each day if there are changes to your child’s departure plan.  Last-minute requests have the potential to result in safety concerns surrounding miscommunication.  If there are changes to your child’s departure plan please contact the Lower School Secretary, Ms. Vicki Xu at vxu@scis-china.org or by calling the school directly at 5812-9888. 

Important Dates

  • Monday, March 29th Early Release Day (1:40 dismissal, 11:30 ECE)
  • Friday, April 2nd No School for Students
  • Monday, April 5-Tuesday, April 6 – Spring Holiday
  • Wednesday, April 14th – Student-Led Conferences (11:30 a.m. dismissal)

Repeated Message from the Head of School Regarding Student-Led Conferences

Student-Led Conferences are an integral part of the teaching and learning process at SCIS-Pudong.  According to the school calendar, April 14th is a half-school day dedicated to Student-Led Conferences.  At this time, teachers and students are preparing for a traditional Student-Led Conference model despite the continued uncertainty surrounding parental access to campus.  Given the ongoing success of pandemic prevention throughout Shanghai, our hope is that we will be able to welcome parents/caregivers to campus on April 14th for Student-Led Conferences.  However, in the event the requirement remains that parents are not allowed on campus, an alternative Student-Led Conference model will take place between students and parents at home.  Regardless of the format, April 14th will remain a half-day of school and students will be dismissed at 11:30 am.

Lower School Principal’s Blog #27

March 12, 2021

“If you want to learn something, read about it. If you want to understand something, write about it. If you want to master something, teach it.”  ― Yogi Bhajan 

Service Learning at SCIS-Pudong

This week, the grade six cohort visited the kindergarten, grade 1, and grade 4 classes to run educational activities as a form of service action for the SCIS community.  Service-learning directly links to our school’s mission “to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring learners who contribute positively to their communities.” Through service-learning, our grade 6 students are positively contributing to their community by helping lower school students in developing selected skills.

As part of the service-learning project, the grade 6 students began identifying what skills they had that would be useful for lower school students. Last week, they interviewed several lower school classes about how they could help best, asking teachers and students alike about their needs and interests.  They then used what they learned to plan a specialized activity for each grade level. 

This week, they took action, and with great success, directed 30-minute lessons focusing on what the lower school students needed.  One group is working with Kindergarten to help develop social-emotional skills, identifying age-appropriate team building games, and debriefing activities that develop teamwork and awareness. Another is working with Grade 1 to develop math skills, including telling the time, to help them with their current math unit in an engaging way. A third group is working with Grade 4 to build physical literacy skills and prepare them for the rigors of P.E. classes as an upper school student in a few short years.  

As this service project moves forward, grade 6 students will reflect on their successes and refine plans to help the lower school students learn and grow best.  It has been an incredible experience so far, and all the students involved have been so enthusiastic about working with one another. What great energy! The grade 6s have already shown real leadership as new upper school students and are excited to help make a difference here at SCIS. 

Thank you to the grade 6 teaching team: Lisa Marcos, RiAnn Caban, Mike Nicholaides, and Xinyi Wang for their hard work and support in guiding their grade 6 students to help the lower school students learn through service. 

Grade 3 Unit of Inquiry on Persuasion

Grade 3 students shared their learning through a unit of inquiry on persuasion. They delved into persuasive techniques including those used in advertisements and our responsibilities as consumers. In the end, they created a small business and used their newly acquired knowledge to “sell” a product of their choice.

Assembly

This is a reminder that Lower School will have their next assembly this Thursday, March 18th at 8:15 am, featuring grade 3 students! A link to join us will be shared next week.

Update from Dr. Liz Gale, SCIS Deputy Director of Schools/Head of SCIS-Pudong

Dear SCIS-Families,

It is hard to believe we are already approaching the middle of March.  Without a doubt, the Spring Break holiday (April 2nd-6th) will be here before we know it.   As such, I’d like to provide you with a brief overview surrounding several important happenings at school.  

