Newsflash: May 22, 2020

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Admin Update

Dear CIS Community,

As we near the end of our school year, we have entered what we call our “red zone”, where everyone tends to get so busy some can get a little stressed at times! It is helpful to keep this in mind, and to be extra sensitive when dealing with others over this time – particularly as we have to interact remotely at this time!

  • Teacher Appreciation, RL, and reports: I would like to publicly thank our teachers at this time, as they really are putting a lot of effort into ensuring our students keep getting a personalized, meaningful remote learning experience. They are also currently in the midst of carrying out relevant end-year assessments, in order to provide you with a report card that reflects your child’s learning accurately over this unusual semester. I am particularly interested to see how elementary parents react to the unique opportunity of providing teachers with their perspectives of their child’s Approaches to Learning (ATL) Skills learning at home this semester, considering the amount of time you spend with them whilst remote learning! We hope the experience also helps you to understand our various ATL domains better, and we believe the reports will better reflect your child’s progress with your contributions. Please keep in mind the teachers will still also be assessing how your child has progressed in the academic areas based on curriculum focus areas for this semester. I say this as I am aware traditional education systems do not value the ATL skills as much as contemporary schools do these days. Unfortunately, what critics do not recognize, is that academics still get attention, just in different ways to how they did in the past as they are now taught in a holistic framework based on learning using research-based best practices.
  • Teacher-only curriculum working day: Students should make good use of today (Friday, May 22) to catch up on learning activities, prepare/work on their end-year assessments/projects, and to also take some time to refresh their minds and bodies ready for the last couple of weeks of the school year. This day will be used by faculty to work on curriculum updates for the year, as well as end-of-year assessment marking and report card writing if there is time. Thank you for your understanding of our need to use this extra day for a teacher workday. Please note the day is counted as one of our backup emergency days that is included in our total school days for the year (we usually only use a scheduled half-day for these tasks, but the Covid-19 situation this year has created the need for this extra day to complete all requirements).
  • Eidul Fitr national holiday: Due to the government decreeing May 25 as a public holiday celebrating Eidul Fitr earlier this week, next Monday is now a national holiday. Eidul Fitr, or “Festival of Breaking the Fast”, is a holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide, marking the end of the month-long dawn-to-sunset fasting of Ramadan*. We were not expecting this late change to our school calendar, but it does happen on occasion as the date for the start of Eidul Fitr varies based on when the new moon is sighted by local religious authorities, causing holidays to change if the predicted day is not selected* (Sunday was the predicted day this year!). *Source: Wikipedia
  • Graduation day: We invite you to attend CIS’s first-ever Virtual Graduation Ceremony! This event will be published at 5 pm on Friday, May 29th, the same date/time it was scheduled for before it had to go virtual. I look forward to a new interesting adaption of the ceremony as we confer CIS Diplomas on our graduating students in this new format.
  • Moving up ceremony (Grade 5, 8, 10) and End of Year assembly: These will also be virtual ceremonies this year, and will also be published on our last day of school, June 5th. More details will be forthcoming closer to the date.

We wish you a peaceful long weekend, and as always, Keep safe!

Dr. Gwyn Underwood

Middle and High School News

by Mr. Dale Wood, Middle and High School Principal

A Strong Finish

My career as an educator is now approaching thirty years and has brought me to nine different schools in six countries; as such I have transitioned between jobs on eight different occasions. Through these experiences of transition I have developed the conviction that the following two interrelated principles are very important: finishing strong and leaving well. Over the next two weeks I want to share some thoughts on each of these areas as we move closer to the end of our unprecedented year at CIS. I hope these ideas will be particularly relevant to our graduating seniors.

Finishing strong is a principle that applies to us whether or not we are transitioning from one chapter of our lives to another. In reality, to quote goal-setting guru Gary Ryan Blair, “Every task, goal, race, and year comes to an end; therefore, make it a habit to always finish strong.” Our entire community has done a fantastic job, throughout these past three months, of managing through this crisis and adapting to remote learning; however, we sense that last week’s announcement of the further extension of the ECQ may have made motivation difficult for some of our students. It may have taken the wind out of our sails as we were hoping to return to campus for our end of year events and opportunities to say farewell.

It is not enough simply to say that we should finish this year well; as Simon Sinek advises us, it is important to start with “why” in order to unpack and understand the reasons for a particular stance, decision, or course of action. So I pose the question: Why is it important to finish well, to finish strong?

For me this has always been a matter of integrity, and especially so when you are moving on. How you finish says a lot about you and reveals the truth about your character. The way you finish is what people will remember about you. It also validates all of the accomplishments that have come before, as it reveals that your motivation, in the case of our students, for example, was truly about learning, not just pleasing their teachers or seeking grades.

