Principals’ Post #8

Parent-Student-Teacher Conferences October 24th

We would like to remind parents that we will be holding our midsemester Parent-Student-Teacher conferences on Thursday, October 24th. The conferences are designed for parents and students to have a three-way conversation regarding student progress with individual subject teachers. The conference day is an essential opportunity to build our home-school partnership as we support our students to success.   Parents are encouraged to sign-up for a session with each of your child’s teachers. We’ve provided a useful handout below for parents regarding how to make the most of these conferences. Please click the buttons below or scan the QR codes to make your appointments today! 

Introduction to the IB Middle Years and Diploma Programs

Tuesday morning we hosted our first general Principals’ Coffee of the year. We were very pleased with the turnout and would like to thank those parents that were able to attend the event. The focus of the morning was to provide an overview of the IB programs at SCIS. In his role as MYP Coordinator, Dr. Volpe introduced the Middle Years Program and reviewed MYP assessment. As the DP Coordinator, Ms. Shanks introduced the Diploma Program. Parents who were unable to attend the meeting can access a copy of the PowerPoint Presentation here. We encourage parents that have questions about the IB programs to reach out to us in our role as program coordinators or to ask teachers questions directly regarding questions you may have about specific courses.

FCD Visits SCIS to Educate Students on Substance Abuse

Thursday and Friday of this week we hosted George Brown from FCD Educational Services. FCD is a US based non-profit organization that specializes in providing schools, students, and parents the tools they need to help students make positive healthy choices related to alcohol, drugs, and tobacco. Educating students on the most up-to-date medical and social science research regarding substances abuse and the impact of substance abuse on brain development is emphasized. Our program this week started with an Upper School assembly Thursday morning where Mr. Brown introduced himself, the FCD program model, and shared some of his personal story. Mr. Brown, then delivered the curriculum primarily through our PHE class schedule, contextualizing the lessons in his own personal story which students found extremely compelling. Students were very engaged in George’s presentations which translated into a very engaging two days.

We would like to thank the parents who were able to come to campus Thursday for the parent focused FCD presentation. In addition to hearing from our FCD guest, parents also heard from Ms. Kelly who provided a brief overview of the SCIS statistics we have collected regarding substances abuse and how our results compare to students in the United States where the survey we used is based. Ms. Kelly shared that our statistics are encouraging but there are some areas that need our attention as a community. One area in particular is the growing use of vaping or cigarette products. We know from experience that only as a community can we truly support our students in developing the knowledge and skills they need to make informed healthy choices. In support of these efforts we encourage parents to review the materials below as they contain important information and strategies regarding how to talk with your children about drugs, alcohol and tobacco. We’ve also included an extensive parent vaping guide which we feel is essential for all parents to read. Please contact Ms. Kelly or Dr. Volpe with questions.

Volleyball Big Game Night

Wednesday night we had an electric atmosphere in the Dragon’s Lair for our Volleyball Big Game Night. Big Game Night is a celebration honoring our senior athletes in their last home game of the season. This year we had five senior athletes playing in their final volleyball home game. Coaches took advantage of the opportunity to speak to each of the senior athletes, relive some of the highlights of their volleyball careers, and thank them for their contributions to the program. We would like to take this opportunity to thank our varsity volleyball coaches Mr. Vanta, Coach Caban, and Coach Vic for all of the time, effort, and energy they have contributed to making this opportunity possible for our students. We would also like to thank Mr. Johnson for the live-streaming of the event, StuCo for providing snacks, and Mr. Demas and the Jazz band for bringing a festive atmosphere to the games. Thank you all for another great shared experience. We wish both teams the best of luck in this weekend’s SISAC tournament. Go Dragons!

Warm regards,

Frank Volpe, PhD                  Naomi Shanks
Upper School Principal        Upper School Vice Principal

Principals’ Post #7

What an amazing week! We hope everyone has had a chance to see the daily China GO! updates this week (please see previous posts below). We ask that you spend some time with your children over the break debriefing the China GO! experience. By reflecting on the challenges and accomplishments from the week, students are better able to consolidate what they have learned. We would like to thank all of the students and teachers for approaching the week’s activities with an open mind and a positive attitude. The resounding success of this week is a testament to the open-minded and supportive culture our students and teachers have developed at SCIS. Thank you all! As this week comes to a close and we look forward to the upcoming holiday, we would like to draw your attention to some important events that will be happening the week we return from break.

