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Shanghai Community International Schools & Hangzhou International School

Februar y 2014

Welcome Year of the Horse


FEATURES Superintendent’s Letter Administrator’s Letter Host Culture Curriculum: What is Math? Theme: Chinese New Year

CAMPUS HIGHLIGHTS 03 Hangzhou 04 Pudong 05 Hongqiao 06-07 24-27

08-12 14-17 18-23

Cover Photo: Features SCIS-Pudong Upper School campus student during CNY Assembly rehearsal, taken by Ms. MunYee Choo, Marketing Manager. Communitas is the official magazine for the Shanghai Community International School 2 Hangzhou International School. Please contact us at: and

COMMUNITY Student Spotlight Educational Insights Safety Community The Librarians Corner Meet The Teacher PAFA Alumni Page Partner

13, 31 21, 27, 29, 33, 25 30 32 37 38 39 40-41 42


Dear SCIS-HIS Community and Friends, Xīn nián kuàilè! For the past month, these words could be heard throughout the school hallways as we celebrated Spring Festival and the lunar new year. The coming of the Year of the Horse was also cause for students at SCIS and HIS schools to learn more about China and the host country official language, Mandarin. New Year’s decorations adorned our entrances, doorways, hallways, and classrooms as our students, teachers and parents, led by an enthusiastic team of Mandarin teachers, focused the learning lens on Chinese traditions, song, and dance just prior to the Spring Festival holiday. Our schools strive to meet high levels of engagement in host country awareness and appreciation for the Mandarin language. In this edition of Communitas, we celebrate this commitment, as we are “Celebrating China.” Most international schools in China do provide students with the opportunity to learn the Mandarin language. However, SCIS-HIS schools have committed to providing students with the opportunity to develop or maintain their Mandarin from beginner through to native level proficiencies at all grade levels. In addition, all new non-native Mandarin speaking students in grades PK-8 take a course in Chinese Studies (Language and Culture). Our goal is simple, if you come to SCIS-HIS schools, you will learn about the host country and its culture and, at the very least, leave with a basic ability of the host-country language.

SCIS-HIS schools we take every opportunity to use our “window on China” as the learning lens for which to engage and understand basic learning outcomes. Take, for example, when our Grade 2 students are learning about “community” and can be seen walking the neighborhood, eating dumplings, and greeting local residents with a polite Ni Hao; and how our visual and performing arts courses regularly involve Chinese instruments, technique, and local guest performances; and how our upper school social science courses use every opportunity to tie in Chinese history, politics, and economics. To further the push for greater host country appreciation and awareness, several senior administrators and Mandarin coordinators developed a “Mandarin Campaign” that targeted curriculum development, school-community relations, and host-country awareness initiatives that would strengthen the learning experience for our students and our contribution to the local communities. This campaign only improved on the foundations of previous efforts and initiatives, but I am pleased to see the extent to which our progress has led us. Today we are confident in the Mandarin curriculum established and communicated at each grade level; we know that our students are consistently given the opportunity to experience China within and beyond the walls of our schools; and we believe strongly that our students are developing interpersonal and social responsibility skills that will help them as young leaders of the future.

Learning Mandarin at our schools is fun, engaging, and challenging. Research will point out the difficulty for the majority of westernoriented language speakers to learn Mandarin as compared with other languages with a similar background or writing system to their own. Yet our schools commit more time and learning beyond the classroom towards the development of Mandarin language development than other international schools (with only the exception of two-way double immersion EnglishMandarin programs). As a parent of two trilingual students at our schools, I know how important it is that the students enjoy learning a new language and still find the next day as challenging and rewarding as the first. Over the years, I am pleased that we have found and retained so many talented Mandarin teachers who have stayed with us for so many years. They have worked hard and through commitment, collaboration, and professional development, have built a fine program that integrates well beyond the language curriculum.

We look forward to working with our entire community in furthering our efforts to give students unique and memorable opportunities to explore and learn the host country language and culture. From parents and teachers leading weekend walking tours of places of interest to connecting us with external community members who may be able to provide our students with access to rare learning experiences, we welcome any and all suggestions as to how to expand and improve opportunities for our international community to experience China and its language.

Teaching Mandarin within a program where English is the medium language of instruction is not an easy task. So at

Jeffry R. Stubbs Superintendent of Schools

On behalf of the SCIS-HIS team, I would like to wish you all happiness, success, and prosperity in the Year of the Horse 2014. Gōng xǐ fā cái!



How We Are Getting Better


he East Asia Regional Council of Schools (EARCOS) is an organization of over 130 member schools throughout East Asia. SCIS-HIS has been a long standing member school of EARCOS because the mission of EARCOS aligns so well with SCIS-HIS’ ongoing effort to inspire and support not only student learning, but that of the faculty and administration. The EARCOS Mission states, “EARCOS inspires adult and student learning through its leadership and service and fosters intercultural understanding, global citizenship and exceptional educational practices within our learning community.” Through it’s partnership with EARCOS SCIS-HIS schools have been able to develop collaborative educational partnerships within the region. 
EARCOS conferences and weekend workshops provide targeted and differentiated professional development opportunities for member communities and connect schools, communities, and individuals through the use of technology to promote collaboration, communication, intercultural understanding, and access to broader educational opportunities. 
Further, these opportunities engage both educators and students in learning activities across the region and promote friendship, understanding and global citizenship. 
 This past November over 1,000 international school administrators gathered from across the East Asia Region to participate in the EARCOS Leadership Conference that took place in Bangkok, Thailand. The conference played a perfect host for the diverse group of administrators that gathered to support each other in furthering best practice across the region of member schools. The theme of the conference was “Learning without limits” and the cohort of world renown keynote speakers provided much food for thought on how schools need to consistently adapt to meet the needs of modern students. Additionally, there were over 110 workshop sessions led by member school leaders and this year Chris McAnally (HQ Main Technology Coordinator) hosted a workshop based on student e-portfolios. The SCIS-HIS delegation of 11 administrators, along with the nearly 1,000 others

from other member schools certainly all left inspired and returned to their schools with new ideas, practices, and a broader sense of belonging to the global educational community. Focusing on the teaching faculty, the 12th annual EARCOS Teachers’ Conference will take place in Bangkok, Thailand and looks to be an equally stimulating conference providing teachers from around the region an opportunity to network, develop and support one another. The theme of the conference will be, “The Science of Learning – The Service of Learning.” The conference will be organized in different strands which will include: STEM- Science, Technology, Engineering (Robotics), and Math; Social Studies/Humanities; Middle School; Counseling; Service Learning; and General Education. One of our own faculty members, Mr. Evan Weinberg (HIS) will be leading a workshop on, “The Why and How of Computational Thinking” targeted toward Middle and High School Math and Science educators. In a strong statement on SCIS-HIS’ effort to support faculty member’s ongoing learning and development all faculty members that will be returning to teach in the 2014-15 school year have been offered a sponsored trip and registration to the conference. With their shared vision of creating opportunities for lifelong learning, the SCIS-HIS system of schools and the East Asian Regional Council of Schools form a strong and mutually beneficial relationship. By establishing and participating in professional development opportunities the faculty and administration of SCIS-HIS, with the support of EARCOS fully represent the ideal of life long learning. By DANIEL “MR. E” ESCHTRUTH Hongqiao ECE campus Head of School Hand in Hand, We Learn

TIME TO RE-ENROLL It’s time to re-enroll for the 2014-2015 school year! The enrollment window will be open until March 14th. Re-enrollment is being done through PowerSchool at Parents’ can log into PowerSchool using their parent ID and password and follow the re-enrollment instructions. In addition, parents will also be able to review their 2014-2015 invoices. If you have any questions please contact the admissions office by email: or by telephone: 21-6261-4338. We all look forward to seeing you all for the 2014-2015 school year. 4


Travelling Back in Time for Chinese New Years


n Jan 24th, 2014, the Lower School students of the SCIS Hongqiao Campus held a grand celebration for the Chinese New Year. The eight emcees “travelled back” to the Song Dynasty some 800 years ago and then demonstrated to the audience what children did or learned in different times of history from then to now. Many audience members called the performance not only interesting but also a good learning opportunity. The Chinese Experienced students of the 2nd and 3rd grade experienced how classes were in the Song Dynasty. Teachers taught a class the ancient way as students studied poems.. Their performance livened up the entire hall. The Chinese Experienced students of grade 4 and 5 performed an exciting Chinese Kung Fu and Lion Dance. They even invited the Lower School principal Mr. Powell to paint the lion eyes—a highlight for their performance. Additionally, the Novice class students from Grade 2 and 3 performed popular Chinese songs they learned in Mandarin class. The Grade 2 and 3 students from Novice 1 class have only learned Mandarin for a very brief time but showed great interest in their own songs, particularly one that sings for mother’s love. At the end of their singing, they yelled out proudly and loudly: “Mom, I love you, and you are always the prettiest!” That impressed the audience. And for the Grade 4 and 5 Novice class students, they challenged their Mandarin skills with some tough Chinese tongue twisters. A thing that is not easy even for native Chinese!

In addition to performances, Grade 2 and 3 students from Intermediate level also demonstrated the various traditional Chinese games. They practiced shuttlecock kicking, rope skipping and many others. All the Grade 2 to Grade 5 ESOL students gave a chorus of the well-known Chinese folk song “Fengyang Flower Song.” For the ending, the Mandarin teachers, music teachers, and the dance teacher gave a quick look-back to the different activities that people of different times did, including the broadcast morning exercise in the 1950s, Disco dancing in the 1980s, and a few popular Korean songs. Buildling upon the assembly, the next days from January 27th to 29th, the Lower School students had various activities in their mandarin classes. They used a Chinese brush to write the character of“Luck”and participated in some traditional Chinese games. Each of them received the customary lucky money, chocolate, and lanterns. Finally, on Jan 29, we invited professional troupes to perform the Chinese folk music, acrobatics, and the time standing lion dancing and dragon dancing. It was a whole week of eye-opening experiences to the Chinese culture for parents and students alike! by JENNY ZHANG Hongqiao Campus Lower School Mandarin teacher and coordinator



What is I


Math Videos

n an attempt to liven up our lessons and immediately engage our Math 9 and 10 students, we introduce each unit with an exciting YouTube math video that aligns with the topic. Our favorite videos come from a school in Ohio called Westerville High. The math teachers there have created seven math videos by changing the lyrics of popular songs to math content-based lyrics. Not only do the videos include catchy tunes to help the students learn specific math processes, but they also display step-by-step visuals to aid the student learning process.

Our students enjoyed these videos so much that we decided to develop a math music video project to start off this semester with a bang! In order to achieve excellent and professional results, we decided to horizontally align the project with the 9/10 Film class. Math students were responsible for choosing a popular song, generating new lyrics that explain a semester one math topic, designing math problems to align with the song, developing a storyboard illustrating how they envision their video, and recording their song. Some students even went above and beyond to actually create their own videos! The last two days before Chinese New Year Break were full of amazing presentations. We watched all our students play their songs and present their storyboards or videos. Who knew we

had such amazing singers, songwriters, directors, editors, and performers?! The next phase of the project is to pass the song lyrics and storyboards over to the producers of the Film class to create professional-style math music videos. We are looking forward to see more amazing results! Check out our websites in the next months to possibly see your student staring in the first SCIS Math Video! By AMY UMBERGER and ALYSSA MOSKOWITZ Hongqiao Campus High School Math Teachers

Upcoming Maths Competitions! F

ebruary looks to be a busy month for SCIS Pudong’s top mathematics students. The Pudong maths department is proud to be sending not just one, but two teams to this year’s High School Team Maths Competition in Nanjing. On the weekend of March 1st, eleventh graders Marc Xu, Emmi Rytkola, Hee Gwon Yoon, Wesley You, Andrew Tsai and tenth graders Lina Lee, Eric Chen and Ivy Cai will be representing SCIS Pudong at this two day event.

an event. This competition is a wonderful opportunity for our students as it promotes teamwork, problem solving, communication skills, and mathematical endeavor. The competition will be divided into four rounds: a problem solving round, a cross number round, a group round, and a relay round. After the formal four round competition, students will be divided into “buddy teams” with other schools to further enhance their collaborative skills.

