Principals’ Post #27

Celebrating 7 Weeks of Virtual Learning

As we end our seventh week of virtual learning, we would like to congratulate students, teachers, and parents on their efforts. The teachers and administrators have been impressed by the resilience, hard work, and positive attitudes our students have demonstrated during this transition to virtual learning. Students should be proud of what they have been able to accomplish. As administrators, we would also like to celebrate the amazing faculty and staff we are blessed to have. These dedicated educators worked hard through the Chinese New Year Break to launch virtual learning over 7 weeks ago, literally on a moments notice. Their creativity, hard work, and dedication supporting our students and each-other has been nothing short of inspirational. Finally, we would like to thank all of the parents who have taken on the role of tutor, virtual learning guide, and cheer leader on top of all of the parental roles they already play. These last 7 weeks have been a true community effort. Everyone should be proud of the role they have played. We will pick-up where we left off on Monday March 30th, hopefully one step closer to a return to campus.

Midsemester Progress Report Update

Due to the announced Spring Break March 23-27, we have changed the Midsemester Progress Report date. Reports were scheduled to be published on Friday, March 27th. However, due to the fact that we will be observing Spring Break at that time, we have moved the reports to the following week. Reports will be published and available for students and parents to view on Friday, April 3rd in the report section of ManageBac.

Spring Break March 23-27

As noted in Director of School’s Dan Eschtruth’s community update, SCIS will be observing our Spring Break March 23-27. This will allow our faculty and families overseas to return to shanghai to ensure they are in place, through their 14 day quarantine period, and ready to start school once the Shanghai Education Commission provides its approval. In addition to supporting travel back to Shanghai, we hope that families and faculty take time over the break to recharge. This period of no new work will also allow some students who have fallen behind the opportunity to catch up on assignments as well. However, we also encourage those that will be using the break to catch up on work to take some time to rest and enjoy other activities. We look forward to reuniting virtually on March 30th. Please enjoy the break!

Week 7 Virtual Learning Parent Feedback Survey

Please continue to share your feedback with us each week as we seek to fine tune our program. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts!

Announcements

Coronavirus Community Information

SCIS has developed a webpage on our system website outlining the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). We encourage families to check this link in order to access important information regarding our current campus closure and our response to the coronavirus. Previous updates are also logged on this site. If there are specific questions you feel need to be added, please email the administration.

Technology Support Reminders

Re-enrollment has begun for the 2020-2021 School Year

SCIS families should have received an email via your scis-parent email account providing instructions regarding re-enrollment for the 2020-2021 academic year.  Please be sure to follow the instruction contained in the email for re-enrollment. Please note, you must use your @scis-parent.org email account details when signing in to the Online Re-Enrollment Website.  The re-enrollment deadlines have been adjusted to account for the current situation. Please visit the admissions page for more details. If you have any questions regarding the process for re-enrollment, please do not hesitate to reach out to the SCIS Admissions team at admissions@scis-china.org.

Warm regards,

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

Principals’ Post #26

Dear Upper School Friends and Family,

Over the last few days the news across the globe of the now pandemic COVID-19 has been startling to say the least. We hope that each and every SCIS family is staying safe and healthy wherever they are in the world. Here in Shanghai we are beginning to see signs of the other side of the local crisis, at the same time it is deepening globally. New concerns and their accompanying safety protocols are falling into place one country after the other, and as of yesterday, over 49 countries have announced school closures. Where just a few short weeks ago we in Shanghai may have felt isolated and disadvantaged, as the crisis goes global, we are learning that there are in fact some benefits to being ahead of the curve. Over the last six weeks we have learned a tremendous amount about what Virtual Learning can do, and how to keep our community of Dragons strong and united even when we cannot be together. We’ve got this!

Virtual Socials at the Grade Level

While students are now feeling more relaxed and at ease in the Virtual Learning environment, the isolation of living in isolation under virtual lockdown is beginning to take its toll, and students are ready to connect with each other, and build on the social and cultural relationships that are such an important part of the secondary school experience. Our grade level Advisors are working with students directly looking for ways to use live sessions on Teams to bring more community building fun into the school days. All Grade Levels have held at least one online “social” event, and in Middle School these are becoming part of the routine during the campus closure. In the last week, middle school classes have hosted a trivia contest, a bingo night, and today’s Kahoot. Students should watch their email for invitations to join. More ideas for virtual social activities should be brought to the Advisors.

Taking Tests at Home

You may have already received emails from teachers inviting you to supervise/proctor/invigilate written tests for your children during the Virtual Learning period. It is essential that students get regular practice completing assessment tasks under formal timed conditions, in preparation for IB Exams and other high stakes examinations that they will encounter at after high school. We ask that you support students by ensuring that they have a quiet room with a bare table and no “smart” devices. We ask that you supervise your students to ensure that testing conditions are upheld. When a teacher is scheduling a written test for your student’s classes, they will provide you with all the specific information you need. Please note the following:

  • The test will be scheduled for a specific date and time. Students may complete it in the timezone where they are, within 24 hours of the posted time.
  • A cover sheet provided in advance will list the specific test conditions for a given exam. This may include the timing of the test, a list of approved support materials, and so forth.
  • The test itself will be sent directly to the parents. It will NOT be posted ManageBac. If you are able to print the test, this is the best option.
  • All written tests should be completed in black/blue ink, on lined paper or on the test paper itself. At the end of the test, these should be scanned/photographed, and uploaded to ManageBac.
  • After each test, parents are asked to complete an Authentication Form affirming that testing standards, and any specific instructions on the cover sheet, were upheld.

Midsemester Calendar Updates

Please note the following adjustments to the March calendar:

  • March 25 will be a regular school day – Day 3. Student-Led Conferences are cancelled. Under normal circumstances, SLCs provide a fantastic opportunity for students to invite their parents into the school building and lead a meeting reflecting on their learning in their place of work. During this Virtual Learning period, we urge parents to take the opportunity to discuss and reflect with their students on what we are learning through this experience as it happens.

