Principals’ Post #7

Dear SCIS Families,

It felt like we were able to accomplish five days worth of activities in our abbreviated week.  Students were busy with sports as MS started the boys and girls soccer season and the HS volleyball teams continued their action.  Students also completed summative assessments in many classes as teachers wrapped up some units of study prior to the October break. Much of the week was dominated by the Freedom from Chemical Dependency Program and China Go! assembly preparation and reflection.   

Freedom from Chemical Dependency (FCD)

This week our visit from Freedom from Chemical Dependence prevention specialist Diana Hu was a hot topic of conversation amongst our students and staff.  The FCD presentations and advisory follow up activities are an important part of the SCIS wellness initiatives.  FCD is a non-profit organization that provides alcohol, tobacco, and other drug education world-wide.  As a prevention specialist, Diana Hu’s role was to provide students with the most up-to-date information available on the physiological and psychological effects of substance abuse.  Special emphasis was placed on how to address the social pressures students may face and how to react in these situations and make healthy choices overall.  We encourage you to review the parent handout below.  This week’s FCD programming provides a great opportunity for parents to have conversations with your children about making healthy choices.  We hope to invite FCD back again next year with a major goal of increasing parent participation in the family focused portion of our program.

FCD Parenting for Prevention Factsheet


China Go! Celebration

Today’s China Go! Celebration was a true celebration of our host country. The  assembly allowed students to look back and reflect on their own trips and to learn about the experiences of students across other grade levels.  The student videos demonstrated deep reflection on the service and action components of the trip and highlighted the new friendships and deepened bonds that have grown from these experiences.  Anticipation for next year’s trips was already building as students learned about the experiences they will have in the future.  Mr. Lawrence closed the assembly with a brief presentation on how students will be building off of the Service and Action experiences they had on their trips with new initiatives in school-based Action over the coming months.  The journey has just begun. Enjoy highlights of our student speakers below: 


Looking forward to October, we want to remind families that teachers will be on campus October 8th for professional development but student’s first day of class will be Tuesday, October 9th.  We’d also like to remind parents that Parent-Student-Teacher Conferences will be held on Wednesday, October 25th.  More information will be shared following the October holiday but please mark your calendars now.

Warm regards,

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

Principals’ Post #5

Dear SCIS Families,

The journeys travelled this week have been memorable for students and teachers alike.  We will be reflecting back on and building off of these experiences all year long  The service activities, the opportunities to better understand our host country, the bonding experiences, and pure fun of these trips combine to lay a great foundation for personal relationships and strengthen the bonds of our community. We want to thank parents for the trust they placed in the school this week. By working together we are able to help students maximize their individual growth. Also special thanks to the PAFA Grade Level Reps who helped us share pictures with you throughout the week.  Please read on for more information regarding this week’s trips and important upcoming events.

China Go! Successes

We recommend that parents make a point of sitting with their children to review the successes and challenges of the trip.  This is often best accomplished by sitting with your child and looking through pictures from the trip.  Students are often more likely to open up about their experiences when the focus is not directly on them and you ask specific questions about the trips based on the photos as you view them together.  We have included galleries from each of the trips below to serve as prompts for these conversations.  By taking the time to reflect on these trips with your child you will not only learn about their experience, you will also help solidify the lessons they have learned and help them prepare for the China Go! Advisory activities that will take place next week.

United Nations International Day of Peace

Next Friday, September 21st SCIS will celebrate the United Nations International Day of Peace.  The UN General Assembly has designated this day to draw attention to the importance of focusing on strengthening the ideals of peace.  In the spirit of peace within and across national boundaries, SCIS celebrates UNIDOP day by recognizing and celebrating the diversity that makes our community so special.  Students are encouraged to come to school Friday in the traditional clothing of the culture they most identify with.  We will have an assembly at 1:30pm which parents are invited to attend.  During the assembly each country represented in our community will be called and students will march across the stage together.  We understand that many students identify with multiple nationalities.  Students are welcome to walk with each of the nationalities they identify with.  We hope to see you on Friday!  

Grade 6

Grade 7

Grade 8

Grade 9

Grade 10

Grade 11

Grade 12

Freedom from Chemical Dependency

Starting September 26th SCIS will be hosting Diane Hu from Freedom from Chemical Dependency. FCD is a global nonprofit organization focused on supporting school-based substance abuse prevention programs.  Students will meet with Diane over the course of two days and will have follow-up activities with our Upper School counselor Ms. Kelly.  There will be an important parent presentation after school Wednesday the 26th at 3:15pm in the Upper School Library Conference Room.  Last year’s participants found the parent meeting extremely helpful.  We hope you will be able to attend.  More information will be provided next week regarding the specifics of the FCD activities.

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

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. 


Principals’ Post #4

Dear SCIS Families, 

The first four weeks of the school year went faster than we could have imagined! There is a lot going on, and this is only the beginning! 

