Newsflash: January 15, 2021

Admin News

Dear CIS Community,

House Activity Day (HAD)

The Student Council and Teacher organizers have been busy preparing for our second House Activity Day (HAD2) on Saturday, January 15, and we are looking forward to another morning of fun! Students, reasons for a 100% participation rate are as follows:

  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become challenging to spend time with classmates outside of your grade. HAD provides a unique opportunity to have valuable social interaction with many fellow students in School House groups!
  • HAD provides an opportunity for you to have some fun with your fellow students, and at the same time, develop and practice social skills that are invaluable for your future development.
  • Benefits to physical activity and relationship building are well-researched and documented. The activities during HAD provide opportunities for this – in a fun way!
  • You get to show support to your elected Student Council members and respect the time they and the teacher organizers have put in for your benefit.
  • HAD is an official school day, so you are obliged to participate unless you are ill or have an approved reason.
  • You House class-mates need you to build community spirit!

Details and links will be emailed and times are different for different grade levels, but to give you an idea of the timing, the Welcome Video, which will be available from 7:45 AM and we end with a live Closing/Awarding Ceremony at 11:00 AM. See you there!

After School Activities (ASA)

Semester two ASAs recommence on Monday, January 25. CIS is unique in the amazing range and number of activities/club offerings, including a number of student-run clubs. All students are expected to participate (as outlined in the Parent and  Student Handbook), although we waived this in Semester 1 due to the impact of the pandemic causing us to go virtual with our activities, which reduced the numbers of clubs available.

After a successful semester 1, however, we are expanding club offerings, and encouraging all students to take the opportunity to avail of the ASAs available (at least one over the two semesters each year). There are many benefits to joining an ASA, such as (but not limited to):

  • promoting creativity, learning/developing new knowledge, ideas, and skills outside the regular curriculum, and developing related co-curricular skills (such as ATL and Learner Profile attributes)
  • providing invaluable opportunities for student-student contact in order to help develop relationships and social skills (important while we remote learn as opportunities are less than when we are on campus)
  • providing evidence of a balanced student life (sports, academic enhancement, creativity, and leadership) that can boost college applications immensely
  • taking your mind off academic pressures to relieve stress and give opportunities to lead a balanced life
  • providing opportunities for social-emotional learning (SEL) – particularly important during the pandemic!

A student survey about S1 ASAs highlighted almost every one of the above benefits, with comments such as:

  • “It satisfied my social-emotional needs and helped me be less lonely”,
  • “It let me have fun with people that I do not usually talk to” 
  • “It allowed me to be able to socialize with people outside of my usual circle, especially during this time where social interactions have been severely limited”
  • “It helped me learn a new language and get a headstart as I proceed to the IB diploma program.” 

Students with good reasons for not participating should write to our ASA Coordinator/Assistant Coordinator Mr. Pierra and Mr. de Villa, giving their reasons why they cannot attend (younger students in the ES are excused at parents’ discretion). Exceptions may be made for good reason on a case-by-case basis.

Check out the many ASA options when the sign-up forms are sent out, and give them a go!

Introducing our incoming EY-12 Principal for 2021-22 SY

After a comprehensive principal search, we are pleased to announce Mr. Andrew Powell has been appointed as our incoming EY-12 Principal for 2021-22. With both Mr. Wood and Mr. Davies (our current MHS and ES Principals) leaving after the end of this year, we are restructuring our admin structure to a whole-school model (as it was prior to the current 2-principal model), in order to adapt to our current numbers and situation. Mr. Powell will be supported in his role by our support team, and in particular our three IB Program Coordinators (Ms. Juanson – PYP, Mr. Denton – MYP, and Ms. Cornet – DP).

Mr. Powell is an experienced, qualified, and capable principal, who the Principal Search Team unanimously selected from numerous applicants for his “fit to CIS” to go along with his proven capabilities. Originally from Australia, Mr. Powell has spent over twenty years working at international schools in Europe, Asia, South America and the Middle East, and has IB experience to an advanced level (as a workshop leader for the PYP). I will share more info in our next Infobrief, including a self-introduction!

