Principals’ Post #2

Dear SCIS Families,

With our first full week behind us, classroom learning and after school activities are in full swing. Now that the academic semester underway, we would like to remind parents that ManageBac is the primary tool we use for communicating curriculum, assignment, and assessment information, as well as for sharing feedback with students. We also use ManageBac to publish our morning announcements, communicating important information about upcoming events such as ASAs, special schedules, or other reminders. Students receive a ManageBac message with the day’s announcements and parents can follow the daily announcements through the Whiteboard WeChat group. These announcements are the primary way we communicate After School Activity offerings to students (please see last week’s post for more information on ASAs). We encourage parents to regularly review these announcements as a way of keeping up to date on events and school and to help encourage students to participate in extracurricular opportunities.

Service as Action at SCIS

This week we opened the Service Program for the year our annual Service Kick-Off Assembly. Throughout the school year, teachers in every subject look for opportunities to raise student knowledge and awareness of global issues and contemporary challenges, providing background knowledge, and building connections, inspiring students to Action. In the context of MYP Service Advisories and DP-CAS, students step up to engage with service projects that allow them to use their knowledge, understandings and skills to make a contribution addressing authentic community needs. At the Assembly, students reviewed the different types of Service, the stages a service project goes through, and the service learning outcomes. A highlight of the Assembly was the Expert Panel, in which representatives from Grades 7-12 sat on stage to share some of their learning through experience over recent years. The first Service Project of the year for Grade 6-11 is China GO! Please talk to your child about the Service component of their trip, and the steps they are taking over the next few weeks to Investigate the need and Prepare to Act. GO! Dragons!

What Does the Research Say? NurtureShock: The Inverse Power of Praise

In the first chapter of NurtureShock, Bronson and Merryman summarize important research on how we talk to our children and how the words we choose can impact their motivation and performance in school. As parents, we all want our children to be happy and it is a natural reflex to praise and compliment our children in an effort to boost their self-esteem. Unfortunately, certain praise can be counterproductive, actually decreasing motivation and performance. As parents, many of us hope to instill confidence in our children by letting them know how smart we think they are. However, research done by Carol Dweck and colleagues has found that in fact, praising children for being smart can actually make them less likely to work hard or challenge themselves. When we praise our children for being smart or good, they receive the message that intelligence or behavior are fixed traits and not qualities that can be worked on or improved. This is referred to by Dweck as a Fixed Mindset. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t compliment our children on a job well done. Instead the lesson from the research is that we should focus on the process of the achievement rather than the end results. We should praise our children for persistent effort, trying new strategies, or seeking help when they needed it. Rather than say “you solved the problem, you’re so smart” we should instead say “I liked the way you kept trying until you found a strategy that worked!” This type of praise can help our children develop what Dweck refers to as a Growth Mindset or a belief that intelligence is flexible and dependent on effort and strategy application. At SCIS we seek to foster a Growth Mindset through our Advisory Program and through how we communicate with our students. As parents, how we speak to our children can also have a significant impact on the development of a Growth Mindset. To learn more about this topic, read THIS article from New York magazine or get a copy of NurtureShock for yourself.

Back to School Barbecue (Saturday August 24th)

As a reminder, our PAFA sponsored Back to School Barbecue will be held tomorrow, Saturday August 24th from 11-3. The BBQ is a great chance to catch up with friends and meet new teachers and families. We hope everyone will be able to come out and enjoy the entertainment and festivities!

Back to School Night (Thursday August 29)

Next Thursday, August 29th we will be hosting our annual Back to School Night. This is a great opportunity for parents to connect with teachers and the administration to learn more about the coming school year. There will be a short presentation in the theater followed by time for parents to visit classrooms, get information on upcoming events, learn more about PAFA, and receive help from our technology department regarding parent emails and ManageBac access. Back to School Night is designed to help parents better understand the curricular program by hearing directly from teachers. We hope to see all of you our for Back to School Night next week.

2019 China GO!

Please see last week’s post for an overview of the important role these trips play in our curricular program. On Thursday, August 19th all parents should have received an email from Dr. Volpe regarding our upcoming China GO! trips. The information packet outlines 3 documents that need to be returned to your Child’s advisory by August 30th. Please be sure to sign and return the Conduct and Permission Form, Medical Release Form, and updated copies of your child’s passport and visa. Please stay tuned for additional information.

We look forward to catching up with everyone at the BBQ!

Warm regards,

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

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