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

Principals’ Post #17

Dear SCIS Families,

We would like to thank everyone for an amazing semester.  The academic and social-emotional growth, the impressive artistic performances, the athletic triumphs and day-to-day experiences truly make SCIS a community we are proud to be a part of.  We encourage everyone to look back on the semester’s success and failures as we take these lessons into semester two. A special thank you to everyone that contributed to today’s end of semester festivities. 

International Breakfast

This morning’s International Breakfast was a great opportunity for students to share some of their culinary cultural traditions with their classmates.  As always, we thank the parents who helped students prepare the dishes for this morning’s meal.  The International Breakfast is always a highlight of the semester.  

Celebration Activities

This year teachers took the lead in organizing a full day of semester celebration activities. Energized by the International Breakfast, the entire Upper School headed to the gym for “Minute to Win It.” Grade level cohorts vied against each other in a wide range of highly entertaining relay races. Grade 12 emerged victorious! This was followed by two sessions of special choice activities—teachers open their classrooms for workshops on everything from songwriting to crochet, American football to origami. Even lunch was special today, with Lunchtime Karaoke featuring an Addams Family cast reunion.

 Semester Celebration Assembly

The official end to the fall semester was celebrated in the theater at the end of the day with musical performances, recognitions of excellence, and a formal farewell to departing classmates.  A special thank you to all of today’s performers and those that prepared the videos for today’s celebration.   Finally, congratulations to the students who achieved Honor Roll and Principal’s Honor Roll this semester. Your hard work and dedication to academic excellence is an example for all of us. 

As a reminder, our first day back for semester 2 will be Monday, January 6th.  We wish all of those traveling over the break a wonderful journey and a safe return to Shanghai. 

Warm regards,

Frank Volpe, PhD Naomi Shanks

Upper School Principal . Upper School Vice Principal

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