Newsflash: February 7, 2020

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Middle and High School News

by Mr. Dale Wood, Middle and High School Principal

Our big event in the MHS this week has been making final preparations for the school production of The Music Man. When we include the backstage crew, the musicians, and the stage performers, this production will involve over a third percent of our student body. It is wonderful to see so many students, guided and assisted by so many dedicated teachers, come together to make something as complicated as a musical production a reality and we wish them the very best this weekend.

Aside from the production, this has been a typical week in the Middle and High School; however, typical for us means that teachers have worked hard to intentionally engineer learning experiences that are both enjoyable for students and also help to make the content accessible and meaningful for them. The learning experiences highlighted below also encourage students to understand, question, and analyze ideas in order to master and deepen their understanding of the content.

Grade 7 English students were on their feet competing to spell out challenging words like jowls and muttering in turns. They had to focus and listen to each other to get the next letter right in order to remain in the game.

Students then transitioned seamlessly into a session of group work where they discussed the novel they are studying. Designated group “directors” led their groups to evaluate specific passages and apply their understanding of specific literary features in their analysis.

In Grade 9 science our students examined the stomata of leaves and the composition of onion skin, examining the stoma cells to get a clearer picture of how cell respiration and photosynthesis occurs and view the actual cell structures wherein those processes occur. When I asked students about why they would want to explore the process, they responded that it was to gain a better idea of concepts they had studied and view the plant cells in reality.

In Drama class our Grade 8 students, who just began the course at the start of the semester, were building their confidence, sense of stage presence, and blocking skills by creating and filming their own music videos.

Our Mandarin classes have continued with our New Year’s focus of learning and embracing Chinese culture as they prepared dumplings and other traditional food items, while learning the vocabulary associated with those delicacies. In the combined grade 8 and 9 Mandarin class, groups competed to produce Chinese dishes that were not only delicious, but were evaluated on their presentation and aesthetic appeal.

Our Grade 11 TOK students are already looking forward to next year as they prepare and present Mock Presentations using the assessment rubric that will be used next year on their Formal IB TOK Presentations. TOK is a unique course and is a core component of the IBDP program which trains and encourages students to evaluate ways of knowledge and areas of knowledge as they develop their critical thinking skills. IN TOK presentations, we measure students’ understanding of knowledge claims and questions in relation to self-chosen real life situations.

Our Grade 11 IB Biology classes conducted an experiment to measure the reactions of catalase to substances with differing ph levels in order to reinforce students’ theoretical understanding of enzymes. They used cut up cubes of pig liver for their experiment.

Catalase is found in all living things, including humans, and acts as a catalyzing enzyme in the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide (which is a by-product of metabolism in cells). Catalase is able to break down hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen, which are both substances the body can use. Students were not only able to measure the reaction of the catalase, but also understand why this process is relevant to our lives. 

Elementary News

by Mr. Glenn Davies, Elementary Principal/PYP Coordinator

Dear Elementary Community

In response to the international concerns around the Coronavirus, CIS continues to be very aware of the international and local news, and while not overreacting to the threat, we still want to take it seriously. You will see in each class that additional hand sanitizers have been added and teachers are talking within students about the importance of hand cleaning. Hand cleaning has been identified by WHO as the most effective defense against the Coronavirus.

Thinking About Student Assessment

This morning, Friday 7th February several parents met together for our session on Assessment in the PYP. This was an enjoyable time of learning together, understanding how the world is changing, and how we as the learning community of parents, students and teachers are responding to 21st century changes. One of the ideas we explored this morning was the Factory Model of Education. In 1905, Ellwood Cubberley, The Dean of Education at Stanford University made this statement;

“Our schools are, in a sense, factories, in which the raw products (children) are to be shaped and fashioned into products to meet the various demands of life. The specifications for manufacturing come from the demands of 20th Century civilization, and it is the business of the school to build its pupils according to the specifications laid down.”

Words like ‘work’, ‘tasks’, ‘performance’, ‘compliance’, and ‘achievement’ come from this metaphor of school as a factory. Look at the similarities between factories and schools in these images from the early 20th Century.