Thank you to all parents for your continued support of SCIS-Pudong.  Wishing you a wonderful weekend ahead!

Student-Led Conferences

Student-Led Conferences are an integral part of the teaching and learning process at SCIS-Pudong.  According to the school calendar, April 14th is a half-school day dedicated to Student-Led Conferences.  At this time, teachers and students are preparing for a traditional Student-Led Conference model despite the continued uncertainty surrounding parental access to campus.  Given the ongoing success of pandemic prevention throughout Shanghai, our hope is that we will be able to welcome parents/caregivers to campus on April 14th for Student-Led Conferences.  However, in the event the requirement remains that parents are not allowed on campus, an alternative Student-Led Conference model will take place between students and parents at home.  Regardless of the format, April 14th will remain a half-day of school and students will be dismissed at 11:30 am.

What is a Student-led Conference?

Student-led conferences are an essential part of the assessment and reporting process at SCIS, as they provide students with a valuable opportunity to take responsibility for their learning and share the learning process, as well as the progress they have made over the course of the school year with their parents/caregivers.  There are a number of reasons schools implement student-led conferences including the fact that the spotlight is on the most important person in the process (the student).  Student-led conferences put the students in charge, holding them responsible and accountable as they present their work to their parents.   Research has proven there are multiple benefits that emerge as a result of preparing for and carrying out a student-led conference.  These include:

  • Increased student accountability on their learning
  • Enhancement of students’ communication skills
  • Strengthening the collaborative relationship between parents, teachers and students
  • Development of thinking, self-management, communication, social and leadership skills
  • Increased student motivation towards learning
  • Acquiring further understanding of how students learn including areas of strength and areas for growth

SCIS-Pudong Community Reflection Session

This morning, over 20 members of the SCIS-Pudong parent community participated in a community reflection session where parents had an opportunity to engage in reflective dialogue surrounding the SCIS-Pudong Community Climate Survey results.  During the session, parents participated in one of 6 groups that looked at specific areas of strength and areas for growth related to the following areas:

  • School Mission, Schoolwide Learner Outcomes, and Overall Satisfaction  
  • Community, Communication, and the SCIS Administration
  • Operations, Services, and Facilities
  • The Early Childhood Program
  • The Lower School Program
  • The Upper School Program

Each group was tasked with analyzing and summarizing survey data in order to develop specific action steps the school can take to improve upon the identified areas for growth.  We are extremely grateful to all of the parents that provided us with incredibly valuable feedback on the ways we can improve our practices.   As we prepare to develop a new schoolwide action plan based upon the results of the WASC / IB self-study process, we look forward to finding opportunities to incorporate the suggestions for improvement gathered from the Community Reflection Session into our action steps.

If you were unable to attend this morning’s parent session, here is a link to the PowerPoint presentation.  Additionally, please know that feedback is welcomed and appreciated at any point of the year.  Please feel free to reach out to your child’s teacher(s), divisional principal, or the Head of School to offer suggestions on ways we can improve the SCIS experience.

Schoolwide Learner Outcome Focused Learning Walks

On Friday afternoon, a group of faculty, staff, and administration participated in a campus learning walk looking for examples of students demonstrating their ability to be Self-Directed Learners.  The indicators for a SCIS Self-Directed Learner are students who:

  • Act with integrity.
  • Maintain an active, balanced, and healthy lifestyle
  • Embrace new opportunities and challenges
  • Reflect for improvement

The learning walk led the group to explore self-directed learning in a Grade 3 Music Class, a Kindergarten Writing lesson, and a Grade 10 Humanities Class.  Within all learning environments, there were multiple examples of students taking ownership over the learning process and reflecting and acting upon their areas for improvement.  Additionally, there were numerous observations made of students being risk-takers and reflective inquirers as they engaged in learning experiences that required them to explore new ideas that challenged their thinking.  Common themes that emerged from this learning walk or areas that were evident across classrooms include:

  • A high level of student engagement, and independence.
  • Opportunities for student reflection.
  • A high degree of choice, empowerment, and individualization of learning.
  • A high level of self-motivation and self-management tied to concrete learning objectives.  

