Newsflash: March 12, 2021

Admin News

Dear CIS Community,

One year of Remote Learning!

Today marks the completion of one year of our remote learning (RL) journey (our last day of on-campus classes was Friday, March 13, 2020). As this diagram from Visual Capitalist shows, it has certainly been an eventful year! I expect reflecting on this “anniversary” will bring up mixed feelings. On one hand, there have been numerous blessings and unique experiences that we would simply not have had if the pandemic were not to have hit us. On the other hand, there has been much pain, suffering, and angst that we have been forced to face to varying levels, including health, economic and social challenges, to name just a few.

So how are you doing? How are we (CIS Community) doing? This is a question that I would encourage all community members to ask on a regular basis throughout the crisis. One helpful way to consider this question is by thinking about it comparatively. When we do this, it opens us up to keep aware that, despite our personal struggles, we can always find something to be thankful for as situations could always be worse, and that we need to focus on areas within our sphere of control. It is important to note that our personal struggles do deserve our kind attention, however, and facing them with a growth mindset (as explained by Dr. Carol Dweck) can be an effective way of doing this.

Focus on student learning now, while preparing for the next school year

As we complete our third quarter today, thoughts of the next school year will begin to emerge more often. I am sure it will be a relief for many to note that the current situation gives us hope that we are on track to be back on campus in some form for the start of the 2021-22 school year. We are still unsure if we will have the opportunity to return to campus in our last quarter, however, we will be ready to do so in a safe manner if the opportunity presents itself. In the meantime, we urge a shared focus by all community members on helping our students to both learn as best they can through our remote learning system and keep a focus on social emotional learning (SEL). Please continue to keep up a high level of communication to address any areas of concern as soon as it arises.

Over the past week, parents will have received a re-enrolment email for the next school year. Please do reply to these promptly, as it is critical for helping us plan for next year’s classes. You will have noted the fees schedule for next year was included, and that there were no increases as we have reduced expenses to match our numbers, while maintaining the quality education CIS is dedicated to providing. Just to be sure you know where your fees go, our expenses come from:

  • employing our diverse, qualified faculty and staff (including our international teachers who come from over 10 different countries!)
  • offering the premium IB programs at all levels throughout the school
  • maintaining and developing our spacious, modern campus facilities
  • operating costs to enable our program to provide the quality learning environment we desire, such as support for specialist services and extra-curricular activities.

As a non-profit school, you have the satisfaction of knowing that ALL of your school fees go towards providing for your child’s education! To ensure transparency and accountability, our budget is developed by our staff and faculty with oversight from the Board Finance Committee, and approved by the CIS Board of Trustees (all parents). Furthermore, our finances are verified by independent auditors, and reported to the CIS Board of Trustees and CIS Corporation (CIS parents).

SEL Focus for the week: How to be a better parent during the pandemic (podcast)

As any parent can attest, the changes forced upon us all by the Covid-19 pandemic have tested our parenting skills, and in some cases, caused extreme challenges. In this 28 minute podcast by the Economist, psychotherapist and author Philippa Perry talks about the mental-health consequences for students kept out of school during the pandemic, what quality time is, and why feeling sad is part of being human.

Events and dates

  • Thanks to our STEM Committee for organizing numerous fun, engaging activities to promote Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) at all levels in the school this week.
  • Our annual Grade 12 IB Visual Art Exhibition opens virtually from next week (refer to the poster in this Newsflash).
  • Next Friday (March 19) will be our third HAD (House Activities Day) in the morning, where students enjoy student-council and faculty activities to build spirit in school houses. This is a half-day for students, as the afternoon is used by the faculty for inservice tasks (PD, accreditation and curriculum tasks).
  • This year’s CIS virtual production “Broadway Revue” also premiere this Friday, March 19 at 5:00 PM. A link will be sent to your registered email for this anticipated annual event!
  • Save the date: our next Parent Coffee meeting is on 24 March, 9-10 am.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Dr. Gwyn Underwood,

Introducing: The CIS Student Residence

The new CIS Student Residence, the school’s newly built on-campus dormitory, is now accepting students for next school year! This 3-storey modern boarding facility will house up to 40 students, with girls in the 2nd floor, and boys in the 3rd floor. We aim to provide a safe community for students who are away from home. If you have any friends or family who are interested in the dorm, please contact the Admissions office, or email

