Newsflash: November 27, 2020

Admin News

Final two weeks of Semester One before Christmas break

Would you believe there are only 2 more weeks of Semester 1 before we break for the Christmas holidays?! Please note we have classes on December 8th so as to enable us to start our holiday break on Friday, December 11. December 10th is a half-day of classes.

Please also note December 4th (next Friday) has been decreed a public holiday for Cebu Province to celebrate  Osmeña Day. We are still waiting for official confirmation if Cebu City will also observe this holiday, as Cebu City is independent of Cebu Province. If Cebu City officially joins this holiday, CIS will also have no classes on December 4th. For those new to the system here in the Philippines, decreed holidays are sometimes presented to us that are not on our official calendar, which we typically make a year in advance. We do try to anticipate any such holidays, and add in two emergency days to cater to emergencies, however, so note we will not need to take a day from elsewhere to cover this day.

*MHS Students, please note that if  December 4th is a holiday, this will impact your summative assessment (G6-10) and exam (G11/12) schedules. 

Note, we only act on official statements, not news outlet reports. Please refer to our school calendar for our official calendar which will show any updates

Are we going to get back on Campus in Semester two?

As we wind up semester one, I know this is a recurring “FAQ”! The short answer is… yes, we would love to get back on campus during S2! While there is a chance it could be in January, however, we are sorry we cannot be definite if this will be the case yet, and we still need to wait for the authorities to grant permission for this to happen. 

In the meantime, we will continue working on our successful Remote Learning program, and continue to prepare procedures and facilities to ensure it will be safe for us to return to campus when we are able. We understand it is frustrating for many to wait, but we need to trust the authorities to make a safe decision so as to avoid any unnecessary illness and/or deaths. 

There has been some notable good news that we can be happy with! There are very positive results emerging about possible vaccines for multiple sources becoming available very soon. We are also learning how to fight the virus better with each passing week of experience, which will make our move back on campus safer, and we are learning from other schools’ hybrid/blended learning programs, so ours will also be successful too when we are able to start. We are also pleased to note that the evidence indicates our Remote Learning program is providing the academic support our students need so they can continue to learn and not fall behind like some feared. We also continue to place an enhanced focus on Social Emotional Learning (SEL), which is an area that many students (and adults!) are finding most challenging through the pandemic.

Please keep positive and carry on resiliently. We have done so well as a community thus far, I am very proud of what we have all accomplished since the pandemic started. We are now looking at positive signs that indicate we are moving forward towards a conclusion to the pandemic now, so hang in there – we can do it!

PTA Coffee Meeting 

Thanks to the parents who joined our PTA Coffee Morning last Thursday at 10 am. It was great to just chat with each other and share our experiences! Please take the time to join our next event (details will be published).

Have a wonderful long weekend (Monday is Bonifacio Day holiday)!


Dr. Gwyn Underwood, Superintendent

Don’t forget our Tree of Giving is happening soon, as well as our PTA Online Bazaar. Boxes are available in the CIS Main lobby where you can drop off these items!

Elementary News

by Mr. Glenn Davies, Elementary School Principal

The Language of Learning

Organizations are known to spend many hours and large sums of money developing statements that describe who they are, what they do, and how they do it. These Mission and Vision Statements, and the related core values, are so important to organizations, yet they are only groups of words clumped together in various ways. Bradley Chalkers from the Louis Sachar student novel, There’s a Boy in the Girl’s Bathroom, says it so well, “You mean to say you have these 26 letters, and you move those letters around and then they say so many different things!”  These letters make words, and these words that create meanings that reflect who we believe we are, and represent the values that we live by. At CIS we have a Mission and Vision Statement, and a set of values that drive us as educators. It is very difficult to be an educator at CIS and not adopt these values as our own, because they drive everything we do.

