2020-2021 Principal’s Post # 27

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

Dear SCIS-Families,

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

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

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

Student-Led Conferences:

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

What is a Student-led Conference?

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

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

SCIS-Pudong Community Reflection Session

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

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

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

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

Schoolwide Learner Outcome Focused Learning Walks

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

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

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

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

IB DP Arts Showcase

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

Grade 6 Students Work to Positively Contribute to the SCIS Community

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

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

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

2020-2021 Principal’s Post #26

Grade 7/8 Arts Rotation Performance

Did you miss the grade 7/8 Arts Rotation Performance? You can still watch it (or watch it again) on our LiveStream site below (just click the image below). Congratulations to the students on a great performance and a big thank you to Mr. Demas, Ms. Whiteside, and Ms. Riddle for supporting our students in their preparation for Tuesday’s performance. Well done!


SCIS Students Compete in the Waterloo Math Competition

Last week over twenty Upper School Students participated in the Waterloo University Math competition. Waterloo University of Ontario, Canada sponsors the international math competition annually. According to the University, “the Center for Education in Mathematics and Computing (CEMC) develops and administers internationally recognized contests to help to inspire the next generation of students to develop an interest in and love for mathematics and computer science.” Congratulations to the Upper School math students on their participation and a special thank you to Etienne Bilz (Upper School Math and Physics) for his organization of the competition and sponsorship of our Math Club. Go Dragons!

SCIS to Host International Virtual University Fair

We are pleased to invite you to join us for the International Virtual University Fair, which will take place on Friday, March 12th, from 2:00pm to 4:30pm. Over 70 universities from over 10 countries will be represented at the event.

Each university will have a virtual booth, where students and parents can find useful information about the institution, one or more videos, downloadable materials (brochures, etc.) and, most importantly, a video / text chat link where students and parents will be able to interact with university representatives in real time. University booths will go ‘live’ today (Friday, March 5) at 4:00pm China time. At that time, all resources (except live video chats) will be available for students and parents to preview in preparation for the event.

All parents who wish to join the fair and access these materials may do so by following this registration linkHigh school students in grades 9-11 will be guided through the registration process during an orientation session that will take place early next week. Students do not need to sign up for the fair individually. 

Please refer to THIS DOCUMENT for a list of presentations, and to the flyer for a list of participating universities. Presentations with a fixed start time will be live, and those that are labeled as starting ‘anytime’ are pre-recorded. All universities, regardless of whether they are providing live or a pre-recorded presentations, will have representatives online who are available to chat and answer questions during the event.

For any questions about the event, please reach out to Maja Kelly at mkelly@scis-china.org

Grade 6 Students Apply Their Learning in Service of the SCI S Community

Service and Action is an important part of the IB Middle Years Program and the SCIS experience. Students are expected to not only master the content material from their courses, but also to seek ways to apply that learning in service to their community. In this way they are able to make progress toward one of our most important Schoolwide Learner Outcomes (SLOs), positively contributing to their community. Grade 6 students have planned their own service experiences within the school with the support of their advisors Ms. Marcos, Mr. Nicholaides, and Ms. Caban.

The students decided to use the skills they are learning in grade 6 and teach them to students in the Lower School. They started out by interviewing the Lower School students to find out what their needs are. So far, they have decided to focus on supporting Lower School students’ math skills and social-emotional learning. As you can see from the pictures, this has proven exciting for both the grade 6 students and the Lower School students. This outreach with the Lower School will take place over the next 2 months. Not only is this a great experience for students to have a positive experience contributing to their communities, it also helps to build the broader campus community by bringing students together from across grade levels and division. Congratulations grade 6 on your service projects, keep up the great work!


SCIS Hosted Masters Degree in Education Program Open to SCIS Community Applicants

As a part of SCIS’s effort to support a wide range of professional development opportunities, we have maintained our partnership with SUNY (Buffalo State Campus) to offer graduate-level courses here in Shanghai. The program is designed for individuals with unique professional and educational objectives not readily met by traditional master’s degree programs, and the program can lead to a Multidisciplinary Studies, Masters of Science (M.S.) Degree issued by SUNY.

