The HS Blog has gone through a significant overhaul so as to streamline our communication. We hope you like the shift. Some resources previously found on this blog site are now located here on the ISM main website. The HS Blog will be used for weekly parent communication in the High School so please check back each Friday for updates below.

HS Friday Bulletin August 17

To access the full bulletin, please click here: HS Friday Bulletin August 17


Dear Parents and Guardians,

I’d like to start this week by recognizing the hard work and effort that went into another excellent Open House last Tuesday – It started in the FAT, with Dance Co. displaying their considerable talent with a dance that they’ve only had a week to put together. Thanks Dance Co. and thanks Yek Barlongay, who never fails to produce amazing performances from her girls and boys – next year, we have Mr. Nazareno’s Jazz Band to look forward to. After I left the FAT, I wandered the halls trying to get parents to class on time and I was struck by the buzz of excitement and happiness that you, the parents, were displaying; so thanks for that. I realize it is an incredibly busy evening to fit all 9 classes into a little over 2 hours; you all did really well! Thanks also to the teachers for being able to cover so much in a short 10-minute lesson. It is all so worth-while, when so many parents brave the Manila traffic and come to school for events like these. Well done!

Wednesday was “Club Expo” – an opportunity for students to sign-up to join one of the 60+ clubs that we offer here at school and which are all run by students. It was busy up in the Lofthouse as you can see – I’ve included a link to all the photos here. I’ve added the list of clubs, committees, societies and teams below to give you an idea of their range, volume and diversity. Take a look with your child – there is sure to be something that they can get involved in outside of the classroom if they’re looking to diversify

Looking ahead to next week, I’d like to remind you that we have holidays on Tuesday and Wednesday for
Ninoy Aquino day and Eid al Adha respectively. August is a bit of disjointed month with lots of public holidays and unfortunately these two happen to fall mid-week.

Next Thursday evening at 6pm to 7:30pm in the Little Theater we will be holding our annual College Application Night – run by our Counseling team. Their presentation will cover requirements, deadlines (internal & external), and strategies for parents AND students who are applying to universities around the world (Europe, UK, Asia, N. America). We strongly recommend Senior students and parents to attend.

Sports fans, our sporting year kicks off this weekend with the events below. If you are able. please pop in to the gyms and fields to watch and support our teams throughout the school sporting year. Our student athletes love to see you in the bleachers/stands cheering them on. Upcoming matches-
Fri Aug 17 HS volleyball team away games at Faith Academy
Sat Aug 18 MS/HS Cross Country race #1 at Faith Academy
Sat Aug 18 MS/JV and Varsity volleyball local leagues at ISM
Sat Aug 18 MS A2, HS Varsity and JV girls and HS Aspirants boys’ soccer local league at ISM
Sun Aug 19 Varsity boys’ soccer away at FEU
For full details of all matches, venues and game times bookmark the ATAC Game schedule which can be found on the ISM Parent Portal. Click on game schedule icon for all information relevant to mid-week and weekend matches for our Bearcats sports teams.

PowerSchool will open to parents next Monday, August 20th and our Admissions Office has asked me to remind parents of their responsibility to update demographic data (address, telephone numbers and email) if anything changes. We had a couple of cases at the end of last year when the school clinic needed to get in touch with parents but the numbers that we held on file were old and therefore incorrect. I’d also like to take this opportunity to remind all families that if you are going away for any length of time, you have an obligation to complete a “Temporary Guardianship Agreement” so that we know who to contact in case of emergency – the guardian that assumes this role may not be a yaya, housekeeper or driver. Thank you for your cooperation in both these regards.

