Principals’ Post #16

Dear SCIS Families,

We would like to take this opportunity to celebrate the amazing display of community and artistry this past weekend. Thank you to PAFA for organizing a wonderful Winter Festival last Saturday. The decorations, the vendors, the gingerbread houses, and the appearance of Santa and Mrs. Claus brought the holiday spirit to SCIS. Special thank you to PAFA, our vendors, and all of the volunteers that made Winter Festival possible.

In the third floor gallery and on the stage we were treated to an amazing display of the hard work and talent on both Friday and Saturday. Our Design and Visual Arts students work was on display for all to enjoy while the arts patrons were treated to MYP Music, Grade 6 Drama, both Middle and High School Jazz Bands, and Strings Ensemble performances. This was a tough act to follow, but the true highlight of the weekend were the performances of The Addams Family. Students had been hard at work since the first week of school preparing for the performance. For the performers and the backstage crew, the performance and the process of staging a musical will be a memory to last a lifetime, and for those of us lucky enough to be in the audience, it was a fantastic night of family entertainment. Congratulations to all involved, especially our Musical Team: Ms Whiteside, Ms Riddle, Mr Demas, and Ms Williams.

Winter Festival Fun

Congratulations to the Cast, Crew and Directors of The Addams Family!

Semester Exams

The Upper School semester exams will end on Monday December 9th.  In the MYP(6-10), the end of semester summative assessments are not weighted more heavily than other assessments completed over the course of the semester, and may follow a range of formats including projects and performance tasks in addition to formal written tests. The format of these final assessments will vary by subject group and grade level.  Students in grades 11-12 in the Diploma Program practice formal exam style assessments that mimic the format of the externally assessed “Papers” of each course.  Following exams, students will spend time looking at feedback from their exams, reflecting on their skill development over the semester, and getting a head start on Semester 2 units of study.  Final report cards for the fall semester will be published in ManageBac on December 13th.

Warm regards,

Frank Volpe, PhD Naomi Shanks

Upper School Principal . Upper School Vice Principal

Principals’ Post #15

Students were treated to a preview performance of The Addams Family musical on Wednesday afternoon. The theater was packed with students from Kindergarten through grade 12. Cast members were dressed in jeans and cast t-shirts instead of full costume but that did not dampen the performance. The preview performance served as a partial dress rehearsal for the cast and crew to prepare for this weekend’s performances. The audience left the performance excited to experience the full production this weekend. Everyone is invited to attend the performance this Friday at 6pm, Saturday at 3pm after the Winter Festival or both. We’ll see you in the theater!

  • Winter Arts Night (Middle School Showcase) – Friday 29 November 5pm
  • The Addams Family evening performance – Friday 29 November 6pm
  • Winter Arts Day (High School Showcase, part of the PAFA Winter Festival) – Saturday 30 November 1-3pm
  • The Addams Family matinee performance – Saturday 30 November 3pm

Upper School Spirit Week

Principals’ Coffee: Wellness

Maja Kelly, Upper School Counselor, presented to parents this week on student wellness at SCIS. Ms. Kelly reviewed data from our fall wellness survey, shared school initiatives promoting wellness, and provided resources for parents. The annual SCIS Student Wellness Survey, based on the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (created by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention in the United States), collects information about six categories of health-related behaviors: behaviors that contribute to injuries and violence; behaviors related to interpersonal relationships; alcohol and other drug use; tobacco use; dietary behaviors and physical activity. During the Principal Coffee Morning, we shared an overview of the survey results, and discussed two wellness topics that are included in our prevention programs this academic year – Alcohol & Tobacco Prevention and Digital Citizenship & Internet Safety.

Below are a few selected resources that parents may find helpful as they continue to provide guidance to their children on these two important topics.

