Newsflash: June 5, 2020

Admin News

Dear CIS Community,

We did it! Congratulations on successfully completing our 2019/2020 School Year. We were confident we would get through it, but it is a relief to finally get to this point. No one expected we would end up completing the year virtually, but circumstances dictated we needed to do so, and I am proud of being part of a community who all pulled together to make the best of the situation. As things start to open up over our summer break, I hope you and your family get time to refresh and renew yourselves and are ready to approach our 2020/2021 School Year with an open mind ready to face the challenges of a new year!

I thought I would share the following ACCEPT advice to deal with crisis fatigue, as I found it helpful to reflect on the various feelings I am sure we all experienced over the past 12 weeks. It is a good reminder of how it helps to be aware of the potentially negative impact of not processing our emotions to a state of accepting situations that are out of our control and focus on what we can change.

I hope you enjoyed our moving up ceremonies and End of Year Assembly this morning. If you were not able to see it, the advantage of them being virtual events is they are available for you to watch at your convenience at a later time! The links were emailed to your registered email address.

As we break for summer, I want to reiterate what I mentioned in my End of Year Assembly closing address. I encourage you to consider ways of developing a “growth mindset”. Make it a habit to use, and it will stand you in good stead in the coming years. Students, take a break from individual pursuits on your electronic devices (i.e. too many videos and games), and spend some time with your friends and families. Most of all read as much as possible, then think critically about what you read! It is also helpful to write or sketch about your thoughts to help you process your thinking. This will help develop both language and critical thinking skills for next year!

For families who are leaving CIS, we wish you farewell and all the best in your continuing journey. Students who are leaving, and friends of students who are leaving, please re-read Mr. Woods’ Newsflash articles from the last two weeks covering “leaving well”. This is especially important this year considering you have been unable to see each other for the last couple of months. An easy mnemonic I like from David Pollock and Ruth Van Reken, was to be sure to build your RAFT as you leave (this whole book is recommended reading for all parents and students living in a culture outside of their own culture!):

  • Reconciliation • Leave in peace by resolving any conflict you have (as much as is possible).
  • Affirmation • Be sure you let those you love know that you will miss them, and thank those who have helped you on your way.
  • Farewell • Say goodbyes and do not just disappear on your friends – closure is critically important!
  • Think Destination • As you leave one place in peace, think positively about your next destination to prepare you for your transition.

Finally, a few reminders:

If you have not had the chance to read my last Info Brief from the Superintendent, please do so. It is quite long, but it contains critical information about next year. I will be in touch over the vacation to confirm our opening dates (also note any change will be reflected in our official calendar on our website), and to give you details of what procedures and conditions we will be opening with in order to keep our community safe from the ongoing Covid-19 threat.

Please submit your re-registration form and arrange for enrollment payments for next year as soon as you can, as this helps us with our planning (links were sent in previous Info Briefs). If you are unsure of your circumstances for next year due to the Covid-19 situation, please update us so we are aware of your situation. We are also happy to talk to you about your options or situation, just email your divisional secretary and they can forward it to the most appropriate administrator. If you have a whole-school or finance concern, please feel free to contact me via my secretary Ms. Azela Diapana <>.

Please take the time to fill the End of Year Parent Feedback Survey, as this info is very helpful for us as we plan for the coming year (one/family – the link was in the last Info Brief).

Have a wonderful summer vacation, and we will see you hopefully in August!


Dr Gwyn Underwood

Middle and High School News

by Mr. Dale Wood, Middle and High School Principal

The Year in Review in the Middle and High School

In light of the fact that Covid-19 has dominated our focus for the past three months, it is easy to forget all of the amazing things that have happened at CIS this year. In taking a few moments to review retrospectively, we can see that it has been a wonderful year, both in terms of learning, but also in developing our students’ holistic growth.

Academic Milestones:
At the start of the year we engaged all of our grade 11 and 12 students and their parents in two separate IB Commitment meetings, where we reviewed the nature and parameters of the program as a whole, as well as conducting smaller meetings with the respective subject teachers, and then culminating with our students and teachers signing a pledge to do their best in fulfilling the requirements of the programme. We also held our annual EE Cafe to celebrate our students’ finishing of this major milestone and then sharing their work with the community. With our implementation of the MYP program, our Grade 10 students completed and shared our first ever MYP Personal Projects.

We also experienced events this year related to academics such as Book week, where our entire school celebrates the gift of reading. We also enjoyed Chinese New Year celebrations, featuring an intentional and fun focus on Chinese culture both for our students who are studying Mandarin and activities and events for the entire student body. 

In addition, we effectively implemented our first design classes as a cornerstone course in the MYP programme. Our IB Visual Arts students were also able to present and publicly display their creations to the public in our IB Art Exhibition at Ayala Mall in IT Park.

G12 IBDP Visual Arts Virtual Exhibition:

Over the past weeks our students have been reflecting on the year and on Tuesday afternoon we held our virtual Celebration of Learning. Students worked with a partner or small group to create a presentation highlighting learning experiences that stood out to them from the entire school year, ranging from Band to Chemistry Labs to The School Production to ISAC soccer, which they presented virtually to their classmates, teachers, and parents. What a wonderful opportunity for our students to reflect and evaluate their own learning from the year.

Please find a link to this year’s Celebration of Learning
Celebration of Learning student presentations

Clubs and Co-curricular Activities
This year we were able to run over 35 clubs each semester in the MHS, giving our students a wide range of options to help them keep physically fit, explore new interests, and develop their skills. These ranged from Dragon’s Print, Cooking Club, Yearbook, dance, and athletic clubs. Even though BEIMUN had to be cancelled, we had a group of seventeen students attend the MUN event in Manila back in September. We were also able to compete in two ISAC tournaments where our students represented CIS admirably with quality performances and strong sportsmanship.

Major School-wide Events
Up through February we were able to hold important school-wide events which serve to build community and highlight the strengths of its members, such as International Day where we are able to embrace and celebrate the global diversity of our student and parent body. Other events facilitating this were the PTA Christmas Bazaar, our school-wide Holiday Assembly, and Sinulog Day. Our School Production of The Music Man involved, in a variety of ways (backstage, sound and lighting, concessions, acting, and live orchestra), about 35 percent of our MHS student body and included students from ES as well. Our HAD days, run primarily by the student leadership of Student Council, provided the opportunity to build school spirit and enjoy the camaraderie within each of our 4 houses.

Service Learning Focus
We have again been able to emphasize service learning as a central component of who we are as a school. Our Week Without Walls, which thankfully we were able to hold just prior to the community quarantine, allowed our students to engage intentionally in a variety of service projects. Even with some hurdles and needing to adjust some of our courses, we were still able to run all of our courses and engage in learning through service. We also had many ongoing service efforts involving our students over the weekends and after school, and with the MYP we were able to introduce elements of Principled Action within our curriculum units.

There are so many things that make a school year memorable. Even though Covid radically changed the ending of our school year, I hope we will be able to look back on the past three months as a unique time which tested us, but from which emerged stronger than ever. We can certainly be proud of our students, who have weathered this storm and once again proven themselves to be responsible, respectful, and prepared.

Business 10 closes out the semester with Social Marketing

Business 10 is a semester-long course which aims to introduce students to the different topics of Business. To end the second semester, students focused on Social Marketing — advertising that is designed to create a change in audience perception or behavior.  During the unit, students decided on an issue, identified their goal as persuasive or informational, and created an advertising campaign targeting these pieces.  Each group had to create multiple pieces for their campaign.  Groups created videos, podcasts, posters, soundbites, a social media hashtag, and even a newspaper!  The final step of the project involved presenting their marketing to the class, either through pre-recorded videos or live presentations in a virtual room.

Here is one example from each group’s advertising campaign:

Group A — Minwoo and Johan (Coronavirus R0 informational video)

Group B — Kate, Duane, and Dom (Climate Change persuasive video)

Group C — Jodi, Luna, and Sofia (Working/Studying from Home During Coronavirus informational poster)

Group D — SooA, Kyoungmin, and Sakura (How to stay health during Coronavirus video)

Student Reflections:

I would say that this campaign really shows my understanding of advertising in marketing. This is because I am essentially taking the concepts in this unit and translating them from selling a product, to selling an idea, from persuading a customer to buy something, to persuading someone to do something. One example in which our campaign shows this is in our goal which is to inform and persuade the audience. Our methods also match the methods that can be used in business advertising which are things such as leaflets or flyers (posters) and word of mouth (video and podcast). We also needed to keep in mind the packaging or the design of the posters in order to catch the audience’s attention. – Sofia

The target that our group has focused on is to allow people to gain more knowledge from looking at our campaigns. By looking at our campaign, we wanted the audience to learn more about the Corona Virus and we wanted to help the people. This is an important topic to focus on because by allowing the audience to learn new information about this virus, it could help decrease the number of people being affected by this virus. – Sakura

We concluded and felt that misinformation and fake news was a prevalent and extremely dangerous aspect and behaviour during COVID-19. It is important that people have reliable, factual, and easy-to-access information during these times, and is a necessity to allow people to stay safe and cautious. We subsequently decided to create our products based on this singular goal. – Johan

We wanted to focus on things that can be done by normal citizens. We chose to do this as not all people have money to donate or time to volunteer in large events. With our campaign goal we chose to be both persuasive and informative, changing in products that would exemplify those qualities better.  – Dominic

Elementary News

by Mr. Glenn Davies, Elementary Principal/PYP Coordinator

This past week has been a time of celebrations, memories, and farewells as we have concluded our school year. It has felt a little unusual for each of us to be ending the school year in such a different way. I sit here writing at the desk in my office at school, and Ms. Lory is in the main office outside preparing the report cards ready to be sent home tomorrow, but otherwise, the school is almost empty. Mr. Wood and Dr. Underwood are also in their offices, like me I’m sure, coming to terms with the unusual nature of this situation. Our security team is here, and a few members of the Maintenance team, but the buzz and excitement of the last day of school is completely missing. I began my teaching career in 1998, and this is the first time in 22 years I have seen a school year-end in such a way.

Despite this, we are still connected. This morning I spent time with our Grade 5 class as we took part in the Remote Grade 5 Moving up ceremony that premiered at 8.00 am. I was then able to visit several class parties and also be part of the farewell celebration for our Educational Assistant, Ms. Eva. Later in the morning, I was able to enjoy the End of Year Assembly with the entire CIS community, and in the early afternoon, I was able to visit the grade 2 end of years virtual party, which was held later in the day to enable students who have left Cebu to take part. So, despite the physical distance between us, through the wonder of technology, we are able to remain connected in ways that are still very special and meaningful.

Celebrating Grade 5 Student Completion:

Today we have said farewell to our Grade 5 students. As an international school, many students have come and gone over the years as work and family commitments have brought people to Cebu, and taken them away again. Three of our Grade 5 students have been at Cebu international School for their entire elementary education, while the other 18 students have joined CIS along the way. We are so proud of who our Grade 5 students have become. Recently we celebrated our PYP Exhibition, the culminating event for the Grade 5 PYP students as they complete the IB Primary Years Programme.  Following this event, one of our Grade 5 Students, Niño, who had made it a personal goal throughout the year to develop his drawing skills, decided to ask each member of the Grade 5 class which superhero they would be. He sent each classmate a quiz, then decided to draw each of his classmates as their superhero. The result was both special and impressive.

You can follow this link to see each of the images individually.

Celebrating Grade 2 Learning on FlipGrid

Despite the physical distance caused by remote learning, the innovation and excitement around learning is still very much alive, and simply wonderful. I keep returning to the first two Core Values of CIS:

  1. Learning is an joyful, creative, and open-ended exploration.
  2. Each child’s curiosity needs to be identified and nurtured (morally, socially, physically, and academically) to reach his/her potential.

As a school, it is our commitment to these core values that make us stand out from other schools. Other schools can provide students with workbooks and worksheets that develop academic repetition and memorization,  but not very many schools make a firm commitment to developing every aspect of a child’s potential. CIS has done this, and will continue to do this through any Remote Learning or Blended Learning programs we are required to provide. This is our Core Value.

Our grade 2 students have been actively engaged in joyful, creative, open-ended explorations throughout their remote learning time, and recently they took action on their learning by sharing their projects with each other using an ICT platform called FlipGrid. Janna learned how to use Minecraft and built a simulation to present a problem that may have come up between the early explorers and the Native Americans. She then showed how she could use her ATL Skills to see multiple perspectives and help them find a solution.

Dammy created a slideshow presentation and recorded a screencast to discuss the importance of protecting our Earth, and the different perspectives people may have regarding the use of natural resources, as well as to persuade people to take better care of the Earth.

I am incredibly proud of what our Grade 2 students have achieved over these past months. I am also proud and inspired by how our teachers have adapted to these challenging remote learning conditions while remaining faithful to our CIS Core Values.

Celebrating KG/G1 Learning: Book Making

A key aspect of early literacy is reading and writing for meaning. It can be relatively easy to teach a child how to decode words, or how to write a string of words together to form a simple sentence. It is easy for teachers, students, and parents to grade students on their ability to do this, and this is how we would have traditionally measured success. In a rapidly changing world, however, it is essential that students learn to:

  1. Develop a passion and a love for literacy (reading and writing)
  2. View themselves as an author and a reader
  3. Create their own literacy content that is personally meaningful to them, and which they can share with others.

Throughout the school year, the KG/G1 teachers have developed a love of literacy within their students, and many of our younger students view themselves as authors who have important stories and messages to share with the world. Many of our younger learners are also developing simultaneously in two or more languages, placing even more importance on understanding literacy concepts deeply. Here, one of our G1 students who has only more recently become more confident in the English language, shares his important content with the world around him.

Finding Treasures by Lucas 

Farewell and Happy Holidays

As we now say farewell to each other and embark on our holiday adventures, whatever they may look like this year, we leave with a sense of fulfillment that despite the challenges and difficulties faced over these past months, we have pulled together as a CIS community, and as a global community, to overcome them. The quarantine and Remote Learning situations we found ourselves in were not our choice, however, as humans, we know that through hardship we become better. I do believe that as a result of the challenges faced this year, we are closer, stronger, more skillful, and more compassionate.

I wish everyone a very restful and enjoyable vacation period.

Alumni Spotlight

College/Careers Counselor Corner

SAT Registrations Update:

For students who are planning to study in universities/colleges that require the SAT exam, below is the schedule of the SAT tests. Please take note of the test dates and registration deadlines.

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

2020-2021 Test DatesTestRegistration Deadline
August 29, 2020SAT & SAT Subject TestsJuly 31, 2020
September 26, 2020SAT only (no Subject tests)August 26, 2020
October 3, 2020SAT & SAT Subject TestsSeptember 4, 2020
November 7, 2020SAT & SAT Subject TestsOctober 7, 2020
December 5, 2020SAT & SAT Subject TestsNovember 5, 2020
March 13, 2021SAT only (no Subject tests)February 12, 2021
May 8, 2021SAT & SAT Subject TestsSAT & SAT Subject Tests
June 5, 2021SAT & SAT Subject TestsMay 6, 2021

College/University Webinars (online)

Students & Parents are welcome to join!


June 9, 2020 Tuesday

June 14, 2020

Sunday – 11:00AM – 2:00 PM

How does the Webifair work?

