Dear CIS Community,
We welcomed our students back from our Christmas and New Year’s break this week, and despite the disappointment of still not being able to get back on campus, it was pleasing to get the notes of encouragement and understanding that it is beyond our control, and for our community protection, so we just need to do our best. Until we can get back on campus, then, we continue learning via our quality Remote Learning (RL) which is working well. Additionally, we are exploring various ways of boosting aspects of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) to help raise awareness for students, parents, and staff/faculty, and to try ways we can look after our individual and group social and emotional wellbeing during this challenging time. Please read Mr. Wood’s section below (MS news) for more information on this.
CIS Sinulog Family Day 2021 Cancelled/HAD2 to continue virtually
Every January, the CIS community comes together to celebrate Sinulog Family Day. This is a day celebration with a Sinulog and Philippine Culture theme, where the entire community is engaged in various activities such as Sinulog street dances, on-campus field demonstrations, games, and a “fiesta” motif lunch. The aim of the day is to appreciate and spread awareness of the culture of the Philippines as our host country.
Due to the continuing modified GCQ safety levels mandated for Cebu City, we are saddened to announce that we will have to cancel this year’s Sinulog Family Day activities.
We will, however, continue with our scheduled House Activities Day #2 (HAD2) for students, in virtual mode to stay safe. Despite missing regular Sinulog Day activities, HAD2 activities will focus on Philippine Culture, as usual, and there will be a variety of Philippine Language and culture activities in the week leading up to HAD day (Saturday, Jan 16). More details regarding HAD2 will be sent via email by the organizers.
Thank you for your understanding. Please do take time to look at the Sinulog celebrations Cebu City is putting on, as this year is the 500th anniversary of Sinulog so they will be particularly meaningful this year! (More information on the Sinulog festivities schedule can be found on this link, as well as the official Facebook page of the Sinulog Foundation, where links to the Livestream will be posted). Pit Señor!
Sinulog Organizing Committee, Dr. Gwyn Underwood (CIS Superintendent), and the CIS Admin Team
by Mr. Glenn Davies, Elementary School Principal
We would like to formally welcome you all back to school after the Mid-Year Christmas and New Year holiday period. For many, this break away from our computer screens was needed and appreciated. We were also fortunate that the Cebu province remained open during the break period, allowing some families to travel within Cebu and appreciate many of the beautiful areas the Philippines has to offer.
During this break some of our families moved back to their home countries due to changes in their companies and in response to family needs, naturally, it is always sad to say goodbye to people we have come to value as part of our community. As the new semester has begun we have also had some new families join CIS, some have been returning families while others are new to our community. This is very encouraging and we give a warm welcome to our new CIS families.
Looking through our CIS calendar there are a number of exciting events coming up for us all to enjoy. Firstly the CIS Philippine Language and Culture week from January 11th to 15th, where each morning your child will be involved in additional cultural activities during their homeroom time. This week will conclude our House Activities Day2 (HAD2).
We then have our Three Way Conferences during the weeks of January 18th and the 22nd January and 25th to 29th January, where you and your child will have the formal opportunity to meet with the classroom teacher to discuss the goals your child will be working toward over the coming semester. You will be receiving a sign-up schedule for these conferences next week. Following this, the next exciting event we are planning for is our Annual Week Without Walls. Although it is highly likely that Week Without Walls will be a Remote Learning event, the teachers are already making plans about how to create an exciting and meaningful week of experiential and service-learning activities for the elementary students. As you can see, it has been one of our goals during these challenging times to keep learning alive and to honor the important events on our school calendar which help form much of who we are as a school community.
Keep on keeping on!
For many of us, either our parents or our grandparents had a common challenging experience that defined who they were as a generation, and which caused a level of closeness and understanding to form among them. While planning with Grade 2 and 3 teachers on Monday, we discussed how these common experiences bring us together and help form some of the perspectives and values we hold important. Something these common experiences help us realize is that together we have the strength and that together we can support one another. There has been no official indication of when we may be able to return to campus, but whether we are Remote Learning, Hybrid Learning, or Face to Face Learning, as a school we continue to be committed to providing your children with the best possible education and we are excited by the academic progress we see CIS children are making.
