HS Friday Bulletin May 5

To access the full bulletin, please click here:  HS Friday Bulletin May 5


Dear Parents / Guardians,

Raise your hand if you loved exams! Certainly not me! I found most of them frightening; I remember the nervous feeling I had when I was about to enter the examination hall. Thank goodness that exams are a thing of the past for me (and I am confident that the majority of you feel the same way). Unfortunately for our high school students, they are still very much a thing of the present. The fact is that about 80% of each senior class are candidates for the IB Diploma and the remaining 20% often sit many IB certificate subjects, so it is important that throughout High School we give students a taste of things to come so that by May of their Senior year, exams have become less scary and more manageable. The intention is that with exposure, students can develop strategies regarding both preparation and test-taking so that they are able to perform to their absolute best when the time comes.

With just 5 days to go before the Grade 11s start the end-of-year exams and one week before the Grade 9 and 10 exams, I thought I would include in this week’s bulletin some advice that you can chat with your child over the weekend as they prepare for their examination. Each year, we send this same advice out to the students, but it would be great if they hear the same message from home too.

  • Get a good night’s sleep the night before.   Working late into the night is not good preparation for the following day’s examination.
  • Have a light breakfast: sandwiches, cereal or fruit (do not eat or drink unfamiliar things that morning).
  • Don’t drink too much liquid (to avoid unnecessary visits to the washroom).
  • Before you leave home ensure you have all necessary stationery – pencils, erasers, sharpener, and most importantly your ID card.
  • Get to school at least 30 minutes before your exam begins. This gives you enough time to relax yourself.
  • Stay calm and remain focused.
  • No last minute discussions! That will only send you into the PANIC ZONE!
  • Even if you don’t have the urgent need to, try and go to the washroom before each exam.
  • Listen to the proctor carefully.
  • Read the instructions on your exam paper and if you are unsure about anything, don’t hesitate to ask the proctor (that’s why they are there).
  • Don’t waste time. If you get stuck on a question because it seems difficult or confusing, move on to the next and return to the tough questions after.
  • Don’t panic. If you feel yourself sweating or hyperventilating, put down your pencil, close your eyes, take deep breaths and consciously relax. When calmer, go back to work.
  • Allocate your time in the exam properly.
  • Stick to your schedule so that you’ll have time to answer all the questions. Spend more time on questions that are worth more marks. Watch your time like a hawk!
  • If you are out of time, give your answers in “bullet point” form. Examiners award marks for facts and not long sentences.
  • For multiple choice question, make a guess if you don’t know the answer.
  • Get to the point when answering short-answer or essay questions. Remember KISS – Keep It Short and Simple!
  • If you feel uncontrollably ill during the exam notify the proctor
  • Use extra time to review your solutions.
  • Most importantly, remain positive.
  • Remember, examinations are not the be-all-and-end-all of your life, they are just one aspect of your life as a student.

Other notices – the MS/HS Art exhibition opened yesterday in the lobby of the Fine Arts Theater. Again, the quality of the work that the students have been able to produce is excellent – hats off to the art teachers that are able to nurture this raw talent and guide our artists as the explore different media and artistic styles. Its great to see these artists’ talents evolve as they make their way into and through high school.

The Middle School play “Man of La Mancha” opened yesterday evening and continues this evening, and tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon and evening. Tickets are available on the door; the evening performances start at 6:00pm and the matinée tomorrow afternoon begins at 2:00pm. I’ll see you there!

Take care everyone, have a relaxing weekend

Mike Dickinson
High School Principal

HS Friday Bulletin April 27

To access the full bulletin, please click here: HS Friday Bulletin April 27


Dear Parents / Guardians,

Well, an unexpected holiday has been bestowed upon us for tomorrow – it is a pity that this was a last minute decision as I am sure that many families would have liked to have gone away. Unfortunately, we do not have any more notice than anyone else with decisions made by the Department for Education. Still, it has come at a time where the Grade 9, 10 and 11 students should be starting to think about their end of year exams and so, I imagine, for many it will be an opportunity to begin a study schedule and maybe even start a little revision in preparation for these exams. The exams for Grade 11 begin on May 11th and run until May 17th; for Grades 9 and 10, their exams run from May 15th to 17th.