You and your students can move around the virtual platform and interact with any admissions officers that you choose — they will be there speaking to attendees for the entire three hours!

Each of the 30 universities will also give two 10-minute presentations during the event, from inside their virtual rooms. But attendees can actually visit their rooms at any point during the entire event and they will be there and ready to answer your questions one on one!

Education New Zealand Webinar

Click on this zoom link to register:


KIC University Assist WebiFair:

Click here to register:


  • Augustana University
  • Central Michigan University
  • Columbia College Chicago
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
  • Florida International University
  • Foothill and De Anza Colleges
  • Full Sail University
  • Indiana Institute of Technology
  • Iowa State University
  • Irvine Valley College
  • Marymount California University
  • Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences University
  • Michigan State University
  • Ohio University
  • Orange Coast College
  • Pepperdine University
  • St. Francis College
  • Syracuse University
  • Tacoma Community College
  • The New School
  • University of California, Irvine
  • University of Kentucky
  • University of Missouri
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • University of Tennessee
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Whitworth University


  • University of Guelph
  • University of Waterloo


  • University College Roosevelt

Media Center News

by Mr. Daniel Monfre, Media Center & eLearning Coordinator, Math Instructor

Summer Reading! A great way to pass the time and keep your mind sharp is to enjoy a good book. Families who would like to borrow books for the summer can come to the CIS Media Center to check out books for summer reading. The Media Center will be open Monday to Thursday from 8:30 until 3 pm over the next two weeks (Mon 8-18, June). Families may also use this time to drop off materials they have borrowed during the school year.

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Newsflash: May 29, 2020

Congratulations Class of 2020

College Acceptances

Congratulations to our Class of 2020 on their graduation, as well as their College Acceptances! Merit-based and need-based scholarships/tuition grant schemes were earned by seniors based on merit and financial need ranging from full-ride, full-tuition to partial support.

Click on the image to enlarge the photo.

CIS Class of 2020 Virtual Graduation Ceremony

The CIS Graduation for our Class 2020 was held earlier this evening, at 5 PM. If you did not get a chance to watch it, we have linked the video in for you to do so when you get the chance below.

This event was the first of its kind in our 95 year history! Our congratulations go out to all of our graduating students, and we wish them all the best as they head into the “real world”! I would also like to thank our graduates parents, family members, friends and all teachers who taught them since they started going to school. Your support enabled our students to be successful, enabling them to get to where they are now. A special thanks for the support given over the last few months since the pandemic crisis hit us as well!


Dr. Gwyn Underwood
CIS Superintendent

Middle and High School News

by Mr. Dale Wood, Middle and High School Principal

The Importance of Healthy, Well-rounded Goodbyes

Last week I shared some thoughts on the importance of finishing the academic year strong, and hopefully this resonated positively with you. This week we continue with the other aspect of ending the year in a positive way: saying goodbye well.

In a recent article published in Motivation Science, psychology researchers explored the following question: How does the way people end their previous life phase impact emotional well-being and the transition into the new beginning? In this article, Schwörer, Krott, and Oettingen (2020) explained the concept of a well-rounded ending, which can be defined as one that is marked by effective closure. The authors found that a well-rounded ending is associated with high positive affect, low regret, and an easy transition into the subsequent phase. For example, when exchange students ended a visit abroad, a well-rounded ending correlated to stronger positive feelings afterwards, less feelings of regret regarding having missed out on opportunities, and to the ease they experienced settling back into their home when they returned.

A quote used last week from goal-setting guru Gary Ryan Blair asserts that, “Every task, goal, race, and year comes to an end; therefore, make it a habit to always finish strong.” This quote is relevant here as it reminds us that leaving a place is not the only ending we may experience, as moving into a new grade is also an important shift from one phase to the next and involves saying goodbye to teachers and spaces which have come to feel like “home” while at school. As we know, transitions are particularly poignant within international schools as they experience greater instances of coming and going both for students and teachers, and as such, it becomes more important that we shepherd our students toward well-rounded transitions.

Many times it is just as hard for those of us who are staying, sometimes harder, and it is also important for us to say goodbye well to those who are moving on.

To be honest, in my own transitions I have done a pretty good job of finishing strong, but the other area, saying goodbye well, is an area where I have not been as successful at times. Leaving can be hard for all of us, and leaving in such a manner that important matters remain unresolved only makes it harder and can result in lingering feelings of sadness, anger, or regret. It can also make transitioning to that next phase in life’s journey more challenging as we may bring unresolved “baggage” into that new experience.

This year is especially challenging since it can be more difficult saying goodbye well when we can’t be physically present with those to whom we say our farewells. We may feel that circumstances have cheated us out of saying goodbye well. Regardless of the situation, Cherilyn Veland, a Social Worker from Chicago, explains that:

Saying goodbye is important. Saying goodbye allows us time to honor the importance that we have in each other’s lives. It gives us the opportunity to form words for feelings that we might be recognizing for the very first time. A good goodbye honors our past, codifies the choices we made, recognizes life experiences with others and the world around us, and provides closure, as we move on to our next chapter.

However, when life comes at us such that we do not get a chance to say goodbye, or we are not ready to say goodbye, we can be left wondering forever what was, what happened, and what could have been. Sudden separation from whatever it is, be it person, place or thing, can leave a hole filled with heavy difficult feelings, such as regret, guilt, anger, confusion, and fear.

The challenge of our current situation is that we may not be able to say goodbye in the way we would choose or in a way that gives us a sense of sufficient closure. Especially in light of our circumstances, we should feel satisfied and emotionally at peace that our ending fits the definition of well-rounded and has a sense of closure if the following are true:

  • If we feel that we have done everything we could have done within our sphere of control. We cannot control the actions or attitudes of other people, but can only control our own. If you feel that you have reached out and tried to do everything you could have done to say goodbye appropriately, show yourself some grace, especially given our difficult circumstances.
  • If we feel that we have completed something to the fullest. This goes back to the idea of finishing strong. Knowing that you have fulfilled all of your responsibilities, both with regard to tasks and to people, should provide you with peace.
  • And third, If we have a feeling that all of our “loose ends” have been sufficiently tied up. Again we can only hold ourselves responsible to the extent that this falls within our sphere of control. If there is an emotional loose end that is harder to resolve or where there are hard feelings, we can make the choice to forgive others (sometimes we need to forgive ourselves as well). The irony of not doing this is that harboring hard feelings against someone often troubles us when we hold onto them; we don’t hurt the other person by not forgiving, but rather, we hurt ourselves. Sometimes writing a letter, although it is not a face-to-face communication, allows us to get these feelings out. It can help resolve emotions even if the letter is never sent.

Finally, an important part of ending well is also found through the rituals which mark important transitions, such as ceremonies, banquets, farewell gathering, and the like; this is true whether we are moving on in life, or moving up a grade. Our students and teachers have been busy and active these past few weeks in the final stretch of the school year. One of the things we have been working hard on is preserving those rituals as best we can in light of the obstacles that keep us from being together face to face.

As we approach the end of a challenging and unsettling year, I invite you to attend the following end of year events, so that we may celebrate all the good that has occured.

  • Today we held the CIS Graduation of 2020 at 5:00 PM. This virtual event was the first of its kind in our nearly 100 year history.
  • Our Celebration of Learning will take place next Tuesday afternoon, June 2nd. The purpose of the Celebration of Learning is to provide an opportunity for our students to share their highlights from the school year, not only with their parents, but with the entire school community. We will be creating Celebration of Learning “pages” containing links to all of our students’ presentations so that you may visit your own child’s presentation and others that interest you.
  • We will be holding Moving Up Ceremonies this year on the final Friday of school, as is our tradition for students transitioning between important stages in their educational journey, for Grade 5 and 8. This year we are also adding a Grade 10 Moving Up ceremony in light of the fact that we are soon to be an IB continuum school and these students are moving from MYP to either the IBDP or CIS Diploma programmes.
  • To celebrate this year’s achievements and gain positive closure to the year, we are also holding our End of Year Assembly at 11:00 AM on June 5th. This will help us to go on holiday with a sense of closure and hope for the future (when for some there may still be a lot of uncertainty). As usual this assembly will feature student speakers, performers, and awards.

I hope that you will be able to attend these events via the links that we will share, and take the opportunity and find the wisdom to say goodbye well in these challenging circumstances. We will certainly miss all in our community who will be transitioning to other places and other chapters in their lives, but as Ghandi stated:

“There are no goodbyes for us. Wherever you are you will always be in our heart.”

Our MHS Band classes have been working over the past weeks to put together music for our Graduation and Moving Up ceremonies. If you think trying to make a zoom meeting effective, imagine trying to orchestrate an ensemble when the performers are not in the same room. Our End of Year Assembly will also feature “spoken word poetry”, which is an interdisciplinary project involving our Grade 6 Language and Literature and Drama classes. The Assembly will also feature dance performances which have been an aspect of our Physical and Health Education courses.

Last week we explained that our Grade 11 DP students, in the midst of remote learning, have begun working on their Internal Assessments (IA’s) in most of their classes. The internal assessment (IA) in IB Psychology challenges students to conduct a replication of an well-known psychology experiment; by following in the steps of a well-known experiment, they learn to think and act like practitioners of psychology. The experiment must be carried out in a group of no more than four students.

The first step is for students to choose an experiment to replicate. To do this they must understand what is meant by a simple experiment. The psychology course defines a simple experimental study as requiring the manipulation of one independent variable and measurement of one dependent variable, while other variables are kept constant. Consequently, correlational studies, quasi-experiments, and natural experiments (that is, any research undertaken without control over the independent variable and without a controlled sampling procedure) would not be acceptable for the parameters of a simple experimental study.

At this point students have completed their proposals, have had their plans approved by the teacher, and have now written the introduction and exploration portions of the IA.

Please find below some examples of our students’ proposals:

Here are some student reflections on their Psych Internal Assessment:

The Psych IA was initially a very daunting task. I worried mainly about writing the best Introduction and Exploration I could, and ironically that really bolstered my fears and caused me to fret over a blank paper for a good few days. It was when I passed my initial draft that I realized worrying the way I did was pointless. Constructive criticism will always sting. It will also always help you write better. With the criticism I was given, I was able to approach what was once a daunting task with a clearer goal in mind and a sounder method in place. I learned a lot about the attitude I must have to utilize my teacher’s feedback to my advantage, and it’s a useful kind of attitude to have, especially in areas of the IB where feedback is needed the most. – Venise

In order to complete the psychology internal assessment, it was important to not only understand the concepts but also be able to explain the ideas as clearly and thoroughly as possible. Since this was my first time writing an IA, I had to rely on the concrete guideline, which has been the grading criteria. Also, group discussions were necessary to maintain consistency and to brainstorm the experiment that we are replicating. It is very important to choose the study wisely in terms of ethics and feasibility, and sometimes it might be necessary to have adjustments in the methods. Last but not least, it has been very helpful to have a feedback session with the teacher, which has made my writing much easier and concise. Overall, I think the most important thing was to write the IA while checking the requirements of the criteria.  – Woochul (James) 

The psychology IA is something I find exciting because it is an opportunity for me to experience conducting first hand research. Although what my group chose to investigate is not a lesson we directly learned from class, I enjoyed reading and learning about it. Writing the introduction and exploration of my IA was first very overwhelming. However, with the feedback I received, I was able to work on areas that needed improvement. I realized the importance of making strong linkbacks as well as the importance of organization. All these make the flow of concepts in the essay clear and effective. – Kimberly 

Elementary News

by Mr. Glenn Davies, Elementary Principal/ PYP Coordinator

Dear Elementary Community,

Today I want to pay tribute to the CIS elementary teachers for their incredible work over this last semester. Prior to March 13th there were rumors that a period of remotlearning may be required. Back then we were all aware that some countries had already started to close schools, however, no one really thought Cebu would be affected. Nevertheless, the teachers prepared. Now as we end the second to last week of school, and begin the final week of the school year, we also enter week 12 of remote learning. We at CIS acknowledge this has been a team effort. It would have not been possible without your support at home. This has been a great challenge for all of us. Our teachers are ending the year exhausted but satisfied knowing they have given everything they could possibly give to ensure our CIS Core Values have been honored over this time. Let’s reflect on these for a moment.


Despite planning, teaching, conferencing, providing feedback, holding conferences, and writing reports remotely, I can acknowledge with sincerity and pride that our CIS teachers have embodied the CIS Core Beliefs. Not only this, but our teachers have also successfully guided your children, and to some extent, yourselves, in applying and living these core beliefs at home over these past weeks.  The end of the school year is always an emotional time as we say goodbye to students, teachers, and families, and show gratefulness for all that has been achieved over the year. This year I feel especially grateful that we have such a professional, committed, and caring team of teachers in the elementary school.

Final Elementary Assembly for 2019/2020

On the second to last Friday of each year, we normally hold an end of year elementary assembly. This assembly is where emotions can surface as we say farewell to the teachers and students we have built trusting relationships with, and come to love and respect. Over the past two weeks Ms. Vangie B, Ms. Tara, and Ms, Aimee S. have worked with the elementary student council to coordinate with various teachers and students across the school to create the Elementary School Remote End of Year Assembly. This assembly has captured all the elements we would normally have in a final assembly, including the emotions (a private viewing link was sent out for parents to watch through Seesaw today). We hope you enjoyed it!

PYP Exhibition 2020

This week the PYP Exhibition was launched remotely on the CIS PYP Exhibition  Website. The PYP Exhibition is the culminating event in a PYP student education journey.  Under the direction and teaching of Ms. Carolyn Pynor, the extensive support of Ms. Heather Jean Grady, and the guidance of a wide range of teacher mentors from across the school, the Grade 5 students have undertaken a semester-long collaborative inquiry into an area of significance and importance to them.  We are extremely proud of what our students have achieved and very grateful for the many hours of support and guidance they have received from the PYP Exhibition team.

Over the next few days, I encourage you to visit the PYP Exhibition presentations. While visiting, please provide our students with some positive feedback. This feedback may include:

  • Sharing something you have learned
  • Telling the students about something that has challenged your thinking
  • Asking a student a clarifying question

Normally the PYP Exhibition is a vibrant and exciting event that you could attend on campus. Despite the challenges we have all faced, it is now a long-lasting event hosted on our PYP Exhibition website. We look forward to your visit.

Covid 19 Parody – 7 Years
As part of our CIS final assembly one of our Grade 4 students, Khen Uy prepared a song in the style of 7 Years by Lucas Graham. I would like to leave you all with this powerful song as Khen shares his feelings about the Covid-19 remote learning experience, something we can all relate to.

College/Careers Counselor Corner

SAT Registrations Update

Priority Registration for Fall SAT Dates is Now Open

Until June 3 at 8 p.m. ET, August, September, and October registration will be open to: Students in the class of 2020 or 2021 who don’t have an SAT score, and students who registered for the June SAT or Subject Tests and didn’t cancel.

