August 18, 2023

Elementary Principal’s Corner

by Ms. Maureen Juanson, Elementary School Principal, PYP Coordinator, & Accreditation Officer

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Mission in Action at CIS

CIS offers three programs of the IB, namely Primary Years Programme (PYP), Middle Years Programme (MYP), and the Diploma Programme (DP). If you look closely into the program models, you will find that the IB Learner Profile is in the center of all three. “The attributes of the learner profile represent a broad range of human capacities and responsibilities that encompass intellectual, personal, emotional and social growth. The development and demonstration of these attributes are foundational to students becoming internationally minded, active and caring community members who respect themselves, others and the world around them” (IB 2018). By promoting the attributes of the learner profile in our different classes, we are working together toward the goal of all IB programs for students to develop and demonstrate international-mindedness.

At CIS, students have several opportunities to develop, demonstrate, and reinforce attributes of the learner profile in their daily interactions and engagements with the learning community. The IB learner profile attributes are embedded into the units of study and subject-specific investigations or inquiries. They are also reinforced and practiced during their interactions in the different learning spaces at school. The IB learner profile attributes are promoted during school events such as assemblies, school productions, HAD, and cultural events. Most importantly, the attributes are demonstrated by students when interacting with families, friends, and other community members.

Source: International Baccalaureate

During the first two weeks of school, students across the school have had the opportunity to engage with the IB learner profile attributes in conversations with their teachers and classmates. In elementary, students have been unpacking what the IB learner profile attributes mean in the context of their units of inquiry and subject areas. They have been looking at ways on how they could demonstrate and develop these attributes as they inquire into the concepts they are focusing on in their first unit of inquiry. In middle and high school, students have been reviewing what each of the IB learner profile attributes mean and how it relates to the approaches to learning (ATL skills) that they have been developing to become successful learners.

As members of the CIS learning community, we have a collective responsibility to support and nurture students in developing and demonstrating these attributes in varying levels. We all play a significant role in ensuring that the IB learner profile attributes are valued, appreciated, demonstrated, and celebrated. Familiarizing ourselves with these attributes provide us with a common language to describe and reflect on what it means to become internationally minded.

This week’s newsflash features how our Grade 5 students are learning to approach learning with the IB learner profile attributes and how our DP Psychology students are demonstrating what it means to be Inquirers and Knowledgeable as they begin to look into the Science of Psychology. As you read through these, I invite you to reflect on how you can reinforce the IB learner profile attributes in conversations and interactions at home with your families.

Upcoming events of note

  • Aug. 21: School holiday
  • Aug 22: ASAs start 
  • Aug. 28:  National Heroes Day (Public Holiday)
  • Aug. 29: Parent Coffee Meeting (CIS Annex 7:30am)

Please refer to the CIS Event Calendar for the complete calendar of school events.

Grade 5: Approaching The Learning Pit with IB Learner Profile Attributes

by Mrs. Aimee Underwood, Assistant PYP Coordinator & Grade 5 Homeroom Teacher and  Ms. Jade Berdon, Grade 5 Co-Homeroom Teacher

Think about a time when you tried to learn something new. It might have been difficult and frustrating. If so, how did you overcome your challenges and succeed? The Grade 5 students started the year by inquiring into how “expert learners” approach learning to set themselves up for success.

Together, we explored the concept of “The Learning Pit” and realized that having a positive attitude and growth mindset is important, but simply telling ourselves to “try harder” or “never give up” is not sufficient. Learners must also intentionally equip themselves with specific tools and strategies to help them navigate the learning process effectively.

Image Credit: James Nottingham

Then, listening carefully to all experiences and perspectives, the Grade 5 students collaboratively explored a variety of tools and strategies from across subject areas and reflected on how they were all connected to the IB Learner Profile attributes.

Jisoo and Caitlin shared, “It reminded us of a quote from a novel we’re reading called Esperanza Rising. When Esperanza struggles to learn how to crochet, her Abuelita tells her, ‘Don’t be afraid to start over.’ When you learn something new, you should study good examples, learn from experts, and have the courage to redo things until you can get them right. We need to be Reflective and also a Risk-Taker.”

Here are some other examples of connections made:

Image Credit: Michael Hughes, adapted by Aimee Underwood

Knowing what to do when you don’t know what to do is an important aspect of self-management skills. The IB refers to learners who know where they are going in their learning and who can self-assess, self-monitor, and self-adjust toward that goal as “assessment-capable learners.”

As we begin this school year, the Grade 5 students remind us that learning is a journey and that it’s okay to face challenges along the way. By embracing The Learning Pit and developing our IB Learner Profile attributes and strategies, we can develop a resilient and proactive approach to problem-solving and experience success.

How will YOU use the IB Learner Profile attributes and related tools and strategies to help you when you approach new challenges this year?