Principals’ Coffee Morning (Oct. 8th 9am)

We would like to invite parents to attend a presentation focused on introducing the IB Middle Years and Diploma Programs. This presentation is designed for new families to SCIS and for those parents that would like to learn more about the IB programs at SCIS. We will provide an introduction to the IB program frameworks, how units of study are organized, how student work is assessed, and our instructional philosophy. For those that attended last year’s program please note the the majority of last year’s content will be similar. We look forward to seeing all of you that can make it.

Freedom From Chemical Dependency

FCD Educational Services is a leading non-profit organization that provides substance abuse prevention education to schools all over the world. On Thursday, October 10 and Friday, October 11, a Prevention Specialist from FCD will visit our campus and lead a series of workshops and information sessions for our Middle and High School students, as well as parents and teachers, as part of our ongoing commitment to health, wellness and prevention.

FCD Prevention Specialists present the most up-to-date information on the physiological and psychological effects of alcohol and other drugs with the aim to:
-Promote awareness of alcoholism and other drug addictions as a progressive, chronic, and often fatal disease;
-Teach students how to recognize the early warning signs of substance abuse and to intervene appropriately;
-Empower young people to make healthy, responsible choices regarding alcohol and other drug use;
– Encourage and support the non-use of alcohol and other illegal or illicit drugs during the growing years.

FCD Specialists have worked with our students and our wider school community for three consecutive years, and we look forward to continuing our partnership in future years. More information about the parent information session will be forthcoming. 

FCD Parent Presentation October 10th (2pm in Room 411)

Special Schedule for October 7th (8 Block Day A-H)

Warm regards,

Frank Volpe, PhD                  Naomi Shanks
Upper School Principal        Upper School Vice Principal

China GO! Thursday Update

The challenges and accomplishments of this week have brought the students and teachers closer together. Students have learned about themselves, each other, and our host culture. Despite challenges and being physically tired, spirits are high and students are engaged.

Overcoming physical challenges has been the theme of these past few days for Middle School students. Grade 6 has hiked mountains, gone rock climbing, and taken on team challenges in Anji. Grade 7 students have also been tested physically with a day-long hike and kung fu lessons. Grade 8 students conquered their fear of heights by abseiling down a dam after hiking the Great Wall.

Service has been the theme for students in grades 9-11. Grade 9 students planted trees to combat desertification in Inner Mongolia. The trees were purchased with the money raised by the students in advance of the trip. Grade 10 and 11 students work with Habitat for Humanity has tested physical limits but provided very rewarding experience as they have been able to witness the fruits of their labor. Overall, another great day!

Students will return throughout the day Friday (Grade 6 returns Thursday). Please note that students are required to ride the buses home once they return from their trips. Due to complicated logistics, we can not arrange for parent pick-ups at the train-station or the airport. Please see the link below for detailed arrival times of planes and trains. Students are encouraged to text their parents when the buses leave the airport/train station to help you estimate their arrival time at home.

PLEASE VISIT OUR WEBSITE FOR INFORMATION REGARDING ARRIVAL TIMES

Grade 6

Grade 7

Grade 8

Grade 9

Grade 10

Grade 11

Grade 12

China GO! Day Three

We are reaching the halfway point for this year’s trips. Students have climbed mountains and the Great Wall, visited temples and bamboo forests, and connected in many different ways with our wonderful host country. These shared experiences build deep relationships that form the bonds of our broader community. Trip leaders continue to remark on the positive attitude the students have brought to the trips, taking every new challenge with enthusiasm. See it for yourself in the pictures below.

Grade 6

Grade 7

Grade 8

Grade 9

Grade 10

Grade 11

Grade 12

China GO! Day Two

After arriving at destinations across China our students reflected on their day of travel and looked ahead toward the week’s activities. Nightly debriefs and reflections are an important part of the China GO! experience as it provides students and teachers a chance to learn from the days events and process them as a group. Trip leaders reported that students and teachers were in good spirits as they ended their busy day. All groups have full itineraries today. Whether hiking, working, or learning new skills, today’s experiences are designed to introduce students to the context of the week’s activities and help build the bonds of the group through shared experiences. Enjoy the pictures!