Week 6 Virtual Learning Parent Feedback Survey

Please continue to share your feedback with us each week as we seek to fine tune our program. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts!

Community Update from Dan Eschtruth, Director of Schools – March 6

Greetings SCIS Families,

I hope this email finds you well and thriving during this difficult period. I was pleased to see a large number of participants in the most recent Parent Survey and look forward to sharing our findings and responses with you in my next update. We continue to seek out and welcome your constructive feedback as it guides and improves our response to this crisis. We appreciate your sharing and will consider all suggestions as we continue our work to respond and adapt to this ever-evolving situation. Please find below our recent updates and announcements.

2020-21 Tuition Support

SCIS is fully aware that the current situation brings with it a wide range of concerns, including the toll it has taken on the economy and the bottom line for a wide range of individuals and businesses. In recognition that our school operates on a budget driven entirely by our tuition revenue, we still understand that we must all share the burden and support one another in developing out of this challenging situation. With this said, our Board of Directors has approved a tuition freeze for the 2020-2021 school year. Effectively immediately, we will revert the planned 2020-2021 tuition rate, back to that of 2019-20. This will represent an approximate saving of a 3-4% cost reduction for all families, based on the grade levels their children attend. We are pleased to present this news yet stand committed to continuing our efforts to identify and share support and resources we can provide as we come out of this situation together. 

The Office of Admissions and Finance will follow up as soon as possible with more details and a re-issued invoice to reflect the adjustments mentioned above. Furthermore, we recognize that many families have already made payment in full for the 2020-2021 school year, please rest assured, these payments will be retroactively adjusted to include the new tuition rate. We ask for your patience as the Office of Admissions and Finance works to roll out these changes.

Grade 12 IBDP Student Support Plan:

While Dragons of every age have felt the impact of the campus closure, none have been more dramatically impacted than the Class of 2020, whose final semester has come with some unique challenges. Fortunately, SCIS and the International Baccalaureate Organization are in a position to support students wherever they are in the world. The IBO is proactively taking steps to ensure that appropriate accommodations are in place so that our students and the 6000 IB candidates in China are not unfairly disadvantaged. This includes extensions to all schools in China for submission of external and internal assessments and allowing for some assessments to be completed at a distance – particularly helpful for our language classes. And, while we fully expect to be back on campus for the May IB Exam session, the IB has also made clear that other options are open for candidates in these adverse circumstances. Any senior not in a position to return to Shanghai for their IB Exams will have the option of taking the exams at an alternate venue, transferring schools, or deferring to the November 2020 exam session as communicated to Grade 12 parents directly by the Principals. Our DP Coordinators, College Counselors, and teachers are in communication with families. They are ready to support every family to make the decisions that will best meet the graduates’ needs as they move forward to the next stage of their lives. Please follow this link to learn more about our efforts to support our Grade 12 students. 

SCIS Campus Health & Safety Update:

Due to the outbreak of the COVID-19, our SCIS campuses have been closed to teachers, students, and any other visitors. During this time, our security team has registered and monitored anyone that has accessed campus. The essential staff that have been on campus for short periods have had their temperature checked upon arrival, were required to wear a mask, and wash their hands upon entering.

SCIS has upheld rigorous cleaning protocols at all campuses, and, with the current situation, these have been strengthened further as we strive to ensure the health of our community. In an effort to raise awareness of our preparation efforts, please review below the steps we are taking to prepare our campuses for the eventual return of our students, faculty, and staff. Please follow this link to learn more about our efforts to prepare our campuses for a healthy and safe return of all students, faculty, and staff.

Social & Emotional Support:

The SCIS Social and Emotional Support Team is working to share resources with the school community to help with the challenges surrounding the COVID19 virus. Several new resources have been added to the SCIS website under COVID19 Updates and FAQ’s link here. The Social and Emotional Support section includes guidance from the National Association of School Psychologists about how to talk with children about COVID19, and the International School Counselors Association offers guidance on managing feelings fears and worries of children.  Local resources from SCIS partner, Community Center Shanghai are also included.

Sincerely,

Daniel D. Eschtruth
Director of Schools
Shanghai Community International School

Announcements

Coronavirus Community Information

SCIS has developed a webpage on our system website outlining the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). We encourage families to check this link in order to access important information regarding our current campus closure and our response to the coronavirus. Previous updates are also logged on this site. If there are specific questions you feel need to be added, please email the administration.

Technology Support Reminders

Re-enrollment has begun for the 2020-2021 School Year

SCIS families should have received an email via your scis-parent email account providing instructions regarding re-enrollment for the 2020-2021 academic year.  Please be sure to follow the instruction contained in the email for re-enrollment. Please note, you must use your @scis-parent.org email account details when signing in to the Online Re-Enrollment Website.  The re-enrollment deadlines have been adjusted to account for the current situation. Please visit the admissions page for more details. If you have any questions regarding the process for re-enrollment, please do not hesitate to reach out to the SCIS Admissions team at admissions@scis-china.org.

Warm regards,

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

Principals’ Post #25

Realtime Virtual Interactions Help Bring the Community Together While We Are Apart

This week teachers and advisors continued to add real-time virtual learning and advisory sessions to our online program. Teacher led sessions are meant to provide a live supplement to the online program to clarify concepts and allow students to ask questions in real time. Advisors have also held meetings for students to help maintain and develop the social fabric within the grade levels and counteract the isolation many are feeling. Even some of our after school activities have been able to continue meeting virtually through online platforms. These realtime opportunities to connect have been popular with our teachers and students as they have provided everyone with an opportunity to connect socially. This coming week, our goal is to increase the participation rate for the sessions. We ask for parent support in helping students schedule their time to ensure they can attend these sessions.

Yearbook club meets with Ms. Whiteside on Microsoft Teams

Grades 7 and 8 Take the Arts Virtual

The transition to virtual learning has not stopped creative impulses of the grades 7 and 8 Arts students and teachers. As a reminder to those that may not be aware, our grade 7 and 8 students each spend time participating in each of the MYP Arts classes. This year’s theme has been identity which the students have worked to represented visually, musically, and through theatrical dramatization. We are in our second year of what has proven to be a very popular program both because of the skills and concepts students learn as well as for the community performances that have been created.