Registration Details
Beginning on May 28, the following students will get a week of early registration access to sign up for August, September, and October tests:

  • Students already registered for the June SAT or Subject Tests who didn’t cancel their registrations
  • Students in the high school class of 2020 who don’t have SAT scores
  • Students in the high school class of 2021 and don’t have SAT scores

All students can register for the November and December tests starting on May 28. Registration for August, September, and October tests will open for all students on June 3.  The new SAT test dates for Fall 2020 are: 

August 29       September 26        October 3        November 7          December 5

College/University Visits (online)

Students & Parents are welcome to join!

June 2, 2020 Tuesday (9:00am - 10:00am)- Explore the Pacific Rim: (USA)
- University of Redlands
- California Polytechnic State University – Pomona
- Western Washington University
- University of Oregon
- Whitworth University
- Hawaii Pacific University
Join Zoom Meeting
June 3, 2020 Wednesday- EduCanada Virtual Fair
To register:

IDP Virtual Fairs Coming up

May 30, 2020 at 2:00pm – 7:00pm (Canada, UK & Ireland)
To register, please click on this link :

  • Camosun College
  • Columbia College
  • Douglas College
  • Fanshawe College
  • Excelsia College
  • Fleming College
  • Humber Institute
  • Langara College
  • NorQuest College
  • Northern Lights College
  • Royal Roads University
  • Sault College
  • Saint Lawrence College
  • University Canada West
  • University of Fraser Valley
  • University of New Brunswick
  • Anglia Ruskin University
  • Birmingham City University
  • Edinburgh Napier University
  • Goldsmiths, University of London
  • Nottingham Trent University
  • On Campus
  • Plymouth University
  • University of Portsmouth
  • Trinity College Dublin
Share this:

Newsflash: May 22, 2020

Admin Update

Dear CIS Community,

As we near the end of our school year, we have entered what we call our “red zone”, where everyone tends to get so busy some can get a little stressed at times! It is helpful to keep this in mind, and to be extra sensitive when dealing with others over this time – particularly as we have to interact remotely at this time!

  • Teacher Appreciation, RL, and reports: I would like to publicly thank our teachers at this time, as they really are putting a lot of effort into ensuring our students keep getting a personalized, meaningful remote learning experience. They are also currently in the midst of carrying out relevant end-year assessments, in order to provide you with a report card that reflects your child’s learning accurately over this unusual semester. I am particularly interested to see how elementary parents react to the unique opportunity of providing teachers with their perspectives of their child’s Approaches to Learning (ATL) Skills learning at home this semester, considering the amount of time you spend with them whilst remote learning! We hope the experience also helps you to understand our various ATL domains better, and we believe the reports will better reflect your child’s progress with your contributions. Please keep in mind the teachers will still also be assessing how your child has progressed in the academic areas based on curriculum focus areas for this semester. I say this as I am aware traditional education systems do not value the ATL skills as much as contemporary schools do these days. Unfortunately, what critics do not recognize, is that academics still get attention, just in different ways to how they did in the past as they are now taught in a holistic framework based on learning using research-based best practices.
  • Teacher-only curriculum working day: Students should make good use of today (Friday, May 22) to catch up on learning activities, prepare/work on their end-year assessments/projects, and to also take some time to refresh their minds and bodies ready for the last couple of weeks of the school year. This day will be used by faculty to work on curriculum updates for the year, as well as end-of-year assessment marking and report card writing if there is time. Thank you for your understanding of our need to use this extra day for a teacher workday. Please note the day is counted as one of our backup emergency days that is included in our total school days for the year (we usually only use a scheduled half-day for these tasks, but the Covid-19 situation this year has created the need for this extra day to complete all requirements).
  • Eidul Fitr national holiday: Due to the government decreeing May 25 as a public holiday celebrating Eidul Fitr earlier this week, next Monday is now a national holiday. Eidul Fitr, or “Festival of Breaking the Fast”, is a holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide, marking the end of the month-long dawn-to-sunset fasting of Ramadan*. We were not expecting this late change to our school calendar, but it does happen on occasion as the date for the start of Eidul Fitr varies based on when the new moon is sighted by local religious authorities, causing holidays to change if the predicted day is not selected* (Sunday was the predicted day this year!). *Source: Wikipedia
  • Graduation day: We invite you to attend CIS’s first-ever Virtual Graduation Ceremony! This event will be published at 5 pm on Friday, May 29th, the same date/time it was scheduled for before it had to go virtual. I look forward to a new interesting adaption of the ceremony as we confer CIS Diplomas on our graduating students in this new format.
  • Moving up ceremony (Grade 5, 8, 10) and End of Year assembly: These will also be virtual ceremonies this year, and will also be published on our last day of school, June 5th. More details will be forthcoming closer to the date.

We wish you a peaceful long weekend, and as always, Keep safe!

Dr. Gwyn Underwood

Middle and High School News

by Mr. Dale Wood, Middle and High School Principal

A Strong Finish

My career as an educator is now approaching thirty years and has brought me to nine different schools in six countries; as such I have transitioned between jobs on eight different occasions. Through these experiences of transition I have developed the conviction that the following two interrelated principles are very important: finishing strong and leaving well. Over the next two weeks I want to share some thoughts on each of these areas as we move closer to the end of our unprecedented year at CIS. I hope these ideas will be particularly relevant to our graduating seniors.

Finishing strong is a principle that applies to us whether or not we are transitioning from one chapter of our lives to another. In reality, to quote goal-setting guru Gary Ryan Blair, “Every task, goal, race, and year comes to an end; therefore, make it a habit to always finish strong.” Our entire community has done a fantastic job, throughout these past three months, of managing through this crisis and adapting to remote learning; however, we sense that last week’s announcement of the further extension of the ECQ may have made motivation difficult for some of our students. It may have taken the wind out of our sails as we were hoping to return to campus for our end of year events and opportunities to say farewell.

It is not enough simply to say that we should finish this year well; as Simon Sinek advises us, it is important to start with “why” in order to unpack and understand the reasons for a particular stance, decision, or course of action. So I pose the question: Why is it important to finish well, to finish strong?

For me this has always been a matter of integrity, and especially so when you are moving on. How you finish says a lot about you and reveals the truth about your character. The way you finish is what people will remember about you. It also validates all of the accomplishments that have come before, as it reveals that your motivation, in the case of our students, for example, was truly about learning, not just pleasing their teachers or seeking grades.

Finishing strong not only reveals a person’s character, but it also provides an opportunity to continue building that character. At CIS we are committed to the holistic development of our students as seen through our emphasis of the IB Learner Profile traits. Interestingly, only half of the LP traits are directly academic in nature. Five of them, namely principled, risk-taking, open-minded, balanced, and caring are character traits which impact every aspect of our lives, including learning.

The following are just a few personal characteristics which can be developed when we commit to finishing strong. The first of these is an ability to persevere in the face of adversity. Difficulties and challenges in life are inevitable; the question is not whether we will encounter them, but rather, how we will deal with them when they arise. If we can choose to persevere in spite of our emotions and circumstances, this will make us stronger and create the inner fortitude to overcome the future obstacles which we will inevitably face.

Finishing strong can also cultivate our ability to sustain focus. It is natural for us to lose focus, and at times we actually embrace distractions when we give in to temptations like procrastination. In every course at CIS, our students set goals for themselves at the start of the year which we inentionally revisit to help them “keep their eyes on the prize.” I encourage our students to go back and gain a vision for following through on the goals they have set for themselves. Take a moment to reflect on why you set these goals in the first place. When we lose sight of our goals, it can be easy to become sidetracked or detoured along trails that lead us to an undesired destination. Emotions like doubt, fear, and worry, can also weigh us down or cause us to drift from the path. On the other hand, developing the ability to remain focused in spite of obstacles and distractions is a life skill that will serve you well in the future.

Finally, finishing strong can develop a personal commitment to excellence. It demonstrates that you are not willing to accept mediocrity or the status quo (which often are the same thing), but that you are dedicated to doing your very best, regardless of the circumstances or who is watching. The pursuit of excellence is a habit which then becomes an aspect of your character. When someone is dedicated to doing their very best by consistently giving their “all,” he or she also forges a reputation of being a reliable and trustworthy person, which are traits employers and even friends greatly value. Moreover, a dedication to excellence can be critical in developing a healthy family life in the future, being committed to your spouse and children through thick and thin.

Ultimately, finishing strong comes down to personal choice. We can’t control our circumstances, nor can we control other people’s words, reactions, or attitudes. The only thing we can control is our attitude and our response to the situations in which we find ourselves. Our students now find themselves in the midst of our end-of-year assessment “window,” and this is not the time to falter. Now is the time to dig deep and find that extra reserve of fortitude. I have been thoroughly impressed with our students’ resolve, resilience, and dedication to their own learning during our season of remote learning. They should be proud that they have managed to successfully navigate this new learning territory; now it is time to bring the ship safely into port. Now is the time to finish strong.

Be the hero of your own story. Show the world the quality of your character, the strength of your resolve, and the size of your heart by finishing strong. – Gary Ryan Blair

Elementary News

by Mr. Glenn Davies, Elementary Principal/PYP Coordinator

Dear Elementary Community,

In last week’s Newsflash, I discussed the elementary school reporting process and the Three-Way Conferences (3WC).  Thank you to all the parents who contributed to the ATL Report Survey as your responses have helped teachers to create meaningful report cards that accurately represent your child’s learning during this semester. As a school, we place great value on the learning connections between home and school.

The Approaches to Learning (ATLs) we asked you to discuss with your child are sometimes referred to as soft skills, with the hard skills being the traditional Reading, Writing and Arithmetic (referred to as the 3R’s). Increasingly this paradigm is changing as leaders in the industry, business, and education realize the skills embedded within the ATLs are even more essential to the 21st-century workforce than the traditional 3R’s. With the explosion of technology, which has been called the 4th industrial revolution, soft skills have been renamed as essential 21st century skills. These skills require many years of practice before proficiency is achieved, and the CIS PYP program focuses on developing these skills in equal importance to the 3R’s.  I encourage you to learn more about the 21st Century essential skills. Here are two recommended videos that will help:

Jeff Weiner is CEO of LinkedIn and speaks about the importance of these skills in education and industry. He also describes his own transformation as a leader as he gradually came to understand the importance of these skills.

Tony Wagner is a leading educationalist, researcher, and advocate for the 7 survival skills students need to be successful in the 21st Century workforce.

Three-Way Conferences (3WC)

As elementary school parents, you have received a 3WC sign-up form. 3WC’s are being held in 15 minutes intervals from Tuesday, 26th May to Friday, 29th May. During the conference, your child’s teacher will share a draft copy of your child’s ATL report with you. They have written this report using the data you gave them through the ATL Report Survey. The 3WC will provide the opportunity for you, your child, and the teacher to discuss the ATL progress your child has made, to clarify any points of difference that may exist, and to establish goals for next year.  Your child has also been asked to complete a brief reflection about their learning during this semester. Your child will share this reflection during the conference.

Following the conference, the teacher will complete your child’s report before it goes through our final checking and proofreading process. Reports will be emailed in PDF format on Friday, 5th June.

Please familiarize yourself with the 3WC roles and procedures.

Please sign-up for your child’s three Way Conference now!

The PYP Exhibition

If you are a grade 5 parent, you will know the Grade 5 students have been engaged in their PYP Exhibition inquiry since late January. This is the culminating or consolidating experience of the IB PYP Program.  Under normal circumstances, the PYP Exhibition would be held at school and we would invite the CIS community to attend. This year the PYP Exhibition will be a remote experience hosted on the CIS PYP Exhibition Website. The launch for the PYP Exhibition will be Thursday, 28th May and the CIS community will receive an invite to view the exhibition.

Important Dates in Elementary

Please find a summary of the important dates connected to elementary:

  • Friday 19th – Monday 25th May – Three Way Conferences (3WC) sign up.
  • Friday 22nd May – Student non-contact day (curriculum working day for teachers, student work catch-up day
  • Monday 26th to Friday 29th May – Three Way Conferences (3WC) held remotely.
  • Thursday 28th May: Launch of the PYP Exhibition
  • Friday 29th May: Final (remote) Elementary Assembly
  • Friday 5th June: Grade 5 Moving-Up Ceremony /Report Cards emailed to parens/Final day of school for students

CIS Student Learning in Mandarin

Recently the Mandarin students have reviewed their food topic, and to do this they made a healthy delicious Sandwich. The students learned all of the ingredients in Mandarin first, then they made their Sandwich for breakfast or Lunch. Yum!

College/Careers Counselor Corner

College/University Visits Online

May 22, 2020 - 7:00pmUnderwood International College - Yonsei University To register:…/register/WN_021g3qz8SVashFf0T5lsXQ
May 23, 2020 - 1:00 - 6:00pmList of universities below To register, please click on this link :
May 27, 2020 - 9:00amUniversity of British Columbia (Canada) (Ms. Basa will email you the link if interested)
May 29, 2020 - 7:00am (Phil time)Underwood International College - Yonsei University…/register/WN_jcUcscWlTv2Uju3sJrFDew
June 3, 2020EduCanada Virtual Fair To register:
Date and Time to be confirmedUSA Universities in the Pacific Rim:
- Hawaii Pacific University
- University of Oregon
- Western Washington University
- CalPoly Pomona
- Whitworth
- University of Redlands

The IDP Virtual Fair is scheduled on May 23 and 30 with institutions from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, United Kingdom and Ireland.

Please find below the list of participating institutions and registration details:

May 23, 2020 at 1:00 pm – 6:00pm (Australia & New Zealand). To register, please click on this link.


  • Australia Catholic University
  • Blue Mountains Hotel Management School
  • Central Queensland University
  • Curtin University
  • Excelsia College
  • Federation University Australia
  • Flinders University
  • Griffith University
  • James Cook University
  • La Trobe University
  • Le Cordon Bleu
  • Macquarie University
  • Melbourne Polytechnic
  • Queensland University of Technology
  • RMIT University
  • Tafe International Western Australia
  • University of Sydney
  • University of Western Australia
  • Torrens University
  • University of Adelaide
  • University of Adelaide College
  • University of New South Wales Sydney
  • University of South Australia
  • University of Technology Sydney
  • UTS Insearch
  • Victoria University
  • Western Sydney University


  • Lincoln University
  • Massey University
  • Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT)
  • Southern Institute of Technology
  • University of Otago
  • Victoria University

May 30, 2020 at 2:00pm – 7:00pm (Canada, UK & Ireland). To register, please click on this link.


  • Camosun College
  • Columbia College
  • Douglas College
  • Fanshawe College
  • Excelsia College
  • Fleming College
  • Humber Institute
  • Langara College
  • NorQuest College
  • Northern Lights College
  • Royal Roads University
  • Sault College
  • Saint Lawrence College
  • University Canada West
  • University of Fraser Valley
  • University of New Brunswick


  • Anglia Ruskin University
  • Birmingham City University
  • Edinburgh Napier University
  • Goldsmiths, University of London
  • Nottingham Trent University
  • OnCampus
  • Plymouth University
  • University of Portsmouth


  • Trinity College Dublin
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Newsflash: May 15, 2020

Admin News

Thank you one and all for your endurance! It is hard to believe we have now completed week eight of RL. It is also amazing to think we now only have 3 more weeks until the end of the school year! We can do it—and what an amazing accomplishment it will be!

I will be sending an Infobrief shortly to the CIS Community with some details about staffing for next year that we usually send out at this time of the year. For now, we have a few announcements about current developments.

