2020-2021 Principal’s Post #2

Welcome back! It was great to welcome back our students this week. The energy on the campus was electric as students and teachers reconnected after the long summer break. Teachers and students alike were excited to be back in the rhythm of the school day and together with the community again. We capped off the week with an Upper School assembly on Friday. Following our health and safety protocols, we were able to assemble students in the theater, bringing the students back together in the same room for the first time since December 2019. To ensure that we are integrating students who are out of the country and quarantined, we conducted the assembly live on Microsoft Teams. Happily, many of these students, as well as Ms. Kelly, and Ms. Shanks, were able to join us in real-time. It was a powerful moment to have everyone together.

New SCIS Upper School Teachers

We welcomed three new Upper School teachers to our school. We are extremely fortunate, given the travel and visa hurdles, to have all these new teachers here with us on campus for the first days of school. These newest additions to our SCIS family bring a wide range of experience and expertise to our school. Xiaomeng Shang, who has experience teaching in Beijing and curriculum writing experience from her time in Shenzhen, will be joining our Upper School Mandarin department. Emmet Dunphy, originally from Ireland, most recently teaching in Guangzhou, joins our Langauge and Literature and Individuals and Societies departments. Finally, Yan Yan joins us as an Upper and Lower School Mandarin teacher after 10 years of teaching Mandarin in the United States. Please join us in helping these new teachers feel part of our amazing community!

After School Activities

Sports and activities are an extremely important part of the SCIS experience. They push students to develop skills, like cooperation, persistence, and grit, that will serve them well in school and in life. We have received approval from the government to offer a limited number of after school activities. Upper School students sign up for these activities with their activity sponsor (teacher) directly. Advisors are available to help students choose an activity and will encourage all students to find a way to get involved in the community outside of the classroom. Here is a list of the upcoming ASAs; Tuesday: MS StuCo, MS Rugby, HS Volleyball, Wednesday: Yearbook (editors only for now), School Play, Thursday: HS Jazz band, HS StuCo, Friday: HS volleyball. More activities will be added as our approved after school activity time increases. Please encourage your child to participate and contact your child’s advisor with any questions. Coach Vic, Athletics and Activities Director, is also available to answer any questions you may have.

Message from Liz Gale, SCIS Deputy Director of Schools

Greetings SCIS-Pudong Families, 

A warm dragon welcome to all new and returning families.  We have had a fantastic start to the 2020-2021 school year, and I would like to begin by thanking all SCIS families for supporting us with the implementation of our health and safety procedures including the completion of the online temperature record form, as well as the daily student health card.  These practices are for the health and safety of the entire community and your understanding and support with adhering to these procedures is truly appreciated. 

As I conclude my first week as the SCIS Deputy Director of Schools and Acting Head of School for the Pudong Campus, I can’t help but feel an enormous sense of pride to be part of such a resilient, caring, and inspiring world-class community.   Hallways and classrooms were abuzz this week with overwhelmingly positive energy as students shared stories about their summer, engaged in a variety of community-building experiences, reconnected with teachers and peers, and developed new friendships.  

As mentioned in my back-to-school orientation video shared on Monday, I am honored, humbled, and excited to work with our incredible team of educators, staff, and divisional administrators.  By focusing on our community, deepening our collaborative efforts, and improving communication channels, we will continue to strengthen academic achievement for all learners, build strong social emotional support systems, and empower all members of our community to take an active role in attaining our mission to develop inquiring, knowledgeable, and caring learners who contribute positively to their communities.

With that said, we will be making a conscious effort to streamline our communication channels to ensure that information is provided in a more efficient and effective manner.  As such, I will be a regular contributor to the weekly Upper School and Lower School Principal’s Blog Posts, instead of continuing with the Head of School blog.  As always, please do not hesitate to contact me, Dr. Volpe (US), or Mrs. Brews (LS) if you have any questions.   I look forward to an inspiring and rewarding year ahead.

2020-2021 PAFA

Parents play an active role in the school community at SCIS. Our parent association is known as the Parents and Friends Association (PAFA) and all parents are automatically members.  PAFA coordinates parent involvement with the school and is a source of strength and support, knowledge, experience and a place where many of our families find lifelong friends.  We are currently seeking parent volunteers to serve on our SCIS-Pudong PAFA Executive Board for the 2020-2021 school year.   If you are interested in undertaking one of the below roles, or would like to nominate an SCIS-Pudong parent please complete this 2020-2021 PAFA Executive Board Nominations survey.  Once the survey has been submitted, Dr. David Mazer, the School Community Relations Officer will follow up with each parent directly.  We will be accepting nominations until next Friday, September 11th.   If you have any questions about this process or the below positions please connect with Dr. Mazer at dmazer@scis-china.org.   

