Principals’ Post #4

Dear SCIS Families,

This week students were on a special schedule due to NWEA-MAP testing for grades 6-9. This year we piloted a schedule that allowed students to test Tuesday through Thursday mornings outside of the normal class rotation. This schedule was designed to minimize classroom disruption and capture the most accurate results. SCIS uses the MAP Growth assessment to monitor student progress in grades 6-9. Students take assessments in the areas of Math, Reading, and Language. These assessments are aligned to SCIS teaching standards which allows us not only to track student progress but also provide teachers with feedback on their instruction. Parents who wish to learn more about these assessments are encourage to review the NWEA FAMILY TOOL KIT. We expect to be able to share assessment results along with mid-semester reports on the 18th of October. Both reports will be accessible in ManageBac.

While students in grades 6-9 were testing, we took advantage of the special schedule to provide some additional focused instructional time for students in grades 10-12. Grade 10 students went through a series of workshops to help jumpstart their Personal Projects, the MYP capstone project. Diploma students had the opportunity to have additional extended classes in their IB DP Higher Level courses and to hear from Hong Kong Baptist University as part of our University and College series. A special thank you to all of the students and teachers for their flexibility with this week’s special schedule.

Dragon Cup Volleyball

SCIS Pudong hosted the annual Dragon Cup boys and girls varsity volleyball tournament this year which brought together SCIS Hongqiao, Hangzhou International School, and this year’s invited guest YCIS Pudong. Our teams took advantage of the tournament as an opportunity to test their skills early in the season. This year’s girls team returns all but one starting player and is expected to compete at a very high level. The boys team returns only one starter from last season but has seen the infusion of a number of athletes new to SCIS. Both teams showed great promise for the season, exemplifying the hard work and growth mindset of the competitive Dragon competitive spirit. Special thanks to Coach Vic, Coach Caban, Coach Vanta, and Coach Sculerati for their dedication to our athletics programs. Be sure to keep an eye on the SCIS-Pudong Web Portal Calendar for the most up-to-date information on games schedules.

Middle School Student Council

Ms. Roberts helped our Middle School Student Council get a head start on their planning for the year with a retreat last Friday. Students participated in team building activities, and brainstormed ideas for the 2019-2020 school year. Student Council has two primary mandates. First, they work to plan events and activities to bring Middle School students together for fun and shared experiences that build the bonds and relationships of our Middle School Community. Second, Middle School students engage with their classmates to work to continually reflect on how to make SCIS a place where all students can thrive. We would like to thank Ms. Roberts and the whole MS StuCo for their time and dedication to enhancing middle school life.

2019 China GO!

The countdown has begun with China GO! just a little more than two weeks away. Excitement built this week as students spent time in Advisory reviewing their itineraries and learning more about the activities and service they will participate in while on the trips. We have also posted our suggested packing-lists for the trips on our SCIS-Pudong Website. Please be sure to look through the packing list and speak with your child about the upcoming trips, which will be a highlight of the year.

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Warm regards,

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

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Principal’s Post #3

Dear SCIS Families,

It was great to visit with so many of you at yesterday’s Back to School Night, thank you for taking the trouble to come out on a rainy Thursday evening. Our teachers were thrilled to make the home-school connection with you, and it was great to see the enthusiasm of parents as they pored over the course syllabi, flipped through coursebooks, and discussed the program with the teachers, new and returning. Parent engagement is a significant factor in a every student’s educational success, and your commitment to be here makes a difference. Please remember that this is just the beginning of a yearlong conversation. Checking ManageBac at least once a week, together with your Upper Schooler, following the units and tasks in each class, and discussing the teachers’ feedback are important strategies to stay connected with your child’s learning. As questions arise, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your child’s teachers. as well as to the administrative team.

Photos from Back to School Night

What Does the Research Say? NurtureShock: Importance of Sleep

In the “Lost Hour” chapter of NurtureShock, Bronson and Merryman summarize important research on the negative physical and cognitive impacts of teenagers not getting enough sleep. According to the U.S. based National Sleep Foundation teenagers should sleep for 8-10 hours each night. However, research conducted in the United States by Dr. Fredrick Danner at the University of Kentucky found that most teens only sleep on average 6.5 hours. A survey of students enrolled at SCIS during the 2018-2019 school year found that 68% of MYP students (grades 6-10) sleep for 8 or more hours but this number drops to only 20% of the students sleeping for 8 or more hours once they are enrolled in the DP (G11-12). These lost hours negatively impact the physical health of our students as well as their academic performance in school.