Finishing strong not only reveals a person’s character, but it also provides an opportunity to continue building that character. At CIS we are committed to the holistic development of our students as seen through our emphasis of the IB Learner Profile traits. Interestingly, only half of the LP traits are directly academic in nature. Five of them, namely principled, risk-taking, open-minded, balanced, and caring are character traits which impact every aspect of our lives, including learning.

The following are just a few personal characteristics which can be developed when we commit to finishing strong. The first of these is an ability to persevere in the face of adversity. Difficulties and challenges in life are inevitable; the question is not whether we will encounter them, but rather, how we will deal with them when they arise. If we can choose to persevere in spite of our emotions and circumstances, this will make us stronger and create the inner fortitude to overcome the future obstacles which we will inevitably face.

Finishing strong can also cultivate our ability to sustain focus. It is natural for us to lose focus, and at times we actually embrace distractions when we give in to temptations like procrastination. In every course at CIS, our students set goals for themselves at the start of the year which we inentionally revisit to help them “keep their eyes on the prize.” I encourage our students to go back and gain a vision for following through on the goals they have set for themselves. Take a moment to reflect on why you set these goals in the first place. When we lose sight of our goals, it can be easy to become sidetracked or detoured along trails that lead us to an undesired destination. Emotions like doubt, fear, and worry, can also weigh us down or cause us to drift from the path. On the other hand, developing the ability to remain focused in spite of obstacles and distractions is a life skill that will serve you well in the future.

Finally, finishing strong can develop a personal commitment to excellence. It demonstrates that you are not willing to accept mediocrity or the status quo (which often are the same thing), but that you are dedicated to doing your very best, regardless of the circumstances or who is watching. The pursuit of excellence is a habit which then becomes an aspect of your character. When someone is dedicated to doing their very best by consistently giving their “all,” he or she also forges a reputation of being a reliable and trustworthy person, which are traits employers and even friends greatly value. Moreover, a dedication to excellence can be critical in developing a healthy family life in the future, being committed to your spouse and children through thick and thin.

Ultimately, finishing strong comes down to personal choice. We can’t control our circumstances, nor can we control other people’s words, reactions, or attitudes. The only thing we can control is our attitude and our response to the situations in which we find ourselves. Our students now find themselves in the midst of our end-of-year assessment “window,” and this is not the time to falter. Now is the time to dig deep and find that extra reserve of fortitude. I have been thoroughly impressed with our students’ resolve, resilience, and dedication to their own learning during our season of remote learning. They should be proud that they have managed to successfully navigate this new learning territory; now it is time to bring the ship safely into port. Now is the time to finish strong.

Be the hero of your own story. Show the world the quality of your character, the strength of your resolve, and the size of your heart by finishing strong. – Gary Ryan Blair

Elementary News

by Mr. Glenn Davies, Elementary Principal/PYP Coordinator

Dear Elementary Community,

In last week’s Newsflash, I discussed the elementary school reporting process and the Three-Way Conferences (3WC).  Thank you to all the parents who contributed to the ATL Report Survey as your responses have helped teachers to create meaningful report cards that accurately represent your child’s learning during this semester. As a school, we place great value on the learning connections between home and school.

The Approaches to Learning (ATLs) we asked you to discuss with your child are sometimes referred to as soft skills, with the hard skills being the traditional Reading, Writing and Arithmetic (referred to as the 3R’s). Increasingly this paradigm is changing as leaders in the industry, business, and education realize the skills embedded within the ATLs are even more essential to the 21st-century workforce than the traditional 3R’s. With the explosion of technology, which has been called the 4th industrial revolution, soft skills have been renamed as essential 21st century skills. These skills require many years of practice before proficiency is achieved, and the CIS PYP program focuses on developing these skills in equal importance to the 3R’s.  I encourage you to learn more about the 21st Century essential skills. Here are two recommended videos that will help:

Jeff Weiner is CEO of LinkedIn and speaks about the importance of these skills in education and industry. He also describes his own transformation as a leader as he gradually came to understand the importance of these skills.

Tony Wagner is a leading educationalist, researcher, and advocate for the 7 survival skills students need to be successful in the 21st Century workforce.

