25 November 2022
Dear Parents and community members,
End of Term Updates
I write to you today to give you all an update on our exciting and successful first term here at Shanghai International School and to invite you to attend the upcoming Parent Teacher Conference (PTC) on 3 December.
Shanghai Singapore International School continues its mission to provide an authentic learning environment for our future global leaders where lifelong learning with the strength of character and a love for humanity lays the foundation for excellence.
We believe that it is our responsibility to develop in our students, the necessary character traits and qualities that will help them achieve balance in their academic journey and their personal & social growth and development.
All our divisions have been actively engaged in learning this term and we are all very proud of the students’ progress.
Our preschool teaching staff has skilfully reviewed, enhanced, and implemented our new world-class literacy programme and have seamlessly scaffolded a strong transitional base for our K2 students in preparation for Grade 1. This early preparation and intervention will certainly equip our students well for future learning.
The preschool learning environment has also seen an upgrade with the addition of our Discovery Zones and enhanced learning resources to enable students to actively inquire, ask questions and have fun!
Our preschool aesthetics team has also introduced an enhanced Music and Movement programme. Our youngest Sabres love engaging with music and movement. It helps them express their feelings and emotions, learn to work in groups and develop their self-confidence and imagination. This programme also helps children develop skills such as cognitive growth, problem-solving, self-expression and social development. Without music and movement in early childhood education, a child’s learning is incomplete. I am very proud of this new and improved curriculum offering.
Dr Sonia Barghani and the preschool team also recognise the importance of a well-balanced and holistic education. To support this understanding, the preschool will be introducing a nature-based programme to encourage our young learners to explore the wonderful world around them. In the structured, busy and technologically advanced world we live in, the role of outdoor play should not be forgotten. Nature play is any activity that gets children active or thinking actively outdoors, with the end goal of building skills and the ability to play and learn. There are many benefits associated with a nature-based programme. These include:
- Improved classroom behaviour;
- Increased student motivation and enthusiasm to learn;
- Better performance in maths, science, reading and social studies;
- Reduced Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD);
- Improved balance and hand-eye coordination
- Improved self-regulation
- Enhanced problem-solving skills
- Increased physical activity
- Stronger social connections
- Higher scores on standardised tests (including college entrance exams)
This is set to be a wonderful and important inclusion in our preschool programme.
It has been a very strong start to the school year for our Primary Students.
One small but very successful change to our Primary Division has been the introduction of morning and afternoon homeroom times. This time is allowing our students and teachers to form stronger and more authentic bonds. It is also providing time where teachers can model and guide students through our learner attributes, work on social behaviours and expectations and help our primary students reflect on and prepare for upcoming work and events.
Learning Resource – MyOn Reader
This term, our Primary students have also gained access to more than 5,000 fiction and non-fiction books on our learning platform MyOn reader. This initiative is supporting all our students in the Primary Division. It allows them to develop their reading skills and personal reading interests. This invaluable resource successfully partners with our English curriculum here at SSIS.
Cambridge Primary English curriculum
This term, all Primary Students from Grade 1 are using the Cambridge Primary English curriculum. This curriculum promotes an inquiry-based approach to learning to develop learners’ confidence, creativity and intellectual engagement. The curriculum framework provides a comprehensive set of progressive learning objectives for English. The learning objectives detail what a learner should know, understand and be able to do in each year of primary education. The Cambridge Primary English Curriculum Framework provides a solid foundation from which learners can confidently transition to our Cambridge Lower Secondary Programme in Senior school.
MAP Assessment Tool
This term the Primary Division has also begun utilising the MAP assessment tool. MAP stands for Measures of Academic Performance. These “smart” tests, adapt to each student’s level of learning, meaning they are not too hard or too easy, and they give us a more accurate picture of the skills each student has mastery of or are ready to start developing. This information allows our teachers to 1) better plan for individual learners, 2) compare our school to others in China and the world and 3) enhance our pedagogy to cater for continuous improvement.
Public speaking and leadership opportunities have also been a focus in term 1 for the Primary Division. Communication and the opportunity to lead are vital components of student development at SSIS. We believe it allows students to form connections, influence decisions, and motivate change. Seeing our student leaders speaking publicly during class time and at Primary assemblies has been so wonderful.
English Language Acquisition (ELA)
For English Language Acquisition (ELA), we look forward to boosting the programme time to include additional language learning time outside of school hours, in order to ensure effective language acquisition for our students, starting in the new academic year.
Academic and Wellbeing Support
Our Senior Division team has also achieved some exceptional outcomes this term. One significant enhancement has been the targeted support for our students who may need both academic support and enrichment. Our new Director of Student Services has analysed and reviewed student caseloads and has created individualised learning plans for identified senior students. Many aspects of student life, on an academic, social or cultural level, are becoming more challenging to understand and manage due to the impact of Covid, lockdowns and restrictions. Because of this, the school now has developed a more systematic approach to creating efficient student services that are focused on individual students, in order to provide the required support for academic success and higher levels of student wellbeing.
