Principals’ Post #37

Dear SCIS Families,

This week the focus has been on exams and final summative assessments. Students have been working hard to demonstrate the knowledge and skills they developed over the course of the school year. MYP students in grades 6-10 wrapped up their final units of the year while students in grade 11 sat for formal exams designed to prepare them for the IB Diploma exams they will sit for in May of 2020.

The MYP summative assessments and Grade 11 Final Exams will be the last piece of evidence that teachers will draw in preparing final feedback and semester reports for students. In the MYP, teachers will look at the achievements of the students in each of the four subject criteria, and identify the “best-fit” level that reflects what the students can do. This is not a straight average, but rather a holistic judgement based on the evidence of student work. Assessment tasks that are more substantial and recent are often the best evidence of the students’ current knowledge, understanding, and skills.

For Grade 11 courses, approaches to final exams varied. Many language subjects used the time to run Oral exams, which in some cases were the first formal IB Assessment students completed towards their final IB Diploma during the two-year program. Other subjects made use of written final exams designed to mirror formal IB assessment components, with students completing at least one “Paper” or a written exam combining components of multiple Papers. While these exams only address the content covered in the first year of the program, the grading criteria applies the IB standard.            

Final report cards for the second semester will be published on Friday afternoon. We urge you to take the time on Friday evening to go through and discuss the levels, and more importantly, the narrative feedback for each subject, together with your students while the semester is still fresh in their minds. It may also be useful to revisit these reports in August, in preparation for a strong start to the new year.

Looking forward to next week we would like to draw everyone’s attention to the upcoming field trips. All students will be off campus for field trips this coming Monday, June 10th. Grades 6-10 will be visiting multiple museums and culture sites in the Xuhui district of Puxi. Our grade 11 students will also be traveling to Puxi for their DP year 1 celebration which will also have take them to Fuxing Park and and a Sichuan restaurant. A big thank you to the Mandarin and Arts departments for their organization of the MYP field trip and to the grade 11 and 12 Advisors for their support of the DP field trip.

End of Year Celebration Assemblies

Last Friday we began our end-of-year recognitions with our first dedicated Departmental Awards and After School Activities Celebration Assembly. Students were honored for their academic contributions and recognized for their passion and commitment to each of our our subject groups. Middle School and High School students were nominated in each department and final winners selected by each department. Congratulations to these students for their significant achievements. We also took time to recognize the accomplishments of our many clubs and after school Arts programs. Sponsors shared highlights from the year and used the opportunity to build excitement and momentum for next year’s events. If you missed this assembly, you’ll have another opportunity to celebrate this year’s accomplishments with us. We will have our annual End of Year Celebration Assembly next Friday, June 14th at 9:45 am in the Theater. Parents are welcome to attend.

Wellness Message from our Upper School Counselor

The use of e-cigarettes and vape pens, sometimes called vaping or Juuling, has recently emerged as a troubling new trend among teenagers worldwide. According to the 2017 National Youth Tobacco Survey, e-cigarette use among high school students in the United States has risen from 1.5% in 2011 to 11.7% in 2017. Among middle school students, it rose from 0.6% to 3.3% over the same time period. Countries including Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, India, Norway and Japan have various legal restrictions associated with vaping, while many others, such as Brazil, Vietnam, Singapore, Mexico and Taiwan have banned the use of electronic cigarettes altogether.

Originally developed as a smoking cessation aid, e-cigarettes were quickly shown to be ineffective in their ability to lessen nicotine withdrawal symptoms. These battery-powered devices are designed to deliver nicotine through a liquid which is turned into vapor. The amount of nicotine in a unit of this liquid (i.e. vape pod) is typically equivalent to one pack of traditional cigarettes and, depending on the manufacturer, can exceed that amount.

Recently, marketing for these products has been increasingly targeting a younger demographic. The liquid is often flavored, and comes in aromas such as mint, fruit, bubble gum and crème brulee. Teenagers are often unaware that vaping liquid contains nicotine or any chemicals other than water and flavorings. Therefore, they are likely to underestimate the dangers of vaping, compared to traditional cigarettes. This misconception is reinforced by sleek, visually appealing design of the latest generation of e-cigarettes, such as those sold by a brand called JUUL. 

Unfortunately, the use of these products at any point in life, especially in adolescence, is unsafe, as no amount of nicotine is considered harmless. It is particularly dangerous to teenagers’ developing brains as there is a well-established link between nicotine use and learning and attention difficulties, and addiction. Lately, there has been emerging evidence that the use of vaping products increases the likelihood of cigarette use later in life.

It is highly recommended that parents engage in ongoing conversation with their teens about vaping. Openly and honestly discussing what teens have seen and heard regarding vaping is an excellent way to correct any misconceptions or misunderstandings that they may have, and it also serves as an opportunity for parents to set clear behavioral expectations. For some ideas about how to approach this topic with your child, we recommend referring to this publication by the Department of Health & Human Sciences – USA, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Surgeon General of the United States: https://e-cigarettes.surgeongeneral.gov/documents/SGR_ECig_ParentTipSheet_508.pdf

Announcements

Re-enrollment continues for the 2019-2020 School Year

Please note that we are predicting waitlists in some grade levels and programs across the school.  As such, if you are confident that you would like your child to continue at SCIS-Pudong for the 2019-2020 school year, we encourage you to submit your re-enrollment as quickly as possible. 

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

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