HS Friday Bulletin August 25

To access the full bulletin, please click here: HS Friday Bulletin Aug 25


Dear Parents / Guardians,

Firstly today, thank you to our High School Counseling team for their preparation and effort at last night’s UK, US and Canadian college application presentations. Mr. Birchenall reported to me this morning that the evening was a huge success with over 120 parents present. Thank you too to all the parents that attended – it makes it so worthwhile when so many parents take the time to come to school to listen. Next week, on Tuesday at 5:30pm, Crystal Cappuccio and Scott Lassey, our two Grade 9/10 Counselors, will be presenting “Navigating High School” in the Little Theatre; a presentation specifically aimed at Grade 9 parents, but all are welcome of course.

PowerSchool is now open to parents – please take a moment to log in and check that your demographic data is correct, particularly your email address(es) and your telephone numbers (both home and mobile) as these are our two primary channels of communication. If you know of someone that isn’t receiving these Friday bulletins, then it probably means that their email address is incorrect. This data can be updated by logging into PowerParent (through the Parent Portal) and clicking on the “Demographic Update” button on the left-hand column of links.

Can I take this opportunity to remind all families that if you are going away for any length of time, then you have an obligation to complete a “Temporary Guardianship Agreement” so the we know who to contact in case of emergency – this guardian that assumes this role may not be a yaya, housekeeper or driver. Thank you for your cooperation in this regard.

Club EXPO will be taking place all day next Wednesday, up in the Lofthouse. It is an opportunity for students to find out about which clubs they might be interested in joining this year, then go ahead and sign up. This year we have over 50 clubs to choose from – which can be as daunting as deciding what to squeeze onto one’s plate at the Sofitel brunch buffet. There should be something at Club EXPO to suit everyone’s taste, so please encourage your child to visit and sign up for something that will hopefully provide a little balance in their busy lives.

Next week will be an extra-short one with school being closed on both Monday and Friday for public holidays. Monday is National Heroes Day here in the Philippines, while on Friday we celebrate the Muslim holiday of Eid-ul-Adha.

Have a great (long) weekend everyone.

Mike Dickinson
High School Principal

HS Friday Bulletin August 18

To access the full bulletin, please click here: HS Friday Bulletin Aug 18


Dear Parents / Guardians,

Well, where on earth did that week go! Doesn’t time fly when we’re having fun!

I’d like to start this week by recognizing the hard work and effort that went into another excellent Open House last Tuesday – It started exceptionally well in the FAT, with Jazz Band, Strings and of course, our very own Heather treating us to musical ear-candy! Thanks, and well done to Mr. Nazareno, Mr. Bobisse, Ms. Provencher and their musicians for so competently putting this all together in such a short space of time – next year, we have Dance Co. to look forward to. After I left the FAT, I became a dad for the rest of the evening – the classes that I visited were all well-prepared and well-articulated. Thanks also to the teachers for being able to fit so much into a short 10-minute lesson. And, of course, thanks to you, the parents, that turned out in such great numbers to meet your child’s teachers. It is all so worth-while, when so many parents brave the Manila traffic and come to school for events like these. Well done!

This evening is the first Friday Night Lights of the year against Faith Academy, with our soccer teams competing on the high school and middle school fields and the volleyball teams playing in the HS and MS gyms. The cross-country team will then race up at Faith tomorrow. We also have a pretty packed day here at school tomorrow with both our soccer and volleyball teams competing in the local league. If you’re interested in supporting the Bearcats, please check out the full game schedule on the ATAC blog.

PowerSchool will open to parents next Tuesday, August 22nd and our Admissions Office has asked me to remind parents of their responsibility to update demographic data (address, telephone numbers and email) if anything changes. We had a couple of cases at the end of last year when the school clinic needed to get in touch with parents but the numbers that we held on file were old and therefore incorrect. Thank-you for your cooperation in this regard.

Next week will be the Kawayan (Yearbook) picture taking week for grades 9-11. Please refer to the email that you should have received earlier today from the High School Office for your child’s day and time so that you can have them all polished and shiny, ready for their photos. The Seniors will have their pictures taken on the weekends of August 26th and September 2nd as they wear more formal attire (similar to their graduation garb).

August is always a strange month regarding holidays. We have 3 coming up in quick succession, with the first, Ninoy Aquino Day, next Monday. For any new families, I found this very quick-read article that gives a little background on Ninoy Aquino.

Have a great (long) weekend everyone.

Mike Dickinson
High School Principal

HS Friday Bulletin August 11

To access the full bulletin, please click here: HS Friday Bulletin Aug 11


Dear Parents / Guardians,

Welcome back to what will (hopefully) be another safe, respectful, responsible and exciting year in the high school. In the opening assembly on Monday, I spoke to the students about time and how time will pass them by at such an incredible pace that, if they’re not careful, they’ll miss the year as it flies by without them. I welcomed all the new students to ISM and welcomed this new batch of freshmen with the opening lines of the Taylor Swift song, “Fifteen”; “Take a deep breath and walk through the doors, it’s the afternoon of your very first day. Say “hi” to the friends you ain’t seen in a while and try to keep out of Mr. Birchenall’s way…” It then went downhill rapidly from there! I reminded the Seniors that there are only 174 school-days until their graduation! – I think some of them had already worked that out for themselves – and I warned them about time and procrastination; that time is ruthless and once it has gone, there is no getting it back!