Grade 6

Grade 7

Grade 8

Grade 9

Grade 10

Grade 11

Grade 12

China GO! Day One

Students were excited to start their China GO! experience this morning. Whether catching a 3:30 bus or arriving to school at their regular hour, spirits were high as the week’s activities got underway. A special thank you to parents for your help getting students up and out of the house early this morning. All students have arrived at their final destination and activities have begun. Enjoy the pictures!

Grade 6

Grade 7

Grade 8

Grade 9

Grade 10

Grade 11

Grade 12

Principals’ Post #6

United Nations International Day of Peace

Today marked one of the highlights of the year as we celebrated the international diversity that makes up SCIS during our UNIDoP assembly. Today’s event was designed to help students recognize the important role they play in the world as global citizens and inspire their ability to make a difference. This celebration is also a chance for our community to appreciate the amazing diversity that makes up the SCIS community. Over 50 different nationalities were represented on the stage today!

2019 China GO! is Here

It’s time to GO! After weeks of intensive preparation, the entire Upper School, both students and faculty, is ready to set out and explore our host country for a week of service, challenge, and shared experiences, building memories that will last a lifetime. All key logistical information is posted on the China GO! page of the SCIS-Pudong website, and updates during the week will come right here on the US Principals’ Blog.  Please keep the following notes in mind as you make final arrangements with your child over the next few days.

Pick Up/Drop Off
Grades 7-11 will leave for their trips from scheduled pick-up points around the city. Your child’s individual pick-up time and location is posted on the website. Please note that these are NOT their daily bus stops, but rather the major stops we use for away games/weekend events.

See detailed maps for each stop here.

Grades 6 and 12 will come to school as usual on Monday morning, riding their daily school buses, and then leave together on chartered buses from here. All students will return with the group to the same drop-off points where they started the trip. Students are encouraged to text you when they are leaving the train station or airport so you can estimate arrival times. For safety reasons, no alternate drop-off arrangements are possible.

Travel Documents
All students must have their original passport or legal China travel document, with a current stamp for entering the country, with them in order to check into hotels in China. Teachers will take responsibility for these documents during the trip. 

Medications
Any medication your child may need during the trip should be labeled with clear instructions, and passed to the Trip Leader for secure storage on the first morning. Students will be able to take their meds under the supervision of the trip leader according to these instructions. Please see our US Parent-Student Handbook, p.20 for more information on these guidelines.

Communication
While students are free to bring mobile phones on their trips, they will be kept zipped up in their bags throughout the day. Every evening, at a scheduled time, all students will be expected to call their parents. Please refrain from calling or texting your child during the day, as they will not be available to respond until the evening. If a family emergency arises and you have an urgent need to reach your child during the day, please contact Dr Volpe 18521410773 or Ms Shanks 15121046551, and we will facilitate the necessary communication immediately. 

Pictures
Each trip will be fully documented through both pictures and reflections. These will be collected for each grade level, and used for reflection and demonstration, shared in the Yearbook and in the China GO! Celebration after the group returns to Shanghai. The school administration will provide updates and a few pictures during the week through the Principals’ Blog and the Grade Level Parent reps. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at any time with your further questions about the trip. We are ready to help in any way we can.

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Middle School Touch Rugby

This week the Middle School Rugby team had their final games in preparation for this weekend’s Cross River event. Rugby is the first of five Middle School seasons which along with swimming make up our Middle School sports program. As a co-ed team, touch rugby presents a great opportunity for Middle School students to get to know their classmates and teachers outside of the classroom. Middle School sports, while competitive, focus on learning, growth and sportsmanship. Scores are not kept during games and the coaches serve as the officials which allows them the opportunity to make the most of all of the teachable moments that arise during the games. This week our team took on the visiting SAS team, demonstrating the significant improvements they’ve made over the course of the season. They will have a final chance to show how far they’ve come this weekend at the CISSA Cross River Event which will be held at the SAS-PD campus on Saturday. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Nicholaides for his time and dedication coaching our Middle School Touch Rugby team this season. Good luck this weekend. Go Dragons!

Please don’t forget to take some time this weekend to review the final trip preparations for China GO! Here’s to a great week of learning, community building, service, and fun!