Our Music, Drama, and Visual Arts students have been hard at work creating the second of three community performances. When the transition to virtual learning threatened to cancel the performance students had been preparing for, the Arts department came together to save the show. Since the planned performance in the Black Box could not take place, the teachers came up with a virtual alternative. Students submitted digital images, and recorded musical performances and video monologues which were edited together to create our first virtual arts performances. We would like to congratulate the students on embracing this challenge and for all of their hard work preparing for the performances. We would also like to thank Ms. Riddle, Mr. Demas, and Ms. Whiteside in the Arts Department for make sure the show went on as planned. Please click on the image below to enjoy the show!

Click the image above to launch the video of the performance

Virtual Learning Parent Feedback Survey Results

We would like to thank all of the parents that took the time to respond to our Week 4 Virtual Learning Parent Feedback Survey. This information is vital for us as we seek to best meet the needs of our students during this period of online learning. We would also like to thank parents for the continued support they have expressed for our teachers and the positive feedback we have received regarding our virtual learning program. Below, please find the results from questions 2-4 on last week’s survey. Thank you for your ongoing support!

Week 5 Virtual Learning Parent Feedback Survey

There have been a number of changes made to our virtual learning in the past week. Please continue to share your feedback with us each week as we seek to fine tune our program. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts!

Announcements

Coronavirus Community Information

SCIS has developed a webpage on our system website outlining the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). We encourage families to check this link in order to access important information regarding our current campus closure and our response to the coronavirus. Previous updates are also logged on this site. If there are specific questions you feel need to be added, please email the administration.

Technology Support Reminders

Re-enrollment has begun for the 2020-2021 School Year

SCIS families should have received an email via your scis-parent email account providing instructions regarding re-enrollment for the 2020-2021 academic year.  Please be sure to follow the instruction contained in the email for re-enrollment. Please note, you must use your @scis-parent.org email account details when signing in to the Online Re-Enrollment Website.  The re-enrollment deadlines have been adjusted to account for the current situation. Please visit the admissions page for more details. If you have any questions regarding the process for re-enrollment, please do not hesitate to reach out to the SCIS Admissions team at admissions@scis-china.org.

Warm regards,

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

Principals’ Post #24

Virtual Learning Update

This week teachers and advisors worked to increase the number of real-time, online face-to-face sessions. These class and advisory sessions took place on Microsoft Teams which is an excellent platform for organizing groups and communicating virtually. The SCIS administrative team been using MS Teams for the last year to collaborate across our Pudong and Puxi campuses. This experience allowed us to support teachers and students in their transition to this powerful online platform. While ManageBac remains the primary communication tool for parents to communicate with students, MS Teams provides a great opportunity to connect with each other in real time during this period of virtual learning. Another great feature of MS Teams is that sessions are recorded as videos which are accessible to students to reference after the session and are available to students in difference time zones to watch if they are unable to attend. Microsoft Teams is also the primary platform we are using for meetings with parents and students as it is available to anyone with an SCIS email account. We would like to thank Mr. Johnson for his tireless efforts in supporting all of us in this transition to Virtual Learning, and particularly for his support of our teachers as we have adopted this new platform.

Ms. Williams, SCIS Librarian, meeting with Grade 11 students on MS teams earlier this week.
MS Teams allows for virtual face to face interactions and file sharing in real-time.

Week 4 Virtual Learning Parent Feedback Survey

There have been a number of changes made to our virtual learning in the past week. As mentioned above, teachers and advisors have started to hold real-time virtual sessions with students on our Microsoft Teams platform. These new sessions are in direct response to parental requests for real-time sessions for students which we received from our weekly virtual learning survey. Please continue to share your feedback with us each week as we seek to fine tune our program. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts!

Community Update from Director of Schools, Dan Eschtruth (Feb. 28)

Greetings SCIS Families,

Thank you for your continued effort and support for one another in what is now the end of our fourth week of virtual learning. I am confident we all share the hope that this situation will soon draw to a close so that we may return to Shanghai, to SCIS, and once again be with our cherished community. While I, unfortunately, have received no updates from the government regarding our expected return to campus date, I provide the following information so that it may support you as we carry forward.

Parent Feedback & Survey Participation:

The SCIS leadership team and I are grateful for the thoughtful feedback you have provided regarding virtual learning. The information helped us identify two areas of focus for improvement – technology and enhanced interaction. Our admin, faculty, and IT department have and continue to work on resolving the technical concerns put forward. Additionally, we noted the comments regarding the desire to increase and enhance interaction through, for example, virtual class meetings and shared office hours, to foster more effective instruction and support the continuity of our student-teacher relationships. We remain committed to continuing our efforts to enhance, adjust, and improve our use of technology and personalized instruction based on the concerns and suggestions of our community.

Still, we know there is always room for improvement, thus we seek your feedback once again as I ask you to please participate in the parent surveys to be sent by divisional principals today. These surveys serve as our opportunity to engage with you, so please take the opportunity to comment so we may better understand what you are going through and hope to see. We are committed to reviewing every comment, suggestion, and concerns. We will learn from them and carry forward in our work to continuously improve our program of learning, support our parents, and engage our students.

Hong Kong Return to Campus Announcement:

Many of you have likely heard that Hong Kong has determined that schools will not return until April 20th. I would like to provide more context to that announcement. By declaring the April 20 Return to Campus date, the Hong Kong authorities are factoring in their extended spring holiday in early April (ranging from April 4-15 as it includes both Qing Ming & Easter holidays. SISA schools remain in constant contact with the Shanghai Education Commission, and we will update our families as soon as any confirmed communication has been shared about a potential return to campus date.

Community Communication Plan:

Beginning next Thursday, and each subsequent Thursday through to our return to campus learning, my office will send a communication to our full community. The only caveat to this communication plan will be if there is a significant announcement from the SEC, at which point I will send a special notice to all. In addition to my weekly email, you will receive your divisional principal’s weekly newsletter each Friday, and we will provide at least a weekly social media post focusing on our community’s response to the Covid-19 outbreak. 