Other News – I have some wonderful news about one of our clubs here at ISM. Last year, the Astronomy Club entered an international “Beamline for Schools” competition at CERN (Conseil Européen pour la Recherche) Physics laboratory, to perform an experiment involving subatomic particles (called pions) as an alternative to proton cancer treatment. More than 1,500 students in 195 teams from 42 countries entered the competition and, yes, you guessed right, we (along with one other school from India) won!!! Our team is the Beamcats and comprise Sae Joon & Sana, from the current Senior class and Yash, Charvie, Aarushi and Ashish from the graduating Class of 2018. They’ll be travelling to Geneva in September for two weeks of CERN-funded research. “Hard work and perseverance is the foundation on which we measure our success, and the fact that our CERN mentors identified this quality within us and our proposal was truly amazing,” said Charvie of the Beamcats team. Four of the team graduated and are about to begin the first year at college, the other 2 are currently Seniors. Well done you guys! GO BEARCATS… errr, I mean… GO BEAMCATS!!!

And now, an announcement from the Parent Community Association: At ISM, each division has a Parent Representative Group (PRG). This group meets with the divisional Leadership Team once a month so that we can maintain high levels of communication and collaboration between different stakeholder groups.
Below are the names of the HS Parent Representatives:
HS Executive Officer – Rhodora “Dowa” Manaloto
Grade 9 – Bonnie Santos and Asha Mirpuri
Grade 10 – Katty Qua and Dedet dela Fuente-Santos
Grade 11 – Penny Tan and Bhawana Dhungana
Grade 12 – Lia Te and Luz Siguion-Reyna
Our reps have started to contact all the parents in each grade level with information on how to join our grade level Facebook and Viber groups, should you wish to do so.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Mike Dickinson
High School Principal

HS Friday Bulletin August 10

To access the full bulletin, please click here: HS Friday Bulletin August 10


Dear Parents and Guardians,

Welcome back to what will (hopefully) be another safe, respectful, responsible and exciting year in the high school. In the opening assembly on Monday, I spoke to the students about time and how time will pass them by at such an incredible pace that, if they’re not careful, they’ll miss the year as it flies by without them. I welcomed all the new students to ISM and welcomed this new batch of freshmen. I reminded the Seniors that there are only 174 school-days until their graduation! I think some of them had already worked that out for themselves and I warned them about time and procrastination; that time is ruthless and once it has gone, there is no getting it back!

Thank-you to all the parents – both new and returning, that attended last Tuesday’s High School Parent Coffee in the Little Theater. Thanks particularly to the HS PCA reps who were all there and who were extremely helpful during the new parent and new student orientation day. On that same note, I want to say a huge thank-you to Crystal Cappuccio, Scott Lassey and their team of Ambassadors who ran the student orientation activities last Thursday – Well done to you all; a great effort and a great help. Here is the link to the PowerPoint that I showed. Within the presentation, you will find some key dates for this semester, but for your ease, I posted this on page 4 of this bulletin.

Our next Parent Coffee will be on September 11th. This has been moved from the scheduled date that was published on the hard calendar because FCD (Freedom from Chemical Dependency) will be here in school and we wanted to give parents an opportunity to listen to the experts and to ask questions regarding substance abuse.

There have been a number of changes recently – even in the few short weeks since we broke for the summer, we have said goodbye to about 60 of our high school friends but we say hello to about 80 new ones. I would like to welcome all our new families – I hope that Manila can be somewhere in which you feel happy and comfortable.

We also said goodbye to some teachers at the end of last year too and so we have some new ones to welcome to our ranks.
• Alexandra Berry – Counseling
• Jerome Devie – French
• Janina Delfin – Learning Support, SPED EA
• Josh Hudson – Mathematics
• Brad Philen – English
• Mark Ryan – Chemistry
• Johanna Schooley – Librarian
• Stephanie Tao – Counseling
• Tim Venhuis – IT Coordinator (returning to ISM after 2 years at ISJ, Johannesburg)

Far fewer new teachers than normal this year, which is great for continuity and institutional memory. In fact, I recently took a look at our statistic for high school and found that the average stay for our teachers is now about 6 years (many international school have an average of 2.5, so I think that this speaks well to the job satisfaction our teachers feel here at ISM). We also have a new intern this year, Gabriella Reyes, who will be working with the Social Studies teachers. Welcome to you all – I hope that ISM can be both a professionally rewarding and a fun place to work.