According to Bronson and Merryman, researchers have attributed a number of challenges teenagers face to these lost hours of sleep. Sleep deficits can lead to decreased academic performance and emotional instability, an increase in obesity rates and ADHD, and it has been theorized that persistent sleep deficits can lead to permanent changes in the brain. According to research done by Dr. Avi Sadeh at Tel Aviv university, “a loss of one hour of sleep is equivalent to the loss of two years of cognitive maturation and development”. In other words, an average 6th grade will perform like an average 4th grade student when suffering from only one hour less sleep then the target eight hours. Using Functional MRI technology, scientists observe that far fewer connections are made during learning in subjects that have sleep deficits compared to control groups that have optimal sleep conditions. Essentially, what the researchers have found is that sleep is required to consolidate new learning, or more simply sleep = memory.

We encourage parents to set students up for success by supporting a bedtime routine that promotes at least eight hours of sleep per night. For more information on how parents can help teenagers get the necessary amount of sleep, please read this ARTICLE from Commonsense Media.

2019 China GO!

As a reminder, China GO! forms, passport and visa copies were due to student advisors on TODAY. If you have not provided the signed forms or copies of your child’s travel documents please ensure they are turned in Monday, September 2nd. Please contact your child’s advisor or Coach Vic (vcaban@scis-china.org) with questions.

We hope to see families on campus this weekend for Dragon Cup Volleyball. Go Dragons!

Warm regards,

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

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

Announcements

Principals’ Post #1

Dear SCIS Families,

We are very excited to have students back on campus getting the new school year underway. The excitement of a new beginning was visible in the hallways as students caught up with each other and met new classmates for the first time. As an administrative team we could not be more proud of the returning students as they worked hard to welcome our newest Dragons. The SCIS community spirit was most visible at lunch as new students were invited to sit with their classmates, sparking new friendships. In addition to introducing students to their new courses, teachers spent considerable time this week building the relationships that form the foundation of our community. Teachers organized ice-breakers, games, and other activities in classrooms and grade levels to help students get to know one another and develop grade level bonds.

For those that are new to SCIS-Pudong, this blog is one of the primary ways you can stay up to date on what’s happening in the Upper School. We will celebrate events that have taken place and share upcoming events. Our Principals’ Blog provides a great window for parents into the student experience at SCIS and also serves as the best source of information for parents who want to learn more about SCIS programs and how parents can get involved. We are also committed to sharing important information with parents regarding the latest research on how you can support the educational and social-emotional development of your child. We look forward to sharing this information and showcasing the growth and achievement of our students over the course of the year.

Meet the New Teachers

We are delight to share that we have increased the number of teaching faculty this year in the Upper School. Whether coming in to fill a new position or replacing one of our beloved departing teachers, this new group of teachers is uniquely positioned to have an immediate impact on our programs. All of the incoming teachers have experience in other international schools and are extremely well qualified in their subject areas. Please be sure to introduce yourselves to our new faculty when you next find yourself on campus. We are excited to introduce you to (pictures appear in the order names are listed):

Jennifer Arvay: Visual Arts
Kyounghee You: Language and Literature (Korean)
Lisa Marcos: Science
Maitane Arruti: Language Acquisition (Spanish & English)
Andrew Shearer: Mathematics/Economics
Ivana Nedeljkov: Learning Support
Dan Olsen: Learning Support

What Does the Research Say?

In this year’s blog we are excited to offer a series of articles that will summarize important research across academic disciplines. Our goal is to share relevant research with families regarding education, the science of learning, human development, psychology, health and wellness, and other fields in order to provide families with important tools and strategies to support our students. The first articles will focus on summarizing select chapters from Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman’s NurtureShock. This book does an excellent job of synthesizing important research across many fields in an effort to provide parents and educators with important knowledge and strategies from academic research that can be used to help optimize the development of our students. Stay tune for lessons from NurtureShock!

