HS Friday Bulletin January 19

To access the full bulletin, please click here: HS Friday Bulletin January 19


Dear Parents and Guardians,

We had a great turn out for the Manila Student Film Festival last Tuesday evening. It was wonderful to see students from the different schools mixing and talking about their films. The judges were impressed with the quality and diversity of the films and were impressed that such young students were producing such impressive work. The winners were “The Life of Plastic” from 10-year-old Cebu International School students, “Fresh” from ISM Middle School, “Sorry I’m Late” from ISM High School and “Fat You” from Far Eastern University Manila. One of the students from De La Salle College of Saint Benilde was lucky enough to win the Thai Airways return ticket to Europe. If you did not get a chance to see the films you can go to the website www.manilastudentfilmfestival.com and go to the Audience Choice Award; you can watch all the films and also vote for the Audience Choice Award. Voting ends on Friday 19th January at midnight and the winner will be announced on Saturday via the website and social media. We are already excited about next year’s Manila Student Film Festival and hope to see you all there.

This morning, a delegation of 11 ISM students left for Concordia International School, Shanghai; this year’s host school for the annual Global Issues Network conference, GINAsia. This year’s event will see over 1200 students and teachers from international schools around the world converge in Shanghai for a weekend of debate, diplomacy, advocacy and activism as we harness the power of a global youth network and raise awareness of the many challenges confronting our planet and its people. The theme of this year’s conference is “A Place to Stand”, and many of the committees, topics and keynote addresses will focus on the role of young people as global change-makers. We look forward to their return so that we can listen to their ideas on how we can continue to address global issues at our local level

Next week is Career exploration week, where students have an opportunity to think and to ask questions about their future lives so that they can put pieces in place now that will lead them in the direction that they would like to head. We have some guest speakers coming into school next Wednesday to provide guidance to the grade 10 students by speaking with them about their chosen careers and the paths they took to get there. This leads on to the next couple of weeks when students will be making their course selections for school-year 2018-19. Grade 10s have some important decisions to make as they prepare to enter the 2 year IB Diploma program (if they wish to) and so we are providing them with an opportunity to speak with their teachers by taking them off schedule next Thursday afternoon.

For parents, we have information sessions next Tuesday, see details below:
• Grade 9 to 10 Transition Evening. 5:0pm to 6:0pm. Crystal Cappuccio and Scott Lassey (Little Theater)
• Grade 10 to 11 Transition Evening. 6:0pm to 8:0pm. Mike Relf and Eric Swan (Fine Arts Theater)
Please come along and listen to our counseling team and IB coordinator explain the process.

Semester 1 report cards will be available on Wednesday, January 24th at 8:00am. To access your child’s report card, navigate your way to www.ismanila.org and login to the Parent Portal (under the “community” drop down menu – top right). Use your ISM parent username and password to access the portal and click the link that will open a softcopy of the report card in your web browser.

And finally, a repeat message from last week as I remind you of a change from the hard-copy calendar regarding Tri-M Jazz Night. This event has been moved to Tuesday, January 30th. I thoroughly enjoyed this event last year when the band played and professional dancers were brought in to teach us and dance with us. This year, our students from Advanced Dance will be there to make us look good. Please come along, for a lovely evening of music, dancing and food.

I wish you all a restful weekend.

Mike Dickinson
HS Principal

HS Friday Bulletin January 12

To access the full bulletin, please click here: HS Friday Bulletin January 12


Dear Parents and Guardians,

Welcome back to round-2 of the year! I hope that everyone had an opportunity to rest, relax and recharge your batteries as we push forward into this second semester. The Dickinsons had a repeat of last year with a trip to Japan, skiing for the first 10 days, with absolutely perfect snow and lovely conditions. Our two children are quite competent skiers now and so, at the end of the day when Mrs. D and I wanted nothing more than a hot chocolate, our kids continued until the ski lifts closed. Christmas was spent here, at home with a wonderful turkey dinner and all the trimmings. Then off to a little place we like near Dumaguete on the beach for New Year. I snorkeled with turtles off Apo Island while our kids scuba-dived, I read a couple of books and ate a little too much – perfect! Now for that annual January diet.

