HS Friday Bulletin November 17

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


Dear Parents and Guardians,

It has been, for the most part, a quiet week in the high school this week with all students leaving campus by 2:30 on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons and all after-school activities being postponed on those three days. Driving to and from school on these days reminded me of when I used to drive through the Fort when I first arrived here in Manila in 2007; back then it used to take about 15 minutes each afternoon to get home – now it’s more like 50 minutes; most of which is spent getting from School to the corner of 5th Avenue and McKinley Road. Back then, there was so much green space in the Fort and hardly any buildings had been built – High Street ended at the end of the block that starts with Fully Booked, the only 4 high rise building were the PPT and Essensa Towers! Ah, the good old days, before the Manila traffic had spilled into the then new Fort Bonifacio!

Actually, I was a little concerned on Monday morning – because it was so quiet – that we were going to have very few students at school. That concern was not justified as we looked at attendance, which was not significantly different to any other Monday morning. I sincerely hope that the ASEAN Summit did not impede your journey to school – I think that for the vast majority of students it ended up being a much more pleasant journey to and from school than usual. Keeping school open allowed learning to continue and meant that we didn’t have to hold Saturday school to make up for missed instructional time (as other schools have had to do). Thank you for your support.

This morning (quite early for some), our athletes engage with other students from our IASAS “sister schools” in the second season IASAS sports exchanges. – The Girls Touch and Boys’ Tennis teams travel to SAS, the Boys Rugby tournament and the Girls Tennis will be held at ISKL, Boys and Girls Basketball is in Jakarta and the Swimmers are off to Bangkok.

Looking forward to next week: Our budding politicians travel to Singapore, Monday through Friday, for THIMUN (The Hague International Model United Nations). Rather than travel all the way to The Netherlands though, this satellite conference in Singapore is a great way to keep the kids in the region while still being able to give them a great MUN experience.

Next Tuesday, our general knowledge experts will be taking part in the fall Academic Bowl competition; this year up at Faith Academy. Good luck to our team.

Also on Tuesday, in the evening from 5:00pm to 7:45pm, our counselors will be holding this year’s JUKO (Junior University Kick-Off) information sessions in various locations around the campus. Both students and parents are encouraged to attend. Session topics include:
• Applying to the following countries/regions: the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan & Korea, Australia, Hong Kong & Singapore, and Europe
• Financing a U.S. education
• Liberal Arts Worldwide
• Summer Programs & Gap Year Opportunities
• Studying at Oxford and Cambridge
• College Admissions Testing
• Identifying the Right Fit

Next Wednesday, please come and join us for our “All-Choirs Concert” where we will explore various ways to express emotions and make beautiful music through singing. Two high school choirs, 3 middle school choirs, one elementary school choir, and a faculty choir will be performing, making a grand total of about 175 people on stage! The concert will be held in the FAT on Wednesday, November 22nd at 5:30pm. See you there!

And finally, a message from our IT coordinator, Dr. Collett: As promised here is a tutorial on how to use Instagram. Parent sessions on how to use technology and deal with screen time will be planned for early the second semester as we are running short on time.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Mike Dickinson
High School Prinicipal

HS Friday Bulletin November 10

To access the full bulletin, please click here: HS FRIDAY BULLETIN November 10


Dear Parents and Guardians,

Welcome back after a well-deserved week away from school. I do hope that your sons and daughters were able to rest, relax and recharge their batteries ready for the short push through to the Christmas holiday. This second “half” of the semester is only 6 weeks long (and the last week is iCare – but more on that in a later bulletin).

Thank you to all the parents that attended this week’s parent coffee. Mr. Woods and his team (Ms. Govier, Ms. Alvarez and Ms. Geoffroy), together with some of our outstanding students, provided a great insight on the importance of our Service Learning and co-curricular program and how it enhances and contextualizes the learning for our students in their curricular courses. It made us all realize the connections that can be made between the learning that goes on in the classroom and the world around us – thank-you. Here is the link to the information that I displayed at the end of Parent Coffee, for the big stuff that’s going on from now until the end of the semester.