Parent Coffee and an “Evening chat with the Superintendent”

Please make a note in your calendar to attend our next January Parent Coffee Meeting on Tuesday, January 19, from 10-11am (virtual). We will be providing information on a topic critical for this time – SEL (social-emotional learning). We will be exploring the following essential questions:

►How can we (parents) help our child/ren’s social-emotional learning needs?
►How can we (parents) support other families in the CIS community?
►How can we look after ourselves so we are in the right frame of mind to help others?

I would also like to offer an “Evening Chat with the Superintendent” at 8-9pm on Tuesday, January 26 (virtual). The objective of this event is to provide an additional opportunity for parents (and students if they want!) to chat about school issues, and particularly for those who are unable to attend school meetings during the day.

    • Please email with any areas you might be specifically interested in including in the chat so we can fit them into the agenda of items to cover for this meeting.

*Links for both meetings will be sent via registered email prior to the event.

Have a fun HAD event tomorrow, and an enjoyable weekend.


Dr. Gwyn Underwood,

IT report on our website security

Last Friday, we had to delay our Newsflash publication due to a suspected hacking attempt. After securing our site and investigating the unauthorized changes, we discovered it was actually adware in our Newsflash articles (no other section of our site was affected). Adware is unwanted software designed to show irrelevant and unauthorized advertisements on mass-targeted websites. No data or security breach occurred and our web host immediately cleaned and restored our site in less than 12 hours. We have taken additional steps to avoid this happening again, and rest assured we are continuously monitoring our website to keep it safe. Thank you for your understanding, and we hope to never delay your receipt of the Newsflash again!

Elementary News

by Mr. Glenn Davies, Elementary School Principal

Dear ES Community,

I am always so very encouraged when we, as a CIS community, come together to celebrate significant events. This is one of the many aspects I have missed over these past months since we have been negotiating these challenging times of the pandemic. This week, however, some of these encouraging feelings have returned as we have been fully engaged in the CIS Philippine Language and Culture Week. Each morning this week our highly skilled Filipino teachers and educational assistants have led us in a wide range of Philippine Language and culture activities, helping each of us gain a fresh appreciation for this wonderful country and its culture. I have had the privilege of visiting classes each morning this week and taking part in the various activities.  This week I was privileged to visit Grade 3 and 5 to create Mosaic Art, led by Ms. Fresh and Ms. Thea. Then with Grade 2 and Grade 4, we learned the Sinulog Dance, led by Coach Jay. With Early Years and Kinder, we learned the story of the Ampalaya (the Bitter Gourd), led by Ms. Aimee S., Ms. Mau & Ms. Jerilyn.  I really did feel both excited and privileged to be part of the active learning for Philippine Language and Culture Week with the CIS community.  Now as we head into the second half of the school year, I encourage you all to keep connecting with others in the community, to seek both encouragement and support from each other, and to celebrate the progress of your children. This coming week the elementary school will begin its three-way conferences, another wonderful opportunity for you to connect with your child’s teacher and set progress goals with your child for the coming weeks.

I trust you all have a lovely weekend.

Grade 5

Our third UOI, How We Organize Ourselves, addressed decision making. For the students to fully appreciate the decision-making process, they were placed in small groups and were tasked to research different types of poetry. Each group had to make responsible choices on how to teach a certain type of poem to their classmates. Student groups explored the different types of poetry, agreed on the definition, and what the poetry type is about, and explored how to write that certain type of poem. Some groups included the history and the etymology of the name of the type of poetry. When writing poetry, the students pondered different writing styles. They used metaphors, irony, hyperbole, assonance, rhyme, simile, repetition, alliteration, onomatopoeia, and personification. The students also expanded their vocabulary by using unfamiliar words to make their poems more interesting and fun at the same time. 

Here are some samples of the different poems composed by the students as well as some responses to our SEL learning engagements.

Philippine Language and Culture – Grade 2

In Philippine Language and Culture class, the Grade 2 students have been exploring different local food and two of the biggest celebrations in the Philippines. The students were presented with a collage of a variety of local food and celebrations and they shared what they noticed, thought and wondered about. Some of the students were familiar with the names of the food and celebrations and others were able to learn new things about this kind of culture in the Philippines especially when it comes to preparing a variety of food for celebrations.  