The entire program requires 10 courses and one Action Research course delivered through a combined approach of on-site (on a SCIS campus) and on-line instruction over a period of 3 years. Courses are held on two weekend days and finish the following weekend when school is in session. Because of the pandemic, all on-site courses will be held online. Examples of courses offered include: Instructional Strategies for More Effective Teaching, Principles of Curriculum Design, Creative Problem Solving, and Instructional Technologies.   

Parents and community members are welcome to join the cohort and learn alongside our teaching faculty. You can learn more about the program by reviewing the PROGRAM BROCHURE and the APPLICATION INFORMATION. Please contact our site coordinator Olive Sun for details: osun@scis-china.org


2020-2021 Principal’s Post # 25

Upper School Service Project Fills The Halls With Music

Service to the community is an important part of the SCIS curriculum. Students are expected to take what they’re learning in their academic classes and find ways to use these newly developed skills in service to the community. In the Middle Years Program (grades 6-10) students receive direction and support from their teachers and advisors on how to carry this out but students are expected to become increasingly independent as they mature and develop independent skills. Once students reach the IB Diploma Program, students are expected to independently find, plan, and carry out their own service experiences. One recent example of how students apply their learning in service of the community was on display yesterday.

Music students in grades 11 and 12 decided they wanted to lift the spirits of the students as they boarded the buses and transitioned to their after-school activities. They enlisted their classmates and students from the Jazz Band to be part of their efforts. Students took the lead in organizing musicians, choosing songs, and arranging the required logistics. The end of the school day finished on a bright and fun note. Thank you to all for the creative and motivating finale.

Learning Walk Highlights the SCIS Mission and Schoolwide Learning Outcomes

At SCIS Pudong we have been working to keep our mission statement and Schoolwide Learning Outcomes (SLOs) at the heart of the student experience. One way we keep our focus on the SLOs is through learning walks. During learning walks a small group of teachers, administration, and staff volunteer to visit classrooms and other teaching spaces to observe student learning. The group meets briefly at the start of the learning walk to focus their attention on identifying and reflecting on student learning experiences that demonstrate achievement of the SLOs. These walks are not meant to be evaluative of teachers, rather they focus on what the students are doing and how they are experiencing and achieving the stated goals of the SLOs. This week, our focus was collecting evidence on students being Knowledgeable Inquirers. SCIS defines knowledgable inquirers as seeking to satisfy their curiosity, making connections between factual and conceptual information, evaluating bias and multiple perspectives, identifying challenges, and developing solutions.

We saw many examples of SCIS students demonstrating they are knowledgable inquiries in our walkthrough of Ms. Mabel’s grade 1 music class, Ms. Cat’s grade 4 classroom, and Ms. Shank’s 8th-grade Humanities class. As an observer, it was fascinating to see the changes and differences across the grade levels while also witnessing the unifying instructional philosophy all of the classroom shared. Namely, students were respected as individuals whose prior knowledge, interests, and experiences are an essential component of learning. The share value placed on student-centered experiences that develop self-directed learners was also evidenced by the increasingly independent learning demonstrated by students as we observed progressively older students. We would like to thank Dr. Gale for organizing and Ms. Mabel, Ms. Cat, and Ms. Shanks for hosting.

SCIS Will Host A Virtual University Fair For Students and Families March 12th

On March 12th at 2:00 pm SCIS will be hosting a virtual university fair with participating universities from around the world. University representatives will be online presenting “virtual university booths” that will provide information about programs, application procedures, and allow students and parents to ask questions. There will be live information sessions and opportunities for students and families to communicate directly with the recruiters. Many of the sessions will also be recorded and made available to students and families after the event. Ms. Kelly will be sending a detailed email out to families next week once more information is made available. Students will be participating during advisory while on campus on the 12th. We encourage all families to take advantage of this great opportunity.