After School Activities (ASAs)

After school activities in the Upper School are an important part of the balanced SCIS student experience. We feel strongly that students develop important skills and relationships through their participation in the Arts, Athletics, and many clubs. These ASAs seek to capitalize on student interests and passions as well as provide opportunities for students to be exposed to new experiences and opportunities for growth. After School Activities provide an important opportunity to have shared experiences that deepen and develop new relationships. These shared experiences and relationships are the foundation of our SCIS community. As parents, we ask that you encourage your children to participate in areas of passion and that you encourage them to try something new. The skills and relationships they will gain from these experiences will truly last a life time.

The logistics of student sign-ups requires individual students to identify the activities they are interested, for them to follow through by communicating with the sponsor of the activities, and for them to communicate with parents regarding the activities they will participate in. We realize for students new to SCIS or for students in grade 6, this may be a new experience. As a school, we will support students through this process. During today’s welcome back assembly, students were introduced to the many opportunities available for them to get involved with the Arts, Athletics, and Clubs. Students will receive information through announcements and advisory regarding activities and sign-up procedures. While students are encourage to independently take charge of their own participation in activities, parents are encouraged to help students find the activities they are interested in. Below, we have attached a list of the current offerings available for students. However, please be aware that other activities may be added over the course of the semester. Any changes or additions will be communicated to students directly through the daily announcements. Please feel free to contact us, or Coach Vic (vcaban@scis-china.org) our Athletics and Activities Director with questions. Go Dragons!

2019 China GO!

Excitement is building for this year’s China GO! trips. China GO! is consistently identified by students as one of the highlights of the the school year. At SCIS, China GO! trips seek to build our community through shared experiences by engaging authentic service-based activities which promote host culture connections. These shared experiences help build the bonds of friendship between classmates and help build a foundation for positive student-teacher relationships. Research research shows these relationships have a positive impact on student learning. Whether focused on community building in grade 6 or literally building a new home for villagers in Chengdu in grade 11, these experiences help to shape who we are as a community of learners. Students will be learning more about these trips through our Advisory program and parents will receive grade level information and required permission forms in the coming weeks. In the meantime, we ask that parents do not make plans to travel with their students until the day after students return for the trips (Sept. 28). We also ask that parents make sure that student passports and visas are up-to-date as we will be requesting updated copies for booking the trips. Please make a point of speaking with your children about their trips over the coming weeks as you receive important information.

In closing, we would like to welcome everyone to the 2019-2020 school year. We encourage parents to stay connected to school by following this blog, reviewing ManageBac with students on a weekly basis, and participating in the many events on campus. Finally, we wish all of our Dragons an amazing 2019-2020 school year filled with growth and achievement.

Warm regards,

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

Announcements

Principals’ Post #38

Dear SCIS Families,

As another amazing year comes to a close we would like to congratulate students on their hard work and achievements this year. As educators, the most rewarding aspect of our careers is witnessing the individual and collect growth of our students over the course of the year. We feel that a strong community is the most important condition necessary for students to develop socially, emotionally, and academically to their full potential. At SCIS, we feel that strong personal relationships and shared experiences are the bedrock of a strong community. We work hard all year long to develop these relationships between all members of the SCIS community. One of the ways we feel relationships are made and deepened is through shared experiences whether in the classroom, on the stage, on the soccer field, or just bonding through shared interests. Today’s End of Year Celebration Assembly was a chance for us to reflect back on the relationships that have been built and strengthened over the year through the many shared experiences inside and outside of the classroom. We expressed our gratitude to all of those in the community that have cared for and put effort into developing the bonds of our community. For those parents who were unable to attend our assembly today we would like to take this opportunity to thank you here for helping to make the SCIS community such a special place to be.

Today’s End of Semester Celebration Assembly and International Breakfast

China Go! Trips 2019

We are already preparing for next year’s China Go! trips. Students will be traveling the week of September 23rd through the 27th. Please make sure that your child’s passport and visa documents are up-to-date and ready for travel. If your child has renewed their passport please be sure to share this information with our Upper School secretary Jelly Ling (jling@scis-china.org). More information will be shared regarding trips at the start of next school year.