Grade 11: Psychology

by Mr. Andrew Powell, IBDP Psychology Teacher

The Grade 11 students have commenced the year with an orientation to The Science of Psychology. This has involved learning how psychologists engage in the study of human behavior in order to study correlational or cause-and-effect relationships. In the first few weeks of school the students have been introduced to some key studies and theories in the field, in order to develop a better understanding of why people behave the way they do. They have also been introduced to a number of research methods and approaches used in psychology.

Some student highlights are as follows:

The Invisible Gorilla
Based on the work of Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons, this research project reveals that when people are focussed on one thing, they can easily overlook something else – like the gorilla that walks through a basketball game. Viewers were asked to count the number of passes made between a group of players and many people, including the majority of our class, totally missed the person in the gorilla suit that walks between players.

“The Invisible Gorilla study taught us that when we focus on one thing, we fail to notice the other things around us. This has implications for the way we see things. For example, how reliable is the testimony of a witness to a crime?” – Kim

Cute Aggression
Have you ever felt the urge to hug or squeeze a puppy tightly?  Have you considered pinching a baby or young person’s cheeks without any real desire to cause them harm? If so, you may have experienced a response known as cute aggression.

“This was a theory that I could relate to. While we learned that psychologists are still very much exploring why this takes place, I believe that it is associated with the body releasing a rush of dopamine.” Annika

It just so happens that many of the same neural structures activated by cuteness are also activated when an individual is being aggressive.

The Still Face Experiment
This study was designed by Edward Tronick, a developmental psychologist, who carried out experiments in the 1970s examining connections between babies and their caregivers. In the recreation of the experiment we watched, a mother plays with her baby before suddenly stopping and becoming unemotional. This elicits a range of physical and emotional responses from the baby until the warm connection is restored.

“We learned that although babies do not respond in words they do have very emotional responses. Babies seek attention and connection. They need care and love when growing up and this contributes to their positive developmental growth. Without it they may not develop in a healthy manner, which could lead to anxiety, depression and various psychological disorders.” Monty

Context and Memory Studies
Bransford and Johnson used a number of text passages and picture prompts in the 1970s to establish that contextual knowledge is beneficial to the comprehending of prose passages. Their research found that when participants were supplied with appropriate information before hearing a text, that their recall and comprehension scores were significantly better. We tried this out in our classroom.

“In environments like classrooms where we are exposed to a lot of new knowledge, we tend to remember a certain topic more when we connect it to past experiences, or when the teacher provides context in a similar way to the pictures that Bransford and Johnson used.” Sengo

College/Careers Counselor Corner

by Ms. Jenny Basa, College/Careers Counselor Corner

College Visits this Week @ CIS

University of Sydney
Swiss Universities: Glion, Les Roches, Ecole Ducasse


August 20, 2023
12:00 – 5:00PM
Radisson Blu – Cebu
Link to register or you can walk in on the day

August 30
9:00 – 9:40 AM
Canteen Annex
Link to sign up

Hong Kong Polytechnic University
(Hong Kong)

September 1
9:00 – 9:40 AM
Canteen Annex
Link to sign up

University of San Francisco & Xavier University (USA)

Tuesday, August 29, 7:00-8:00 a.m. ET
Link to register

Friday, September 8, 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET
Link to register

Wednesday, September 20, 8:00-9:00 a.m. ET
Link to register

Join us and learn about Brown University, Columbia University, Princeton University, and the University of Pennsylvania!

Admissions representatives will hold a virtual public information session for students and families about their respective universities and the highly selective college admissions process. Topics will include: academic programs, campus  activities, admissions policies, financial aid, and international student life.

SAT Update

2023–24 School Year Test Dates

Test Date Deadline for Registration, Changes and Regular Cancellation
August 26, 2023 August 11, 2023
October 7, 2023 September 22, 2023
December 2, 2023 November 17, 2023
March 9, 2024 To be confirmed
May 4, 2024 To be confirmed
June 1, 2024 To be confirmed

To register for the SAT, you may click on this link.  If you need assistance or have any questions, please feel free to email Ms. Jenny Basa at

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Newsflash: August 4, 2023

Welcome to the 2023/24 School Year

by Dr. Underwood, Superintendent

Welcome to our first Newsflash post for the 2023-24 School Year. It has been a pleasure reconnecting with returning learners and families, as well as welcoming new teachers, classmates, and their families to the caring CIS community.

Photo by Photochikottawa on (free license)

I am pleased to report things have started off smoothly. Our first half-week of school has been full of positive vibes as we settled into new classes and schedules, and began to focus on our learning objectives for the year.

Each week, please take the time to look over the Newsflash to get general announcements, and see a selection of what is happening at school each week! This edition is just a short introductory post considering it is only a two-day week!