Reminder: Monday, March 1st Is An Early Release Day

According to the school calendar, Monday, March 1st will be an early release day. All students in Kindergarten through grade 12 will depart campus at 1:40. Students in Early Childhood (N, PS, PK) will depart school following lunch at 11:30 am.


Sports Reminders

2020-2021 Principal’s Post #24

After School Activity Participation is an Important Part of the Balanced SCIS Student Experience

Varsity Girls Volleyball

At SCIS, participation in the arts, athletics, and the many clubs we offer are central to the student experience. In order to help students positively contribute to their communities, we feel it is essential that students find and pursue their passions. Our participatory approach seeks to expose students to as many different activities, fields, and experiences as possible to help them find this passion. We take great pride in the fact that the vast majority of our students participate in our After School Activity (ASA) program. According to a recent internal survey of student participation, currently, 83% of our students were actively involved in at least one ASA in January when the survey was conducted. Over 60% percent of our students were involved in more than one activity and many were involved in 3 or more. In addition, to help students find and develop their passions, these after-school activities serve to develop important soft skills that set students up for success in university and their working life. Whether learning the skill of persevering through difficulty in an athletic practice, practicing their public speaking skills by performing in front of an audience in the school play, learning to collaborate with teammates in preparation for a math competition, learning to manage their time between the demands of homework and multiple activities, or just enjoying being with friends in pursuit of a common interest, participation in these activities helps prepare students for life. Finally, as a community-focused school, we emphasize the role of shared experiences in building relationships and developing the bonds of our community. These activities allow students to learn about other students outside of their grade levels and to learn about teachers in the context of a shared area of interest.

The cast of our fall drama production Bungee Jump Bear Trap
MS Student Council works through a team-building activity

Because ASAs help students grow as individuals and strengthen the bonds of our community, we ask for your help as parents in reaching our goal of getting every student involved in an ASA they are passionate about. This time of year marks a perfect opportunity for students to put themselves out there and join a new sport or club. Please take some time this weekend to review these options with students. Find out what they are already planning to participate in and try to encourage reluctant students to try something new. Please read on to find out more about what is available in this next Upper School ASA season.

Spring After School Activity Options

Below you will find the new ASA schedule for the upcoming season. These opportunities have been publicized for students in the morning announcements and their advisors have encouraged students to participate. Any student who is interested in joining an activity should follow the instructions in the announcements for singing up, should communicate with the activity sponsor, or speak with their advisor. Coach Vic as our Athletics and Activities Director is also available to help. The new sports seasons that will begin starting the week of February 22nd include; MS Volleyball, MS/HS Badminton, and HS Soccer. Go Dragons!


Chinese New Year Celebration

As we welcome the year of the Ox, we would like to take some time to celebrate our amazing host culture and the extraordinary SCIS community. We encourage everyone to follow the example of our host culture and spend time during the holiday enjoying time with family and focusing on the hope a new year brings. We know the amazing SCIS New Year’s celebration captured by Ms. Whiteside and our grade 11 film students will help to bring you some of the Chinese New Year spirit! A huge thank you to all of those that organized and participated in the performances and those that made the filming possible! To Ms. Fang, Ms. Chen, Ms. Yan, Ms. Shang, Mr. Demas, Mr. Vanta, Mr. Olsen, and of course Ms. Whiteside, THANK YOU 谢谢!

恭贺新禧 Good luck in the year ahead!
心想事成 May all your wishes come true!
笑口常开 May your year be filled with abundance and laughter!

SCIS Pudong Chinese New Year Celebration Video

CNY Video Behind the Scenes

CNY Celebration Watch Parties in Advisory

Chinese New Year Activities

Images from the Classroom


2020-2021 Principal’s Post #22

Message from Head of School Dr. Gale

Dear SCIS-Families,

As we prepare to head into the Chinese New Year Holiday that will begin next Wednesday, February 10th for students, I’d like to use this opportunity to express my gratitude to the SCIS-Pudong community. Thank you for continuing to demonstrate tremendous resilience, perseverance, and compassion during what continues to be a school year filled with unforeseen challenges due to the ongoing and widespread impact COVID-19 has undoubtedly had on our lives, our community, and the world for approximately one year.