High School Team Maths 2014 will be hosted by Dulwich College Suzhou, in collaboration with the NEAMC (Northeast Asia Maths Competition) 2014. It proves to be a very fun and exciting weekend for not just the students involved, but our entire department as it’s the first time we’ve competed in such

Good luck to all of our students competing in this season’s mathematics competitions!


In addition to this HSTM event, twenty of our ninth and tenth grade students will be participating in this year’s American Math Competition. The AMC is among the world’s most prestigious high school maths competitions. It consists of a 75-minute, 25-question multiple-choice exam that challenges students to be creative in solving problems.

By GARRET NEWELL Pudong Campus High School Math Teacher



“Head-stand and deliver”

eaching while standing on your head is a new and exciting adventure for any teacher. I had first heard about it on a spiritual journey traveling through Pittsburg, PA.

I was convinced after squatting down and listening to a practicing instructor at a near-by school. She was explaining that the increased blood flow to the brain helped with student understanding and retention. With a loud CRASH, I turned around and saw a student tumbling over, taking out another group of students and a few desks in the process. To hone this new craft, I did what any teacher does when they find something that works better—I stole (thanks Dr. Wong). Here’s what I observed: • As in many to most classrooms there are students who need extra assistance. It was nice to see her modify her approach with different students. Some needed to lean against the wall, some needed to take breaks to rest. She was a great teacher because she was able to diversify strategies to assist the needs of her students. • Writing while standing on your head is hard. I liked the way she used her student time out of class. The students were not required to write homework on a worksheet or bookwork,

but they used an online website to practice. She could track student progress better than with written work. “Just because we did it and our parents did it, doesn’t mean it’s the best way,” she said. • Teaching style is not consensual. I could not emulate everything she was doing. In fact, if I tried, my students would see right through me. I took what I could use and adapted it to fit my style. Stand by your principles, but make sure your principles are actually measuring and assessing student ability and progress. by JUSTIN DEERWESTER HIS Math Teacher

Why Bother Learning Math?

help each of us navigate the complex world in which we live— a world that is increasingly based in numbers. Much like the SCIS-HIS Expected School-wide Learning Results (ESLRs), these are traits that we strive to nurture in all of our students. With these ideas in mind, teachers design classroom activities to be much more than memorizing steps or doing repetitive practice problems. In doing so, teachers instill the sorts of skills that students will find useful both inside and outside of a mathematics classroom.


alculating is often the first thing that people think about when asked to describe their experiences with mathematics. This is part of the reason it is easy to feel that much of what is taught in mathematics is irrelevant in a world in which calculators and computers are always available. Many adults say that they have not solved an equation in years, and they are doing fine. Why, then, do we bother? This question is one that the Common Core State Standards for Mathematical Practice (CCSS) in the United States were developed to answer. These standards are different from concepts to know in a mathematics curriculum, such as adding fractions or solving a quadratic equation. These are instead mathematical habits that

Here are some examples of these standards for mathematical practice, their connections to the ESLRs, and how we explore them in our mathematics classes: Model with mathematics Making predictions is one of the most powerful capabilities of the field of mathematics. In one class, students analyzed incomplete videos from the game Angry Birds, in which cartoon birds are flung toward structures. Students accessed their body of knowledge of quadratic functions and computer modeling to predict where the birds would hit. Students then compared their predictions to the complete videos and discussed the differences between them. In the end, the class celebrated the team that was the most accurate. Continue on page 34… 7



A Musical Movement

ere at HIS, music doesn’t just fill the air, it’s a part of our community’s life force. Whether it’s melodies rising up from the ECE classrooms or rhythmic beats smashing down from the band room, music is truly all around us. Every year our music director, Miss Hah, painstakingly directs and choreographs one musical for every combined grade level in lower school. This undertaking is not only massively time consuming, it is also exhilarating and eye opening for each student who participates. But why encourage students to perform musicals? Aren’t they all cheesy with essentially no educational content? Last semester, the K-1 musical told a story of the rivalry between cats and dogs. Though neither side understood why they were not allowed to play with one another, older cats and dogs continued to blindly harbor negative feelings for their neighbors. This continued until one day, innocent kittens and puppies found each other and decided to be friends. This compelling tale amused the younger students while encouraging older students to think about stereotypes and how we can either put them to rest or perpetuate them through ignorance. All this from one musical, you ask? Maybe that’s a stretch. But therein lies the magic of performance. The story, melody and choreography will be enough to occupy any performer’s mind while director focuses on revealing the hidden message to the audience. Most recently, a team of elementary teachers, Miss Darden and 8

Miss Jessie, has taken on the task of starting an after school musical called Biomes. Students ranging from grades 2 through 5 were all welcome to participate and the show now has a cast of 25 students fiercely and diligently preparing for their big performance in three weeks. Biomes follows the lives three escaped zoo animals as they travel around the world, searching for the right habitat to call their own. While performing, students learn about important habitats such as grasslands, deserts, and forests and discover how animals adapt to each environment. Who would have thought singing and dancing about biomes could be so entertaining and educational? At HIS, I am proud to say that we value the importance of music both in the classroom and after school. We know that giving students the opportunity to perform with their peers gives them the courage to speak with diction, express themselves in various ways, explore new ideas, and work together with their friends to create something spectacular. By JESSICA DEARING HIS Kindergarten Teacher


Appreciating Our World as Global Citizens I

n our International schools, we have the privilege to teach a diverse student population, and our students need, more than ever before, to understand other people and cultures. We have the unique opportunity to learn from each other in our international school classrooms. Each teacher and child is a resource to the other. This is my second year at HIS and my sixth year in China. I love the opportunity to meet and work with so many interesting students from all over the world. Being a third culture kid myself, I understand and appreciate the unique opportunities and challenges these children face. I know the importance of learning to be a global citizen. Teaching geographical knowledge, skills and concepts to our students is an important part of a balanced curriculum. Our children need to learn that we are interdependent global citizens with a responsibility to each other and the planet we live on. One important aspect that we enjoy in our third grade classroom is studying locality. This helps our students to develop their own sense of identity as well as those of others. During the first unit of the year, we enjoy learning about different regions of the world and their unique features as well as map reading skills. This builds a framework of place knowledge. Our students really enjoy our HIS Primary School Passport Club Program, and we appreciate all the parents in our school who volunteer to make this a successful and fun learning opportunity. Passport Club allows our students to explore the world by learning the location of continents, oceans and countries. They research and learn specific facts about special target countries chosen each month.

The students love collecting stamps for their passports as they complete their assignments each month. In our class, we take some time each week to practice the location of continents, countries, bodies of water and landforms. We do that using our globe, smart board, and laptops. One website we use that has many interesting geography activities is As I mentioned before, our students are a great resource to each other and they contribute immensely to our geography program. They share about their own unique experiences both from their home countries and trips. They do this by making scrapbooks, PowerPoint presentations or bringing in pictures, brochures, artifacts etc to share with the class. Our culminating project for our first Geography unit was researching a country and making a brochure using the Pages Program. They enjoyed learning how to use that computer program and learned many interesting things about their country of choice. They also learned from other students’ presentations of these projects in class. Our students have a strong natural desire to explore their surroundings and investigate different places in our world. It is an essential, engaging, enriching and worthwhile activity for them. I love instilling in my students a wonder and love for learning about other places and cultures. By JOSÉ (JOSEFINE) NANNINGA HIS Third Grade Teacher



Cycling to Stop

the Cycle of Drugs and Violence

>>> 10



n 2002 I visited the site the World Trade Centre. There was a sign with names of nearly 3000 victims of the terrorist attacks. At times I would read several surnames together. I realized I was looking at the names of entire families that had perhaps gone up the towers to enjoy the view or who worked together in the same offices.

But I didn’t, not until August 2012 here in Hangzhou. That day I realized how hollow and impotent one feels when violence touches someone you love. That moment was a low point, so low that it really started to affect me. One feels powerless, frustrated, enraged, with a desire to punch at walls. But punching walls only hurts the one throwing the punches.

If you could go back to Sept. 10th 2001, the day before the attacks with the power to remove just one name off that sign, would you do it? Even if the life you saved was that of a perfect stranger? Hopefully, if given the opportunity we would all take such action. We definitely would be grateful if a stranger did so on our behalf. But, what if not 3,000 but 80,000 lives were lost? What if you could save another life with one simple word? The word NO!

When we hit a low point in life we look for ways to get ourselves back up. One of those ways is chemical, drugs and alcohol. Ironically it was the need of others to get high that directly led to my feeling so low. I am referring to people doing drugs and the sick industry associated with illicit drugs.

I did not personally know anyone who died on September 11th. Although I had never lost anyone to violence I thought I knew how anguishing and painful that event was for their families. I thought I knew.

So how did I personally get back up? We need to remember the pain and honor the victims by trying to insure such suffering never happens – ever again. Years ago I moved to Mexico, a beautiful land, one of the world’s most diverse nations, full of mountains, deserts, jungles, beaches, great food, wonderful people. I married and established



my adult life. About 8 years ago things started to change. It started with a few murders. Friends told me not to worry. It was “entre ellos” (between them) – referring to the drug cartels. But the killing continued. Eventually there were 80,000 deaths, thousands of disappearances and 50,000 orphans to drug violence. A general psychosis, began to rule our lives. I never believed those who said not to worry about the drug trade since I don’t do drugs. I knew that crime breeds crime. In just one year car thefts alone went up 600 per cent in our city. Robberies, kidnapping, etc. led to a complete erosion of the society. But this is an international crisis. For example the largest narcotics bust ever was of a Chinese national in Mexico City with $370 USD million in his possession. This cancer spreads around the world. Recent headlines of an entire village dedicated to methamphetamine production here in China is testimony to the transnational reach of the drug cartels. Drugs also degrade the environment. Thousands of hectares of rainforest disappear each year for their production. Rivers are poisoned, indigenous peoples displaced. I will never allow anyone to tell me that doing drugs is a personal choice and victimless crime. Consumption of drugs in North America, Europe and elsewhere equals bullets and blood in the zones of production. And there is also the direct impact on the health of drug consumers. I was fortunate that the Board of SCIS recognized my need and allowed me a leave of absence to “kick at the darkness”. At the same time I, like most of us with busy professional lives, needed to touch base with my true essence, my spirit and primary purpose in life – being a father and citizen of this amazing planet. So my 13-year-old son and I set off on bicycles from the Arctic to Mexico. We rode unsupported, just the two of us for 9,000 12

km through some of the most pristine landscapes on earth. Through those six months my focus changed. Riding those dusty roads, camping along wild rivers, listening to wolves at night, I started to question not the ethics of drugs, but rather why we need to do such things in the first place. My conclusion; Something is missing in our lives. I call that AWE – being ALLIGNED WITH EARTH Human experience has always seen children growing up with plants, dirt, water, weather, bugs and animals. However our children’s generation has little or no contact with the earth. Science tells us that we have deep physiological and psychological needs for contact with nature but our modern lives pull us further and further from our earth roots. For months earth’s rhythms accompanied us over mountains, through caribou herds, past bears and wolves. We basked in weeks of eternal Arctic sun, star-filled desert skies, morning sunrises and campfire evenings. Our days were full and complete. We lived in the moment, live, in the wide angle of nature, not vicariously through a digital screen. And I rode with my son on the path to manhood. Felipe turned 14 in Oregon and has accomplished more already than most adults could dream of doing. For more information regarding our ride, the work we are doing to raise awareness about the cost of drugs and our work supporting Smart Kids Don’t Do Drugs visit our ride’s website at Remember - Keep kids on bikes and off drugs.