Alcohol & Tobacco Prevention Resources:
– “Talk. They Hear You” App – this interactive tool, created by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) helps parents develop effective ways to speak to their children about underage drinking and substance use. The app is free and available through the App Store and Google Play. It follows a game format, and it allows parents to practice “talking” to a virtual teenager.
– KidsHealth article: Talking to Your Child About Drugs: https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/talk-about-drugs.html

Internet Safety & Digital Citizenship
– Common Sense Media: www.commonsensemedia.org. A comprehensive resource on technology and media for parents and educators.
– Digital Citizenship Guide for Parents – created by Public Safety Canada and MediaSmarts, a Canadian not-for-profit organization for digital and media literacy.

Exam Schedules

Warm regards,

Frank Volpe, PhD Naomi Shanks

Upper School Principal . Upper School Vice Principal

Principals’ Post #14

The Musical is Here!

The anticipation is building for what will certainly be one of the highlights of the semester, our Fall Musical, The Addams Family. Students have been preparing since August when the first auditions were held, and rehearsals are ramping up. The sets are built, the costumes sewn, the lighting perfected–everything is coming together! This year the production will be framed by our annual Winter Arts Showcases, and planned in support of the PAFA Winter Festival. Please note the following:

  • Winter Arts Night (Middle School Showcase) – Friday 29 November 5pm
  • The Addams Family evening performance – Friday 29 November 6pm
  • Winter Arts Day (High School Showcase, part of the PAFA Winter Festival) – Saturday 30 November 1-3pm
  • The Addams Family matinee performance – Saturday 30 November 3pm

Waterloo Math Competition

This week over twenty Upper School Students participated in the Waterloo University Math competition. Waterloo University of Ontario, Canada sponsors the international math competition annually. According to the University, “the Center for Education in Mathematics and Computing (CEMC) develops and administers internationally recognized contests to help to inspire the next generation of students to develop an interest in and love for mathematics and computer science.” Congratulations to the Upper School math students on their participation and a special thank you to Etienne Bilz (Upper School Math and Physics) for his organization of the competition and sponsorship of our Math Club.

SCIS Swimmers Travel to Suzhou

Congratulations to the SCIS swim team for their strong showing this past weekend in Suzhou. The event marked the second swim meet of the season for our teams which compete in the Shanghai Swim League. Both Upper and Lower School swim teams had a strong showing with a number of heat winners and personal best times. Congratulations swimmers and thank you to Coach Oscar and Coach Mount for giving up your weekend so students could have this amazing experience. Go Dragons!

Counselor’s Coffee: Focus on Student Wellness

Please join us on Thursday 28 November 9am in Room 411 for an Upper School Parent Coffee – Focus on Student Wellness. Our Upper School Counselor, Ms Maja Kelly, will be sharing survey results addressing a range of habits that impact student health and wellbeing. We will explore current trends in adolescent health and wellness, and discuss how we can effectively support our students towards healthy choices both at home and at school.

Upcoming Events

Warm regards,

Frank Volpe, PhD Naomi Shanks

Upper School Principal . Upper School Vice Principal

Principals Post #13

SCIS Delegation Participates in West Lake Model United Nations in Hangzhou

SCIS sent a delegation of over twenty Middle and High School students to the West Lake Model United Nations Conference this past weekend in Hangzhou. Model United Nations (MUN) allows students to role play the work of international diplomats as they seek to solve real world challenges like the climate crisis or the refugee crisis created by the war in Syria. Delegates introduce and debate resolutions, voting in support or against these propositions based on the interests and perspectives of their assigned countries. Students learn important research, collaboration, and communication skills in these efforts. The conference hosted over 200 international students from across China which allowed students to meet and work with students from around the region. We are proud of how our delegation represented SCIS and of the hard work students did in preparation for the event. We would also like to thank Mr. Steele for his leadership of our MUN delegation and Ms. Broad for chaperoning the trip. Well done MUN!

Varsity Basketball has Begun!

The boys and girls varsity basketball season kicked of this past week. Action began last Saturday with students catching a 5am bus to Hangzhou for the annual Dragon Cup basketball tournament. The boys and girls teams played hard against against the talented pool of teams that included SCIS Hongqiao, The Canadian International School of Hangzhou, and Hangzhou International School. Both teams will be in action again this weekend against Concordia. Boys are at home and girls travel to Concordia with both games starting at 10:00am. We would like to thank the coaches for making this seasons possible. Thank you Coaches Walsh, Berezowski, Nedeljkov, and Shultz! Follow our teams on social media or better yet in person. Go Dragons!