Reminders:

  • Reminder to Review our Community FAQ Site: Please continue to review our Community Update & FAQ site. We continue to add new resources and information to the site so that it, too, serves as a source of information and support throughout these days.
  • Family Travel Itinerary Survey: As noted in previous emails, SCIS is required to support a daily update on the travel itineraries for all students, employees, and family members. We understand many of you have traveled over the past few weeks, so we ask you to please go back into this link and update your current information.

Sincerely,
Daniel Eschtruth
Director of Schools

The Yearbook Committee Wants Your Help

The following message is from the Yearbook Committee:

The Yearbook team has decided to create a section in the 2019-2020 Yearbook to document everyone’s experiences through Virtual Learning, but we need your help! We would love to see pictures of students and teachers working around the globe. Have you gotten to spend extra time with pets while you work? Are you able to go to some interesting places wherever you are in the world? Are you doing schoolwork in unique places? Are you doing schoolwork from your couch at home? We want to see it all! We would like to celebrate that our school community has remained strong while spanning the globe. We appreciate any photographic contributions that you are willing to share!        

Send photos to: PD-Yearbook@scis-china.org

Announcements

Coronavirus Community Information

SCIS has developed a webpage on our system website outlining the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). We encourage families to check this link in order to access important information regarding our current campus closure and our response to the coronavirus. Previous updates are also logged on this site. If there are specific questions you feel need to be added, please email the administration.

Technology Support Reminders

Re-enrollment has begun for the 2020-2021 School Year

SCIS families should have received an email via your scis-parent email account providing instructions regarding re-enrollment for the 2020-2021 academic year.  Please be sure to follow the instruction contained in the email for re-enrollment. Please note, you must use your @scis-parent.org email account details when signing in to the Online Re-Enrollment Website.  The re-enrollment deadlines have been adjusted to account for the current situation. Please visit the admissions page for more details. If you have any questions regarding the process for re-enrollment, please do not hesitate to reach out to the SCIS Admissions team at admissions@scis-china.org.

Warm regards,

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

Principals’ Post #23

Dear SCIS Families,

As we finish our third week of virtual learning we would once again like to thank you for your patience and support. Our goal in this time of crisis has been to support the health and safety of the entire school community while minimizing the impact on student learning. The parent support of students, the teachers, and the school in general has helped us to ensure that we are able to provide the best program possible under these circumstances. This home-school partnership is as important as ever in leading our students through the crisis. Thank you for your messages, your feedback, and most importantly for your daily support of students during this difficult time.

By now hopefully everyone has had a chance to read the most recent update from Director of Schools Dan Eschtruth (sent Feb. 19) regarding our campus closure and the resulting changes to our academic calendar. As Mr. Eschtruth explained, in order to maximize our face to face instructional time, we have moved Spring Break to coincide with the seven day return-to-Shanghai period previously announced. We are also canceling the February 28th professional development day and we will continue with virtual learning on that day. We encourage everyone to monitor their email and refer to the SCIS Community FAQ page for the most up to date information.

Virtual Learning Update

Each week we collect data from students, parents, and teachers regarding the success and challenges that they experience. We are incorporating this feedback into our practice on a regular basis. Students and teachers receive updates on a daily basis through our daily email and ManageBac messages. There are a few updates we would like to highlight for families. First, in an effort to maintain personal interactions between students and teachers, we have asked teachers to hold virtual Office Hours for their classes. Teachers have communicated their availability to students and schedule realtime instructional and help sessions to support students. These interactions take place on the Microsoft Teams platform which all students and parents have access to as part of the Office 365. This is one example of the many ways we are working to fine tune our virtual learning program for students. We also shared Virtual Learning Guidelines in Post #22 that we encourage parents to reference. We ask that you continue to provide your feedback through our weekly surveys to ensure we are addressing your concerns and celebrating the successes.

Week 3 Virtual Learning Parent Feedback Survey

Virtual Learning ManageBac Refresher for Parents

Whether we are together on campus or spread across the globe, ManageBac is your most essential interface for monitoring your students’ day to day classwork, assessment tasks and ongoing feedback. During Virtual Learning, students will log one every morning (in any timezone) to see the day’s four scheduled lessons posted on their ManageBac calendar. Each lesson includes a range of learning experiences using a variety of media. ManageBac is MOST effective when you sit with your child and look at it together, but logging in as a parent gives you full access to your students daily calendar of learning experiences, messages to classes from teachers, and feedback on formative and summative assessment tasks. Check the tutorials below for further assistance.

ManageBac Video Tutorials

Calendars and Messages on ManageBac
Checking Progress in ManageBac

Virtual Learning Survival Guide

The virtual Learning Survival Guide is a great resource for parentsa nd students. Please take some time to review the Virtual Learning Survival Guide. This guide has been designed to identify resources for students and parents to support the adjustment to virtual learning. There are also some tech tips for students in using the school platforms. Please click HERE to review the Guide.

College Counseling Update

While the CoVid19 outbreak has certainly disrupted our daily routines, our commitment to supporting students with their plans and goals for the future has remained unchanged. Students continue to receive support and benefit from resources to help them identify the best path for the future. The majority of our 12th graders have completed their applications and have already received acceptances from universities from all corners of the world. The 11th graders continue to research the universities they have shortlisted and explore careers and majors that might be a good fit for them by completing the tasks assigned to them via BridgeU (https://bridge-u.com/). Individual university planning meetings with grade 11 students will continue as planned through March and April, either virtually or in person, depending on the return-to-campus timeline.

As usual, grade 9 and 10 students are encouraged to take advantage of opportunities to attend university presentations and visit university campuses, if possible. Universities from around the world are offering an increasing number of digital visits and webinars to replace school visits in China which were scheduled to take place this spring. Visit this website for a list of upcoming webinars and registration links. If you are unable to attend the live webinar, a recording of it will be available on the website after the event has passed. These webinars are open to students and parents. We encourage you to visit the website frequently, as more events will be added as soon as they are announced.