Important Dates

  • Monday, March 29th Early Release Day (1:40 dismissal, 11:30 ECE)
  • Friday, April 2nd No School for Students
  • Monday, April 5-Tuesday, April 6 – Spring Holiday

Lower School Principal’s Blog #26

March 5, 2021

March Book Madness

Over the course of the week, the lower school students have been voting to decide the SCIS Favorite Book! We started with 16 books nominated by homerooms. Each day, the books went head to head to determine which ones moved on to the next round. Students campaigned for favorite books, and there were discussions and persuasions throughout the week with, of course, a rush to the library to check out books. Today, the lower school voted and The Day the Crayons Quit was SCIS’s favorite book! While many favorites did not win, they are still inspiring students to read new and old beloved books.

Preparing our Children for the Unknown

In these uncertain times, it is even more important to prepare our children for the unknown by helping them to develop the skills and attributes to become internationally-minded, life-long, learners who contribute positively to our community, our world. To read more about how PYP and inquiry-based educators prepare children for the unknown, please read an article written by Dawn Brews, published in 2019 in Expat Education, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 

Having taught in three (now four) International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP) international schools and now serving as the Lower School Principal at SCIS-Pudong, I have seen, firsthand, the positive effects that inquiry based-learning through the PYP framework have on both teaching and learning.  

The PYP framework is based on five essential elements: Knowledge, Key Concepts, Skills, Attitudes, and Action. In addition, the PYP is underpinned by ten Learner Profile attributes, what we want our children to be, which go beyond academics: Inquirers, Knowledgeable, Thinkers, Communicators, Principled, Open-Minded, Caring, Risk-Takers, Balanced, and Reflective. 

Through inquiry-based learning, the PYP framework challenges students to learn to think, question, explore, extend, make connections or conclusions, and take action related to a relevant concept. Throughout this inquiry, students also collaborate, self-assess, peer-assess, and reflect. The inquiry cycle is fluid and an ongoing process that will look different in each classroom and each year because the children take responsibility for their learning while the teacher guides and facilitates.  

This student-focused process allows children to appreciate their areas of strength and areas of growth so they can continuously strive to improve – to become resilient, life-long learners who are critical thinkers and also agents of change.  

The benefits of learning in a PYP school are significant and lasting. Students from PYP schools are easy to identify. They raise their hand more often. They talk knowledgeably and they ask thoughtful questions. They work well with others and they demonstrate effective leadership qualities. They are globally-minded; they understand and appreciate the differences of people, and they are skilled at collaborating and negotiating. PYP students are creative; they try to solve problems in more than one way. When something doesn’t work, they are reflective, consider other perspectives and resiliently, they try again, taking a different approach. Most importantly, students of a PYP school love to learn. 

It is the PYP framework and the very skilled PYP teachers that create the learning environment, which develops the desired qualities and abilities of our children for the unknown future. Many of our children will have jobs that don’t exist now. Our world is constantly changing and technological advances have a lot to do with that – the Internet, iPhones, iPods, 3D printers, driverless cars, the list goes on. These advances impact all industries, help solve some problems, and also create new issues in which we must consider sustainability and the environment in which we live. The changes are eliminating many jobs of yesterday while opening a realm of new possibilities, many of which are only beginning to evolve in our imagination. 

According to van Dam, World Economic Forum research, there are 10 skills that people will need in the near future (Gray, 2016). 

  • Complex problem-solving
  • Critical thinking
  • Creativity
  • People management
  • Coordinating with others
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Judgment and decision-making
  • Service orientation
  • Negotiation
  • Cognitive flexibility

These ten skills mentioned by Dam make perfect sense to a PYP teacher because they align with the PYP skills and key components, which are aimed to prepare our children for any scenario or problem they face. This is what makes the PYP and inquiry-based learning so valuable. The PYP teacher does not teach what to think or do, but how to use the skills to think and do things differently. If our children can learn to question the world around them, accept one another, and work collaboratively on finding solutions to problems throughout elementary school then they will be equipped to do the same in the future. Imagine a world in which everyone was able to do that. Wouldn’t that be something? 