Promoting Digital Citizenship

Technology is an inescapable part of life in the 21st century. It allows us to express ourselves, connect with others, and get fast access to high-quality information. When it comes to adolescents and technology, and especially teens and social media, it’s not always easy to know how and when to step in as a parent. Part of this uncertainty comes from the fact that teenagers use technology differently than adults do. Most teens turn to their devices to watch video clips, play online games and connect on social media apps where they communicate using hard-to-understand shorthand. Their knowledge of the digital world can be intimidating to adults. And yet, they need help and guidance from parents and educators to develop the skills that they need to use technology in safe and positive ways.

This week in Advisory marked the start of Digital Citizenship Education for 6th grade students. Older students will soon revisit this topic in their own Advisory lessons, in order to review and build on the skills they learned in previous years. The topics that will be covered include using social media safely and responding to cyberbullying and inappropriate online interactions. Skills needed to navigate social media use are reinforced when teens are engaged in conversations on this topic both at school and at home. Common Sense Media (www.commonsensemedia.org) is an excellent resource for educators and parents alike, as it provides unique, data-driven insights into the impact of media and technology use on children’s physical, emotional, social and intellectual development.

For some ideas on how to start conversations about social media use with your child, we recommend this article that can be found on the Common Sense Media website:

https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/help-my-kid-wants-to-use-social-media

Upcoming Events

Warm regards,

Frank Volpe, PhD Naomi Shanks

Upper School Principal . Upper School Vice Principal

Principals’ Post #12

Congratulations to the Grade 7/8 Arts Students and Teachers

Our school community was treated to compelling Arts Rotation performance this past Thursday. The Black Box was transformed into a true theater in the round which helped draw the audience into the emotional performance. The depth of student preparation was on display across the three facets of the performance: drama, visual arts, and music. Congratulations students on an amazing performance! Thank you to the visionary and innovative work of our Arts Team, Ms Whiteside, Mr Demas, Ms Arvay, and Ms Riddle. We are already looking forward to the next 7/8 production coming in February.

What Does the Research Say… Regarding Substance Abuse

As part of our ongoing efforts to share relevant research with parents, Ms. Kelly has summarized some important information regarding teen substance abuse and prevention to share with the SCIS community. This series of “What Does the Research Say” is focused on following up on our recent visit from FCD Works Substance Abuse Prevention. This is part of our overall effort to promote student wellbeing by providing the most up-to-date and accurate research available in order to enhance our home and school partnership. Special thanks to Ms. Kelly for preparing this information!

In their book Teens Under the Influence: The Truth About Kids, Alcohol, and Other Drugs – How to Recognize the Problem and What to Do About It, authors Katherine Ketcham, the author of Under the Influence, and Nicholas A. Pace, M.D., former chair of the New York State Governor’s Advisory Committee on Alcoholism explore the causes and effects of substance abuse on adolescents. This comprehensive resource combines factual, scientific information with real-life stories of teen addiction and recovery, and practical guidance for parents and teens.

In “Part One: Why Kids Get Hooked”, the authors challenge common myths and misconceptions about adolescent drug use and addiction:

Myth: Raging hormones trigger the majority of problems associated with adolescent drug use.

Fact: Brain development and reorganization, rather than hormones, is the cause behind the increased vulnerability to drug addiction in the growing years. During adolescence, the brain grows in quantity, adding new nerve fibers and creating denser neural connections. At the same time, the brain undergoes the process of intense pruning, eliminating nonessential branches and bundling nerve fibers together to optimize its efficiency. Alcohol and other drug use interferes with this process, which can lead to long-term problems with memory, learning, speech, mood and personality. Substances also disrupt neural plasticity, the brain’s ability to adapt and adjust to life experiences.

Myth: Parents’ approval or disapproval of their children’s drug use has little or no impact on whether or not their children will use.

