Newsflash: August 7, 2020

Note from the Superintendent

It has been wonderful to see students, families and the school come together this week for the start of our new school year. The teachers have done a great job preparing for our new, upgraded Remote Learning program. At CIS, this most certainly does not mean doing traditional school work, either synchronously or asynchronously, over the internet. Rather, it considers all aspects of inquiry-based constructivist learning methodologies, adapted for remote delivery, in order to provide holistic learning in a personalized learning environment (see the diagram below showing the key components of such a program). Furthermore, we use International Baccalaureate (IB) programs that are aligned with the CIS philosophy, and while this cannot replace face-to-face interactions, it does ensure we can provide a good level of continuity of learning during these challenging times.

As we completed our first week of school after our first ever virtual orientation, I have been particularly impressed to see the vast majority of our members resiliently working to overcome issues when they arise, and facing the various challenges in a calm and practical manner. As I touched on in the welcome of our Family Orientation video, this is in line with how CIS intends to face the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. To summarize, CIS intends to:

a) make decisions that are aligned to our guiding statements
b) focus on areas within our “sphere of control” and not worry about areas that are outside of our control (but still be prepared to deal with them)

Diagram credit: Elena Aguilar, Education Week Teacher Blog

c) use and promote the use of a growth mindsetwhere we believe intelligence can be developed, leading to a desire to learn, embrace challenges, and persist in the face of setbacks.

Over this week, we had a variety of opportunities for parents to interact with the school. 

  • If you missed any of the asynchronous videos from Facility Orientation Day, I urge you to take time over the weekend to review them, so as to be aware how we are educating your children (refer to the email sent to your registered address for the links).
  • A few parents opted to join the small group meetings offered, and a larger group gathered for our Virtual Parent Operation yesterday. I will be sending home a Q&A with key questions arising these orientation meetings that might be of interest to those who could not join us shortly. We plan to hold these regularly to give you an opportunity to share positive news and challenges together, and to help communicate ways that you can fulfill the challenging role of supporting your child/ren’s learning at home.

Our next parent meeting will be our first Virtual PTA Coffee Morning next Wednesday, August 12th, 10-11am. Please pencil this in, and a meeting invite will be sent out via email with the above mentioned Q&A. In addition to getting to know each other, we will be discussing our PTA Board and Officer selection process for this year, after deferring that from the end of last year. I hope to see as many of you as possible!

Regards,

Dr. Gwyn Underwood
Superintendent

Middle and High School News

by Mr. Dale Wood, Middle & High School Principal

A big welcome back to our new school year and to this year’s edition of The Newsflash. We have missed the CIS community over these two months, and though we cannot be together in person, we are still happy that we can reconnect with students and parents virtually. Thankfully, CIS teachers prior to the lock down were already fluent and capable in their use and implementation of tech (as seen for example, in our effective use of Google Classroom and Seesaw in our respective sections of the school). This crisis has forced schools across the world to get on board with exploring and implementing new technology tools, and for us this means advancing and refining our use of platforms already in place. The fact of the matter is that, in the past teachers could (and sometimes did) resist innovation, but now we are in a position where we must do this if we are to continue being effective practitioners within our profession. I will comment more on how this can be seen as a real “silver lining” in the midst of this crisis as technology holds the potential for opening up doors to learning we could only have imagined in the past.

Source: BCCHP https://bcchp.org/the-importance-of-social-emotional-learning-in-children/

We have also made a commitment as a school to focus intentionally on Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) to help our students maintain their balance and foster their wellbeing. Meeting our students’ SEL needs in the midst of this crisis is a challenge for us both at school and at home, for teachers as well as for parents. I want to assure you that we are committed to living up to our mission statement’s pledge of “creating a collaborative, challenging, and nurturing environment that includes community members” as is reflected in the examples below.  

