Newsflash: March 26, 2021

Admin News

Dear CIS Community,

As we wrap up this week and prepare to go on Easter Break, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you all for your contribution to our student’s successes. These have been demonstrated by evidence such as our recent benchmarking data in the elementary supporting our observations that CIS students are in general maintaining expected age level academic growth despite having to use Remote Learning over the last year, and the positive feedback to our Social Emotional Learning (SEL) activities.

Photo credit: Micheile Henderson via Unsplash

Some of our students still struggle in various areas, however, so we must continue to seek ways to help students overcome any such areas. It is good to keep in mind that struggling with aspects of learning is an expected – and even desirable thing if it is not too severe, as we all learn best when we are challenged. This process is also something that occurs when we are on campus too, so it is important to continue to face our ongoing pandemic challenges in a systematic and practical manner, seeking solutions and not blame. Together, we are stronger, and we can, and will, overcome such challenges!

Have a wonderful week of rejuvenation and spending time with family.

Parent Coffee Meeting (Wed Mar 24) Report

Thanks to the parents who took the opportunity to join us for a time of connecting and discussion this week. Please do make these meetings if at all possible, as they are valuable opportunities to meet other parents, and get to learn more about CIS and our program.

Our feature topic this week was exploring how we define high-quality learning and teaching at CIS. In addition to being one of our accreditation action plan items, we have been finding this question great to stimulate discussion on numerous issues surrounding learning and teaching at CIS. We have a draft definition now that we will share back with you all once all stakeholders have had a chance to give input.

Managing stress

Photo credit: Taya Iv via Unsplash

I think we can all agree that the past year has been stressful for each and every one of us, at least at some point. Advice on how to cope with stress is common, but it is also commonly not heeded! As we go on our spring break, I thought it timely to share some suggestions that could help form habits that will be useful for when we return to work or school. The following list is simple, yet comprehensive. Most of these are probably reminders for you – but if you are still getting stressed, perhaps developing one or more of the following techniques will help?

8 stress-management techniques to consider developing into recommended daily habits:

  • Move, move, move. Any exercise is a fantastic stress reliever.
  • Breathe. Practice meditation and mindfulness exercises to tame your mind.
  • Journal. Writing can help us unpack what’s going on inside. Start by documenting what you’re grateful for each day.
  • Laugh. Watch a funny show, call a funny friend, and feel some joy.
  • Find your flow. What activity or task demands your deepest focus?
  • Listen to music. Research proves that it helps us relax.
  • Read. Non-fiction can help you learn and engage your brain with new knowledge and ideas, but fiction is best to help you relax and let your imagination go free.

Source: Adapted from HBR Management Tip of the day, Feb 12, 2021 (adapted from “7 Ways to De-Stress When You Can’t Go Outside,” by Michelle Bihary)

Events and dates

  • March 29 (Mon) – April 5 (Mon) – Easter break
  • March 9th Valor day (holiday)
  • April 8 (Thu) CIS Corporation Meeting (virtual)
  • April 12-14 IB MYP Verification Visit (virtual)
  • Save the date: Our next Parent Coffee meeting is on 28 April, 9-10am
  • Refer to our online School Calendar a complete listing of events

Dr. Gwyn Underwood,

MYP Accreditation

Dear CIS Parents,

We Need You!

One of the final hurdles on our road to MYP accreditation is the upcoming Verification Visit.  This will be held remotely from Monday, April 12th to Wednesday, April 14th. The visit comprises a series of meetings between representatives of the IB, Patrick Ritter and Sheeza Ali, and members of the CIS community. This includes students, parents, board members, teachers, staff and administrators.

We need a small group of parents and board members for these meetings. The visiting team will be asking questions relating to your experiences with our school, understanding of the CIS philosophy, as well as why you selected CIS for your children.

The Board meeting will be held on Monday, April 12th from 09:15 to 09:45; the Parent meeting will also be on Monday, April 12th from 10:00 to 10:30.

If you are a CIS Board member, or an MYP parent interested in participating in one of these meetings, please let me know by emailing me at and I will forward you more details including a list of potential questions to help ease any concerns you may have.

We truly look forward to your favorable response and participation.

Most sincerely,

Jonathan Denton
MYP Coordinator & Assistant Principal (MYP) 

Elementary News

by Mr. Glenn Davies, Elementary School Principal

Over these past weeks we have explored and encouraged the importance of self-care among our students, our families and among our CIS staff and faculty. This period of remote work and remote learning has impacted us all in different ways, and the long term isolation can sometimes be confusing for our emotions. At times we are not sure how to feel, what to feel, and whether what we are feeling is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. As we now head into a week of no classes, this is a time to move away from our devices and take the opportunity to relax a little from the ongoing pressures associated with pandemic work and learning.