Thank you to all parents and caregivers for your tremendous support and understanding surrounding the continued implementation of our health and safety protocols and restrictions. While we genuinely miss being able to openly welcome parents on campus, we greatly appreciate your willingness to adhere to our health and safety procedures, provide ongoing support to your child(ren), and collaborate with teachers to help ensure the continued success of students and the school program.

A special thank you to the PAFA Executive Team and the Grade Level Representatives for going above and beyond to create opportunities for the community to come together outside of the school building. The newly instituted PAFA cultural brunches and off campus grade level gatherings have been a remarkable success, and we are excited about continuing these new initiatives as a way to bring families together and build upon the strength of our SCIS-Pudong community.

Thank you to all teachers for your incredible dedication to ensuring the success of every student. I am humbled and honored to be working with such a phenomenal group of educators whose creativity, commitment, collaborative approach to teaching and learning, and willingness to wholeheartedly embrace change and unprecedented circumstances has been exceptional. I am constantly in awe of the variety of ways in which teachers engage students each day through the design of interactive, real-world, and meaningful learning experiences. Additionally, the care and compassion that teachers demonstrate on daily basis for students, coupled with a shared commitment to ensuring all students feel included and a sense of belonging is truly a hallmark of students’ experience each day at SCIS-Pudong.

Thank you to all students for demonstrating your constant ability to be innovative thinkers, knowledgeable inquirers, self-directed learners, and positive contributors. I am truly amazed by the ways in which students in nursery through grade 12 engage with their learning each day, and continually put forth their best efforts, even though, they too, carry with them a variety of emotions based upon the impact that COVID-19 has had on their lives, as well as the lives of their family members and friends.

In closing, I would like to reiterate my appreciation for the entire SCIS-Pudong community. I wish all families a fantastic Chinese New Year Holiday, as well as happiness and success in the Year of the Ox!

Gōngxǐ fācái!
Xīnnián kuàilè!

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

SCIS Virtual Learning Preparedness

Given the increase of COVID-19 cases throughout China, in combination with the upcoming Chinese New Year Holiday, please be mindful that there is a possibility for a potential and temporary return to virtual learning in the coming weeks. Although the school has not received any indication that international schools within Shanghai will need to revert to Virtual Learning in the coming weeks, please note, that we are fully prepared to do so in the event that we are required.

As parents, we ask that you also help to ensure that students are prepared by making sure your child(ren) can access Microsoft Teams (all grades). Here is a link to the SCIS-Pudong Tech Guide that outlines how to download the Microsoft Teams App. For students in Nursery through Grade 5, please ensure that your child(ren) can access to the Seesaw Class App (different from the Family App). Here is a link to a guide that will take you through how to use the Seesaw Class App at Home. As always if you have any questions surrounding our virtual learning platforms please reach out to our SCIS-Pudong Tech Department at pd-technology@scis-china.org

Students Prepare for the Possibility of a Return to Virtual Learning

Teachers, students, and administrators this week took steps for the possibility of a return to virtual learning after the CNY break. To be clear, there has been no information from the government indicating that we will be moving to Virtual Learning. However, SCIS feels it is extremely important that we are prepared in case we do. Students and teachers have been reviewing hardware and software to ensure the technology is up to date, and students and teachers have the skills needed to transition seamlessly online if necessary. For example, MS Teams and release a new function that allows teachers to configure online class sessions to allow for whole group and small group instruction. The new breakout room feature allows teachers to address the class as a whole, divide students into smaller groups, allows for teachers to move between these groups, and then pull students back together again for all class instruction. This is a great new feature that will allow teachers to more closely follow the strategies we know work so well in person while simulates only making sure students have the opportunity to continue to connect and learn from each other.

