Newsflash: September 30, 2022

Admin News

by Dr. Gwyn Underwood, Superintendent

Congratulations on making it through our first quarter! It has been a particularly busy one, but at the same time, it has been so good to be back on campus.

We had a well-attended Parent Coffee Meeting last Tuesday, with a timely session on Mindfulness by our EY-12 Principal, Mr. Andrew Powell, and School Counselor, Ms. Vangie Villagonzalo, followed by an introduction and planning discussion for our upcoming Culture Week (Oct. 17-21) and International Day (Oct. 22) by PTA Board and International Day Committee representatives. Please take note of the information that will be sent home shortly about these events, and I look forward to seeing you all on the morning of October 22!

As we prepare for our Culture Week and International Day, I wanted to prompt some reflection on what culture means to you personally, and to us as a community. When you ask most people what culture means to them, the first answer they give is typically one of what has become known as  “The Five Fs of Culture” – that is,  flags, festivals, faces, fashion, and food. This is quite understandable, as these are very visible, so often the first thing we notice upon being introduced to a new cultural aspect. 

The Culture Iceberg | Diagram: by Art of IS Headship by RSA Academics

As an international school community member with 27 different nationalities represented, however, I think you at least have an inkling that culture is so much more than the Five Fs. The Culture Iceberg diagram is a helpful visual to remind us of this. While less visible, the multitude of other factors of culture is as important as the Five Fs – and you could argue they are more so as you need to be more aware in order to get to know and understand another culture.

As we prepare for, and experience, Culture Week and International Day, I challenge you to look beyond the obvious Five Fs, and see if you learn about the less visible features of other cultures. In this way, you will gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of others’ cultural norms and practices, leading you to better understand them. In addition, you are likely to find out about interesting new ideas and concepts, and this could learn to see things in a different way!

For now, have a safe, restful, and productive mid-semester break next week, and we look forward to seeing students back on Monday, 10th October.

Upcoming events of note

  • Sept. 30: End of 1st quarter
  • Oct. 3-7: Mid-semester break
  • Oct. 17-21: Culture Week
  • Oct 22 (morning): International day
  • Oct. 24-28: Book Week (Book Parade 28)
  • Oct 25: Parent Coffee 8-9 am (CIS Annex)
  • Oct. 31-Nov. 2: School and Public holiday

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

Notice Board

Early Years: Who We Are

by Ms. Aimee Valenzona, EY Teacher

The Early Years wrapped up their unit on Who We Are this week as they continued demonstrating and sharing their understanding of how we are unique or different from others. Identifying and understanding similarities and differences in the community allows our young learners to recognize their characteristics and transfer their knowledge in different ways such as by comparing and contrasting their own and others’ physical characteristics, the materials or resources around them, their interests, and preferences. 

Guessing parents, and teachers’ baby photos helped the students recognize noticeable characteristics and similarities as they showed their curiosity by asking questions and sharing their observations. They were able to conclude how their parents and teachers changed over time.

The importance of getting to know themselves and others encouraged them to share their interests and preferences confidently. The highlights of our conversation were the kinds of food they eat during recess time, particularly healthy snacks. It gave us the idea to show their preferences by choosing the fruit and sandwich spread they liked the most. Our young learners identified and understood each other’s preferences through this learning engagement. They continued the activity by using the yellow counters for girls and red for boys. In connection, identifying beginning sounds, counting manipulatives, and writing numbers were also integrated as they engaged in this meaningful and fun activity.

We divided the class into smaller groups and recorded their responses about their likes and dislikes through a graphic organizer. They also participated in our “Would you rather” game to show their varying likes and dislikes. Acknowledging and respecting others’ perspectives is beneficial to their well-being and building a feeling of trust.

We discovered and learned new things about ourselves and others in this unit. Therefore, the EYs created 3D portraits of themselves using recycled materials and recorded a video of their show-and-tell to showcase their work. 

What a beautiful way to end our first unit this school year! Enjoy your Mid-semester break!

Grade 8: MYP Visual Arts

by Mr. Jessie G. Saclo III, MYP/DP Teacher

The grade 8 visual arts class explored the concept of identity through the study of “portraits”.  The MYP defines identity as “the state or fact of being the same. It refers to the particular features which define individuals, groups, things, eras, places, symbols, and styles. Identity can be observed, or it can be constructed, asserted, and shaped by external and internal influences.”