Once nominations or volunteers have been received the campus administration will oversee a voting process if needed, and the PAFA executive team will be set for the 2020-2021 school year.   Below is an overview of the open positions.  For additional information on the position, descriptions please the SCIS-Pudong PAFA Website.

President: Working closely with the SCIS Faculty Representative, the PAFA President is responsible for chairing monthly Executive Committee Meetings and PAFA General Meetings.  The President sets agendas and supports all other PAFA Executive Committee members in fulfilling their roles. 

Secretary: The Secretary is responsible for attending and keeping accurate records of all Executive Committee Meetings and General Meetings, make such records available to members, submit Executive Committee minutes for a school publication, and model the Code of Conduct. 

Treasurer: The Treasurer is responsible for tracking and managing income and expenses.

Events Coordinator / Food & Beverage / Purchasing Coordinator: This person will work with the SCIS PAFA Faculty Representative to plan / coordinate / delegate all annual PAFA events such as New Student Orientation, Welcome Back BBQ, Bingo Night, Winter Festival, International Food Festival, etc… In addition, the Events Coordinator will work with other executive committee team members to purchase products needed for PAFA sponsored events.

Volunteer Coordinator / Country Ambassador: The Volunteer Coordinator role will liaise with administration and admissions to plan a diverse network of parents to reach out and welcome new parents and students, introduce them to other families, ensure they feel welcome and supported in the SCIS community


Principals’ Post #36

Congratulations to the Class of 2020!

Thursday we celebrated the culminating milestone in the lives of our seniors, the Graduation Ceremony of the Class of 2020. The ceremony was intimate and moving, all the sweeter after months of wondering if such an event could happen at all. This Class will go down in history for the disappointments they weathered and the obstacles they overcame–but yesterday they graduated together with the pride of a global community behind them.

In accordance with the Shanghai Education Commission’s health and safety guidelines, it was not possible to hold the traditional event in the Theater, or to welcome on campus the families and friends who had been looking forward to this day for so long. Instead, the ceremony was held in the Music Room with only the 10 graduates present in Shanghai, five faculty/administration members, and the IT crew present. Physical distancing was maintained throughout the ceremony, and masks were worn along with caps and gowns. Six of our graduates joined virtually from outside the border, wearing our Chinese silk caps and gowns that were shipped special delivery to Finland, Israel, the USA, and Japan. Parents, relatives, friends, alumni, and former teachers and other well-wishers joined on Zoom, and shared in the spirit of the event from all corners of the globe. At the same time, our own Grade 6-11 students were gathered in their own classrooms up and down the halls to enjoy the proceedings.

Within this at once intimate and global setting, the traditions of SCIS were upheld. Senior award winners gave moving speeches reflecting on the lessons of an SCIS education, and Ms Cara Whiteside’s address to the graduates focused on the resilience that we are all learning to exercise as we ride through this turbulent time. Laughter and tears, Diplomas and tassels, this was a shared experience that our Dragon grads will take with them into the world beyond the high school.

Graduation Media Page

We have developed a webpage to share the pictures and videos from graduation. There are a number of individual and group photos available for download. The tech team is busy creating a video of the graduation ceremony which will be available later next week. We will also be uploading pictures from the ceremony and the cap toss as they become available. Please check back next week for updated. You can access the GRADUATION MEDIA PAGE HERE.

Summer Program at SCIS Pudong

We are excited to be able to offer a summer program for our Upper School students. All registered students and parents should have received the course sign-up email with the link to the course sign-up form. Please email the Upper School secretary Jelly Ling (jling@scis-china.org) if you did not receive the email and you are already registered for the summer program.

We did not have enough interest in the week’s 3-6 summer program in Pudong to be able to move forward. We have also been notified by the Shanghai Education Commission that summer programs in July may not be allowed. We will communicate the final summer program offerings to families that have expressed interested once we have received the final guidance from the SEC. Thank you for your patience.

Return to Campus Web Page

SCIS-PD has developed a web page dedicated to communicated important information regarding our return to campus procedures. This web page includes information regarding the daily health reporting requirements, school safety procedures, and information on how daily routines will be impacted. We encourage all families to review this information closely with your children. The web page can be accessed HERE.