I would like to thank you in advance for your support to help us work together to nurture our students to become lifelong learners that will enable them to develop their unique potential, so they can contribute to a better world.

May 2023 IB Diploma Results

by By Ms. Emily Cornet, Assistant Principal-DP

Our recently graduated students received their results in early July, showing very strong results in our first year back to the Exam Route after the pandemic. The May 2023 Exams also marked a return to the exams covering the full content of each syllabus (there were some modifications during the previous years due to the pandemic).

As you can see in the infographic, our students performed above the world average in most subjects – with a number (Business Management SL, Psychology SL, Biology HL, Math AI SL, and Visual Arts HL) earning more than a full point above their world average! Our graduates and teachers are to be commended for all their hard work.

Upcoming events of note

  • Aug 14-18: S1 After-School Activity (ASA) Registration
  • Aug 22: ASAs start
  • Aug. 21: School holiday     
  • Aug. 28:  National Heroes Day (Public Holiday)  
  • Aug. 29: Parent Coffee Meeting (CIS Annex 7:45am) 

Please refer to the CIS Event Calendar ( for the complete calendar of school events.

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2023 IB Diploma Results

We are thrilled to announce the outstanding IB Diploma results for the year 2023 and take great pride in sharing that our students have once again surpassed the global average across all key metrics.

This remarkable achievement serves as a testament to the dedication and hard work of our incredible students, the support of their teachers and parents, and the standard of excellence we maintain here at CIS alongside our IB programmes.



The achievements of the Class of 2023 are truly commendable and demonstrate the effectiveness of our holistic approach to education. Through a combination of rigorous academic programs, comprehensive support systems, and an encouraging learning environment, our students have showcased their capacity to excel. This outstanding accomplishment not only highlights their individual abilities but also reflects the collective effort of the CIS community in shaping their success.

We extend our warmest congratulations to the Class of 2023 for their exceptional accomplishments.

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IB Results 2022: CIS Students Continue to Score Above World Average

On July 6, students around the world received their IB Diploma results. At CIS, we are pleased to report our students continue to perform above the world average in all key metrics – a credit to the students, their teachers, parents, CIS, and the IB program!

Most importantly, our students’ results give us confidence that they are ready to take on the challenges of our time and be positive contributors in a competitive, changing world.

Despite taking on nearly the entire two-year Diploma Programme online via our #CISRemoteLearning program, and dealing with the restrictions of COVID and the aftermath of Supertyphoon Odette, CIS students scored exceptionally well, above the world average in pass rates, average total points, and average course grades.

Furthermore, our students received offers from multiple countries and universities around the world, along with scholarship offers worth over 1 million USD! We congratulate them all on their success, commend them for their hard work over these past two years, and wish them all the best in their future endeavors.

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World-class boarding with an environment great for studying

The study environment in a boarding school plays an important role in the success of a student. The CIS Student Residence is thoughtfully designed to this need of your precious child. Each student is provided a study space with:

  • a large desk with ample space for working with laptop
  • a comfortable study chair
  • storage facilities for books, files, etc.
  • good lighting, ventilation, and climate control
  • power points

Our facilities also include quiet areas where a student can engage in uninterrupted study, the pursuit of personal reading, writing, creating, reflections, and many more. The lush green surroundings, the comfort along with all the safety levels that meet international standards give your child a great study environment.

To request for more information and to secure a slot, contact

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Newsflash: March 25, 2022

Principal’s Corner

Mr. Andrew Powell, EY – Grade 12 Principal

As we head into the second week of our hybrid learning (blending on-line and face-to-face learning) with concurrent students (having some students in class face-to-face while others join remotely), I thought it appropriate to cover some of the aspects of the ways in which our program is being delivered. These methods were also the focus of our teachers’ professional development sessions this afternoon and continue to be part of our commitment to leading the region in innovative school practices.

It is fair to say that as educators we are mapping new instructional landscapes. As there is limited formal research on concurrent learning practices in schools, we are looking at the experiences of our colleagues around the world and adapting practices to suit our circumstances. These can vary from grade level to grade level depending upon the developmental level of our students, number of students present on campus and the nature of the desired learning outcomes. The quality of our educators at CIS also means that we have teachers that are truly leading the way with the nature of their practice.

The opportunity for students to (re)-connect with each other has certainly been a highlight for those students that have been able to be on campus. It has been wonderful to watch students socialize with each other, work collaboratively in group situations and in the case of our younger students, explore the campus and have fun with physical and creative play. For many of our newer students, it is their first opportunity to sit down with their peers and get to know one another without a computer screen. I know that many of our parents have also appreciated the opportunity to meet each other and have a little time to themselves during the day.