See, think, wonder (Local food and celebrations)

In connection with the unit How We Organize Ourselves, we explored the two of the biggest and most important celebrations among the Filipinos – Christmas and Sinulog. The students learned that Filipinos are the only ones who celebrate the longest Christmas around the world. Filipinos begin to show and feel the Christmas spirit starting from the first “-ber” month which is September all the way to December. The students created their own Christmas lantern or parol out of paper and some used plastic bottles. They also learned about the Sinulog festival which is celebrated every third Sunday of January.

Then, the Grade 2 students learned how the Filipino community are brought together during these celebrations. They also shared their own experiences when families, relatives and friends gathered to celebrate important occasions. As we wrapped-up our unit, the students took time to reflect on their learning and discoveries about the Philippine culture using thinking hats.

Philippine Language and Culture – Grade 5

The Grade 5 students started their new unit by sharing who they think are the leaders in the community and giving their thoughts on what is a leader. With this, we began our inquiry into the different leadership roles in the Philippines. The students realized that there are different leaders in a country, not just the president. They learned that there are also other leaders who are leading the different administrative divisions of the country such as the province, the city and the barangay.

Now that we learned how leaders execute their duties and make decisions, we also inquire how government leaders are elected in their positions. They were introduced to the different qualifications for a Filipino citizen to have the right to vote as well as the qualifications for a person to be able to run for office. 

For students to know the basics of electing leaders during elections, the grade 5 class simulated how Filipinos select leaders by voting during election using a sample ballot with the list of the candidates running for a position in the government.

After they voted, the students reflected on the process and shared how they chose their desired leaders. They also dove deeper into their learning by inquiring about their own country’s way of electing leaders to represent and lead the people.

In connection with their unit, they then asked questions and wondered as to who made the decisions and rules in the country. We looked closely at the three branches of government in the Philippines and learned their main roles. Additionally, we talked about the different rules being implemented by the leaders especially in this time of pandemic. The students then reflected on how important is the role of the leaders in making decisions for all the people in the Philippines and in other countries. 

The Grade 5 students wrapped up the unit by reflecting on their learnings and discoveries about Philippine governance and how leaders and the citizens make decisions for the benefit of the people.

Middle and High School News

by Mr. Jessie Saclo, HoD Arts and Design, and Mr. Dale Wood, Middle and High School Principal

Arts in the Context of Remote Learning

Our desire and ability to think and create, fortunately, are naturally immune to Covid-19.

As we are intentionally focusing on Social and Emotional Learning as a school, supporting ways for our students to exercise their creativity is a really important area where we can help nurture their holistic health, especially in light of the fact that other avenues that give us significance (like sports or social gatherings) may be closed off at the moment. When we use our faculties and talents to create something new, it makes us feel alive and vital. This week we will take time to focus once again on the powerful cognitive and creative work that students are involved in as they are guided by their teachers through various learning engagements and assessments.

In a few more weeks, if a vaccine is yet to be available and the community quarantine is still in place, we will soon find ourselves a full year into remote learning. March 13 of 2020 was the last day our students set foot on campus. Bracing for the challenge rendered by the Covid 19 pandemic was a plan already set in motion weeks prior to the community quarantine mandated by the local government, a condition our CIS school community had ardently anticipated. The challenge (which was an ordeal for many schools) of adapting the mode of remote learning was almost effortless for the CIS community if not for the slight setbacks both teachers and students experienced at its early stages. Preparing for the inevitable school closure did not weigh as much as the expectations that wrought concerns for our parents and families.

Adjustments in several areas concerning learning were first in consideration, namely- class schedules, unit plans, assessment tasks, and at the utmost, the well-being of our students. Greater emphasis on the delivery of learning through virtual strategies engaged our students to participate actively and positively during class discussions and interactions. Through a concerted approach, collaborative effort, and a consistent desire to improve virtual learning engagements, teachers and students eventually became more attuned to expanding their comfort with and use of technology in remote learning.