INTERNATIONAL YOUTH APPOINTED TO NATIONAL YOUTH LEADERSHIP COUNCIL Madeline Xi Cui Friedman, joins 32 other youth across the United States for a year long Leadership Development Program


angzhou, Zhejiang, China – 1/30/14 - This month, Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots, (the Jane Goodall Institute’s global environmental and humanitarian youth program) announced the new class of members accepted to the program’s 2014 National Youth Leadership Council. Among those accepted was Madeline Xi Cui Friedman. Madeline, a high school senior at SCIS-HIS, considers herself a global citizen and humanitarian. As a Third Culture and Cross Culture Teen attending school overseas, she has been fortunate to travel world-wide, exploring and photographing the natural world; trekking in rain forests, wetlands, deserts, and seas; protecting sea turtles from poachers; creating orangutan habitats; collaborating with Overseas Girl Scouts to build rain gardens, greenhouses, and repurposing centers. Madeline founded Roots & Shoots Clubs at two international schools and serves on the Shanghai Roots & Shoots International School Leadership Council. She has led many projects including Eco-Audit, Youth for Environmental Sustainability (Y.E.S.), Eco-Week, Earth Day, tsunami and earthquake relief, and creating an organic seed-to-table gardening program for her school community. Her most meaningful project was The Million Tree Project in Inner Mongolia, where she raised funds for and assisted in the planting of over two thousand trees to help stop desertification. Over time, returning annually to Inner Mongolia, she witnessed the return of wildlife, witnessed the local farmers planting crops, and educated school children about the need for sustainability and establishing relationships with the community. Madeline was recognized as an outstanding volunteer at the 2012 Shanghai Roots & Shoots Youth Festival and was presented this award for her work to achieve the Green Star School Award by Jane Goodall. She was an Alcoa Foundation ‘Go Green Ambassador’ grant recipient in 2012, enabling her to attend an environmental caucus in Prague, Czech Republic and coordinate green initiatives with other Girl Scouts across the globe. Currently she is creating a documentary on the plight of the orangutans, calling on immediate attention to preserve the rain forest in Borneo. She can often be found sharing her passion for youth advocacy as a guest speaker and workshop presenter at science museums, schools, and public events. In addition to founding Roots & Shoots Clubs, Madeline has been a member of the Outreach Club, Model United Nations, ACAMIS soccer and volleyball teams, Wildlife Club, Girl Scouts Overseas, and has received numerous community service excellence awards.

Madeline plans to pursue a career in wildlife photography and environmental conservation, using photography as a means to document and educate others about the need to protect our planet. She feels the most content when working with others worldwide towards a common goal, providing hope to humanity and improving the natural world. “She has demonstrated an unwavering passion for the environment, outstanding creativity and advocacy skills, and a strong commitment to contribute to a better community for humans and nonhumans alike. Madeline is an extremely capable young woman and exemplary student leader. Her passion to change the world for the better is evident and enduring.” Zhenxi Zhong, Executive Director of Shanghai Roots & Shoots Throughout the year ahead, Ms. Friedman and the members of the Council will participate in comprehensive skills trainings with Roots & Shoots staff and field experts. These trainings will include project planning sessions and unique professional development and skill building seminars designed to connect the Council members with community leaders and influential change-makers working in the fields of leadership, conservation, and philanthropy, among others. The new group of Council members joins dozens of other Roots & Shoots leaders who have been a part of the Council since its inception in 2003. For the last decade, the Roots & Shoots youth leadership program has provided Council members with amazing opportunities that have paved their way toward incredible university academic experiences and successful careers as change-makers and community leaders. To learn more about Ms. Friedman and the National Youth Leadership Council visit or Facebook public page Madeline Xi Cui Friedman. About Jane Goodall Roots & Shoots Founded in 1991 by Dr. Jane Goodall and a group of Tanzanian students, the Roots & Shoots program is about making positive change happen—for our communities, for animals and for the environment. With tens of thousands of young people in more than 120 countries, the Roots & Shoots network connects youth of all ages who share a desire to create a better world. Young people identify problems in their communities and take action. Through service projects, youth-led campaigns and an interactive website, Roots & Shoots members are making a difference across the globe. For more information, please visit www. Media Contacts: Zhenxi Zhang +862163523580

Shawn Sweeney (703) 682 – 9283 13


All Aboard!!!


ver felt like cramming yourself into a train full of foxes, tigers, moose, dogs, monkeys, penguins, dolphins, worms, rhinos, koalas, bunnies, cats and ants? No? Me neither! However, for this year’s pre-k, kindergarten and 1st grade winter performance, that’s exactly what we did! These student proudly presented “Down by the Station” to an adoring crowd made up of parents and students on the 28th of November. There were ants, cats, monkeys, dogs, foxes, tigers and more all getting ready to board the SCIS Express! The students worked hard over the last few weeks, perfecting their dance moves and learning their songs, to put on an entertaining and informative show. Pre-k showed us what ants get up to when it’s about to rain; strutted about like cats with style; and showed us other fun animals that they would be. Kindergarten pondered over why puppies are better than other pets and danced about like a troupe of performing “monkees.” The 1st graders warned us about a sticky moose named Fred, showed us how tigers like to exercise, and finally learned what a fox actually says—apparently it’s “gering-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding”. Who knew?!? 14

So as it turns out, the train ride was actually quite fun, and we made it back to our final destination (the Lower School gym) in one piece! Well done ECE! Puff, puff, toot, toot; off we go! By VANESSA JAQUES Rhythm and Movement Teacher


Don’t let the SNOW (show) stop!” Imagine that there was a huge snowstorm that shut down a town. You are sitting in your living room, watching your favorite show when a news flash tells you that a storm is sweeping across the region. The storm has shut down shopping centers, movie theaters, restaurants… what would you do? Well, SCIS students did not let the weather slow down their daily routines. They love the snow! We had students at choir rehearsal, making snow angels, ice fishing, sledding, snowboarding, and enjoying the “white fluffy precipitation”. All these activities and more were highlighted during their winter performance “Snow Biz” which was a fun-filled musical salute to the joys of winter. The 2nd- 5th grade “snow-stopping” show premiered on Thursday, December 5th at the Pudong Upper School Theater. The purpose build theater was the perfect venue for hosting a

production of this caliber. Students experienced the big stage, bright lights and sang their hearts out to a most appreciative and well-entertained audience. Each grade level had the opportunity to sing two numbers and participated in a big finale that caused a standing ovation from the audience. Our students were well prepared - singing and acting with great confidence. As one student said, “ Wow, I can’t believe we just did that! That was amazing!” Many parents in the audience agreed—it was a job well done from everyone. Winter Production Committee: JESSI MILLER – Music Specialist AMY LEE – Drama ASA KAREN DANESI – Drama ASA



Chinese New Year Celebrations Xīn nián kuài lè! For the past few weeks, this blessing could be heard almost everywhere as we celebrated the lunar new year. Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, is the most important of all the Chinese traditional festivals. The festival begins on the first day of the first month in the Chinese lunar calendar and ends with the Lantern Festival on the full moon 15 days later. Each student from Pudong campus welcomed the Horse this year in their own unique way. In the weeks prior to the holiday, our students learned about the great traditions of our gracious host country, practiced their crafts, and enjoyed their cuisine. A variety of cultural activities took place in the classrooms: calligraphy, Chinese painting, paper-cutting, Chinese chess, Ma-Jiang, dumpling making, and others. The color of red was seen everywhere around the campus, for it symbolizes good fortune for Chinese people. The atmosphere was filled with the spirit of holiday. On January 29th, Upper School students gathered at our theatre to welcome the year of horse. Many students devoted time and effort to prepare Chinese New Year assembly program. The show began with the warm greetings of Lion Dancers and administrators who expressed their blessings of the horse year in Mandarin. Middle School Novice 1 Mandarin classes sang a Chinese folk song, “Jasmine Flower,” with their newly learned language skills. China-Beats by the high school dance class also impressed the audience by combining the Chinese martial art of Kung Fu with hip-hop dancing.


After the enthusiastically performed modern Kong Fu dance, Fiona and Lily presented the theme song from “Butterfly Lovers” while Robin and Josephine reenacted the romantic scene in this well-known love story. Immediately after the slow romance, Lily and Marc filled the theatre with the thrilling sounds of dueling pianos. Following the school’s tradition, the High School Intermediate 1 class presented us the Dragon Dance to welcome a new year with the dragon spirit. After the dragon dance, Meredith performed the beautiful Moon Shadow dance that took the audience’s breath away. In addition to the Moon Shadow dance, the High School dance class also presented us with the elegant Chinese Fan Dance. We also welcomed the new year with the cheerful music of Feng Yang Ge presented by middle school and high school band classes. Last but not least, our adorable visitors from the Lower School, the fifth grade class, enchanted the audience with the Dragon and Lion Dance. With the blessings of the generous Fortune God and the outstanding hosts, Richie, Eric, Nina and Olivia, the Chinese New Year Assembly ended at its highest point. Throughout all these celebrations of culture, art and music, the true significance of this traditional Chinese festival shone through as each of our communities celebrated and enjoyed together as one big family. By DAISY MI Pudong Campus Upper School Mandarin Coordinator


PD Lower School Celebrates Chinese New Year


he Spring Festival marks the beginning of the year for Chinese people. As for SCIS students, it is a great opportunity for us to dive into the host cultures and explore some of the exciting traditions and customs of China. All Mandarin teachers and students enjoyed taking part in learning and making door couplets, Chinese paper cutting and lanterns, and using the brush for calligraphy and Chinese painting. Decorating classrooms or houses with our hand-made artwork made it more unique and added to the fun. Writing with the Chinese brush mao bi is not an easy job to do at first. There are many different ways to hold the brush making it hard to control. One must hold it firmly and write with a calm and peaceful mind. It is said that only with a decent “character” can one write beautiful characters. Students also learn and practice writing Chinese phrases about the horse. We were amazed to find so many beautiful phrases related to this animal. It gave us an indication of how Chinese people felt about horses and how they were respected for their loyal and hard-working nature. After we finished writing phrases on red paper with the brush, we displayed our calligraphy in the hallway. Chinese characters should not just be the obstacles blocking the way in your Mandarin study. It can be very interesting when you explore the origin of it. Students learn the traditional character for Horse and turn it into a picture of a galloping horse when painted with the brush. There are many examples such as the bamboo picture and its characters. Students were creative and enjoyed the challenge of making pictures out of the characters.