This week our homerooms had the chance to meet with students both for an hour on Tuesday and then a half-hour on Thursday. These two sessions were very useful in preparing students for the start of school and then to check in on them as how these first two days went and answer any questions they may have had. We are seeking to make our homerooms a place where students can connect with each other and a safe place to share their struggles and triumphs during this challenging season.

Here are examples of what some of our homerooms have been up to over the past few days.

Our initial homeroom time included personal introductions, as we see in the following example from Grade 6: Grade 6 HR

Many homerooms shared helpful information with their students, as seen in the following from Grade 8: Grade 8 Learning links

Grade 11 HR

The 11th grade students started their experience with the IB Diploma Programme with an introductory workshop session and an explanation of the program (including information about course/level changes). The 11th graders asked fantastic questions in their live session on Tuesday August 4, and have entered the Diploma Programme ready to take on the challenge!

Grade 12 HR

The 12th grade students began their second year in the IB Diploma Programme with a Homeroom session designed to get them reacquainted with each other.  Teams were formed, and competitions are on the horizon for the coming year!

MHS Classes

One of the things we always do with our students at the start of the year is establish common agreements with them in our classes. Engaging and involving students in creating shared agreements for the smooth operation of class is a powerful way for them to feel invested in the decision making and have “buy in” for the operational policies of the class. Many of our essential agreements this year included an increased focus on the responsible use of technology, such as:

  • Cameras must be on during class. If there is a technical problem, inform the teacher on hangouts.
  • Mute your mics when not speaking.
  • Communication is key- if you have a problem speak up either in class or outside of class.
  • Contact is best facilitated between 7am and 4pm.
  • Be patient. 
  • Keep a smile nearby at all times.

Students were also connecting with each in class this week other through creative experiences engineered by their teachers, as seen in the following activity in our Grade 7 Individuals and Societies class: Grade 7 L&L activity

Mr. Denton created a very comprehensive website for his Grade 8 Individuals and Societies course which will also contain opportunities for parents to actively partner with the teacher as the year progresses. Grade 8 I&S website

Our Grade 11 DP Spanish ab initio (i.e. absolute beginners) class has met once and they are already using introductory phrases in Spanish. The teacher is using a tool called flipgrid where students record themselves and post to a shared “board” which the teacher and other students can see and comment on. After direct instruction and watching videos posted by the teacher, students today were doing the following using the flipgrid tool.

Introducing themselves and using several greetings. Sharing their names, how old they are, and where they are from. Sharing that they are studying the IB DP programme. They also learned how to ask each other questions to elicit these responses. Spanish ab initio is off to a great start!

Thank you, as always, for your support as we begin this new school year together!

Math IA

by Mr. Nick Arnsby, DP Math Teacher

Our Grade 12 valedictorian last school year 2019-2020, Axelle, created a taster video of her Maths IA which is a great example of contextual learning in Maths.

It involved modeling the change in carbon dioxide levels over an island in Hawaii over the last 59 years, which involved creating a composite model that featured a combination of quadratic and sinusoidal functions.

Axelle did not just want to use the quadratic regression formula (we’re far too curious to rely on another person’s formula), she derived it from scratch using calculus (partial derivatives), and then used matrices to solve the normal equations generated.

All of this is beyond the course and shows so many great ATL skills.

We hope that you will be blown away by this (especially those who are Math savvy) as much as we are. Oftentimes when I meet with parents from the DP course, (who are strong in Maths engineers, etc) many are surprised and impressed at the rigor of our Math SL course, normally stating, “I didn’t even learn this until I was in college!”

Welcome to the MYP

by Mr. Jonathan Denton, MYP Coordinator and Assistant Principal – MYP

Elementary News

by Mr. Glenn Davies, Elementary School Principal

Dear Elementary Community,

Our First Week Back

This has been a wonderful beginning to the school year. In today’s CIS Newsflash our elementary team would like to share with you several examples of learning from this past week. Every student has been involved in daily video conferences with their peers and their teachers and it has been simply wonderful to hear the excitement and enthusiasm of our young learners.