Amidst the restrictive conditions set by remote learning on subjects within the arts- drama, visual art, music, and band, we sought to afford our students the opportunity to sustain the same level of creativity they experienced while on campus. Performance assessments in band, music, and drama utilized software programs and apps that enhanced their understanding and interpretation of concepts and topics. The grade 10 music class of Mr. Swank explored popular film themes and created a video about musical instruments from around the world while his grades 8 and 9 students used music notation software to arrange and orchestrate a small ensemble from the Tudor period. The grades 6 and 7 band class of Mrs. Arnsby learned to classify and differentiate between the sounds of different orchestral instruments and develop their abilities to use music notation software to combine melody, chords, and a bass line. Ms. Hermias’ grade 10 drama class developed their skills in performing a monologue, writing a script for a radio play, and producing a 5-minute video while her grade 9 class focused on producing a radio commercial and broadcast that involved the utilization of production and film techniques. Her grade 7 class explored movement and choreography which included the use of props, lighting, costume, setting, elements of a music video, and a performance which the students filmed and edited themselves.

Art production may have some limitations when conducted at home but, though not able to access the usual art work spaces, materials, and face-to-face feedback on their work, students have become more comfortable with adjustments necessitated by remote learning. ‘Redefine time’, one of the online learning norms Global Online Academy permits students to perceive their classroom as an online platform from which they can do both synchronous and asynchronous work and attain more flexibility in how they perform their activities and interactions. Through this approach students performing assessment tasks for visual art classes are able to manage their time and resources to develop their skills as artists. Ms. Gerri’s senior DP visual art students are consistently working to complete their task assessments largely focused on their exhibition which is coming up around March. Her grade 9 class is exploring composition through the application of lighting, proportion, and tonal values while developing their drawing skills in still-life and self-portrait creations. In grade 8, students were exposed to time-tested principles of contour, positive-negative space, and inverted drawing that prepared them to create a self-portrait using the grid method. Mr. Saclo’s junior DP Visual Art students are beginning to create their body of work for their exhibition next year while his grade 10 students explored different art-making forms in creating their artwork concerning the concept of beauty and self-discovery. His grade 6 class dealt with boundaries that limited students in developing as artists while his grade 7 class is exploring methods in illustration.

The arts program at CIS continues to provide our students with opportunities to function as artists as well as learners of the arts during the pandemic. There is a great leap from when we started remote learning almost a year ago to where we are now and somehow Covid 19, as perilous as it may seem, has not hampered the way in which learning develops and cultivates our students. Our vision, mission, and core beliefs are the front liners in our endeavors during this trying time and with these principles to guide our learning journey, we may be fully convinced that some things, like our desire and ability to think and create, fortunately, are naturally immune to Covid-19.

The Arts (MYP Visual Art Year 5)

Visit the G10 MYP Visual Art class site

Grade 9A Visual Arts

by Ms. Gerri Ancajas Jumao-as, Visual Arts Teacher

The Grade 9A class started their unit on Self Portrait Still Life with a pre-assessment.  To determine the development of their skill throughout the unit, students started with drawing a still life of 5 objects found at home. Their drawings indicate their skill at the moment and will be used to measure their development at the end of the unit.  

Here are some students’ works. 



In order to prepare for the unit, the class also explored their understanding of the unit’s Statement of Inquiry, key/related concepts, and global context.

Here are some of our students’ responses to their understanding of the SOI (Global citizens apply the innovative use of resources to create) guided by the following questions:

  1. What is identity?

Identity is the collective of all the things, ideas, concepts, and experiences that make a person a person. Identity is knowing where you come from, who you are as a person, how you act on a day to day basis. Identity can be expressed in your speech, the way you interact with others, the things you create. Identity is every time you’ve broken a bone, every time you’ve won something, every time you’ve gained experience and the subsequent knowledge and understanding that follows. – Zeke

Identity is the qualities that influence and make a person’s personality and beliefs. Your own identity is unique to you and that’s what shapes and forms you into the person you are today by the different things and events you have experienced in your life. – Natalie

Identity is what defines an artist. An artist has their own unique way of expressing their art. – Clark

  1. Give examples of an artist’s style?

Rachel Harrison includes contemporary art in her work. Contemporary art is the art of today and artists create contemporary art to reflect on issues and problems in our society and the issues that are important to us in our world. – Esther

Cubism and Pointillism. Cubism was a style used by Picasso. It is called cubism because his artworks look like it is all made out of cubes or other geometrical shapes. Pointillism is another art style where the painting is made out of dots of different colors to form an image. – Liam

Many famous artists have a distinct style. Frida Kahlo used bright, bold colors filled with flowers and plants; she did this to express herself and where she’s from. The artist’s style depends on what they want to portray and how they like to express themselves. – Mahati