For many years now, we have been working on bringing teaching teams together physically to support and provide natural opportunities for teacher collaboration, and these changes will once again bring teams together; both physically and professionally. So, like most summers, we have been busy renovating and reconstructing during June and July. The two rooms for the teaching of our Film program are now together in one place for the first time, up on the fourth floor – they also have a TV studio with green screen for news articles and special effects.

The Learning Support team have moved to a lovely new space above the high school library and Specialized Learning Support now occupies the long corridor above the Elementary School Administration block (below the Lofthouse).

All of our Art teachers will also be together for the first time, with renovations being made to all the middle school and high school art rooms and the inclusion of two new rooms for Digital Photography and Digital Graphic Design.

As you enter the Counseling Centre, you may notice that too has grown. Mr Lassey and Ms. Cappuccio have a nice new area for grade 9 and 10 students with their own waiting area; and Mr. Relf finally has an office with a window after occupying a windowless cell for the past 8 years (we decided to bring him out of the darkness and into the light!).

Next time you visit you may notice that the High School Office has been remodeled a little too.

We have some congratulations. Scott Lassey and Kristen Baek got married this summer (but not to each other!)

…Scott and Amanda…

…and Kristen and Andrew.

More Congratulations:
• Mr. Baker, Ms. Barlongay, Ms. Geoffroy and Ms. Wong received their Masters Degrees in Multidisciplinary Studies
• Mr. Airey completed his Masters in Special Needs Education
• Ms. Patrikios and Ms. Thompson graduated from the Principal’s Training Center
Well done to you all.

Next week, on Tuesday, August 14th will be our annual Open House evening, which will start in the FAT at 4:45pm, with refreshments outside from 4:30pm. It is a tight schedule for the evening so do please try to arrive on time so that you don’t get a tardy slip from any of the teachers. Open House is an opportunity for you to meet your child’s teachers in their regular classroom setting. It is a chance to put a face to a name and to learn a little about the courses that your son or daughter will be studying during this academic year 2018-19. The evening is different to the Parent-Teacher Conferences (PTCs) that are held in October in that individual students are not discussed during Open House. During the evening, you will follow your child’s high school schedule, receiving a 10-minute “lesson” from each of his teachers, who will introduce themselves and their course. I will be sending out your schedules for Open House on Monday, August 13th, afternoon – we are still shifting students courses around here and there and I want to make sure that the parents of all new students have been included when I send them.

Looking forward to seeing you at Open House on Tuesday and to another fantastic year ahead.

Have a great weekend
Mike Dickinson
High School Principal

HS Friday Bulletin June 1

To access the full bulletin, please click here: HS FRIDAY BULLETIN JUNE 1


Dear Parents / Guardians,

Once again, I thought that last Friday evening’s 2018 High School Graduation ceremony was absolutely terrific! The decoration and the food outside the FAT were fantastic. I really liked the montage of pictures for each graduate on the TVs outside and on the big screen inside before the ceremony began – thank you to the Graduation Décor Committee, the Catering Committee and the Senior Lunch Committee for all their hard work and effort – you guys did a great job! The graduates looked fantastic up on stage, the speeches from Jackie Tan Ho, Mr. Toze, Ranbir Mahtani and Mr. Spradling were uplifting, inspiring and “senti”. The class feature, “Good Old Days” was beautifully delivered by some very talented singers and rappers – one of the very best I can remember. If you’d like to watch the Graduation ceremony, here is the link – https://youtu.be/0DS4590ByEk. I’ve included a couple of pictures for you here: HS Grad could not run as smoothly as it does without the continued effort and hard work, both in front and behind the scenes, of our HS secretarial staff. I would like to thank Laurie Atilano, Sam Ramos, Tina Gabriel and Bee Suarez for helping out again this year.