I would like to reiterate here the message that Mr. Toze sent to parents on Friday regarding the end of the school day during next week’s ASEAN Summit:

“There will be a slight modification to the usual schedule on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. All classes (ES, MS and HS) will conclude at 2:15 pm and buses will depart at 2:30. There are no after-school activities and no late buses. We ask all parents to ensure that those children who make the journey home in private car are collected without fail by 2:30. Faculty and staff will be allowed to leave school at 2:45 in order for them to travel home, and we wish the campus to be clear of children by then. I am hopeful that travel to and from school may even be easier than on most days but the area near the Convention Center in Pasay will be impassable, and there will be times when EDSA implements a “stop and go” system to allow dignitaries to pass through. We believe that our early start and early finish will avoid most of the complications. There may be an advantage, for those who drive their children to school, in leaving home ten or fifteen minutes earlier than usual. For the few parents whose residences are directly affected by traffic restrictions, we understand that you may choose not to send your children to school on these days, or you may make arrangements for them to stay over with friends here in the Fort.”

Other knock-on effect to our High School events calendar due to the ASEAN Summit are as follows:
• The Grade 12 Intramuros walking tour has been moved to December 5th
• The ALL Choirs Concert will take place on November 22nd
• The PCA Holiday Bazaar will now be happening on November 24th
• Run 2 the Sunset has been postponed until the 2nd semester

Here’s a message from our IT coordinator, Dr. Colett: As promised (sorry for the delay) here is a tutorial on how to use Snapchat. An Instagram tutorial is coming in the next bulletin. Additionally, we haven’t forgotten about the parent tech sessions, we are just sorting out topics and times and will get back to you on when is best to launch this initiative.

Have a great weekend everyone.
Mike Dickinson
HS Principal

HS Friday Bulletin October 27

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


Dear Parents and Guardians,

As Mr. Dickinson is at the EARCOS Leadership Conference in Bangkok this week, the task of writing our weekly bulletin has fallen to me and I want to begin by congratulating everyone involved with this year’s High School play ‘In The Heights’. I’m sure that those of you who attended were as impressed as I was by the quality and energy of the production. It really was a tremendous achievement. So much hard work by so many people was required to make the show so successful that it’s difficult to know where to begin the commendations but particular thanks and congratulations to Marsha Hillman, Tom Nazareno, Yek Barlongay, Anne Provencher, Eric Bird, Carrie Grev, Vida Vergel, Roxanne Wong, Brian Howrey, Julie Lodi, Denis Lagdameo, Bong Decena and, of course, the 150 students that made up the cast and crew.

This has been a busy week! It began with Parent Teacher Conferences on Monday and Tuesday afternoon and I hope the experience was a positive one for you. It was great for Mr. Dickinson and I to see so many familiar faces on campus and our teachers and counselors enjoyed the opportunity to meet with you all and talk about your child’s progress. Much of the work involved in organizing these conferences falls on our High School Office staff so I want to thank Laurie Atilano and Sam Ramos for their hard work and support. On Wednesday, we had 130 students take the PSAT exam. Thanks to Issa Daoud and Tina Gabriel for organizing this. On Thursday, we had the first Sports Awards night of the year and today is our annual Filipiniana Day celebration.

All of which means that it’s been a particularly busy time for our Performing Arts teachers. In addition to the play, they were an integral part of Filipiniana. This is my fourteenth Filipiniana and it is, without doubt, one of my favorite events in the school calendar. It is a microcosm of so much that is good about the Philippines. The musical performances, dances, food and the barrio fiesta combine to create a vibrancy and energy that perfectly encapsulates our host country. Thanks to Mandy Qua and the Philippine Cultural Club, Rey Candido and the Performing Arts teachers, Project Best and our service partners, Kuya Kim Atienza for being our keynote speaker and our PCC parents and volunteers, notably, Katty Qua and Lia Te for helping to make the event such a success.

Pista is the perfect way to ease into the October break, after which there are only six weeks until the end of first semester. There are three changes to the calendar that I need to bring to your attention. The most immediate of these is the date of the All Choirs Concert. The concert was originally scheduled to take place on Wednesday, 15 November but, due to concerns about the possible impact of the upcoming ASEAN summit, we have made the decision to move it back a week to Wednesday, 22 November. The concert will be held in the Fine Arts Theater at 5:30pm. For the same reason, the Grade 12 Walking Tour of Intramuros has been postponed to Tuesday, 5 December and Run to the Sun has been moved to February. The exact date will be confirmed in due course.