1. CIS moves to a Modified ECQ from May 15-May 31 – CIS Remote Learning confirmed to continue through to the end of the school year

[Stop Press: Since publishing, the IATF has returned Cebu City to ECQ level]

As you may have heard in the news, Cebu City has now been placed on a Modified ECQ from May 15 through to May 31. The conditions of the MECQ are similar to the ECQ with regard to our operations, so as we expected, we will continue with RL. (A detailed report of details of the MECQ, ECQ, and GCQ is available in a news report here). After initially being classed under a General Community Quarantine (GCQ), Mandaue and Lapulapu Cities have also been recommended for the MECQ by the IATF – a report is available here)

Even if we are moved to a GCQ level after May 31, we only have one more week, and our students (under 20-year-olds) will still be required to continue their quarantine under that level. This announcement serves as official confirmation that due to these continued restrictions, CIS will need to finish out the 2019/20 school year virtually.

2. End of Year Events

We will continue to hold as many of our regular events as possible if we can adapt them to be held virtually. The event organizers for the various end of year events are in the process of planning for these adaptations, and details will be communicated to you shortly.

3. 2020/21SY Opening Planning

We are in the process of researching options for what conditions we need to implement at school to ensure the safety of our students and teachers when we open our campus physically for our 2020/21SY (hopefully in August as planned, but that depends on the restrictions at the time). We are fortunate to have time and other schools’ experiences of doing this now to draw upon to help us plan. Over the next few weeks, we will be inviting input from a variety of stakeholders into the various options we are considering, so if you have an interest in this area, please do let me know! I will be giving more details and possible dates in our next Infobrief.

Our Remote Learning program (and many parent’s work) was interrupted for a number of families over Wednesday and Thursday this week, reportedly due to an unfortunate loss of connection from PLDT Fibre lines being damaged by two separate accidents! Our teachers scrambled to adapt their lessons to cater to students who were unable to join online, and alternative arrangements were given so the students had the opportunity to make up any work missed over that time. Thank you both students and teachers for working through that problem. This is the first major issue with our connection in 8 weeks, so at least we can be thankful for that. Also, it was interesting to note that some found it harder to cope with loss of internet over two days than being on lockdown for eight weeks!

Have a restful weekend, and we hope the learning is smoother next week, as many of our students look at summative assessments and preparing for our upcoming celebration of learning events!

Dr. Gwyn Underwood

Middle and High School News

by Mr. Dale Wood, Middle and High School Principal

Our students, now having completed week 8 of remote learning, are keeping calm and creating on within their respective classes. Our teachers continue to create learning engagements for their students to keep them moving forward in the curriculum while striving to make it relevant to them. They are modeling the kind of creativity we want to instill and inspire in our students.

As we are gearing up for our end-of year assessments, I want to highlight some of the learning experiences, as evidenced through our students’ products, which have been taking place in MHS this week. We have now entered our end-of-year assessment window, and our students are also beginning or are already in the process of producing culminating projects for their courses to demonstrate their mastery of course content and skills.

Our Grade 6 Individuals & Society (I&S) class designed and created Covid 19 Propaganda Posters.

For our unit on Propaganda students were asked to design a poster on paper (A4 size or larger) using one of the propaganda techniques they have been studying. The poster was meant to take a message from what they know about Covid-19 and exaggerate it a bit to really convince people that the message is true, even though the facts may be skewed or paint an incomplete picture. This message could either be positive or negative in nature. They were also asked to include a drawing or drawings in connection with the celebration of art week which needed to be colorful and draw in the audience’s attention. 

by Seyoung S.

by Kasey H.

by Yi Chen Wu

Our Grade 8 Science class, for their summative task for the Rocks and Minerals unit, were tasked with the goal of incorporating their knowledge of rocks and minerals to design a substantial test for rock/mineral identification. Students served as rock lab experts for a client who has sent them a rock sample for detailed analysis, seeking to know if the rock would be suitable for any specific task or function. The students role was to provide the client with a detailed analysis (in the form of a formal report) of the specimen.

This project combined several important subject skills, requiring students to demonstrate their knowledge within this unit and apply this knowledge in a novel situation. They also had to meet course standards in Criterion B, which focuses on inquiry and design. Students were expected to formulate a detailed analysis to identify the rock’s estimated/observed age, physical (density/hardness/luster/streak)/chemical properties, mineral content, possible location to obtain or mine this, and current market value of the rock per kilogram. Finally students needed to formulate a conclusion about its appropriateness for the purpose. The formal report also needed to include the problem that you’re investigating, a hypothesis related to your problem, evaluate any variables you need to look into your investigation and how you plan to gather your data, articulate materials and procedures, and present a detailed analysis and results.

To add an element of creativity, students were given the flexibility to choose their own format for the report for as long as it looked professionally done by a rock lab expert as well as contain all the expectations above. The statement of inquiry focused on how scientists discern patterns in ecological systems and use them to identify ways to develop and manage natural resources around the world. 

Please find one student sample of this finished product below:

Sample Product – Zhandy J.

Grade 11 Internal Assessments

Our final highlight for the week focuses on how our Grade 11 DP students, in the midst of remote learning, have begun working on their Internal Assessments (IA’s) in most of their classes. One of the things that sets IB apart from other rigorous “college prep” curricula is that its assessment of students is not purely test-based. In sharp contrast, IB builds in the ability for students to explore, under the guidance of their teachers, aspects of their respective subjects that are relevant and/or intriguing to them. Our IA’s range from conceiving, designing, conducting, and evaluating their own science experiments to delivering Individual Oral commentaries in World Language and Language and Literature to crafting independent study and analysis of real-world businesses.

The IA’s present a wonderful opportunity for our students to demonstrate their skills and knowledge and, if they are motivated and diligent, often serve to raise their grades in their IB subjects. It is wonderful to see our DP teachers adjusting to this IB requirement and leading students through these assessments while all are at home (for example, guiding students to begin their science IA’s while they don’t yet have access to the labs).

Elementary News

by Mr. Glenn Davies, Elementary Principal/PYP Coordinator

Dear Elementary Community,

As we draw near the end of the academic school year, all teachers are engaged in writing report cards for their students. Report card writing is always a stressful time for teachers as they are adding many additional hours to their regular teaching and learning workload. Teachers take the responsibility of report card writing very seriously, and each report card that is written represents many hours of thought, assessment, and cross-checking various pieces of qualitative and quantitative data to ensure the report accurately represents each student.

Grade 2 have been learning about transformation during their remote learning math lessons. Taito took action by applying what he learned in math about transformation and created different kinds of origami Beyblades. He also shared a video on Seesaw explaining his work. The video can be found on the CIS elementary Remote Learning Website.

Grade 3 students have been learning to draw maps with accuracy. This map was made by Anthea. It is a map of her neighborhood.

The Reporting Process – seeking parent input

A significant portion of this semester’s learning has taken place at home. Teachers have done incredible work, planning, delivering, and providing feedback to ensure high-quality student learning is maintained and our CIS curriculum outcomes are achieved. In the report card, the teachers will be reporting on this curriculum outcomes.

The report also highlights the IB Approaches to Learning (ATL) skills and attitudes. These are the skills and attributes students use and develop while learning. As parents, you have also done incredible work, many of you taking the role of teacher-facilitator.  As a lot of learning has happened in the home context and we value your perspective on how your child has demonstrated the ATL skills and attitudes. You will all have received a survey that enables you to efficiently give us some data about the ATLs at home. There is also a place for parents to write an example of where they have seen this ATL skill. Some parents may not feel confident writing an example in this section, so if you do not feel confident to list an example, please leave this section blank.

Three-Way Conferences
During the week of May 25th to May 29th, 2020, CIS Elementary will hold remote Three Way Conferences (3WC). The focus of this conference will be to discuss the ATL section of the report that you have contributed to. During this conference, you will have the opportunity to give verbal examples of the ATL strength and goal areas. This will enable parents to give their ATL examples in person.

The 3WC will replace the Celebration of Learning Student-Led Conference usually held at this time of year.

Important Dates in Elementary
Please find a summary of the important dates connected to elementary.

  • Thursday 14th May – ATL Report Survey emailed to all elementary parents.
  • Monday 18th May – Reminder sent to families who have not had the opportunity to complete the ATL Report Survey.
  • Wednesday 20th May – ATL Report Survey closes at 3.00pm.
  • Tuesday 19th May – Three Way Conferences (3WC) sign up schedule sent to parents.
  • Friday 22nd May – Student non-contact day (curriculum working day for teachers, student work catch-up day)
  • Monday 25th to Friday 29th May – Three Way Conferences (3WC) held remotely.
  • Friday 5th June – Grade 5 Moving-Up Ceremony / Report Cards emailed to parens / Final day of school for students.

Spanish Activities

by Ms. Gloria Rodriguez, Spanish Teacher

Kinder/Grade 1 – Singular and plural (Ellaine, Mathew, Isu)

Grade 2 and 3 Stores – Tiendas (Harvey and Elly)

Grade 4/ 5 – Weather report in Spanish (Isaiah and Andrea)

Mandarin Class

by Jinhua Zou, Mandarin Teacher

This week Mandarin reviews the food topic with activity making healthy delicious sandwich, the student learns the ingredients in Mandarin. They were making sandwich for breakfast and even lunch.

College/Careers Counselor Corner

The IDP Virtual Fair is scheduled on May 23 and 30 with institutions from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, United Kingdom and Ireland.

Please find below the list of participating institutions and registration details:

May 23, 2020 at 1:00 pm – 6:00pm (Australia & New Zealand). To register, please click on this link.


  • Australia Catholic University
  • Blue Mountains Hotel Management School
  • Central Queensland University
  • Curtin University
  • Excelsia College
  • Federation University Australia
  • Flinders University
  • Griffith University
  • James Cook University
  • La Trobe University
  • Le Cordon Bleu
  • Macquarie University
  • Melbourne Polytechnic
  • Queensland University of Technology
  • RMIT University
  • Tafe International Western Australia
  • University of Sydney
  • University of Western Australia
  • Torrens University
  • University of Adelaide
  • University of Adelaide College
  • University of New South Wales Sydney
  • University of South Australia
  • University of Technology Sydney
  • UTS Insearch
  • Victoria University
  • Western Sydney University


  • Lincoln University
  • Massey University
  • Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT)
  • Southern Institute of Technology
  • University of Otago
  • Victoria University

May 30, 2020 at 2:00pm – 7:00pm (Canada, UK & Ireland). To register, please click on this link.


  • Camosun College
  • Columbia College
  • Douglas College
  • Fanshawe College
  • Excelsia College
  • Fleming College
  • Humber Institute
  • Langara College
  • NorQuest College
  • Northern Lights College
  • Royal Roads University
  • Sault College
  • Saint Lawrence College
  • University Canada West
  • University of Fraser Valley
  • University of New Brunswick


  • Anglia Ruskin University
  • Birmingham City University
  • Edinburgh Napier University
  • Goldsmiths, University of London
  • Nottingham Trent University
  • OnCampus
  • Plymouth University
  • University of Portsmouth


  • Trinity College Dublin
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Newsflash: May 8, 2020

Elementary News

by Mr. Glenn Davies, Elementary Principal/PYP Coordinator

Dear Elementary Community,

This morning I was incredibly proud to watch the third Elementary Remote Learning Assembly. This assembly is a wonderful showcase of the extensive teaching and learning that has been taking place across the elementary school over these past weeks. It is clear to all those who see this assembly, that teaching and learning is very much alive across our school community.

There are a number of acknowledgments to given, as to produce an assembly like this takes an amazing amount of organization, time, and hard work. Coordinating this event and building the video has been our Elementary Student Council teacher coordinators – Ms. Vangie Belono-ac, Ms. Tara Bersabal, and Ms. Aimee Sesbreño. Next, we need to acknowledge the elementary teachers who have spent hours each day creating and preparing lessons, providing feedback on learning, and engaging in numerous video calls with whole classes and with individual students. Teachers begin their workday around 7.30am and I see many are still active in the evening, working at times when the internet may be more stable. In most cases we see teachers putting in longer school hours than they would be in normal circumstances. Each day teachers are reviewing the learning that has taken place, then designing new learning experiences to build upon previous learning. It can be difficult to appreciate how these fit together when working alone at home, and this assembly really helps bring everything together.

Next, our students need to be acknowledged. The independence and motivation the students have continued to display over this remote learning period is a testament to the skills, attitudes, and competencies they have as young people, who are preparing to become successful in a rapidly changing world. Despite being isolated from one another, their learning has continued.

Finally, and very importantly, we must acknowledge our parent community. This period of remote learning has been particularly challenging for you, our parents. You have been with your child 24/7 for a number of weeks now, and many of you have also been the homeschool teacher. This is very intensive. CIS has always placed a high level of value upon the home school partnership, and remote learning has further heightened the importance of this connection. We are grateful for your support.

For your reference, remote Learning Assembly 1 and 2 can be located here, along with our CIS Remote Learning Website.

Dianna’s Grade 3 entry to the Famous Painting Competition

Celebration of learning  – Three Way Conferences and Reports 

At this time of year, CIS would normally hold Student-Led Conferences as a celebration of learning. This year the process will look a little different. Teachers have begun writing the end of year reports, and next week you will receive a short survey where you will be asked to provide some feedback on your child’s Approach to Learning (ATL) skills and attitudes during the remote learning period. Your observations will become part of the end of the year report card. During the week of May 25th to 29th a remote Three-Way Conference (3WC) will be scheduled where you, your child, and the teacher can discuss this ATL progress together.

    • 14th – 19th May: ATL survey sent home
    • 25th – 29th May: Schedule 3WC
    • 5th June: Report cards emailed home

Parent and Family Support
At CIS we are very aware of the challenges families face as they deal with the effects of long term lockdown. This Family Support Facebook Community page may be one way you can find support from others who are dealing with the same challenges.

Middle and High School News

by Mr. Dale Wood, Middle and High School Principal

We have presented perspectives about and approaches to assessments in past editions of the Newsflash, and we want to revisit the topic again this week since our final assessments are on the horizon and also since this is the first time we are experiencing these end-of-year assessments (which are often perceived as “high stakes”) in the context of remote learning. I think it’s important to share these thoughts as final assessments can be a scary thing and may be even scarier in light of our situation. 

The three essential components which intersect and interact with each other in our educational structure are standards, curriculum, and assessment. Standards are the skills and content we are leading our students to master within their respective courses and, when possible, between them. Curriculum (which comes from the Latin word meaning “a race,” or better- “a running”) is the “course” or path we follow to achieve these standards. Assessment is the way we measure the level of student mastery of those standards. All three pieces are critical, but assessment is the one focused on measuring student learning; as student learning is the central focus of our core beliefs, it could be argued that it is the most important of the three. For example, we might think we have done a great job of teaching a concept or that our students have met certain course standards, but we won’t know whether or not this is true unless our students can demonstrate their skills and knowledge, and this is done through assessment.