(Original source unknown, Images appears in several locations over the internet)

Metaphors are a powerful way to describe concepts and beliefs because they describe one thing as if it is another. I would like for a minute to describe the metaphor between school and work. Many of the metaphors we have traditionally used to describe school come from the factories of the industrial revolution. The factory is a place where a product is produced. This product travels through a production line and is measured against certain quality control standards as it passes through various stages. The people in the factory do work, and complete the tasks the managers have set for them, then they listen for the bell which indicates that workers can take a break from the work. At the end of the production process, products that pass a certain  standard move off to do a job that they have been shaped to do, and those who do not meet the standard may be used from some other menial job, or cast away. The important types of  language in this metaphor are phrases like:

  • Students do work
  • Students complete tasks
  • Children need to be managed and disciplined
  • Students must be tested against the standards
  • Students pass and fail

As we have gradually modernised education to reflect the needs of the 21st century society, we have moved away from the control of this factory metaphor toward the metaphor of entrepreneurialism. Entrepreneurs tend to operate in conditions of uncertainty, they see opportunities and act on these opportunities. They are technological and organizationally innovative, highly flexible and are able to respond to market conditions. Although knowledge recall is important to an entrepreneur, it is secondary to the ability to quickly identify what new knowledge is of most importance, then interpret and synthesize new knowledge so it can be applied within a given context. Creativity and innovation are two key aspects that underpin the metaphor of entrepreneurship. 

Entrepreneurship is a culture driven by values, where the process is as important, or more important than product, where individuals are valued as more than a number, and where customers value why and how something is done as much as they value what is produced. When the metaphor of entrepreneurialism is applied to education,  the language in this metaphor is phrased in this way;

  • Students are engaged in learning
  • Students dive deep into inquiry
  • Children are coached to manage their own choices and learning
  • Students assess themselves against outcomes and receive feedback on how to make improvements in their next learning steps
  • What a student can do now is less important than what they can achieve in the future with focus, coaching, and perseverance

As adults who have experienced the factory metaphor of school, it can at times be difficult for us to understand why school should be different to the way we experienced it. School worked for us, so why should it be different for my children. The answer is simply this: the world is a different place than it was when we were in school. An example of this could be my grandfather. My grandfather was born in 1918, at the very end of the 1st World War. He was educated during the Great Depression and attended his last day of school during his 12th year of life. He then worked in a factory until he joined the army and went to war. Following the war he became a builder and built houses from 1945 until his retirement in 1980 and during that time the building standards and the building materials remained largely unchanged. There was no need for new knowledge. 

In today’s workforce knowledge, standards and materials change constantly. The content taught in year one of university is largely out of date by year 3 of university. Letting go of the factory metaphor of education and adopting the entrepreneurial metaphor enables schools like CIS to respond to the pressures presented by a rapidly changing world and prepare students with the skills and attributes they will need to navigate an exciting and unpredictable future. 


Elementary Learning on Seesaw

Please spend a few minutes looking at the learning in Physical Education and Early Years over this past week.

Learning in Grades 4 and 5 Physical Education and Health

Grades 4 and 5 students are currently learning to play ‘bowling’. These past few days, we have been engaged in class discussions about  the history, rules, equipment, choosing the right ball, etiquette of playing the game as well as scoring. Students shared brilliant ideas on what equipment they could possibly use as substitutes for bowling pins and bowling balls. Some of their responses were water bottles, paper cups for bowling pins and rolled shirts or socks to replace bowling balls. 

Learning in KG,  Grades 2  Grade 3 Physical Education and Health

Students are currently working on their PHE activity log. The activity log is a smart and easy way to keep track of and measure their progress. This can help them gain a sense of satisfaction, boost their confidence and keep them committed to regular physical activities. Students need to record the number of minutes they were active while doing the physical activities. After recording, they must sum up the total number of minutes for each day. Kindergarten and Grade 1’s goal is to be able to reach a 60-minute physical activity. Grades 2 and 3 on the other hand,    need to reach 90 minutes of physical activity each day! 

Design Day in EY 2/3

Last week, we had a successful Design Day where students were encouraged to engage in activities that were more hands-on and creative with lesser use of technology. As part of our unit of inquiry, Sharing The Planet, our young learners were given the opportunity to think of a space where their chosen animal could live. During our video call on Thursday, students drew their plans and together brainstormed possible materials that they will need to prepare to build their designs. They thought of using recyclable resources and toys they have available at home. On Friday, students went ahead and made these. With some adult support, each of our students showed their creativity by building their spaces with such a variety of materials. All of them were engaged and committed to complete their work beautifully. The EY 2/3s collaborated by giving meaningful and helpful feedback to their friends. Each of them demonstrated their resilience by trying to improve their designs before sharing them with the class. Through this process, our young learners demonstrated critical thinking and great self-management skills. Aside from producing creative spaces, they were also able to demonstrate their understanding of how living things are connected to each other as they explained the reasons behind the things they chose to include in their designs. 