Recently I came across a TED Talk, and I shared this with our CIS faculty. This talk by Rehef Harfoush discussed how burnout makes us less creative.  Our focus on constant high-level performance and high levels of productivity can actually lead to lower output through burnout, so taking the opportunity for a genuine break really helps you. Productivity is not an endurance sport, rather it is slow and steady that actually wins the race. As it turns out Aesop’s fable of the hare and tortoise is as relevant today during the pandemic as it was when first formally published in the mid 16th century We wish you all a well deserved a restful Spring/Holy Week break.

* Image source: 

Learning in the Kinder/Grade 1 Eagles Class

This past week has been another fun week of inquiry and learning for our KG1 students.  As we continue to explore our Unit of Inquiry, How the World Works, we experimented with different materials to understand the properties of matter.

Dry Paper Underwater experiment
Our Dry Paper Underwater experiment proved that air, though invisible, takes up space. Here are some responses from our KG1 students to the question, “Does air take up space?” 

  • Yes. When I put the cup inside the water the paper towel did not fall. I think it’s because the air fills up the extra space and keeps the towel dry. – Erin
  • The paper towel is dry because the air was still inside the cup. When I breathe the air takes up space in my chest. – Catherine
  • I did the experiment three times and the paper was dry. The air takes up space that’s why the paper did not get wet. – Ellaine

Our Experiment
Did you know that it is possible to submerge a paper towel in water without getting it wet? Our KG1 students did an experiment to prove this. We have been learning about Matter. Even though you can’t see it, the air is made up of matter and matter takes up space. We observed that when the glass is lowered in the water, the air is trapped inside the glass keeping the paper dry.

The Tower Challenge
The KG1 students were challenged to build the tallest tower using only recycled paper. The goal was to get it to stand up firmly. By bending, folding, rolling, and tearing the paper, students learned to manipulate the properties of matter to make it suitable for particular uses.

How Playdough Responds to Different Conditions
By making playdough, the KG1 students noticed how different properties of matter interact and come together. We exposed our playdough to different environments and saw that it can turn crumbly, dry, soft, or slimy. We learned that matter behaves differently when exposed to different conditions.

Math in KG
For Math, we discovered how to use objects and nonstandard units to measure. We learned how to measure length, width, and height with nonstandard units, such as paper clips, pencils, shoes, lego, etc.

Music in Elementary

Early Years
Our youngest students are still focusing on their senses, and in Music we have been exploring and honing our listening skills.

Grade 2
Grade 2 students have been putting musical theory knowledge into action and performing on tuned percussion or keyboard instruments.

Kinder and Grade 1
Kinder and Grade 1 students have started focussing on vocal skills. They have started off with ‘so’ and ‘mi’.

Grade 3
Grade 3 students have started to learn the recorder. They have focussed on proper performance technique, breathing and first three notes. They are excited to work their way through Recorder Karate pieces at their own pace.

Grade 4 and 5
The students have been exploring musical elements such as rhythm and texture through an app called Online Sequencer.  In addition to music technology, the students have also been learning about some unusual bands that make music with non-traditional sound sources.  Some of the items that these groups use to make music include brooms, trash cans, basketballs and even vegetables!  The students created their own instrument inventions, too.

Middle and High School News

by Mr. Dale Wood, Middle and High School Principal

This past week, we have had the opportunity to participate in several of our regular annual events, experiences that are very important for meeting our students’ SEL needs, keeping our students connected to each other within the ongoing covid situation, and preserving key aspects of our school culture. Events like these don’t happen spontaneously, but rather, represent hours, days, or even weeks of work on the part of both teachers and students. Some of this work is visible in the product created, while many individuals work hard “behind the scenes.” A big thank you to all of our faculty and students who have brought us these opportunities.

House Activity Day (HAD) 3

As we continue to highlight our school’s fervent efforts to maintain events that engage, encourage, and unite our students, last Friday we had our final HAD for the year. On these days we set aside our typical academic schedule and engage our students in a variety of activities designed for fun, connection, and team spirit as our students compete against the other houses. 

As this day is meant for the students, and now intentionally to attend to their SEL needs, the activities are planned by the Student Council and also led by the students with the supervision and encouragement of faculty members. This year the Student Council made special efforts to create activities that would require students to be physically active and ensured that there was maximum participation by making sure the activities needed to be carried out as a team which means that they may be virtually away from each other but for them to complete the game, they needed to work together in breakout groups or team chats.