As we are moving toward our MYP authorization, I have asked Jonathan Denton, our MYP Coordinator and Assistant Principal, to share about the approach to assessment in the MYP, which is creating a positive shift already in the way we approach measuring our students’ achievement. It is really helpful to understand this, as due to MYP we are moving away from some of our traditional assessment measures like final exams to more authentic and full-orbed methods which allow our students to demonstrate a wider array of skills and do so with greater critical and creative thinking.

In the MYP Assessment should focus on student Mastery; it should never be a Mystery

Imagine an assessment where you are given the answer scheme ahead of time; where you know how you have done before the teacher even looks at your work; where you are able to discuss your achievement level with your teacher, and, if you do not agree with it, can request moderation from another teacher. No need to imagine. This is the reality of assessment in the MYP.

Before getting into the nitty gritty I would like to lead you all away from using the term “grades” to assess student growth and embrace the term “achievement levels”. While this may strike you as being unnecessary, it is fundamental to understanding the MYP’s philosophy and approach to assessment. 

A “grade” is loosely defined as a particular level of rank, quality, proficiency, intensity, or value. “Grades” represent different things in different countries, states and schools. They can even mean different things to different teachers in the same school! They are awarded by teachers to evaluate the quality of a student’s work. 

MYP achievement levels are defined by a set of descriptors that paint a clear and transparent picture of a student’s current level of understanding within that subject. Achievement levels are earnt by students when they demonstrate the qualities that are defined by the descriptors. Furthermore, these levels are standardised in a manner that a student receiving an achievement level of “four” at CIS would receive the same level of achievement from every teacher in any MYP school throughout the world.

The descriptors for a student working at a level 4 standard in Science

What is criterion-based assessment

When a food guide is given the task of reviewing restaurants to include it in a “Best Restaurants in Cebu” magazine, instead of giving one overall grade they will often give scores for different criteria to ensure that the process is fair and transparent. Criteria may include such aspects as: the quality of the food, creativity of the chief, atmosphere, service, and value for money; a restaurant may rate as follows on those established criteria:

Quality of food: ✵✵✵ Creativity of chef: ✵✵✵✵ Service: ✵ 

Atmosphere: ✵✵✵ Value for money: ✵✵

Overall Rating: ✵✵✵

The review above shows that the restaurant has scored better in some areas than others. We can also clearly see here that, if it wants to improve, it needs to both focus on developing better service and recalibrate its prices.

Assessment in the MYP is similarly criterion-based, just like the example above. Instead of only being given one overall grade for a subject, each subject is assessed according to four subject specific criteria. Each criterion is divided into 8 levels of achievement ranging from 1, where the student is beginning to develop the fundamental skills, to 8, where the student is consistently demonstrating higher order thinking skills. This helps us clearly identify student’s strengths and weaknesses. Here is a simplified version of the achievement levels:

Furthermore, the IB framework is standardised in a manner that a student receiving an achievement level of “four” at CIS would receive the same level of achievement from another teacher in any other MYP school throughout the world.

The Assessment Process at CIS

At CIS we have a clear and transpartent process of assessment in place, broken down into 5 clear stages. Key characteristics of the process are: 

  • Students are presented with the learning criteria for every assessment ahead of time
  • students need to self-assess their work before submitting it for assessment, justifying the levels they have awarded themselves against the learning criteria 
  • if a student disagrees with the level they have been awarded by the teacher they may set up a meeting with that teacher or even ask for it to be moderated by another teacher (within a 2 week period)

How achievement levels are determined

A student in Science is asked to discuss and evaluate the various implications of using Science and its applications to explain the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. They will be marked against the following criteria:

To determine the students achievement level we start with level 1-2 and work our way up to level 7-8. Please note how outlining, where a student gives a brief account of the implications, differs considerably from discussing, where a student is expected to offer a balanced perspective based on a range of arguments and opinions. This skill of being able to discuss rather than outline is transferable to all subjects. If they know how to discuss in Science, they will know how to discuss in Maths, in Physical and Health Education, in Design and in Art. This constructionist approach will enable students to be successful in all their subjects. 

The bottom line

To determine the final overall achievement level on a report card, teachers must gather sufficient evidence from a range of assessment tasks to enable them to make a professional and informed judgment. Particular attention is paid to patterns in the data (such as an increasing level of performance), consistency and mitigating circumstances.

It is important to note, the following assessment practices are inappropriate and are counter to MYP assessment principles:

  • Determining an achievement level using a proportion of scores for classwork, homework and tests
  • Determining an achievement level  by averaging summative performance scores over the year
  • Using single pieces of work to determine the final achievement level 

So the bottom line to understanding your child’s MYP achievement levels and their competency in the subject, you need to read the descriptor.

Celebration of Learning Update

Our MHS Celebration of Learning is one of our highlights for the end of the school year, as it provides an opportunity for our students to share their highlights from the school year, not only with their parents, but with the entire school community. We had planned on holding this event on May 27, but with our remote learning context extended as it has been, we will have to reschedule and adapt this event, likely to be conducted within a virtual format. We will be able to share more details in the near future.

Arts Week

Click on the image below to head on to our Arts Week microsite! There is also an interactive game for elementary in the art quizzes tab. Have fun and enjoy Arts Week!

College & Careers Counselor Corner

Virtual Education USA Fair

The Virtual Education USA Fair was held yesterday afternoon (Thursday, May 7) with more than 15 colleges and universities in

attendance. There were sessions on college essay writing and individual lectures on the admission process and requirements for each college.

Below was the list of universities/colleges in attendance with the contact details of the university representatives. If you want to learn more about these institutions, please feel free to email Ms. Basa at

University of AkronJennifer Dixon
Allegheny CollegeChristopher Segur
University of ArizonaSeungyoon Han
University of DelawareEmily Liu
Hamilton College (undergrad)Anna Wise
University of Maryland, College ParkJanan D. Thom
Northeastern UniversityOrawan Phongsai
University of North TexasGordon Clark
Penn State UniversityWilliam T. Shuey
Rochester Institute of TechnologyDavid Wivell
San Francisco State UniversityAlexander Chang
Stony Brook University - SUNYYoussef Wahib
Temple UniversityClaire Wilkins
Virginia TechTyler Oxley
University of Wisconsin - MilwaukeeTracy Buss
Citrus CollegeCoe Lamoureux
College of Lake CountyColleen Gray
Foothill+De Anza CollegesMarilyn Cheung
Saint Paul CollegeCarol Myint

Council of International Schools University Webinars

Students and parents have concerns around how the current Coronavirus pandemic will impact the admission process in universities. The school is participating in a series of country-specific webinars which features a panel of university representatives. They discuss how admissions procedures and university policies are adjusting given the circumstances we are faced with.

“Monitoring a Changing Landscape” a series of webinars with titles below:

  1. (slide from “Monitoring Changing Landscapes – A conversation with Canadian universities”)

    Will students get to university this year?

  2. A conversation with universities in Canada
  3. A conversation with universities in the UK
  4. A conversation with universities in the Netherlands
  5. A conversation with universities in Italy
  6. A conversation with US universities
  7. A conversation with Irish universities
  8. A conversation with universities in Spain
  9. A conversation with universities in Australia
  10. A conversation with universities in Germany

The first three webinars have passed while the others are coming up weekly. If you are interested in joining the webinar or learning more about a specific country or university’s policy, please email Ms. Jenny Basa at Aside from the above sessions offered by Council of International Schools, individual institutions are in constant contact with our school to update us on any developments or changes to their admission process.

Info Session with GPSA

Some students in Grade 10 and 11 took part in an info session by the Global Public Service Academy (GPSA). The speakers were Dr. Bob Malkin of Duke University who is also the founder of the organization and Vanessa Brombosz who works with the Operations department. The program they offer is a Global Pandemic eservice curriculum which contains live sessions with Duke and GPSA staff, pre-recorded sessions, videos and textbook material. The start and end time of the program will be determined after consultation with students who will decide to register for the program. Students will earn a certificate upon completion of the e-course. For more information, please check this link:

Upcoming SAT Test Dates

The College Board will come up with new testing dates soon. Please check on this link for updates:

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Newsflash: April 30, 2020

Admin Notes

It has been another busy week of remote learning, with all community stakeholders continuing to persevere in these challenging times. Thank you all for your continuing efforts. After six weeks, it seems we are getting more used to the new style of teaching and learning, and yet I know some are still struggling in areas. This is understandable, and for those of you who are – whether you be student, teacher, or parent – please do not just lapse into an assumption that you are alone. Reach out, and someone in our community will be there, willing to help. Due to the lack of physical contact, it is just more difficult for them to know you need it.

Many of you will have seen the latest IATF recommendations that President Duterte has approved, and may have questions on how that will impact us. For now, we continue to be in ECQ conditions until the end of May. I will send an Infobrief out to your registered email shortly, providing a summary of the implications of the new recommendations (which are plans for moving from the current ECQ to a GCQ). I am just seeking a few more details on aspects of the conditions, as it is not clear how some of the recommendations will play out in our local context. Regardless of the outcome, I encourage you all to keep focused on what you can do within your sphere of influence and remember, this challenge does have an end, we just need to do our best to get through the tough times, until we emerge.

Finally, I enjoyed meeting with our graduands virtually today, joining their lunch meeting to chat, and consider how this year’s graduation might look. Obviously we will need to adapt to some form of virtual ceremony, but we are still looking at exactly how it might look. Our other end of year assemblies and ceremonies will also need to be adapted to the environment, and more details will be provided closer to the time.

Have a restful holiday tomorrow (Labor Day)!


Dr Gwyn Underwood

Elementary News

by Mr. Glenn Davies, Elementary Principal/PYP Coordinator

Dear Elementary Community,

CIS is a member of several international educational groups that help us remain connected and ensure we continually strive to meet the highest educational standards. One of these groups is called The East Asia Regional Council of Schools (EARCOS). There are currently 163 schools in association with EARCOS, representing approximately 150,000 Pre-K to Grade 12 students.  The CIS association with EARCOS provides an amazing amount of support by enabling us to connect, share, and learn from other member schools. Each year CIS hosts an EARCOS-sponsored professional development weekend workshop to train our teachers. We also invite teachers from other EARCOS member schools to attend these workshops.

CIS Teachers at the 2019 CIS EARCOS Weekend Workshop

This week I joined an EARCOS hosted Webinar, enabling me to connect with 35 other school leaders across the region. During the break out room sessions, I had the opportunity to connect with several international school principals and school heads. The principal of a school in south China said their school began remote learning on February 4th, while the school in Daegu, South Korea, started remote learning in mid-February. Myanmar also began at a similar time to CIS, and like CIS, each of these schools has had to travel their own remote learning journey.

I again express my gratitude to you as a community for your support of CIS and the way in which you have been so dedicated to your children’s ongoing learning. I know this has been incredibly difficult.

Boredom Breakers
As tomorrow is Labor Day holiday, I have again included our Boredom Breakers document compiled for us by Mr. Eerik Sirkkola, our Grade 3 teacher, which is full of activities your children could engage in tomorrow and over the weekend.

If you have not had the opportunity, I would like to encourage you to watch the remote assemblies we have held over the past two weeks with your children. I have been very motivated by these events and believe these are strong community builders for us all.

I also encourage you to regularly visit our ES Remote Learning Community Website with your children to continue to see the learning that is taking place across the school community.

End of Year Reports
As an additional piece of information, teachers have begun to work on writing their end of year report cards. As a significant portion of this semester has involved remote learning, you will receive a survey on May 14th asking you have some input into the report. This survey will be designed to gain as much information from you and your children in the easiest and quickest way possible, as we certainly do not wish to burden you with extra work. I hope you enjoy the extended weekend with your children.

PHE Remote Learning Dance Off

Our students participated in a dance off organized by Coach Jay where they were challenged to dance to the steps of Fight Song. This song is dedicated to all our Covid-19 frontliners!

Ask the College Counselor

A huge number of universities and colleges have gone test optional. This means they will not require standardized test scores as an admission requirement especially for the Class of 2021 & 2022 who are mostly affected by the postponement of test dates. Please check the specific university website for details.

The College Board is committed to offering future test administrations when it is safe for a location to open. Please check this link for more information on future tests and refund policies.

Summer activities/camps are not required in college admissions.Admissions officers will view this positively on any college application because it demonstrates how a student uses their free time whether to learn something new or participate in a service activity. There are a number of online options which have been sent out via email to Grades 9, 10 and 11. There are free and paid online options. Please check your email for these options.

If there is anything in particular you are looking for and is not on any of the forwarded emails for summer programs, please email Ms. Basa at

A number of universities have planned to visit the school virtually. The schedule for virtual college visits will be determined after agreement between the institution and CIS to allow for time zone differences.

There will also be a Virtual College Fair sponsored by Education USA on May 7 at 2:00pm – 5:00pm. Please check details on how to register if interested in this link.

I would like to discuss college plans with the college counselor, how can I set up a meeting?

Please email Ms. Basa at A virtual meeting will be scheduled and you can invite your parents to the meeting if they wish to join.

Middle and High School News

by Mr. Dale Wood, Middle and High School Principal

As we conclude our sixth week of remote learning, which we had until recently hoped would be our last, I am convinced that one of the most important factors in getting through this situation positively is perspective. One of my favorite books is Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning, a text I discovered just after finishing university, which was a difficult time in my own life. Frankl was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist who was imprisoned in four concentration camps (including Auschwitz) during The Holocaust, the suffering of which our situation pales by comparison. The inmates in the camps were overworked to the point of exhaustion, were physically and  emotionally abused, were confined in inhumanely cramped barracks, and were intentionally underfed in order to hasten their demise. Frankl noticed something astonishing while in these horrific camps, that the inmates who shared their meager rations with those who were sick or needed them more inexplicably and counter-intuitively fared better health-wise compared to those who selfishly hoarded their rations or stole food from others. He found that what set apart those individuals who were more altruistic was a determined focus on seeing beyond their suffering and finding purpose in it. A transformative psychological perspective allowed them to transcend their suffering and even defy the scientific facts of what their bodies needed to survive.

From his experiences, Frankl developed a new school of psychology which became known as Logotherapy (literally healing through meaning). According to this approach, the search for meaning in life is understood to be the most fundamental motivational force in human beings, and logotherapy assists individuals in finding and pursuing this meaning. Another central tenet of this framework is a belief in free-will, that as humans we are free to adopt a stance toward both the internal and external conditions in which we find ourselves. In other words, we have free will regarding how we respond to our adverse situations.

This approach relates to our situation as we may be struggling to find value and meaning in our circumstances; we are told that we need to arrive at acceptance and express gratitude within this crisis, but this is often easier said than done. One of the primary ways Frankl identified for realizing meaning in life was by making a difference in the world through our actions, our work, or our creations; Frankl referred to these as developing “Creative Values.“

Next week has been calendared to be our school-wide Arts Week. To lead in, I would like to highlight the creativity of our students in the midst of our current situation. Not only is creative activity a way for our students to make a difference in the world, but it also helps them develop a sense of perception and find meaning beyond the current crisis. As a welcomed by-product, in many cases artistic creating also gets our students off their screens for a while.