After many weeks of uncertainty and preparation, we are now together again as a school community again. Over the summer period, many of our teachers have been actively learning how to become more effective as remote educators. I am very proud of everything our teachers have achieved.

While planning to open this year, as a teaching team we incorporated our professional learning, along with the feedback we reviewed from students and families. We value your feedback as it enables us to finetune our practices and better meet the educational, and social and emotional needs of your children. When designing CIS remote learning, some Key Elements driving our lesson design are:

  • Creating several daily opportunities for synchronous interaction via Google Meets
  • Incorporation of regular mini-lessons where students receive direct instruction from teachers
  • Decreasing the need for parent involvement in remote lessons
  • increasing our focus on Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)

There is no doubt this has been, and it continues to be, a very challenging process for our CIS teachers. I am excited to see what we will continue to achieve as a community in these coming weeks together.

This Week’s Learning

Early Years 2 & 3
Each morning this week the EY teachers have been connecting with their classes with an asynchronous video. In response to the video, each student has been responding on Seesaw with a voice recording.  Later in the morning, the EY teachers have held a synchronous video call with all the students together.

(Please click here to view this video)

Grade 2
Grade 2 started the year with a blast! This week, we spent quality time connecting with each other and building our class community. We also explored new digital learning tools and what it means to be good digital citizens. Every day, we collaborated with each other synchronously on Google Meet and asynchronously using Seesaw Blog and Google Hangouts. We then ended the week on high spirits as Coach Jay led us through some fun physical challenges. We’re so glad to be back at school!

Grade 5
Grade 5 students have started the year by developing routines that lead to success. One of these routines has been the Independent Reading Routine. Through the use of the Seesaw platform, the Grade 5 teachers have been able to design asynchronous learning engagements, supported with audio guides to lead the students toward exploring the routines that will enable them to become successful independent learners.

Students are also able to respond through both audio and video to the asynchronous learning engagements. This is the teacher’s view of our Grade 5 students is responding to the math challenge, titled Back to School: Figure Me Out Math.

Data Protection Advisory

by Mr. William Belda, Data Protection Officer

In its constant commitment to the vision and mission of the school and to uphold and maintain the values and principles imbibed and practiced for the benefit of the entire community, CIS has initiated the modification and alignment of all privacy policies and security measures currently implemented and practiced in all its processes, beginning this school year, 2020-2021.

This assures the improvement and upgrade in the protection of all information, which are requested and collected for the specific processing of official school requirements and necessary compliances relative to all academic programs and in accordance to local laws.

The modification improvement of our current Privacy Policy include the following principles:

  • CONSENT – As a constant practice, CIS respectfully requests the consent and approval of usage in the collection of all information necessary prior to its processing.
  • PURPOSE – CIS responsibly provides full disclosure of the nature, scope and extent  of the information necessary for official school usage.
  • LIMITATIONS – CIS prepares appropriate materials, media and/or multi-media tools, based on the processed information, having full approval and consent for the intended usage.

Further updates and details will be periodically released to provide reminders and guidelines to specific school processes and functions relevant to privacy and information security procedures.

For inquiries, you may contact Mr. William Belda, CIS Data Protection Officer:
Telephone (CIS landline): +63 32 261 0247
Email: DataProtection@cis.edu.ph

College Counselor’s Corner

How does the WebiFair work?

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!

Who will be there?

Meet one-on-one with 30 highly-ranked universities that you choose, such as University of Wisconsin-Madison, Michigan State University, Syracuse University, University of Waterloo, University of California, Irvine, and more*, all in one place. Attendees will be able to meet with all of them, individually, and ask individual questions for personalized attention.

SAT Registrations Update:

If you are registered for the SAT on August 29, please monitor your email regularly. The SAT will announce two weeks prior to the test date if the test will proceed or be cancelled due to quarantine restrictions.

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.

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 TestsApril 8, 2021
June 5, 2021SAT & SAT Subject TestsMay 6, 2021

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

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