Some of the HAD activities were as follows:

Bring Me which was a very engaging activity even if it is conducted online. As on of the most popular activities in HAD 3, most students said they enjoyed it very much, as it not only had an element of surprise as to what object would they have to look for but also it was very exciting to find out which team was able to obtain them first based on the number of students asked per round. Even if this was done virtually, the participants had to move around their house to get the objects being asked for hence it allowed them to be actually physically active while participating.

Charades was a fun activity, too. This is easy to successfully conduct in a virtual environment, but is very engaging nonetheless. Each team takes turns in guessing a word that is being acted out by a team mate. They are given a few seconds to guess what the word is based on the actions and the opposing team gets a chance to guess if the current team fails to give a correct answer.

Wheel of Songs begins with a wheel with categories of songs displayed up on the screen and is spun. When the wheel lands on a category, each team has 2 minutes to list down as many songs that fit into the category. We use Rock, Paper, Scissors to decide which team goes first, and teams take turns singing lines from the songs they have listed. The winner of the round will be the last team still singing. This will repeat until the end of the rotation and should follow these rules: a. Songs MUST be in English, b. Songs don’t have to be sung by everybody, c. No made up songs, d. For each category round, a song cannot be repeated (i.e. once it is sung for a round, it cannot be used again), and e. If one group sang a song first, the opposing team can’t sing that song.

Escape Room is one activity we introduced just this last HAD, and is one of the most collaborative activities. The goal is for each team to get out of the ‘virtual rooms’ first by answering several trivia questions or looking for clues as to how to obtain the keys for each door. Opening one door can lead you to another until you eventually get out of the final one. Through the use of breakout groups in Google Meet, each team is able to work together to solve each problem or find the clue to obtain the key and open the locks. Students are not able to see the progress of the other team, adding more excitement as they seek to beat each other’s time.

At the end of HAD 3, it was clear that team Narra won as they led with 98 points, 25 points ahead of the second closest team, Mahogany, which had obtained 73 points. Team Acacia took 3rd place and Team Molave took 4th. This HAD was also the final opportunity to determine the winners of the School Spirit Cup. We tally the results of all activities from the three different HAD days in order to determine which house has the “bragging rights” as champions which will carry into next year until the final HAD day of 2022.

The closing ceremony, thanking all participants and announcing the results for the competition and streaming live on Youtube.

Final team rankings for HAD3

A Focus on Art and Design

Highlighting our academics this week, Mr. Jessie Saclo, HOD for Design and Arts, has provided an explanation for our Design and Arts courses and their importance within the MYP framework. According to the Cambridge online dictionary a framework is a supporting structure around which something can be built. The MYP, widely considered a framework for learning, is an expanse of eight subject groups wherein teaching and learning are identified in contexts that have a direct connection to students’ lives and their experience of the world. 

Through the following six global contexts, students of the MYP develop a personal understanding of our common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet through developmentally appropriate explorations of: 

  • identities and relationships
  • personal and cultural expression
  • orientations in space and time
  • scientific and technical innovation
  • fairness and development
  • globalization and sustainability.

The MYP promotes learning as a construct that involves the cultivation of understanding through concepts or big ideas that have relevance within specific disciplines and across subject areas. With this vehicle students inquire and examine knowledge holistically through sixteen key interdisciplinary concepts along with related concepts for each subject discipline.

Art and Design have innate conceptual connections within the creative process. For our units in both subjects in Grade 7 this past quarter, we have identified and explored the distinct key concept of ‘communication’ and the related concepts of ‘interpretation’ and ‘perspective’. Students first developed their understanding of these concepts by constructing their own inquiry questions and by deducing the statements of inquiry for both subjects. With these understandings students have been able to explore the natural connections between art and design resulting in a class agreement to explore an interdisciplinary unit involving both subjects for the remainder of the school year.

The Grade 7 students are developing their skills in ‘illustration’ in Art class and their prowess in creating ‘animation movies’ in Design class. Through a set of formative assessments, students are acquiring fundamental skills and understanding of the methods of illustration and animation in relation to the key concept of communication. Students are also taking hold of their own learning by using software programs of their choice for illustration and video creation.

Visit this site to visit the grade 7 illustrations of the IB Learner Profile and short animation videos of products promotion. 