Three-Way Conferences (3WC)

As elementary school parents, you have received a 3WC sign-up form. 3WC’s are being held in 15 minutes intervals from Tuesday, 26th May to Friday, 29th May. During the conference, your child’s teacher will share a draft copy of your child’s ATL report with you. They have written this report using the data you gave them through the ATL Report Survey. The 3WC will provide the opportunity for you, your child, and the teacher to discuss the ATL progress your child has made, to clarify any points of difference that may exist, and to establish goals for next year.  Your child has also been asked to complete a brief reflection about their learning during this semester. Your child will share this reflection during the conference.

Following the conference, the teacher will complete your child’s report before it goes through our final checking and proofreading process. Reports will be emailed in PDF format on Friday, 5th June.

Please familiarize yourself with the 3WC roles and procedures.

Please sign-up for your child’s three Way Conference now!

The PYP Exhibition

If you are a grade 5 parent, you will know the Grade 5 students have been engaged in their PYP Exhibition inquiry since late January. This is the culminating or consolidating experience of the IB PYP Program.  Under normal circumstances, the PYP Exhibition would be held at school and we would invite the CIS community to attend. This year the PYP Exhibition will be a remote experience hosted on the CIS PYP Exhibition Website. The launch for the PYP Exhibition will be Thursday, 28th May and the CIS community will receive an invite to view the exhibition.

Important Dates in Elementary

Please find a summary of the important dates connected to elementary:

  • Friday 19th – Monday 25th May – Three Way Conferences (3WC) sign up.
  • Friday 22nd May – Student non-contact day (curriculum working day for teachers, student work catch-up day
  • Monday 26th to Friday 29th May – Three Way Conferences (3WC) held remotely.
  • Thursday 28th May: Launch of the PYP Exhibition
  • Friday 29th May: Final (remote) Elementary Assembly
  • Friday 5th June: Grade 5 Moving-Up Ceremony /Report Cards emailed to parens/Final day of school for students

CIS Student Learning in Mandarin

Recently the Mandarin students have reviewed their food topic, and to do this they made a healthy delicious Sandwich. The students learned all of the ingredients in Mandarin first, then they made their Sandwich for breakfast or Lunch. Yum!

College/Careers Counselor Corner

College/University Visits Online

May 22, 2020 - 7:00pmUnderwood International College - Yonsei University To register:…/register/WN_021g3qz8SVashFf0T5lsXQ
May 23, 2020 - 1:00 - 6:00pmList of universities below To register, please click on this link :
May 27, 2020 - 9:00amUniversity of British Columbia (Canada) (Ms. Basa will email you the link if interested)
May 29, 2020 - 7:00am (Phil time)Underwood International College - Yonsei University…/register/WN_jcUcscWlTv2Uju3sJrFDew
June 3, 2020EduCanada Virtual Fair To register:
Date and Time to be confirmedUSA Universities in the Pacific Rim:
- Hawaii Pacific University
- University of Oregon
- Western Washington University
- CalPoly Pomona
- Whitworth
- University of Redlands

The IDP Virtual Fair is scheduled on May 23 and 30 with institutions from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, United Kingdom and Ireland.

Please find below the list of participating institutions and registration details:

May 23, 2020 at 1:00 pm – 6:00pm (Australia & New Zealand). To register, please click on this link.


  • Australia Catholic University
  • Blue Mountains Hotel Management School
  • Central Queensland University
  • Curtin University
  • Excelsia College
  • Federation University Australia
  • Flinders University
  • Griffith University
  • James Cook University
  • La Trobe University
  • Le Cordon Bleu
  • Macquarie University
  • Melbourne Polytechnic
  • Queensland University of Technology
  • RMIT University
  • Tafe International Western Australia
  • University of Sydney
  • University of Western Australia
  • Torrens University
  • University of Adelaide
  • University of Adelaide College
  • University of New South Wales Sydney
  • University of South Australia
  • University of Technology Sydney
  • UTS Insearch
  • Victoria University
  • Western Sydney University


  • Lincoln University
  • Massey University
  • Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT)
  • Southern Institute of Technology
  • University of Otago
  • Victoria University

May 30, 2020 at 2:00pm – 7:00pm (Canada, UK & Ireland). To register, please click on this link.


  • Camosun College
  • Columbia College
  • Douglas College
  • Fanshawe College
  • Excelsia College
  • Fleming College
  • Humber Institute
  • Langara College
  • NorQuest College
  • Northern Lights College
  • Royal Roads University
  • Sault College
  • Saint Lawrence College
  • University Canada West
  • University of Fraser Valley
  • University of New Brunswick


  • Anglia Ruskin University
  • Birmingham City University
  • Edinburgh Napier University
  • Goldsmiths, University of London
  • Nottingham Trent University
  • OnCampus
  • Plymouth University
  • University of Portsmouth


  • Trinity College Dublin
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