Sports and Clubs  

This was a busy week for Upper School athletics and clubs.  Saturday’s Dragon Cup volleyball tournament gave JV and Varsity Boys and Girls a great chance to get into the swing of the season.  The effort and overall sportsmanship of the annual event was a great reminder of the spirit of SCIS athletics.  Both the boys’ and girls’ teams demonstrated they have many of the pieces necessary to have strong seasons.  It will be exciting to watch them develop over the course of the season as we prepare to host this year’s ACAMIS volleyball in November.  This potential was on full display Wednesday as both the boys and the girls chalked up wins against Pudong rival Concordia.  A big thank you to the all the fans that came out to support the teams over the past week.  It’s great to see so many parents, students, and faculty members supporting our athletes.  

Middle School touch rugby also had a great showing at SCIS this week.  Coaches Mavec and Nicholaides have done a great job getting this co-ed group of middle school students up to speed and ready for competition.   

Off the field many of the Upper School clubs also got underway this week, including MUN, Yearbook, and Math Club, and much more.  As a reminder, Upper School clubs have staggered starts based on the calendar of events and the schedules of the faculty supervisors.  Students should contact the coordinators of the individual clubs to verify the start dates for individual clubs.   


ManageBac as a Tool for Monitoring Progress 

Many teachers have worked hard to ensure that students have received feedback by this point in the semester.  We would like to encourage parents to review ManageBac weekly together with their students.  We feel it is ideal to pick one day a week to sit down with you child and have them walk you through the latest ManageBac updates.  Students receive feedback on their progress in a number of ways through ManageBac.  The will receive numerical feedback in the form of performance level progress indicators on MYP criteria or toward DP objectives.  Teachers will also provide narrative feedback written into ManageBac or annotated directly onto assignments.  Students are trained by their teachers to find this feedback but it may be confusing for parents to find on their own.  Asking your child to show you any feedback they have received from their teachers and reviewing it together once a week a great way to understand how students are assessed and how they can improve.  


China Go! Trips 

We are excited for students to begin their journeys around China this coming week.  Students have been preparing for trips during Advisories and parents should have received grade level specific departure information by email this week.  Please refer to the grade level transportation letters that were sent out earlier this week. Here are the links to important information.

Grade 6 Travel Information

Grade 7 Travel Information

Grade 8 Travel Information

Grade 9 Travel Information

Grade 10 Travel Information

Grade 11 Travel Information

Grade 12 Travel Information

General China Go! Information (itineraries and packing lists)


Please watch the blog next week for updates and pictures from the trips.  

Safe travels to all!  

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

Principals’ Post #3

Dear SCIS Families,

It was great to see so many new and returning faces on campus last night for Back to School Night.  The evening started out in the theater as Head of School Derek Luebbe welcomed parents and shared schoolwide updates including summer construction projects and the positive enrollment trend. We reviewed our many active communication channels, including include this blog, ManageBac, and a range of in-person school events design to help educate parents on the school’s academic and extracurricular programs. 

The primary purpose of the evening was the opportunity for parents to get to know this year’s teachers. Teachers shared course objectives and materials, providing a chance for parents to better understand our academic programs and courses.  Parents also participated in China Go! Trip information sessions with Coach Vic, had the chance to discuss the advisory curriculum with Ms. Kelly, and have their technology problems solved by Mr. Johnson. 

China GO!

This coming week excitement will be building as students prepare for the China Go! Trips which will begin the following week.  We encourage all parents to review the individual trip itineraries on the SCIS-PD website.  All forms should have been turned into trip leaders this week.  Please be sure to communicate directly with your child’s Advisor with any concerns you may have regardingtravel documentation.  These trips are very important opportunities for students to build important relationships and have the shared experiences that will help bond them with their classmates.  Coach Vic, Ms. Shanks, and Mr. Lawrence have invested significant effort into transforming these trips into opportunities for service and action.

Ongoing reflection before, during, and after the trips will help students evaluate how they have grown as individuals and contributed to their broader community through these experiences.  We encourage you to review the trip itineraries with your child and do some research of your own to help you better understand the experiences students will soon embark on.  Please note that if students bring mobile phones they will be expected to keep them powered off and zipped into their bags throughout the day, and only use them with teachers’ permission, normally during a short window of time in the evenings.  Limited phone access allows students to focus on the experience without distraction.  We appreciate your support of these expectations.  Again, please contact your child’s Advisor with any trip specific questions you may have.

NWEA MAP Testing

We’d like to bring your attention to a few important events that will be happening next week.  First, students in Grades 6-9 will be taking the NWEA MAP tests.  Please encourage students to try their best as we use this assessment as an important tool to monitor student progress.  Parents new to the NWEA MAP assessment are encouraged to review the parent tool-kit available online HERE.  Next, we would like to encourage parents to attend the Upper School Counselor Coffee which will be held on Tuesday at 9am in room 208.  This will be followed by the monthly PAFA meeting.

ASA Sign-Ups

We are still missing a significant amount of student entries for the Upper School ASA sign-up portal. The deadline has been extended to Monday morning to give all of our US students the chance to sign-up. Despite our open and fluid US ASA program, it is important to give our teacher leaders an opportunity to adequately prepare. Therefore, we ask, that all US students sign-in and sign-up for the ASAs of their choice, if they haven’t already done so. Please refer to the schedule below and use THIS LINK.

Thank you taking the time to read this update on campus events

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