Fact: Parents have a significant influence on adolescent drug use. Parents should engage in open, honest and ongoing dialogue with their children about alcohol and other drugs before serious, life-threatening problems emerge. When there is suspicion that an adolescent is using, it is best to intervene as early as possible, even if the teen does not recognize that a problem exists or is unwilling to accept help. Research shows that forcing adolescents to get help for their substance abuse problem is at least as effective as voluntary treatment. A large body of empirical evidence confirms that when parents are knowledgeable about substance use disorders and are involved in their children’s lives in positive ways, their influence on their children’s decision not to use drugs can be powerful and enduring.

SCIS Teacher Professional Development

This past Tuesday SCIS teachers spent the day working through various professional development activities. As many of you know, SCIS is going through our WASC and IB Self-Study this year. Teachers spent the morning working across various teams in support of the self-study process. The process is a powerful opportunity for growth as a school community. Over the next year, SCIS as a system will conduct a full audit of our programs in support of our efforts of continuous improvement. Teachers also spent time in the afternoon working with our student support team and refreshing our annual child safeguarding training.

NWEA MAP Presentation

This week’s Principals’ Coffee morning focused on the NWEA MAP testing. For those that were unable to attend the presentation we have included the PowerPoint below. Please feel free to contact Dr. Volpe if you have questions.

Warm regards,

Frank Volpe, PhD Naomi Shanks

Upper School Principal . Upper School Vice Principal

Principals’ Post #11

ACAMIS Champions…Again!

Our ACAMIS Champion girls’ volleyball team returned from Nanjing victorious, winning the national tournament without dropping a set. This is the second year in a row that this powerhouse team has taken the championship, and the team keeps growing in skill and depth every year. The boys’ team placed fourth, with strong opening games showing their best play of the season. Throughout the weekend, both teams demonstrated sportsmanship and Dragon Spirit, and were supported by a rousing cheering section of faculty and parents who took the train ride up to join in the fun. Special thanks go to our Coaches Vic, Caban, Vanta, and Sculerati, whose commitment of time, skill, and heart raise the level of play with every practice.

Grade 7/8 Ready for the Spotlight

This is the second year that our Grade 7-8 students have benefitted from a carousel approach to Arts education, and excitement is building for their first performance, next Thursday 7 November at 2:15. The Arts Carousel is designed to ensure that all middle schoolers experience a unit each of Visual Arts, Music, and Drama, and that they have the opportunities to explore the rich cultural fabric that results when these three disciplines are woven together. Last year the Arts Carousel staged a series of original adaptations of fairy tales, performed in the theater. This year the Arts Department is mixing it up, and taking advantage of our Black Box theater space. Next Thursday’s performance will be an experimental multimedia piece performed the round, featuring original dramatic monologues, musical compositions, and visual arts pieces all created by our 7/8 students. Thank you to the visionary and innovative work of our Arts Team, Ms Whiteside, Mr Demas, Ms Arvay, and Ms Riddle. Parents are encouraged to come and enjoy the show, one performance only!

Attendance Update

All parents are advised that we have simplified our attendance procedures. This will streamline records for the convenience of parents, teachers, advisors, and students themselves. Accurate attendance records are essential for health and safety and emergency response, as well as being one important measure of a students’ availability for learning. Regardless of the reason for the absence, students will be supported in keeping up with their classes whenever possible. We now record only four categories of attendance:

  • Present – student is in class, on time
  • Late – student arrives to class within the first 30 minutes
  • Absent – student misses 30 minutes or more of class
  • Field Trip – student is away from class for a scheduled activity supervised by an SCIS teacher (ACAMIS, MUN, etc)

When you log in to ManageBac, you can see at a glance the number of times your child has been Absent from each of their classes. On the right hand side bar, you will also see a pie chart showing the number of school days present and absent.

This student has been absent from ONE Humanities class so far this semester.
This student has missed two school days so far this semester.

Please note that it is just as important as ever that parents contact the office–by ManageBac, email, or phone–to verify their students’ absences as early as possible. If your child is not accounted for, our Upper School Secretary Ms Jelly Ling will contact you immediately to confirm that they are under your supervision. Please support her in keeping these records as accurate as possible.