Jackson Pollock’s style and is known for splattering paint on canvas. Usually when he splatters paint it is in a line that can go in any direction. Though sometimes he will spread it using a palette knife or brush. It stands out for its messiness and randomness. – Sofia

In response to the guiding questions- What do you understand concerning personal and cultural expression?  Is this important and how? One of our students responded:

Personal expression is how someone interprets the things they have seen, experienced, felt, known, and more. Personal expression can be affected by things around them like culture but it is in their eyes/perspective. It is important or else people’s identity can be erased or put down. Cultural expression is how a community views things and how they do it. This usually includes religion, tradition, and belief. It is important because this is how countries and groups of people identify; to put down other people’s identity is morally wrong. – Sofia

College/Careers Counselor Corner

by Ms. Jenny Basa, College/Careers Counselor

Tip for the Week:

When creating a balanced college list, consider your eligibility to apply and classify the institutions according to:

  • Reach ( difficult to get into, but you would like to apply and attend)
  • Target ( will most likely be admitted to and enrol)
  • Safety ( high chance of being admitted, back-up)

Check the website of each institution you are considering and check the admissions profile of students who get accepted.  This will give you an idea of your eligibility and chances of admission.

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

January 20
6:00 PM

Virtual Chat with Alumni in Australia: Episode 1
Click HERE to join
Alumni Guests:
Reona Ido, Class of 2016 – University of Sydney
James Lotzof, Class of 2016 – University of Sydney
Ysa Moraza, Class of 2017 – University of Sydney
Justine Dakay, Class of 2019 – University of South Australia

January 26
5:00 PM or

January 28
6:30 PM

January 29 
9:00 PM

February 6
6:00 PM

Master Class on The New Entrepreneurial Mindset
Scan this QR Code to Register:

Offered by:  Glion and Les Roches (Switzerland)
Each Master Class is from 45 – 60 minutes.

Finding the Best College Fit in the Time of COVID
LINK to register
Presented by: San Diego State University, Michigan State University, Stony Brook University

Breda University of Applied Sciences(Netherlands)
Digital Discovery Day

LINK to register
You can register for as many sessions as you want, but please note that you have to register for each session separately.
If you’re not able to join “live”, please still register, so you can watch the recordings back later.


6:00 – 7:00PM   Studying in the Netherlands: the education system
45 min. webinar + 15 min. Q&A by staff and international students

  • What is it like to study in the Netherlands?
  • What is a university of applied sciences?
  • What is the teacher style?
  • And what are the costs?

7:00 – 7:45PM  Studying at Breda University of Applied Sciences: an introduction to our university and study programmes
30 min. interactive webinar + 15 min. Q&A by students and staff

  • Why should you study at BUas?
  • What kind of programmes do we offer?
  • Project examples
  • International experiences from our students

7:45 – 8:30PM  Studying at Breda University of Applied Sciences: the practical matters
30 min. webinar + 15 min. Q&A

  • Application procedure
  • Scholarships
  • Housing
  • Side jobs

8:45 – 9:15 PM  Discover our Campus and the City of Breda
20 min. video tour + 10 min. Q&A by our international students

  • Our brand-new green campus
  • Our modern facilities
  • The lovely city of Breda
  • Student life
  • Our students favourite spots in the city

9:15 – 9:45 PM How to survive studying in the Netherlands
30 min. interactive quiz + 15 min. Q&A

Get to know the Dutch culture with questions about:

  • Dutch food
  • How to deal with the Dutch?
  • The weather
  • Transport
  • And much more!

10:00 – 10:45 PM Job opportunities
30 min. webinar + 15 min. Q&A

  • What’s the value of a Dutch degree?
  • Which job opportunities do students have after graduation?
  • Stay-back year
  • Job examples of our graduates

SAT Update

With the cancellation of the test dates in the first semester, it is highly likely that future test dates below may be cancelled too due to the pandemic. An update will be announced as soon as confirmation is received from the College Board. At the moment, these dates are open for registration.

Students are advised to check the university websites for Test-optional announcements.

2020-2021 Test DatesTestRegistration Deadline
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 or have any questions, please feel free to email Ms. Jenny Basa at

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