Families who have questions or would like to make an appointment to discuss the university planning and application process are encouraged to reach out to our College Counselor, Maja Kelly, at mkelly@scis-china.org..

Announcements

Coronavirus Community Information

SCIS has developed a webpage on our system website outlining the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). We encourage families to check this link in order to access important information regarding our current campus closure and our response to the coronavirus. Previous updates are also logged on this site. If there are specific questions you feel need to be added, please email the administration.

Technology Support Reminders

Re-enrollment has begun for the 2020-2021 School Year

SCIS families should have received an email via your scis-parent email account providing instructions regarding re-enrollment for the 2020-2021 academic year.  Please be sure to follow the instruction contained in the email for re-enrollment. Please note, you must use your @scis-parent.org email account details when signing in to the Online Re-Enrollment Website.  The re-enrollment deadlines have been adjusted to account for the current situation. Please visit the admissions page for more details. If you have any questions regarding the process for re-enrollment, please do not hesitate to reach out to the SCIS Admissions team at admissions@scis-china.org.

Warm regards,

Frank Volpe, PhD Naomi Shanks

Upper School Principal . Upper School Vice Principal

Principal’s Post #22: Upper School Virtual Learning Update

Dear SCIS Families,

We would like to start out by thanking all of you for your patience and well-wishes as we work to ensure learning continues for the SCIS community.  Given the realities of the extension of our campus closure as outlined in Director of Schools, Dan Eschtruth’s email (Feb 14, see below), we would like to provide you with a virtual learning update.  We recognize that many families find themselves in unique circumstances and our update may not address all of your individual questions.  We encourage you to reach out to the administration with your specific questions so we can identify the best way to support you and your students. 

Feedback on Virtual Learning

We have received over 200 responses from parents and students over the past week.  We are grateful for the time you have all taken to provide your valuable feedback.  We are making adjustments based on the feedback we have received.  Please expect that we will be sending out weekly surveys to parents and students alike, as it is essential that we have a finger on the pulse of our SCIS community throughout this virtual learning period. Please continue to provide us feedback through these surveys so we can continue to fine-tune our program. 

Support for Students and Parents during Virtual Learning

One of the most important outcomes of the feedback we have received is that we have been able to tailor our faculty efforts to continuously improve the virtual learning program.  From the student perspective, we have received valuable information regarding workload, communication, technology challenges, and the many successes students are having.  Parent feedback has helped us identify additional areas of support that are needed for both students and parents.  Overwhelmingly, the feedback has praised the job that teachers have done in designing engaging online learning experiences and supporting students.  We would like to join students and parents in thanking teachers for their efforts.  We would also like to draw your attention to specific supports we have available for parents and students. 

Virtual Learning Survival Guide

Please take some time to review the Virtual Learning Survival Guide. This guide has been designed to identify resources for students and parents to support the adjustment to virtual learning. There are also some tech tips for students in using the school platforms. Please click HERE to review the Guide.

Virtual Learning Guidelines

As we enter our third week of virtual learning, want to ensure that we are clearly communicating the important guidelines we are operating under during this period of virtual learning.  If you have a questions regarding a topic not addressed below, please reach out to the administration.

Virtual Learning Course Credit: High school students that complete the requirements of virtual learning courses will receive full credit for the duration of the virtual learning period.  As a WASC and IB accredited program, SCIS reports and transcripts are recognized by all schools and universities.

Virtual Learning Assignments: All virtual learning assignments, tasks, and assessments will count towards grades earned on student semester reports.  It is essential that all students continue to treat virtual learning with the same gravity they would treat face-to-face learning.  While teachers will continue to be flexible and supportive of students who face unique challenges, it is important to note that all assignments, tasks, and assessments will be factored into final grading.

Attendance: Attendance during virtual learning is earned through the completion of posted assignments, tasks, and assessments.  Teachers will reach out to students and parents if there is a concern.  Parents are asked to continue to email the Upper School Secretary Jelly Ling (jling@scis-china.org) if students are unavailable for learning because of illness, or other family reasons. 

Submitting Class Work On Time: Given that students are across many time zones, teachers have been asked to be flexible with students regarding work submission by providing up to a 24 hours grace period for assignment submission.  Students who log in on a daily basis to complete and submit the day’s tasks, are considered to be on time, regardless of where they are in the world. If students need more time beyond this window, students should proactively request an extension from their teacher prior to the deadline. 

Parent Support and Involvement: Research shows that parent involvement in learning is essential.  This involvement during virtual learning is even more important.  We encourage parents to support students in identifying a productive work environment, organizational and time management strategies that work for them, and for parents to build in regular set times to review progress with students.  We recommend that this be a daily conversation between parents and students during the period of virtual learning.  The isolation of quarantine for those living in Shanghai and the solitary nature of online learning can also be an additional stressor for students.  We encourage parents to more closely monitor the social-emotional wellbeing of their children during this difficult time and reach out for help when needed.   For support on all of the above, please reference last week’s blog and visit the parent section of our Virtual Learning Handbook.

Reminders

  • We continue to follow the rotating day calendar as published in ManageBac
  • Daily assignments for the day’s four classes are posted for students by 8am Shanghai time each day
  • ManageBac remains the primary platform for communication and work submission
  • Technology Help Desk Support: is available Monday-Friday 8am-11pm Shanghai time.
  • Contact Information
  • Passwords:  email PD-technology@scis-china.org if you need your password reset.

How is it going? Click to provide feedback on Week 2 of Virtual Learning.

Click to give parent feedback on Week 2 of Virtual Learning

Message From Director of Schools Dan Eschtruth

Dear SCIS Community,

I write to inform you of a recent announcement received from the Shanghai Education Commission and our Changning District Education Bureau. It states that all individuals returning to Shanghai, from either domestic or international locations, will need to undergo a 14-day self-quarantine period before being permitted to return to campus or participate in any related school event or activity. Our current understanding of the requirement is that it will be applied to all community members, meaning SCIS employees (Faculty & Staff), students, and parents. We do not currently have guidance on what the specific requirements of the quarantine will be, but should we receive further information, we will share that on to all.