Beside cultural activities, a grand Chinese New Year assembly was performed by all students before the Chinese New Year’s Eve. The theme of the year is the story of the Chinese zodiac animals, which is based on the book Why Rat Comes First by Clara Yen. All grades practiced hard to present the story through singing and dancing. Grade 5 students, in particular, acted out the story to help transition between the different performances. It is such a pleasure to see everyone involved and enjoying the Chinese New Year celebrations! In preparing for the Chinese New Year celebration, all Mandarin teachers spent much time in planning the assembly while teaching lessons about Chinese New Year. And of course, whenever something so wonderful is performed by our students, there are usually many people to thank. We wanted to thank all the administrators for their support and continuous help, specialist teachers for their creative ideas and expertise in preparing for the performance, classroom teachers for their patience and great help in transitioning students throughout the performances and the parents who are always our biggest fans. We also want to extend a thank you to the Ayi’s and ShiFu’s for helping to put up the school decorations, making hats for the performances, and so many other things! Lastly, we would like to wish everyone Long Ma Jing Shen! And be full of vigor as a dragon and a horse and have a prosperous year ahead! Mandarin Department: Daisy Ye Pudong Campus Lower School Mandarin Coordinator Linda Zhang, Sunny Ji, Wenqi Nelson,Cherry Zhang Pudong Campus Lower School Mandarin Teacher 17


Skating and School


o I went home to eastern Canada this past Christmas for the first time in six years and it was amazing. A cold and snowy winter wonderland that provided my two kids with some new and challenging experiences like skating, snowshoeing, sledding, and snacking on freshly fallen snow and icicles...yummy! We spent a lot of time at the rink (as you do) watching hockey, sipping on hot chocolate, and for my two little ones, learning to skate. It was a challenge that they both embraced wholeheartedly, and after several hours of practice and a bunch of bumps and bruises they finally got the hang of it. It was a highlight of our holiday for sure, and it made me feel a lot less sheepish about being a Canadian father with two kids who had never been on the ice. Anyway, throughout this entire on-ice adventure with my little ones it became crystal clear to me that skating is a lot like learning and a lot like school, and the parallels between learning to skate and navigating through our lives are impossible to miss. It reminded me so much of Carol Dweck’s work with “Mindsets”, and I want to quickly share something with you that played out right in front of my eyes during our first day at that rink, which brought this idea of mindset and perseverance to life in a very real way... On the first day that we went skating we were all really excited as well as a little bit nervous. We just happened to show up on a day that hardly anyone was there, which was nice because it gave my kids a chance to do their best impression of Bambi on ice without anyone watching. Just as I was doing up their skates and reminding them that learning to skate is a long process filled with frustration, excitement, and a series of small successes, two other kids showed up with their fathers. They were both about to lace up the skates for the first time, and right away you could tell that the attitudes or mindsets of the two children were markedly different. So we all got out on the ice and the kids were falling everywhere as you imagine....getting up and falling down....getting up and falling down......trying and trying and trying again.....watching and listening and fully engaged in the process and it was awesome. About 30 minutes into the session however, one of the other kids started to get super frustrated and began to cry. He said things like, “I hate skating”, and “I’ll never be good at this”, and “Skating is too hard and I’ll never learn”. The father tried to get his son to soldier on encouragingly 18

for a little while, until suddenly his tone changed and he began to get angry at his little boy for not “getting it” like he did when he was young, and for not trying hard enough. It eventually ended in a melt down with the young boy desperately pleading to go home and to get these “stupid skates off of my feet!” The father was at that point more than happy to oblige and away they went, and I didn’t see them again for the rest of our time at home. The entire time that I was watching this happen I couldn’t help but be taken back to when I was struggling with math as a Middle School kid, and my teacher getting angry at me for not “getting it” and telling me that I wasn’t trying hard enough. I wonder if that little boy will ever lace up a pair of skates again, and I wonder about how he’ll view all the rest of the challenges in his little life. It’s pretty obvious I think to see the connection that I’m trying to make with how kids approach their learning in school, and how teachers approach their teaching. Learning for most kids in a traditional school setting can be difficult at times, and they will all face challenges that they need to overcome. It’s how they approach these challenges that makes all the difference, and it’s how we respond to our students that can make or break a child’s experience. Life and learning is all about falling down and getting back up.....trying and trying and trying again .......taking risks and failing and celebrating the step by step small successes. It’s about perseverance and resiliency and attitude and mindset..... and from what we’ve learned from Carol Dweck’s research, this can be fostered in all of our students. So with the second semester just underway, and the new concepts and units of study being introduced, I’d like to ask that you keep an eye out for kids who need a little bit of a mindset adjustment. Kids learn at different rates and in different ways as you all know so please celebrate the small successes and the process that is the coming to’s a beautiful thing. Remember that skating is like school, and for many of our students it can be very much about the falling and failing and trying and trying and trying again.......let’s make sure that they’re excited to get back up! By DAN KERR Hongqiao Campus Middle School Principal


Hongqiao Lower School Students Awarded Art Prizes

14th Parkway Health Charity Calendar

The theme for this year’s Parkway Health Calendar was “My Home in China,” and Jenny Kim was delighted to have her artwork selected to appear in it. Jenny has lived in Shanghai for six years and wanted to create something that represented both her love for life in China and her love for her family.

City Weekend Art and Writing Competition

Over 900 students submitted work in the City Weekend Art and Writing Competition. Entrants were asked to create a piece of art based on the theme of a Candy Factory and had to support their creation with a brief narrative. SCIS was extremely proud to have two students selected as winners in their age group category. They were: Mong Koo from Ms Watt’s Grade 5 class and Andrea Powell from Ms Ngan’s Grade 2 class. And Yash Malhotra from Mr. Gribble’s Grade 4 class received special recognition for his entry. Congratulations to all! By BETTINA SALAS Hongqiao Campus Lower School Art Teacher




Dragon Love: Generosity in Action

community based on trust and understanding is built through the development of loving relationships between its members. At HQ SCIS the community is continuously fostering these relationships through the practice of generosity. To be generous is the “readiness [of a person] to give more of something, as money or time, than is strictly necessary or expected.”1 It is showing kindness toward others with no thought of reward. Over the past couple years I have witnessed this community of parents, students, teachers, and administrators, not only act generously but also promote and support expressions of kindness. Teachers extend themselves daily for their students, the CAS opportunities made available to the students emphasize giving back to the community (Heart to Heart, Box of Love, SeniorCitizens Center, Migrant Schools English Teaching, Inclusion Program). PAFA hosts various events throughout the year encouraging the growth of relationships between all members of the community. And the initiatives taken on by administration and senior staff put the development of community at the center of their mission and personal philosophy (MS Principal Mr. Dan Kerr and his ‘Call for Celebrations’ each week). In this month of February, with the celebrations of Chinese New Year, IB Psychology’s Expression of Gratitude activity, and Valentine’s Day, we have seen an overwhelming amount of gratitude, happiness, generosity and love in the hallways of our school and in our community. Mrs. Helen He organized CNY celebrations at our school with beautiful performances by students and professionals. Ms. Julie Arnold’s IB Psychology took part in an experiment of gratitude as part of their research on “the psychology of happiness.” The IB psychology students were asked to freely write about a teacher who has made a positive impact in their life. The students wrote about their experiences with these teachers and were then challenged to share their kind words of gratitude with their selected teacher. Anya Mattson (Gr. 11) and Kyra Powers (Gr. 11) shared their words with the Upper School faculty. Although it was tough to stand up in front of their teachers, they said, “it was an amazing feeling”, and “I’m so glad I did it”, respectively. Ms. Darby Davis (IB Chemistry teacher) received a reading of gratitude and felt “it was a great surprise…and to hear the many thoughts that the student [was] able to verbalize in such an incredible way…made me feel so rewarded as teacher”. For Valentine’s Day student council hosted its annual CandyGram fundraiser. Candy-grams of chocolates and flowers were


purchased and handed out with notes of love and appreciation attached. For this article an announcement was put out asking students to send in kind messages or notes they wanted to share with the people they care about in this Communitas article. They are posted here. Generosity is the simple giving of a smile or extending ourselves to really listen to a friend. There are numerous exercises in generosity. I call on you, this month, this week, or even today after you have finished reading this article, to perform one act of kindness. Soy una persona muy afortunada por estar siempre rodeada de mi familia, mis amigos y mis alumnos en China. Gracias por hacer cada dia, dentro y fuera de SCIS especial! Abrazos! Love is a deep word. It can be more than flowers, hearts, roses, and kisses. It can be friendship. Real, simple, true friendship. I proudly say I love you. ~Anonymous I don’t know who you are, but I will find you and I will love you. I’ve always loved you. You don’t know me, but I know you. I have a lot to say but this paper is too small to say everything. Hi, I always love you. I always see you everyday everywhere. I always stay at school because of you. But you don’t know me because I don’t know how to… ~ Anonymous My love, my one and only, you are the warmth to my sunshine. You are the straw to my berry. My world comes together as I gaze into your eyes... I love you… Hi, you’re what my eyes only see, all I think about. You’re perfect, everything about you is perfect. Love is just love, it will never be understood, where are you now? I can’t wait to see you, your humor, I love it, it’s nice. When I tell you I love you I don’t say it out of habit or to make conversation. I say it to remind you that you’re the best thing that ever happened to me. By ILONA KENDE Hongqiao Campus High School IB Biology Teacher 1. New Oxford American Dictionary


Girls Scouts Walk for Cure


n honor of breast cancer awareness and the founder of Girl Scouts, Juliette Low, the SCIS Puxi Cadettes hosted Shanghai’s 2nd annual Girl Scout Walk a Thon! 70+ girl scouts from 4 international schools raised donations through generous sponsors and, dressed in pink, walked the main campus of SCIS on November 2nd. Nearly 30,000 yuan was raised and will be donated to breast cancer research! As importantly, the girl scouts learned that a healthy diet and exercise, like walking, can help reduce the risk of breast cancer. One of the day’s local sponsors, Fields, donated healthy snacks and emphasized that we do have more choices when it comes to healthy eating in China. As Shanghai’s premium online grocer, Fields is proud to be part of a wide community working to solve our city’s food safety issues. By stocking healthy, natural and

organic alternatives, the safe food community makes this possible. Better still, eating uncontaminated food not only benefits our own health, it also reduces our reliance on fossil fuels and maintains clean water supplies, meaning a healthier planet for all. Like Fields, making the world a better place is a Girl Scout motto! Girl Scouts and Survivors will tell you that there is hope for treating and living with breast cancer. The girl scouts will keep walking for a cure! Thanks again to the amazing Cadette troop of SCIS Puxi, all the generous sponsors, and our local corporate sponsors – Fields & Claires – for making this donation possible! By SHELLEY JOHNSON

When Will the Fireworks End?


or those who stayed in China for Chinese New Years, this is a question you have probably asked yourself a couple of different times. According to Upper School Mandarin Coordinator Helen He, it should have been the weekend of February 14-16. February 14th - In case you are not aware, is the Lantern Festival in China, which is celebrated on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month. It marks the end of series of celebrations of the Chinese New Year. According to the Chinese tradition, at the very beginning of a new year, when there is a bright full moon hanging in the sky, there should be thousands of colorful lanterns hung out for people to appreciate. At this time, people will try to solve the riddles on the lanterns and eat yuanxiao (glutinous rice balls with either red bean paste or sesame paste inside) and get all their families united in the joyful atmosphere Sometimes people will fly sky lanterns by writing their wishes on the paper lanterns and pray that their wishes will come true.