I received a lovely email during the break to let me know that our Program Leader for PE, Fran Howarth had given birth to a healthy baby girl. “Mila arrived 3.5 weeks early this morning – 22nd Dec at 5.56am at 6lb 3oz. Everyone is happy and healthy! Safe to say she is the best Christmas present ever!” Congratulations and best wishes go out to Fran and Mark and welcome to Mila, our newest Bear-kitten.

The last day of the holiday, last Sunday, the ISM Admin Team all flew to Bangkok to the Search Recruitment Fair in order to look for replacements for the teachers who have indicated that this year will be their last as they use the opportunity of international teaching to experience a new culture when this year comes to an end in June. I went, looking for only 4 teachers this time and was able to pick up 2 at the Bangkok fair – Mr. Toze will continue the search in London and Boston over the next 3 weeks.

Looking ahead to next week, our high school teachers are busy finalizing semester 1 grades and writing the narrative comments ready for the report cards. Report cards will be available online through the ISM Parent Portal on January 24th.

The Manila Student Film Festival will take place here at ISM next Tuesday, January 16th in the FAT from 5-8pm. This event has been developed by students from ISM’s Film Club with support from the Fine Arts Council to celebrate the creativity of young filmmakers in the Philippines by providing an audience for upcoming talent and inspiring the filmmakers of tomorrow to create films now. This is the inaugural event and we are excited to be showing 16 final films and welcoming finalists from 8 schools from around the Philippines including a group of 10-year-old elementary students from Cebu International School who are flying in to join us. There are of course finalists from ISM representing MS and HS Filmmaking talents. Sponsors, Thai Airways, will award a prize to one lucky audience member in the form of a return flight to Europe, so as well as supporting our young filmmakers you could also go home with a great prize. We hope you will join us on Thursday for refreshments from 4.30 pm and red-carpet fun!

I would like to alert you to a change from the hard-copy calendar regarding Tri-M Jazz Night. This event has been moved from next Thursday, to Tuesday, January 30th. I thoroughly enjoyed this event last year when the band played and professional dancers were brought in to teach us and dance with us. This year, our students from Advanced Dance will be there to make us look good. Please come along, for a lovely evening of music, dancing and food.

And with that to look forward to, I wish you all a restful weekend.

Mike Dickinson
HS Principal

HS Friday Bulletin December 15

To access the full version of the bulletin, please click here: HS Friday Bulletin December 15


Dear Parents and Guardians,

Well, there we have it – part one is over! And, what a great way to end the semester, with one of the most loved and respected weeks of the high school calendar – ICARE.

This year was as good as any that I can remember with almost 800 students participating in activities designed to give them different experiences and opportunities that we just can’t provide them with, here at school.

They see a very different reality and in their actions, try to improve the lives of some of the needier communities in and around the Metro Manila area and beyond Manila into the provinces.

Mr. Woods and I visited a couple of the local sites on Wednesday where we saw students creating vegetable gardens, painting murals, teaching robotics skills and teaching and interacting with local children from these two schools.

At the same time, this same kind of wonderful engagement was happening at over 30 different places to which our students had travelled.

I must admit that each year, I feel a sense of relief when Mr. Flynn’s team calls in the “all-is-well” every evening and again on Thursday when the last bus arrives back here at school and the last ISM students comes home safe and sound, and tired, and happy, and fulfilled…

Our security detail need to be thanked for keeping everyone safe, administering first aid, and joining in with the activities and fun. A big thank-you goes out to Mr. Woods and Bee Suarez for their weeks and weeks of preparation behind the scenes and of course to all our teachers and teacher assistants without whom the week simply couldn’t have happened.