2019-2020 School Calendar

For those that are repatriating or who are moving on to another post we would like to wish you the best of luck in the next chapter of your lives. You have our deepest gratitude for making SCIS a part of your family. For the vast majority of you who will be returning next year, we wish you a relaxing summer and we look forward to catching up at the start of the 2019-2020 school year. Safe travels to all!

Warm regards,

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

Principals’ Post #37

Dear SCIS Families,

This week the focus has been on exams and final summative assessments. Students have been working hard to demonstrate the knowledge and skills they developed over the course of the school year. MYP students in grades 6-10 wrapped up their final units of the year while students in grade 11 sat for formal exams designed to prepare them for the IB Diploma exams they will sit for in May of 2020.

The MYP summative assessments and Grade 11 Final Exams will be the last piece of evidence that teachers will draw in preparing final feedback and semester reports for students. In the MYP, teachers will look at the achievements of the students in each of the four subject criteria, and identify the “best-fit” level that reflects what the students can do. This is not a straight average, but rather a holistic judgement based on the evidence of student work. Assessment tasks that are more substantial and recent are often the best evidence of the students’ current knowledge, understanding, and skills.

For Grade 11 courses, approaches to final exams varied. Many language subjects used the time to run Oral exams, which in some cases were the first formal IB Assessment students completed towards their final IB Diploma during the two-year program. Other subjects made use of written final exams designed to mirror formal IB assessment components, with students completing at least one “Paper” or a written exam combining components of multiple Papers. While these exams only address the content covered in the first year of the program, the grading criteria applies the IB standard.            

Final report cards for the second semester will be published on Friday afternoon. We urge you to take the time on Friday evening to go through and discuss the levels, and more importantly, the narrative feedback for each subject, together with your students while the semester is still fresh in their minds. It may also be useful to revisit these reports in August, in preparation for a strong start to the new year.

Looking forward to next week we would like to draw everyone’s attention to the upcoming field trips. All students will be off campus for field trips this coming Monday, June 10th. Grades 6-10 will be visiting multiple museums and culture sites in the Xuhui district of Puxi. Our grade 11 students will also be traveling to Puxi for their DP year 1 celebration which will also have take them to Fuxing Park and and a Sichuan restaurant. A big thank you to the Mandarin and Arts departments for their organization of the MYP field trip and to the grade 11 and 12 Advisors for their support of the DP field trip.

End of Year Celebration Assemblies

Last Friday we began our end-of-year recognitions with our first dedicated Departmental Awards and After School Activities Celebration Assembly. Students were honored for their academic contributions and recognized for their passion and commitment to each of our our subject groups. Middle School and High School students were nominated in each department and final winners selected by each department. Congratulations to these students for their significant achievements. We also took time to recognize the accomplishments of our many clubs and after school Arts programs. Sponsors shared highlights from the year and used the opportunity to build excitement and momentum for next year’s events. If you missed this assembly, you’ll have another opportunity to celebrate this year’s accomplishments with us. We will have our annual End of Year Celebration Assembly next Friday, June 14th at 9:45 am in the Theater. Parents are welcome to attend.

Wellness Message from our Upper School Counselor

The use of e-cigarettes and vape pens, sometimes called vaping or Juuling, has recently emerged as a troubling new trend among teenagers worldwide. According to the 2017 National Youth Tobacco Survey, e-cigarette use among high school students in the United States has risen from 1.5% in 2011 to 11.7% in 2017. Among middle school students, it rose from 0.6% to 3.3% over the same time period. Countries including Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, India, Norway and Japan have various legal restrictions associated with vaping, while many others, such as Brazil, Vietnam, Singapore, Mexico and Taiwan have banned the use of electronic cigarettes altogether.

Originally developed as a smoking cessation aid, e-cigarettes were quickly shown to be ineffective in their ability to lessen nicotine withdrawal symptoms. These battery-powered devices are designed to deliver nicotine through a liquid which is turned into vapor. The amount of nicotine in a unit of this liquid (i.e. vape pod) is typically equivalent to one pack of traditional cigarettes and, depending on the manufacturer, can exceed that amount.