I’ll be here as usual tomorrow (OK, after a later start perhaps!) because it is the first day of the grade 12 IB exams! Wow, they’re finally here! Mr. Relf will start them off with Business Management in the afternoon, beginning at 12:15pm. Then on Monday many of the Seniors will be here to sit the second half of Business Management and the first part of the Biology exams. The IB exams then run for 3 weeks until May 19th. Good luck Seniors for these important examinations.

Our team of Robotics students, under the watchful eye of Mr. Dingrando returned from the Robotics World Championships in Kentucky, USA last week. They represented ISM well with 5 wins from 10 rounds – the best we have ever done so well done to you guys; the robots will be taking over the world soon!

And time continues to accelerate! It’ll be summer before we know it!

Take care everyone, have a relaxing weekend.

Mike Dickinson
High School Principal

HS Friday Bulletin April 21

To access the full bulletin, please click here:  HS Friday Bulletin April 21


Dear Parents / Guardians,

Welcome back from Easter break. I hope that you were all able to recharge a little, ready for the final push to the finish line this year. Obviously, the week of Easter ended badly with the loss of Navi Bhandari, which meant that the very start of this week was an emotional one with a high school assembly on Monday morning. The students had organized themselves and were wearing white as a sign of respect for the Hindu tradition of mourning. We had a moment of silence as we remembered our dear friend after I spoke about what Navi meant to us all. Here is what I said:

You’ll never know true love until the moment you hold your own child in your arms. Then watch them grow, nurture them, support them, guide them, protect them, encourage them. Be their champion. Be their crutch. Be their shoulder to both lean on and to cry on. You’ll never know true love until you love the child that you brought into this world. On Thursday at Navi’s house this level of love was so obvious as both of Navi’s parents spoke about their son. But, what was also obvious was that you’ll never know loss. Never know pain. Never know grief, until you lose that child that you have loved with all your soul. It is, with the heaviest of hearts that I have called you here this morning. Last Wednesday we lost one of our own. Navi was a true bearcat. Normally, bearcat spirit, tenacity, grit and determination are associated with the activities we see when competing for gold medals on the sports field in the gym or on the track. Navi displayed this bearcat determination every single day of his life. His condition made life hard for Navi. Not the kind of – hard to get out of bed – hard, that we all sometimes feel on a Monday morning. It was hard for him to come to school, to climb the stairs and to carry his bags, but every day he did it with the level of courage and doggedness that was inspirational. But he never complained about his condition; instead, he lived every day to the fullest, with a twinkle in his eye, a big smile and an even bigger heart. That’s how we should remember Navi. When my dad was in hospital after suffering from two massive strokes my mum turned to me and I could see she was more than upset; she was angry. “It just isn’t fair” she said. The same is true in this case. It just isn’t fair. Navi was a friend. Navi was a soldier. Navi was a Bearcat.

Our counselors organized a room for quiet reflection in the AMR and hundreds of students visited in order to write messages to Navi – these messages will be compiled into a memory book and given to Navi’s parents next week. We will be having a memorial in the high school courtyard on Monday (April 24th) at 3:15 around the newly planted tree that will stand in memory of Navi.

Other Announcements:
Congratulations to Dan Hall and Sabina Conjamalay who were married during the Easter break. Dan teaches Science (Chemistry) here in the High School and Sabina teaches Grade 2. Good luck to the two of you.

I must admit to having felt a little negative about our hopes for medals after the first day of IASAS Season 3, a couple of weeks ago. After a disappointing first day though things picked up tremendously. The boys went on to win the gold medal for Badminton (first time ever!) while the girls won the bronze. In Golf, the boys were able to secure the bronze medal and the girls placed 5th.   In Track and Field, although we didn’t win medal for the boys’ or girls’ teams, we did have some outstanding individual performances; IASAS records for Trinity McPherson in the 200m sprint and for Sasha Karlsson for Triple Jump. In total for track and field we hauled 6 golds, 5 silvers and 2 bronze medals. Well done to all our Season 3 athletes.