In addition to technological advances, we have been hard at work developing a new schedule for Virtual Learning. Taking into account student, parent, and teacher feedback, the administration reviewed educational research and schedules of other international schools and public schools around the world in order to design a schedule that will maximize learning and student well being. The primary drivers of the new schedule are synchronous learning (real-time class sessions), spacing out live sessions to allow for offline learning and activity, and maintaining social connectedness. The following short video was developed to explain the new schedule for students. We hope we are not required to make a transition to Virtual Learning but we are prepared just in case.

Chinese New Year Celebration

Over the past 2 weeks, students have been filming their long rehearsed performances to celebrate this most important of Chinese holidays, Chinese New Year. The final performance will be available for your viewing please on Tuesday, February 9th by 1pm. Please check back on this blog at that time to view the video. We will also send out an email with the link on Tuesday. Happy New Year! 新年快乐!

Community Climate Survey Results

In November, you received a request to complete our newly developed systemwide SCIS Community Climate Survey. We are pleased to report that approximately 70% of our parent community (across all three SCIS campuses) responded to the survey which resulted in the compilation and analysis of extremely valuable quantative and qualitative data surrounding our strengths and areas for improvement as an organization.

In the weeks following the survey completion window, the survey data was organized, categorized, and average scores were produced for the overarching themes identified in the below graphic.

Overall, we are delighted with the community survey results and appreciate the time that parents took to provide us with feedback. Please note that an email from Dan Eschtruth, the Director of Schools will be sent to all SCIS parents and caregivers that will provide a greater level of detail surrounding the community climate survey results, as well as actions steps SCIS will commit to taking to address systemwide areas of growth based upon the community feedback provided.

SCIS WASC / IB Self-Study Update

Since the beginning of the school year, SCIS faculty have come together on several occasions to engage in the WASC / IB Self-Study process. The WASC/IB self-study is an ongoing school improvement process that assists a school in an in-depth look at what currently exists and what needs to be improved in relation to student learning and the school’s program.

Through the self-study process, the school fulfills the requirements for accreditation and uses the findings to form the basis for the school’s strategic action plan through the use of research-based criteria from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO).

At this point, we are approximately half-way through the self-study process as faculty have spent the allocated early release days in October, November, and January to dig into data and evidence related to all aspects of SCIS organizational and curricular practices. Following the Chinese New Year holiday, we will be requesting parent volunteers to support the self-study process by providing additional input into evidence related to the school’s ability to meet the requirements set forth from WASC and the IB. Please be on the look-out for an invitation to engage in the self-study process.

Travel Guidlines

As we head into the Chinese New Year Holiday period, we ask that you please review the SCIS Travel Guidelines. It is mandatory that all members of our community notify, before the expected departure date, any travel outside of Shanghai. Please reach out to travel@scis-china.org with any questions you may have. Most importantly, as communicated by city and national authorities, we ask that all community members refrain from travel outside of Shanghai, unless it is an emergency or critical need.


2020-2021 Principal’s Blog #21

Chinese New Year Celebration (Feb 9)

The excitement is building for this year’s Chinese New Year celebration. While we are unable to all gather together in the theater because of heightened health and safety restrictions, the enthusiasm has not been dampened. Students across Upper and Lower School will be recording their performances that will be compiled together in an SCIS CNY celebration video that will be available for all to see on February 9th. Students will view the pre-recorded performances from their advisory before proceeding to traditional activities planned by the mandarin department. Our students are stepping up to take the place of the professional performers usually invited into our community this time of year. Grade 6 will perform the opening drum and zodiac welcome, grades 9/10 will perform the lion dance, and our strings ensemble will perform traditional music just to name a few. We would like to thank the students, the mandarin department, and the film students and teachers for their contributions to this year’s festivities. Meet us online February 9th at 1:00 pm for the performance. 新年快乐!

MYP Science Planetarium

As part of a busy week of academic presentations, students in grades 6, 7, and 9 presented their astronomy projects in the Upper School gallery on Wednesday. Students chose to research individual topics based on their interests and the options provided by their teachers in the context of their astronomy 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. It was wonderful to see Lower School students, in particular, learn from and enjoy the presentations and displays. A big thank you to Ms. Marcos for organizing the event and to the students for sharing what they’ve learned.

