Newsflash: March 31, 2023

Admin News

by Dr. Gwyn Underwood, Superintendent

A quick search on the topic will show that defining a school’s (or company’s) purpose has been well-established as being a critical factor for growth by serving to clarify to your customers/clients/members what you stand for. A well-thought-out guiding statement used well, can serve as a base, anchor, guide, inspiration for action, and strategic driver.

Over the past few months, we have had sessions with teachers, staff, CIS Board members, parents, and students, to consider what a purpose-driven school might look like. We have considered our current guiding statements (mission, vision, and core beliefs), and collaboratively developed proposed purpose statements that reflect what each stakeholder group thinks reflects CIS’s purpose. 

The next step in this guiding statement review process is for a task force to incorporate the major themes that have emerged into a draft CIS Purpose Statement, which can then be shared back to the community for final input, so it can be presented to the Board for approval by the end of the school year. Thank you to everyone for contributing to clarifying our purpose, so it can effectively drive CIS as a premium educational institution as we prepare to enter our pre-centennial year! 

Congratulations on making it to the end of our third quarter. We wish you a safe, joyful time with family and friends, and look forward to seeing you back on Tuesday, April 11th. 

Yearbook Notice

Upcoming events of note

  • Mar 20-Apr 3 IB Art Exhibition @ CIS
  • Apr 3-10: Spring/Easter Break (No School)
  • Apr 14 – MYP Personal Project Showcase/ Exhibition Day
  • Apr 21 – CIS Education Forum
  • Apr 24 – 27: MHS Week Without Walls

Please refer to the CIS Event Calendar for the complete calendar of school events.

Personal Project

by Mr. Jonathan Denton, MYP Coordinator

On behalf of the Grade 10 students, we invite you all to our first-ever CIS Personal Project Showcase. The event will be held for parents on Friday, April 14th from 7:45 – 9:00am. While our Grade 10 parents have a vested interest this is also an excellent opportunity for Grade 9 parents to see what awaits next year and for all other parents to see first-hand the wonderful things our students are capable of producing. 

The MYP personal project itself is an independent learning experience which allows students to consolidate and celebrate their learning. It serves as both the culmination of their MYP studies and as a stepping stone towards future academic work, and the DP core (International Baccalaureate Organization, 2021)

The Personal Project provides a unique opportunity for students to undertake an independent exploration into an area of personal interest. Through the process of INQUIRY-ACTION-REFLECTION, students are encouraged to demonstrate, develop and strengthen ATL skills such as critical and creative thinking, communication, research and self-management.  

The showcase has quickly established itself as an exciting part of CIS culture with students in younger grade levels already considering what their project product may look like. This will be CIS’s  fourth edition and first-ever face-to-face. 

We have a wide variety of projects to share with you including fashion design, artwork, film and photography, music composition and arrangement, crochet, a book nook, K-Pop choreography, Korean-fusion foods, computer design and a robot that solves the Rubick Cube! 

We hope to see you there!

Upcoming Open Day

As we gear up for the Open Day on Friday, May 5, 2023, we kindly invite you to spread the word to other families who may be interested in learning more about CIS.

Personal recommendations and first-hand experiences are the best way to learn about our school, and we would be grateful for your support in helping us spread the word.

Thanks for your help, and we hope to welcome your friends and their families to CIS soon!

Registration Link Here

Kinder & Grade 1 Class: Waste Management

by: Ms. Bebelin Tubilan and Ms. Tara Alagao, Kinder & Grade 1 Teacher

What would you do if you walked into your classroom seeing trash everywhere? This is what the Kinder and Grade 1 students experienced when we started our unit on Sharing the Planet. After seeing all the mess, we sat together and reflected on the situation using the See-Think-Me-We Visible Thinking Routine. 

Click on the photos below to see their routines in detail!

The students unlocked the waste management words as we inquired about the unit. To further understand waste, the students investigated what is inside the trash bins around the school. They discovered that most of the thrown waste is mixed up in one trash bin. They also noticed that the labels are faded, and the colors of the trash bins are also different from different places in the school. The Kinder and Grade 1 students invited Mr. Bill to discuss how CIS manages our waste. 