Recently, marketing for these products has been increasingly targeting a younger demographic. The liquid is often flavored, and comes in aromas such as mint, fruit, bubble gum and crème brulee. Teenagers are often unaware that vaping liquid contains nicotine or any chemicals other than water and flavorings. Therefore, they are likely to underestimate the dangers of vaping, compared to traditional cigarettes. This misconception is reinforced by sleek, visually appealing design of the latest generation of e-cigarettes, such as those sold by a brand called JUUL. 

Unfortunately, the use of these products at any point in life, especially in adolescence, is unsafe, as no amount of nicotine is considered harmless. It is particularly dangerous to teenagers’ developing brains as there is a well-established link between nicotine use and learning and attention difficulties, and addiction. Lately, there has been emerging evidence that the use of vaping products increases the likelihood of cigarette use later in life.

It is highly recommended that parents engage in ongoing conversation with their teens about vaping. Openly and honestly discussing what teens have seen and heard regarding vaping is an excellent way to correct any misconceptions or misunderstandings that they may have, and it also serves as an opportunity for parents to set clear behavioral expectations. For some ideas about how to approach this topic with your child, we recommend referring to this publication by the Department of Health & Human Sciences – USA, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Surgeon General of the United States: https://e-cigarettes.surgeongeneral.gov/documents/SGR_ECig_ParentTipSheet_508.pdf

Announcements

Re-enrollment continues for the 2019-2020 School Year

Please note that we are predicting waitlists in some grade levels and programs across the school.  As such, if you are confident that you would like your child to continue at SCIS-Pudong for the 2019-2020 school year, we encourage you to submit your re-enrollment as quickly as possible. 

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 #36

These past seven days have undoubtedly been the busiest of the school year in terms of events. We ended last week with the spectacular performance of Somewhere, Nowhere by our Upper School drama students (see last week’s post), Saturday night Student Council sponsored a wonderful Prom at Kathleen’s Waitan, Monday our 7th and 8th grade students performed their final Arts Rotation performance of the year, Tuesday SCIS celebrated its annual Upper School Sports Banquet, and last night we held our biggest celebration of the year, the Graduation Ceremony of the Class of 2019. These events are important because the help build our community through shared experiences. Special thanks to the teachers who worked late to make all of these events possible and to the parents who’s attendance made them all the more special.

High School Graduation

This year’s graduating class will be remembered for their tight bonds, academic excellence, and their artistic talent . Every year graduation is a bittersweet moment, as the sadness of leaving friends and family behind combines with the excitement for what’s to come. One of the most unique aspect of our SCIS Pudong campus is that our small size allows for us to develop exceptional strong relationships. Last night’s Graduation Ceremony was shining example of how these relationships provide the caring support necessary for our students to mature into the best possible versions of themselves (watch the video HERE)

The common refrain across all of the fantastically delivered student speeches was the role all of these individual relationships played in their development into the young adults they have become. Whether talking about their best friends, classmates, teachers, or parents, each of our student speakers eloquently explained how these relationships had shaped them. Stories of the fear of loneliness on the first day of school being extinguished by a simple invitation to join classmates at their lunch table helped to highlight how a simple act of kindness can spark deep friendships. The accounts of teachers helping students find and develop their passions were delivered with deep gratitude. By far the most emotional moment of what was a very sentimental evening came as the student speakers thanked their parents for the support, care, and love they have provided.

There are many people to thank for last night’s ceremony and for helping our graduating class achieve this important milestone. First and foremost our deepest gratitude to the cCs of 2019 for the significant contributions they have made to SCIS in their time with us. A special thank you to Ms. Shanks, our Upper School Vice Principal and IB Diploma Coordinator and Ms. Maja Kelly, our Upper School Counselor, for their neverending support of the class of 2019 and for the long hours they put in preparing for the graduation ceremony. We also thank the faculty and staff for their tireless efforts teaching, coaching, and mentoring the Class of 2019 throughout their time with us. Finally, last but not least we would like to thank the parents of the class of 2019 for placing your trust in SCIS and for your partnership and support. It truly takes a community working together to help our students grow into the accomplished men and women they have become! Best of luck Class of 2019!