The moment the class of 2018 graduated by moving the tassel on their mortarboards from
their right to their left…

…and then again, seconds later.

Well done graduates – you have been a great class and we will miss you.

Last Saturday night was the Grade 10 party, “Sophisticated”! Thanks to Ms. Waldock, the Grade 10 GLC for organizing this event at such a busy time of the year. And, thanks to all the teachers that gave up their Saturday evening to chaperone – well done!

Yesterday evening was our annual “Bearcats for Street Soccer”. This is an annual fundraiser organized by the newly elected Bearcat Council SY18/19. The competition began in 2010, and has supported the Philippines Homeless World Cup Teams, and Soccer Programs within our Service Partner Organizations. Bearcats for Street Soccer invites teachers, parents, alumni, MS and HS students to donate P200 and compete for glory and ultimate bragging rights! The PCA are ever present, offering food drinks and plenty of cheering, and BT film the games and interview players to share with the community. It’s a much anticipated and fantastic way to end the year! Well done to the Bearcat Council, under the guidance of Ms. Roseleip, Mr. Woods and Mr. Pekin, and everyone else involved in this great event.

This morning, the Grade 8 students were given a sneak peak of what High School is going to be like as they participated in this year’s Grade 8 to 9 Transition Day. The day brought together students and staff leaders from within the Middle School and High School to help our Grade 8 students become more familiar with the academic, social, and emotional differences between the two divisions. Led by our HS Student Ambassadors, our Grade 8 students attended informational sessions in Math, Science, English, Geography, and Technology. Additionally, they heard from our Counselors, Administrators, Grade Level Coordinators, Athletics & Activities Director, and attended a Fine and Performing Arts showcase. To cap it off, the Grade 8s experienced their first HS lunch when they were allowed to eat in the Kantina with current high school students in Grades 9-11. Based on their attentive and engaged behavior throughout the day, the incoming Class of 2022 appears to be a fantastic batch! Well done to Crystal Cappuccio and Scott Lassey for organizing the morning.

Next Tuesday, June 5th, at 3:00pm we will be having an exhibition of student work from the Digital Photography class that has been working hard to improve their photography skills this semester. The exhibition is a collection of the students’ best work and will take place in the upstairs section of the lobby of the Fine Arts Theater. Please come by and have a look.

Our teachers are still busy at this time of year writing report card comments for all students. The report cards will be available through the Parent Portal from Wednesday, June 13th. Student dismissal for the summer break will be next Thursday at 11:30am with the buses leaving shortly after, at about 12:00 noon.

This will be my final bulletin for this school year. The Dickinsons are off to Cyprus and the UK this summer, with a stop-over in Muscat, Oman on the way back – a part of the Middle-East that we have never visited before. Thank you to everyone for your support this year – we simply couldn’t be as good a school as we are without everyone pulling together in the same positive direction, always striving to become a better and better place in which students can live and learn.

Take care everyone. Wishing you a relaxing summer vacation with uncomplicated travels and safe returns.

Mike Dickinson
HS Principal

HS Friday Bulletin May 25

To Access the full bulletin, please click here: HS Friday Bulletin May 25


Dear Parents / Guardians,

As I said last week, we’re into awards season and the season kicked off to a good start last Friday with the Honors Societies Induction Ceremonies.  The keynote speaker this year was Mr. Conrad Alampay; an ISM and a JIS alumnus who graduated from ISM with the class of 1998.  He was a part of ISMs gold winning IASAS basketball team in the year of his graduation (and he believes that this was the last time ISM won basketball gold).  He is currently the president of DigiScript Inc; a Manila based company that is leading the rest of the field, using cutting-edge laser technology to scan historical buildings as means to digitally preserve them as 3D models so that degradation and deterioration can be monitored so they can be properly maintained for future generations to enjoy.  Mr. Alampay gave a very interesting address which showed the audience what his company does to help preserve historic buildings and even demonstrated the equipment, showing a video of himself scanning our high school library.  The students were then inducted into our honors societies including:

Tri-M Music Honor Society
French Honor Society
Spanish Honor Society
Chinese Honor Society
National Art Honor Society
Quill & Scroll Honor Society
National Honor Society
The Cum Laude Society

Here is the link to the video of the evening.