For more information, visit the Student Residence page at

Elementary News

by Mr. Glenn Davies, Elementary School Principal

One result of the restrictions placed around travel in this extended period of the pandemic has been the way professional development changed for educators. During the old normal we were able to select a piece of relevant professional development, hop on a plane and interact with other like-minded educators over an extended period of time. The advantages to this included the many hallway conversations that took place between formal sessions that enabled the exploration of new ideas and the forming of new connections. The disadvantages included the cost, and the time.

With the formation of this new normal, has come a new way of doing professional development. I regularly receive emails from individuals, publishers and professional development providers advertising anything from short 60minute free PD sessions to courses lasting several weeks, and costing hundreds of dollars. Many of our teachers have taken advantage of these opportunities. One set of courses I have found helpful have been sponsored by Corwin, a book publisher, where book authors present the major findings of their work. 

Clear Success Criteria

This week I joined a Corwin-sponsored workshop about Setting Clear Success Criteria. As educators, clear success criteria promote clarity around what we teach, and what students learn. Some key aspects of effective success criteria include;

  • Both students and teachers need to be able to define lesson learning intentions in a way that they both understand
  • Teachers and students need to design and understand the pathway learners take to meet the learning intention
  • Students and teachers need to be able to describe the multiple steps that lead to successful learning
  • Teachers and students need to be able to monitor the progress toward the learning intention

As educators there are two key questions we need to ask ourselves;

  • Key question 1: What do you want learners to say and do, if they  have truly mastered the learning intention?
  • Key Question 2: How can we create the opportunity for productive struggle as students seek to master new knowledge and skills?

At CIS we constantly seek to ensure teachers and students co-design clear success criteria, and engage in productive struggle through the process of learning mastery. 

Teachers Teaching Teachers (TTT)

Recently our teachers had the opportunity to provide professional development sessions for their colleagues in areas of expertise. One area we have been exploring as a school has been Social and Emotional Learning  (SEL) for our teachers as well as our students. One TTT session focused explicitly on this aspect. As colleagues, we gathered and explored some Grounding Exercises in Art and some Abstract Art Techniques.

Here are some of the Teachers’ artworks:

Line Exercises for Abstract Art
5 Senses Grounding Exercise
Draw to Soothing Music
Happiness Blobs

Artist/Teacher: Freya

Abstract Art
Line Exercises
Hands Grounding Exercise
Happiness Blobs

Remote Learning though the context of ART

Early Years

The EY students began a new colour unit. The students used a Color-Emotions heart to match their emotions to colors. They also created an artwork that showed both Warm and Cool Colors.

Jayden, “Warm and Cool Colors”

Grade 2

Last week we practiced drawing animals. We drew different toy animals that we had in our homes. This week we are exploring Habitats and where different animals live. We all tried to draw a habitat, some chose a forest, others chose the desert, and some chose to do an Underwater scene. We made sure that our drawings had a Background, a Middle Ground and a Foreground to give our drawings a more 3-Dimensional look, have more perspective and depth. Here is a photo of what took place during our video call.

Grade 3

The Grade 3 students practiced “Slow Looking”, by noticing and naming details on favorite toy animals, then sketching and adding appropriate color to their work. The Grade 3 students enjoyed sharing their learning during the synchronous lessons.

Kinder/Grade 1

The KG1 artwork was connected the Where we are in Place and Time that explored the concept of transportation. Students created marks on paper using wheels and other objects. The layers students have used in these pieces of artwork are very interesting.

Seungyeon (Ben), KG1 Eagles
Fiona, KG1 Tamaraw

The K/G1 students also discussed the artwork of Gustav Klimt. A story of shapes and lines was shared and the students drew the lines that they heard on paper. This strengthened their listening skills, as well as their imagination and capacity to draw what they heard.

Grade 4 
The grade 4 students created Book Cover Designs. These were based on novels linked to classroom Literacy and the Media Center. Students are now learning to digitize these book covers using Seesaw and Canva.