Personal Project

The Grade 10 students achieved one of the most significant goals of their 10th-grade year today, as they presented their Personal Projects in an exhibition for the school community. Those who came out witnessed something special. The Personal Project is the capstone of the Middle Years Program. In order to complete the MYP, every student must take this opportunity to follow a passion, articulate a goal, specify unique criteria for success, and apply their skills to move through a process of investigating, planning, taking action, and reflecting. The range of topics explored and products created by this year’s cohort was both wide and deep. Our Grade 10s learned to design energy-efficient homes, write a blog about their favorite video game, build prototypes of COVID-19 face barriers, create original music compositions, fashion design, build computers from scratch, and much much more. The Personal Project is unique in that it bridges the routine work of the student–using skills to explore academic subjects in the classroom context–with the work of life. Applying these same skills to developing ourselves and contributing to society, within the global contexts in which each of us move every day. It was wonderful to hear the Grade 10s talk about their process and learning through the experience, and to see younger students inspired and engaged, considering the projects they themselves have in mind for the present and future.  A big thank you to all of the Personal Project supervisors and to our Personal Project Coordinator Coach Vic! And most importantly, congratulations grade 10 students!

Pen Pals Help SCIS Students Connect with International Students in Xian

This year, in Humanities, the grade 6 class has been participating in a pen pal exchange activity, with Mr. Wood’s, Middle School, Humanities class, at Hanova International School in Xi’an, China. As students in both schools will focus on Ancient Civilizations and Culture, Mr. Wood wanted his students to branch out and connect with students from a wide range of different countries and cultures to broaden their perspectives on the world. Students from both schools have been paired with a pen pal and exchange letters getting to know each other, while discussing topics related to festivals, beliefs, diet, hobbies, music, family, and travel. Here are some examples from week 1 and 2 of the pen pal exchange activity. Enjoy! -Mr. Nicholaides and Grade 6

Health and Safety Update

Keeping our community healthy, safe, and learning is the primary intent of all our actions.  As such, we’d like to draw your attention to a few health and safety reminders given the heightened health and safety protocols that have been put into place throughout Shanghai as a result of the impending Chinese New Year holiday and recent identified COVID-19 cases within the city.  The below procedures are also outlined in the SCIS COVID-19 Community Response Handbook.

What to do if your child has a Fever?

  • Students with temperatures of 37.3 Celsius are not allowed to attend school.  
  • Parents / guardians will need to take the child to a fever clinic for a follow-up assessment.  Please note, Shanghai Family United Hospitals (Hongqiao and Pudong) are no longer accepting fever patients and patients will be directed to a nearby fever clinic. 
  • In order to return to campus, the student will need to submit a doctor’s note stating the diagnosis and prescription.  The doctor’s note must be sent to our school nurse, Nurse Jan at jjin@scis-china.org
  • The student must be symptom free for 48 hours without the use of fever reducing medicine prior to returning to school. 

What to do if your child has Diarrhea and/or Vomiting?

  • Students with symptoms of diarrhea and/or vomiting are not allowed to attend school.  
  • Parents / guardians will need to take the student to a clinic or hospital for a follow-up assessment.  
  • In order to return to campus, the student will need to submit a doctor’s note stating the diagnosis and prescription.  The doctor’s note must be sent to our school nurse, Nurse Jan at jjin@scis-china.org.
  • The student must be symptom free for 72 hours without the use of medication.

Please note that approval from the SCIS-Pudong Campus Nurse (Nurse Jan /  jjin@scis-china.org) is required prior to the student returning to campus.  Nurse Jan will meet the student and parent in front of the campus on the scheduled day of return as the student will not be permitted on the bus that morning. 

We greatly appreciate your understanding surrounding the implementation of our health and safety procedures.   Adhering to these procedures helps to ensure the health and safety of all members of our community.