Family Travel Survey

As a reminder, we are required by the Shanghai Education Commission to keep records on the locations of all of our families. Please be sure to update this FAMILY TRAVEL SURVEY if you location has changed since the last time you completed it. Thank you!


Technology Support Reminders

Warm regards,

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

Principals’ Post #35

SCIS-Pudong Summer Program Registration Ends Today (Friday, May 22nd)

All families should have received the information regarding our plans to offer an Upper School summer program. Due to the lost face-to-face instructional time this year, the SCIS Board of Directors is offering the first two weeks of the summer program free of charge for all students. The Pudong Upper School program will include academic enrichment, athletics (volleyball, basketball, and soccer), design, arts, robotics, literacy and service opportunities. This is a great opportunity for students to continue their learning this summer and participate in activities they haven’t been able to enjoy due to the restrictions on after-school activities.

Please note that there will also be a fee based summer school program that will run from June 29-July 24.  Students can sign up for 1-week sessions.  Summer programming will depend on the degree of student interest. If there is not enough interest to run a Pudong-based summer program for this session, students will be able to participate in the Hongqiao-based program. Transportation will be available. We will notify all families by Friday May 29th if the program will take place on the Pudong campus. We are excited to offer this opportunity.


Virtual Graduation Ceremony Will be Celebrated May 28th

The time has come to celebrate the accomplishments of our graduating class. While SEC regulations will not allow us to hold our typical graduation ceremony, we have come up with a way for students to still experience this important rite of passage while complying with government health and safety requirements. Friends and family around the world will be able to tune in online to witnesses the Class of 2020 celebrate their graduation. A small ceremony will be held on campus May 28th at 1:30pm. Mr. Demas has graciously welcomed us into his music room where the ceremony will be held. We will celebrate the occasion with all of the typical pomp and circumstance; caps, gowns, diplomas, speeches, and performances, just without a live audience. Instead we will be streaming the event online for the friends and family to be able to watch wherever they may find themselves around the world. We will also be arranging a special schedule for the Upper School so they can tune in to the ceremony as well. This creative celebration would not be possible without the tremendous efforts of some very important individuals. We would like to thank in advance Mr. Demas, Mr. Johnson, Ms. Shanks, and Ms. Kelly for all of their efforts. Congratulations Class of 2020!

Class of 2020 Gives Back as They Prepare to Graduate

Students in grade 12 completed their final assessment on Monday, May 18th but that hasn’t stopped them from coming to school. Grade 12 students were recruited by the science department to support high school and middle school students in their science learning. Grade 12 students served as teaching assistants in the science classroom, explaining concepts and supporting students through their laboratory work. Grade 12 students were excellent mentors as they put their hard earned knowledge to work. Special thanks to Ms. Sculerati, Ms. Hedderson, and Ms. Marcos for organizing and a huge thank you to the grade 12 students for giving back!

Grades 6-8 Get Back into the Rhythm of School

Monday morning was an exciting time to be on campus as we welcomed back our middle school students. The excitement was palpable as students’ smiles were so big they could be seen through their masks. Despite some early nerves, students were quickly able to adjust to the new health and safety procedures and adapt to school life. Even Virtual Learning students were part of the return to campus as many participated real time in lessons through Microsoft Teams. We would like to thank the parents for their trust and support of our efforts. We would also like to thank the students and the teachers for their role in our successful return to campus. Thank you all!

Virtual Learning Continues as 30% of our Upper School Community Participates in our Return to Campus Remotely

We recognize this is a difficult time for those teachers and students still outside Shanghai. We want to make sure that everyone outside of Shanghai knows that you are in our hearts and on our minds as we return to campus. Virtual Learning will continue for as long as the borders remain closed to ensure we continue to serve you. We will also work to find every possible opportunity to integrate you into the classrooms, even if at a distances. It is a sign of our new reality that we now experience classroom lessons and faculty meetings simultaneously in person and virtually through Microsoft Teams. For those still outside of Shanghai, we look forward to reuniting together as soon as the borders open. We are here for you!

Return to Campus Web Page

SCIS-PD has developed a web page dedicated to communicated important information regarding our return to campus procedures. This web page includes information regarding the daily health reporting requirements, school safety procedures, and information on how daily routines will be impacted. We encourage all families to review this information closely with your children. The web page can be accessed HERE.