How is waste connected to the environment?

The Kinder and Grade 1 created a survey and were given a chance to interview and talk with their family members about their waste management process at home. After collecting the data, the Kinder and Grade One students interpreted and explained the effects of waste on the environment. Here is the sample photo of the survey sent at home. 

How can I demonstrate responsibility towards the environment?

This week, they started thinking of ways to help the environment through their actions. They were able to plan and design things that can improve the waste management process in CIS.

DP History

by Ms. Joy Pierra, History Teacher

Assessment is an essential component of both teaching and learning. Different assessments are given to support the DP’s curricular goals and encourage appropriate learning in students. The Paper 2 exam is one of the assessments given to both History SL and HL students. This exam is an essay paper based on the twelve (12) world history topics. Students answer two (2) questions, each selected from a different topic, and they’re given ninety (90) minutes to write their essay. This is a critical exam as it weighs 45% of the total IB grade for SL students and 25% for HL students (History Guide First Examinations 2020, n.d.).

How do students ace a Paper 2 exam?

Here are a few tips for successfully writing a Paper 2 essay from Mr. William Dobbie, an IB History teacher.

  • Make sure to understand the demands of the questions
  • Organize thoughts and ideas. They should flow in a logical and consistent manner
  • Essay should have an introduction, a body, and a conclusion
  • Plan essay and avoid repetition
  •  Include accurate and relevant historical knowledge
  • Explain historical concepts and provide clear arguments
  • Examples should be appropriate and relevant. They should support the analysis and evaluation of the prompt.
  • Go beyond narrative and descriptive writing
  • Give the “WHY” of history
  • Demonstrate awareness and offer evaluation of different perspectives
  • Use your knowledge of different perspectives to strengthen your arguments
  • Know your topic
Right before writing a historical essay, I always make sure to read the questions more than once. It is vital to understand the demands of the question in order to get high marks. After reading the questions, I choose one that is based on a topic I feel confident in. Confidence is key as you will need to demonstrate your knowledge within the essay. Finally, I make an outline with the points I want to address so I can begin writing efficiently and effectively.


I first compiled all my notes regarding the topic. Since Paper 2 is mostly a compare and contrast essay, it is important to gather both similarities and differences regarding the countries/leaders. I usually compile everything under the subtopics. For example, if it’s the origins and rise of independence movements, I break it down to the social factors, economic factors, political factors, etc. Then I create a section below highlighting similar events and contrasting points. If we were given essay questions, I also made practice essays or outlines using the PEEL method (organizing the essay by point, example, explanation, and link)


I always ask for an extra sheet of paper so I can form a layout for my essay. This has been extremely helpful for me because there are times I tend to forget my points midway. Another thing I do is underline important words in the question so that I can properly address its demands. Lastly, I try to calm myself down. If I become too tense, it easily destroys my train of thought.


I like to create mind maps, binary tree diagrams, or tables for quick revision of each concept. P2 is comparative, so I select examples of similar themes to each other. For a mind map, I start with the concept (ex: foreign policy) and states (ex: Mao’s China & Mussolini’s Italy) as the root node, then move on to branching out with specific examples (ex: Rome-Berlin Axis; alliance with NK in Korean War) and details about them.


What are the challenges of writing Paper 2?

The biggest issue will definitely be time management. Especially with the two essays under 1 hour and 30 minutes, it will be challenging to construct a good essay. I think being aware of time is really necessary, and pacing yourself. Another issue would be keeping your essay concise. It is a pitfall of many Paper 2 (and Paper 3) essays to be narrative when the whole point is to keep it analytical. The best way to work out these two issues is to understand which points are the most important and stick to them. It’s really easy to get lost in your essay when you begin it.


I believe that the biggest challenge in writing a historical essay is its tendency to be written as a narrative essay. Once you are writing in the ‘explanation’ part of your PEEL paragraph, sometimes if not written carefully, it can become narrative and written as if you are simply narrating the events and not providing any analysis. Sometimes in the midst of writing, I will have to reread my sentences again to make sure that I am not simply stating the events but giving a reason as to why it happened and how it relates back to the question.