Upper School Sports Banquet

Tuesday night’s Sports Banquet was a celebration of the growth and individual and team accomplishments of this years sports seasons. Each of our Middle School and High School teams were recognized over the course of the evening. Coaches highlighted the growth and accomplishments of the season and recognized individual players for their accomplishments. Parents, teachers, and administrators were on hand to enjoy the celebration. A huge thank you to Coach Vic for all of his efforts preparing the festivities and more importantly for his support of our athletics and activities programs. Go Dragons!

The Greedy Crows Arts Performance

Monday we were treated to the final 7th and 8th Grade Arts Rotation performance of the year. The performance was spectacular, with beautiful backdrop art, confidently delivered acting performances, and live synchronized musical accompaniment. However, as with each of the previous Arts Rotation performances the most impressive aspect of the performance was the fact that it was completely student generated. Drama students wrote the script based on the classic story, Visual Arts students designed artwork based on the script, and Music students composed original music to represent the mood of each scene. By providing students in grades 7 and 8 the opportunity to work in each area of the Arts, they were pushed outside of their comfort zones and had the opportunity to develop new skills and passions. Students also gained an appreciation for how the Arts can complement each other.

As a reminder, this year’s Arts Rotation was a change from previous years where students had been required to elect just one of the Arts. This led to students being pushed to specialize within the Arts at a young age, often leading to a reluctance for students to venture out of their comfort zones in later years. We are confident this this new model of providing students the opportunity to experience Music, Drama, and Visual Arts, throughout their Middle School years is the best approach to a comprehensive Arts education. Thanks to our after-school programs, students still have the opportunity to specialize within the Arts through our many Arts focused After School Activities (ASAs). We would like to thank the Arts Department for this bold, successful experiment which will continue into the future. Congratulations Ms. Riddle, Ms. Whiteside, Mr. Demas, and Mr. O’Reilly on an amazing year of the Arts at SCIS. Thank you!

Upper School Exam Schedule

Upper School students will be on a special exam schedule this coming week. Students in the MYP (grades 6-10) will have their final summative assessments of the semester during the exam period. Grade 11 students will be testing under formal exam conditions to simulate the IB Diploma exams they will take in grade 12. Please encourage students to eat well and get plenty of rest to ensure they are ready to demonstrate their learning during the upcoming exam sessions. Please review the following information so you are aware of next week’s schedule.

Announcements

Re-enrollment continues for the 2019-2020 School Year

Please note that we are predicting waitlists in some grade levels and programs across the school.  As such, if you are confident that you would like your child to continue at SCIS-Pudong for the 2019-2020 school year, we encourage you to submit your re-enrollment as quickly as possible. 

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 #35

Somewhere, Nowhere

This year’s drama production Somewhere, Nowhere kicked off Thursday with a late afternoon matinee. Students and teachers have been working hard all semester in preparation for this week’s performance culminating in an engaging performance yesterday that had the audience engrossed in the ups and downs of the small town adolescent struggle and belly laughing with the comic relief. Yesterday’s audience had a good mix of teachers, students, and parents who came out to campus for the show. Audience members enjoyed the student artwork and refreshments in the gallery space which will be on display and available again for tonights show.

The plot of Somewhere, Nowhere follows the lives of high school students in a small town with all of the drama that comes with living under the microscope of a small community. Performing the dialogue rich production is an impressive accomplishment given that English is not the first language of the majority of cast members. The production includes cast and crew members across grades 6-11. We would like to take this opportunity to recognize and thank the teachers and staff members who made this year’s drama production possible. Special thanks goes to Mr. Justin Zhu for his role as the theater technician, Ms. Emily Williams for her role as Costumer, Ms. Cara Whiteside for her role as Tech Director, and most especially, to Ms. Samantha Riddle as Director.

We hope to see many of you on campus this evening for the closing night of the play, beginning at 6pm.

IB Diploma Group 4 Science Project

All SCIS students in their first year of the IB Diploma Program are required to undertake the “Group 4 Project,” a collaborative project highlighting the integration of the different scientific disciplines of Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. This experience is designed to broaden their abilities to apply the scientific knowledge they have learned. This year students worked closely with Lower School teachers to plan and deliver a science lesson for students in grades K-5. Grade 11 students designed the lesson around teacher identified science standards seeking to engage students and develop proficiency. Lessons included activating background knowledge, delivering new content, offered hands-on learning experiences, and cumulated with a sharing of what the students had learned.