Jean Piaget, however, began to share a different metaphor of school in the minds of forward-thinking educators.  One of his famous quotes stated;
“The principle goal of education is to create humans who are capable of doing new things — not simply repeating what other generations have done – humans who are creative, inventive, and discoverers.”
The new metaphor of school uses words like ‘play’, ‘learning’, ‘engagement’, ‘passion’, and ‘perseverance’. The reason for this change taking place is because society is changing, and the needs of society are changing. Fortunately, schools are changing, as you can see in the images below. There are similarities between schools and workplaces in these images.

Because society is changing, our assessment practices are also changing. As parents and educators we are beginning to asking ourselves questions like;

  • Why do we place so much value on an ‘A’?
  • Who decides what equals an ‘A’?
  • What does an ‘A’ really mean?

In the IBPYP our goal is to develop Assessment Capable Learners. These are learners who;

  • Know what they are learning
  • Know why they are learning
  • Are able to assess themselves against transparent criteria and standards
  • Know what they have to do to improve their learning

Furthermore, we want to develop an assessment capable community. This means that parents, students, and teachers partner to engage in learning and assessment together. This is why CIS highly values parent and student input into our school conferences. It is really difficult to talk about a student’s learning and progress if the learner is not present.

To finish, please watch this short video of a Grade 3 Assessment Capable Learner. This student describes how they assess themselves without sitting a test, and without being given an ‘A’ by the teacher.

Have a  lovely weekend.

Mangrove Planting

by Grades 2 & 3

College & University Acceptances Class of 2020

Congratulations to the Class of 2020!

Below is the partial list of acceptances for the seniors in the early round of applications. Most universities globally will release decisions in March and April.

College/University Visits for Jan-March 2020

by  Ms. Jenny Basa, College/Careers Counselor & Alumni Liaison

Open to Interested students and parents

February 26 - Wednesday9:15 - 10:00AM - Rm 311University of British Columbia (Canada)
February 28 - Friday9:15 - 10:00AM - Dragon’s DomeAviation Institute of Maintenance
Hawaii Pacific University
Johns Hopkins University School of Education
Kent State University
Missouri Western State University
Nova Southeastern University
Ohio University
Pima Community College
San Mateo Colleges of the Silicon Valley
SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design)
Stony Brook University
SUNY Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Asia - Virginia Tech University
University of Illinois at Chicago
Columbia College Chicago
South Puget Sound
March 2 - Monday9:15 - 10:00AM - Rm 311Bond University (Australia)
Embry Riddle Aeronautical University (USA)
March 3 - Tuesday9:15 - 10:30AM - Rm 311Canadian Education Fair
And an Info Session on the Canadian Visa Stream
1. Algonquin College
2. Bow Valley College
3. Cambrian College
4. Centennial College of Applied Arts and Technology
5. Fanshawe College
6. Kwantlen Polytechnic University
7. Mohawk College
8. NorQuest College
9. Northern Alberta Institute of Technology
10. Northern College of Applied Arts and Technology
11. Northern Lights College
12. Red Deer College
13. Seneca
14. Sir Sandford Fleming College of Applied Arts and Technology
15. Southern Alberta Institute of Technology
16. St. Lawrence College
17. University of the Fraser Valley
March 11 - Wednesday9:15 - 10:00AM - Rm 311Griffith University (Australia)
March 13 - Friday9:15 - 10:00AM - Rm 311Australia Education Fair (list of institutions to be confirmed)
March 19 - Thursday9:15 - 10:00AM - Rm 311University of Redlands (USA)
Creighton University (USA)
Whitworth University (USA)
San Jose State University (USA)

SAT Test Dates for School Year 2019 – 2020

2019-2010 Test DatesTestRegistration Deadline
March 14, 2020SAT only (no Subject Tests)February 14, 2020
May 2, 2020SAT & Subject TestsApril 3, 2020

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 log on to  If you need assistance, please feel free to email Ms. Jenny Basa at or call 261-0247 local 112 to set an appointment.  You may also visit her office from 7:15am to 3:30pm

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