Thanks for a great semester everyone. Whatever your plans over the Christmas break, I wish you uncomplicated travels and safe returns.

Maligayang Pasko.

Mike Dickinson
HS Principal

HS Friday Bulletin December 8

To access the full version of the bulletin, please click here: HS Bulletin December 8


Dear Parents and Guardians,

After an excellent All Choirs concert 2 weeks ago, last week it was the turn of our All Strings and All Bands musicians from middle school and high school to impress us with their musical talent; and impress us they did. Under the direction of Ms. Pam Arrieta and Mr. JC Joya, the strings musicians treated us to a wide variety of genres from classical to pop – my personal favorite was their rendition of “Take On Me” by Aha; ah, how memories of my youth came flooding back and I’m sure that I wasn’t the only one that was singing along! The All Bands night was equally as impressive with Mr. Howrey and Mr. Nazareno being able to get the very best from our brass and woodwind musicians. As an ex-trumpet player, I find myself reminiscing as some of the music takes me way back to when I played the same piece as a boy; again, I bet that many of you can relate to this too. Thank you to all the parents and families that came out to support the music program and their children again this semester – it makes such a difference to the students when there is a supportive and responsive audience.

It was a great performance by the Bearcat Robotics Team in Taipei last weekend. Team Longmarch (Juniors) was part of the alliance that won tournament champions, and the Amaze award. Team Zled (Seniors) and their alliance were second place and won the Design award. ISM’s 4 teams placed 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th in robot skills, out of over 30 robots. While I don’t have the official invite yet, we expect that team Longmarch will represent the Philippines in the VEX Robotics World Championships in the USA in April. Well done and thanks once again goes to Mr. Dingrando and Mr. Strycharske for preparing the students so well for this competition.

ISM is now offering FREE Test Prep for those who are interested in taking the SAT or ACT. The license is through PrepWorks, a renowned test prep company who has been in the business for over 20 years.
• All students, grades 10 – 12 now have access.
o Login Info: els.prepworks.com
o USERNAME: ISM email address
o PASSWORD: student ID #
o OR Students can login through Google. (See attachment.)
• PrepWorks offers modular lessons, which begin with a Skill Assessment, and creates a learning path based on the performance of the Skill Assessment.
• Videos and Practice Questions: Students must demonstrate their understanding of these questions in order to receive a completion rating (80%+).
• 3 free, full-length practice tests per year. Do not use them all at once – I suggest one in the beginning of prep, one after a few weeks of modular work, and one prior to any upcoming test.
• Please find the COURSE MAPPING & PACING GUIDE for both the SAT and ACT attached.

Do you remember that scene from “Seinfeld” where George had a bed underneath his desk so that he could have an afternoon nap without anyone knowing – well, I feel that I need one of those right now as I have just returned from the Little Theater where the PCA have treated the faculty and staff to an absolutely incredible thank-you feast. I really need to say thank-you for your thank-you as it was an amazing spread. While enjoying lunch we were also treated to the high school Show Choir who wandered through, singing a beautiful Christmas carol.

I can’t quite believe that I’m already typing this again, but next week is ICARE 2017! As one of the most anticipated highlights of the school calendar, ICARE (which stands for International Community Actively Responding to the Environment) will run from Monday to Thursday next week, with time to reflect, feedback and present experiences on Friday morning. Throughout the four and a half days of ICARE, students will work at over 30 sites within Metro Manila and the Provinces. We view ICARE as an integral component of our school’s mission to educate the whole child, particularly to “acknowledge and celebrate our differences and encourage empathy, compassion, understanding and respect for human dignity”. Each year, when I chat with some of our returning graduates and ask them for their best memories of high school, ICARE always appears at the top of many of their lists – it really is a great experience for our students and one that will make a lasting impression on many of them for many years to come.

Now, I’m off for a nap under my desk!

Have a great weekend everyone.

Michael Dickinson
HS Principal