Warm regards,

Frank Volpe, PhD                  Naomi Shanks
Upper School Principal        Upper School Vice Principal

Principals’ Post #5

Dear SCIS Families,

Teachers and students made the most of this short week as many students prepared for their first summative assessments of the semester. With China GO! trips scheduled for the last week before break, many classes will be wrapping up their first units with assessments. As a reminder, all unit, and assessment information can be found in ManageBac. We encourage parents to set a weekly time to review ManageBac with students as a means of staying informed of what is happening in the classroom. Please take a moment to ask your child about their upcoming assessments.

Spotlight on MYP Science

The Grade 7 MYP science students played the role of product testers in class this week as they worked through their Battle of the Brands lab. Ms. Marcos, a new addition to the SCIS Science Department, had the students fully engaged as students as they designed their own experiments to test which of the brands performed best under laboratory conditions. Students were able to choose the products they wanted to compare and then had to work through a series of scientific trials to collect data on which product they would recommend. Students tested a range of products including bouncy balls, magnets, and toy cars. In designing and carrying out experiments, students had to exercise their critical thinking skills as they identified and controlled for variables that would influence their data. Students will follow up these experiments with an investigation into Criterion D: Reflection on the Impacts of Science. In this next phase of the unit, students will evaluate the role of scientific investigation in marketing, including the consequences corporations face when claims are made in their marketing. This unit is an excellent example of the ways SCIS seeks to make the curriculum relevant to students by helping them make connections between what they’re doing in the classroom and the real world. Thank you, Ms. Marcos, for designing such a thought provoking unit!

2019 China GO!

Less than two weeks to go before China GO! and students and advisors are making final preparations for the trips. Each grade has investigated their destinations and are now in the process of planning out their service projects. We encourage parents to have a conversation with students about the information they have learned about their destination and the service activities they will be engaged in while there. In addition to the suggested packing-lists for the trips that were posted last week, the travel information for each trip is now available on our SCIS-Pudong Website as well. By early next week you will also receive detailed bus pick-up information for Monday September 23rd. Some of the pick up times will be significantly earlier than the normal school day pick-up so please note the times and locations carefully. Please feel free to email advisors or administration with any questions.

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Warm regards,

Frank Volpe, PhD                  Naomi Shanks
Upper School Principal        Upper School Vice Principal

Principals’ Post #4

Dear SCIS Families,

This week students were on a special schedule due to NWEA-MAP testing for grades 6-9. This year we piloted a schedule that allowed students to test Tuesday through Thursday mornings outside of the normal class rotation. This schedule was designed to minimize classroom disruption and capture the most accurate results. SCIS uses the MAP Growth assessment to monitor student progress in grades 6-9. Students take assessments in the areas of Math, Reading, and Language. These assessments are aligned to SCIS teaching standards which allows us not only to track student progress but also provide teachers with feedback on their instruction. Parents who wish to learn more about these assessments are encourage to review the NWEA FAMILY TOOL KIT. We expect to be able to share assessment results along with mid-semester reports on the 18th of October. Both reports will be accessible in ManageBac.

While students in grades 6-9 were testing, we took advantage of the special schedule to provide some additional focused instructional time for students in grades 10-12. Grade 10 students went through a series of workshops to help jumpstart their Personal Projects, the MYP capstone project. Diploma students had the opportunity to have additional extended classes in their IB DP Higher Level courses and to hear from Hong Kong Baptist University as part of our University and College series. A special thank you to all of the students and teachers for their flexibility with this week’s special schedule.

Dragon Cup Volleyball

SCIS Pudong hosted the annual Dragon Cup boys and girls varsity volleyball tournament this year which brought together SCIS Hongqiao, Hangzhou International School, and this year’s invited guest YCIS Pudong. Our teams took advantage of the tournament as an opportunity to test their skills early in the season. This year’s girls team returns all but one starting player and is expected to compete at a very high level. The boys team returns only one starter from last season but has seen the infusion of a number of athletes new to SCIS. Both teams showed great promise for the season, exemplifying the hard work and growth mindset of the competitive Dragon competitive spirit. Special thanks to Coach Vic, Coach Caban, Coach Vanta, and Coach Sculerati for their dedication to our athletics programs. Be sure to keep an eye on the SCIS-Pudong Web Portal Calendar for the most up-to-date information on games schedules.