Yi Chen- Reflective
Grace- Balanced
Haylee- Caring

CIS School Production 2021

Last Friday the CIS community was treated to our first ever virtual school production: Broadway Review. Each year our Fine Arts teachers work tirelessly and side-by-side with a dedicated group of students to create the production, which is always one of the highlights of the year. This year posed a unique challenge, in that not only was the production virtual, but all of our performers had to practice and record themselves without being physically present with the drama directors, musical directors, choreographers, and other cast members. Yet, showing indefatigable “dragon spirit,” our team of teachers and students were able to create a successful production.

This year’s production was a great experience for the Production team.  After going through different stage plays, it was difficult to find one that had the license for a virtual set-up.  The team decided to put up a show highlighting selected Broadway musicals from the 1950s to 2000.  Popular songs and scenes were chosen from each musical.  It was challenging to teach choreography and rehearse in a virtual setting. The student performers had to balance their time between school tasks, attending virtual rehearsals, and recording their performances. The final phase was the editing of the video to come up with high-quality virtual production. The entire process was a learning experience that is indicative of the team’s resilience and determination. Being able to select portions of different musicals meant that we were able to involve students from lower elementary all the way to Grade 12 and also meant that more students were able to share the spotlight more than usual and allowed for more “lead” roles within the various segments.

In addition to song and dance, the Broadway Revue included a performance by the CIS Chamber Ensemble.  The medley of songs included: It’s the Hard-Knock Life, Maybe, I Don’t Need Anything but You, and Tomorrow–highlights from one of most popular Broadway musicals of all time, Annie. A bit more challenging than their normal repertoire, this medley featured syncopated rhythms, more bars, and more advanced ranges for the students. They managed the piece quite well and demonstrated sharp music skills, despite not having played together as a band for over a year. Similar to previous virtual performances, all the parts were recorded separately, then synchronized together using video and audio editing software- the new normal for performances in the time of the pandemic.  The Chamber Ensemble featured Bryan C. (violin), Deandra R. (alto saxophone), Chae Eun L. (trumpet) and Ron Michael C. (trumpet). 

Performance Snapshots

Production Cast Reflection

I loved the production video. It was so fun to see myself in it. I hope to make another video soon.  Harvey, G4

Making the school’s first virtual production was a very long, but fun process. We all had to practice our parts individually, then we prepared to record our performances asynchronously with a green screen as our background. Although this was very different from how we would usually rehearse in-person, it was still enjoyable because I had the chance to make time for my hobbies, which are singing and dancing. I would say that the strength would be being able to practice and record by yourself asynchronously. This way, we could take our time in preparing for our performances. However, when we get busy with classwork, it’s challenging to balance everything, including production. But this is not really a bad thing because it’ll teach us time management 🙂 Also, it’s way easier for us to communicate information and practice in-person because we could see what needs improvement, but we just had to adjust due to the current situation. – Fiana, G8

This year’s production was a success. Although we weren’t able to go to campus, we had many talented students who were able to act out and sing fortunately. But there were only 3 other students in the band group so that was a bit sad. When I saw the editing of the video, I was surprised by how good it was. Can’t imagine how much effort was needed yet it came out amazing. From elementary students to IB students, each had a fantastic job and for next year, I wouldn’t be here but hopefully students are able to be back at campus and show their amazing talents. We didn’t practice our Annie piece virtually because it will be “laggy” so we just had to practice on our own and record it. – Bryan, G9

I enjoyed how the production this year managed to make all these wonderfully creative and fun performances with the power of greenscreens and editing. I liked this because it was a whole new take on how to do an online production and personally, I’ve never seen it done like this before so it was very intriguing. – Sean,  G10

I really had lots of fun by doing the videos of me dancing and singing it has been a long time with production and i am deeply happy for doing all this to make the CIS community happy. Some of the struggles I had was when I sent some of my videos but at the end it was worth it. – Thea, G3

I think that the production went well. The green screen background, acting and singing! I think the whole production team worked hard and the work wasn’t wasted. Rhianna, G4

Overall, I have really enjoyed the production and I believe that our first virtual production was successful. Since it was virtual, there were several challenges I had to encounter mostly related to recording the moves. However, I was able to successfully accomplish the given parts and tasks to participate in the production. I especially enjoyed experiencing different types of songs with different genres. I was able to interpret songs from different time periods and interact with others to impact the music and moves. It was also a great chance for me to understand how much I am interested in music and it was great that I could find that out by doing something I like. – Victoria, G10

Learning that production this school year was going to be conducted online, I was nervous and suspicious of how it would be like. Especially since I know how hard it could be to communicate and practice virtually with other people. However, after the first rough couple of months, I knew that we were in capable hands. I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t stressed about how the production would turn out, but after seeing how hard the other club members and the teachers were working I believed that everything would turn out fine, and I was right! Watching the premiere of Broadway Revue surprised me with all the cool effects, wonderful singing, and amazing dancing. I believe that the other people who also watched Broadway Revue would agree that although there were doubts to how the first virtual production would result, the finished product really blew their expectations away. – Jodi, G11