Book Cover Design, “Percy Jackson”, by Diana
Book Cover Design, “A Long Walk to Water”, by Anna
Book Cover Design, “Monster of Legend”, by Logan
Book Cover Design, “The day I fell into a Fairytale”, by Yahvi

Middle and High School News

by Mr. Dale Wood, Middle and High School Principal

Celebrating STEM Week

As we now reach a full year of our school being physically closed due to the Covid pandemic, we continue to move forward as a team and create educational opportunities for our students, both in the classroom and by sustaining events that celebrate and focus on specific domains of learning. STEM week has been taking place school-wide this week and serves as one example, as does the upcoming DP Visual Arts Exhibition, of events that we value and help make our students’ learning truly holistic, even in the midst of our limitations. STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, and these are all clearly important domains as we look to the future and help our students develop the tools that will enable them to make a positive impact on our changing world.

The CIS Mathematics and Science Departments have been hard at work collaborating on ways to celebrate these beautiful subjects and created a week of fun synchronous and asynchronous activities. There were challenges appropriate for all levels of learner, games, magic, presentations, learning experiences, as well as recommended viewing. 

Here is a view of the activities created for Monday’s Homeroom time:

On Monday our Grade 10, 11, and 12 participated in a Science IA Expo while Grade 6-9 students were invited to join in on a massive Science/Maths Kahoot challenge.

On Thursday Grade 10 and 11 students attended one of three meetings determined by their respective Maths teacher. Our Grade 12 students either shared their IA project they recently completed for their DP science and math courses, assisted in the Great Chicken Challenge, or served as audience members for their peers’ IA presentations. Grade 6-9 students participated in the Great Chicken Challenge. 

Science Scavenger Hunt

G2 Math & Science Potpourri

Science IA Expo

G2 Science Scavenger Hunt

Selected G11 students facilitated STEM activities for the G2s.

Week Without Walls reports continue

This week we continue to report on our WWW experience. I trust you enjoy seeing how we were able to engage our students in relevant educational and service learning, made even more impressive by the fact that it was all done virtually.

Educators of the Galaxy

The WWW sessions of the team were very productive.  The students collaborated to develop three instructional videos for each course, namely Arts, Science, Mandarin, and Spanish. The outputs are the students’ unique contributions to the broader community, particularly in fostering the need to continue learning despite the pandemic.  These videos have been posted on the school’s Youtube channel and are available for viewing.

The following are sample instructional videos from each course.

With several group feedback sessions and corresponding revisions, the process of making the instructional materials entailed creative thinking, planning, and commitment.  The students took the challenge and stepped out of their comfort zones by learning video editing skills in a short span of time and organized the content to make the videos effective for instructional purposes.

Here are the reflections of the students on this course: 

  1. What were your reasons for choosing your specific WWW course?

I chose this group for many reasons. I chose this group because I wanted to help teach other people the knowledge I have. I want to make more use of my learning in Cebu international School by teaching other students and kids my age, younger, or even way older. I also wanted to change and do something different for “week without walls”. Usually I’ll be part of groups that are in the area of charity or learning about things for individual improvement. This year I wanted to give back something else to the community. That being knowledge and education.  – Andrew

I chose the Educators of the Galaxy because as a student, I wanted to experience how teachers feel during online learning. Thought that it would be fun to learn how to teach students certain subjects and topics.  – Chewon

  1. Describe specific instances where you demonstrated the IB learner profile. 

Communicators:  Despite my WiFi connection being very unstable and my inability to join Google Meets to communicate with my peers, I was able to communicate with them through Google HangOuts really well. – Jason

Being open minded was also needed since we discussed with everyone in the main call a few times for reminders, suggestions, and presentations.  – Roland

When creating my video I demonstrated the thinker profile because I had to use a lot of different software and then combine what I made in them separately into one thing. So, there were a lot of issues with the internet and devices. I was able to get through it. – Sofia

I applied the open-minded skills of the IB learner profile in this activity. I had to think of one art material that others wouldn’t easily approach or be familiar with so that I could actually teach something and deliver new information though the video. Also, I had to be creative and open minded when considering the methods of how I will present the techniques and justifications for the ideas and suggestions I have. – Victoria