The Gradual Release of Responsibility
The Gradual Release of Responsibility is a model of learning we like to use to help describe how students best learn. The model helps teachers to design learning that creates life-long learners filled with confidence and self-efficacy and prepared to take on the challenges they face with a Growth-Mindset. Teachers begin by setting learning goals. These goals may be set by the teacher based on a curriculum outcome, or they may be set with the student based upon an identified learning need. The teacher then designs the learning experiences to gradually move the responsibility of learning from the teacher to the student being the one in charge. Once the skill has been obtained and the learning outcome has been achieved, a new goal can be set. The cyclical model of learning is based upon the research and theories of Vygotsky, and his Theory of the Zone of Proximal Development. Many parents are actively involved in supporting their children’s learning at home and understand how learning can be enhanced by gradually moving the responsibility of learning from the adult to the child can be helpful. Our children are so capable and seeing them take responsibility for their learning goals is such an exciting journey.
Sharing the Planet
Kinder and Grade 1 Tamaraws
The Kinder and Grade 1 students have been exploring the transdisciplinary theme of Sharing the Planet with the central idea “People can change their environment through their actions.” At the beginning of the unit, the students explored how the environment is changing. The Kinder and Grade 1 students demonstrated their thinking skills as they observed different pictures of how an environment has changed over time. The students noticed that there is a lot of garbage in some of the pictures and now they are thinking of ways on how we can make sure that our environment stays clean.
During Design Day, the students were given the opportunity to design a Clean Up Machine that can help the environment. The Kinder and Grade 1 students took part of the Design Process as they planned and worked on their machines. They gave feedback to their peers on how they can make their design better. They were very excited to share their inventions during our synchronous calls and in the blog. Other students created a poster to send a message on stopping plastic water bottles from going to the river and into the ocean. They want to promote a clean, safe and beautiful environment for their future. As one of the students shared, “We only have one Earth so we should take good care of it.”
Middle and High School News
by Mr. Dale Wood, Middle and High School Principal
Social and Emotional Learning in MHS
As is our practice at the start of the new semester each year, this past Monday the entire CIS faculty and staff partook in a Professional Development Day to reflect on Semester One and plan for Semester Two. As we will move forward, at least for the foreseeable future, with remote learning, we spent part of our day focusing on the need to continue to intentionally address the Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) needs of our students and community as a whole.
The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) has identified the following four critical domains as schools continue through remote learning, develop hybrid forms of learning, or physically reopen their campuses.
All four of these domains have several specific sub-categories, and we focused in MHS solely on one aspect of the first area, cultivating and deepening relationships as feelings of isolation and disconnectedness due to the lockdown has been an issue for many. Collaborative teacher groups reflected on some of the ways we have been effectively addressing and meeting these needs, as well as looked forward to this new semester and to ways we can continue to cultivate and deepen relationships.
All of our students are in HR/Advisory groups which meet every Monday and Thursday. When we began RL last spring we had initially only set aside one day per week for a homeroom period, but moving into the current year we realized that more time was needed to more fully attend to our students’ needs beyond the academic sphere. While some students may view and treat this time as optional, Homeroom is actually a requirement for all students, and it is vital that we encourage our children to both attend and engage with their HR teachers and peers in this non-academic setting designed to offer guidance and support, as well as connectedness, during this challenging time. Upon reflection, students have shared that they really enjoy and benefit from our homeroom sessions. The advisory program creates the opportunity to build relationships and creates a venue where students may share more casually and personally.
Another area that has facilitated SEL has been our revised daily schedule, where our afternoon “extension time” provides students the opportunity to seek out help from teachers or work in small peer groups on assignments or learning engagements. Encourage your children to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to engage one-on-one with their teachers or work with peers if they have not been doing so. Also, as one of our teacher groups observed:
Our daily schedule helps to maintain the boundary between academic and SEL time.
Our MHS After School Activities (ASA’s) are currently forming for this semester and will begin on January 21. While certain ASA’s (like Student Council and The Student Support Club) are overtly geared toward supporting students in the midst of this situation, all of our ASA’s intrinsically serve to build relationships and connections. While ASA’s will be optional once again this semester, this is really a great chance for students to get involved and cultivate friendships and a sense of belonging.