This experience helped students gain an insight into what their teachers do everyday to prepare for their learning and gave them a deeper appreciation for the role of a teacher in getting students to engage in the content. Lower School students and teachers expressed that the not only enjoyed the experience but learning a lot in the process. The Group 4 project also represents a small example of how SCIS actively works to build and strengthen the bonds of our community but helping students and teachers make connections outside of the grade levels they frequently interact with. A big thank you to our lab assistant Ms. Jane He, Mr. Bilz, Ms. Hedderson, and Ms. Sculerati for supporting out students through this valuable learning experience!

US Consulate Security Presentation Video is Available to Watch Online

For those that missed the security briefing provided by the U.S. Consulate Officer Owen Johns this past Tuesday you can still access the information from the presentation by watching the archived video. please follow this LINK to view the video recording of the presentation. Thank you Mr. Johnson for making this available.

Announcements

Re-enrollment continues for the 2019-2020 School Year

Please note that we are predicting waitlists in some grade levels and programs across the school.  As such, if you are confident that you would like your child to continue at SCIS-Pudong for the 2019-2020 school year, we encourage you to submit your re-enrollment as quickly as possible. 

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 #34

Upper School College Counselor Ms. Kelly Presents on University Admissions

Ms. Kelly began her annual university admissions series this week. The focus of this series is to introduce parents to the requirements and timeline of the university admissions process. Ms. Kelly kicked off the series on Tuesday morning with a presentation on applying to U.S. Colleges and Universities. Thursday’s presentation on applying to universities in Canada, the U.K. and the Netherlands was also well attended by parents. The final presentation in the series will be next Monday, May 20 at 9:00am. This presentation will focus on universities in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Japan. Ms. Kelly has also invited parents to reach out to her to set up individual family meetings to explore the many university options available. These individual meetings are in addition to the regular university counseling programing Ms. Kelly leads students through during our Advisory sessions. We would like to thank Ms. Kelly for her efforts in organizing these important sessions for parents.

MYP Grade 7 Interdisciplinary Unit on Sustainable Development

This month students in grade 7 are working on an interdisciplinary unit across Science, Humanities, and Design. Interdisciplinary units (IDU) are an important component of the IB Middle Years Program curriculum framework. One of the major goals of the MYP at SCIS is to help students experience learning beyond the confines of individual disciplines in the context of real world problems. The grade 7 IDU is an excellent example of how we seek to help students take the skills and knowledge they learn in class and put them in to use, in this case solving major global problems.

The goal of the unit is to have students research and propose solutions for making cities around the world more sustainable. They will work towards this goal through the interdisciplinary lens of Science, Humanities, and Design. Students will identify current problems and propose technological, civic, and urban design solutions. Students will divide up and focus on four major challenges facing cities around the world: waste management, energy, food production, and green space. Students will take the knowledge and understanding they gain through disciplinary studies and synthesize them in their proposed solutions. We are looking forward to hearing the solutions they propose! We would like to thank Mr. Mavec, Mr. Lawrence, and Mr. Willauer for the hard work, creativity, and energy they have put into designing an amazing learning experience for our students.

Important Shanghai Security Information

We would like to draw your attention once again to the important security information contained in last week’s blog post. First we would like to remind you that we will be hosting a representative from the U.S. Consulate on May 21 who will provide a briefing to students and parents. While some of the information in the presentation will be specific to U.S. Consulate services, we have asked the representative to focus on drawing attention to the importance of understanding local laws. There will be a student presentation from 11:30-12:00 and a parent question and answer session from 12:10-12:45. We hope to see many of you at the presentation. In case you missed last week’s post we are again including the message from Head of School Derek Luebbe which outlines important security information. Please take a moment to read Mr. Luebbe’s letter below.

Announcements

Parent Presentation May 21, 12:10-12:45 in the Theater

Re-enrollment continues for the 2019-2020 School Year

Please note that we are predicting waitlists in some grade levels and programs across the school.  As such, if you are confident that you would like your child to continue at SCIS-Pudong for the 2019-2020 school year, we encourage you to submit your re-enrollment as quickly as possible. 

