HS Friday Bulletin September 22

To access the full bulletin, please click here: HS FRIDAY BULLETIN Sept 22


Today was Battle of the Bearcats and WOW! what a wonderful day. The noise in the high school gym at 8:0am was louder than I’ve ever heard it before. Dance Co. started the ball rolling with a great performance and then… drum roll… the SENIOR PARENTS flash mobbed us all with a dance of their own – absolutely fantastic! That must have been a huge effort, so a big shout out to all the senior parents that took part this morning, especially to the organizing parents. The cheers this year were great again and even the Freshmen (that have, in the past, been a little intimidated and shy) were confident, loud and entertaining – well done to the Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors whose cheers also brought the house down. The Grade Level Coordinators Mr. Berg and Ms. Gough for Grade 9, Ms. Waldock for Grade 10, Ms. Patrikios for Grade 11 and Ms. Mazarakis and Mr. Paulson for Grade 12 all deserve our thanks for the huge amount of time and energy that they have put into their grades in order to make the day a huge success. I’m sure that sometimes it felt like herding cats! But it all came together in the gym this morning. The rest of the day was also a huge success with spirit prevailing over success and unity being put before division. The Seniors won the most gold medals, but the Juniors lifted the trophy for Bearcat Spirit.

Wednesday of this week saw another excellent Great Works Concert with our high school student musicians from the Orchestra, Symphonic Band, Show Choir and Concert Choir coming together to perform Handel’s “Messiah”. A big thank you goes out to our conductors for the evening, Mr. Nazareno, Ms. Arrieta and particularly to Ms. Provencher. Also, a great note of thanks to the rest of the High School and Middle School Music departments. This year we also had an unprecedented number of faculty “wannabees” in the combined band, orchestra and the choir so a big thank you to everyone who made this evening another one to remember. In my last 11 concerts I really think that this ranks at number one. Sometimes it can be difficult to find this caliber of musical culture and here it was right on our door step. The link to the concert is not yet ready, but I’ll be sure to add it to next week’s bulletin.

As I have mentioned in previous bulletins, the Grade 12 Theory of Knowledge (ToK) Presentations begin next Monday and run for three days until Wednesday. These presentations count for one third of the Senior’s IB grade for ToK. Please take a look at the schedule and know that you are welcome to attend for all or part of a session.

And now a message from our IT Coordinator: We are happy to announce that the Google Classroom Guardian function will be rolling out by Friday of next week. You will receive an email that looks like this, asking you to accept the invitation to view a summary of your child’s classrooms activities and the frequency. We recommend Weekly Summaries. The summaries will look similar to this. Please note that at the top of the summary will be “late work.” This can be misleading as it is possible (even likely) that this work is not actually late as it may have been turned in by hand rather than electronically. So we advise that you ask your child about it first rather than assuming it is not turned in. Please be assured the teacher will contact you about late or missing work and so you don’t need to follow up on what is listed in the classroom. We hope you enjoy this new addition to our ISM communication and that it provides an additional resource for you to talk with your child about their learning in school. If you have any questions or concerns about this system, please feel free to contact our IT Coordinator David Collett: collettd@ismanila.org.

Finally, don’t forget that there is no school for students on Thursday and Friday of next week.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Mike Dickinson
HS Principal

HS Friday Bulletin September 15

To access the full bulletin, please click here: HS FRIDAY BULLETIN Sept 15


Dear Parents / Guardians,

It’s been quite a quiet week this week, compared with the first few of the year, as things start to settle down and students and teachers get into their learning and teaching routines. I, together with Mr. Howrey and Mrs. Harrington have been busy interviewing candidates, 5 so far, for the open Strings Teacher position to replace Mr. Bobisse who unfortunately had to leave us last week. I will of course keep you in the loop on our progress and as soon as we appoint I’ll let you know.

This week, while visiting classes, I have been particularly impressed with some of the work that has been going on in the Grade 12 Theory of Knowledge course. Students are preparing for their ToK Presentations, which will be held in the Little Theater and the AMR the week after next. The ToK Presentations are always some of the most impressive demonstrations of intellect and learning that our students offer each year. If you ever doubted if your grade 12 child is ready for college then come along and put your mind at rest. Please block off time, if you can, to come along to watch the presentations on Monday Tuesday and Wednesday, September 25 – 27.

