Newsflash: February 4, 2022

Admin News

by Dr. Gwyn Underwood, Superintendent

I am pleased to report that conditions are such that we are now able to return to our full Remote Learning program from next Monday, February 7. 

We recognize there are still a few families that have yet to secure a stable internet connection for their children. In these cases, the teachers will work with you on a case-by-case basis to ensure that we can do everything possible to accommodate your situation. As mentioned in my February 3 Info Brief (emailed to parents registered emails), thank you all for your support for our Adverse Circumstances Learning Program, which we developed to enable all of our students to continue learning, even when the majority of our community still had limited or no access to power and/or the Internet. Our next goal: To return to learning on campus (also covered in the Info Brief)!

Service Learning @ CIS 

Image Credit: Santa Monica College Student Support

In response to Typhoon Odette, numerous CIS community members have been contributing to the relief and recovery efforts through our regular Service Learning Program Partners and liaising with Local Government Units. This week, I wanted to highlight what Service Learning at CIS actually entails, and outline why we considered it to be an invaluable core part of our program.

Definition: CIS focuses on Service Learning, which we define as experiential learning through service activities that benefit both the service activity participant as a learner, as well as the recipient.

In addition to helping our community then, service activities are used to develop the attributes we desire in our students, which will enable us to reach our mission.

To ensure we do this effectively, we have developed a clear set of Service Learning Core Beliefs.

Service Activities at CIS:

  • are designed to fulfill the CIS Mission and reach our Vision, as this is our very purpose for existing!
  • will have a primary focus on activities that best develop our students’ capabilities to act as we are limited in what we can do practically, so this is the best way we can make a lasting, significant impact on this world and not be simply providers of community service.
  • will select recipients for service activities based on servicing children, education, and/or the environment. As a school, we chose this limited focus as it is most relatable for our students, and as it is connected with the most urgent of needs we are exposed to in this day and age that we have the most expertise and ability to affect change on.
  • will have a sustained, sustainable and ongoing focus, seeking for the provision of permanent solutions to issues while avoiding one-off “feel-good” activities that provide only temporary relief. Even though this approach often requires a long-term commitment to the situation, our desired outcome is the ongoing development of a community.
  • will keep in mind the fact that what we do is limited in benefit to needy communities. We must therefore be targeted and focused on where we can help and what we can do, keeping in mind the purpose of the activity.
  • only expend effort on authentic meaningful/impactful service learning activities. We do not want to waste our time on unproductive activities – not only is there is too much need to waste time, it is also poor role modeling for our students who are learning to distinguish between what is meaningful and impactful.
  • will be based on the program objectives of Service Learning as outlined by the International Baccalaureate (IB), as we offer IB programs throughout our school (the PYP, MYP, and DP).
  • involve the use of out-of-class opportunities to provide fertile conditions for the learning of knowledge/skills/attitudes related to service learning (eg. field trips). CIS makes use of strategically planned field trips, after-school/weekend activities, and an annual week-long Week Without Walls (WWW) to enable this to occur.
  • will consider the UN Sustainable Development Goals a resource and guide. Service learning activities will consider these goals during planning, in order to help focus activity objectives in order to contribute to attaining applicable goals while carrying out the activity.

In next week’s Newsflash, we will share a summary of the wonderful projects that have been occurring this year, such as the Set Forth Philippines organization founded by CIS 11th grader Ms. Renoa King, and others. It was great to see Set Forth even get some national coverage! (Photo right: Renoa King in action, CNN video, Yahoo! News article). 

We will also be introducing opportunities for how to consider how you can contribute in a meaningful way – to benefit you as a giver/provider, our students as they continue their experiential learning through service activities, and the recipients in need of meaningful support.

Upcoming events of note
  • February 22:  Parent Coffee Meeting 9-10 am Save the date!
  • February 24-27: BEIMUN (rescheduled date/virtual)
  • February 28-March 7: G12 Mock Exams (rescheduled date/virtual)
  • March 14-18 STEM week
  • After School Activities (ASAs):  Planning for ASAs is in progress, and a start date with options will be announced shortly. This will include new options for on-campus SEL activities when we return to Alert Level 2.
  • Week Without Walls (WWW): Due to the disruption of the typhoon and the ongoing effect of the pandemic, we will be adapting our WWW Activities for this year. More details will be forthcoming, however, rather than using the originally scheduled 4-days on February 15-18, we plan to use just February 18 for WWW activities. Details will be announced shortly.

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

Mandarin Classes (Chinese New Year)

by Ms. Jinhua Zou / Ms. Elaine Jin, Mandarin Teachers

In Kinder and Grade 1 our Mandarin class celebrated this special occasion together with the Spanish class. We watched the story of the “Nian” Monster and learned why Chinese people use red for the New Year, as well as the meaning of firecrackers and fireworks for Chinese people. Yoyo shared her personal experience of the New Year celebration and showed the class her Chinese Traditional Costume. We made a great connection for reviewing the content of different shapes through our New Year tiger drawing.

Grade 2 & 3 students have been actively participating in Chinese New Year Assembly video preparation. At the same time, they also learned about the food and eating customs in China during this special occasion.

Grade 4 and 5 class have been practicing writing Chinese characters since the beginning of the school year. We continue working on this language skills by writing the new year wishes in Mandarin – 新年快乐 – xīn nián kuài lè.

The MYP Mandarin students have been learning stories and legends about Chinese New Year, celebrating activities, food, and traditions. Although it is still online classes, the students are able to engage in activities during the ACL weeks. Grade 6 – 9 students experienced the traditional paper cutting and cut beautiful characters of “”, which means lucky and happiness, and is very often seen in Chinese culture. In addition to this, the Grade 6 – 10 students learned about zodiac animals and know that 2022 is the year of the tiger. They made cuttings of jumping tigers by following the steps from YouTube and the instructional package from the teacher. It’s nice to see all different types of tigers from students and how they welcomed the New Year with their little tigers. 