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 #33

Dear SCIS Families,

As the weather warms and important celebrations like the Prom and Graduation approach, we feel it is an important time to draw your attention to how we can keep our students safe as they navigate the city outside of the protective walls of SCIS. While Shanghai is a safe city by international standards, it is important that students are aware of the local laws and regulations.

SCIS takes our responsibility for helping students make responsible choices very seriously. We have dedicated significant time within the school day and within the curriculum to help equip our students with the information and the social skills necessary to make positive, healthy choices. One example of these efforts is our social-emotional Advisory curriculum delivered by Ms. Kelly, our Upper School Counselor. Ms. Kelly’s lessons with students include a focus on helping students develop healthy habits, practicing communication skills to resist peer pressure, and an ongoing effort to ensure students have up to date information and are aware of the latest research about substance abuse.

As an extension of these efforts, we have invited a representative from the U.S. Consulate to come to SCIS to provide our students with a security briefing. This event will take place on May 21st during Advisory (11:30-12:10). Following the student Advisory session the U.S. Consulate representative has agreed to provide a follow-up session for parents from 12:10-12:45. We hope that many of you will be available to attend this opportunity to hear directly from a representative of the diplomatic community regarding how we can keep our students safe in Shanghai.

At SCIS we recognize that while living in China it can be difficult to obtain accurate information about changes in local laws and law enforcement initiatives. We are committed to sharing information with our community as we become aware of it as a school. Please take some time to read the following letter from our Head of School Derek Luebbe for more detailed information regarding recent trends in law enforcement around substance abuse in Shanghai.

Service Celebration

Today was the culmination of the year’s Service and Action program as our MYP students as we came together for our annual Service Celebration assembly. Representatives from each grade level gave presentations about the service projects they have engaged with this year in the context of Advisory. As with all experiential learning, the emphasis was on the process. Students talked about how they moved through stages of action. Investigating needs, planning next steps, taking action, reflecting on and revising plans and taking further action. The Service Celebration provides an opportunity for the final stage of demonstration, in which students share their process and learning with the broader community. We can all benefit from the sharing of experience.

Highlights of this year’s Service Celebration included videos exploring the MYP Learning Outcomes for Service, a focused project for enhancing the break room for our school Ayis, a research and advocacy project addressing student stress, and much more. Thanks go to all the Advisors for their support of service learning in the MYP, and especially to Mr Steve Lawrence for his significant efforts and leadership in coordinating the program.

Middle School Spring Fling Tonight

This evening Middle School Spring Fling is one of the highlights of the year. Students will start out with a dance in the black box, play capture the flag on the field, enjoy dinner together, and then have the choice of play games, sports in the gym, or a movie. While chaperones are on hand to help students and provide supervision, Student Council members are in charge of running the activities and hosting the event. Spring Fling is a great opportunity for students that are typically scattered across Pudong on a Friday night to have some fun and enjoy spending time together. Buses will leave promptly at 9pm to get students home in time for a good nights sleep after all the fun. Thank you M.S. Student Council and Ms. Roberts for all of your efforts making tonights event possible.

Prom 2019

The High School Prom will be held Saturday May 25th at one of Shanghai’s most spectacular venues, Kathleen Waitan. Prom is an annual tradition at SCIS that provides High School students a formal evening to enjoy each others’ company, dance, and make memories that with the Bund as their backdrop, will truly last a life time. Please note that students are responsible for their own transportation to and from the event. During the event SCIS teachers and administration will be on hand to chaperone. We encourage parents to take this opportunity to have a conversation with your children about how to stay safe when navigating the city before and after the Prom. We are looking forward to what promises to be a great evening. Many thanks for Student Council and Ms. Hedderson for all of their work preparing the event.

Announcements

Re-enrollment continues for the 2019-2020 School Year

Please note that we are predicting waitlists in some grade levels and programs across the school.  As such, if you are confident that you would like your child to continue at SCIS-Pudong for the 2019-2020 school year, we encourage you to submit your re-enrollment as quickly as possible. 

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