A long time ago, people thought the lanterns would fly up to the heaven and the God of Heaven would receive their messages and give them blessings. You may have seen such sky lanterns in the Bund area. But the best place to go to see a variety of lanterns in Shanghai is Yuyuan Garden. Every year there are lantern shows there, and this year’s horse lantern is particularly impressive. This year’s festival is extra special because it coincides with Valentine’s Day. It will be another 19 years later when these two special days fall on the same day again. HAPPY LANTERN FESTIVAL and HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY! By Helen He Hongqiao Campus Upper School Mandarin Coordinator 21


Global Issues Network (GIN) Conference in Jakarta All delegates were assigned to the “Burst the Bubble” trips and workshops prior to the conference. Through the trips, students got the opportunity to visit 17 different sites such as animal/ homeless shelters, orphanages, local schools, trash grounds, local water systems and so forth. Students then participated in workshops and breakout sessions where they talked about what they saw and did, and shared the projects and activities currently underway at their schools.


iddle school students of the global issues network (GIN) club at SCIS HQ recently returned from a weekend trip after participating in ‘Dare to Care’ the 2014 East Asia Regional Council of Schools (Earcos) middle-school only Global Issues Network Conference (GIN) hosted by Jakarta International School. Amongst the eleven SCIS GIN club student delegates and two of their teachers (Ms. Meagan Bergman and myself), there were 27 other international schools at the conference making it a total of 258 students, 143 teachers, and 37 different nationalities. A total number of 143 gym mats were used as accommodation over three nights to reduce carbon footprint of 87% due to choosing the option of staying on campus rather than in hotels. Cheers to SCIS for choosing to go green! The purpose of the conference was to teach students to work collaboratively and become active participants as they find their passion and take action in order to create sustainable solutions for global issues. Students from all over the globe were invited to participate in a variety of student-led activities and workshops.


Prior to the conference, GIN club members have been meeting regularly to discuss some of the global issues currently in Shanghai and to find ways to help. We have already been in contact with the Shanghai Renewal Center and planning possible ways to fundraise and help the center decrease homelessness in Shanghai. After the conference, students left super excited and filled with ideas to improve our school and the Shanghai Community. They were inspired by motivational speakers: Zach Bonner (Little Red Wagon Foundation) and Austin Gutwein (Hoops of Hope), as well as through listening to what other students were doing at their schools and countries. Students were not the only ones to take away ideas from this conference. Teachers were provided hands-on opportunities to further their understanding regarding service learning, project based learning, independent projects, service trips, service clubs, student led events, and environmental education. Teachers left the conference feeling confident, knowledgeable and really proud of their students. Stay tuned to soon hear some of the great ideas/plans that GIN club at our school has come up with! By LISA CHUI Hongqiao Campus Visual Arts Teacher


Is There a Value in Play? I

n an early childhood settings the word ‘play’ is likely used hundreds of times a day. Enzo plays with the Legos and builds a rocket. Martha and David are in play kitchen and are pretending to be cooking a grand meal. A gaggle of students move in a scrum from one side of the field to the other playing a version of soccer that is perhaps only identifiable by the ball being used. Still, there is a growing field of study based on the concern that the value of play has been forgotten as communities prioritize the race for attaining academic skills even in the earliest of ages. While attending the East Asian Regional Conference of Schools (EARCOS) Administrator’s conference I was able to participate in an excellent round table presentation on ‘play’ and its value within our learning environments. It became rather clear that there is a common feeling amongst early childhood educators that play was in fact being undervalued in many school and home settings. It is a commonly held belief that academic skills will be enhanced by further exposure at earlier ages; however, research is actually guiding us to the understanding that play may actually better prepare students for classroom learning by strengthening the development of positive cognitive, socio-emotional, and physical behaviors. In order for our students to succeed in the ever-changing world they must carry with them a level of mental flexibility, problem solving, and peer relationship building like no generation before them. These are skills that are honed far more on the playground and in the imagination centers of early childhood classrooms than on the back of flashcards. Facts and

figures are abstract concepts that are difficult even for adults to synthesize in meaningful ways; this is no different for children. Play supports students as they process their understanding. In the workshop, the administrators around the room came to a general agreement that our children today also play differently compared to previous generations. Less time is spent with peers and siblings and more is spent alone with educational toys, television shows, and video games. Many of these activities do bring incredible learning opportunities, but they also take their toll on the creative and social-emotional skills developed through play. As a result, it is vital that adults involved in the lives of young learners recognize and support unstructured, group, and individual play opportunities for children in and out of their school environment. According to Maria Montessori, “Play is the work of the child.” While engaged in play a child is not simply having a good time, they are breaking down their understanding of the world around them. Open-ended play without external constructs or rules directly supports young children’s cognitive development. These experiences tap into children’s individual interests, draw out their emerging capabilities, and hone their sense of inquiry and exploration of the world around them. Ultimately, through engaged play experiences children become further motivated and prepared to enjoy an environment in which the learning outcomes of a curriculum are more likely to be achieved. By DANIEL ESCHTRUTH ECE Campus Head of School



SCIS-HIS Celebrates Chinese New Year



马 ma 年 nian 大 da 吉 ji

新 xin 年 nian 快 kuai 乐 le 25




Chinese New Year is upon us! The big celebration just wrapped up as we ushered out the Year of the Snake and welcomed the Year of the Horse. Our local community was transformed into a landscape of red and gold, as the sounds of firecrackers foreshadowed the noise to scare away “Nian.” The Year of the Horse is especially important to those born in 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, or 2002. According to Chinese mythology, these individuals symbolize such character traits as strength, energy, and an outgoing nature. If you are one of the lucky ones above, make sure to enjoy it, as it won’t come again for 12 more years. Of course, there is far more to recognizing Chinese culture than simply having a celebration once a year. At SCIS-HIS, we believe in promoting awareness of our host country by fostering connections between our students and their local community. A major goal of ours is to help nurture a sense of Chinese identity in our students. Whether you have been here for four weeks or four years, living in China and the influence of Chinese culture will inevitably become an important part of your children’s identify. This takes many forms at school. In class, exposing students to traditional Chinese culture is as valued as reading, writing and oral language development. Students engage in projects and other learning experiences to enrich their knowledge of China. Outside of Mandarin classes, our host culture awareness program aims to integrate modern China and Chinese history throughout the curriculum. Students can check out Mandarin books and videos form our library, learn about Chinese fashion and traditional games during after school activities, and choreograph important cultural dances as part of our physical education program. Further, our many community service projects, upper school China Trips, and special cultural events throughout the year aim to educate and develop Chinese cultural awareness and appreciation in all of our students. At SCIS-HIS, we recognize the amazing opportunity we have to expose students to Mandarin language and Chinese culture. You will see examples throughout this issue of us coming together to do just that—celebrate our host nation. I wish everyone a happy, healthy, and prosperous Year of the Horse! Xin Nian Kuai Le! By DANIEL JUBERT SCIS-Pudong Head of School


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Fostering a Growth Mindset


ately I’ve been doing a lot of reading and listening to Carol Dweck’s work on mindset. Dr. Dweck and her colleagues describe people with a growth mindset as those who believe that talents and abilities can be developed through practice and learning. In contrast, those who hold a fixed mindset believe that they were born with a fixed amount of talent and ability that cannot be changed. Those who hold a fixed mindset are afraid of challenges, effort and setback. On the contrary, those with a growth mindset are eager to take on new challenges and risks with the understanding that they will further their learning. As an educator, it is easy to see how this plays out in the classroom. Those students with a fixed mindset encounter challenging work and believe that they are not smart enough to solve the math problem or understand the science concept. They put forth little effort as they feel they will never “get it.” These students’ grades may suffer, and they may drop out of school. In contrast, those with a growth mindset who see the difficulty as a challenge will find resources that support and f urther their understanding. These are students who are willing to take risks and have some sense of understanding that they may fail at something, possibly after several attempts before they find the solution or develop a solid understanding. These students may not have the highest grades but they hold an important understanding that their attitude plays an important role in their success. Fortunately, Dweck and her colleagues have identified ways in

which we can foster a growth mindset in children at any age. They believe mindsets are transmitted through the praise adults give children. However, research found that all praise is not the same. When a child’s intelligence was praised by feedback such as, “Wow! You got a great score, you must be really smart,” this led students to a fixed mindset. However children with a growth mindset receive praise on the process and effort such as “Wow! You got a great score, you must have studied very hard.” According to Dweck, praise should draw attention to the use of effective strategies, effort, and persistence, placing the focus on learning rather than intelligence. This makes me rethink the way in which I interact with children throughout my day whether it is in the classroom or on the playground. I have eliminated clauses such as “You are really smart” and “You’re a great soccer player,” and replaced them with “You worked really hard” and “You must practice a lot.” My goal is to make sure students believe that with some effort and persistence they can accomplish anything they set out to do! If you are interested in learning more about mindset research, then read Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck or visit and com/watch?v=kXhbtCcmsyQ By HEATHER KNIGHT ECE Campus Vice Principal 29



Ask a WorldPath Doctor: What are some tips to avoid soccer injuries this spring?

efore strapping on those shin guards, lacing up your cleats, and sprinting to the pitch, we spoke with Institute of Western Surgery’s Pain Management Specialist, Dr. Pfeifer, and Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon, Dr. Southern, about some of the common injuries that occur on the pitch and how to prevent them from happening. How should I properly prepare for the season? A progressive exercise program with a focus on endurance training and sport specific skills is a great approach to getting into playing shape. Start each session with a 10-15 minute jog, followed by intense interval training sessions, alternating between quick sprints and cool down jogging. Suicides sprints are a good example of this, with each session increasing the amount of sprinting time. This will help you to prepare for game play. Simply running will not prepare your body for the quick bursts of energy that are required in soccer. After a few weeks, start to integrate ball handling and sport specific drills, in addition to the endurance training. Lastly, play scrimmage matches to simulate real gameplay situations, either with your teammates or with a group of friends. What are some common soccer injuries? And what can I do to prevent them in the upcoming soccer season? The most common injuries always relate to the lower limb. Hamstring and quadriceps sprains are quite common, as you would find with almost any type of running sport. This is also inherent in any kicking game, as these muscle groups are the ones, which primarily control the kicking motion. Due to the close proximity to the ball, ankle sprains are quite common, occurring during dribbling, slide tackles, etc. As well, groin pulls are seen regularly, related to the regular cutting running motions that occur during game play. The best way to approach injury prevention is maintaining good playing shape. It is when players are deconditioned and overcompensate for lack of physical strength with poor technique that injuries occur. Be sure to maintain proper technique at all times. If an injury does occur, how do you know when you are ready to play again? Listening to your body is quite critical in this scenario. Pain from an injury is different from pain related to a good workout. If pain continues to get worse when attempting to return from an injury, you are pushing yourself too hard. What other advice can you offer these future soccer super stars? One issue that is not discussed enough with youth soccer players is how significant nutrition has on your playing shape. Foods that are deep-fried or high in sugar content will make your play more


sluggish, leave you less conditioned, etc. Remember, your body is in training mode now. The body is building strength and muscles are being worked hard, therefore you need proper nutrition to support that growth and aid in the recovery process. Protein, whole grains, veggies, all useful to build the support structure of our bodies. Have fun out there and in the event that an accident does occur on the field feel free to contact WorldPath pediatric orthopedic specialist, Dr. Southern, for any medical advice or attention at 2090 3114.