  1. What did you like or enjoy in this experience?

I liked how all of us were cooperative in our subject specific groups. I also like what we did in this course. – Aaryan

This is my first time experiencing WWW, and it was very fun, I got to explore editing videos, talked with my groupmates, and overall the experience was very nice. – Clark

I enjoyed getting to know about the topic I was teaching. It was a topic I was not very good at, but as I learned it I got more interested in it. – Jun

  1. Describe a new learning/understanding you have gained from the activity.

I’ve always wanted to learn Spanish because of the impact it made on Filipino culture. I can confidently say that I learned so much about the relationship between Spanish and Filipino. I am also more motivated to learn Spanish because of its connections to languages I already know like English and Filipino. – Jaschia

During each afternoon call, every video would have a chance to be presented, so each time a video would be played I carefully listened and learned from it. For Science, I learned about the different planets and about our solar system in general. As for Spanish, I learned where the language came from and how the Filipino language is very closely related to Spanish. For Art, I learned about tonal values, what it is and its application. As for in Mandarin, I learned what the Mandarin numbers and family members are. – Lea

  1. Recall the Mission Vision, Philosophy, and the rest of our guiding statements. Pick a line from any of these and link to something you did during this community service week.

“Learning is a joyful, creative, and open-ended exploration.”

I got to learn more about Spanish, which was very significant to me as an Ab Initio student. I was also able to share knowledge and lessons with help from my schoolmates and Senor Daniel. We were able to use creativity when making the presentations and did our best to make them as fun as possible. Students from other schools, even those who don’t take Spanish, will be able to pick up a lot from the videos. – Pristina

“Collaboration, communication, and contribution are essential for learning.” This would apply to communicating and collaborating with my partner with this presentation and we both contributed to the video we created. – Stefen

Social Media Campaigns

On February 16-19, CIS held its annual Week Without Walls- a program through which students from Grades 6-11 engage in either internationally or locally based community service opportunities. This takes learning beyond the classroom and helps students embrace their potential to make a difference.  

Our group’s activity allowed students to explore how to create social media content and put their theory into practice. During that week, the students created Social Media Campaigns for selected local Non-government Organizations (NGO), which they may opt to use for fundraisings or other activities which aim to broaden their ‘reach’ on social media. The content depended on what each organization wanted or needed in the hopes that whatever product the students created would be useful for them.

The week started with a session which was led by Mr. Monfre which tackled topics on what makes a good social media post, Digital Media creation, as well as video and software programs to use (Canva, WeVideo etc). In the afternoon, the students met with the 5 different NGO representatives to discuss how they wanted to go forward with their social media content. As the week went along, we also had a Design workshop specifically on creating digital media content, as well as a lot of feedback time with co-students, with teachers, and with the NGO representatives themselves. 

The 5 NGOs that our group worked with were Light of Hope PH, Gawad Kalinga, Everlasting Hope, RIse Above Foundation, and Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation. We were thrilled to work with them in this capacity as this was the first time that an activity with the goal of promoting these NGOs through social media, was able to happen. There were definitely a lot of ideas and collaboration that went into planning the content and presentation for each of the organizations.

With more than 30 student sign-ups, we were able to have at least 5 students and 1 teacher work with 1 of each of the 5 NGOs. This enabled us to come up with more than what was expected from each group in terms of posters or videos that the NGOs could use. We’re happy that in the end, we were able to help them in this particular way, which was certainly relevant and was able to use the ‘digital’ talents of our students. We are looking forward to continuing this activity in the future.

Here are some feedback from students who joined the Social Media Campaign activity:

When asked: How does the work you did this week benefit the NGO? Diego K. said that “I think it benefited the NGO since we were able to create free advertisements and awareness posters as well as videos for them. I also think it gave them ideas or inspiration on what they could change. Lastly, I think that we benefited the NGO’s by letting them know that we are willing to do this each year for WWW.”

When Edrigu U. was asked what he learned about the NGOs and how to cater to their needs as their “clients”?  He mentioned virtual meetings with the NGO representative helped them learn more about the NGO and getting feedback from teachers and co-students helped show them how they can improve on their poster and video.