Family Travel Survey

As a reminder, we are required by the Shanghai Education Commission to keep records on the locations of all of our families. Please be sure to update this FAMILY TRAVEL SURVEY if you location has changed since the last time you completed it. Thank you!


Technology Support Reminders

Warm regards,

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

Principals’ Post #21

Dear SCIS Families,

We hope this message finds you safe and healthy wherever you are in the world. We would like to start with a message of thanks for every member of the school community. We would like to thank the students for their resilience and positive attitudes in the face of the many challenges they are facing. We would like to thank the parents for their patience as we respond to the dynamic nature of this situation and for the support you have provided your children. Finally we would like to thank the teachers for their hard work and professionalism in this transition to virtual learning. In times of crisis, the true nature of a community is revealed and the SCIS community has risen to the challenge!

Coronavirus Community Information

SCIS has developed a webpage on our system website outlining the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). We encourage families to check this link in order to access important information regarding our current campus closure and our response to the coronavirus. Previous updates are also logged on this site. If there are specific questions you feel need to be added, please email the administration.

Virtual Learning Update and Survey

As shared by Director of Schools Daniel Eschtruth, SCIS campuses will remain closed through the end of February (please follow the FAQ link below for the text of this communication). We will continue to update families as soon as information becomes available. In the meantime, we will be doing everything we can to ensure learning continues. While virtual learning is new to SCIS, our extremely talented educators have made an amazing transition to supporting students through this new medium. With this transition in mind, we would like to ask you for your feedback on how things are going. Please complete the PARENT VIRTUAL LEARNING FEEDBACK SURVEY.

Parent Resources for Supporting Virtual Learning

With the information below, we hope to provide you with guidance and useful tips for supporting your child during virtual learning.  While virtual learning places higher demands on self-management skills for students, there are specific steps you can take as a parent to help support your child find success.  Please read through the suggestions below and don’t hesitate to reach out to your child’s teachers, advisor, or the administration with questions.  

We realize that many families are staying in hotels, are guests in friends’ homes, and otherwise do not have full control of their environments. Wherever possible please arrange an environment conducive to online learning.  

  • A quiet room, with as little environmental noise as possible.  
  • A clear table and a comfortable chair, where the student can work on writing and computer-based activities while the computer is charging.  
  • A comfortable chair or sofa for reading.  
  • If multiple family members are using the room for parallel activities, everyone should use earphones.

Planning the Virtual Learning Day 

  • Upper School students should consult with their parents to set aside 6-8 hours a day, Monday to Friday, for daily virtual learning. No other family activities should be scheduled during this time. 
  • Students should plan to work at the same time every day.  
  • Each Virtual Learning lesson is expected to take 60-80 minutes for students to complete.  
  • Plan for breaks, just as we do during a campus-based school day. Students should take at least 10 minutes off between lessons, and at least 45 minutes for a full meal between their first two lessons and their second two lessons. 
  • Take at least one “Brain Break” in the middle of each lesson. This may be a simple as standing up and walking around the room one time, or walking to the kitchen and getting a drink of water.
  • Make sure healthy snacks are available for the taking all day long.  

Due Dates 

  • Students should plan to work on their four scheduled lessons each day. 
  • Virtual learning lessons are framed as daily classwork. In school, teachers plan to start and finish the day’s learning experience during one class period. This is paralleled in the daily Virtual Learning lessons.  
  • While lessons are posted and ready for students to begin by 8am Shanghai Time every day, it is understood that students will be logging in and submitting work according to their own time zones over a 24 hour period. As long as students complete their daily tasks every day, following a routine schedule, WHEREVER THEY ARE IN THE WORLD, their work is considered to be on-time. [The ManageBac interface does not support rolling deadlines, but our teachers absolutely do. Students should ignored a “LATE” label on a ManageBac dropbox.] 
  • Any task that is not designed to be completed during the daily lesson will have specific instructions about where and when to submit longer term work.  


Re-enrollment has begun for the 2020-2021 School Year

Last week, all SCIS families should have received an email via your scis-parent email account providing instructions regarding re-enrollment for the 2020-2021 academic year.  Please be sure to follow the instruction contained in the email for re-enrollment. 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

Principals’ Post #20

Chinese New Year Celebration

We would like to wish everyone in the SCIS community a Happy Chinese New Year! At this time of the year, we like to reflect on how lucky we are to live in such a rich cultural context. This week’s Chinese New Year Celebrations provided students and families with a chance to immerse ourselves in Chinese cultural activities and events. Classroom activities and our Chinese New Year assembly gave students the opportunity to learn more about our host culture and just take a moment to enjoy it. We would like to thank the Mandarin and Arts departments for all of their hard work preparing for today’s Celebration. 新年快乐!