Middle and High School News

by Mr. Dale Wood, Middle and High School Principal

MHS Week Without Walls 2020-21 Preview

Our Week Without Walls experience is scheduled to take place in mid-February (February 16-19), and much of our planning for this event is already underway. Teachers have been working diligently to create rich opportunities for our students again this year. While we want to begin planning and communicating early in order to allow our students and families to make informed choices, at this point we do not know for certain whether or not we will be back on campus then, and if so, to what extent. For this reason, some of our courses are being planned as online options while others have been planned to allow for either online or on-campus versions. We want to continue offering meaningful service-learning opportunities for CIS students and also work on helping them to develop important life skills, enhance their cultural appreciation, and foster awareness of and interaction with the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals through experiential learning.

Our school’s philosophy undergirds all of our Week Without Walls efforts, as follows:

  • Cebu International School’s Guiding Statements highlight our belief in the importance of experiential, constructivist learning and the explicit development of a wide range of skills and characteristics identified as Approaches to Learning (ATL) and Learner Profile (LP) attributes. 
  • We believe providing an extended period of time outside the classroom to engage in purposefully planned activities enables our students to develop many of these skills and attributes in ways that are not possible, or are more difficult, in a traditional classroom setting.
  • All of our WWW activities are designed around the promotion of one or more of the following areas: creativity, activity, service-learning, and intercultural mindedness. In addition, interdisciplinary/curriculum links are encouraged when possible.
  • CIS has identified service learning as a particular focus for us as a school, and therefore aspects of Service Learning will be included in all WWW course options (unless there is approval not to do so for a specific reason), and activities will therefore follow the objectives of Service Learning at CIS.

This year’s WWW course options are as follows:

Everlasting Hope (Grades 6-10)
The primary aim of this course is to design and deliver some remote interactions and activities to enrich the daily lives of the residents of the Everlasting Hope facility whose mission is to bring hope to children with cancer and their families. Option 1 is that our CIS students will record themselves reading individual parts of local/Cebuano stories to present to the children at Everlasting Hope. Option 2 is that CIS students will record themselves cooking various recipes and present these as “how-to” videos. Option 3 involves CIS students recording themselves creating various art projects and presenting them as virtual “how-to” videos. This course is planned as an online option.

Social Media Campaigns for NGO’s (Grades 6-11)
Students will create Social Media Campaigns for a variety of selected Non-Government Organizations which they then may use for fundraising or other activities aimed at broadening their ‘reach’. We will reach out to organizations we have previously partnered with to serve them in this way. Students will develop and apply skills in video editing, graphic design, communication, and interviewing in order to create the content needed.

The Transformers (Grades 6-11)
The aim of this course is to teach a local group or community a valuable life skill(s) and promote a livelihood program through making environmentally friendly products (e.g. cooking, biodegradable containers, soap/detergent, candles) so that individuals within this community may be able to start and sustain a small business. Students who plan to participate in this course will have an opportunity to use their technological skills to share their instruction with others.

CIS Service Learning 4×4 (3.0) (Grades 6-11)
The objective of this course is to engage students in one unique activity per day for four days. Each day’s activity would be focused on developing skills, outdoor education, collaboration, and/or leadership.

The options we are considering for each day are as follows:                                   

  • Day 1- Online Collaboration for Action with other International Schools 
  • Day 2- Relief Effort Actions for Typhoon Victims
  • Day 3- Turn over of Output
  • Day 4- Basic Survival Skills

Educators of the Galaxy (Grades 8-11)
Students from Cebu International School (CIS) will prepare online or video tutorial instructional materials. During this week CIS students will produce and create online lessons that are of interest (e.g. Art, Science, Mandarin, Spanish). CIS students will then save these materials online or create a Youtube channel so others may upload and benefit from these materials.

The daily schedule will mirror our current remote learning instructional schedule:

  1. Mornings will be spent planning and creating the instructional materials
  2. Afternoons will be used for synchronous presentations of student products to faculty sponsors for feedback and revision

By the end of the week, students will produce three online tutorial videos on a specific topic of their choosing.

