Newsflash: January 24, 2020

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Admin Notes

As our ISAC sports teams left to compete in basketball (girls) and soccer (boys) over the weekend in Manila, we were also making final preparations for our upcoming GIN conference (MHS) and Week Without Wall activities in February. The recent volcanic activity in Luzon and Wuhan coronavirus outbreak has caused some concern with these activities, so I wanted to make a brief comment here to update you on what we are doing to mitigate the heightened risks.

a) It is part of our regular protocols to carry out Risk Management Assessments (RMAs) for all trips. These include oculars of the sites to be visited (some overseas trips rely on 3rd party oculars), a thorough consideration of all possible risks and how to mitigate them, and investigation and research into specialist data (such as that provided by the CDC and other experts who know more about some of the risks).

b) If there is a high risk of health or safety, the trip is cancelled. This has already been done to an earlier WWW trip, for example. For others, there may be some risk still involved, but it could be determined that the risk is manageable, providing plans are in place to act on a risk immediately to ensure the safety of the students. An example of this is the current ISAC trip, where there are multiple “back-up” plans for all sorts of eventualities such as another eruption in the vicinity.

c) For events outside of Cebu involving travel, at the moment we are proceeding with plans, but will closely monitor the situation and may end up cancelling a trip if it becomes inadvisable to travel.

d) For potential school-wide threats, the school’s Crisis Management Team develop threat matrices in advance to ensure we have contingencies planned for in the event they happen. We have such a matrix for the Wuhan coronavirus, covering a comprehensive range of planned actions over three potential stages of an outbreak: The first level is when the global threat becomes known and we need to prepare for if it spreads, a medium-level threat plan for if the virus is confirmed to have reached Cebu, and a high-level threat plan for if the virus enters the CIS community. If you would like to know more about this matrix, please feel free to contact the school.

I would like to conclude with an assurance that the safety of our students is a paramount concern for us, so all decisions are focused on what we can do to ensure they are safe. As we prepare for activities that may have extraordinary threats, we will inform you of decisions that are being made, with reasons, so as to ensure you are kept fully aware of what is being planned. We can but hope the current threats to our trips diminish soon, but we must be prepared to face them if they do not, while attempting to carry on with our program as best we can.

Xīn nián kuài lè  (Happy Chinese New Year), and enjoy the long weekend. Students, see you back at school next Tuesday!


Dr. Gwyn Underwood (CIS Superintendent)

Elementary News

by Mr. Glenn Davies, Elementary Principal/PYP Coordinator

Dear Elementary Community,

One privilege we have within an International school community is the opportunity to celebrate the various nationalities and cultures represented in the school.  This week has been influenced by the build-up to the Chinese New Year celebrations, while last week was consumed by our Sinulog preparations. As international school stakeholders and advocates of the International Baccalaureate (IB), holding an international perspective and learning to value and appreciate the attributes of each culture we interact with is of enormous importance.

The ultimate goal of the IB is to develop internationally minded people. These are people who are inquiring, knowledgeable and deeply caring, and who realize that may all hold differing perspectives, values and beliefs, yet still come together peacefully to collaborate around important issues. It is about developing a perspective of deep mutual respect and appreciation, being aware of one’s impact on the world around us and having a commitment to life long learning. And these are the attributes we need, and our children need to successfully navigate the world of tomorrow.

School is about ensuring children can read, write and do mathematics, but it is also so much more than this. It is the passionate, internationally-minded, life long learners who will lead tomorrow’s world. Today’s Chinese New Year’s Celebrations here at CIS was an important part of this.

I trust you all have a wonderful Chinese New Year.

Mandarin Class

by Ms. Jinhua Zou, ES Mandarin Teacher

新(xīn)年(nián)好(háo)!Happy Chinese Lunar New Year! 

Chinese New Year is a traditional festival that celebrates the beginning of a new year on the Lunar Calendar. January 25 is the date of Chinese Lunar New Year in 2020. To celebrate the Year of the Rat, the Elementary School Mandarin students showcased various performances to welcome the Chinese Lunar New Year.

Beginning the assembly on Friday January 24th the Elementary School students performed musical acts coupled with dance performances. During the Elementary School Friday Assembly, Jia Qi played a wonderful piano piece as an opening for this special event. Students from Grades 4 and 5 brought the dragon and lion dance to the stage to share this festive portrayal with the audience. Kindergarten and Grade 1 students coupled with their guest singer Jia Lei sang “Happy New Year” to deliver the festival vibes. The Grade 3 students presented a story about the Monster “Nian” to explain both why and how Chinese people celebrate the New Year. Finally, students from Grade 2 presented an amusing song titled “12 Zodiac Animals”. Over the course of this holiday period ES Mandarin Class students also enjoyed learning about Chinese cultures during interactive “Kahoot!” competitions. This offered students a fun and challenging way to learn about Chinese Lunar New Year.

During the lead up to the assembly commemoration Elementary School Mandarin students also did several culture-related activities. The students learned how to prepare and cook dumplings with their guests from Spanish and EAL class. Afterwards they shared different dumplings flavors with their friends and teachers. They also practiced Chinese paper cutting. This involves cutting the fish and character of “春(chūn)”(Spring) and pasting on the windows outside of the Mandarin classroom. Mandarin Ab initio students from Grade 11 also joined the celebrations during class time. These students practiced writing “福(fú)” (luckiness) with brushes onto red rice paper. As one of the most important holidays in Asia Chinese New Year is best celebrated through its traditions and with those we care about.