Middle School Student Council

Ms. Roberts helped our Middle School Student Council get a head start on their planning for the year with a retreat last Friday. Students participated in team building activities, and brainstormed ideas for the 2019-2020 school year. Student Council has two primary mandates. First, they work to plan events and activities to bring Middle School students together for fun and shared experiences that build the bonds and relationships of our Middle School Community. Second, Middle School students engage with their classmates to work to continually reflect on how to make SCIS a place where all students can thrive. We would like to thank Ms. Roberts and the whole MS StuCo for their time and dedication to enhancing middle school life.

2019 China GO!

The countdown has begun with China GO! just a little more than two weeks away. Excitement built this week as students spent time in Advisory reviewing their itineraries and learning more about the activities and service they will participate in while on the trips. We have also posted our suggested packing-lists for the trips on our SCIS-Pudong Website. Please be sure to look through the packing list and speak with your child about the upcoming trips, which will be a highlight of the year.

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Warm regards,

Frank Volpe, PhD                  Naomi Shanks
Upper School Principal        Upper School Vice Principal

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Principal’s Post #3

Dear SCIS Families,

It was great to visit with so many of you at yesterday’s Back to School Night, thank you for taking the trouble to come out on a rainy Thursday evening. Our teachers were thrilled to make the home-school connection with you, and it was great to see the enthusiasm of parents as they pored over the course syllabi, flipped through coursebooks, and discussed the program with the teachers, new and returning. Parent engagement is a significant factor in a every student’s educational success, and your commitment to be here makes a difference. Please remember that this is just the beginning of a yearlong conversation. Checking ManageBac at least once a week, together with your Upper Schooler, following the units and tasks in each class, and discussing the teachers’ feedback are important strategies to stay connected with your child’s learning. As questions arise, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your child’s teachers. as well as to the administrative team.

Photos from Back to School Night

What Does the Research Say? NurtureShock: Importance of Sleep

In the “Lost Hour” chapter of NurtureShock, Bronson and Merryman summarize important research on the negative physical and cognitive impacts of teenagers not getting enough sleep. According to the U.S. based National Sleep Foundation teenagers should sleep for 8-10 hours each night. However, research conducted in the United States by Dr. Fredrick Danner at the University of Kentucky found that most teens only sleep on average 6.5 hours. A survey of students enrolled at SCIS during the 2018-2019 school year found that 68% of MYP students (grades 6-10) sleep for 8 or more hours but this number drops to only 20% of the students sleeping for 8 or more hours once they are enrolled in the DP (G11-12). These lost hours negatively impact the physical health of our students as well as their academic performance in school.

According to Bronson and Merryman, researchers have attributed a number of challenges teenagers face to these lost hours of sleep. Sleep deficits can lead to decreased academic performance and emotional instability, an increase in obesity rates and ADHD, and it has been theorized that persistent sleep deficits can lead to permanent changes in the brain. According to research done by Dr. Avi Sadeh at Tel Aviv university, “a loss of one hour of sleep is equivalent to the loss of two years of cognitive maturation and development”. In other words, an average 6th grade will perform like an average 4th grade student when suffering from only one hour less sleep then the target eight hours. Using Functional MRI technology, scientists observe that far fewer connections are made during learning in subjects that have sleep deficits compared to control groups that have optimal sleep conditions. Essentially, what the researchers have found is that sleep is required to consolidate new learning, or more simply sleep = memory.

We encourage parents to set students up for success by supporting a bedtime routine that promotes at least eight hours of sleep per night. For more information on how parents can help teenagers get the necessary amount of sleep, please read this ARTICLE from Commonsense Media.

2019 China GO!

As a reminder, China GO! forms, passport and visa copies were due to student advisors on TODAY. If you have not provided the signed forms or copies of your child’s travel documents please ensure they are turned in Monday, September 2nd. Please contact your child’s advisor or Coach Vic (vcaban@scis-china.org) with questions.

We hope to see families on campus this weekend for Dragon Cup Volleyball. Go Dragons!

Warm regards,

Frank Volpe, PhD                  Naomi Shanks
Upper School Principal        Upper School Vice Principal