Upper School Language Acquisition Classes Celebrate Chinese New Year

Personal Project Exhibition and Design Food Truck Festival

MYP Grade 10 students presented their Personal Project Tuesday, showing off the knowledge and skills they gained over their MYP years. The projects demonstrated the diverse interests and talents of our students. The Personal Project is a culminating experience for students where they apply the skills and knowledge they have learned throughout their time in the MYP to an area of interest. This year’s grade 10 class explored a wide range of topics including music, visual arts, technology, sports, crafts, interior design, media and other contemporary issues. Students from across the Upper and Lower schools were on hand to learn about the projects. The next step in the Personal Project journey will be for students to write up their experience and reflect on the lessons they learned. This report will be graded internally by Personal Project advisors and will be submitted to the IB for moderation. The IB assessors will provide final scores and feedback over the summer. We would like to thank the Grade 10 Advisors, Ms. Hedderson, Mr. Demas, and Ms. Whiteside for their support and Coach Vic for his leadership as the Personal Project Coordinator.

Students in Mr. Willauer’s grades 7 and 8 Design classes also had a chance to show off their learning during the Exhibition, presenting our first ever International Food Truck Festival. Students were tasked with designing a food truck company complete with a logo, business cards, and a menu. Students were required to combine at least two distinct cultures in their themes and menus. Each group prepared one dish to share with the visitors. The food was a hit, adding a festive atmosphere to the Personal Project Exhibition. We would like to congratulate the students on a very successful day. We would also like to thank Mr. Willauer for designing such a fun unit and offering to integrate it with the Personal Project Exhibition.

MYP Science Astronomy Exhibition

Capping off the week’s academic presentations, students in grades 6 and 9 presented their astronomy projects in the Upper School gallery Wednesday and Thursday. Students chose to research individual topics based on their interest and the options provided by their teachers in the context of their units of study. The goal was for students to extend their learning from the unit, develop deeper knowledge in an area of their choosing, and share that knowledge with others. During their presentations students demonstrated interest in their topics and mastery of the material they had researched. A big thank you to Ms. Marcos and Ms. Sculerati for organizing the event and to the students for sharing what they’ve learned.

Community Update from Director of Schools Dan Eschtruth

Dear SCIS Community, 

As we close out the various Chinese New Year festivities across our campuses, we prepare ourselves to bid farewell to the Year of the Pig and welcome in the Year of the Rat. These celebrations are but one part of the unique opportunity our students’ have to engage in meaningful experiences as they develop deeper understandings of our host country, it’s culture and traditions. Before many of you depart on your travels for the holiday season, I wanted to share the following announcements and updates:

2020-21 School Year Calendar
Please find attached the 2020-2021 SCIS school year calendar (it is also now posted on our main website here: https://www.scis-china.org/about/calendar/). As always, this calendar represents our effort to optimize learning while covering all confirmed and expected school and national holidays. Further, it provides opportunities for our work with our WASC/IB accreditation process and adheres to the calendar mandates established by our SCIS Board of Directors.

2020-21 Re-enrollment 
You will also have received an email from our Admissions Department marking the commencement of our re-enrollment process. Re-enrollment is a vital process for both securing your family’s seat placement for the 2020-2021 school year and our ability to effectively plan for the school year to come. The process of re-enrollment is relatively short and is required for families intending to return and those that are confirming that this will be their final year with us here at SCIS. We are grateful for the opportunity to work with your children and, of course, hope to be doing so once again in the new school year. 

WASC & IB Self-Study Update
Our work focusing on our synchronized WASC/IB Accreditation & Authorization process is well underway. As a reminder, the following dates in February have been earmarked as time available for our faculty to focus on this critical process: 

  • Hongqiao Main & ECE Early Release Dates (2:00 PM Student Dismissal): Feb. 12th & 26th 
  • Pudong Campus Early Release Dates (2:00 PM Student Dismissal): Feb. 10th and 24th 
  • Professional In-Service Day (No School for Students): February 28th 

School-wide Learner Outcome Update
I want to thank the many parents that joined us for both sessions of our School-wide Learner Outcome discussion. Both sessions were inspirational reminders of the incredible community we have here at SCIS. While we had two packed houses, we still aim to get input from as many of you as possible. So, we will take the feedback from the meetings to inform our next steps in gathering parent and, eventually, student feedback into our organizational and educational program. 