To prepare for the Chinese New Year assembly, and to share the happy festival with the whole school, the Grade 10 students joined the storytelling of “十二生肖 12 zodiac animals”, together with ES and the DP Mandarin AB Initio and Mandarin B students. Through the story, the student learns about the order of the zodiac animals and the reason why they are placed in such order. Grade 6 and 7 students have brought us a few Kahoot questions related to the Chinese New Year so we can learn more about Chinese culture. Then our Grade 8,9, and 10 students have brought us a few wishes which you can often hear during the Chinese New Year. It is nice to see the students experience different activities and hope the year of the tiger will bring everyone good luck.

新年快乐(Xīnnián kuàilè),恭喜发财(gōngxǐ fācái)。

In Grade 11 Mandarin ab initio class, we watched a documentary “舌尖上的新年(shé jiān shànɡ de xīn nián) – A Bite of China Celebrating Chinese New Year” and discuss the lucky food during Chinese New Year, as well as some eating customs. In addition to that, students also learned to make some traditional CNY decorations like lanterns, red pockets and window paper cuts. As 饺子(jiǎo zi) – dumplings is one of the most important food for northern China during the New Year, Athena also experienced how to make dumplings herself.

Student’s voice from  “舌尖上的新年(shé jiān shànɡ de xīn nián) – A Bite of China Celebrating Chinese New Year”

“The one I liked most was the buryat buns because I always wanted to try sheep meat. The dish looked very juicy and flavorful while still being bite sized, meaning it’s good for someone with a small appetite like me. For the buryat buns they prepare the mutton by burying it in the snow to preserve it. Next, they cut it into pieces and grind it with a Mongolian knife, and then mix it with things like chives. They wrap it in dumpling wrappers and steam it.”


“What I understood from that sentence “民以食为天 (mín yǐ shí wéi tiān)” is that food is very important to people, just like how heaven is important to people also. Food brings people together, it is what can bond the people or the family. Food makes people happy, it allows them to enjoy themselves. Heaven is also thought of in that way. Heaven is a place you go after you die, it is supposedly a place you can enjoy. It is the place where you go to rest after the hard work you did on earth.”


This is the second year for the Grade 12 Mandarin ab initio class to celebrate the Chinese New Year. We are able to dive deeper into this theme with word studies, video watching, movie talk, and IA reflections. Students are able to write different wishes in Chinese Characters.

The Mandarin B 11 students have learned several activities related to this theme, and they have made connections with the traditional Chinese festivals and foods. In celebrating the Chinese New Year, they tried to cook some dishes which people can often see on table during the New Year. The students put them into a PPT slide and introduced the name of the dish, the steps, the meaning, and why people eat it during the New Year. For example, fish which means ”年年有余“ and people eat fish during the New Year in hopes that every year will bring abundance in food. 

To celebrate the new year with the whole school, the Mandarin B DP students have joined the storytelling of “十二生肖12 zodiac animals” together with ES and MYP students. And Jia from the Grade 11 Mandarin B class also brought us a song “贺新年Happy New Year”. We can totally feel the New Year atmosphere. To end the assembly, Joo Ha, Thomas, and Rhett delivered the CIS Pledge in Mandarin.

Wishing everyone a happy Chinese New Year. 新年快乐(Xīnnián kuàilè),恭喜发财(gōngxǐ fācái)。

A voice from Jia Grade 11 B student: ”To me, there is no day like Chinese New Year’s Day. It’s one of the most enjoyable holidays of the year. At school, we get to watch the Lion Dance, play the dice game, and do Chinese culture trivia. The whole school is decorated with lanterns we make in our Mandarin classes, and it makes the surroundings look very cheerful. My family celebrates by eating a lot of food. They love to eat a lot of fish, but I look forward to the sweet dessert that comes after the main course. I love to eat the glutinous rice balls that have peanuts in the middle. My siblings, my cousins and I always get excited to receive our red envelopes from our grandparents. We always have to line up in front of our grandparents, say “新年快乐!”, and then we receive it! These days they usually send it through GCash though, but we still greet them and show our gratitude to them. My friends and I would go to visit a temple that is close to our school called “Chu Un Temple”, and it is always such a lively place to celebrate Chinese New Year. The temple has red and yellow lanterns that supposedly bring prosperity and drive away bad spirits. We watch singers and dancers perform Chinese folk songs, and sometimes we take pictures in traditional Chinese outfits. We drink bubble tea and watch the fireworks at midnight. Chinese New Year has always been the brightest and happiest time of the year. It is a good time to bond with family, friends and loved ones.”

College/Careers Counselor Corner

by Ms. Jenny Basa, College/Careers Counselor

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


February 5
Link to register

Enderun Colleges (Philippines): Learn about their programs and admission procedures. Enderun

February 11, 23 and March 9

University of the Creative Arts (UK) Spring Webinar Series:
If you are into creative careers, here are some events for you!
Feb. 11  at 4:00pm: Jewellery & Silversmithing – Register here
Feb. 23 at 8:00pm: Fashion & Textiles – Register here
Mar. 9 at 9:00pm:  Graphic Design – Register here

February 22
9:00PM PHT
Link to register

American University of Health Sciences (USA)
If you are interested in a health science program, check out this webinar.

SAT Update

If you are planning to take the SATs in March, this is a gentle reminder that the deadline for registration is coming up.

2021-2022 TEST DATES Registration Deadline
March 12, 2022 February 11, 2022
May 7, 2022 May 5, 2022
*The Optional SAT Essay and Subject Tests have been discontinued. 

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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