Reference: Gray, Alex. “The 10 Skills You Need to Thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.” World Economic Forum, 19 Jan. 2016, www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/01/the-10-skills-you-need-to-thrive-in-the-fourth-industrial-revolution/

Reminders:

Please Join the SCIS-Pudong Administrators this Friday

PAFA Brunch Invitation

Important Dates

  • Monday, March 29th Early Release Day (1:40 dismissal, 11:30 ECE)
  • Friday, April 2nd No School for Students
  • Monday, April 5-Tuesday, April 6 – Spring Holiday

Lower School Principal’s Post, #25

February 26, 2021

Since returning from the Chinese New Year holiday, Lower School students have been reintroduced to school-wide expectations to ensure our number one priority is in place – to provide a safe and caring learning environment.

Part of reinforcing expectations included reviewing recess agreements and to include a wider variety of games for students to play during recess. Dr. Myers introduced a different type of tag called “Pac-Man Tag,” which was very well received. Starting next week, our very own Lower School student council representatives will demonstrate a different “Game of the Week” for the remainder of the year. Students were also reminded of the “Cool Down” benches found in the outdoor spaces. This is a perfect place for a student to chill out or seek assistance whenever needed! We look forward to continuing to improve the outdoor experiences of all students.

Lower School Assembly

Yesterday, our grade one students were featured in our Lower School assembly!  Connected to their unit of inquiry on “Where We Are in Place and Time – Personal Histories,” grade one students first inquired into how they have grown and changed over time. They decided, for the assembly, to research the changes that SICS has experienced since its existence!  A few of their selected discoveries include: 

Did you Know? 

  • SCIS was founded in 1996. 
  • SCIS’s name was Shanghai Changning International School. 
  • SCIS began with only 7 teachers and less than 50 students.
  • In 2002, the Pudong campus opened – originally located near the Emeral and; therefore, called SCIS Emerald! 
  • 2006 – our first SCIS Pudong Graduation. 
  • 2008 – Current build opened for Upper School only. 
  • 2015 – Lower School students joined the Upper School students at our current campus. 

Grade 1 students even wrote and sang a song about SCIS and how it has changed over the past 25 years.  Thank you to the grade 1 students, Ms. Mount, and Ms. Kridl.  If you were unable to see the assembly, you may click below to watch the Livestream recording. 

February 25, 2021 Lower School Assembly Featuring Grade 1 Students

SCIS-Pudong Community Reflection Session Invitation

PAFA Brunch Invitation

Reminder – Early Release Day on Monday

This is a gentle reminder that this Monday, March 1st will be an Early Release Day.  All students in Kindergarten through Grade 12 will depart campus at 1:40 pm.  Students in Early Childhood (N, PS, PK) will depart school at 11:30 am.    

The purpose of the Early Release Days is to provide SCIS-Pudong faculty and staff with an opportunity to collaborate and engage in the IB/WASC reaccreditation self-study process.  The self-study process is an ongoing school improvement process that assists a school in looking in-depth at what currently exists and what needs to be improved in relation to student learning and the school’s program.  As a dually accredited school, we have an obligation to ensure that our practices not only meet but exceed the standards set forth by these esteemed educational organizations.  As such, it is paramount we set aside the time for faculty and staff to engage in this process in order to ensure we are providing an exceptional, world-class educational experience for your child(ren).   

If you have any questions surrounding early release day logistics please do not hesitate to reach out to your child’s teacher or the divisional Principal.  Please note the last SCIS-Pudong early release days for the school year is March 29th.