Health & Safety
Along with the wonderful opportunities for travel and time with family and friends that this time of year provides, comes the unfortunate increase in illnesses. To be clear, SCIS has already instituted our heightened seasonal cleaning protocols across our campuses and has maintained our effort to remind students of best preventive measures (covering our mouths to sneeze and cough, sufficiently and frequently washing our hands, staying home when displaying symptoms, etc.). However, in addition to the heightened influenza season this year we are also closely monitoring the recent outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) here in China and now the East Asia region. A critical piece for our community is for us to continue to adhere to our proactive and preventative measures established to reduce the spread of any infectious diseases. That being said, we are working with relevant authorities, our health and safety team, and our school cleaning and clinic providers to initiate additional protocols that will further support our efforts to maintain a healthy learning environment for students, faculty, and staff. For additional information and advice on staying healthy and further resources on the novel coronavirus, please follow this link

For now, we turn our attention to bidding farewell to the Year of the Pig and welcoming in the Year of the Rat. May it bring all of us great happiness, health, and prosperity! 新年快乐! Happy Chinese New Year!

Daniel D. Eschtruth
Director of Schools

New Sports Seasons Start after Break

We would like to encourage students to participate in the following upcoming team sports. All students are welcome!
MS Volleyball: Tuesday, February 4th
MS Badminton: Friday, February 7th
HS Badminton: Tuesday February 4th
HS Soccer: Tuesday, February 4th

20-21 School Calendar Finalized

Warm regards,

Frank Volpe, PhD Naomi Shanks

Upper School Principal . Upper School Vice Principal

Principals’ Post #19

With less than three weeks between Winter Break and Chinese New Year, SCIS students and teachers were busy making the most of limited time this week. New students started to feel settled in and returning students and teachers started to feel like they’d never left! This week we ran a special testing schedule, with students in Grade 6-9 taking the winter administration of the NWEA-MAP test, a standardized assessment that provides valuable data for teachers, parents, and students on progress towards US common core standards. Please watch your ManageBac notifications for the score reports to be posted in coming weeks. During the same period, Grade 10 had dedicated time to finish their Personal Projects, ready for exhibition next week. Grade 11 made their first deep dive into their Extended Essays, and Grade 12 had additional Higher Level classes to kick off the final semester of their secondary education. A lot going on this week!


On Wednesday afternoon 20 of our intrepid Dragon B-Ballers, accompanied by their Coaches Volpe, Shultz, Nedeljkov, Berezowski, and Vic, headed for Shenzhen for the ACAMIS Basketball tournament, the culmination of a tremendous season of growth and development for our basketball program. Students and faculty alike watched the live feed of the games during breaks, and we encourage you to do the same as the tournament heads into the finals on Saturday.

Our athletes aren’t the only Dragons representing SCIS this week. Our MUN Delegation left campus this morning for a two day conference hosted by Concordia right here in Shanghai, where they will present and debate resolutions exploring true global issues and the international cooperation needed to solve them.

Personal Project Exhibition

Please mark your calendars for next Tuesday, 2pm, when our Grade 10s will present their Personal Project Exhibition. The Personal Project is the capstone of the MYP–an opportunity for Grade 10 students to apply the skills they have developed over their MYP years to a individual passion project of their own devising. Each personal project is a unique reflection of the student behind it, and a demonstration of the application of knowledge, skills, and understandings that our students have been developing year upon year. While Grade 10 parents will no doubt have marked their calendars months ago, we encourage all Upper School Parents, particularly Grade 9s who will be starting project of their own next year.

This year the Personal Project Exhibition will be accompanied by bonus event, the MYP Design Food Truck Festival! Grade 7-8 Design students have been developing innovative treatments for a cultural fusion Food Truck, developing brandnames, advertising, menus and more! Those of us who have been lucky enough to taste the earlier design iterations of the menu items know you are in for a treat. Come for the Personal Projects, stay for the Curried Jiaozi and Banana Crepes!

Celebrate China!