Click the photo

Students were introduced to different approaches to drawing portraits; the grid method, the classical method, and the objective realist method. More focus was given to the latter as it provided practical lessons from the book “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” by Betty Edwards. In the book, Edwards identifies the five component skills that lead to understanding and learning the process of realistic drawing. These are the perception of edges, perception of spaces, perception of relationships, perception of light and shadow, and perception of the whole or gestalt.  

By learning and applying observation, estimation, and shading techniques, students became more adept at distinguishing the relationships between edges, shapes, and tonal values when observing and drawing a subject. With practice and perseverance, students managed to improve their drawing skills to attain a level of confidence and reach an assured point in drawing portraits. Students constructed their understanding of identity as applied in the art of portraiture, and to their own practice as developing artists.

Take some time to view and appreciate the work of our grade 8 visual arts class. 

Grade 11: Math Applications and Interpretation SL

by Ms. Maria Victoria Bacus, Grade 11 Mathematics

Celebrating our 11th Graders’ 1st Quarter of the DP Maths AI-SL Course 

Mathematics (Applications and Interpretation) Standard Level is a course that emphasizes the topic of Statistics, modelling relationships and use of technology.


In the first quarter, students were introduced to the unit of Number and Algebra which consists some of the following subtopics:

  • Arithmetic and Geometric Sequences
  • Financial Mathematics (interest, depreciation, annuities and amortization)

Major conceptual understandings highlighted this quarter are the following:

  • Modelling real-life situations with the structure of arithmetic and geometric sequences and series allows for prediction, analysis and interpretation.
  • Different representations of numbers enable quantities to be compared and used for computational purposes with ease and accuracy.

The students who are new to the DP Math AI-SL course, completed different explorations, modelling and investigation activities independently and collaboratively. They maximize the use of technology in and out of the classroom to justify their conjectures and explain their reasoning using appropriate mathematical language. 

Photos of group investigation activities to introduce the concepts:

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Task 1:    
Students investigated what is the connection  between compound interest and geometric sequences.  

Work by Andy

Task 2:
Students considered who between Peter and Paul earned more after investing for 10 years.

Task 3:
Students familiarize the use of the compound interest formula as well as
the TVM Solver on their Graphic Display Calculator (GDC).

Work by Victoria

Method 1: Using Formula

Method 2: Using TVM Solver on GDC

Here are some reflections from the Grade 11 Math AI-SL students; from their expectations, to the use of technology in the classroom, to the things that they look forward to over the two-year DP course.

I feel very proud of myself for getting this far when Math has been one of my hardest and most challenging subjects. The fact I passed the course this far along has been something I am proud of achieving, though I know I could be more prepared and ready if I studied even harder and reviewed everything. This class has taught me that with hard work, and dedication, as well as more focus in class discussions, I am able to actually succeed which has been surprising to me.


As I complete Quarter 1 of the Math AI SL course, I am feeling very accomplished to know that I have begun my IBDP journey. I value the growth I have had so far and look forward to furthering it, though it may become more difficult as the investigation gets more in-depth. I personally think that I was not as ready as I expected and think that I could have done more to be better prepared, especially for the summatives. I believe I can better improve this in the 2nd Quarter and hope to try my best to do so.


I feel relieved that I have conquered a feat in IBDP, especially in a subject that I do not really have a good relationship with. I think I was able to prepare about what will comprise the whole quarter; thus, Math AI-SL is not as bad as I initially presumed it to be.


How do you feel about the use of technology in class?

The use of the TI Graphic Display Calculator in the Math AI SL classes was highly beneficial for me and made my solving process more efficient. At the beginning of the Quarter, using the GDC, it was somewhat confusing as there were many new buttons and functions that I had not used before as the previous scientific calculators I had were not as advanced. Though, as I got more used to it, I was able to fully appreciate the functions that the GDC gives to me in aiding my solving and learning as a math student.


The graphic display calculator helps me in learning and mastering the concepts in the Math AI course. Not only does it make solving easier but it makes the numbers and formulas easier to digest. If I am able to fully master the TI-84 calculator then I am able to use it to its full potential.


I appreciate the use of the GDC in class and exams. The thing that I struggled with most in past math classes is mental math. Because of the use of GDC my critical thinking is able to stand out in assessments. I can focus on finding the key terms that tell me what type of formula to use.