Shanghai Expo Long Weekend

Please keep in mind that that in compliance with municipal government guidelines, school will be closed on Monday and Tuesday next week. Enjoy the unexpected long weekend! School will resume following the published day rotation with Day 2 on Wednesday 6 November. Please also note that classes WILL be in session on Friday 22 November, which was formerly scheduled as an inservice day for teachers.

Warm regards,

Frank Volpe, PhD Naomi Shanks

Upper School Principal . Upper School Vice Principal

Principals’ Post #10

Parent-Student-Teacher Conferences

It was wonderful to see so many of you, together with your Upper Schoolers, turn out for Parent-Student-Teacher conferences yesterday. These midsemester opportunities are carefully placed in the calendar to ensure that home-school partnership is in place early in the year, with the first quarters learning and feedback shared and discussed to create a shared understanding going forward. It has been particularly meaningful to have students themselves taking their place at the table and fully participating in the vast majority of conferences, taking ownership of their own learning.

If your schedule did not permit you to join us on Thursday, or if you prefer an extended conversation going beyond the structured 10 minute conference slots, please feel free to reach out teachers ANY time to make an individual appointment.

In the spirit of continuous learning from experience, we ask all parents to complete the attached survey to help us build on the process for next year. Thank you for your feedback!

It’s a Dragon Halloween!

Halloween is being celebrated in style at SCIS-Pudong. Today the MS Student Council got the party started with the annual MS Halloween Dance, a long running MS Dragon tradition. Tomorrow our Upper Schoolers are excited volunteers, ready to support the PAFA sponsored Halloween Bash, here on campus from 12-3. Next Thursday, on Halloween proper, October 31, HS students are invited to wear costumes to school for a lunchtime costume contest sponsored by HS Student Council.

What Does the Research Say… Regarding Substance Abuse

As part of our ongoing efforts to share relevant research with parents, Ms. Kelly has summarized some important information regarding teen substance abuse and prevention to share with the SCIS community. This series of “What Does the Research Say” is focused on following up on our recent visit from FCD works substance abuse prevention specialist George Brown. This is part of our overall efforts to promote student wellbeing by providing the most up to date and accurate research available in order to enhance our home and school partnership. Special thanks to Ms. Kelly for preparing this information!

In their book Teens Under the Influence: The Truth About Kids, Alcohol, and Other Drugs – How to Recognize the Problem and What to Do About It, authors Katherine Ketcham, the author of Under the Influence, and Nicholas A. Pace, M.D., former chair of the New York State Governor’s Advisory Committee on Alcoholism explore the causes and effects of substance abuse on adolescents. This comprehensive resource combines factual, scientific information with real-life stories of teen addiction and recovery, and practical guidance for parents and teens.

In “Part One: Why Kids Get Hooked”, the authors challenge common myths and misconceptions about adolescent drug use and addiction:

Myth: Marijuana is not physically addictive.

Fact: Although physical withdrawal symptoms are generally subtle compared to other addictive drugs, research clearly shows that marijuana can be physically addictive. Studies also indicate that regular marijuana use can have profoundly damaging long-term effects on adolescents’ physical, mental and emotional health. Research shows that marijuana use is three times more likely to lead to dependence among teenagers than among adults. Physical addiction to a drug is determined by the presence of two basic conditions – tolerance and withdrawal symptoms. Both of these indicators have been observed and documented in chronic marijuana users.

Myth: Alcoholism and other drug addictions progress in similar ways in adolescents and adults.

Fact: Addiction develops much faster in adolescents, a phenomenon sometimes referred to as hyperspeed addiction. There are three underlyig reasons for this:

  • The adolescent’s developing brain and other vital organs are extremely vulnerable to the toxic effects of drugs;
  • Adolescents start using drugs at an early age. Evidence shows that teens who start drinking before age fifteen are under a greatly increased risk of becoming alcohol-dependent
  • Adolescents often combine drugs, taking multiple drugs at a time, which dramatically increases the risk of brain damage and addiction

Good Luck at ACAMIS Volleyball, Go Dragons!

