Newsflash: October 13, 2023

Middle & High School Principal’s Corner

by Mr. Benjamin Martin, MHS Principal

The Importance of Celebrating Culture and International Mindedness in the School Community

Header photo © Lightspring/Shutterstock

As we move towards our annual celebrations of culture and international mindedness next week, it is a good time to explore those two concepts for our students, for ourselves, and for our school community. How do we define culture and what is true international mindedness in the school setting?

There are many different definitions of culture but the one that resonates with me comes from Ontario, Canada and their official government website. It reads:

“Culture is the lifeblood of a vibrant society, expressed in the many ways we tell our stories, celebrate, remember the past, entertain ourselves, and imagine the future. Our creative expression helps define who we are, and helps us see the world through the eyes of others.”

I really thought there were so many interesting phrases in their description of culture that really demonstrate that culture is what makes life worth living. It is the “lifeblood”, the “celebration”, and the “expression” of who are individually and collectively. As we celebrate our own cultures and appreciate other cultures, it helps us to build our own identities and understand the essence of who we are and what we represent as a group.

When it comes to international mindedness in practice, I think it is important to look to the IB to highlight the importance of using this concept to guide our beliefs and actions. Using inquiry as its foundation, the IB summarizes that “International mindedness is an overarching construct related to intercultural understanding, global engagement and multilingualism. International mindedness is a view of the world in which people see themselves connected to the global community and assume a sense of responsibility towards its members. The learner profile and approaches to learning provide the dispositions and foundational skills for the development and demonstration of international mindedness. The learning community envisions, creates, articulates, and models a culture of international mindedness. An internationally minded learner takes action for positive change.”

Again, so many wonderful words in their summary such as “understanding”, responsibility”, and the phrase “action for a positive change”. As we celebrate our culture week and international day as a school community, I feel fortunate to celebrate and honor so many different cultures within our school community. I believe this will continue to be a time that brings us together to understand our similarities and differences but most importantly appreciate the uniqueness we bring to the school community and the unity we show as a school community.

Upcoming events of note

  • Oct 16-21: CIS Culture week, culminating with International Day on Sat 21st
  • Oct 24: Parent Coffee Morning
  • Oct 25-29: ISAC1 Volleyball (Manila)
  • Oct 30: No School (Local Election)
  • Oct. 31: Remote Learning Day
  • Nov 1 – 3: No School (Public Holidays)

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

EducationUSA Parent Panel

by Ms. Jenny Basa, College Counselor

Thank you to our CIS Parents!

Yesterday, four of our CIS parents were resource personas at a Parent Panel at the Education USA event at the Radisson Blu. The panelists were:

Mr. Alex Miel – Dad of Axelle Miel (CIS Class of 2020) who is currently a senior at Duke University studying Political Science & Music. Axelle is on a full-ride scholarship at Duke and was also a CIS scholar.

Ms. Janet Yap – Mom of Amanda Yap (CIS Class of 2021) who is currently a junior at Bentley studying Information Systems Audit & Control. Amanda is on a full-ride scholarship at Bentley and was also a CIS scholar.

Ms. Fiona King – Mom of Renoa King (CIS Class of 2023) who is currently a freshman at the University of Southern California at the Marshall School of Business. Renoa also founded Set Forth Philippines which transforms communities by providing equal and accessible learning opportunities for Filipino children.

Mr. Bernard Villamor – Dad of Bianca Villamor (CIS Class of 2018).  Bianca recently graduated from UCLA with a double major in Linguistics & Computer Science and BS Cognitive Science. Bianca is currently taking her Masters in Human Computer Interaction at UC Santa Cruz (Silicon Valley).

A huge shout out to our alumni for their accomplishments and kudos to our parents for sharing their insights on how they supported their children in applying to universities and perspectives on finding the best fit.

Elementary School Media Literacy

by Ms. Mary Jean Cordova, Media Literacy Teacher/Media Center Coordinator

In Media Literacy class, students were engaged in activities aligned with their inquiry in homeroom, allowing them to apply the knowledge and skills they’ve learned in class. Through this, students had the opportunity to expand their learning, which helped them develop a deeper understanding of concepts. 

As we concluded the recent unit under the transdisciplinary theme, How We Organize Ourselves, students in Early Years displayed their understanding of the routines and expectations in the Media Center. Over the weeks, they were able to follow these routines without the teacher’s help and modeled them in short videos. Students also learned how to handle books properly, as well as the concepts of print in our read-alouds. They were able to infer and re-tell the stories in class. 

After our read-aloud, students identified the different parts of the book we just read.

Students are given the time to read books independently every after class discussions.

As Kinder and Grade 1 students were learning about balanced choices in homeroom, in Media Literacy class, they demonstrated the good choices we can make in the Media Center. They were able to reflect on how our choices affect us and our learning community. To help other students make good choices while using the resources in the Media Center,  the Kinder and Grade 1 students made bookmarks and shelf markers ready to use when looking for or reading a book. Also, they created posters to promote positive choices while identifying the relevant IB Learner Profiles.

Kinder and Grade 1 Students displayed their bookmarks and shelfmarkers for other students to use.

Students making bookmarks for school so other students could use them and made their own bookmarks to bring home.