Time Travelers (Grades 6-10)
If you can’t move in space, you can certainly move in time. In this course, our students may spend a week as a Roman, a Viking, or an individual within any other historical epoch. This course involves eating food from the time period, as well as experiencing the music, dress, and other aspects of living. There will be various sponsored activities and charity fund-raisers, as well as preparing authentic meals and conducting dress contests (with charity prizes), There will be planned “no computer and/or power times” to build authenticity into the students’ experience.

The UN SDG approach will be to consider the nature of these issues in the past and to evaluate to what extent they were addressed.

Principled Action for this course may include making educational video clips for elementary students or inviting them on a trip.

IBDP Mock Exams (Grade 12 only)
As is our usual practice, our grade 12 students will participate in their DP mock exams during Week Without Walls to gauge their current achievement level in their DP courses and help prepare them for the actual exams in May.

Student Course Selection
We have shared a Google Form with your children this afternoon, and they will have a week to complete this form, indicating their first, second, and third choices. They have been instructed to discuss these options with you prior to selecting an option and/or filling out the form. Course placement will be made according to seniority (according to grade level) and then by the promptness of their response. We will do our best to place students in their preferred courses. We are still estimating costs for some courses, but in light of the fact that we are not planning on leaving campus and that some courses are online, the costs will not be very high this year for any of our options.

Disaster Relief

by Justin D., Grade 11 Student

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippines has faced two of the strongest typhoons in the world within the past month alone. These natural disasters have left many of our countrymen in Luzon suffering for survival. These dire situations seek for a great communal response to help rebuild impeded lives.

With this, Grade 11 and 12 students Venise, Deandra, Luna, Pristina, Sakura I, Bianca, Sakura S. and Justin, with the guidance of Mr. Ace Pierra, have initiated the Disaster Relief Operation to heed to the call of service. This operation aims to bring assistance and support to those affected in Tabgon, Caramoan, a municipality in Camarines Sur. In addition, this project aspires to revitalize the conditions of 3-5 families in the target community and provide them with a sustainable livelihood for the betterment of their future. This operation will consist of the donation drive where items such as essential goods, toiletries, and cash are accepted, as well as a series of fundraising activities to gain additional financial support. This operation also allows extensive collaborations with local and international schools and other initiatives to establish a strong foundation. However, the true key to the success of this operation is the involvement and participation of the entire CIS community. We need your help to make a difference in the lives of Filipinos who need our service the most. A single ounce of your support can go a long way.

Dragon’s Print

Santa Claus is well-known for being the holiday cookie monster, since the popular tale says that he likes to eat cookies and milk every time he visits someone’s house. So now that it’s almost Christmas, Dragon’s Print has compiled reviews of online stores in Cebu that sell cookies. 

Whether you’re looking for a holiday treat or if you’re just craving a cookie after attempting to lose your quarantine weight, there’s at least one store that will suit your tastes. Read through the reviews on and find out which cookie is right for you this holiday season!

College/Careers Counselor Corner

by Ms. Jenny Basa, College/Careers Counselor

Tip for the Week:

After you have applied to a university through the CommonApp or directly through their website or a registered platform, check your email regularly (check the email address used in completing the application).   After an application is submitted, there may be further documentation required to complete your application.   Forward the message to your college counselor so you can be advised on the next steps. 

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


December 2 & 9


Wentworth Institute of Technology (USA)
Sign up for Wentworth Wednesdays – Info sessions

December 3
4:00 PM

December 5
2:00 – 4: 00PM

Study in the UK (sponsored by Imperial College London & University of St. Andrews) Click to REGISTER

Enderun College (Philippines)
“Enderun Hand in Hand with Korea”
Open to Korean student in Grades 10, 11 and 12

December 10
4:00 pm PH time

Ulster University (UK)
Virtual Open House – Click to REGISTER

SAT Update

Please note that most universities have gone test-optional.  This means they do not require test scores for students to be eligible for admission.

November 7 and December 5  have been  cancelled by the College Board.  Test-takers registered on these dates will receive an email with instructions.

2020-2021 Test DatesTestRegistration Deadline
December 5, 2020CANCELLED
March 13, 2021SAT only (no Subject tests)February 12, 2021
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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