Our Mandarin department has been hard at work since last semester preparing for next week’s Chinese Culture Days. Students in Mandarin classes will enjoy a range of activities over the week, including calligraphy and ink-painting, making dumplings and tanghulu, traditional martial arts, and much more. The week will culminate with our annual celebration of Chinese New Year, in the Theater at 1pm on Thursday. Grade 6 Performing Arts classes have been working hard on a joint cultural performance for the occasion, and there will be a mix of student groups and professional guests on hand to entertain and inspire. 春节快乐!

Principals’ Post #18

Dear SCIS Families,

We would like to welcome everyone back from the winter holiday. It was great to see students and faculty return to the building rested and refreshed. There was renewed energy in the school Monday with students and teachers excited to settle back into the school routine and connect with friends.

This week we also welcomed 12 new families to SCIS across the Upper and Lower Schools. Students and their families attended our New Family Orientation Monday, where they met the administration, classroom teachers, and took care of important logistics. This week we reminded students of the important role they play in welcoming our newest students into the SCIS community. We reminded students that many of them were recently the new students who benefited from the attention and kindness of their classmates and we asked them to reciprocate. We would like to encourage parents as well to reach out to new families in an effort to integrate them into our wonderful community.

SCIS Schoolwide Learner Outcomes

SCIS is currently conducting a self-study in preparation for WASC accreditation and IB evaluation reviews which will take place in the spring of 2021. WASC stands for Western Association of Schools and Colleges, a U.S. based, internationally recognized school accreditation body. We will be hosting a WASC team of educators from around the world who will evaluated the effectiveness of our self-study and provide feedback on the effectiveness of our practices. The International Baccalaureate Organization will be sending multiple teams at the same to to evaluate the three IB Programs offered at SCIS, the PYP, MYP, and DP.

The main goal of the self-study process is to evaluate the extent to which we are fulfilling the mission and vision of our school. We have taken this opportunity to clarify the Schoolwide Learning Outcomes we have for our students to ensure there is alignment between our mission and the educational programs we offer. Clearly articulating these outcomes communicates our school values so all members of the school community have a shared understanding. As we continue the process of refining our Schoolwide Learner Outcomes, we would like to invite parents to learn more about them and share their input. Mr. Luebbe and Ms. Gale will be presenting to parents on our Schoolwide Learning Outcomes at the PAFA General Meeting this Tuesday, January 14th. We hope to see many of you in attendance. Please see the flyer below for further details.

 Upcoming Events

Warm regards,

Frank Volpe, PhD Naomi Shanks

Upper School Principal . Upper School Vice Principal

Principals’ Post #17

Dear SCIS Families,

We would like to thank everyone for an amazing semester.  The academic and social-emotional growth, the impressive artistic performances, the athletic triumphs and day-to-day experiences truly make SCIS a community we are proud to be a part of.  We encourage everyone to look back on the semester’s success and failures as we take these lessons into semester two. A special thank you to everyone that contributed to today’s end of semester festivities. 

International Breakfast

This morning’s International Breakfast was a great opportunity for students to share some of their culinary cultural traditions with their classmates.  As always, we thank the parents who helped students prepare the dishes for this morning’s meal.  The International Breakfast is always a highlight of the semester.  

Celebration Activities

This year teachers took the lead in organizing a full day of semester celebration activities. Energized by the International Breakfast, the entire Upper School headed to the gym for “Minute to Win It.” Grade level cohorts vied against each other in a wide range of highly entertaining relay races. Grade 12 emerged victorious! This was followed by two sessions of special choice activities—teachers open their classrooms for workshops on everything from songwriting to crochet, American football to origami. Even lunch was special today, with Lunchtime Karaoke featuring an Addams Family cast reunion.

 Semester Celebration Assembly

The official end to the fall semester was celebrated in the theater at the end of the day with musical performances, recognitions of excellence, and a formal farewell to departing classmates.  A special thank you to all of today’s performers and those that prepared the videos for today’s celebration.   Finally, congratulations to the students who achieved Honor Roll and Principal’s Honor Roll this semester. Your hard work and dedication to academic excellence is an example for all of us. 

As a reminder, our first day back for semester 2 will be Monday, January 6th.  We wish all of those traveling over the break a wonderful journey and a safe return to Shanghai. 