Last Saturday night was the second event in our celebration season.  This year’s Prom was held at the New World Hotel in Makati and was a notable one in recent years due to the Royal Wedding happening at the same time (on the teacher’s table via a YouTube link)!  It was a great Prom this year and thanks must be given to Ms. Patrikios and her Prom Committee for doing such a wonderful job with the décor and the organization – Well Done!

On Monday the IB1 (grade 11) Art Exhibition opened in the gallery of the FAT.  And on Wednesday, we had the High School Advanced Dance Finale, starting at 3:30 in the Little Theater.  Well done to Ms. Godfrey and Ms. Garner for bringing out the best from our IB artists and to Yek for another great showcase of dancing talent

Tuesday afternoon was the third event in our celebration season with the Academic and Service Awards Assembly.  We had 160+ award winners this year and so were able to celebrate a plethora of areas both in and out of the curriculum where students shine.  Here’s what I said in closing:

Celebrating success has, in recent years become a bit of a taboo subject in the minds of some educators.  The rationale being that life shouldn’t be a competition, so why turn schools into a field of competitive endeavor.  I recently read an article about a school in the UK that replaced sports day with something less competitive because of the sense of failure that it might produce in the students that didn’t win a medal or a ribbon.

 Celebrating success can come in so many forms though, because success itself has a myriad of faces.  Obviously, there is the more traditional definition of success and I’m happy that we at ISM don’t forget the hard work that our IASAS athletes dedicate to every sport in which they participate – we celebrate their success first on the podium or the stage when they receive their medals, then again at the end of each season in assemblies and at sports awards evenings.

 Success doesn’t just come from competition though – earlier this year we celebrated the success of the wonderful high school play, the IASAS drama performance, IASAS dance, the Forensics and debates previews, the ToK presentations and countless other examples where we’re celebrating achievement that isn’t competitive or divisive…but unifying and inspiring.

 Celebrating these kinds of accomplishments in a community helps to create and maintain the sense of unity that every school ought to enjoy.  This afternoon we have celebrated academic, leadership, service, literary and sporting successes as well as collaboration, creativity, courage, resilience, compassion and so much more.

 Whether these achievements are due to natural ability in a particular academic discipline or whether from sheer hard work, grit and determination, we’re here to recognize and celebrate so that we can all enjoy the moment.  Hopefully these successes will spur us on to do the best that we can, in everything we try…no one can ask for more than that.

 I hope that everyone here today can look back on their school year with pride and, whether you’ve won an award or not, you can honestly say that you’ve done the best.  And, as Mr. Birchenall said in his opening remarks, that you have created the best version of yourself that you can be.

Laurie and Sam from the HS Office always do a great job organizing this event and so really deserve our praise and thanks for another job well done.

And then we turned our attention to the big one!  High School Graduation.  We had two great grad rehearsals on Wednesday and Thursday.  Then on Thursday afternoon, the seniors enjoyed signing each other’s Kawayan (Yearbook) while tucking in to an excellent lunch organized by the Grad Committee.  I’ll give a full run-down on how graduation went, in next week’s bulleting, but for now here’s some information regarding the live-stream:

  1. The link for the Graduation live stream is: http://community.ismanila.org/livestream It will be active from 3:30 pm onwards, which can only be viewed via desktop (iMac or Windows-based desktop, not on mobile devices)
  2. Live Stream will also be broadcasted in our ISM TVs located in the canteen, MS and HS Hallways, LT, AMR, and the ES Projector
  3. After the graduation, the video will be uploaded in our ISM Live YouTube Channel.

Fingers crossed for another excellent graduation ceremony this evening.  Take care everyone, have a relaxing weekend.

Mike Dickinson
HS Principal