While it’s wonderful to celebrate “life on campus” our teachers are also encouraged to be mindful of those working from home and ways in which they can ensure equity of access to the hybrid experience. The need for routines that incorporate welcoming our students are critical to relationship-building and relationship-maintenance. These instances are often built into the beginning of class while purposefully concluding activities, and student feedback at the end of classes helps teachers to understand what is working and what can be modified. Students, whether situated at home or on campus are entitled to individual help from their teachers and we want our community of learners to take advantage of this.

We have known for a long time that traditional, teacher-led whole class instruction is not the most effective way to engage our students day after day. This is even more so during concurrent learning. As I have walked through various classrooms over the past week, I have seen some innovative approaches. These have included but are certainly not limited to:

Station-rotation: in which the teacher organizes a series of learning engagements (stations) for students to rotate through. These will include a teacher-led station as well as individual or small group activities for students that are both on campus and online. In the elementary school there will often be an additional teacher present at stations to support student learning.

Two station rotation: A modified version of the station-rotation, the teacher begins with a welcoming activity and sets expectations for the class before working intensely with one group of students while the others work in groups or independently before switching so that the teacher may support the remaining students.

Flipped classroom: This model was already being employed by several teachers before the pandemic and involves providing students with short lectures or explanations prior to class so that during synchronous class times the teacher can work on answering questions, work through problems while being provided with real-time feedback or have students work in small groups to apply knowledge to various scenarios.

Menu model: This approach involves teachers providing students with learning engagements that they may complete at their own pace. It allows a high degree of differentiation as well as student choice, which increases engagement. It also enables the teacher to individually monitor and meet with students to provide explicit feedback and shape further task engagement.

In highlighting some of the approaches that we are taking at CIS to support our students’ concurrent learning on and off campus, I’d like to draw on the thoughts of one of our current seniors.

“School is an experience; it’s about creating connections that last a lifetime. It’s about making friends. It’s also about meeting different kinds of people and adjusting the way in which you work with them. School is our first step towards adapting to the world and sets up a foundation for life.”

I’m glad that we have the opportunity to be back on campus and trust that our efforts will be appreciated and help our students to be well placed to contribute to a better world.

Grade 4 Class

by Mr. Sten Coppin, Grade 4 Teacher

Grade 4 decided to celebrate the transition to face-to-face learning by learning about haiku poetry and writing our own poems. Haiku poems have a strict code to follow, they are always 3 lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables. These poems do not have rhymes and sometimes have a surprising or funny last line. Our students who are still learning remotely also contributed, writing about how school is going in general for them. Now it’s time for you to brush up your knowledge about syllables and enjoy our grade 4 writer’s hand-written poetry, enjoy!

DP Art Exhibition

by Mr. Jessie Saclo, DP Art Teacher

The Exhibition is the internal assessment component of the Diploma Programme Visual Arts course which students at SL and HL complete by the end of their senior year. Students submit for assessment a selection of resolved artworks that show evidence of their technical accomplishment. The selected pieces demonstrate the exploration, experimentation, and application of materials, ideas, and practices that students utilized to realize and communicate their artistic intentions.

During the Exhibition, students showcase the skills, techniques, and art styles they have explored and developed to produce independent work through a variety of media and art-making forms. Each resolved artwork is supported by an exhibition text which is a brief outline of the work’s original intentions, and any reference sources that have influenced the individual piece. In addition to the exhibition text, students draft a curatorial rationale, a written description of why specific artworks have been chosen and presented in a particular format. It further explains the challenges, influences, triumphs, innovations, issues that have impacted the selection and presentation of the artworks, and the context of how the body of work presented connects and communicates with the viewer.

College/Careers Counselor Corner

by Ms. Jenny Basa, College/Careers Counselor

Upcoming Virtual Events and FAIRS: (students & parents are welcome)

March 26
1:00 – 7:00 PM
LINK to register

Study Abroad Virtual Fair

March 26
LINK to register

Co-op Programs in Canada
One of the best ways to gain hands-on experience is through work-integrated learning opportunities. In Canada, these opportunities are also known as co-operative education.

The co-op program provides students with the opportunity to apply the skills and knowledge they’ve learned in the classroom through a program-related work experience. Students who take co-op have an edge when they graduate and go out into the workforce.

March 29
6:00PM PHT
Link to register

Scholarship Opportunities in Canada: Studying abroad can be an expensive undertaking. Hence, schools in Canada offer scholarships to international students in order to attract more students.

If you are interested in learning more about Scholarship Opportunities for international students in Canada, we invite you to attend this webinar.

SAT Update

To register for the SAT, you may click on this link.  If you need assistance or have any questions, please feel free to email Ms. Jenny Basa at

2021-2022 TEST DATES

Registration Deadline

May 7, 2022

April 8, 2022

The Optional SAT Essay and Subject Tests have been discontinued.