I think one of the challenges of writing a history essay is time management. In writing an essay, there is a required time limit for you to complete it, and at times, it would prove difficult to be able to finish it on time. One must be able to know how to allot their time and make the best use of it. Another challenge would be how much knowledge is required of you to write an essay. Making a history essay is very content heavy and it is expected of the student to be somewhat of an “expert” on the topic. This is to be done in order to make an effective analytical essay.


While it is good that one knows multiple examples, it’s better to stick to one or maybe two and branch out from there with analysis. The more significant part about writing a Paper 2 is the analysis–it’s how you tap into those higher ends of the markband. Instead of a list of your knowledge, one must build their skills in analyzing deeply and quickly (Paper 2 exams last for 1 hour 30 minutes for two essays, allotting 45 minutes per essay). It requires critical thinking skills to assess how a certain event in history had affected the circumstances of that time.


What advice would you give to those who will be taking Paper 2 exams in the future?

One piece of advice that I would give to students who want to ace a historical essay is to study the content at least a few days before the exam. While it may be tempting to only study the night before, history is very content-heavy and even a short essay will require a lot of information. Additionally, not only relying on your textbook is key. It is critical to branch out of your “bubble” and view perspectives from other types of sources to support your ideas.


An advice that I can share with future History students is that by practicing on writing your PEEL paragraphs can be very helpful. Practicing occasionally can also help you identify the difference between a narrative and an analytical essay and with that skill it will greatly assist you whilst writing the essay under exam conditions. To add on to that, I think that conducting extensive research on the topics and reading from various different sources with different perspectives can really help with familiarizing yourself with the topics and also aid in writing your essay since varying perspectives are an essential element to a History essay.


I think the most helpful tip is to follow the PEEL method and stick to it until it comes naturally. Also, especially in History, there is so much content involved that you really just want to focus on the main events. In my experience so far, you don’t need to know absolutely everything, just key laws, events, and movements that can drive your point home and that strengthen your argument.


An advice I would give to future DP History Students is that you must do a lot of preparation ahead of time and if you can, try to make a hypothetical outline with the content you have studied by organizing the concepts that you studied. Although it would be difficult, I recommend attempting to predict the questions that may come out and make a sample essay from your prediction. Another advice I would give is to do extra research on your own, not only just in class or for assignments. Do More Research! This is to ensure that you fully understand the topic and gain extra knowledge.


My advice is to read a lot, but do not limit yourself to only one perspective. While historical evidence and facts are crucial, what’s more important is the analysis of the evidence and facts. You need to keep asking yourself “why” instead of “what,” “who,” and “where. 

Also, don’t cram your notes the night before. History is very heavy on content, so make sure to make your own notes along the way.


Organize your information beforehand so that you’ll have an easier time writing your essays.


College/Careers Counselor Corner

by Ms. Jenny Basa, College/Careers Counselor Corner

Question of the Week

Is the UCAS personal statement changing for the seniors next school year 2023-2024?

No. The UCAS personal statement will still remain as a 4000-character essay to convince university admissions one’s suitability for a chosen course for the seniors next school year. Here’s a worksheet that can help one write the statement. For the 2024-2025 cohort, more information will be provided once the official changes are published in the UCAS website. 

College Events


April 8
​​Link to register
(a recording will be sent to all registrants)


Ritsumeikan University (Japan) – Japan is an excellent place to be a student – did you know that many Japanese universities offer undergraduate degree programs instructed in English?  Did you know the average annual tuition fee for Japanese universities is less than 15,000 USD?  Attend this webinar to learn more about Ritsumeikan University.

April 19
9:15 – 10:00 AM
Canteen Annex

Nagoya University of Commerce & Business (Japan) An info session with the university rep.  He will talk about the admissions process, the programs they offer and what it is like to study in Japan

SAT Update for 2022-2023

SAT Test Date Deadline for Registration, Changes and Regular Cancellation
May 6, 2023 (Digital) April 21, 2023
June 3, 2023 (Digital) May 19, 2023

Test dates labeled Digital means that students will bring a device to the test center and take the exam using their device.  The College Board may provide devices for test-takers who do not have access to a device.  All test-takers for Digital SATs are still required to report physically to the test center to take the test.

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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