2020-2021 Principal’s Post # 27

Update from Liz Gale, SCIS Deputy Director of Schools / Head of SCIS-Pudong

Dear SCIS-Families,

It is hard to believe we are already approaching the middle of March.  Without a doubt, the Spring Break holiday (April 2nd-6th) will be here before we know it.   As such, I’d like to provide you with a brief overview surrounding several important happenings at school.

Thank you to all parents for your continued support of SCIS-Pudong.  Wishing you a wonderful weekend ahead!   

Liz Gale, Ed.D.
SCIS Deputy Director of Schools
SCIS-Pudong Head of School

Student-Led Conferences:

Student-Led Conferences are an integral part of the teaching and learning process at SCIS-Pudong.  According to the school calendar, April 14th is a half-school day dedicated to Student-Led Conferences.  At this time, teachers and students are preparing for a traditional Student-Led Conference model despite the continued uncertainty surrounding parental access to campus.  Given the ongoing success of pandemic prevention throughout Shanghai, our hope is that we will be able to welcome parents/caregivers to campus on April 14th for Student-Led Conferences.  However, in the event the requirement remains that parents are not allowed on campus, an alternative Student-Led Conference model will take place between students and parents at home.  Regardless of the format, April 14th will remain a half-day of school and students will be dismissed at 11:30am.

What is a Student-led Conference?

Student-led conferences are an essential part of the assessment and reporting process at SCIS, as they provide students with a valuable opportunity to take responsibility for their learning and share the learning process, as well as the progress they have made over the course of the school year with their parents/caregivers.  There are a number of reasons schools implement student-led conferences including the fact that the spotlight is on the most important person in the process (the student).  Student-led conferences put the students in charge, holding them responsible and accountable as they present their work to their parents.   Research has proven there are multiple benefits that emerge as a result of preparing for and carrying out a student-led conference.  These include:

  • Increased student accountability on their learning
  • Enhancement of students’ communication skills
  • Strengthening the collaborative relationship between parents, teachers and students
  • Development of thinking, self-management, communication, social and leadership skills
  • Increased student motivation towards learning
  • Acquiring a further understanding of how students learn including areas of strength and areas for growth

SCIS-Pudong Community Reflection Session

This morning, over 20 members of the SCIS-Pudong parent community participated in a community reflection session where parents had an opportunity to engage in reflective dialogue surrounding the SCIS-Pudong Community Climate Survey results.  During the session, parents participated in one of 6 groups that looked at specific areas of strength and areas for growth related to the following areas:

  • School Mission, Schoolwide Learner Outcomes, and Overall Satisfaction  
  • Community, Communication, and the SCIS Administration
  • Operations, Services, and Facilities
  • The Early Childhood Program
  • The Lower School Program
  • The Upper School Program

Each group was tasked with analyzing and summarizing survey data in order to develop specific action steps the school can take to improve upon the identified areas for growth.  We are extremely grateful to all of the parents that provided us with incredibly valuable feedback on the ways we can improve our practices.   As we prepare to develop a new schoolwide action plan based upon the results of the WASC / IB self-study process, we look forward to finding opportunities to incorporate the suggestions for improvement gathered from the Community Reflection Session into our action steps.

If you were unable to attend this morning’s parent session, here is a link to the power point presentation.  Additionally, please know that feedback is welcomed and appreciated at any point of the year.  Please feel free to reach out to your child’s teacher(s), divisional principal, or the Head of School to offer suggestions on ways we can improve the SCIS experience.

Schoolwide Learner Outcome Focused Learning Walks

On Friday afternoon, a group of faculty, staff, and administration participated in a campus learning walk looking for examples of students demonstrating their ability to be Self-Directed Learners.  The indicators for a SCIS Self-Directed Learner are students who:

  • Act with integrity
  • Maintain an active, balanced, and healthy lifestyle
  • Embrace new opportunities and challenges
  • Reflect for improvement

The learning walk led the group to explore self-directed learning in a Grade 3 Music Class, a Kindergarten Writing lesson, and a Grade 10 Humanities Class.  Within all learning environments, there were multiple examples of students taking ownership over the learning process and reflecting and acting upon their areas for improvement.  Additionally, there were numerous observations made of students being risk-takers and reflective inquirers as they engaged in learning experiences that required them to explore new ideas that challenged their thinking.  Common themes that emerged from this learning walk or areas that were evident across classrooms include:

  • A high level of student engagement, and independence
  • Opportunities for student reflection
  • A high degree of choice, empowerment, and individualization of learning
  • A high level of self-motivation and self-management tied to concrete learning objectives

IB DP Arts Showcase

Monday, March 15th we will celebrate our annual IB Diploma Program Arts Showcase. The films, visual artwork, and musical performance represent a culmination of 2 years of work for our grade 11 students. The work exhibited on Monday will be submitted to the IB for external evaluation and will represent a significant portion of our students’ final exam score from the IB. MYP students in grade 6 -10 have been invited after school on Monday to view and experience the work of our DP students. We are excited that we have received approval for the parents of the IB DP grade 12 students to come on campus after students depart to experience the accomplishments of their children. Unfortunately, we have still not received approval to open events to the general community. Special thanks to Ms. Whiteside and Mr. Demas for preparing our students over the past two years for this culminating showcase of their hard work and talent. Congratulations grade 12 DP students!

Grade 6 Students Work to Positively Contribute to the SCIS Community

Service as action is an important part of the IB Programs across the IB PYP, MYP, and DP. Students in the Middle Years Program are expected to identify a need in their community and find a way to take the skills they have learned and acquired in their academic classes and use them to contribute positively to their communities. Because the health and safety circumstances make it difficult to participate in service projects off-campus, they decided to focus on finding out how they could be of service within the school. With support from their grade 6 advisors (Ms. Marcos, Mr. Nicholaides, and Ms. Caban), students researched where there was a need within the community, matched what they found with their skills, and then planned activities to meet the need they identified.

Students explained that they found three specific areas of need in the lower school through their research. First, they identified a social-emotional need in kindergarten where students are starting to learn to cooperate through sharing and turn-taking. In response, they planned a cooperative activity where kindergarten students would build towers in small groups to practice their cooperation skills. The second group of grade 6 students identified a need in grade one where students were focusing on learning to tell time during math. This group of students designed activities to teach and reinforce the skills around telling time like reading an analog clock. Students presented their lesson and then worked with students individually to reinforce the concepts. The third group in their research identified that there was a need to teach students physical games they could play to improve their health and provide them with fun options during recess time. This group worked with grade 4 students to teach them the games in the Upper School gym.

While helping others is certainly a major outcome of the service projects students in the MYP carry out, their own learning and personal development is also a primary goal of the service experience. While contributing positively to their communities, students also learn about their own strengths and weakness, persevere through difficulties, and develop new skills. A big thank you to the grade 6 advisors and to the grade 6 class for their service to our community.

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