We have a couple of big events to look forward to next week. On Wednesday evening next week, the music department will perform their annual Great Works Concert, starting at 5:30pm in the Fine Arts Theater. This year the music students (together with some members of the Elementary, Middle and High School faculties) will be performing excerpts from Handel’s Messiah with a bundle of Bach, a nugget of Nelhybel and a karat of Karrick thrown in for good measure. Of course, the Hallelujah Chorus will bring the hour-long concert to a rousing close. Please come along to support the Orchestra, Symphonic Band, combined Concert and Show Choirs and members of the faculty as we all unite in music.

Next Friday is our annual Battle of the Bearcats. A day of competition, fun, dance, sport, video games, cake decorating, Quidditch! and much, much more. The focus of the day is on spirit rather than winning, and it is always one of the most memorable and fun-packed days in the school calendar for our students.

Today, our volleyball and cross country teams, together with our dancers headed away to Taipei, Singapore and Bangkok for the IASAS sports and dance exchanges while our soccer boys and girls stayed here in Manila, with International School Bangkok and Taipei American School flying in this afternoon. The soccer matches start with varsity boys at 4:00pm this afternoon, then our girls play at 5:30pm. Please come along to support if you can spare the time. I’ll be flying up to Taipei this evening to watch the boys’ and girls’ volleyball teams at TAS, with a particular interest in a tall freshman wearing the number 4 shirt this year on the girls’ team. Go Bearcats!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Mike Dickinson
High School Principal

HS Friday Bulletin September 8

To access the full bulletin, please click here: HS Friday Bulletin Sept 8


Dear Parents / Guardians,

This week has been a week of bad news I’m afraid.

Our High School Librarian, Emma Rees took ill last weekend and will be leaving ISM, returning to the UK so that she can receive the necessary medical treatment. Emma played an integral part in the renovation of the high school, middle school and elementary school libraries last year. The collection is in the best shape it has ever been and the cross curricular links that she has established between the library and the other academic disciplines has ensured that our students and teachers are well served and well resourced. I’m sure that I speak for everyone in the ISM community when I wish her a full recovery. Thank you, Emma, you will be missed.

Our Orchestra and Stings teacher, Giovanni Bobisse, will have to return to his home country, Italy this weekend for personal reasons and will not be returning to ISM. Giovanni has been with us for 3 years, but, because of his contributions, it seems like he has been here for much, much longer. His individual style, wit and rapport with his students has been an absolute pleasure to observe and I have enjoyed his company and his contributions tremendously both here at school and in the wider Manila community. Shortly after he arrived in the Philippines, Giovanni founded the Tondo Chamber Orchestra, dedicated to teaching underprivileged children a musical instrument, but, in the process, teaching them so much more than that. Thank you, Giovanni and good luck. Our Middle School Principal, Ms. Harrington, and I are actively seeking a replacement for Giovanni.

They say that bad news comes in threes, and the third piece this week happened yesterday, when we were notified that this Saturday’s ACT test had been cancelled. ACT received credible evidence that some of their secure test materials had been compromised. Unfortunately, ISM is among those test centers that are impacted by this situation. Accordingly, ACT took the decision to cancel the test event at the impacted test centers around the Asia Pacific region to ensure the fairness of the exam for all examinees. ACT will not be rescheduling this test, but instead students will have to wait until the next test date on October 28th. In their letter, ACT apologized for any inconvenience this has caused.

And now for some other (hopefully, brighter) news. Thank you to those parents that have sent the recent news articles regarding the government’s insistence that random drug testing be carried out at all junior and high schools. As you may already know, we have been using our present drug-testing clinic for many years now and we are happy with their professionalism and confidentiality. We see no reason why any legislation, which may be new to many other schools, should have an impact on our drug-testing program. I have read through Order #40 and I am confident that our present program testing does already comply with this legislation. I will of course let you know if there are any changes that need to be made to our current practice in order to comply with this new order.