Grade 10 Art

Just after the Covid-19 situation was gaining intensity and we began doing remote learning, our Grade 10 Art Class started a project creating illustrations relating to the crisis which would provide a positive impact on their viewers. Students were free to explore any concept, art style, process, or technique and they had the option to choose the medium, whether digital or traditional. The goal was for our students to offer a counterpoint to the media which tends to report on this crisis with negativity and stoking our fears. Several weeks later, the students have completed their pieces and we want to share them as a source of inspiration in the midst of these unsettling times. – Sofia

Our purpose for this piece was to try and inspire people during our time of coronavirus. I drew inspiration from the fact that even in quarantine, many people sing together despite being confined in their own buildings and rooms. I illustrated that in my artwork by having a cityscape stripped of colour. Having a bustling city depicted devoid of life expressed the apocalyptic feel of this situation. However, in the midst of all the muted colours and somber mood, there is a bright musical song that brings hope to the people. – Luna

Since Corona has become a worldwide problem, I set the background theme as space. The tree represents the blood in the lungs because the main symptoms of Corona are related to the lungs. The reason for the color white is because white symbolically is clean, clear, nice, and it shows and represents healthiness. The flowers on the bottom are called Spider Lilies. The red spider lily represents passion, independence, and reunion. The blue spider lily means “until the day we meet again”. I chose to draw this flower because it is beautiful and the meaning of each flower shows the feeling of all people in a positive way. – Jodi

In this artwork, I wanted to convey the messages of social distancing and of sharing love in these harsh times. The green representing COVID-19 while the light pink representing one’s love and personal space; in times like these we each need to make sure that we still abide by social distancing through having personal space and that we give to support those working at the front lines. Even though we may not see it as we’re stuck inside our homes but everyday front liners are risking their health to help those in need, so I wanted this artwork to also serve as a reminder for people to give them support as they tackle this disease head-on every day. – Sofia

Grade 9B Design Technology Class

by Ms. Gerri Ancajas Jumao-as, IB Art / Design Technology Teacher

Our Grade 9 Design class has been investigating different food preparation methods, skills, and dishes for their unit on Food Preparation. Students have been exploring different cooking methods and different types of dishes. They also had to grasp the techniques in food preparation through formative exercises in hands-on cooking. With the Enhanced Community Quarantine, students were challenged to plan and prepare a dish with the available ingredients they have at home. They cook this dish and serve it to their family at home. Here are some time lapse videos of the students as they prepared their dishes.

Grade 8B Visual Arts Class

The Grade 8B class has been investigating different skills and techniques for their unit on Drawing. Students have been exploring various techniques on how to approach drawing, specifically in creating portraits. They also researched different portrait artists to get some ideas on how to render their own. They had to grasp the techniques in drawing through formative exercises with hands-on drawing practice. They applied their skills and included some influences from specific artists in creating their own self portraits.  Here are some of our students’ works with their personal reflections.

Dennis, artist studied – Diego Fazio

I think that I am improving in drawing. I have drawn realistic art for about 2 months. Every time I am starting to do the tonal value I feel more comfortable and feel more easy about doing it. Of course I still need a lot of improvement, but I think that I am improving. Comparing this work with my facial portrait the first time, I think that now it is completely better than before. I think that each part of my face is getting more detailed.

Sofia, artist studied – Käthe Kollwitz

I think I have really improved in terms of my drawing skills. I am able to create more accurate drawing proportions and details now that I have practiced more. There is a big improvement on my face because it looks more realistic than when I first drew my draft. I learned not to be scared of making a portion too dark and erasing some parts to make lighter tones. My final work is way more neat and clean than my draft.

Mahati, artist studied- Mary Stevenson Cassatt

The background consists of various plants and leaves, along with a hanging lamp. I arranged the leaves in such a way that you can almost see the entire leaf, and it is big enough to cover a lot of space. I put the lamp right above the book, and the flowers also cover a corner. This adds a bit more variety, rather than just green. With these elements, the portrait looks very fun and unique.

Bella, artist studied – Frida Kahlo

I definitely think that my art skills have improved because my attitude towards art has changed and I have started feeling more open to it. It is not as frustrating to draw as it was before and, when looking back at my old work, I notice a great improvement. Before, I barely knew anything about art but now, after all the lessons and drawing exercises, I am able to draw more accurately and learn skills in a faster way. Although my drawing skills are not as good as I would like, I have become better at skills I deem very difficult such as creating tonal value, drawing facial features, and making the piece look more realistic. I do see a change in my previous study compared to my final one as I have become more detail-oriented and I know my weaknesses. 

Liam, artists studied-Pablo Picasso

I improved my drawing skills because I got used to drawing with a grid. It is easier to draw with a grid because I did it before with the drafts and now I know what to do. I think the proportions are the same as the drafts but I struggled less on the final portrait because I already know what to do. My shading also got better as now I know where to shade. I also now use a tissue now which helps a lot with blending the tonal values.

Sam, artist studied – Vincent Van Gogh

I realized that my drawing is more similar to my actual face due to accurate measurements of figures on the face. There were some hardships that I encountered during the practice sessions. But this time I was able to resolve those errors or difficulties such as creating the tonal values and drawing eyes. I have developed more confidence in terms of the coloring of a portrait fitting in with some dark themes by choosing dark blues and light blues as basic colors and other opposite colors for the arrows and so on. Furthermore, when it comes to tonal value, it looks more natural than any other drawings that I have created in the past. 

Grade 6 & 7 Music Class

by Natasha Arnsby, Music Teacher

Our Grade 6/7 Music Class has been experimenting with a timely piece of music entitled High Hopes. Students have been tasked in their unit to learn about triads as a type of musical chord and to construct and perform different triads along with a bass line. Students have previously created arrangements of different pop songs with an awareness of the harmonic structure founded on the bass line and chord progression, as well as learning how to analyze the overall structure of a song including the different sections (e.g. verse, chorus, bridge, etc.).

Students this week worked on an assignment building on their knowledge of music theory and applying it in a creative way. They were tasked with notating the melody of High Hopes, adding chords and a bass line to enhance and personalize their own version of the song. Students were also asked to experiment with three different bass lines and percussion elements to create multiple versions and evaluate which one worked best.

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Newsflash: April 24, 2020

Admin Notes

Dear CIS Community,

As we end our 5th week of remote learning, it is heartening to see the range of learning our students are producing via our Remote Learning (RL) program. Please do take some time to look over the Elementary and Middle/High School sections below for a range of examples. It is also great to see last week’s RL adjustments receiving overwhelmingly positive feedback, as we continue to adapt to our new learning environment. Kudos to students, teachers, and faculty for their continuing efforts to do this. Those who are still struggling, we encourage you to persevere, and rest assured our teachers will continue to help you progress.

As noted in my update to you all yesterday (sent via your school-registered email address), be advised that following Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella’s announcement that Cebu City is extending the Enhanced Community Quarantine (EQC) conditions through to May 15, CIS will continue to suspend on-campus activity and continue with our Remote Learning (RL) program until May 15.

Unless this directive changes, we currently plan to resume classes on Monday, May 18, 2020. We will send details of campus conditions we will need to implement to ensure the safety of our students and faculty when we open.

And finally, due to the continuing concerns post ECQ restrictions, we will need to cancel or adapt any of our end of school year events that involve multiple people to congregate in person. A few major events of note to be affected include:

  • Our Seniors Farewell Assembly, which is usually held on their last day of classes before they head off to exams (this was last Wednesday!). Please see our Senior’s Corner below for a virtual recognition of their last day.
  • The annual Prom will be need to be canceled. It is unlikely we will be able to postpone this event.
  • We are currently considering what form our Graduation will take, with Mr. Wood consulting graduating families over the coming days on our options.
    Our end of year assemblies will also be adapted, and options are currently being considered.

We are very sorry these events are being affected by the pandemic. We just need to do our best to adapt under the circumstances, while we ensure the safety of our students and community as we recommence our in-person activities.

Have a safe and restful weekend!


Dr Gwyn Underwood

Seniors Corner

College Acceptances

Congratulations to our Class of 2020 on their College Acceptances!  A few are waiting on decisions from Canada, Japan, Australia, the Philippines and other rolling admissions institutions who will release results in May.  Merit-based and need-based scholarships/tuition grant schemes were earned by seniors based on merit and financial need ranging from full-ride, full-tuition to partial support.

Click on the image to enlarge the photo.

Seniors Farewell Messages

In place of our Seniors Farewell Assembly that was supposed to take place last Wednesday, we had a few of our teachers share their good luck messages to our seniors. We will surely miss our Class of 2020!

Elementary News

by Mr. Glenn Davies, Elementary Principal/PYP Coordinator

Dear Elementary Community,

This week we received the news many of us were hoping would not be given, but were expecting, that our lockdown would be extended. Although we remain separated, CIS continues to find ways to remain connected. This past week Coach Jay’s Dance-Off has been a wonderful connection point. I am grateful for all the work that Coach Jay and Ms. Stefanny have put into this family-friendly competition. During the coming week, students are being asked to watch the four finalist dance groups in each section, and vote for a winner. Based on these votes the winner will be announced next week. The dances and voting forms can be accessed on your child’s Seesaw account.

Next week a new competition has been launched by Ms. Thea, our art teacher.  This competition is to act out a painting. The details for the competition can also be found on your child’s Seesaw account.

Staying Connected through our Assemblies and Remote Learning Website

Today CIS Elementary held Remote Learning Assembly #2. Putting this assembly together required a huge effort from the elementary student council and, from Ms. Vangie Belono-ac, Ms. Aimee Sesbreno, and Ms. Tara Bersabal. If you have not already had the opportunity, please take the time to watch this assembly with your children.

Additionally, if you were not able to view last week’s Remote Learning Assembly, it can be found here (Remote Learning Assembly #1)

As mentioned in previous communications, another way CIS is helping the community remain connected is through the Remote Learning Website. Each week teachers are adding examples of new student learning to this site so families can see what is happening across the school.

As we continue on our remote learning journey, we encourage you to help your children remain connected to their class peers, as well as friends and family outside of the school community. We are blessed to live in an age where technology allows us to communicate across physical divides. is a website dedicated to helping parents maintain their children’s physical and emotional health during this time of challenge. The graphic below from their website provides guidance on how these challenges can be turned into opportunities to develop skills and attributes that may not have the opportunity to be developed so authentically in other contexts. I know many of our classroom teachers have begun to include mindfulness routines in their daily schedules to assist with managing potential stress and anxiety students may be feeling. As you are able, you may wish to join in these routines with your child.

Finally, I again wish you all to be as happy and healthy as possible and encourage you to mix up the routine with your children this weekend to make it feel a little different for them.

Warm wishes to you all!

Middle and High School News

by Mr. Dale Wood, Middle and High School Principal

We have now come to the end of our fifth week of remote learning and I am encouraged  to see our students continuing to be engaged and enthused as learners as our teachers strive to create dynamic learning experiences for them. Once again I would like to offer a snapshot of some of our students’ MHS classes and the learning activities they are taking part in. We are so very thankful for our teachers who continue to demonstrate their own creative thinking in engineering these activities for our students so that their remote learning can be dynamic, interactive, and holistic.

Grade 10 Band Class

by Mr. Michael Swank, Music Teacher

Our Grade 10 Band class has been working on the composition of original “horror” music pieces to accompany classic spooky animations. Students have been studying the theory behind horror soundtrack composition and examining some of the specific techniques composers incorporate into their music to evoke an unsettling feeling in the listener. Students have had to grasp theoretical aspects that elicit this response and then apply these principles to their own work. Finally they have been asked to explain the work they have created and evaluate the effectiveness of their compositions based on specific criteria.

Grade 7 Science Class

Grade 7 Science this week conducted an experiment at home both to develop some basic understanding of physics concepts (force, motion) and further develop their understanding of the scientific method and how to apply it, and realistically apply their knowledge of gravity to situations outside the classroom. 

Students designed and constructed their own “robocopter”- a paper device that spins as it falls when dropped from a height. Each student had to decide on an independent variable to change (e.g. altering the length of the copter’s blades) in order to measure the effect this would have on the time it takes the robocopter to reach the ground. Students also had to create a hypothesis prior to beginning their investigation. They were then tasked with conducting the experiment, recording the data for several time trials, graphing the data to visually represent it, analysing the data (including an analysis of the forces which act on the robocopter when it is falling), and finally articulating a conclusion.

Grade 6 and 9 PHE Class

by Mr. Ron de Villa, PHE Teacher

Grade 6 and 9 PHE this week has taken on a fun and inspiring dance challenge. Not only is dancing one way to keep ourselves active and fit during the enhanced community quarantine, but this specific challenge serves as a meaningful way of expressing gratitude to all the hardworking medical personnel, health workers, and frontliners who have been trying their best to help us beat this COVID-19 illness.

April 7 was recently celebrated as World Health Day. It has been quite challenging for all of us but at the same time, this crisis has demonstrated the compassion and perseverance of our health professionals and their heroic willingness to make personal sacrifices to protect our communities. As a salute to their commitment and to honor their courage, we offer them – in our own personal ways – a performance through this dance challenge circulating online (Fight Song).

Students practiced all of the dance steps seen in the linked video over several days, making sure they mastered all the steps prior to making their own video. They then uploaded their individual videos to flipgrid and submitted a screenshot to their teacher as evidence that they had completed the challenge. This was just one of the activities students were able to log for their weekly activity sheet.

Grade 11 English (HL) Class

Grade 11 English HL has been reading and analyzing Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut for the past few weeks. One of the students’ ongoing assignments has been to contribute significant quotes from each of the novel’s chapters and use them as touchpoints for analysis of the novel’s main ideas as well as highlighting and analyzing the stylistic techniques employed by the author. The teacher has also been involved, commenting on these quotes, offering feedback and insight, building on students’ analysis and ideas, and at times challenging them to consider things they may have missed.

Now that the class has reached chapter 10 they have generated a shared document which is about 40 pages long (and still growing). In essence the class has collaborated to generate its own study guide to the novel through a thoughtful analysis of the text itself, infinitely superior to the “novel study guide” websites we can find online and more powerful and memorable since it has been created by the students themselves.

Unit 3, Summative #1: Lead up to WWII

Grade 6 Individuals and Societies is studying the actions and economic situations that led up to WWII.  They are creating an illustrated graphic organizer on paper (in an effort to reduce screen time) that highlights the countries invaded by, the economic state, and effects of the Treaty of Versailles on the countries Germany, Italy, and Japan in the lead up to WWII. 

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Newsflash: April 17, 2020

Elementary News

by Mr. Glenn Davies, Elementary School Principal & PYP Coordinator

Dear Elementary Community,

We have now come to the end of our fourth week of remote learning. These four weeks have presented many challenges, however there have also been many successes during this time. It is easy to acknowledge that we would all prefer to have our students on campus, we also recognize many of the Approaches to Learning Skills and attributes (ATLs) have become significant within this remote learning context.

Credits: IB ATL skills; diagram by Chris Gadbury

The remote learning context has enabled teachers and students to focus on developing ATL skills and attributes that may not normally be addressed within the classroom context. We are finding that many of the ATL’s that are being developed through remote learning reflect the 21st Century Survival skills that have emerged from the research of Tony Wagner.

The 21st Century Survival Skills are listed below, and next to each the PYP ATL’s have been linked.