What is the Richie Ferranti story?


ichie Ferranti has been at SCIS Pudong for the past 4 years. He is currently in the 12th grade and planning on going to University of Florida to study pre-medicine next year. In the middle of mock exams, I was able to get Richie to sit down with me and talk about his past, present, and of course, his future. What is Richie Ferranti’s story? How did you end up at SCIS? Well, I’ve lived somewhat of a nomadic life, moving schools quite often. I was born in south Florida and lived in Texas until I was 10. That’s when things got interesting. My dad’s company required him to move to China. I thought, “Hmmm, China sounds…cool.” Next thing I know, I was living in an alley in China. No Kidding! I literally lived in a local Chinese alley with all the fun that comes with that kind of situation. After 2 years, we moved to Hong Kong in a school where I was the only white student. It was a really awesome experience, and I made a lot of good memories there. We moved around in Hong Kong a bit and then finally ended up back in Shanghai attending SCIS. Even through all the uprooting and moving, I wouldn’t’ change a single second of my time spent in Asia. Thinking back to when you first got here—would the Richie then recognize you now? I am not sure if I would even recognize myself from 4 years ago. I was a little kid with long hair who spent most of his time at the skatepark or on an X Box. A lot has changed since then; I think for the better. Actually, I was not the best student before I came to this school and was even known as a troublemaker. However, since coming to this school, I have become a good student and dropped my old reputation. I truly believe that SCIS has made me into the person I am today and helped me set my life straight You are a very busy person, what is your secret to being able to excel inside and outside the classroom? What it comes down to is balance. Being able to balance school, sports, friends, and all the other things in my life has helped me stay on track inside and outside the classroom. I am afar from the perfect student, and I’ll sometimes decide not to do work in study hall. In fact, just the other day I watched Hangover 3 (don’t tell Mr. Macmillan). The reason I can do this is because I know that I have the time to. I have either finished all of my work or decided that I have the time to do the work later. I believe that it’s important to be able to known when you have to work and when you need to relax. However, when I need to do y work, I’m very effective and devote my complete attention to what I’m doing.

For those that don’t know you, what are the extra curricular’s you have been involved in this year? I’m on the Varsity Basketball and Varsity Volleyball team, lead guitar in Rock Band, and Student That is a lot! It sounds like you’re a big believer in them. Tell me how that has affected your education. It keeps me a well rounded student. Personally, I believe that it is just as important to be involved in sports and creative activities as it is to be a good student. It’s also a great way to make friends with people you have common interests with. How has this year gone for you? Has it been easier or harder? Quicker or slower? Than other years? This year is great, albeit stressful. I feel like my whole high school has been leading up to these next couple of months. What is the most important thing on your mind right now? Well, other than internal assessments, physics labs, IB Exams, the TOK Essay, the Extended Essay, my Final Film, Economics Commentaries, and general school life…I have nothing on my mind. What are your plans for the future? I’m still waiting on some other colleges to respond, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to University of Florida to study pre-med. I’m just excited to get back to America. Last question: what did you do for Valentines Day? I had a great dinner at an Italian restaurant with my girlfriend. I left with a full stomach and an empty wallet.





e arrived in Tianjin with our usual goal– to be playing our best basketball at the end of the season; I think the players accomplished that. On the ladies side the strength and experience of our starting 5 was apparent from the beginning. Our average margin of victory through the games was 28 points, average points allowed by your Dragons was single digits (8) and the team accomplished a first - completely shutting out an opponent (old nemesis QSI) throughout an entire game. They say ‘defense’ wins championships; and that was ultimately the case for these Dragons. All 9 players present were actively involved as parts of the stingiest defense seen at ACAMIS in years. After giving up 50 points in the SISAC Semi-Finals only days earlier; the main tenet of pre-tournament instruction was to limit the other teams scoring opportunities the ladies picked a great time to listen;-) On the other side of the ball - Anna Ferarresi was the top scorer in the tournament while Emmi Rytkola was the top rebounder. Our other all–star was our point guard Julia Gao who ensured that teams were not able to press us and gain an advantage with her consistent ball handling. Kim Kim was able to come back from injury and provide a calming presence on the wing – especially important since we lost Olivia during the holidays to knee surgery. Josephine was a versatile pillar of strength as she was the 3rd leading scorer from her starting wing position but more importantly was able to fill in effectively at every position on the court – important with a shortened bench. Due to multiple large leads everyone on the team was able to play a lot and some of our less heralded Dragon’s had big scoring weekends. We were able to have a lot of fun moving players around into different positions and enjoying ourselves on the court. I credit the young ladies for forcing the opposition to play to our strengths. They enforced their will on the tournament and ran away with it in impressive fashion. The Men’s division was much more competitive. Our Dragon’s kicked off the tournament against QSI and played a tough back and forth game – eventually winning 49-40. Most impressive was the smash-mouth defensive basketball being played in the post by Kelby and Richie against a young man who had we been in the states would definitely have been on the ‘line’ for a local football team - I’m guessing 6’2 and a solid 280 or thereabouts? That game signaled for the rest of the teams just exactly who was the team to beat. Coach Marshall was a bit bemused at being, for the first time, ‘the team’ that everyone else was game planning for. The boy’s strength was in their depth and consistency of talent throughout the line-up. As happens in basketball there were 32

situations where one or more players were not able to play (foul trouble, injury…) but Coach was able to just plug someone else into the line–up and there was rarely a drop off in the ability level of the team as a result. Carrying the team for different stretches in the tournament were Ryan (who had a great inside/outside tournament) Kelby (the team leader; he kept his emotions in check and demanded accountability from everyone) and Chi-Hang who managed the game as a true point guard should – scoring when needed and distributing as designed. Diogo contributed strong rebounding while Denny completed the triple towers combining toughness and finishing ability in the post. Matthew was a needed spark-plug throughout the tournament – providing clutch shooting and frenetic defense while Richie was hard nosed, steady and consistent. Alex earned playing time with his heads up and energetic play while Jason and David received well earned minutes and stepped up as well. The finale was a bookend to the beginning of the tournament – with your Dragons against QSI again. SCIS PD jumped out to a quick lead (10-1) – but were unable to extend it due to a number of missed free throws. QSI is a very athletic team and they work hard each possession. As we missed our foul shots they started to convert baskets and the lead shrank. QSI got into a bit of foul trouble in the middle of the game as they were determined to play aggressively (I had heard one of their coaches discussing earlier that they felt they could get our players unnerved with aggressive play) and were able to tie us and take the lead. Late in the game Ryan Michael hit some open jumpers and we were able to get a small lead back. During the last minute or so Chi-Hang Li kept getting put on the line with our team up only by 1 point – and he kept knocking down free throws to keep the lead at at least 3. It was one of the best displays of clutch free throw shooting I have seen. After the dust settled your Dragons had gone through a historically tough ACAMIS tournament UN-DE-FEAT-ED on both sides of the draw; a very impressive accomplishment. We play this game to win, to excel, to grow, to learn, and to develop. On and off the court your DRAGONS were the class of the ACAMIS Orange Division basketball tournament and that is a testament to each and everyone one of you; how you interact with, lead and TEACH these young adults! We won – and won with class These gentlemen and young ladies interacted with the opposition and officials with the utmost Continue on page 33…


Spicing Up Romance Language


have consistently witnessed disinclination on the part of many high school students to the foreign language requirement. The whining complaints “I hate grammar!” or “do we really need to learn verb conjugations?” will forever echo within me. Through trial and error, I have determined the cause of this disenchantment: grammar intensive lessons. Students become disinterested and unmotivated to learn fundamental Spanish grammar concepts when they have no connection to the culture. Through exposure to the rich and vibrant culture of the Spanish-speaking world, students develop a genuine interest for learning the language and grammar becomes the key to unlock the door to communication. Students need to develop a connection to the culture pertaining to the target language, and we continually integrate authentic learning experiences in our Spanish classes. These authentic learning experiences consist of a broad range from musical creations, dance interpretations, role-plays, culinary experiments, etc. Beginning Spanish students are creating interactive ABC books to

teach one another about the phonetics of the language. Students are incorporating a cultural theme (cuisine, sports, holidays, etc.) to teach the rest of the class about a cultural aspect that especially interests them. IB Spanish students have examined environmental issues in Spanish speaking countries and they are assessing the morality surrounding the idea of an ecological footprint. Currently we are comparing and contrasting advancements in alternative energy sources of the Spanish speaking world and those of our home countries. Teaching foreign language in an International School is certainly a unique position. The students bring a wide variety of linguistic skills and experiences to the table, and this results in a wonderfully dynamic learning environment. by CLAIRE PAULSON Pudong Campus Upper School Spanish Teacher

…Continue from page 32 respect, and played the game the way it was meant to be played, with desire, commitment and perspiration! We have great kids at our school. I cannot count how many times a home-stay parent approached me and commented on how great our kids were. They were humble and gracious in their guests homes. They made friends easily and supported others from opposing schools when they were engaged in competition. The ACAMIS tournament was a success for SCIS not because we won (though the players deserve a ton of credit for the hard work and effort that went into that) but because they passed the test. There is no better form of authentic assessment of what is the true purpose of school – to develop young adults of character and worth – than to take these young adults into a different ‘real world’ situation and see how they behave. This weekend, this school, these learners, passed that test with flying colors (and that color is green – DRAGON GREEN). These SCIS DRAGONS are always first!

Congratulations to the ACAMIS Orange Division boys and girls CHAMPIONS – and to all of you who helped them get there. Go Dragons! By MIKE DENEEF Pudong Campus Upper School Athletic/Activities Director 33


‌Continue from page 7

Use appropriate tools strategically Pencil and paper have been the tools that mathematicians (and students) have used for years to solve problems. Students should also learn when to use other tools that allow for more efficient and complete exploration of problems than pencil and paper provide. Some students have used dynamic geometry software to discover the properties of polygons themselves. Other students used clay to make physical models of solids of revolution before analyzing them using integral calculus. These applications of high-level thinking encourage our students to select the right tools to answer the questions they have about the world around them. Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them Many questions worth answering do not have a single right answer. Other questions require multiple attempts to find a solution given their complexity and depth. Learning to ask the right questions and appreciating mistakes are the sort of positive learning attitudes teachers help students develop through their work together. Students must manage different representations of data in graph, table, or algebraic models. They must understand the strengths that each representation provides in communicating meaning. Identifying that one type of function better models a phenomenon than another leads to more precise results and more reliable conclusions. Students also grow to understand that every mistake along the way toward a correct answer is an opportunity for growth.


Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others One of the first things students learn when they enter our classrooms is that simply obtaining an answer is not sufficient for indicating true understanding. Effectively communicating the processes of obtaining an answer, verifying the correctness of an answer, or extending the meaning of that answer to a bigger context are also important elements of the entire process. Students in Math 9 have learned to write proofs of geometric statements using concepts of postulates, theorems, and properties. Class discussions in all of our courses focus on making the thinking behind an answer visible whenever possible. In the process of constructing arguments about their work, students gain valuable understanding of how to effectively communicate their ideas with others that may not agree. Conclusion These skills, like our ESLRs, are essential for maintaining a community of informed citizens in today’s society. Calculations are certainly part of the processes associated with these skills. These calculations, however, are a small piece of a much bigger and consequential picture that the mathematical habits mentioned here serve to frame. These habits are what students will remember long after they have forgotten how to differentiate a function or find the dimensions of a matrix. They are what we hope they will bring to their future careers, regardless of where or what those careers might be. It is for this reason we strive to develop these habits here at HIS. Whether or not a student can multiply two digit numbers in his or her head is not the point. Knowing how a decision might be better informed by making such a calculation is instead what I value among my students.