The Senior School English department has also enhanced its Grade 8 and 9 English programmes and believes that the modifications will ensure future success for all students and allow staff to monitor and track the progress of students more efficiently. The team intends to formally track all students using external standardised assessment tools. This will allow all teachers to better reflect on results, create individualised plans and enable more detailed and tailor-made feedback for students and parents.
Senior School student leadership opportunities have also expanded this term. Mr Steven Gaynor has introduced a new House Captain structure to give our student leaders a platform for change. These positions not only allow students the opportunity to model confident leadership, resilience and responsibility, they also encourage younger students to aspire and learn from peer examples. House Captains play a vital role in their school by developing a sense of house community through the planning and leading of a range of inter-house activities across the school. Our leaders are responsible for developing inter-house competitions and finding exciting ways of promoting their house identity.
Student Data Analysis and Profilling
Mr Gaynor and the Heads of Departments have also been busy preparing a five-year analysis of all ICGSE and IB results. They are using this long-term data of student achievement to better monitor and predict student targets and grades. Along with this, the ICT department is creating individualised real-time online student profile that visually display progress and attainment. This is allowing our teachers to better monitor and reflect on their own pedagogical approaches and the way in which these teaching methods influence achievement.
Wellbeing and Pastoral Care Programme
Finally, the Senior Division has successfully implemented a new whole division wellbeing and pastoral care programme. Our counsellors have worked very hard to plan a holistic programme that covers and explicitly addresses core aspects of social and emotional development. This programme is being conducted through form time and allows our form teachers to develop more meaningful relations with our young adults. There is recognition that pastoral care/wellbeing and academic progress are linked. The physical, emotional, cognitive and social elements of a person’s life cannot be treated in isolation. What happens in one domain will affect what happens in one or more of the others and it is also suggested that students “don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”. We believe effective academic learning within a school context cannot be separated from the exercise of effective wellbeing. Therefore, a commitment to excellence in academic performance at SSIS must be accompanied by a commitment to excellence in physical health, social competence, and emotional resilience. This is a very important addition to the Senior Division.
This term our aesthetics team has also enhanced its options and opportunities for our students. We truly believe that all the world’s a stage and in today’s disrupted world, the arts truly matter. At SSIS, we are showing that the arts is a way to celebrate individuality, creativity and to build social-emotional learning.
Our teachers have been working very hard on curriculum design and implementation which has seen enhancements to all divisions. In particular, the team is proud to announce that they are just launching a new music programme in Preschool that will allow our students to develop and learn about the skills and fundamental knowledge needed for Primary School.
This term they have been many opportunities for our Aesthetics team to showcase our student’s talents. These opportunities include:
- The development of our Sabres Crew Creative and student-led Visual Art projects across the school
- Our amazing student performances at our annual International Family Bazaar
- The successful implementation of our Primary Division Artist-in-Residence programme
- Preschool assemblies showcasing the arts
- IGCSE music recitals
- The SSIS Christmas Gala and Christmas Tree lighting event
This term our sports and activities programme has successfully participated in a host of internal and external competitions and tournaments including football, basketball and volleyball. Our dedicated coaching staff has supported our students, explicitly teaching them new skills and have worked tirelessly to provide as many opportunities as possible for our students. It has been said that a sound mind dwells only in a sound body. And a healthy and strong body is not possible without sports. This ideology continues to aspire our Sabre teams as together they truly demonstrate what “Stronger Together” means.
Our growing swim team continues to flourish and is set to officially host its first official swim meet very soon. Our swimmers are going to commence with their morning swim squad training next week. This dedication is highly desirable and helps students understand the true meaning of commitment and resilience. I have no doubt that this extra work will gain enormous results. There are also a number of exciting opportunities that will be offered to our SSIS students in the very near future. Some of them include:
- The relaunch of the annual SSIS student golf tournament
- CCA golf opportunities (on the course)
- Attending upcoming ACAMIS tournaments
- Parent PEP opportunities for swim and golf
- Kindergarten ASP Session 2 offerings
- Hosting interschool invitational tournaments in Terms 2 and 3
Finally, at SSIS we understand that sport plays the role of a catalyst by complementing our student’s ability to focus as well as learn about teamwork and perseverance. I look forward to supporting all our students to actively participate in more sports and activities that will be offered to them in Term 2 and 3. Make sure you keep an eye out for our many and varied sporting opportunities.
A sincere thank you to all parents for your unwavering support and loyalty to our incredible school. Your input and interactions with staff are highly valued and I truly believe that with our steadfast commitment to our students we will continue to develop in our students the necessary character traits and qualities that will transform them into the future global leaders that we all see within them.
Re-enrolment for AY2023/2024
Over the coming days and weeks, please ensure you complete the re-enrolment steps needed for you to secure your child’s place at Shanghai Singapore International School next year on OpenApply (OA). Pay attention to key deadlines and if you need any support in completing the process, please reach out to our Admissions team at firstname.lastname@example.org The re-enrolment process will commence on 1 December, do keep a look out for the first email from the OpenApply platform.
Mr David Shirley
Head of School