Finally, I hope to see some of you at our Service Learning Parent Coffee on Tuesday, 7 November at 7:30 am in the Little Theater. Neil Woods, Kat Govier, Isabel Alvarez-Casuso, Andrea Geoffroy and 8 of our HS students will be leading an interactive session looking at sustainability and global issues. It should be engaging and fun so I suggest you come along.

I hope you enjoy the break next week. If you are traveling, I wish you safe travels. If you are staying at home, I hope you are able to relax and enjoy some quality family time.

Best wishes,
Dave Birchenall
High School Assistant Principal

HS Friday Bulletin October 20

To access the full bulletin, please click here: HS Friday Bulletin October 20


Dear Parents and Guardians,

I’ll start this week by sharing the results from last weekend’s IASAS sporting endeavors. The boys’ and girls’ soccer teams played their matches in Bangkok and had mixed results with the girls taking the gold medal while the boys, up against stiff competition were placed 5th. In Singapore, the girls’ cross-country team medaled, with a bronze while the boys narrowly missed a medal place ending up in 4th. In the volleyball (also in Singapore), the boys narrowly missed out on the final, but managed to take the bronze medal in the 3rd / 4th playoff match while the girls made the final, after a nail-biting semi-final against ISB, but then couldn’t quite keep their momentum going and were beaten into a silver medal spot by a strong SAS team. Overall, a great first season again for our athletes. I would like to thank all the first season coaches, for their hard work, dedication and commitment – without them the student athletes simply wouldn’t have these great experiences.

Throughout this past week ISM has been hosting members of the WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges) / CIS (Council of International Schools) accreditation visiting team. The team’s role is to report on the self-study that we submitted at the beginning of the school year. This cyclic, 10-year accreditation process allows schools to take an introspective look at all aspects of school life and reflect upon areas of relative strength and areas for future growth. While I am confident that they will agree with our own self-study report that we are doing good work here at ISM their report will contain recommendations on how we can improve even further in terms of curriculum, co-curricular programs, facilities and all other areas of the school.

Last night, this year’s High School Play, “In The Heights” opened to critical acclaim. Everyone that I have spoken to have said that it is one of the best plays in years. I’ll be going tomorrow night and I just can’t wait. Please come along either this evening (Friday) or tomorrow evening (Saturday). Both performances start at 6:30pm – the play runs for 2 hours.

One of the members of the live band says, “I think that this year’s HS Play is truly something special and different from what we’re all used to. It’s really amazing how the cast is working on 24-25 songs in the span of 2 months. I think that with the combination of choreography and singing, In the Heights might be one of the best shows that the ISM’s Fine Arts department has produced.” Well done to all students and members of the faculty that have had a part to play in this production.

I have just returned from the Little Theater where this year’s RoboRumble is in full swing. Elementary School students are loving the mayhem while Middle School and High School students compete in various competitions pitting robot against robot. It really is an excellent event.

Well done to our teams of roboteers and thank you to Mr. Dingrando, Dr. Collett and Mr. Strychsrske once again for organizing this spectacular showcase of robotic awesomeness!

Looking ahead to next week, the final week before we get a break after a long 12-week section of this semester, we have a couple of “biggies” on the school calendar. We start with Parent Teacher Conferences (PTCs) on the afternoons of Monday and Tuesday (1:00pm to 6:00pm both days). We end with Filipiniana on Friday afternoon – a celebration of Filipino culture and customs. Come along for the parade at 12:00pm, then enjoy a program packed with Filipino music and dancing in the Fine Arts Theater at 12:20pm. The rest of the afternoon, from about 1:30pm will be the “Barrio Fiesta” in the Middle School Courtyard where there will be Filipino delicacies for sale to tantalize our taste buds

Wow, there’s a lot going on again! Have a great weekend everyone.

Mike Dickinson
High School Principal