Thank you to everyone that attended the ISM Film Festival in the Little Theater on Wednesday afternoon. Once again this year the films were outstanding – move over Tarantino and Spielberg, the next generation of film makers is just around the corner. Well done to Nadia Hartley and Keith Bailey for nurturing, honing (and sometimes taming) the raw talent of our students. There were some moments that really had me laughing out loud and others that were poignant and thought provoking.

100% Dance Co. was a huge success yesterday afternoon in the Fine Arts Theater. Well done to Yek and her dancers for treating us to another display of their talent and creativity. I left the FAT with a huge smile on my face – it is my 10th 100% Dance Co. performance and it was one of the best I can remember. After a difficult week, it really gave me the lift that I needed – thanks you guys.

April is Autism awareness month celebrated worldwide. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affect 1 in 68 individuals. While the exact cause of ASD is currently unknown and there is no cure for autism there are a variety of interventions and supports available to help those on the autism spectrum. ISM strives to include and support students with ASD through a variety of educational programs. Some of these supports include: Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Learning Support and our new Specialized Learning Support Program which is designed for students with more significant needs. We are working with staff and students of all ability levels and backgrounds to support the development of our inclusive environment through conversations and ongoing education. Students with autism and their families are a valuable part of our school community. We encourage everyone to learn more about autism and what you can do to support ISM and our mission to create a culture of acceptance. Should you want to talk more about what inclusion looks like at ISM, please do contact Bill Brown, Assistant Superintendent, brownw@ismanila.org

Finally this week, a big shout-out goes to the Seniors that, as I write this bulletin, are enjoying their morning of pranks. Many of them will start their study leave after the send-off barbeque this lunchtime, with their IB exams beginning next Friday, April 28th. Good luck as you prepare for these important final examinations.

And time continues to accelerate!

Take care everyone, have a relaxing weekend

Mike Dickinson
High School Principal


HS Friday April 7

access the full bulletin, please click here:  HS Friday Bulletin April 7


Dear Parents / Guardians,

Well – we made it through the first half of the second semester! When we get back to school in a week’s time, it really will be the beginning of the end, with only 8 weeks remaining of this school year! And, so much to do in those last 8 weeks. The Grade 12 students will have their send-off lunch on Friday April 21st when those who are full IB diploma (and those with 4 or more IB exams to sit) will start their study leave. The following Friday, April 28th is the first day of the IB examinations which run 3 weeks to May 19th. On that day, school ends for all seniors (whether IB diploma or not). To celebrate their final day, this year’s Prom will be held on Saturday, May 20th at the Polo Club – tickets are on sale and can be bought through the members of the Junior council or at the cashier for Php2800. After Pro, the seniors will then have just 1 short week before graduation on May 26th. I kidded at the start of the year about time accelerating – I wasn’t really joking was I; before we know it we’ll be sending another batch of graduates through the doors and off into the big wild world.

We also need to fit in the final exams for the rest of the High School. Grade 9 and Grade 10 exams run from May 15th to 17th while the Grade 11 exams start on May 11th and run until May 17th.

A big shout-out this week goes to the Music department, Mr. Howrey, Ms. Provencher, Ms. Grev, Mr. Bobisse and Mr. Nazareno together with all of the students (and a few teachers) that took part in last Tuesday’s Finale Concert. The level of musical talent was a credit to you all and was testament to the effort and dedication in the lead-up to the concert. The high point for me was the Jazz Band’s final piece “Lucky Chops” which may not have been as polished as other pieces I’ve heard them play in the past, but boy, they were having fun! Well done everyone.

Finally this week, good luck to all of our season 3 athletes. As I write this week’s bulletin, the Badminton games are still going on here at ISM in the HS and MS gyms, and will continue tomorrow with the finals in the afternoon. Both our girls’ and boys’ teams have a chance to medal. The golf is happening down at Mount Malarayat today under the watchful eye of Mr. Birchenall, while the Baseballers and Softballers are competing in Singapore and the Track and Field athletes and in Bangkok. All the news and results can be found on the www.iasas.asia website by clicking on “season 3” at the top of the page. Wishing you all the best in competition from here in Manila.

And with that, I will bid you safe travels if you’re away for the break. Looking forward to having you all back safe and sound for the final installment of the year, starting on April 17th.

Take care everyone,

Mike Dickinson
High School Principal