I continue to remain in touch with other international schools in Shanghai and across China. Further, our Government Relations Department has been on the ground connecting with all available agencies to verify this information. We will continue our efforts to communicate with these groups with the hope of soon receiving guidance on when we will be able to return to on-campus learning. However, without a confirmed date, we intend to provide a reliable notification process to reduce the anxiety and uncertainty surrounding the potential unknown return to campus learning. As such, SCIS will provide notification of at least 21 days before our expected return campus learning date. We hope this will giveyou enough information to support your decisions on potential travel plans.

We are all eager to return to campus and come together as a community of learners once again. In the meantime, we remain committed to continuing our virtual program of learning throughout the government-mandated campus closure period. While we hope our 21-day notice will support families in making their return plans, we also understand that this may not be possible for some families. As such, I am working with our leadership team to determine how we will best support the likely transition period where we will have some students back on campus while others have yet to return.

I ask for your continued support as we approach this as a unified SCIS community – supporting one another where we can. Our partnership in learning has grown even closer as we witness the exceptional efforts of our faculty, students, and parents in working through the virtual program of learning. Our faculty remains committed to delivering the best virtual learning experience while our leadership team strives to provide clarity about our eventual return to campus learning.

Sincerely,

Daniel D. Eschtruth

Director of Schools

Announcements

Coronavirus Community Information

SCIS has developed a webpage on our system website outlining the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). We encourage families to check this link in order to access important information regarding our current campus closure and our response to the coronavirus. Previous updates are also logged on this site. If there are specific questions you feel need to be added, please email the administration.

Re-enrollment has begun for the 2020-2021 School Year

Last week, all SCIS families should have received an email via your scis-parent email account providing instructions regarding re-enrollment for the 2020-2021 academic year.  Please be sure to follow the instruction contained in the email for re-enrollment. Please note, you must use your @scis-parent.org email account details when signing in to the Online Re-Enrollment Website.  If you have any questions regarding the process for re-enrollment, please do not hesitate to reach out to the SCIS Admissions team at admissions@scis-china.org.

Warm regards,

Frank Volpe, PhD Naomi Shanks

Upper School Principal . Upper School Vice Principal

Principals’ Post #21

Dear SCIS Families,

We hope this message finds you safe and healthy wherever you are in the world. We would like to start with a message of thanks for every member of the school community. We would like to thank the students for their resilience and positive attitudes in the face of the many challenges they are facing. We would like to thank the parents for their patience as we respond to the dynamic nature of this situation and for the support you have provided your children. Finally we would like to thank the teachers for their hard work and professionalism in this transition to virtual learning. In times of crisis, the true nature of a community is revealed and the SCIS community has risen to the challenge!

Coronavirus Community Information

SCIS has developed a webpage on our system website outlining the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). We encourage families to check this link in order to access important information regarding our current campus closure and our response to the coronavirus. Previous updates are also logged on this site. If there are specific questions you feel need to be added, please email the administration.

Virtual Learning Update and Survey

As shared by Director of Schools Daniel Eschtruth, SCIS campuses will remain closed through the end of February (please follow the FAQ link below for the text of this communication). We will continue to update families as soon as information becomes available. In the meantime, we will be doing everything we can to ensure learning continues. While virtual learning is new to SCIS, our extremely talented educators have made an amazing transition to supporting students through this new medium. With this transition in mind, we would like to ask you for your feedback on how things are going. Please complete the PARENT VIRTUAL LEARNING FEEDBACK SURVEY.

Parent Resources for Supporting Virtual Learning

With the information below, we hope to provide you with guidance and useful tips for supporting your child during virtual learning.  While virtual learning places higher demands on self-management skills for students, there are specific steps you can take as a parent to help support your child find success.  Please read through the suggestions below and don’t hesitate to reach out to your child’s teachers, advisor, or the administration with questions.  

Environment 
We realize that many families are staying in hotels, are guests in friends’ homes, and otherwise do not have full control of their environments. Wherever possible please arrange an environment conducive to online learning.  

  • A quiet room, with as little environmental noise as possible.  
  • A clear table and a comfortable chair, where the student can work on writing and computer-based activities while the computer is charging.  
  • A comfortable chair or sofa for reading.  
  • If multiple family members are using the room for parallel activities, everyone should use earphones.

Planning the Virtual Learning Day 

  • Upper School students should consult with their parents to set aside 6-8 hours a day, Monday to Friday, for daily virtual learning. No other family activities should be scheduled during this time. 
  • Students should plan to work at the same time every day.  
  • Each Virtual Learning lesson is expected to take 60-80 minutes for students to complete.  
  • Plan for breaks, just as we do during a campus-based school day. Students should take at least 10 minutes off between lessons, and at least 45 minutes for a full meal between their first two lessons and their second two lessons. 
  • Take at least one “Brain Break” in the middle of each lesson. This may be a simple as standing up and walking around the room one time, or walking to the kitchen and getting a drink of water.
  • Make sure healthy snacks are available for the taking all day long.  

Due Dates 

  • Students should plan to work on their four scheduled lessons each day. 
  • Virtual learning lessons are framed as daily classwork. In school, teachers plan to start and finish the day’s learning experience during one class period. This is paralleled in the daily Virtual Learning lessons.  
  • While lessons are posted and ready for students to begin by 8am Shanghai Time every day, it is understood that students will be logging in and submitting work according to their own time zones over a 24 hour period. As long as students complete their daily tasks every day, following a routine schedule, WHEREVER THEY ARE IN THE WORLD, their work is considered to be on-time. [The ManageBac interface does not support rolling deadlines, but our teachers absolutely do. Students should ignored a “LATE” label on a ManageBac dropbox.] 
  • Any task that is not designed to be completed during the daily lesson will have specific instructions about where and when to submit longer term work.  