  1. Critical Thinking and Problem Solving  (PYP Thinking Skills)
  2. Collaboration Across Networks and Leading by Influence  (PYP Communication Skills / PYP Social Skills)
  3. Agility and Adaptability (PYP Self-Management Skills)
  4. Initiative and Entrepreneurialism (PYP Thinking Skills / PYP Research Skills)
  5. Resilience (PYP Self-Management Skills)
  6. Accessing and Analyzing Information (PYP Research Skills)
  7. Curiosity and Imagination (PYP Thinking Skills)

As we continue on our remote Learning Journey, we can be confident that the kind of learning required to prepare a child for the second half of the 21st century is happening right now in our very own homes.

Remaining Connected

One challenge we are facing in this current climate is the challenge of isolation. Whether we are part of a family, or living on our own, isolation from the aspects of normal life is real.  CIS values community and 2 weeks ago we launched the CIS Elementary Remote Learning Webpage to help us feel a little more connected to others in our community. This webpage is being updated regularly so I do encourage you to visit it with your children, and if you feel comfortable we would love for you to provide content for us to add to the webpage

In addition to the Webpage, today we released our first Elementary Remote Assembly. A huge effort was made by a number of our teachers and students to create this assembly we hope you are able to sit with your children and enjoy this time of remote celebration together.

We wish you all very well at home and we look forward to a date in the near future when we can all meet together again.

Middle and High School News

Maintaining Our Emotional Health During the Enhanced Community Quarantine

by Mr. Dale Wood, Middle and High School Principal and Ms. Evangeline Villagonzalo, MHS Counselor

As the enhanced quarantine continues this week and through the remainder of the month at least, this COVID-19 pandemic will continue to foment uncertainty and can bring emotions of worry, fear, and anxiety among our children. One of the things Dr. Underwood shared in his news-brief this week was a link explaining how Covid-19 can be seen as mirroring the cycle we see in “grief” situations. Hopefully we are coming to terms with our circumstances and are moving into the acceptance stage, focusing on what we can do, what we can control, and helping our children to successfully manage their emotions. As a follow-up, we wanted to share some guidelines developed by the International Schools Counselors Association (ISCA) to help our children (and us) successfully manage the effects of this crisis and the unique social emotional needs we may experience as a result. These are some practical tips for talking to your child about this virus and providing reassurance during this time.

Tip #1  Stay Positive and Model Positivity

Children are gauging their emotions by looking at the reaction of the adults around them.  The more we model positivity about this situation, the more secure and calm your children will feel.  Try to maintain normalcy at home by continuing to carry on with your usual routines when possible.

Tip #2   Stick to Facts

Give your children the facts and challenge rumors that may be spreading, especially when it comes to news regarding the current situation. When presenting information with your children, consider their age, maturity level, and emotions. Ask them what they know about the situation and help them by offering facts and dispelling rumors. Provide comfort by reminding them that there are groups like the World Health Organization and local organizations who are working very hard to help people stay safe and healthy.

Tip #3  Consider media consumption

For older children, have a conversation about getting information about the COVID 19 situation from quality sources.  You can ask them about what they’ve seen on social media and how to tell if it is real or fake news. Remind your children that the media often uses shocking or disturbing headlines to attract and “hook” its readers and that often any good and helpful information is not reported. For younger children, you may wish to limit what they’re hearing or being exposed to.

Tip #4 Eliminate Stigma

It is easy to default to basic human emotions like fear and blame in the midst of a crisis. When talking to your children about the situation, it is important not to assign blame to any particular person, organization, country, or race. Remind your children also that symptoms of a cough or fever don’t necessarily mean that a person has the virus.

Tip #5 Boost your coping strategies

Invite calm conversation about how your child is feeling and offer reassurance.  Model taking breaks and practicing self care by turning off the news and doing something else. Since our families are spending more time at home, replacing outings with activities like family games or movies, baking goodies, reading books, doing crafts, rearranging furniture in your child’s bedroom, cleaning some areas in the house, or practicing some mindfulness before bedtime.

Lastly, if you notice your child is still worried or fearful, reassure him or her that what they are feeling is normal. If you find that additional support is needed, please do not hesitate to reach out for help. You can reach out to any of us or to me as the school counselor if need be.

We are also sharing a 5-minute animation by Dr. Russ Harris which illustrates how to use ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) to deal with the Covid-19 crisis and the fear, anxiety and worry that goes with it.

Grade 10 Personal Project, a Sneak Peek

by Jonathan Denton, MYP Coordinator

The Grade 10 Personal Project is the culminating event of the Middle Years Programme, and 2019-20 it is in its first year at CIS as we plan for our MYP authorization. It is a long-term individual research based project that develops the student’s personal interests and talents. It serves as a research capstone experience similar to the PYP Exhibition and the DP Extended Essay, and at a level which is developmentally appropriate for Grade 10 students. The project assesses self-management, research, communication, critical and creative thinking, and collaboration skills, and is designed to connect classroom learning engagements with personal experience, and to develop their own interests for lifelong learning.

On April 3rd, the Grade 10 students submitted their personal exhibition, the fruits of eight months’ planning, research, taking action, and reflecting. The Exhibition, which gives us the opportunity to celebrate their achievements and congratulate them on their inspiring works, has unfortunately had to be postponed due to our current situation. We hope to hold a smaller version of the Exhibition when we get back to school.

One of the biggest challenges of the project is that students are called on to select a topic they are truly passionate about. Often many are left pondering and have to do some soul-searching to determine what their interests are and what they are truly passionate about. Completing the project helps many students clarify what they genuinely are interested in, and, in turn, opens their eyes to potential career opportunities and paths. This year we had a wide variety of different topics including 3D animation, Folley artistry, coaching, film auteur, juggling, re-cut trailer (turning the film Frozen into a suspense/horror picture), boxing, e-sports, film editing, fashion, historical documentary, children’s novels- quite an impressive and diverse range.

It is amazing to both hear and read how well each student is able to articulate the subject specific knowledge they gained, and how deeply the project has impacted their lives as learners. On a personal level, I am always impressed at how well the Middle Years Programme develops within our students the skills and confidence required to complete such a demanding project.

I would like to give a big shout to our supervisors Gerri, Mike, Dale, Jaydil, Elaine, Nice, Jean, Nick, Jessie, Noelle, Steve and Stefanny. The students will be forever grateful to you, for the guidance and support you gave them.

Above all else I would like to thank all of our Grade 10 students for their hard work and commitment, we promise to do all we can to enable you to share your wonderful products with our CIS community.

Here is a link to the site I am building to display student works, and get feedback. The content here are just samples of the students’ products. The due date for the product is Friday. I will then be uploading these over the break.

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Newsflash: April 3, 2020

Admin News

Dear CIS Community,

The start of our Spring/Easter break marks the completion of our first three weeks of Remote Learning, with the last week under Enhanced Community Quarantine conditions. Congratulations and good effort everyone! We are pretty sure you are now ready for a break, but as we are all confined to our residences, we wanted to give you a few options to try something different, novel, or fresh over the break.

So, instead of getting bored, or binging on Netflix or video games, in addition to reading novels, why not visit the Louvre, the Guggenheim, the Museum of Modern Art, the San Diego Zoo, LEGOLAND and the Monterey Bay Aquarium – all without leaving your house, and if you want, all within a day!

Click on the link below to create your itinerary, and remember to make at least some of these family activities! Thanks to the CIS faculty for the ideas, and especially Mr. Jon Denton for collating them for our collective use!

Spring/Easter Break Activities for Students, Parents, Staff and Teachers

Enjoy the break, and make good use of this opportuinty to spend time on you and with your family ! These are trying times, but through adversity, we can develop ourselves into better people!

CIS will resume our remote learning classes on Tuesday, April 14 (Day A).

Warm regards,

Dr Gwyn Underwood

Elementary News

by Mr. Glenn Davies, Elementary Principal/PYP Coordinator

Dear Elementary Community,

With three weeks of remote learning now completed, we can reflect upon both the successes and challenges faced by each of us in the community. One of the more significant challenges many of us have faced is isolation. Human beings are very social and we love to live, learn and relax together. For many, living at a distance causes loneliness and boredom, and sometimes stress.  Additionally,  so much of the energy for our learning comes from our social interactions and from our relationships with each other.  For this reason it is important to maintain connection and community with the CIS community, and to assist with this we have created the CIS Elementary Remote Learning Community Website. This website was shared with the elementary community on Monday, along with the Permission Slip, giving permission for your child’s work, videos or photos to be shared. The website cannot be found on search engines but can be accessed when someone has a direct link.

During the week our teachers have been posting the teaching that has been taking place across the elementary school in various grade levels, and with parent permission examples of student learning have been shared. It is my hope that this website will become a place of connection and sharing over the coming weeks as parents and students see and comment on the teaching and learning happening across the school.  Some of the teaching sessions I have enjoyed seeing this week in the CIS Elementary Remote Learning Community Website have included Ms. Jeralyn Early Years’ lessons and Coach Jay’s PE classes. In addition to this, there are videos from the Grade 2 teaching team, instructional videos from Ms. Natasha and Ms. Thea, almost every teacher’s work is represented here. I am so proud of how the CIS Teaching team has pulled together to support learning at home.

At home, you have also carried a huge responsibility. I give my sincere thanks to each family for the sacrifices I know have been made over these past three weeks. As parents, you have been required to drive learning at home and many of the learning experiences designed by teachers would not have been possible without your intervention, supervision and support. The CIS Elementary Remote Learning Community Website is also here to celebrate the learning that has been taking place at home. At home, we can easily feel disconnected from what is happen across the school. Privacy requirements do not enable the sharing of learning freely and it can be challenging to connect. With parent permission, we are able to share the learning that is happening at home. If you would like your child’s work to be shared, please do complete the permission form, and if there is a particular piece of work, or a video you feel the CIS elementary community may enjoy, please ask your child’s teacher to post this on the Remote Learning Community website. This week some of the work that has been shared included Underwater Art, Finding Fractions at home, A video on how to avoid getting germs, and a very special video of one of our youngest learners responding to Ms. Jeralyn’s teaching video.

We now have a few days away from remote learning, and this too will be different to what we are used to. Mr. Eerik collated a document called 46 offline things to do, and I encourage you to use this document during the coming vacation time. There are also a number of suggested activities on the ‘Keeping Busy” section of the Remote Learning Community website which may also be helpful, include technology building challenges (no devices required), and virtual tours of museums.

The CIS teachers wish you all well over this coming week.

Middle and High School News

by Mr. Dale Wood, Middle and High School Principal

Now that we have completed three weeks of remote learning in the Middle and High School, we just wanted to share more examples of how our teachers are modeling critical and creative thinking in engineering and guiding our students through dynamic learning experiences and collaborating even though we are not physically together.

Grade 10 Art students, working from the statement of inquiry, Creative interpretation of concepts provides different meanings and perceptions, have been tasked with creating illustrations relating to the Covid-19 crisis that will provide a positive impact on their viewers. Students are free to explore any concept, art style, process, or technique and the medium could either be digital or traditional. The goal is to offer a counterpoint to the media which tends to report on this crisis with negativity and stoking our fears. We are empowering students to use their voices, with art as their vehicle, to create works that are inspiring in the midst of these unsettling times.

Student reflections:

The main goal of the artwork is to have a positive impact or communicate a positive message to the audience so I decided that I wanted to do this by emphasizing social distancing. But instead of how we perceive it now, such as monotonous and melancholic since we are being held up in our homes for a long period of time we are not particularly used to, I want to remind the audience that even at this time of crisis it is best to find the fun in the little things. Jodi

Since our topic for this piece was to try and inspire people during a time of Coronavirus. I wanted to take the “apocalyptic” feel of this situation and incorporate it into my artwork. So I decided to look for pictures of normally crowded areas that are now empty because of Coronavirus. These included areas such as empty sidewalks, subways, groceries and many more. My idea was to take one of these areas and draw it devoid of human life. Hence the “apocalyptic” feel. However, in the midst of all the muted colours and somber mood, there is a bright musical song that brings hope to the people. This whole idea was inspired by how even in quarantine, many people sing together as a way to cheer each other up even if just for a little while.  Sofia

When I heard about the positive thing about Corona I thought about the cure and since we are close to creating the cure / medicine for this I thought it will be nice if I try to draw how that might be possible and how it might be made. One sketch is just drawing the actual virus and one is drawing some animatic people and showing what the cure does.  – Luna

English 6 has been studying spoken word poetry the past two weeks, and studied the following poem by Prince Ea entitled, “Before You Catch the Virus, Watch This

This poem is focused on the Covid-19 virus, its impact on our communities, and the poet’s solution. Students were asked to analyze the poem’s figurative language, word choice, sounds devices, and other techniques helping the poet’s message to be conveyed more poignantly.

Just as Prince Ea is using his poetry to convey a positive message in this situation, so too are the Grade 6 students who are creating a primary source documenting their experiences- a journal containing their thoughts, feelings, and experiences which one day they can share with their children who will want to know what life was like during the time of the Covid19 virus. Students are required to enter 1-3 entries per week and use a sketchbook or notebook rather than an electronic document to give them a break from their screens. Students are tasked with making a sketch or sketches to accompany their journal entries and are required to submit a photo of each entry. This week students were asked to describe what life is like being “quarantined,” containing questions like:  What is your daily schedule? How do you spend your free time? What are some of the biggest differences between now and 3 weeks ago? What do you miss most about your life now compared to before?

To end our third week of remote learning on a positive note, the Grade 10 Band students put together a video that shows how music can connect us, even when we’re apart.  The students took individual recordings, which were then mixed to form this “virtual band”. The clever editing leads you to believe that it’s a conference call (even though it’s not).  Here is their rendition of “The Avengers Theme” by Alan Silvestri. Thanks to Deandra and the Grade 10 Band students for making this happen. (Deandra, alto saxophone; Daigo, alto saxophone; Minwoo, trumpet; Keenen, trombone; Soo-A, flute; Umi, trombone, Dominic, alto saxophone).

PHE Activities

by Mr. Jaydil Hermias, PE Teacher

Our students continue to participate in PHE activities at home. Our PHE teachers are constantly looking for creative ways to keep our students active and balanced at home. They have also given students options which they can choose from which fit their diverse circumstances at home.

Grade 12 Psychology

by Ms. Ma. Socorro Laplana, IBDP Coordinator

The Grade 12 SL Psychology class is working on an “off-screen” task by creating a comic strip of a research study in our Developmental Psychology option. In writing the comics, students are required to mention the aim and method of the study and present the findings in a table or graph.

Here are some examples:

Coie and Dodge – Laura T.

Pollitt – Andrea C.

Dragon’s Print

The COVID-19 virus has been extremely infectious and dangerous to many people. It’s led to plenty of people seeking and spreading information to try to inform themselves. However, from all the accurate data, there’s a large amount of misinformation also let loose. In today’s article, we’d like to take responsibility to help you and inform the whole CIS community on the facts and myths of the coronavirus. Read about some common myths about the coronavirus and their true explanations on

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Newsflash: March 27, 2020

Admin News

Dear CIS Community,

Congratulations on making it through week two of our remote learning journey! I hope you are all feeling more confident with your role in the process now, whether it is helping your children or being the active learner as a student. Students, keep developing your Approaches to Learning (ATL) skills so as to enable you to get the most out of the learning opportunities you are being provided.