IT Reminders

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Boarding at the CIS Student Residence

by Mr. John Devadoss, Head of Student Residence

Situated in the beautiful scenic Cebu City — a global hub for business processing services, tourism, shipping, and furniture-making — the Student Residence of Cebu International School is a brand new state of the art infrastructure providing boarding for students from Grade 7-12. Those fortunate to get admitted into this prestigious Boarding House, that boasts of international standards in every way, find a home away from home.

Photos by: (L-R) Josh Roland, Fritz Carilo, Emjeii Beattie

Aerial view of the CIS Student Residence
Aerial view of the CIS Student Residence

The Residence is within the school premises which allows the students to enjoy easy access to all the school facilities – swimming, library, internet, gymnasium – even beyond school timings and on weekends. Boarding students can enjoy the best of our facilities in a safe and secure environment. Your child will no longer have to travel everyday to/from home/school, minimizing the risks involved with traveling and completely removing the need for wasting time on travel.

Cebu International School will be celebrating its centenary year in 2024, and offers all three of the internationally renowned International Baccalaureate (IB) academic programs, and boasts of an enviable record in IB Diploma exam results. CIS is accredited by the Council of International Schools and the Western Association for Schools and Colleges and the Head of Student Residence accredited by the Association of Boarding Schools UK. Outstanding world class facilities and dedicated, experienced and professionally qualified staff will ensure that your child receives the best possible holistic education that can match the best of the best in the world.

An exceptional Student Residence is one that is happy, and happiness is rarely arrived at through the exercises of routines that deprive dignity. Boarding in CIS is not about rigid routines but more about making the student a global citizen, and well versed in values that they will need when they grow up. The Student Residence paves the way for the students to learn important life skills even beyond school walls.

Student Residence dining & area
Student Residence dining & area

Extra curricular activities such as karaoke, movie, barbecue, and quiz nights, would all contribute to ensuring our students have plenty of fun as they bond with their peers. Opportunities to train in first-aid, learn new recipes, cook, knit, hike, attend picnics, swim, learn new games (such as chess and, cricket for example), and participate in team building games, are just some of the activities your child will be able to enjoy, contributing to enabling them to grow in a comprehensive way academically, socially, physically, and emotionally.

The CIS Student Residence will be a place to grow in accountability and in responsibility. Dorm life, group discussions and individual mentoring all provide opportunities for them to understand that there is more to life other than just academics or a narrow set of interests. It is a place that gives them the space, time, and encouragement to be aware and mindful of their hopes, dreams and beliefs, and how they can grow to become the best they can be.

Maya Angelou famously said ‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel’. The CIS Student Residence is not about just making your life pleasant, but also one that ensures you have an engaging and meaningful life. With our professionally qualified and experienced staff, renowned for Pastoral Care and counseling, we go that extra mile to empathize, support and show the type caring attitude that will make all the difference in your child’s life in every way! The CIS boarding experience is an exceptional one, one that is on par with the best in the world, from where students will carry the memories of friendships and experiences that enrich them and equip them for a lifetime.


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Class of 2021 IB Results

Congratulations to our Class of 2021 for their hard work in achieving excellent IB results—with a 100% pass rate! A student has earned the highest score of 44 (out of 45) and in addition to that, this cohort’s average points is now the highest in CIS history.

Results are compared to this years’ world average numbers based on the article released by the IBO announcing statistics of more than 170,000 IB students across the globe.

The IB Diploma Programme (IBDP) is a rigorous two-year programme of international education that prepares Grade 11 & 12 students for university and life in a competitive, changing world. IBDP students follow six courses: three at Higher Level and three at Standard Level. The points awarded for each course range from 1 (lowest) to 7 (highest). Students can also be awarded up to three additional points for their combined results on the Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge. The highest possible total score for the IB Diploma is 45 points. The IB Diploma is awarded to students who gain at least 24 points, subject to various levels of performance across the whole Diploma and to satisfactory completion of Creativity, Activity and Service requirements.

We are very proud of our students and a big thank you to their teachers for supporting them during challenging times.

Learn more about the IB Diploma Programme in CIS here.

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Newsflash: January 8, 2021

Admin News

Dear CIS Community, 

We welcomed our students back from our Christmas and New Year’s break this week, and despite the disappointment of still not being able to get back on campus, it was pleasing to get the notes of encouragement and understanding that it is beyond our control, and for our community protection, so we just need to do our best. Until we can get back on campus, then, we continue learning via our quality Remote Learning (RL) which is working well. Additionally, we are exploring various ways of boosting aspects of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) to help raise awareness for students, parents, and staff/faculty, and to try ways we can look after our individual and group social and emotional wellbeing during this challenging time. Please read Mr. Wood’s section below (MS news) for more information on this.