Learning Walks – Seeking School-Wide Learner Outcomes

Once a month, approximately six Upper and Lower School faculty and/or staff members get together to visit a variety of classrooms looking for evidence of our School-Wide Learner Outcomes: Innovative Thinkers, Knowledgeable Inquirers, Self-Directed Learners, and Positive Contributors. Today, we visited a grade 1 class in music, a grade 4 class during literacy, and an Upper School humanities class searching for Knowledgeable Inquirers! A running theme found in all classrooms was that children are intrinsically motivated to ask questions and seek answers and that they are inquiring deeply and making connections to their learning.

Re-Enrollment for the 2021-22 School Year

On Monday, January 18th, families should have received an email sent from the Admissions Office that includes a link to our Online Re-Enrollment Website and instructions on how to complete this process. The Re-Enrollment Survey should take no more than 5-minutes to complete and is a requirement for all current SCIS families. Re-enrollment will extend through March 12th, during which time current SCIS families will receive priority to secure their enrollment for the 2021-22 school year. After this re-enrollment period ends, and where space is available, we will begin offering enrollment to students within our new applicant and wait pools. With many grade levels already at or near capacity, we expect space to be limited following this re-enrollment period. Should you require any support during this re-enrollment period, please contact the Admissions Office (admissions@scis-china.org). 

Would you like to enroll a non-SCIS sibling? 

If you are interested in enrolling a non-SCIS sibling, please contact the Admissions Office as soon as possible so that a space can be reserved accordingly. Siblings of current SCIS students will receive priority status for enrollment, pending space availability. 

Would you like to refer or recommend a friend? 

As a community-oriented school, SCIS values the referrals and recommendations provided by our current community. If you’d like to refer or recommend a friend for admission to SCIS, please feel free to contact our Admissions Office. Referrals will be handled separately from our standard new applicant pool. 

Important Dates

  • Monday, March 1st Early Release Day (1:40 dismissal, 11:30 ECE)
  • Monday, March 29th Early Release Day (1:40 dismissal, 11:30 ECE)
  • Friday, April 2nd No School for Students
  • Monday, April 5-Tuesday, April 6 – Spring Holiday

Lower School Principal’s Blog, #24

February 19, 2021

Welcome Back! We hope everyone had a fantastic Chinese New Year! Even though it was a short week, the Lower School was busy! This week, we celebrated a belated Valentine’s Day by showing off our love of books! Teachers shared a book that they loved with students.  A display of some of our favorite books is in the library so that students can even check out the books that their teachers love.

The week ended with students and staff showing off their favorite characters with a “Book Character I Love” dress-up day.  Thank you to Ms. Kridl and the entire Literacy Committee for all their hard work this year.

There is no better time to talk about how you can support your child at home. Please enjoy the below article on four simple strategies you can use at home to support your child’s reading development!

Four Simple Strategies to Support Your Child’s Reading Development

Published in ExpatGo on December 4, 2018, written by Dawn Brews and Christina Laukaitis.

Literacy is always a hot topic among parents. Parents feel like they need to be doing more, but are not always sure about how to go about supporting their young readers. They believe they need to be the “teachers” of reading, however, supporting your child’s reading development at home is much easier than most expect. The answer is quite simply – to read!

As educators and parents, we have found that there are four simple strategies to support your child’s literacy development at home:

Read Aloud to Your Child

Numerous studies have shown that reading to your child is the single most important activity for building the knowledge required for success in reading. It sounds simple, but it’s true! Read often and regularly. Reading aloud allows your child to hear and see a fluent reader. They see what reading looks like and sounds like. Reading aloud also exposes your child to rich vocabulary and allows them to enjoy books that are too challenging for them to read independently.

Reading to your child should start in infancy and can continue into adolescence. Yes, reading to your teenager can actually help them to continue to grow as a reader and can even improve their test scores! Reading aloud doesn’t and shouldn’t stop once your child becomes a reader. The Scholastic Kids and Family Reading Report indicates that 40% of children (ages 6-11) whose parents no longer read to them wished their parents continued reading aloud to them because they enjoyed the special time with their parents and it was fun!