For those of you who are interested in a comprehensive coverage of the current Covid-19 situation, here is a good collection of lecture slides covering science, health policies and economics. It is titled The Economics of a Pandemic: The Case of Covid-19 and is by Paolo Surico and Andrea Galeotti, Professors of Economics at London Business School.

As per my email to your registered addresses yesterday, Cebu will be entering a phase of Enhanced Community Quarantine conditions as directed by the City Mayor, Mr. Labella from noon on Saturday. To reiterate the key message in the email on how this will impact CIS, we will continue with our remote learning protocol as planned, but with the order extending our remote learning after Easter break to April 28, unless the order is lifted. (More details on this will be sent at later date.)

Enjoy your last week of learning before the Easter Break (April 6-13) next week. We will be providing you with some ideas for what you might consider doing over the break, as this will probably be your first forced “staycation” in your own home here in Cebu! Perhaps you could also start considering what activities you might like to do to make good use of your time and avoid feeling too housebound.

Lastly, please keep in mind that while it is inconvenient, the purpose of executive order conditions are to try to keep us collectively as safe as possible while the global community attempt to reign in the pandemic. Please consider how you might help other members of our community over this time, such as calling to check in on them. If you are having difficulties or are feeling down, do not hesitate to reach out to other families, teachers or admin for support. We are a family community and we care about each one of you. Take care and stay safe!

Warm regards,

Dr Gwyn Underwood
CIS Superintendent

Elementary School News

by Mr. Glenn Davies, Elementary School Principal & PYP Coordinator

Dear Elementary Community,

You all need to be honored and congratulated for the way in which each family has adjusted to the rapid changes placed upon us in the previous two weeks. It has been incredibly challenging for each parent, child and teacher, yet we have all worked together as a community to find solutions that are working. Thank you.

The CIS elementary school teachers are reviewing and modifying their teaching approaches every few days in response to their own learning, and to your feedback. The most effective way to communicate changes you feel may work better for you and your child is to communicate these needs honestly and constructively directly to the teacher. They too are learning to teach through a new platform and are spending many hours fine tuning their approaches. Your feedback is valuable to them.

In this remote learning addition of the CIS Newsflash I have asked each grade level to share some learning that has been happening over the past week. Let’s see what everyone has been up to.

Click on the corresponding tabs for each Grade level!

The Early Years

The Early Years students have adjusted to their new home-learning routine and are continuously active and engaged in their learning due to the wonderful support given at home. With the aim of continuously developing physical, social and academic skills, the teachers have continued to provide a range of balanced activities that include sensory, digital and kinesthetic play.  A few of the highlights of this week’s home learning have been the teamwork and collaboration our students, parents and teachers have shown while responding to the learning engagements.

KG and Grade 1 Learners

This week KG and Grade 1 students used their communication skills to explore the story of The Gingerbread Man.  The students used their creative thinking skills to make costumes out of recycled materials. They have also focused on keeping up with their literacy skills in reading and writing by making books.  The teachers have enjoyed seeing their students (and parents) playing different roles from the story of The Gingerbread Man through the videos and photos that have been shared.  Students have had to utilize their self-management and creative thinking skills when making their puppets or costumes.  It has been a pleasure for teachers to see how much fun it was to act out the story working together with different family members.

Grade 2 Learners

The Grade 2 students have been engaged and enthusiastic since our remote learning experience began, demonstrating great ATL skills and IB Learner Profile attributes each day! Meaningful learning has been sustained through the use of daily teacher-made instructional videos, activities, online resources, and lots and lots of individualized constructive feedback.

This past week, the Grade 2 students continued to develop their persuasive writing skills by writing letters back and forth with their teachers and explored fractions and probability through interactive games. As well, they tuned into their new Unit of Inquiry (UOI) of Where We Are In Place and Time. Prompted by teacher read-alouds and questions, the Grade 2 Explorers inquired into the Norsemen (Vikings) to understand more about one group of early explorers. In order to synthesize key information and represent their new knowledge and understanding of why people decide to explore, they then created informative dioramas that they shared with their classmates on Google Hangouts Video Call. As very reflective learners, the students gave each other feedback and suggestions for further improvement on their dioramas.

Remote learning has been a great opportunity for students to continue collaborating with and inspiring each other outside of their usual classroom environment… and for the teachers, too, who have enjoyed finding creative ways to help keep student interest and engagement levels high!

Grade 3 Learners

Grade 3 have been practicing to be explorers both at home and online, searching for items that they can use for math, building models at home, and writing explorer journals about their tours into an online world. They chose what kind of explorer they would like to be (an archaeologist, a zoologist, a park ranger or a natural historian) and set off to explore various online tours of parks and museums. Here are a few examples of their explorer journals and models.

Grade 4 Learning

Grade 4 had a variety of projects and learning engagements this week. Through their unit of inquiry, they continued tuning in to their new unit Sharing the Planet unit and identified different types of energy sources that are used, including building windmills to show off their crafting skills. They also continued to explore their other simultaneous unit, How the World Works, following the scientific method to create their own science experiments.  In addition to this, Grade 4 students practiced their writing skills, explored their home to identify angles, did math exercises, wrote poetry, created surveys, made artwork, played music, and practiced speaking different languages.  Grade 4 students have shown their resilience and flexibility, adjusting to a new situation quickly and have shown great communication skills, taking advantage of the available media they have to ask each other and teachers questions, comment on each other’s work, record audio, and make videos.

Grade 5 Learning

Grade 5 students have been doing an outstanding job of developing effective learning routines at home. It has been pleasing to see growing confidence with students managing their learning, taking initiative with problem-solving, and increasing their independence with self-management.

Students are supporting each other and looking for ways to build community ‘from a distance’. They have a new appreciation for face-to-face conversations and personal connection through the online tools available. There have been many messages flowing back and forth as students further develop their thinking and ‘go deeper’ with their learning in response to teacher feedback on assignments and tasks.

Students are working hard to continue preparations for their PYP exhibition. This has brought out some very creative and artistic ideas from some students.

Keeping Physical

PE Remote Learning focuses on student’s engagement in varied physical activities which will help them to be active, and most importantly to have fun!  Watching the videos and reading the responses of the students has been rewarding, knowing that they enjoyed performing the different tasks in PE. I am also very thankful for the parents for being so supportive when it comes to facilitating their children in doing the activities.

Learning Through Art

The Grade 2 students have been creating Underwater Doodles. This activity started by making a doodle with their eyes closed. Next, they were asked to draw objects into the doodle, using their imaginations (eyes open this time!). It has been exciting to see the creative ideas students have developed. Next week, they will color their creations, and I can’t wait to see what they will look like. This learning engagement has a wonderful balance of not being too serious, while also requiring students to think deeply, make connections and use their illustrative skills.

Learning in Music

Elementary band students are currently learning a number of band arrangements including the theme from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony (Ode to Joy).  They are also learning about the life of Beethoven and his contributions to music.  In this week’s lesson, they learned about Beethoven’s childhood, his rise to fame, and his struggle with deafness.  Ask your child what they know about Ludwig van Beethoven and have them test their knowledge of Beethoven’s best known themes through this interactive Google Doodle:

Have fun and try to get all four themes correct!

Socio-Emotional Guidance Class

Students have been accessing learning engagements found in the Seesaw Library to explore how their feelings can impact them.  Since the theme this month is focused on feelings, students were asked how they are being impacted by the remote learning environment.  Many students expressed positive feelings of being happy, excited, with some sharing smiley faces.  Some of the student quotes have been “I am able to do work at home with my family”, “I am happy because I can play with my friends”, and “I am happy mom playing with me”.

We have one more week of remote learning before the April break begins, so there will be a break in remote learning from Monday 6th April to Monday 13th April. Teachers are preparing a range of activities that students can do to keep them busy during the break. One document that you may find very useful is Mr. Eerik’s list of offline Boredom Breakers. I encourage you to work through this list.

Middle and High School News

by Mr. Dale Wood, Middle and High School Principal

SAMR Model Defined and Practiced

This past week was scheduled to be our annual STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) week led by our Maths and Science Departments. Even though all of our events for this special week have had to be postponed, our use of technology (the T in STEAM) has ironically come to the forefront due to our need for remote learning. One of the unexpected silver-linings of the Covid-19 pandemic is that it has put us into a situation as educators where we have had to become much more adept at our use of technology tools in order to serve our students and meet their needs. 

In light of this I wanted to share the SAMR model which was developed by Dr. Ruben Peuntedura to provide a continuum and a common language to help teachers evaluate how deeply and effectively they are incorporating technology within their classes. I wanted to take some time to share this model with you and explain how it is being put into practice by our teachers. 

Image developed from original by Lefflard’s on Wikipedia Common

Substitution refers to using a newer tool to replace a traditional tool, for example, reading an online version of Kurt Vonnegut novel, Slaughterhouse Five, which is set in the context of the Firebombing of Dresden, Germany near the end of WWII, rather than a hard copy. Students taking notes in a Google doc rather than in Microsoft Word is another example.

In the Augmentation stage additional features are made available through the use of technology. For example, students could read an online version of Slaughterhouse Five with hyperlinked notes. Students can open up the links to deepen their understanding of features like allusions or access important contextual information regarding Dresden, WWII, etc. These notes could include images and video as well, making this much more powerful than traditional footnotes.

Student work created in Google can be enhanced through features such as auto saving the doc as well as auto-sharing and auto-linking in the cloud.

Modification is the level where the technology is used not to simply replace the same task using different tools, but rather, allows for the redesigning of aspects of the task to transform student learning. A shared google doc, for example, allows students to to collaborate and share ideas and also record the conversation for later review and revision. The “commenting” service in Google Classroom would also allow the teacher to collaborate and share feedback with the class.

Finally, the Redefinition stage is where technology allows for learning tasks and experiences which would have been inconceivable without those tools. An example of this would be students collaborating with another class of students in the country where the text is set (in this case, Germany). Our students would be able to interact with those other students delving more deeply into aspects of the text to gain a much fuller and deeper appreciation. Our students could share how the text affected them and the German students could share how the firebombing of Dresden is taught in their schools and how it impacts their community today.

Note the difference in these four levels, that the lower two levels are focused on the Enhancement of learning while the higher two are focused on the Transformation of student learning. It is not that these two higher levels of the SAMR model are necessarily superior to the two enhancement levels, as sometimes Substitution, for example, reading an online version of the novel students are studying in English class can the most appropriate level for some activities. However, the Transformation levels allow students to harness technology and channel their creativity through the tools available to produce work that would be inconceivable without it.

Here are just a few examples of how teachers are reaching the different levels of the SAMR model in their classes:

Grade 7 Design class is addressing the Covid-19 situation in a very practical way as students have been asked to design products from the materials they have available at home in light of the quarantine. The statement of inquiry for their unit is that Great turning points in humankind challenge us to adapt to new changes and identify problems to develop solutions. Not only is this project highly relevant, but students are also using technology to create and share their products with the teacher and other students. Students are utilizing tools to create online flowcharts and explore designs from various angles without needing to manually create multiple images.

Our Grade 10 EAL class is accessing virtual tours of prominent American art museums which are all closed due to Covid-19. The museums themselves are closed, but Google has partnered with them to create these virtual tours; students are able to visit not just one, but twelve of these museums, so they could visit one museum in New York and then a few minutes later visit one in Los Angeles. Their task is to browse through one of the museums to locate a piece of art that appeals to each of them and use compare/contrast language to respond to the work they have chosen.

In our World Languages classes, teachers are using computer technology to offer an effective tool to perform tasks which we would typically find in the world language classrooms. In Mandarin classes teachers are actively conferencing with students, using group calling to practice oral skills in their target language. Spanish 10 class, in replacement of class participation, asked students to create videos explaining the use of grammar rules and verb tenses.

English IBHL this week engaged in a group discussion using a shared Google Doc focusing on one of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short stories so the teacher might give feedback on student contributions. Students discussed “The Birth-Mark” and were given some suggestions for features to explore such as theme, imagery, symbols, etc. Students were also encouraged to make comparisons with the other works studied in this course (Perfume, A Doll’s House) or other works of Hawthorne read thus far.

The shared Google doc platform allows all students to function in small groups, allowing for much more contribution from each one. These discussions may take place simultaneously since they are doing so in remote groupings, and this also allows time for the teacher to carefully analyze the quality of the ideas at a later time.

Teachers also continue to experiment with new technology tools to help facilitate student learning such as Edpuzzle and Goformative. Edpuzzle allows teachers to pause videos and ask questions of students before the video continues, it also tracks students to monitor whether they have watched the video and which parts they have re-watched. GoFormative allows teachers to upload multiple media tasks, corrects student work (when in short answer format), and shows the individual working of the whole class at the same time.

Finally, the Newsflash itself provides an example of the SAMR model in practice and shows how technology does more than just replace older forms of communication. When I was in high school I was part of a journalism class that met one period each day consisting of 15 hard-working 11th and 12th graders each of whom produced an article for each edition. We had an award winning newspaper, but we were only able to print every other week and publish only about 300 copies per edition. Compare that with what we can do now. We are able to provide weekly news about our school including thoughts from administrators and teachers. We add links to other articles that may be of interest. We include pictures and video links to enhance the reading. We provide an opportunity for our students to have a voice and make regular contributions by linking Dragon’s Print within the blog. Finally, we are able to share the content with friends, family, and colleagues back in our home countries.

Parents, I encourage you to take a moment and ask your children to show you what they are learning in their classes… and how they are learning it. This may be a wonderful experience for you to see what and how your children are learning in the midst of this situation.

G12 IB DP Visual Arts Virtual Exhibition

by Mr. Jessie Saclo, IB DP Art Teacher

As announced, here is the link to our G12 IBDP Visual Arts students’ virtual gallery –

This year’s seniors worked very hard to complete the requirements of the visual arts course and I am proud to present them to you. This site would work and adjust to any device you may use.

There is a comment section on the home page, the seniors would appreciate one from you. Thank you for all your support.

Enjoy viewing!

Class of 2020 College & University Acceptances

Congratulations to the Class of 2020 on their College Acceptances!  A few are waiting on decisions from Canada, Japan, Australia, the Philippines and other rolling admissions institutions who will release results in April or May.  Merit-based and need-based scholarships/tuition grant schemes were earned by seniors based on merit and financial need ranging from full-ride, full-tuition to partial support.

Click on the image to enlarge the photo.

Dragon’s News

We’re now two weeks into remote learning and we’re sure that you’ve settled into a study-from-home routine by now. However, we all need brain breaks from time to time. Regina L. and Nathan C. are here to recommend some films you can enjoy after doing your work. Conversely, if you’ve been struggling to focus on your classes because of too many distractions, they also have some great apps that can help you with your learning! Check out their recs on

PTA News

We hope you are all enjoying the time at home with your families! As we look forward to the day when we can gather as a community on campus again, the PTA Board of Officers is releasing a form (please check your email) in which you can rank your preferences for projects that will receive PTA money. These projects include requests from teachers as part of the Student Learning Enhancement Fund (SLEF) and also a project that was initiated by the PTA Board.

Please also join the PTA group page on Facebook so we can continue to communicate effectively. Stay safe and healthy!

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