The Mandarin students wish you all:

Happy New Year! 新(xīn)年(nián)快(kuài)乐(lè),恭(gōng)喜(xǐ)发(fā)财(cái)!

Middle and High School News

by Mr. Dale Wood, Middle and High School Principal

This has been a busy week in the MHS, as students have worked hard to prepare for next week’s Chinese New Year celebration, have made final preparations for the ISAC competition (including a school-wide Pep Rally on Monday), and also prepared for the upcoming GIN and MUN conferences. We have also conducted meetings during ELO sessions to get ready for our coming Week Without Walls and are gearing up for our school production in two weeks. Of course we continue to be busy learning and mastering subject content and skills in the classroom. It is wonderful to be a part of a joyful school where students are engaged and so much constructive activity abounds, and also where students greet me each day with a smiling face and a kind word.

Parent Coffee on Academic Integrity

On Wednesday morning we held our most recent parent coffee, during which Ms. Laplana and I led a discussion on the subject of academic integrity. We had a strong turnout of parents and enjoyed a lively conversation on this important topic. We were able to establish a clearer understanding of academic integrity and the various ways students can find themselves, whether intended or not, committing academic misconduct. Parent table groups examined scenarios in order to evaluate examples of misconduct and what the students in those scenarios might have done to avoid committing these infractions.

As we explained, ultimately, academic integrity is a choice to act in a responsible way whereby others can have trust in us as individuals. It is the foundation for ethical decision-making and behavior in the production of legitimate, authentic and honest scholarly work. If we had to summarize the essence of academic honesty, it would be that:

We give credit to others for their words

We give credit to others for their ideas

As we discussed, most students, when they commit academic misconduct, do so because they are afraid- either fearful that their work is not at a high enough level of quality to earn a top grade, panicking because they don’t have enough time, or fearful of disappointing their teacher by not meeting a deadline. As I shared in the parent meeting, it is much better for our students to be honest and open with their teachers, who genuinely care for them and desire to help them. It is far better for them to admit that an assignment is not finished and that they need an extension than to panic and submit work that is not entirely their own.

The importance of academic integrity at a rigorous school cannot be over-emphasized. Since we derive our measurement of student mastery of content and skills from the work they produce, if students are not honest about that work, our entire process of assessment is compromised. It is impossible for us to gain an accurate sense of a student’s true understanding and their mastery of content and skills if the work they submit is not their own. Also, since such acts might cover over a student’s weaknesses, it may impede our ability to recognize deficiencies and, as a consequence, effectively work with that student to help them improve.

Finally, we discussed the consequences of academic dishonesty. We really do believe that a violation of academic integrity creates a teachable moment, but also that the student must learn and not repeat the mistake. Because our focus is on learning rather than the grade which comes as a natural result, when a student is found to have committed academic misconduct for the first time, he or she is required to redo the assignment correctly. It is actually a benefit for our students to make such a mistake at this stage of life and learn a difficult lesson rather than later in life when the consequences could be much more severe.

Please find the link below to access the slides from our Parent Coffee presentation: Parent Coffee Morning presentation on academic integrity

Also find a link to the HUB, where you can find the Student Parent Handbook in the documents tab on the left, which contains our official school policies on academic integrity on pages 30-32.

2nd Annual EE Cafe

by Mr. Head of English Department / EE Coordinator

On Tuesday, January 28th and Wednesday, January 29th, Cebu International School will be hosting our 2nd annual EE Cafe. This is an opportunity for our grade 12 students to show off all of their hard work during the long, strenuous Extended Essay journey. We cordially invite members of the CIS community to attend and greatly encourage family members of the grade 12 students presenting to come and support them. The event will be held in the Media Center both days. On Tuesday, we will begin at 9:40 and on Wednesday at 9:15.

Alumni Spotlight

The Music Man School Production

Tickets are now available for sale!

Tickets for this year’s school production, “The Music Man” is now on sale and can be purchased at the CIS Cashier!

Tickets are ₱350 for reserved seats or ₱300 for general admission.

There are 3 shows this year:
Friday, February 7 at 7:00 pm
Saturday, February 8 at 2:00 pm & 6:30 pm

We hope to see you all there!!!!!

Clinic News

by Ms. Arlene Villa, School Nurse

PTA News

HAD & Sinulog Family Day

Last weekend was a fun event to commemorate a great Cebu tradition, the Sinulog Festival, as well as our 2nd House Activities Day for the year! We had 2 local contingents visit our school for a parade and field performance and we enjoyed a sumptuous lunch thanks to the PTA and committee. Enjoy the photos!

College/University Visits (Jan-March 2020)

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

January 29 - Wednesday9:15 - 10:00AM - Rm 311Southville Global Education Network
February 3 - Monday9:15 - 10:00AM - Rm 311University of Navarra (Spain)
February 4 -Tuesday9:15 - 10:00AM - Rm 311Macquarie University (Australia)
February 5 - Wednesday9:15 - 10:00AM - Rm 311Temple University (Japan)
February 26 - Wednesday9:15 - 10:00AM - Rm 311University of British Columbia (Canada)
February 27 - Thursday9:15 - 10:00AM - Venue: TBCEducation USA Fair: (more institutions to confirm later)
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Hawaii Pacific University
Johns Hopkins University School of Education
Nova Southeastern University
San Mateo Colleges of Silicon Valley
University at Albany, SUNY
College of Lake County
Ohio University
The University of Arizona
March 2 - Monday9:15 - 10:00AM - Rm 311Bond University (Australia)
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

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.  

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