Warm regards,

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

Principals’ Post #9

Mid-Semester Progress Reports Posted Today – 18 October 2019

Progress reports will be posted to ManageBac today.  Mid-semester reports will include a progress designation (i.e. “progressing towards class expectations”) for each class along with narrative comments describing each student’s individual progress.  We encourage parents to review these reports with your students in preparation for Parent-Student-Teacher conferences on the 24th.  Reports will be released by 5pm TODAY and can be found in the Reports tab of your  ManageBac account.  You will receive a notification email to your SCIS email address when the reports go live this afternoon. 

In addition to reviewing student progress reports, this is an important time of year to review posted tasks and the feedback provided by teachers on individual assignments.  Teachers provide detailed narrative comments in ManageBac posted under the assignment or on the assignment itself.  Reviewing and learning from the feedback provided by the teachers is well-researched as one of the most effective ways students can accelerate their learning and improve their scores on the next assignment.  Reviewing feedback from teachers on individual assignments along with closely reading the mid-semester progress reports are the best way to prepare for Parent-Student-Teacher Conferences.

What Does the Research Say… Regarding Substance Abuse

As part of our ongoing efforts to share relevant research with parents, Ms. Kelly has summarized some important information regarding teen substance abuse and prevention to share with the SCIS community. This series of “What Does the Research Say” is focused on following up on our recent visit from FCD works substance abuse prevention specialist George Brown. This is part of our overall efforts to promote student wellbeing by providing the most up to date and accurate research available in order to enhance our home and school partnership. Special thanks to Ms. Kelly for preparing this information!

In their book Teens Under the Influence: The Truth About Kids, Alcohol, and Other Drugs – How to Recognize the Problem and What to Do About It, authors Katherine Ketcham, the author of Under the Influence, and Nicholas A. Pace, M.D., former chair of the New York State Governor’s Advisory Committee on Alcoholism explore the causes and effects of substance abuse on adolescents. This comprehensive resource combines factual, scientific information with real-life stories of teen addiction and recovery, and practical guidance for parents and teens.

In “Part One: Why Kids Get Hooked”, the authors challenge common myths and misconceptions about adolescent drug use and addiction:

Myth: Alcohol isn’t really a drug – at least it’s not as bad as LSD, cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamines, or heroin.

Fact: Alcohol is, in fact, a toxic, potentially addictive drug that causes more damage to the individual and society than all illegal drugs combined. It is a major factor in the three leading causes of teen death – accidents, homicide and suicide. Drinking, even in small amounts, poses a serious risk to the adolescent’s health, as it distorts vision, hearing and coordination, and alters perceptions, moods and emotions. The risks are amplified due to the nature of alcohol use in the adolescent population. Research shows that when teens drink, they do so with the intention of becoming intoxicated. Short-term effects of alcohol use include hangover, memory problems and blackouts. Long-term effects are far-reaching and complex. Frequent alcohol use can damage the adolescent’s developing cells, tissues and organs. Internal devastation can often go on for years before it begins to show symptoms. Alcohol-induced brain damage is most extensive in the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain that controls the ability to stay focused, make plans, control impulses and make decisions. Alcohol directly affects the hippocampus, leading to impairments in memory and learning. Chronic use of alcohol has been associated with a permanent decrease in the size of the hippocampus. Heavy alcohol consumption impairs the healthy functioning of the liver, heart, muscles, the gastrointestinal system, respiratory track and pancreas, and has been associated with an increased risk of malnutrition, certain cancers and emotional and behavioral problems, including anxiety, depression, irritability, violence and suicidal thoughts and attempts.

ACAMIS Volleyball

Our volleyball teams will be traveling to Nanjing for our first ACAMIS championship tournament this year. We would like to wish the boys and girls teams the best of luck in the tournament. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank the boys coaches; Mr. Vanta and Ms. Sculerati as well as the coaches of the girls team; Coach Vic and Coach Caban. We also want to remind everyone that our boys and girls teams will be playing at Concordia tonight (Friday) starting at 5:30. We hope to see you out in green tonight cheering on our teams. Go Dragons!

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! 

Warm regards,

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

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