Warm regards,

Frank Volpe, PhD Naomi Shanks

Upper School Principal . Upper School Vice Principal

Principals’ Post #16

Dear SCIS Families,

We would like to take this opportunity to celebrate the amazing display of community and artistry this past weekend. Thank you to PAFA for organizing a wonderful Winter Festival last Saturday. The decorations, the vendors, the gingerbread houses, and the appearance of Santa and Mrs. Claus brought the holiday spirit to SCIS. Special thank you to PAFA, our vendors, and all of the volunteers that made Winter Festival possible.

In the third floor gallery and on the stage we were treated to an amazing display of the hard work and talent on both Friday and Saturday. Our Design and Visual Arts students work was on display for all to enjoy while the arts patrons were treated to MYP Music, Grade 6 Drama, both Middle and High School Jazz Bands, and Strings Ensemble performances. This was a tough act to follow, but the true highlight of the weekend were the performances of The Addams Family. Students had been hard at work since the first week of school preparing for the performance. For the performers and the backstage crew, the performance and the process of staging a musical will be a memory to last a lifetime, and for those of us lucky enough to be in the audience, it was a fantastic night of family entertainment. Congratulations to all involved, especially our Musical Team: Ms Whiteside, Ms Riddle, Mr Demas, and Ms Williams.

Winter Festival Fun

Congratulations to the Cast, Crew and Directors of The Addams Family!

Semester Exams

The Upper School semester exams will end on Monday December 9th.  In the MYP(6-10), the end of semester summative assessments are not weighted more heavily than other assessments completed over the course of the semester, and may follow a range of formats including projects and performance tasks in addition to formal written tests. The format of these final assessments will vary by subject group and grade level.  Students in grades 11-12 in the Diploma Program practice formal exam style assessments that mimic the format of the externally assessed “Papers” of each course.  Following exams, students will spend time looking at feedback from their exams, reflecting on their skill development over the semester, and getting a head start on Semester 2 units of study.  Final report cards for the fall semester will be published in ManageBac on December 13th.

Warm regards,

Frank Volpe, PhD Naomi Shanks

Upper School Principal . Upper School Vice Principal

Principals’ Post #15

Students were treated to a preview performance of The Addams Family musical on Wednesday afternoon. The theater was packed with students from Kindergarten through grade 12. Cast members were dressed in jeans and cast t-shirts instead of full costume but that did not dampen the performance. The preview performance served as a partial dress rehearsal for the cast and crew to prepare for this weekend’s performances. The audience left the performance excited to experience the full production this weekend. Everyone is invited to attend the performance this Friday at 6pm, Saturday at 3pm after the Winter Festival or both. We’ll see you in the theater!

  • Winter Arts Night (Middle School Showcase) – Friday 29 November 5pm
  • The Addams Family evening performance – Friday 29 November 6pm
  • Winter Arts Day (High School Showcase, part of the PAFA Winter Festival) – Saturday 30 November 1-3pm
  • The Addams Family matinee performance – Saturday 30 November 3pm

Upper School Spirit Week

Principals’ Coffee: Wellness

Maja Kelly, Upper School Counselor, presented to parents this week on student wellness at SCIS. Ms. Kelly reviewed data from our fall wellness survey, shared school initiatives promoting wellness, and provided resources for parents. The annual SCIS Student Wellness Survey, based on the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (created by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention in the United States), collects information about six categories of health-related behaviors: behaviors that contribute to injuries and violence; behaviors related to interpersonal relationships; alcohol and other drug use; tobacco use; dietary behaviors and physical activity. During the Principal Coffee Morning, we shared an overview of the survey results, and discussed two wellness topics that are included in our prevention programs this academic year – Alcohol & Tobacco Prevention and Digital Citizenship & Internet Safety.

Below are a few selected resources that parents may find helpful as they continue to provide guidance to their children on these two important topics.

Alcohol & Tobacco Prevention Resources:
– “Talk. They Hear You” App – this interactive tool, created by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) helps parents develop effective ways to speak to their children about underage drinking and substance use. The app is free and available through the App Store and Google Play. It follows a game format, and it allows parents to practice “talking” to a virtual teenager.
– KidsHealth article: Talking to Your Child About Drugs: https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/talk-about-drugs.html

Internet Safety & Digital Citizenship
– Common Sense Media: www.commonsensemedia.org. A comprehensive resource on technology and media for parents and educators.
– Digital Citizenship Guide for Parents – created by Public Safety Canada and MediaSmarts, a Canadian not-for-profit organization for digital and media literacy.

Exam Schedules

Warm regards,

Frank Volpe, PhD Naomi Shanks

Upper School Principal . Upper School Vice Principal