Announcements

Re-enrollment has begun for the 2020-2021 School Year

Last week, all SCIS families should have received an email via your scis-parent email account providing instructions regarding re-enrollment for the 2020-2021 academic year.  Please be sure to follow the instruction contained in the email for re-enrollment. Please note, you must use your @scis-parent.org email account details when signing in to the Online Re-Enrollment Website.  If you have any questions regarding the process for re-enrollment, please do not hesitate to reach out to the SCIS Admissions team at admissions@scis-china.org.

Warm regards,

Frank Volpe, PhD Naomi Shanks

Upper School Principal . Upper School Vice Principal

Principals’ Post #20

Chinese New Year Celebration

We would like to wish everyone in the SCIS community a Happy Chinese New Year! At this time of the year, we like to reflect on how lucky we are to live in such a rich cultural context. This week’s Chinese New Year Celebrations provided students and families with a chance to immerse ourselves in Chinese cultural activities and events. Classroom activities and our Chinese New Year assembly gave students the opportunity to learn more about our host culture and just take a moment to enjoy it. We would like to thank the Mandarin and Arts departments for all of their hard work preparing for today’s Celebration. 新年快乐!

Upper School Language Acquisition Classes Celebrate Chinese New Year

Personal Project Exhibition and Design Food Truck Festival

MYP Grade 10 students presented their Personal Project Tuesday, showing off the knowledge and skills they gained over their MYP years. The projects demonstrated the diverse interests and talents of our students. The Personal Project is a culminating experience for students where they apply the skills and knowledge they have learned throughout their time in the MYP to an area of interest. This year’s grade 10 class explored a wide range of topics including music, visual arts, technology, sports, crafts, interior design, media and other contemporary issues. Students from across the Upper and Lower schools were on hand to learn about the projects. The next step in the Personal Project journey will be for students to write up their experience and reflect on the lessons they learned. This report will be graded internally by Personal Project advisors and will be submitted to the IB for moderation. The IB assessors will provide final scores and feedback over the summer. We would like to thank the Grade 10 Advisors, Ms. Hedderson, Mr. Demas, and Ms. Whiteside for their support and Coach Vic for his leadership as the Personal Project Coordinator.

Students in Mr. Willauer’s grades 7 and 8 Design classes also had a chance to show off their learning during the Exhibition, presenting our first ever International Food Truck Festival. Students were tasked with designing a food truck company complete with a logo, business cards, and a menu. Students were required to combine at least two distinct cultures in their themes and menus. Each group prepared one dish to share with the visitors. The food was a hit, adding a festive atmosphere to the Personal Project Exhibition. We would like to congratulate the students on a very successful day. We would also like to thank Mr. Willauer for designing such a fun unit and offering to integrate it with the Personal Project Exhibition.

MYP Science Astronomy Exhibition

Capping off the week’s academic presentations, students in grades 6 and 9 presented their astronomy projects in the Upper School gallery Wednesday and Thursday. Students chose to research individual topics based on their interest and the options provided by their teachers in the context of their units of study. The goal was for students to extend their learning from the unit, develop deeper knowledge in an area of their choosing, and share that knowledge with others. During their presentations students demonstrated interest in their topics and mastery of the material they had researched. A big thank you to Ms. Marcos and Ms. Sculerati for organizing the event and to the students for sharing what they’ve learned.

Community Update from Director of Schools Dan Eschtruth

Dear SCIS Community, 

As we close out the various Chinese New Year festivities across our campuses, we prepare ourselves to bid farewell to the Year of the Pig and welcome in the Year of the Rat. These celebrations are but one part of the unique opportunity our students’ have to engage in meaningful experiences as they develop deeper understandings of our host country, it’s culture and traditions. Before many of you depart on your travels for the holiday season, I wanted to share the following announcements and updates:

2020-21 School Year Calendar
Please find attached the 2020-2021 SCIS school year calendar (it is also now posted on our main website here: https://www.scis-china.org/about/calendar/). As always, this calendar represents our effort to optimize learning while covering all confirmed and expected school and national holidays. Further, it provides opportunities for our work with our WASC/IB accreditation process and adheres to the calendar mandates established by our SCIS Board of Directors.

2020-21 Re-enrollment 
You will also have received an email from our Admissions Department marking the commencement of our re-enrollment process. Re-enrollment is a vital process for both securing your family’s seat placement for the 2020-2021 school year and our ability to effectively plan for the school year to come. The process of re-enrollment is relatively short and is required for families intending to return and those that are confirming that this will be their final year with us here at SCIS. We are grateful for the opportunity to work with your children and, of course, hope to be doing so once again in the new school year. 

WASC & IB Self-Study Update
Our work focusing on our synchronized WASC/IB Accreditation & Authorization process is well underway. As a reminder, the following dates in February have been earmarked as time available for our faculty to focus on this critical process: 

  • Hongqiao Main & ECE Early Release Dates (2:00 PM Student Dismissal): Feb. 12th & 26th 
  • Pudong Campus Early Release Dates (2:00 PM Student Dismissal): Feb. 10th and 24th 
  • Professional In-Service Day (No School for Students): February 28th 

School-wide Learner Outcome Update
I want to thank the many parents that joined us for both sessions of our School-wide Learner Outcome discussion. Both sessions were inspirational reminders of the incredible community we have here at SCIS. While we had two packed houses, we still aim to get input from as many of you as possible. So, we will take the feedback from the meetings to inform our next steps in gathering parent and, eventually, student feedback into our organizational and educational program. 