CIS Sinulog Family Day 2021 Cancelled/HAD2 to continue virtually

CIS Field Demonstration Sinulog 2018

Every January, the CIS community comes together to celebrate Sinulog Family Day. This is a day celebration with a Sinulog and Philippine Culture theme, where the entire community is engaged in various activities such as Sinulog street dances, on-campus field demonstrations, games, and a “fiesta” motif lunch. The aim of the day is to appreciate and spread awareness of the culture of the Philippines as our host country. 

Due to the continuing modified GCQ safety levels mandated for Cebu City, we are saddened to announce that we will have to cancel this year’s Sinulog Family Day activities. 

We will, however, continue with our scheduled House Activities Day #2 (HAD2) for students, in virtual mode to stay safe. Despite missing regular Sinulog Day activities, HAD2 activities will focus on Philippine Culture, as usual, and there will be a variety of Philippine Language and culture activities in the week leading up to HAD day (Saturday, Jan 16). More details regarding HAD2 will be sent via email by the organizers.

Our Superintendent Dr Underwood with the CIS Field Demonstration dancers, Sinulog 2018

Thank you for your understanding. Please do take time to look at the Sinulog celebrations Cebu City is putting on, as this year is the 500th anniversary of Sinulog so they will be particularly meaningful this year! (More information on the Sinulog festivities schedule can be found on this link, as well as the official Facebook page of the Sinulog Foundation, where links to the Livestream will be posted). Pit Señor! 


Sinulog Organizing Committee, Dr. Gwyn Underwood (CIS Superintendent), and the CIS Admin Team

Elementary News

by Mr. Glenn Davies, Elementary School Principal

We would like to formally welcome you all back to school after the Mid-Year Christmas and New Year holiday period. For many, this break away from our computer screens was needed and appreciated. We were also fortunate that the Cebu province remained open during the break period, allowing some families to travel within Cebu and appreciate many of the beautiful areas the Philippines has to offer. 

During this break some of our families moved back to their home countries due to changes in their companies and in response to family needs, naturally, it is always sad to say goodbye to people we have come to value as part of our community. As the new semester has begun we have also had some new families join CIS, some have been returning families while others are new to our community. This is very encouraging and we give a warm welcome to our new CIS families. 

Looking through our CIS calendar there are a number of exciting events coming up for us all to enjoy. Firstly the CIS Philippine Language and Culture week from January 11th to 15th, where each morning your child will be involved in additional cultural activities during their homeroom time. This week will conclude our House Activities Day2 (HAD2).

We then have our Three Way Conferences during the weeks of January 18th and the 22nd January and 25th to 29th January, where you and your child will have the formal opportunity to meet with the classroom teacher to discuss the goals your child will be working toward over the coming semester. You will be receiving a sign-up schedule for these conferences next week. Following this, the next exciting event we are planning for is our Annual Week Without Walls. Although it is highly likely that Week Without Walls will be a Remote Learning event, the teachers are already making plans about how to create an exciting and meaningful week of experiential and service-learning activities for the elementary students.  As you can see, it has been one of our goals during these challenging times to keep learning alive and to honor the important events on our school calendar which help form much of who we are as a school community. 

The Elementary Teaching Team August 2020

Keep on keeping on!
For many of us, either our parents or our grandparents had a common challenging experience that defined who they were as a generation, and which caused a level of closeness and understanding to form among them. While planning with Grade 2 and 3 teachers on Monday, we discussed how these common experiences bring us together and help form some of the perspectives and values we hold important. Something these common experiences help us realize is that together we have the strength and that together we can support one another. There has been no official indication of when we may be able to return to campus, but whether we are Remote Learning, Hybrid Learning, or Face to Face Learning, as a school we continue to be committed to providing your children with the best possible education and we are excited by the academic progress we see CIS children are making.

Image sources from

The Gradual Release of Responsibility
The Gradual Release of Responsibility is a model of learning we like to use to help describe how students best learn. The model helps teachers to design learning that creates life-long learners filled with confidence and self-efficacy and prepared to take on the challenges they face with a Growth-Mindset. Teachers begin by setting learning goals. These goals may be set by the teacher based on a curriculum outcome, or they may be set with the student based upon an identified learning need. The teacher then designs the learning experiences to gradually move the responsibility of learning from the teacher to the student being the one in charge. Once the skill has been obtained and the learning outcome has been achieved, a new goal can be set. The cyclical model of learning is based upon the research and theories of Vygotsky, and his Theory of the Zone of Proximal Development. Many parents are actively involved in supporting their children’s learning at home and understand how learning can be enhanced by gradually moving the responsibility of learning from the adult to the child can be helpful. Our children are so capable and seeing them take responsibility for their learning goals is such an exciting journey. 

Sharing the Planet

Kinder and Grade 1 Tamaraws

The Kinder and Grade 1 students have been exploring the transdisciplinary theme of Sharing the Planet with the central idea “People can change their environment through their actions.” At the beginning of the unit, the students explored how the environment is changing. The Kinder and Grade 1 students demonstrated their thinking skills as they observed different pictures of how an environment has changed over time. The students noticed that there is a lot of garbage in some of the pictures and now they are thinking of ways on how we can make sure that our environment stays clean. 

