Principals’ Post #20

Dear SCIS Families,

These are busy days in the Upper School. The first assessments of the new semester are underway, the Grade 10 students are looking to the future, the Mandarin Department is preparing for Chinese New Year, and our varsity volleyball teams are off to Macau, representing the Green Dragons at our ACAMIS Tournament. Many of you were on campus to support these events this week. The support of our community is a defining feature of SCIS. Go Dragons! 


This four-week session between the holidays has provided an ideal time for building on the students’ self-evaluations completed at the end of the first semester. Each MYP student has set a SMART Goal for their personal academic development, and has already gotten started putting their plans into action. We have been working on goal setting during the academic Advisory sessions, using the Approaches to Learning (ATLs) as a framework for breaking down the specific skills we all apply across disciplines in order to achieve academic success. Students may choose to work on Communication Skills, practiced on Lab Reports in Science and oral presentations in Language Acquisition. They may set a goal for improving their self-management, applying planning strategies to work through breaking down long term assignments into manageable short-term chunks. Others may be focusing on critical thinking skills, looking at how they use evidence to support an argument in both Language and Literature Humanities. While your students will no doubt have much to share about their growth toward their goals at their Student-Led Conferences in March, there is no reason to wait. We encourage you to invite your students to tell you about their goals, and ask how you can best support them in their efforts to develop themselves as learners. 


The Grade 10 students achieved one of their most significant goals of the year on Tuesday, as they presented their Personal Projects in an exhibition for the entire school community. Those who came out witnessed something special. The Personal Project is the capstone of the Middle Years Program. In order to complete the MYP, every student must take this opportunity to follow a passion, articulate a goal, specify a unique criteria for success, and apply their skills to move through a process of investigating, planning, taking action, and reflecting. The range of topics explored and products created by this year’s cohort was both wide and deep. Our Grade 10s learned to play the guzheng, established an MS Model US delegation, built a computer, quilled a world map, wrote an anthology of short fiction, animated the human experience, and much much more. The Personal Project is unique in that it bridges the routine work of the student–using skills to explore academic subjects in the classroom context–with the work of life, applying these same skills to developing ourselves and contributing to society, within the global contexts in which each of us move every day. It was wonderful to hear the Grade 10s talk about their process and learning through the experience, and to see younger students inspired and engaged, considering the projects they themselves have in mind for the present and future. 


This week the High School Jazz Band enjoyed a visit from Walter Blanding, from Jazz at Lincoln Center Shanghai. Mr. Blanding has been playing saxophone professionally for over 41 years and has performed with many of the jazz greats including Cab Calloway, Wynton Marsalis, and the Count Basie Orchestra. While he was on campus at SCIS, he offered valuable advice to the ensemble about practice techniques and motivation. He also gave helpful feedback to raise the level of music the band is preparing for upcoming performances. We are grateful to Mr Blanding for sharing his time to mentor our young musicians, and also thank Mr Demas and Ms Whiteside for their efforts to facilitate this opportunity for our students. 


Warm regards,

Frank Volpe, PhD                   Naomi Shanks

Upper School Principal           Upper School Vice Principal

Principals’ Post #18

Dear SCIS Families,

Welcome to Semester 2! Students arrived bright and early on Monday morning, rested, rejuvenated, and eager to reconnect with their friends and teachers. We got right to work–new units are well underway, the basketball season continues– in some ways it is like we never left! 


New Students

We were delighted to welcome 34 new students to SCIS-Pudong this semester, including seven–representing five different countries–who joined us in the Upper School. On Monday afternoon, the school was abuzz with new families, as students purchased uniforms and checked out computers, finalized their schedules and met with their teachers in preparation for their first full day of school on Tuesday. 

The Dragon community spirit ran high the rest of the week, as classmates rushed to help the new students find their way from class to class, settle into their Advisories, and explore the tools on ManageBac. International students know from personal experience how challenging it can be to start in a new school, but they also know how quickly strangers transform into friends. It was gratifying to see these budding friendships form as our new Dragons began to feel at home. 

ASAs in Action

From the very first day of the semester, after school activities were going strong. Please keep in mind that in the Upper School, activities do not run on a rigid calendar, but rather start and stop throughout the year according to the needs and timelines of different groups. Students receive daily morning announcements including notices for different clubs and teams, with instructions on how to join. This week the Athletics department started gathering interest for the upcoming badminton and soccer seasons, the Yearbook Club mapped out their countdown to publication(!), the MS and HS Jazz Bands got back to the rehearsal room, the HS Basketball teams held practice in preparation for this  and much more. If your child needs help deciding what activities to join or needs assistance in getting involved, please refer them to their Advisors, who are always ready to help. 