Health & Safety
Along with the wonderful opportunities for travel and time with family and friends that this time of year provides, comes the unfortunate increase in illnesses. To be clear, SCIS has already instituted our heightened seasonal cleaning protocols across our campuses and has maintained our effort to remind students of best preventive measures (covering our mouths to sneeze and cough, sufficiently and frequently washing our hands, staying home when displaying symptoms, etc.). However, in addition to the heightened influenza season this year we are also closely monitoring the recent outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) here in China and now the East Asia region. A critical piece for our community is for us to continue to adhere to our proactive and preventative measures established to reduce the spread of any infectious diseases. That being said, we are working with relevant authorities, our health and safety team, and our school cleaning and clinic providers to initiate additional protocols that will further support our efforts to maintain a healthy learning environment for students, faculty, and staff. For additional information and advice on staying healthy and further resources on the novel coronavirus, please follow this link

For now, we turn our attention to bidding farewell to the Year of the Pig and welcoming in the Year of the Rat. May it bring all of us great happiness, health, and prosperity! 新年快乐! Happy Chinese New Year!

Sincerely,
Daniel D. Eschtruth
Director of Schools

New Sports Seasons Start after Break

We would like to encourage students to participate in the following upcoming team sports. All students are welcome!
MS Volleyball: Tuesday, February 4th
MS Badminton: Friday, February 7th
HS Badminton: Tuesday February 4th
HS Soccer: Tuesday, February 4th

20-21 School Calendar Finalized

Warm regards,

Frank Volpe, PhD Naomi Shanks

Upper School Principal . Upper School Vice Principal

Principals’ Post #19

With less than three weeks between Winter Break and Chinese New Year, SCIS students and teachers were busy making the most of limited time this week. New students started to feel settled in and returning students and teachers started to feel like they’d never left! This week we ran a special testing schedule, with students in Grade 6-9 taking the winter administration of the NWEA-MAP test, a standardized assessment that provides valuable data for teachers, parents, and students on progress towards US common core standards. Please watch your ManageBac notifications for the score reports to be posted in coming weeks. During the same period, Grade 10 had dedicated time to finish their Personal Projects, ready for exhibition next week. Grade 11 made their first deep dive into their Extended Essays, and Grade 12 had additional Higher Level classes to kick off the final semester of their secondary education. A lot going on this week!

ACAMIS and MUN

On Wednesday afternoon 20 of our intrepid Dragon B-Ballers, accompanied by their Coaches Volpe, Shultz, Nedeljkov, Berezowski, and Vic, headed for Shenzhen for the ACAMIS Basketball tournament, the culmination of a tremendous season of growth and development for our basketball program. Students and faculty alike watched the live feed of the games during breaks, and we encourage you to do the same as the tournament heads into the finals on Saturday.

Our athletes aren’t the only Dragons representing SCIS this week. Our MUN Delegation left campus this morning for a two day conference hosted by Concordia right here in Shanghai, where they will present and debate resolutions exploring true global issues and the international cooperation needed to solve them.

Personal Project Exhibition

Please mark your calendars for next Tuesday, 2pm, when our Grade 10s will present their Personal Project Exhibition. The Personal Project is the capstone of the MYP–an opportunity for Grade 10 students to apply the skills they have developed over their MYP years to a individual passion project of their own devising. Each personal project is a unique reflection of the student behind it, and a demonstration of the application of knowledge, skills, and understandings that our students have been developing year upon year. While Grade 10 parents will no doubt have marked their calendars months ago, we encourage all Upper School Parents, particularly Grade 9s who will be starting project of their own next year.

This year the Personal Project Exhibition will be accompanied by bonus event, the MYP Design Food Truck Festival! Grade 7-8 Design students have been developing innovative treatments for a cultural fusion Food Truck, developing brandnames, advertising, menus and more! Those of us who have been lucky enough to taste the earlier design iterations of the menu items know you are in for a treat. Come for the Personal Projects, stay for the Curried Jiaozi and Banana Crepes!

Celebrate China!

Our Mandarin department has been hard at work since last semester preparing for next week’s Chinese Culture Days. Students in Mandarin classes will enjoy a range of activities over the week, including calligraphy and ink-painting, making dumplings and tanghulu, traditional martial arts, and much more. The week will culminate with our annual celebration of Chinese New Year, in the Theater at 1pm on Thursday. Grade 6 Performing Arts classes have been working hard on a joint cultural performance for the occasion, and there will be a mix of student groups and professional guests on hand to entertain and inspire. 春节快乐!

Principals’ Post #18

Dear SCIS Families,

We would like to welcome everyone back from the winter holiday. It was great to see students and faculty return to the building rested and refreshed. There was renewed energy in the school Monday with students and teachers excited to settle back into the school routine and connect with friends.

This week we also welcomed 12 new families to SCIS across the Upper and Lower Schools. Students and their families attended our New Family Orientation Monday, where they met the administration, classroom teachers, and took care of important logistics. This week we reminded students of the important role they play in welcoming our newest students into the SCIS community. We reminded students that many of them were recently the new students who benefited from the attention and kindness of their classmates and we asked them to reciprocate. We would like to encourage parents as well to reach out to new families in an effort to integrate them into our wonderful community.

SCIS Schoolwide Learner Outcomes

SCIS is currently conducting a self-study in preparation for WASC accreditation and IB evaluation reviews which will take place in the spring of 2021. WASC stands for Western Association of Schools and Colleges, a U.S. based, internationally recognized school accreditation body. We will be hosting a WASC team of educators from around the world who will evaluated the effectiveness of our self-study and provide feedback on the effectiveness of our practices. The International Baccalaureate Organization will be sending multiple teams at the same to to evaluate the three IB Programs offered at SCIS, the PYP, MYP, and DP.

The main goal of the self-study process is to evaluate the extent to which we are fulfilling the mission and vision of our school. We have taken this opportunity to clarify the Schoolwide Learning Outcomes we have for our students to ensure there is alignment between our mission and the educational programs we offer. Clearly articulating these outcomes communicates our school values so all members of the school community have a shared understanding. As we continue the process of refining our Schoolwide Learner Outcomes, we would like to invite parents to learn more about them and share their input. Mr. Luebbe and Ms. Gale will be presenting to parents on our Schoolwide Learning Outcomes at the PAFA General Meeting this Tuesday, January 14th. We hope to see many of you in attendance. Please see the flyer below for further details.

 Upcoming Events

Warm regards,

Frank Volpe, PhD Naomi Shanks

Upper School Principal . Upper School Vice Principal