Newsflash: August 25, 2023

Admin News

by Dr. Gwyn Underwood, Superintendent

As we finish up our third full week of school, our students are well and truly into their learning units. As they advance to more challenging applications, their learning may lead to more difficult concepts or applications that cause them to struggle a bit. This is all part of the learning process and will help provide valuable learning opportunities.

Rather than give up or allow stress levels to build when things are getting difficult, our aim is to help students build their skills to overcome the challenges so they not only learn the concepts and applications, but also develop their approaches to learning (ATL) skills and stress-coping strategies.

Parents, we encourage you to ask your children about their learning each day. This time is a good opportunity to ask about what they have learned about how to learn, not just about the content or skills they may have covered. As you read the classroom articles below showcasing our early years and Grade 7 this week, see if you can identify some of the behaviors and mindsets we are working on developing while they learn. Then ask your own child/ren about how they might develop these as well!

Have another restful long weekend and enjoy our Monday holiday (National Heroes Day). 

Upcoming events of note

  • Aug. 28:  National Heroes Day (Public Holiday)
  • Aug. 29: Parent Coffee Meeting (CIS Annex 7:30am)
  • Sept. 15: HAD1: AM only / Faculty in service day (PM) – no classes in PM
  • Sept. 19: CIS Annual General Membership Corporation Meeting

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

Early Years: Developing Caring Attributes and Social Skills

by  Ms. Ann Codoy, Early Years Class B Homeroom Teacher

Social Emotional Learning (SEL): Seesaw Learning Journal

We begin each day together in circle time by exchanging greetings, checking the calendar, and reviewing our day’s schedule. This week, we started showing our youngest learners their Seesaw learning journals so they are aware that their progress is being documented and that their parents can also view their work using the Seesaw app. The Early Years students were excited to share their recordings and photographs with the class. This helped them develop self-confidence, self-esteem, and a sense of well-being as they recalled what they did when the pictures were taken. One of our Information and Communication Technology (ICT) goals for the first semester is for students to be able to use media and technology to share their learning and introducing them to the Seesaw app is one way to achieve this. 

IB Learner Focus: Caring

This week, we also started talking about what it means to be “caring”.  We listened to a story entitled “Kindness is My Job.” It tells us about a child who uses magic words, waits for her turn, includes others, and follows the five respects.  Upon watching the story, some of the students reflected on themselves and exclaimed, “I do that!”, “I want to do that,” and “I also help others.” Caring is one of the ten IB Learner Profiles that students should embrace while following the Five Respects.

Our young learners are beginning to demonstrate their caring attributes in their daily interactions with each other. We try to capture these moments and show them photographs of themselves demonstrating kindness to their classmates and teachers. Doing this made them become more aware of how caring and compassionate they are.

One example was when one of the Early Years students bumped his head on one of the tables during circle time and his classmates responded to him right away by asking him how he was and how he was feeling. Then, his classmates decided to give him a group hug to make him feel better. Another example was when one of the Early Years students asked if anyone could accompany him to get his wet tissue and immediately, one of his classmates volunteered to go with him. These scenarios are just some of the many ways in which our youngest learners have been developing their social skills and demonstrating their caring attributes.

Grade 7 Music: Codes, Patterns, and World Rhythms

by Ms. Marie Vic Briones, PYP and MYP Music Teacher

In our first unit on Communication: Codes, Patterns, and World Rhythms, the Grade 7 students have been inquiring into how an understanding of the interplay between innovation and the underlying structures of communication in different communities help foster a more inclusive and consensual society. They began with a group work on sequencing random shapes, numbers, and letters into patterns and codes which established consensus on the appropriation of meaning in the codes and symbols among the members of the group.

They then presented their group’s codes and patterns in the form of a musical performance of sounds and actions.

In order to develop IB learners who are knowledgeable communicators, the Grade 7s have also been challenged to examine 5 propositions in exploring world rhythms (Bakan, 2011). Here, they discussed the range of arguments, biases, prejudices, and certain mis/conceptions when exploring world music, and presented evidence to support their group’s stand before delving deeper into more specific culture. 

Moving on to more specific musical traditions this week, the students started off with the Balinese Gamelan of Indonesia, followed by the Tala beats of India. After exploring how rhythm is used in their culture, how the culture appropriated meaning to their unique rhythms, how it has developed over time, and how it is notated and/or communicated, they began asking “What If” questions. Here are some of them: 

What if the Western civilizations never went to Indonesia and influenced the way the gamelan is playing, how would it be like today? 


What if the Gamelan is played using other instruments? What if the instruments of the gamelan were made with other materials? 


What if the gamelan was used to communicate in the community instead of to the Gods? 


Why did they use instruments (instead of other means) to signal the gods?


What if the Gamelan was used with a different material? What if gamelan music was discontinued, would there be other instruments similar to gamelan in other parts of the world?


Aside from helping instruments or audiences connect, what other purpose does it serve? In what ways does it make the performance more connected to Indian culture? What if the gamelan is dying out or no longer exists? How would we preserve it or bring it back?


What if numbers were not used for notating tala? What would be another way of notating tala?


In the next few weeks, the students will explore other culture-specific musical traditions such as the rhythms of Sub-Saharan Africa and the Taiko of Japan, among others.

College/Careers Counselor Corner

by Ms. Jenny Basa, College/Careers Counselor Corner

College Essay Shifts in Focus in the USA

Since the decision of the Supreme Court in the US to ban affirmative action in university admissions, some institutions have shifted the focus of college essays so students can still talk about their background.  Here are examples of some new essay prompts:

“Tell us about an aspect of your identity or a life experience that has shaped you.” – Johns Hopkins University

“Let your life speak. Describe the environment in which you were raised and the impact it has had.” – Dartmouth College

“Tell us about a community that you have been part of where your participation helped to change or shape the community for the better.” – Emory University

To learn more about this decision, you can check:  US Supreme Court Ruling on Race in Admissions


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


Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Hong Kong)

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

University of San Francisco & Lewis University (USA) with the Education USA Rep to discuss Study in the USA.

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

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

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

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

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

September 12
9:00 – 9:40AM
Canteen Annex
Link to sign up

NYU Abu Dhabi – Learn about the NYU experience, application process, programs and scholarship offered from the admissions rep.

September 27
9:00 – 9:40AM
Canteen Annex
Link to sign up

Hong Kong University of Science & Technology – an Info session on the application process, programs and scholarships at HKUST.

SAT Update

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

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

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