Sean U. said that “I developed the caring IB learner profile because after what we learned about the situation of the children, it opened my eyes and made me count my blessings. I decided to give my best efforts to help them spread awareness.” in response to the questions: “What IB Learning Profile traits did you develop this week? What activities help you develop these traits?”

On what was their favorite part of this WWW activity, Fiana B. said: “Since we’re doing this virtually, I don’t get to communicate with my other friends from other grade levels. But I like how www has mixed grades in them, so I get to talk to them and share our ideas.” Sean Killen added, “My favorite part was tapping into my artistic side and attempting to edit and create posters as I am not that good at digital media creation.”

And finally, for next year, most students would prefer to do this face-to-face with the different NGOs and others would love to have more time and more practice in creating digital media.

Sample Work

You are also invited to check out links to the content our groups created:

Everlasting Hope | Yellow Boat of Hope | Light of Hope PH

Grade 12 Visual Arts Exhibition

The Cebu International School Visual Arts 12 Exhibition

March 15 – March 26, 2021 | Website Link

The Cebu International School Visual Arts 12 Exhibition presents the work of the talented Grade 12 Visual Art students as a culmination of their 2 years study of IB Visual Arts. Working in diverse mediums and styles, these students delved into a variety of themes and concepts, each one drawing on their personal inspiration and experiences to produce an impressive, significant body of work.

Featured Students

Denise H.
Jieun (Dorothy) J.
Alessandro J.
Sun-woo (Lea) L.
Kevin S.

CIS Presents: Broadway Revue

Mark your calendars for this years’ virtual production titled: Broadway Revue featuring our students’ renditions of famous musical performances of all time!

Friday, March 19 • 5:00 PM

A link will be sent to your Inbox next week for the premiere of the production, and look out for the teaser this Monday assembly!

Dragon’s Print & Student Announcements

“The show must go on” and indeed it does, as Dragon’s Print features the behind the scenes production of this year’s virtual “Broadway Revue”! Read more on

Additionally, Dragon’s Print is opening submissions for art and written works for our May 2021 digital magazine with the theme “Hope” or “At Last I See The Light”, inspired by Disney’s Tangled. Details on the poster below!

Students may send their works to before the deadline. Questions or concerns may be directed to the same email as well.

We look forward to seeing your works!

College/Careers Counselor Corner

by Ms. Jenny Basa, College/Careers Counselor

Tip of the Week: Teacher Recommendations

If the university you are applying to requires a letter of recommendation from a subject teacher, here are some tips to remember:

  • Choose a teacher who knows you very well
  • Write a formal request via email and have a conversation with the teacher where possible at least a month to 3 weeks prior to the deadline. 
  • If you are not sure who to ask, choose the teacher in a subject related to the program you are applying for or ask for advice from your counselor. 
  • Have a conversation with the teacher if there are specific aspects of your performance you would like to be mentioned in the letter

Coming Soon!

ALUMNI CHAT SERIES: Episode 5 – The Europe Edition

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


March 13

March 13
1:30- 5:00PM


Enderun Colleges (Philippines)
Orientation Session
Link to register

IDP Philippines Study in Australia & New Zealand Virtual Fair
Link to register

– Australian Catholic University
– Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School and Torrens  University
– Canterbury Institute of Management
– Charles Darwin University
– CQUniversity
– Deakin University
– Federation University
– Griffith University
– Kaplan Business School
– King’s Own Institute
– La Trobe University
– Macquarie University
– Monash University
– RMIT University
– University of Adelaide with University of Adelaide College
– University of Canberra
– University of Notre Dame Australia
– University of Queensland
– University of South Australia
– University of Sydney
– University of Technology Sydney
– University of Western Australia
– Victoria University

– Massey University
– Victoria University of Wellington
– Southern Institute of Technology

March 15

March 15 – 20

SP Jain School of Global Management – Australia
Link  to register

University of Ottawa (Canada)
Virtual Open House
Link to register and the schedule of events

March 18

University of Pennsylvania (USA)
Chat with Global Penn Alumni
Link to register

SAT Update

March 13 SAT test date has been cancelled.

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

2020-2021 Test DatesTestRegistration Deadline
March 13, 2021SAT only (no Subject tests)Cancelled
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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