Feedback from Drama Students

I liked the theme and story because it let you know a bit of information about the different musicals included and the songs in each of them. The closing song was nice because everyone included as well as teachers in production were shown on the video. What was shown in the part of the last song sort of goes along with the visuals and signifies how they were able to produce a Broadway Revue together. I enjoyed it because of the songs. Most of the songs included were very familiar to me and I got to sing along with them. – Gabrielle, G8

I personally enjoyed the scene from the Phantom of the Opera. This scene popped out the most to me compared to the other ones played. I was impressed by the performance and was entertained throughout. I also respect this scene in a more personal way as I know it’s hard to do solos. It’s frustrating and pressuring. To see someone do a solo in a big stage always hits me on a different level. I enjoyed the singing of both characters. Although the scene was very serious I still enjoyed it because that’s a theme of drama I personally enjoy watching.  I enjoyed listening to their singing as well. Both presented their voice clear with great tones and pronunciation. – Andrew, G10

I really enjoyed ‘Annie’ the most because it really showed the stories behind Annie and it was one of my favorite productions that I have seen. Also, the effects in Annie were really good. At first, I thought the dog from Annie was real but as I kept watching, it looked like a video clip. I also think that Jodi was a very good actress and she delivered her lines really well and was good at singing the songs. – Joo Ha, G10

Some things I enjoyed about the “Broadway Revue” was that it was very fun and I saw the large amount of effort that was put into it. What made it fun was the actors’ performances in singing and dancing. The show held my attention all throughout and it was interesting to see this new approach. – Bea, G9

I enjoyed the editing. It was very entertaining and creative. The background, background music, and such was very interesting and enhanced the production video overall. The eye make up in Lion King was also nice as it added some detail into the performance. I also liked that I recognized most of these songs and was able to sing along. – Seohyun, G9

Class of 2021 College & University Acceptances Update

Congratulations to the Class of 2021!

Below is the updated list as today. Some universities have delayed their notification dates due to changes in their admission timeline.

College/Careers Counselor Corner

by Ms. Jenny Basa, College/Careers Counselor

Tip of the Week

Admission Offers
This is the season where most colleges and universities release admission offers. An offer can either be conditional or unconditional.  Below are samples of conditional offers:

Sample 1:
An IB Diploma with 36 points with 666 in HL subjects and a final mark of at least 4 in Math.

Sample 2:
This offer is conditional upon you providing a copy of your official final IB Diploma results and IB Diploma certificate with evidence of an achievement of an overall score of 33 points or above, and meeting the minimum required score for English, Chemistry an done of Physics or Higher Level Mathematics as pre-requisite subjects.

Sample 3:
If you complete the IB curriculum with a minimum score of 40, attaining at least 6 in two Higher Level subjects, you will be offered admission with an entry scholarship of HK$195,000p.a. 
• If you attain a score between 36 and 39, attaining at least 6 in two Higher Level subjects, you will be offered admission with an entry scholarship of HK$145,000p.a.
• If you attain a score between 30 and 35, attaining at least 4 in two Higher Level subjects, you will be offered admission without the entry scholarship; AND
• Attaining Grade 4 or above in English or English Literature at International Baccalaureate (IB)

Unconditional offers are usually given by institutions who do not require a specific IB Diploma score.  However, unconditional offers are still conditional because a student needs to graduate and earn the HS diploma in order to enroll in university. This is a reminder to all graduating students that the work is not yet over until all assessments and graduation requirements are completed.  

ALUMNI CHAT SERIES: Episode 5 – The Europe Edition is scheduled on Saturday March 27th at 8:00 PM.  LINK to join

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


March 27

March 27
Saturday – 8:00PM

April 10 & 13-17,
for webinars
April27-30,one-on-one consultations


“Pursue a Career that Positively Impacts the World”
Enderun Colleges (Philippines)
LINK to register

Alumni Chat Series: Episode 7 – The Europe Edition
LINK to join

Study World Online Virtual Education Fair:

Register through this LINK to view the participating universities and webinars you can attend. Attendance is free! You can attend webinars and earn a certificate.  There is also an option to speak one-on-one with university reps.

Webinar topics include:

SAT Update

Dates below are open for registration.  If the test will be canceled, an update will be posted here and on the school website a month to 3 weeks before the test date.

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

2020-2021 Test DatesTestRegistration Deadline
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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