Week Without Walls is just six weeks away. This is another excellent way for our students to connect with each other and remain “engaged, positive contributors in a competitive, changing world.” While many of us may have struggled with understanding how we can reach out and remain engaged in this way in the midst of a quarantine, some of our students have been extremely resourceful and creative in seeking out ways to practice service learning. In Week Without Walls we have sought out and are carefully planning ways for our students to get involved and engage collaboratively in principled action.
Finally, please know that we are committed to helping our students to maintain their social and emotional health during this difficult time, but we don’t always know what they are going through, made even more challenging when we aren’t seeing them in person. Though we have already highlighted this resource, our Student Support Club is an effective SEL platform for helping students reach out to counselors and peers, and it is available to all of our CIS students in the Middle and High School.
Class of 2021 College & University Acceptances
Congratulations to the Class of 2021!
Here is an updated list of acceptances that were received over the holiday break. More decisions will be released later this semester.
CAS & Service Learning Updates
by Ace Pierra, Athletics Director & Service Learning Coordinator
Plaque of Recognition for CIS
From last year’s rank 13th as a stakeholder, this year Cebu International School together with Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation rank 2nd overall as an Education Stakeholder and Benefactor for Calendar Year 2020 of the Division of Lapu Lapu City Department of Education. The Plaque of recognition was given last December 21, 2020.
CIS has been working with the Department of Education Lapu Lapu City Division for years and will continue to support other local schools in the city, in the region and in the nation through its service learning and CAS Program.
Controlling the Population of Crown of Thorns (COTs) Starfish
As tourism and outdoor activities slowly become available again, our family started advocacy for controlling the population of the crown of thorns starfish. These starfish are damaging the corals in our reefs and if we don’t try to stop them, they can ruin our reefs by eating up all of the corals. The group of divers used kitchen tongs and a small net to pick them up and send them to a larger crate, after which we dispose of them properly. We wanted to take action because seeing our reefs get destroyed by these starfish can ruin the wildlife underwater. As we know underwater wildlife is important to our ecosystem, so I took it upon ourselves and the rest of the team to do our best and try to get as many crowns of thorns as possible. We ended that day with around 550 crowns of thorns. To sustain this project, we want to invite more divers and teach them about this ongoing problem of crown of thorns. We plan to do this on a weekly basis and hopefully make an impact on the reef by getting more people to join us in the future. Overall we feel that we were successful in doing our part to save the ocean. – Sean, Keenan, Liam
College/Careers Counselor Corner
by Ms. Jenny Basa, College/Careers Counselor
Tip for the Week:
In any admissions website, the checklist of requirements will include an English Proficiency requirement. Students from our school fulfill this requirement through the following:
- CIS provides a certification that English is the medium of instruction and assessment (except for World Language courses)
- CIS is accredited with Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and Council for International Schools and most universities globally recognize this thereby waiving the English proficiency requirement
- If a student is taking English A: Language and Literature, and earns a passing mark, the requirement is waived.
For some programs that require clinical practice like Nursing, an English Proficiency exam result is required regardless of high school qualifications.
Virtual Alumni Chat Series:
Starting this semester, a series of virtual talks with alumni will be scheduled to chat about what it is like to study in a specific country and institution. The initial chat will be with alumni who are studying in Australia. Confirmed sessions will be published and sent via email to high school students. Parents are welcome to attend.
Upcoming Virtual Events and Fairs: (students & parents are welcome)
Monday – Wednesday
All sessions at
4:00 – 5:00 PM
Creating a Balanced College List
Speaker: Mr. Christian Gregorio, Director of International Admissions
York College, Pennsylvania – LINK to join
University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong) – LINK to register
HKU Programme Deep Dive Series: 3 interactive online dialogues offered by HKU Business School, Faculty of Science, and Faculty of Engineering.
Jan. 18 Monday: HKU Business School
Jan. 19 Tuesday: Doing Research at HKU Science
Jan. 20 Wednesday: -Bring your Innovation Beyong HKU Engineering
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
- 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
- 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
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 Dates
|March 13, 2021
|SAT only (no Subject tests)
|February 12, 2021
|May 8, 2021
|SAT & SAT Subject Tests
|April 8, 2021
|June 5, 2021
|SAT & SAT Subject Tests
|May 6, 2021