HS Parent Bulletin April 20

Dear Parents,

As we move into next month we will be into that season of saying farewell and goodbye to students, parents and faculty, who for various reasons are moving on from Manila.

 As part of the process of “signing out” in the High School we talk of our “big four” ritual ceremonies that serve to mark the end of the year. On Friday May 18th we have the annual Honor Societies celebration. This is a formal event by invitation and this year our guest speaker will be H.E. Ambassador Christopher Thornley. This is followed on Tuesday May 22nd when we celebrate academic and service excellence at the High School Honors Awards ceremony. The High School Office will attempt to contact and invite all parents of award winners for this event. Then a week later we will graduate 189 seniors at High School Graduation.

 However much more imminent than these three events is this weekend’s Junior-Senior Prom, to be held tomorrow night, Saturday, April 21st at the Intercontinental, Makati. The Prom Committee under the guidance of Dale Hutchison has worked extremely hard to organize what I am sure will be a stunningly razzmatazz Prom 2012. It is usual at this time for me to add a serious and necessary ISM disclaimer. The ISM Prom finishes at 11pm. Any event that the students organize on their own after the official Prom is not sanctioned in any way by the school. We advise all parents to communicate with their  son/daughter  to determine what their individual plans are and what boundaries exist as appropriate for respective families.

 I hope to see many of you in attendance in all of these events as we celebrate another rewarding year at ISM.

 As usual at this time I would like to take this opportunity to thank all parents who have directly or indirectly supported the High School this year. We will host our final HS Parent Coffee this coming Tuesday, April 24. As part of this meeting I will brief parents on departing faculty and their replacements. I have also invited the counselors in to share with you some of their recent work on the use of alcohol in grade 9 and 10.

 On an administrative note it is very important at this time of year is that the school receives accurate data on re-enrollment and on those students who are withdrawing. If you know you are leaving ISM and have not communicated that to us I urge you to contact either the High School Office or the Admissions Office as soon as possible. We would like to be able to inform students who are currently waitlisted that they can be admitted to ISM as soon as possible. The deadline for this is May 11, 2012.

  Kind regards

 William R. S. Brown

High School Principal

Parent Bulletin – March 23 2012

Dear Parents,

Did you know that today March 23, 2012 represents the movie release date for the “Hunger Games”? Maybe if you have a middle school child you will know this already, however at ISM we are all very excited about this movie, as one of our alumnae is set to make her international acting career in the movie! Tara Macken, class of 2002 and former member of Dance Co plays a major role in the movie. Tara is an accomplished stunt artist and with this movie is branching into mainstream acting. Here is a link to some of her work. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Tw41E_oJ7I

This will be the last bulletin before the school holiday break. As you know school is out next Thursday, March 29 and we will resume classes on Tuesday April 10. Seniors are busy with exams this week and next and then when they come back after the holiday they will receive feedback on their exam performances and move straight into a review program in most of their IB classes.

For those athletes in third season IASAS there will be just one day of school and then they will leave for their respective competitions; Track and Field to Taipei, Badminton to Kuala Lumpur and Softball to Singapore. Please make sure you have all your child’s documentation and assignment sheet are completed on time and according to schedule as it will be a very tight schedule this year. Good luck to all out athletes. We wish them all the best as they compete with BEARCAT pride.

Another important date to put in your planners is Monday April 16 which is the official opening of the IB2 Film and Visual Arts festival. The FAT Lobby will have on display exquisite artwork collated from the two year IB program and inside the FAT Films from IB and grade 9/10 classes will be shown as part of the annual ISM Film Festival. Don’t miss it!

I wish everyone a very relaxing school holiday. It has been a long session since January and this will be a welcome chance to recharge batteries ready for the final sprint through the months of April and May. Remember we finish the school year slightly earlier this year with Graduation on Tuesday May 29 and the final day of school for all other students is on Thursday May 31. Please ensure that students are in class and focused right through until the end of school. If you are leaving ISM it is also very important to secure the withdrawal papers and to let us know as soon as you possibly can. Places are at a premium and it is certainly easy for us to make admission plans, if we know what places we have available.

One final plug from me is that in the week after school finishes I would strongly encourage all grade 10 and 11 students to consider the excellent ISM Bearcat Student work experience program that we launched last year. The program has grown exponentially and we have some fantastic opportunities for ISM students to experience the real world of work. Before you book those flights talk to Mr. McQueen about this great program.

Kind regards,

William Brown
High School Principal

Parent Bulletin – March 16th 2012

Message from the High School Assistant Principal:

Dear Parents,

Today marks the end of the third quarter of the school year. The year is flying by and we are making headway on the plans for all those end of year activities, while at the same time preparing for the next school year. School budgets have been set, textbooks and materials ordered and new faculty has been hired. Next year, the high school will have 13 new faculty members to replace existing teachers who have decided to move on to other appointments at the end of this year. We’ll also have 3 teachers moving up from ISM’s middle school to join us full time in the high school.

We are following up on the final student course selections for school year 2012-13 and soon we will be able to go about building the HS schedule for next year. Mr. Brown describes the job of schedule design as “a fascinating game of three dimensional chess!” I never really enjoyed playing chess much, but Sudoku, Hitori, Hashi and Kakuro, well that’s another matter! However it is described, the job of creating next year’s high school schedule is a huge jigsaw puzzle, with times, blocks, terms, rooms, teachers, students and courses making up the thousands of pieces needed to complete the puzzle. Now that I have the data, I hope to make a start on it next week so that, when I travel to Shanghai in April, I can complete it under the guidance of experts from Pearson (the creators of our scheduling software).

The grade 12 IB/AP “mock” exams start next Thursday, March 22nd and will run until the following Thursday, March 29th (not March 26th to 28th as shown on the printed calendar). As Mr. Brown said in his bulletin two weeks ago, “the senior exams are a very good rehearsal for the actual IB/AP exams. A good lead up to these exams has been shown to be excellent preparation for the IB exams which, this year, start on Wednesday May 2nd.” The Grade 12 mock exams next week make up a large part of the second semester grade for the seniors, so they serve two purposes; firstly to assess the learning that has taken place this semester and secondly to give them a taste of and to prepare them for the IB/AP exams in May.

I cannot reiterate strongly enough Mr. Brown’s remarks in a previous bulletin “Having completed all their college applications, extended essays and IB internal assessments, it would be a shame if seniors do not perform in their school exams or even worse their IB exams in May. We sometimes hear a few rumors about this time of the year from seniors who have already been accepted to their university of choice, that their IB exams do not matter. This can not be more from the truth. Universities ask us for final transcripts and have been known to withdraw offers where clearly a student has not completed their senior year to the best of their ability. We are obliged to report to Universities any significant drop in student performance.”

On a different note, our Model United Nations delegates arrived home safely on Monday after an excellent few days in Beijing for the BEIMUN conference. This is the first time that our MUNers have travelled to Beijing; in the past they have been part of the THIMUN conference in The Hague, Holland but in order to reduce the long travel time to Europe (and the Carbon footprint associated with this travel), the Beijing MUN Conference was chosen as a replacement. Accounts of the trip from both our participating students and the accompanying faculty all indicate that this year’s conference was a huge success.

Finally, once again, last night, I was fortunate enough to be present for another display by our amazing musicians. The “Great Works” concert showcased the talent of our Jazz and Symphonic Bands, Orchestra and combined Choirs. For me, the highlight was the finale piece – Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana” – in which the 60 strong choir accompanied by both the Orchestra and Symphonic Band really raised the roof. Well done to all the students who took part and a big thank you to the teachers that nurture this talent.

Warm Regards,

Mike Dickinson
High School Assistant Principal