Seconds? Yes Please!


t SCIS, like many schools, we encourage students to learn a second language. In fact many students arrive in Shanghai already bilingual. While our Mandarin program teaches children the importance of the Chinese culture, it also does far more than that. Learning a second language goes well beyond being able to communicate with your neighbors, there are life long positive effects of becoming bilingual, trilingual, and so on. So what are the reasons we encourage learners to study other languages? Experts from the American Council of Teachers of Foreign Languages have conducted multiple studies regarding the amount of time students invest studying a foreign language. The results of their studies demonstrate that taking a foreign language is linked to higher scores on standardized tests. Additionally, they’ve indicated taking a foreign language contributes to increased scores on reading level assessments, the ability children have to hypothesize about topics in Science, an increase in memory, and a greater development of problem solving skills. Additionally, other research has shown that those who are bilingual are better at multi-tasking and have longer attention spans. These factors contribute to an extension of classroom accomplishments and academic success for scholars who work

to become bilingual. Most research also suggests that students who learn a second language are much more capable of learning a third or fourth language as well. It’s important for students to take part in the entire process of learning a language and apply what they’re learning. Opposed to simply relying on a translator, which lacks a strong foundation for retention. As many of us know it can be intimidating and or embarrassing to try and communicate with someone when we’re unfamiliar with the language everyone else around us is using. Additionally, not understanding or knowing what is being said can cause people to get upset or become frustrated. The quick fix is to use an app for a quick translation. However, actually going through the process of acquiring the language skills opposed to simply looking up terms goes a long way to providing a more successful academic experience. Furthermore students typically take pride in their work and enjoy displaying their ability to apply and use other languages in different settings. It is this sense of accomplishment that provides our scholars with a solid foundation of knowledge, the skills necessary to effectively communicate and an increase in their global and community appreciation. By BRIAN E. BYRNE Pudong Campus Lower School Vice Principal

Improved WiFi access By the time this article gets distributed, we should have completed our WiFi SSID redeployment. For a number of years, SCIS-HIS schools have run WiFi connections on each campus for our students and teachers to access the Internet to use web applications and to access online educational resources. We have also allowed parents to use the WiFi while on campus primarily to check our website and respond to personal emails. The dependency for Internet and WiFi use has increased. To that, end we have increased our bandwidth over the years but have also noticed a marked increase in the number of non-educational devices now connecting and using bandwidth for non-educational uses. Each campus had a different set of WiFi network names (SSIDs - Service Set IDentifiers) with different passwords which made it difficult to manage especially when users moved between campuses such as for swimming meets.

Student, Staff and Guest. We will not publicize passwords for these WiFi networks. All school devices will connect to either Student or Staff – we can remotely push and reconfigure the WiFi connection information to our school devices. Any non-school device can connect to the Guest SSID. This has NO password. This also has a restricted bandwidth. Student, parent, staff and visitor iPads, iPhones, PDAs, personal computers etc. will use the restricted Guest SSID. When we run conferences a fourth SSID, called Conference, will be made available to participants. The aim of this WiFi redeployment is to focus our bandwidth to be used for educational purposes and to improve the quality of our educational service. By JOHN WISHART Director of Technology

We will have 3 SSIDs across all our campuses.


MARCH 16 -23

Coming to SCIS-HIS Campuses Visiting Authors: Rumana Husain is the author of Karachiwala a subcontinent within a city, about Karachi’s diverse communities. Co-founded The Bookgroup in 1988 and has, over the years, written and illustrated more than 50 children’s books and numerous teachers’ manuals for several publishers, including the Oxford University Press.

David Robert Gray is a Canadian researcher, writer and filmmaker, specializing in the areas of environment, parks, local history and arctic ecology for 45 years. He holds a PhD from the University of Alberta, and was a museum scientist and curator for 21 years. His research interests include the history of Arctic exploration, Arctic mammals and early immigration from India to Canada.



Book Recommendations for All Ages From Josh Balli (ECE Librarian)

From Frank Stone (HQ US Librarian)

Sweet Tooth

Junkyard Planet

Synopsis: a tooth that can literally speak, demands lots and lots of sugar from Stewart. This causes him to get in big trouble from his friends, family and teachers.

Synopsis: $500 billion annually— roughly the GDP of Norway—that’s the value of the world recycling industry. What happens to your old Christmas tree lights, or car, or soda can after it is used up? Find out in Junkyard Planet.

by Margie Palatini Ages Kindergarten-Grade 3

Mr Balli’s Take: In children’s fiction, a good author/illustrator team is a thing of beauty. When I was a child the team of Roald Dahl and Quinton Blake were a pairing that few, if any, have ever matched. The team of author Margie Palatini and illustrator Jack E Davis is about as close a combination as we have today in my opinion. Together they combine to make the hilarious book Sweet Tooth. Stewart is a boy that has a sweet tooth, and no, not one that is a figure of speech, but a literal, whining, crying, demanding and annoying sweet tooth. He wants sugar and he wants it now! Stewart tries to keep the sweet tooth at bay and hilarity ensues as a result. Other books by the Palatini/Davis team that I would recommend are Bed Head and Goldilocks and the Three Hairs. From Carole Mondin (HQ LS Librarain)

Project Mulberry by Linda Sue Park For ages 9-12

Synopsis: Julia Song and her friend Patrick want to team up to win a blue ribbon at the state fair, but they can’t agree on the perfect project. Then Julia’s mother suggests they raise silkworms as she did years ago in Korea. The optimistic twosome quickly realizes that raising silkworms is a lot tougher than they thought. And Julia never suspected that she’d be discussing the fate of her and Patrick’s project with Ms. Park, the author of this book! Ms. Carole’s Take: Ms. Park has outdone herself. I loved her award winning Newbery medal winner Single Shard and was thrilled to read Project Mulberry. The twist in this book is that Ms. Park has a dialogue with Julia, the main character, at the end of most chapters. Authors rarely know exactly how a book is going to turn out, and this technique gives us a view of how characters develop. A concurrent theme of racism is dealt in a child sensitive manner.

By Adam Minter Ages 14-Adult

Frank’s take: Adam Minter has been a Shanghai local for years and has kept a fascinating blog at, which I have followed for over 4 years. In his new book, Minter goes into detail on the recycling industry as he has seen it during his travels all over the country. How did he end up writing about this specific industry? He grew up in a family that was in the recycling business, and that helps him uncover fascinating stories from the business here in China. Check out his new book to learn more about what’s really behind the recycling industry!! Adam Minter will also appear at the Shanghai Literary Festival on March 9 and he writes a column for Bloomberg Worldview. From Middle School recommendation

Prisoner B-3087 By Alan Gratz Ages 12-20

Synopsis: Yanek Gruener wakes up one morning to find his city of Krakow, Poland occupied by the Nazis. He watches as his freedoms are slowly taken away, schools are closed, the movie theater and library become off-limits to him, and eventually he ends up in a concentration camp. Yanek’s story, which is based on a true story, tells the tale of how he survived WWII after being a prisoner in 10 different concentration camps. Frank’s take: This book, based on a true story, instantly puts the reader in the shoes of a 10 year old Jewish boy living in occupied Poland. In short, powerful chapters, Alan Gratz explores what it is like to see your world turned upside down. Along the way he makes history lessons real, and readers experiences the terror of losing their freedom, and the real possibility of losing their life. If you are looking for a captivating, dramatic historical fiction book about WWII consider Prisoner B-3087. 37


Mr G.

Golden Dragon LEGEND


r. Randy Girdner has been at SCIS Pudong for the past 6 years. He is currently the IB Film Teacher, Theory of Knowledge Teacher, and 9th Grade English teacher. Besides getting to teach some of the coolest classes and having one of the coolest looking classrooms, Mr. G is known for having some cool stories to tell. I was able to get him to recently sit down with me…

You have been at SCIS a long time: what kept bringing you back to teach here year after year? SCIS has a unique student body and the amount of freedom that I’ve been offered as a teacher to really try to figure out the best way for students to learn was a major bonus of the school. I’ve been allowed to experiment and create programs that, I think, have really benefited the students in various ways.

Wow. Actually, can you give us a second story? Nope. That is the end-all, be-all story of all time.

Tell me what your secret is to being able to have time to excel at all these different passions? Discipline—pure and simple. When other people feel like surfing the net or binge-watching the latest season of “Breaking Bad,” I am writing. Lots of people talk about doing various things…running a marathon, writing a book, reading War and Peace…but the only way to actually achieve your goals is to start and finish, pure and simple. You may not be great at it all the time, but consistency produces results and hones your skills. If only I could find someone to pay me to hone my skills, I would be a happy man.

What are your plans for the future? We are headed to Bangladesh to teach at the American International School of Dhaka, which, knowing my track record with mosquitoes (I almost died from malaria while living in Africa), should leave me with a crippling case of Dengue fever within the first six months. If I survive that, I will continue to be a teacher until somebody either hires me to be an Imagineer at Disney (hint, hint) or I sell one of the movies that I’ve written (hint, hint). Tracey and I are overseas for life.

Rumor has it you actually lived in Shanghai before you worked at SCIS...(or was it that this is your second stint at SCIS…I forget… but run with this), so what is your favorite China story from your time here? Oh, so many stories over the years. My favorite China story is Talk to me about some of the changes you have seen at SCIS seeing the Yanan ring road being built over the course of what Pudong since you started till now. appeared to me to be eight months in 1998. I also remember my Well, we started at SCIS when the entire school was housed in first trip on the Shanghai subway (Line 1) when it was the ONLY the Lower School. When we arrived, the Upper School was sim- subway in the city. Oh, and I was almost arrested in Tibet for ply a hole in the ground. But over the course of six months, they (unknowingly) videotaping a Chinese military base. My life is so managed to build the entire building. In the time since, we’ve interesting! Don’t you all wish you were me? seen the completion of the auditorium and various classrooms, as well as the place becoming a lived-in facility that is a real hub Your wife also teaches at the school (Tracey Ramsey is the middle for the community. school band teacher). Very few people in the world get to work with their spouse. Tell me what that is like. You’re an author, artist, teacher, father, publisher….are you trying MY WIFE IS A WONDERFUL HUMAN BEING AND I WOULD to challenge Hilary Clinton for the Twitter Bio Championship Belt? NEVER SAY ANYTHING BAD ABOUT HER. RIGHT, HONEY? My goal is to be the most creative human being alive. If only I RIGHT? The truth of the matter is that we are still married, so could find someone to pay me to be that person, I would be a it can’t be all that bad. She tolerates me. Why? Because of my happy man. extraordinary good looks.

We know this is your last year here at SCIS (we’re going to miss you), so I think you owe us at least one of your favorite SCIS stories. I have one, singular, story that is, hands-down, legendary…not just in terms of SCIS, but with teaching and/or life in general. A story so unbelievable that it is difficult to fathom that it actually happened. But I cannot tell that story here. I can, however, offer you a hint: It happened on our London theater trip in 2011. If you dig, you can find out what happened, but I won’t tell you. 38

Last question: what are you going to miss the most when you leave SCIS and Shanghai? The thing I will miss most about Shanghai? My wonderful and glorious ayi…Gu Ping. She is truly the most wonderful human being on the planet, and she has become a part of our family in such a unique way. If we could take her with us, we would. Other than that, it will be the students. Though they fear THE WRATH OF MR. G, I really do enjoy teaching them. As I’ve always said, it won’t be the KIDS that run me out of teaching, it will be the ADULTS.