Students in Grades 2 to 3 explored the needs of our Reading Comunity, especially when staying in the Media Center. They reflected on the needs of the community members and thought about how these needs might affect others. The Grade 2 students created Media Center Jobs to keep the learning space organized and built reading areas to have a quiet and cozy space when reading. Using their old clothes, they’ve also made pillows to add to their reading areas. The Grade 3 students curated a book selection of various topics and themes to help other members of the reading community choose the book that they like to read. These projects are available in the Media Center for all students to use.

Grade 2 students are working together in building the reading areas with Mr. Sidney, our Facilities Manager.

Students in Grade 3 used the recycled boxes to turn them into book organizers to put the books they’ve curated.

Grade 4 and 5 students demonstrated their understanding of the various Reading genres. They looked into the genre of the books that they were reading in homeroom and looked into their features. Students also did a Google Literary Trip and became virtual companions, traveling alongside the characters in stories. They explored the places that the characters have been to and delved into the literary elements that helped them better understand the text. To help other students looking for books from specific reading genres, the grade 4 and 5 students researched the genres they’re unfamiliar with, recommending a curated list of book titles accessible for all students to enjoy. 

The Grade 5 students are doing some research of their chosen reading genre by looking at text features and the author’s purpose when writing each type.

One of the Grade 4 students presented what they’ve learned about their assigned reading genre. After each presentation, they will provide feedback to each presenter using the T-A-G (Tell something you like- Ask questions- Give Suggestions).

Grade 7 Science

by Ms. Rebecca Devadoss, MYP Science & DP Biology Teacher

Biologists have developed various methods to categorize and organize the incredible diversity of life on our planet, from as simple as prokaryotes (without nucleus) or eukaryotes (with nucleus), unicellular or multicellular, to more complex domains, kingdoms, phylums, etc. One such method is through the use of a dichotomous key, which serves as a powerful tool in the identification and classification of species.

A dichotomous key is a systematic guide that uses a series of carefully constructed questions or statements to lead users to the correct identification of a particular species. These keys are based on two contrasting options, allowing the user to narrow down the possibilities at each step.

Grade 7 students constructed dichotomous keys for eight different trees that are here at the CIS campus. Each student prepared a key for five trees.

Some of the student’s reflections.

What did you learn from this task?

I learned how scientists differentiate species from each other. At first, I thought it was almost impossible to tell the difference between two species, but using the dichotomous key makes it much easier to differentiate.


I learned the scientific names of the trees and how to classify each tree leaf by using the dichotomous key method.


How do you think your dichotomous key could be useful for the CIS community?

It can help other people learn to use the dichotomous key, and it can help them tell the difference between the plants that they see around them and be more aware of their surroundings.


This will help us communicate with others on a higher level. Even if we don’t understand each other, we could use this as a way of communicating.


I think that this could be very helpful/useful for the CIS community, as it gives us opportunities to explore the school grounds as well as get the chance to figure out all the trees we have on the grounds.


Grade11: DP Values Meeting

by Ms. Emily Cornet, IBDP Coordinator

On Tuesday 10 October, the Grade 11 student, parents, and teachers gathered together for the annual DP Values Meeting. Different from the Grade 12 version of the event (held before Break), this gathering allowed parents the opportunity to meet their child’s teachers, and to learn about the Diploma Programme courses which their child will engage in over the next two years.

Parents learned about the course outline and expectations, how grading works in the DP, and how to support their students.  Finally, our Grade 11 students and their teachers showed their commitment to the DP Values Pledge, committing to hold themselves (and each other accountable) to make it through Grade 11 on a positive note.

We look forward to walking alongside our Grade 11 students as they continue their journey into the Diploma Programme!

College & Careers Counselor Corner

by Ms. Jenny Basa, College Counselor

EducationUSA College Fair

Japan College Fair

University of Navarra & York College of Pennsylvania Essay Workshop

Upcoming College & University Visits

All CIS students and parents are welcome to these events!



October 17
9:00 – 9:45 AM
Venue: Canteen Annex
Link to sign up

University of British Columbia (Canada) – Info session with the admissions rep about the application process, requirements and scholarships & programs offered.

October 19
9:00 – 9:45 AM
Venue: Canteen Annex
Link to sign up

IE University (Spain) – Info session with the admissions rep about the application process, requirements and scholarships & programs offered.

October 25
9:00 – 9:45 AM
Venue: Canteen Annex
Link to sign up

University of Technology Sydney (Australia) Info session with the admissions rep about the application process, requirements and scholarships & programs offered.

November 7
9:00 – 9:45 AM
Venue: Canteen Annex
Link to sign up

Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Hong Kong) Info session with the admissions rep about the application process, requirements and scholarships & programs offered.

November 8
9:00 – 9:45 AM
Venue: Canteen Annex
Link to sign up

SP Jain School of Global Management (Singapore, UAE, Australia) Info session with the admissions rep about the application process, requirements and scholarships & programs offered.

November 17
9:00 – 9:45 AM
Venue: Canteen Annex
Link to sign up

Carleton College (USA) Info session with Mr. Steve Duba-Maack about the application process, requirements and scholarships & programs offered.

November 24
9:00 – 9:45 AM
Venue: Canteen Annex
Link to sign up

Hong Kong Baptist University (Hong Kong) Info session with the admissions rep about the application process, requirements and scholarships & programs offered.

SAT Update

2023–24 School Year Test Dates

Test Date Deadline for Registration, Changes and Regular Cancellation
December 2, 2023 November 17, 2023
March 9, 2024 February 23, 2024
May 4, 2024 April 19, 2024
June 1, 2024 May 16, 2024

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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