During Design Day, the students were given the opportunity to design a Clean Up Machine that can help the environment. The Kinder and Grade 1 students took part of the Design Process as they planned and worked on their machines. They gave feedback to their peers on how they can make their design better. They were very excited to share their inventions during our synchronous calls and in the blog.  Other students created a poster to send a message on stopping plastic water bottles from going to the river and into the ocean. They want to promote a clean, safe and beautiful environment for their future. As one of the students shared, “We only have one Earth so we should take good care of it.”

Middle and High School News

by Mr. Dale Wood, Middle and High School Principal

Social and Emotional Learning in MHS

Source: Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Roadmap for Reopening School (

As is our practice at the start of the new semester each year, this past Monday the entire CIS faculty and staff partook in a Professional Development Day to reflect on Semester One and plan for Semester Two. As we will move forward, at least for the foreseeable future, with remote learning, we spent part of our day focusing on the need to continue to intentionally address the Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) needs of our students and community as a whole.

The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) has identified the following four critical domains as schools continue through remote learning, develop hybrid forms of learning, or physically reopen their campuses.

All four of these domains have several specific sub-categories, and we focused in MHS solely on one aspect of the first area, cultivating and deepening relationships as feelings of isolation and disconnectedness due to the lockdown has been an issue for many. Collaborative teacher groups reflected on some of the ways we have been effectively addressing and meeting these needs, as well as looked forward to this new semester and to ways we can continue to cultivate and deepen relationships.

All of our students are in HR/Advisory groups which meet every Monday and Thursday. When we began RL last spring we had initially only set aside one day per week for a homeroom period, but moving into the current year we realized that more time was needed to more fully attend to our students’ needs beyond the academic sphere. While some students may view and treat this time as optional, Homeroom is actually a requirement for all students, and it is vital that we encourage our children to both attend and engage with their HR teachers and peers in this non-academic setting designed to offer guidance and support, as well as connectedness, during this challenging time. Upon reflection, students have shared that they really enjoy and benefit from our homeroom sessions. The advisory program creates the opportunity to build relationships and creates a venue where students may share more casually and personally.

Another area that has facilitated SEL has been our revised daily schedule, where our afternoon “extension time” provides students the opportunity to seek out help from teachers or work in small peer groups on assignments or learning engagements. Encourage your children to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to engage one-on-one with their teachers or work with peers if they have not been doing so. Also, as one of our teacher groups observed:

Our daily schedule helps to maintain the boundary between academic and SEL time.

Our MHS After School Activities (ASA’s) are currently forming for this semester and will begin on January 21. While certain ASA’s (like Student Council and The Student Support Club) are overtly geared toward supporting students in the midst of this situation, all of our ASA’s intrinsically serve to build relationships and connections. While ASA’s will be optional once again this semester, this is really a great chance for students to get involved and cultivate friendships and a sense of belonging.

Week Without Walls is just six weeks away. This is another excellent way for our students to connect with each other and remain “engaged, positive contributors in a competitive, changing world.” While many of us may have struggled with understanding how we can reach out and remain engaged in this way in the midst of a quarantine, some of our students have been extremely resourceful and creative in seeking out ways to practice service learning. In Week Without Walls we have sought out and are carefully planning ways for our students to get involved and engage collaboratively in principled action.

Finally, please know that we are committed to helping our students to maintain their social and emotional health during this difficult time, but we don’t always know what they are going through, made even more challenging when we aren’t seeing them in person. Though we have already highlighted this resource, our Student Support Club is an effective SEL platform for helping students reach out to counselors and peers, and it is available to all of our CIS students in the Middle and High School.

Class of 2021 College & University Acceptances

Congratulations to the Class of 2021!

Here is an updated list of acceptances that were received over the holiday break. More decisions will be released later this semester.

CAS & Service Learning Updates

by Ace Pierra, Athletics Director & Service Learning Coordinator

Plaque of Recognition for CIS

From last year’s rank 13th as a stakeholder, this year Cebu International School together with Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation rank 2nd overall as an Education Stakeholder and Benefactor for Calendar Year 2020 of the Division of Lapu Lapu City Department of Education. The Plaque of recognition was given last December 21, 2020. 

CIS has been working with the Department of Education Lapu Lapu City Division for years  and will continue  to support other local schools in the city, in the region and in the nation through its service learning and CAS Program. 

Congratulations CIS!