Diary of Santa’s Elf Visiting the HZ PAFA Christmas Bazaar Dear Diary, After so many hours in the workshops, I finally left the North Pole today! The head elf was busy with the North America toys, so I was told to go with Santa to a place called Hangzhou, in China. Can you imagine? Me? China! Apparently this party happens every year. Some lovely creature called PAFA organizes it for all the girls and boys, and people come from far and wide to see it. The head elf usually gets to go. Was I glad that the North America lot messed up the presents! The moment we dove under the clouds our poor reindeer started to choke on the horrible horrible pollution. There was so much smog we could barely see Rudolph’s nose. For a moment, I thought we would turn around, which would be a terrible shame for the 258 children we had loaded the sleigh up with presents for. But Santa refused and steered us through the darkness with the help of Rudolph’s nose. Finally, a big blue roof came in sight through the smog, and we landed safely. I have never seen so many humans in one place! The PAFA creature had told us to expect 266 adults and 258 children, but there were so many more! Despite this horrible air! Santa and I quickly unloaded the sack and brought the presents into the gym. Oh, diary, I’ve never seen so much Christmas spirit in one place! A choir of younger children filled the hall with Christmas songs. There were people selling all sorts of things, clothes, baskets stacked more skillfully than on our sleigh, the most amazing smelling food, drinks, and handmade things. There were children painting pots and clay animals in the brightest colours,. There was a man making beautiful paintings out of letters.

And there were more people telling us about the fun things to do in Hangzhou. Unfortunately, Santa wouldn’t let me join in or go see. We were there to give the children presents, after all. A lovely lady with a T-shirt that said PAFA – they weren’t a creature after all, but lots of lovely people in red PAFA T-shirts! – brought Santa to his throne. The children lined up to see us. So many nice children, diary! None on the naughty list! Oh, I almost forgot to tell you about the food! All the parents had made food from their countries. There was so much! And it all smelled so good! When Santa wasn’t looking I secretly tried some. There was so much I couldn’t choose, so I ate too much... Finally, after more hours than I can remember, Santa thought it was time to go home. All the children had, happy with their presents. The PAFA people stayed behind to clean, together with the people in grey who I was told were the cleaners. They all worked so hard! Maybe I’ll slip them an extra candy in their presents as a thank you. I know they want to say a thank you to all the lovely people who helped out!

PAFA NEWS SCIS-HIS has parent organizations called the Parents and Friends Association (PAFA) on each campus. PAFA serves as a way that parents can communicate ideas for the betterment of the school to the administration and Board. SCIS and HIS are proud of the high level of parents participation in their schools and value their partnership with the parent community. PAFA conducts various activities, from community events to charity fundraisers to volunteer support for teachers and students. Each campus has a PAFA board who works closely with each campus’ administrations to plan events that help to make SCIS-HIS schools a unique experience for families, faculty, and students alike. We are always welcoming new members! For more information about PAFA, please contact us at: Hangzhou PAFA President: LS co-Presidents: Miranda Kwan & Jerry Joseph US President: Francis Spiekerman US Vice-President: Amy Nash Information about our activities: Contact us at:

Well, that was my day, diary. I do hope North America messes up again next year. I would like to go again next year!

Hongqiao PAFA President: HQ PAFA Co-President: Mun Chang

Much love

Event Coordinator: Donna Bose

Elsie, the elf

Pudong PAFA Chairs: Lower School: Lauren Pitts, Katie Berkaw,


Upper School: Sandra Machan Weili Vlas,

Parents and Friends Association





Alumni Association

Alumni Mission: The SCIS-HIS Alumni Association has been established in order to foster the continued cordial relations of the SCIS-HIS community. The Alumni Association seeks to generate and maintain the active interest of all SCIS-HIS alumni in its regular business. It will provide the alumni with regular opportunities to assemble and maintain valued relationships through the promotion of alumni events and communications.

Alumni Contact: Jonathan Paulson

Alumni Requirements: 1. Graduated from a SCIS-HIS school OR 2. Went to school here for at least one year AND be over 18

Social Media facebook site: SCISandHISalumni Linkedin site: SCISHIS-Alumni-4757677

Upcoming Events June 2014 in Shanghai

Alumni Winter Reunion The official, and annual, Alumni Winter Reunion went down Saturday December 21st at the Boxing Cat in Shanghai. Nearly twenty different Alumni showed up, and each class and campus were represented. People enjoyed catching up with friends, playing pool, and the festive atmosphere. The next official Alumni Reunion will be in the Summer. We’d love to see you there!

Class of 2008 Notes Class Ambassador Jason Dwi In May 2012, James Gerber graduated from Chaminade University, in Honolulu, Hawai’i with a major in Communications. Growing up in different major cities in Asia and relocating to the U. S. for University has taught him to be independent and proactive. Living in Hawaii for the past six and a half years has been a true journey, and he has learned the true meaning of the Aloha spirit. Enjoying the benefits of living in “Paradise,” James has been body boarding, swimming, eating healthy, and playing a lot of basketball. He is currently working as a Lead Sports Instructor for Early Starters Hawaii and a Physical Education Teacher at Ka’ahumanu Elementary School. He is pursuing his Masters with the goal of becoming an Athletic Director at an International School or University in Asia. Mikael Masson graduated from UBC with a degree in Commerce in the traditional 4 undergrad years. Instead of pursuing additional education, Mikael decided to gain work experience. After making a go of it with different internships in Vancouver, he decided to come back to the place it all started —Shanghai. He got a six month paid internship in commerce here which upon conclusion became a full time job. He is currently continuing his studies at Donghua University, focusing on Chinese with the end goal in mind to be 100% business fluent. Eunice Steyn has now finished his studies at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, graduating with a degree in political science and international relations. He even returned to China in 2012 for a six month language course at Nanjing University. He is now pursuing a legal career at a leading law firm in South Africa, spending his spare time traveling, visiting friends, and running road races. Sam (Young-Gi) Moon is now studying Urban Planning and Design in Hong Ik University—one of the hottest places in Seoul. Sam likes the idea of being an architect of a whole city and planning out his “ideal city.” Many countries are trying to develop their cities efficiently and modernly, and Sam sees a lot of career opportunities in this field as he has just now completed his military service in the Air Force.



David Wang remembers his time studying with fellow SCIS graduates Mikael Masson and Jason Dwi at University British Columbia fondly. He is currently working as an Enterprise Risk Consultant in Canada. Over the past couple months he has gone snowboarding at Whistler, visited his hometown in Taiwan, and traveled on a cruise to Alaska. Fellow UBC graduate Jason Dwi armed with a degree in History and Economics decided that he would like to pursue

a career in Asia. He liked his time in Vancouver, but decided that he just missed Asia too much and Shanghai the most. The nostalgia quickly worse off though as he came into a bit of shock trying to adjust from the slow pace of Vancouver to the fast pace of Shanghai. After interviewing for a couple different positions, Jason accepted an internship back at his alma mater SCIS. Now he works as an Admissions Officer at the Hongqiao Campus and enjoys working at the school that has given him so much.

Class of 2009 Notes

Class of 2010 Notes

2009 Class Ambassador: Tiffany Davis

2010 Class Ambassador: Kolina Kretzschmar

Class of 2011 Notes

Class of 2012 Notes

2011 Class Ambassador: Open email Alumni Coordinator to inquire

2012 Class Ambassador: Open email Alumni Coordinator to inquire

Class of 2013 Notes 2010 Class Ambassador: Tara Kung Anais Gallet is continuing her Mathematics studies at the University of Bristol. Having recently written her first exams, she is now awaiting the results. This month she is also rehearsing intensely for an upcoming dance performance, which she is very excited about.

an election to become the Vice President Membership of the Rotman Commerice Toastmaster next year in addition to being recruited as a volunteer for the incoming annual Rotman International Trade Competition. She is looking forward to forging friendships from top business schools all around the world.

Tara Kung in the midst of completing an honours doublemajor program at McGill University in pharmacology and psychology and has deferred the university’s winter semester due to her present fulfillment of 2 academic years’ worth of university credits, and is currently in Dallas researching alongside Royal Creek Psychiatric Association and an MIT Alumni group. Next month she will be traveling to Ghana to complete a volunteer trip. Her long-term career goals are comprised of plans to acquire a J.D. in patent law from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. elsewhere in the field of pharmacology acquiescing to an integrative patent law career in pharmaceuticals.

Shermaine Sng has settled comfortably into the environment of University of Toronto and is working hard at a double major in psychology and sociology with a minor in philosophy.

Being at Kingston for more than 6 months now, Sonia Elmabrouk has finally settled into University life and is fully enjoying it. She says the law course is a challenge but is also one of the best decisions she’s ever made. Zi Yao is at Rotman Comererce University of Toronto right now. She says it is a school where they eat snow for breakfast and use the library as bedrooms. But despite the cold weather and stressful workload, she is enjoying her time there, citing the people, the culture, and the food as her comforts. We all owe her a congratulations as she just won

Jared Lonergan is currently studying athletic training at Winona State. Nicole Lee reports from Manhattan that she loves New York City so much! She has her first exhibition in SoHo and is working part time at a celebrity restaurant. Sanghui Park enjoyed returning to Shanghai for the winter holiday with the family and enjoyed spending the past 6 months getting to know different people in the dormitories. YooRim Lee is just starting college life now as the first semester in Korea starts in the Spring and will be working at a TA in one of the biggest English Academies in Korea. Reporting from Concordia University in Montreal, Richard Han is enjoying studying Math and Stats. He plans to switch into the Computer Science program and pursue a career in software development and is pondering a Masters as well.



Language Schools at SCIS Pudong A world of opportunities await!


t SCIS, we recognize that native language fluency is an important predictor for overall academic success. To help meet the needs of diverse learners, we provide after school mother tongue instruction in a variety of languages. Our goal is to facilitate language instruction to the Shanghai community by providing foreign language teachers, resources, and a venue for students to continue developing their first language. The program aims to offer similar curriculum and instruction to what students would receive in their home country. Lessons are differenciated across learning needs with instruction targeting reading, writing, and oral language. This focus in turn supports students’ English language learning. The language program provides a context for students and families to develop friendships and celebrate cultural traditions. We have found our language schools to be highly successful and enriching for all who participate. SCIS Pudong offers the above native language classes to all students of Shanghai. Classes are taught by experienced teachers from their respective home countries and held after school. Look inside for more information on the opportunities available for your family.

Information and contacts for each program

Dutch School “De Oranje Draak” Classes held: Monday 12:00-3:00 (3-4 year olds) Wednesday 12:15-3:15 (5 year olds) Wednesday 4:00-6:15 (6-16 year olds) Contact: Christa Sterk

Swedish School Classes held Tuesday 4:00-6:00 Contact: Anna Lindquistanna.

Brazilian Portuguese School Classes held Mondays 4:00-5:30 Contact: Maiko Ferrazmaiko.

Danish School Classes held Mondays and Tuesdays 4:00-5:30 Contact: Charlotte Jensen

French School Classes held Mondays 3:15-4:45 Contact: - Sandrine Rundströmsandrine.

Finnish School Classes held Saturdays 9:30-12:00 Contact: Liisa-Mari Heinonen

German School Classes held Mondays 4:00-5:30 Contact: Daniel Jubert 42


Emily, Grade 11 Varsity Soccer Goalie Aspiring journalism major

PROVIDING OPPORTUNITIES THAT ARE JUST RIGHT… Tour our state-of-the-art facilities by calling 86-571-8669-0045 NURSERY – GRADE 12 44

The International School of Choice

SCIS-HIS Communitas Magazine February issue 2014  
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