Using the TI-84 calculator has aided in my activities and tests. I believe it helped me a lot in terms of getting good scores and saving time when doing calculations. In addition, I think using devices reflects more in real-life scenarios (people always utilize devices to help them solve faster), so the TI-84 gives me sufficient knowledge on how to use similar technology in my day-to-day life.


We have been able to learn each of the required functions of the specific elements we need for the calculator. We know about logBase and how to get the sigma notation and many more. A lot of these functions have been a very useful tool to us while doing the assignments and assessments/exams/summatives.


I really like using the graphing display calculator. I think it’s really interesting how to incorporate Math into learning the different functions from the calculator. I will say it gets confusing at times but it’s manageable and I can learn.


Chess Board

by Mr. Damon Freeman, I&S and English Teacher, Chess Club Advisor

Our school’s brightest minds have been battling it out on the Chess Board each Tuesday during the 1st quarter. 

Well done to Wilson, Grade 9, who soared to the top of the ladder after many sharply contested games with worthy adversaries. 

Congratulations to everyone who participated and became better Chess players during the quarter. We look forward to improving our skills and enjoying the time together in the next quarter. Feel free to come join the club!

Dragon’s Print

With the stressful end-of-quarter week ending today, it is only natural for everyone to want to wind down, with shows, movies, books, etc… Follow Dragon’s Print as we recommend all sorts of manga to help you relax.

Read more here:

College/Careers Counselor Corner

by Ms. Jenny Basa, College/Careers Counselor Corner

IB Diploma Recognition Worldwide

Did you ever wonder how many countries worldwide recognize the IB Diploma?  More than 100 countries recognize the IB Diploma as an international qualification for admission.  For more information, click this link to find countries and universities that recognize the IB.

Extracted with permission from the presentation of Mr. Faizol Musa, (Recognition & Development Manager, IB Asia-Pacific ) during the CIS-Earcos Institute for Higher Education & Guidance in Bangkok on Sept 23-24, 2022.

College  Events (Virtual and Face to Face)


Oct 5 and 19
(All schedules are US Eastern Time – if you register, you will have access to recordings on their website)

University of Virginia Virtual Fall Event Series

Wednesday, October 5th (6-7PM): Financial Aid at UVA

Learn about the financial aid process, including different types of financial aid and how to apply, directly from the Office of Student Financial Services. Register here!

Wednesday, October 9th (6-7PM): Talking Diversity at UVA

This event will give you a chance to learn about the academic and cultural opportunities available at UVA from current diverse voices on Grounds. Learn about how student advocacy has shaped the University’s community that we see today. Register here!

October 1 Saturday
October 7 Friday
7:00 PM
Pacific time
Link to register

University of Southern California (USA): Discover USC – You will hear from members of the USC Office of Admission, as well as current USC students who will share their experiences and advice on how to navigate the admission process in the upcoming year.

October 4
Venue: Radisson Blu Hotel, Niña Room
Link to register

New York University – Abu Dhabi – In-person info session with the NYUAD rep.  Since this is during the quarter break, the venue & time will be confirmed later next month.

October 7
5:00 – 7:00 PM PHT
Link to register
(those who register will receive a recording)

Imperial College London and University of St. Andrews (UK): Student Panel & Q/A: They will discuss reasons for studying in the UK, first impressions, adjusting to university life, accommodation, social life and traveling while in the UK and tips for any students considering studying abroad.

October 11
9:15 – 10:00 AM
Canteen Annex
Link to sign up

Hawaii Pacific University (USA) – Info session with the university rep with Q&A.

October 12 & 13
Wed & Thursday
Link to Register

Oxford University (UK): International Student Webinars –  These sessions are for international students looking to apply to Oxford for an undergraduate degree. All of these sessions will be the same, they are at a range of different times to allow for students across all timezones to attend a session that fits.

October 21
9:15 – 10:00 AM
Canteen Annex

University of British Columbia (Canada) – Info session with the university rep with Q&A.

SAT Update

2022–23 School Year Test Dates

SAT Test Date Deadline for Registration, Changes and Regular Cancellation
October 1, 2022 September 2, 2022
December 3, 2022 November 3, 2022
March 11, 2023 (Digital) February 24, 2023
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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