Controlling the Population of Crown of Thorns (COTs) Starfish

As tourism and outdoor activities slowly become available again, our family started advocacy for controlling the population of the crown of thorns starfish. These starfish are damaging the corals in our reefs and if we don’t try to stop them, they can ruin our reefs by eating up all of the corals. The group of divers used kitchen tongs and a small net to pick them up and send them to a larger crate, after which we dispose of them properly. We wanted to take action because seeing our reefs get destroyed by these starfish can ruin the wildlife underwater. As we know underwater wildlife is important to our ecosystem, so I took it upon ourselves and the rest of the team to do our best and try to get as many crowns of thorns as possible. We ended that day with around 550 crowns of thorns. To sustain this project, we want to invite more divers and teach them about this ongoing problem of crown of thorns. We plan to do this on a weekly basis and hopefully make an impact on the reef by getting more people to join us in the future. Overall we feel that we were successful in doing our part to save the ocean. – Sean, Keenan, Liam

Info about COTS

College/Careers Counselor Corner

by Ms. Jenny Basa, College/Careers Counselor

Tip for the Week:

In any admissions website, the checklist of requirements will include an English Proficiency requirement.  Students from our school fulfill this requirement through the following:

  1. CIS provides a certification that English is the medium of instruction and assessment (except for World Language courses)
  2. CIS is accredited with Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and Council for International Schools and most universities globally recognize this thereby waiving the English proficiency requirement
  3. If a student is taking English A: Language and Literature, and earns a passing mark, the requirement is waived.

For some programs that require clinical practice like Nursing, an English Proficiency exam result is required  regardless of high school qualifications.  

Virtual Alumni Chat Series:

Starting this semester, a series of virtual talks with alumni will be scheduled to chat about what it is like to study in a specific country and institution.  The initial chat will be with alumni who are studying in Australia.   Confirmed sessions will be published and sent via email to high school students.  Parents are welcome to attend.

Upcoming Virtual Events and Fairs: (students & parents are welcome)


January 14
9:00 PM

January 18-20
Monday – Wednesday
All sessions at
4:00 – 5:00 PM

February 6
6:00 PM


Creating a Balanced College List
Speaker:  Mr. Christian Gregorio, Director of International Admissions
York College, Pennsylvania – LINK to join

University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong) – LINK to register
HKU Programme Deep Dive Series: 3 interactive online dialogues offered by HKU Business School, Faculty of Science, and Faculty of Engineering.
Jan. 18 Monday: HKU Business School
Jan. 19 Tuesday: Doing Research at HKU Science
Jan. 20 Wednesday: -Bring your Innovation Beyong HKU Engineering

Breda University of Applied Sciences(Netherlands)
Digital Discovery DayLINK to register
You can register for as many sessions as you want, but please note that you have to register for each session separately. If you’re not able to join “live”, please still register, so you can watch the recordings back later.


6:00 – 7:00PM   Studying in the Netherlands: the education system
45 min. webinar + 15 min. Q&A by staff and international students

  • What is it like to study in the Netherlands?
  • What is a university of applied sciences?
  • What is the teacher style?
  • And what are the costs?

7:00 – 7:45PM  Studying at Breda University of Applied Sciences: an introduction to our university and study programmes
30 min. interactive webinar + 15 min. Q&A by students and staff

  • Why should you study at BUas?
  • What kind of programmes do we offer?
  • Project examples
  • International experiences from our students

7:45 – 8:30PM  Studying at Breda University of Applied Sciences: the practical matters
30 min. webinar + 15 min. Q&A

  • Application procedure
  • Scholarships
  • Housing
  • Side jobs

8:45 – 9:15 PM  Discover our Campus and the City of Breda
20 min. video tour + 10 min. Q&A by our international students

  • Our brand-new green campus
  • Our modern facilities
  • The lovely city of Breda
  • Student life
  • Our students favourite spots in the city

9:15 – 9:45 PM How to survive studying in the Netherlands
30 min. interactive quiz + 15 min. Q&A
Get to know the Dutch culture with questions about.

  • Dutch food
  • How to deal with the Dutch?
  • The weather
  • Transport
  • And much more!

10:00 – 10:45 PM Job opportunities
30 min. webinar + 15 min. Q&A

  • What’s the value of a Dutch degree?
  • Which job opportunities do students have after graduation?
  • Stay-back year
  • Job examples of our graduates

SAT Update

With the cancellation of the test dates in the first semester, it is highly likely that future test dates below may be cancelled too due to the pandemic.  An update will be announced as soon as confirmation is received from the College Board.  At the moment, these dates are open for registration.

Students are advised to check the university websites for Test-optional announcements.

2020-2021 Test DatesTestRegistration Deadline
March 13, 2021SAT only (no Subject tests)February 12, 2021
May 8, 2021SAT & SAT Subject TestsApril 8, 2021
June 5, 2021SAT & SAT Subject TestsMay 6, 2021

To register for the SAT, you may click on this link.  If you need assistance or have any questions, please feel free to email Ms. Jenny Basa at

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