Thank you to Mr. Swan and his team of Counselors for the interactive workshop that they organized for last Tuesday morning’s High School Parent Coffee, in which discussions were facilitated on some of the challenges that both ISM students and parents face. This allowed parents to share their views and strategies that work for their family. Our Counselors also shared strategies – and data – relating to the questions/statements being discussed. Thanks to everyone who attended, despite the awful weather. Here is the link to the slides that Eric used in his presentation. Our next parent coffee is on October 10th at which our IT Coordinator, Dr. Collett will be talking about all things tech here at ISM, including tutorials in Snapchat and other apps that our children are using to communicate with their friends.

Thanks also goes out to Mike Relf who gave another very informative presentation at last night’s IB Information Night. The first part of the session really did show that ISM is performing at a very high level when compared with other schools around the world. The rest of the evening was dedicated to an explanation of the structure and systems surrounding the IB diploma. Here is the link to Mike’s slides.

We have another packed weekend of sport again this weekend, starting this afternoon/evening and continuing for much of tomorrow. For the full fixture list please navigate your way to the ATAC blog (click “Game Schedules” on the Schedules tab).

Looking forward to next week. On Thursday, all new parents are invited to the lobby of the Fine Arts Theater for the New Parent Meet and Greet, starting at 5:00pm. Please come along if you are a new parent and enjoy some nibbles, a glass of wine and an opportunity to chat with other new parents, members of our PCA and the school administrators.

What? No long weekend?! Have a great (regular) weekend everyone!

Mike Dickinson
High School Principal

HS Friday Bulletin August 31

To access the full bulletin, please click here: HS Friday Bulletin Aug 31


Dear Parents / Guardians,

Last Tuesday evening, I attended the Grade 9 “Navigating Your Way Through High School” and I realized just how much information needs to be absorbed so that parents can fully understand who we are as a school, where we’ve come from and where we and your child(ren) are going during their four years here. Thank you to Crystal Cappuccio and Scott Lassey for running this informative session. Here is the link to their presentation. During the evening, I also became aware that a second language course in ISMese is needed to gain a grasp on some of the colloquialisms that we use here. For this reason, I am sharing the ISM acronym sheet that I put together for the new parent coffee at the start of this year – I hope you find it useful.

Next Tuesday will be our 2nd High School Parent coffee of this year. Our Program Leader for Counseling, Eric Swan, will be holding an interactive workshop discussing some of the challenges that both students and parents face at ISM. Discussions will be facilitated by the counselors allowing parents to share their views and strategies that work for their family. Counselors will also share strategies – and data – relating to the questions/statements being discussed. Please come along to the Little Theater at 7:30 on Tuesday and share your experiences with other parents or simply listen to theirs.

I know that you will have already received an email about next Thursday’s IB Information Night in the Little Theater starting at 5:00pm, but I thought that I would give it an extra plug here. ISM offers the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma, a program that is recognized in most countries of the world as a university entrance qualification. Students in Grades 11 and 12 may choose to work toward the full IB Diploma or they may take selected courses for a partial diploma. Students are required to take external examinations at the end of each IB course. This event will present the following:
• Overview of the IB program
• Outline of IB School Statistics and Results from SY 2016 – 2017
• College perspectives on the IB program
• Q & A
This event would be a great opportunity for you, especially for the new parents, to voice out your concerns, familiarize yourself with the progress and benefits of the IB program in ISM.

And finally, we have a pretty full program of sports here at ISM this weekend. Some of these should have been played last weekend but were cancelled due to the inclement weather. Please come to school and support the Bearcats if you are a sports fan and can afford the time.
Aug 31 HS Boys Aspirants soccer and MS A1 vs La Salle 5pm
Sept 1 HS Varsity Girls Soccer vs ICA 8am
Sept 1 HS JV Girls Soccer vs Poveda 10am
Sept 1 MS A2 Soccer vs DLSL 8am and vs Keys 12noon
Sept 1 HS Varsity Girls Volleyball vs CSA 8am
Sept 1 MS Boys Volleyball vs Xavier 8am
Sept 1 HS JV Girls Volleyball vs CJPS 11am
Sept 2 ES Rifa soccer festival #1 E&G divisions at ISM 8am
Sept 2 MS C1&C2 soccer teams at BSM 8am
Sept 2 ES C3 soccer team at BSM 1pm
Sept 2 MS Rifa Girls soccer at ISM 1pm
Sept 2 HS XCountry race #2 at Faith (MS & HS runners

See you on the bleachers!
Have a great (long-again) weekend.

Mike Dickinson
High School Principal