You can make reading times more engaging by having your child read to you, you read to them or you take turns reading one page at a time. Reading aloud to your child also allows you to provide a guided choice about what your child is reading. Let them choose from several options you’ve selected together. Try to choose from a variety of genres and topics; expose them to different types of texts and include books in different languages, if appropriate. Letting your child choose an appropriate book with your guidance is also an option.

Provide a Literacy-Rich Home

Ensure there are plenty of reading materials at home, and make them accessible! Keep them in a place where they can be reached and accessed at any time. Books, magazines, and newspapers are not the only sources you can use. You can also use your school or local library in order to provide a large range of texts. According to the Educational Testing Service, the variety and amount of reading materials in homes has a significant impact on children’s interest in reading and reading proficiency. Playing games that require reading, cooking together while reading recipes, looking at instruction manuals when working on a project together are all real-life examples that require reading and they’re fun!

Be a Model & Talk About Reading

Let your child see you enjoy reading too! When children see a trusted and loved adult seek out reading in their daily life, it sends the message that reading is fun and important. Furthermore, it avoids the “do as I say, not as I do” scenario. If you’re reading an interesting article, talk to your child about it. If there’s a suspenseful or humorous part of your book, tell them about it.

Similarly, ask them about what they are currently reading, whether it’s reading done at school or at home. Ask them about the types of texts they like to read. Get them to talk about their book with you to help build their comprehension. Consider asking about the plot of the story, the characters, the moral/lesson, and have them make predictions and connections to their own life and the world but also, you can have simple and natural conversations that show you are interested and curious about what they are reading.

Establish a Routine

Make your reading time together a routine and make it fun! Many families have a family reading time in which they all sit and share a story together. Create a special place and time to read together each night. It might be snuggled up in bed or under a blanket on the couch. Don’t allow for outside interruptions. Make it clear that this time together is valuable and precious.

As you can see, these four simple strategies are easy to implement at home in order to support your child’s reading growth. Most importantly, have fun reading at home. Ultimately, the goal is to make reading an enjoyable experience, one that both develops your child’s literacy skills and encourages them to become lifelong readers.

References:
Educational Testing Service, 1999. America’s Smallest School: The Family.
Scholastic, 2015. Scholastic Kids and Family Reading Report 5th Edition.

Important Dates

February 25th: Lower School Assembly Featuring Grade 1. A link to join the assembly will be shared closer to the date.

Lower School Principal’s Blog #23

February 9, 2021

Dear Families,

Today, we celebrated the New Year and our host country by watching our Chinese New Year Assembly followed by participating in several activities from dragon dancing, shadow play, calligraphy, and games with chopsticks! Please enjoy these photos from today and also view the assembly by clicking on the link below.

Chinese New Year Assembly – Please click to play

Appreciation for our Faculty and Staff

HUGE THANK YOU to Cara for the time she put into directing and producing the assembly recording.  Thank you to the entire Mandarin Department: Amadea, XiaTing, Xiaomeng, Yan, Lala, Doria, Winnie, Nancy, and all ECE MATs and ATs for the ways in which they have engaged students in Chinese cultural activities the past few weeks and how they helped to prepare students for their CNY assembly performances.  Thank you to Chris, Josh, Mabel, and Abhilasha for helping to coordinate traditional Chinese performances and storytelling.  Thank you to Dan for leading the MS/HS String Ensemble.  Of course, thank you to all the faculty and staff for their continued support!

The day concluded with a faculty and staff gather to show appreciation for our national faculty and staff. Thank you also to the Sunshine Committee for helping to coordinate the event!

PAFA – Thank you!

Special thank you to PAFA representatives for delivering “red envelopes” to Lower School Classrooms and Upper School Advisors and for organizing a very successful CNY-themed PAFA brunch, which was attended by over 60 parents representing ECE through Grade 12.  Several comments from parents across grade levels were made surrounding the appreciation they have for the school and all that faculty have done and continue to do for students each day. Also, they continued the festivities by sponsoring tomorrow’s faculty and staff appreciation breakfast. Thank you and a very Happy New Year to all!

School resumes on Thursday, February 18, 2021.