Looking forward to seeing many of you on campus next week for the PAFA General Meeting on Tuesday 15 January 10am.

Take care, 

Frank Volpe & Naomi Shanks


Principals’ Post #6

After a weekend’s rest, students were back in the classroom on Monday and quickly transitioned back into our academic schedule.  The benefits of the China Go! trips were clearly evident in the new friendships that were formed, and in the reflections on the cultural and service experiences.  Many clubs and sports resumed or started this week adding to the excitement of the triumphant return.  The First Lego League team is busy preparing for their qualifying competitions this semester, MUN is in full swing in preparation for their October conference, and Long Talk is taking applications for their editorial board.  In the sports arena, our Middle School rugby team represented SCIS with pride on the pitch Saturday and the volleyball teams were back on the court this week setting new school records.  Here is a summary of some of this week’s highlights and a look ahead to next week. 

China Go! Reflection  

This week and next students will be spending time in Advisory reflecting on their China Go! experiences and preparing for the China Go! Celebration assembly next Friday afternoon.  Each grade level will reflect on the service outcomes and on their experience in general.  The service component of the China Go! trips lays the foundation for the service and action expectations the students will work toward over the course of the year.  This year Mr. Lawrence is taking the lead in supporting our students in achieving these objectives across the MYP and DP.  MYP Service and Action experience provides the ideal opportunity for students to develop skills they will use for the Creativity, Activity, and Service (CAS) requirements of the IB Diploma Program.  Over the coming weeks, students will transition their service focus away from the China Go! trips toward school-based group projects as a key part of our Advisory program. 

Teachers and students will be asked to provide feedback to administration regarding how China Go! can be improved for the coming year.  Parents are encouraged to email us with suggestions on how these experiences can improved from their family perspective.  We are committed to developing experiences to enriching SCIS student life by helping our students connect with each other, our host culture, and to deepen their understanding of what it means to make a contribution to our communities through services. 


While MS sports have slowed down as we transition from rugby to soccer, HS sports are just heating up.  The girls varsity volleyball team is on track for a record season.  If they win their Big Game tonight, they will capture the school’s first ever girls volleyball league championship and complete the first undefeated league season. 

The boys are playing at an exciting level as well, and more importantly, improving on a daily basis. They have only dropped very close games to last years SISAC tournament champ (Dulwich) and SAS-PD, a perennial Shanghai/Asia power house. They are currently on pace to earn a spot in the SISAC Cup Championship which hasn’t been accomplished in the last several years.   

We hope to see everyone out this evening for Big Game Night.  The level of this year’s play alone is worth the trip out.  The electric atmosphere will be enhanced by Mr. Demas and the Jazz Band as they warm up the crowd and prepare for their own turn in the spot light this weekend during the JZ Musical Festival where they will be performing Saturday night at 7pm.    

UN Day of Peace

It was great to see so many of you here this afternoon for our annual UNIDOP Celebration. The spirit of the our international community filled the theater and overflowed. Grades 4-5 opened the show with a stirring percussion and voice performance. Keith Leung and Samuel Zhang represented the Upper School with speeches on behalf of our MUN delegation. The highlight of the show was, as expected, the Parade of Nations, with representatives from Austria to Venezuela crossing the stage in style. Enjoy the pictures below!  

Freedom From Chemical Dependency  

Looking forward to next week, we want to draw everyone’s attention to the Freedom from Chemical Dependency (FCD) visit which will take place Wednesday and Thursday of the coming week.  This is an annual event which focuses on educating students, parents, and faculty on how best to encourage healthy choices related to drugs and alcohol.  Students will be together for a short introductory assembly and then will meet in grade level group over the two days for developmentally appropriate presentations.  Last year’s parent presentation was extremely well received.  We hope to have even more parents out this year for what we promise will be one of the most important parenting education events you attend this year.  

Looking forward to seeing you on campus next week for the FCD parent presentation and tonight for Big Game Night !

Go Dragons!

Ready, Set, China GO!

Thanks to each and every parent, teacher, and student for making the opening of China GO! 2018 as smooth as it could possibly be. Grade 11 arrived in Chengdu last night, Grade 12 is checked in at their Suzhou hotel, and every other grade is now safely on the road, everyone on schedule and exactly where they’re supposed to be.