2020-2021 Principal’s Blog #20

Semester Assembly Celebration

This afternoon we took some time to celebrate and reflect on the first semester of the school year. While we were not able to all come together in the theater due to the new government protocols limiting gatherings to fewer than 50 people, we certainly made the best of it. We honored the seniors by allowing them to attend their last semester one assembly in the theater while grades 6-11 watched from their advisory classrooms. The program included the presentation of Honor Roll and Principals’ Honor Roll certificates, as well as the recognition of student-athletes, students who participated in the drama production, and all other semester one activities. We had two musical acts prepared to perform during the assembly who were able to find creative ways to share their talents. The senior band Last Minute and our Jazz Band performed at lunch and during after school dismissal to excited audiences. A special thank you to Mr. Johnson for helping to make the hybrid in-person and online assembly possible and to Mr. Demas for supporting the musical entertainment. And a big congratulations to all of the students for their accomplishments. Go Dragons!!!

Senior Athletes Honored

At the end of each season, we have a special tradition at SCIS called Big Game Night. During the last home game of each season, grade 12 athletes are honored by their coaches in front of the community for their contributions to the team, the program, and the school. Sadly, because of the most recent positive virus cases identified this week in Puxi, our game against SCIS Hongqiao was canceled. In order to make sure the seniors still had their end of seasons experience, we incorporated the tradition into our end of semester assembly. Thank you coaches and congratulations to our senior athletes on amazing careers at SCIS!

Teachers Model Lifelong Learning in the SCIS Professional Book Club

The learning never stops for students or teachers at SCIS. Professional book clubs is one way that teachers make sure they are continuously updating their skills and stay current with research. One of the most popular book clubs this year has been the End of Average by Todd Rose. It’s a great book for teachers or parents that explores the importance of recognizing all individuals as unique, with specific strengths and challenges. The book club included teachers across divisions and specialty areas who were excited to come together to talk about how to apply the lessons of the book in education. Specifically, the theme of personalizing education for students whether they be at the top of the class or struggling to keep up in order to optimize learning for all students.

Reports Published Today

Semester reports will be available on ManageBac by 5pm today. We would like to encourage parents to review the semester reports with their students. While overall achievement scores are important and should be reviewed, we encourage families to spend time reading teacher comments closely as they provide specific feedback regarding student learning behavior and skills that are the keys to progress. The best practice for parents is to ask students to log in to their ManageBac and walk parents through the reports. Please contact the technology department if you have trouble accessing student reports.

Early Release Day Reminder for Monday, January 25th

As a reminder, Monday January 25th will be an early release day for students. They will be released at 1:40. These days are identified for teachers and staff to work on the upcoming WACS and IB accreditation. We thank you for your support of this important work.


2020-2021 Principal’s Blog #19

Learning Walk Highlights Progress Towards Schoolwide Learner Outcomes

Schoolwide Learner Outcomes(SLOs) represent the goals we have at SCIS for our students. At SCIS, we seek to design learning experiences and inspire student passions in an effort to help them develop into Innovative Thinkers, Knowledgeable Inquirers, Self-Directed Learners, and Positive Contributors. We develop these outcomes through our curricular and extra-curricular programs. In an effort to promote the development of the SLOs, groups of teachers, staff and administrators use Learning Walks to collect evidence and monitor progress. Learning Walks are protocol-based classroom observations that involve a group of teachers/staff (5-8) observing multiple classrooms with a common observation tool. Observers are not watching teachers as they walk through classrooms, instead, the focus is on student learning and collecting evidence from the classroom observation that is related to progress towards meeting the SLOs.

Today, teachers, staff and administrators visited classrooms in Early Childhood, Middle School, and High School. A broad mix of teachers, staff, and administrators observed classrooms, spoke with students, and spent time debriefing what they observed. We plan to make these Learning Walks a regular part of our practice as we continue to work to support all of our students in their growth towards achieving these outcomes. Special thanks to Head of School for the Pudong Campus, Liz Gale for organizing our Learning Walks!

English Language Acquisition Students Put Their Skills to Work in the Lower School

This week, high school language acquisition students worked with grade 4 students to apply their newly learned language skills. The students are currently studying a unit called Art of the Game where they are learning how to use conditional language. The game they played with the grade 4 students allowed them to practice these grammar points in real life situations as they taught the grade 4 students how to play. Apparently, the grade 4 students were having such a good time, they even gave up their recess to continue playing. It was an excellent opportunity for the students to practice with an authentic audience. Hats off to Ms. Roberts for organizing a great learning experience for all!

Re-Enrollment for the 2021-22 School Year:

Re-Enrollment for next school year will begin on Monday, January 18th. On this day, you should expect to receive an email sent from the Admissions Office that includes a link to our Online Re-Enrollment Website and instructions on how to complete this process. The Re-Enrollment Survey should take no more than 5-minutes to complete and is a requirement for all current SCIS families. Re-enrollment will extend through March 12th, during which time current SCIS families will receive priority to secure their enrollment for the 2021-22 school year. After this re-enrollment period ends, and where space is available, we will begin offering enrollment to students within our new applicant and wait pools. With many grade levels already at or near capacity, we expect space to be limited following this re-enrollment period. Should you require any support during this re-enrollment period, please contact the Admissions Office (admissions@scis-china.org).

Would you like to enroll a non-SCIS sibling?

If you are interested in enrolling a non-SCIS sibling, please contact the Admissions Office as soon as possible so that a space can be reserved accordingly. Siblings of current SCIS students will receive priority status for enrollment, pending space availability.

Would you like to refer or recommend a friend?

As a community-oriented school, SCIS values the referrals and recommendations provided by our current community. If you’d like to refer or recommend a friend for admission to SCIS, please feel free to contact our Admissions Office. Referrals will be handled separately from our standard new applicant pool.


2020-2021 Principal’s Post #18

Welcome Back!

It was wonderful to welcome students back to school this past Monday as everyone returned from break. Overwhelmingly students and staff expressed excitement about school being back in session. Students were excited to reconnect with friends and restart afterschool activities with teachers. Students also hit the ground running as they prepared for next week’s exams. For students in the MYP, the exam period is a time when final unit summative assessments are finished and when teachers provide more formal testing conditions for students in the upper grades. They are able to practice the skills they will need to perform well in the IB Diploma Program. Students in the DP will have the opportunity to practice under external exam conditions in preparation for DP exams. Please be sure to review the exam schedule below and discuss with your children how they are preparing for exams.

Upper School Exams (Jan. 11-14)

As always, the best preparation for exams comes with consistent daily study and assignment completion time outside of school hours. However, students are not encouraged to stay up late before exams cramming. Research has shown that last-minute cramming is not effective in increasing student test scores and the lack of sleep that comes from late hours studying also has been shown to decrease the student performance on assessments. The research suggests that maintaining a consistent sleep schedule that is not interrupted for cramming helps students perform best on tests. A well-organized study preparation schedule in the evenings and over the weekend that includes 8 hours of sleep is the best preparation. We thank you parents for your support in helping students best prepare and perform on these semester exams and final summative assessments.

Want to Learn More About Supporting Your Child’s English Language Development?

We invite you to participate in the following ON CAMPUS parent workshop. Please use this LINK to register or click the flyer below:

Middle School Student Council Retreat Update from Ms. Roberts

Each semester the middle school student council meets for a mini-retreat to kickstart the semester. This semester StuCo focused on team building activities.  First, they participated in an activity called sneak peak in which one student had to verbally describe a hidden structure made of blocks while his/her teammates listened and created the same structure. Second, they spent time sharing personal stories to more fully understand each other and practice intentional listening. Finally, after a pizza dinner, students learned a strategy board game called Settlers of Catan, and within the parameters of the game, they had to work with their teammates to build the most cities. At the end, students reflected on their strengths and weaknesses throughout the retreat, and how they could apply this understanding to the next semester of working together as the middle school student council.