Thank-you to all the parents – both new and returning, that attended last Tuesday’s High School Parent Coffee in the Little Theater. Thanks particularly to the HS PCA reps who were all there and who were extremely helpful during the new parent and new student orientation day. On that same note, I want to say a huge thank-you to Crystal Cappuccio and her team of Ambassadors who ran the student orientation activities last Thursday – Well done to you all; a great effort and a great help. The High School Parent Coffee mornings will start a little earlier this year, at 7:30am (at the request of the PCA) so that you are not kept hanging around after you bring your children to school. Here is the link to the Powerpoint that I used and here is the Year-At-A-Glance that I promised (I have gone as far as the end of the first semester for now, but I’ll add more, later). Our next one will be on September 5th in which Mr. Swan and his team of counselors will be presenting – more on this to follow.

There have been a number of changes recently – even in the few short weeks since we broke for the summer, we have said goodbye to about 60 of our high school friends but yesterday we said hello to nearly 50 new. I would like to welcome all our new families – I hope that Manila can be somewhere in which you feel happy and comfortable.

We said goodbye to some teachers at the end of last year and so we have some new ones to welcome to our ranks.
• Caroline Garner Art
• Scott Lassey Counseling
• Karen Sagall Counseling
• Kristen Baek English
• Melanie Hunt English
• Catrina Walters Film
• Monika D’Aquale Modern Language (French)
• Yuki Geronimo Modern Language (Japanese)
• Jackson Pearce Physical Education
• Scott Cameron Science (Chemistry / Physics)
• Andy Ellmers Science (Physics)
• Irsa Sarkawi Science (Chemistry)
• David Martin Social Studies (Business Management)
• Tom Sheard Social Studies (Geography)
• Emily Simbana Specialized Learning Support

We also have a new intern this year, Rose Novak, who will be working with the Psychology teachers. Welcome to you all – I hope that ISM can be both a professionally rewarding and a fun place to work.

We also have some congratulations.
• Ms. Roseleip returned to Manila with her lovely daughter, Kélani Roseleip Fossouo
• Mr. Paulson became a dad for the second time. Welcome Darwin James Cruz Paulson

More Congratulations:
• Mr. Hill and Sheila Avestruz were married this summer.
• Mr. and Mrs. Birchenall are going to become grandparents for the 2nd and 3rd time.
• Mr. Robertson – Completed his 2nd degree in Math and Physics
• Mr. Armstrong – Completed his Masters degree in Mathematics
• Mme. de Blegiers and Mrs. Dickinson graduated from the Principal’s Training Center
Well done to you all.

Next week, on Tuesday will be our annual Open House evening, which will start in the FAT at 5:0pm sharp, with refreshments outside from 4:30pm. It is a tight schedule for the evening so do please try to arrive on time so that you don’t get a tardy slip from any of the teachers. Open House is an opportunity for you to meet your child’s teachers in their regular classroom setting. It is a chance to put a face to a name and to learn a little about the courses that your son or daughter will be studying during this academic year 2017-18. The evening is different to the Parent-Teacher Conferences (PTCs) that are held in October in that individual students are not discussed during Open House. During the evening, you will follow your child’s high school schedule, receiving a 10-minute “lesson” from each of his teachers, who will introduce themselves and their course.

Looking forward to seeing you at Open House on Tuesday, August 15th, and to another fantastic year ahead.

Have a great weekend.

Mike Dickinson
High School Principal

HS Friday Bulletin June 2

To access the full bulletin, please click here: HS Friday Bulletin June 2

Dear Parents / Guardians,

Well, I thought that last Friday evening was absolutely lovely!  The decoration, the food and music outside the FAT and inside were wonderful – thank you to the graduation décor committee, the catering committee and the Senior Lunch committee for all their hard work and effort.  You guys did a terrific job.  The graduates looked fantastic up on stage, the speeches from Sofia Jimenez, Mr. Toze, Sammy Westfall and Mr. MacInnes were uplifting, inspiring and “senti”, and the class feature, “History” was great.  If you’d like to watch the Graduation ceremony, here’s the link – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCg0bBn8JDN2C5RqDTY7UZA

I felt extremely proud to have been the one this year that said the final words “Class of 2017, please rise.  To symbolize the conferring of your ISM high school diploma and that you have individually challenged yourself to meet, fulfil and in most cases exceed ISM’s graduation requirement, I ask that with your left hand, you move the tassel on your mortarboard from your right to your left.  Ladies and gentlemen ISM presents to you the class of twenty seventeen.”  Well done graduates – you have been a great class and we’ll miss you.

You will all know that last Monday we had to deal with a serious disciplinary infraction as a result of grossly inappropriate use of social media.  The school dealt with this as swiftly and efficiently as possible and, while it was clear that there was never any harm intended toward the school and its students, the repercussions of such a “joke” were serious indeed – and could have been much more serious still.

Every year, we work with our students through our pastoral care program, and the dangers inherent in social media are a constant theme in our discussions.  We organize workshops for our parents to make sure that they too understand these dangers, since it is primarily in the home and off campus where students have unfettered access to the internet.

We shall continue our conversations with the community about how we can best pass on the message to our students regarding their online personal security. The world we live in is as dangerous as it is exciting, and we wish to do all that we can to encourage our students to behave in ways that are safe, responsible and respectful.

Our teachers are still busy at this time of year writing report card comments for all students.  The report cards will be available through the parent portal from June 14th.  Student dismissal for the summer break will be next Thursday at 12 noon with the buses leaving at about 12:15.

This will be my final bulletin of this year.  The Dickinson’s are off to Spain and Portugal for the summer and I will turn 50 in Madrid this July (mixed feeling about that one!).  Thank you to everyone for your support in my first year as High School Principal – It has been a year of ups and downs; I’m hoping for more ups than downs next year as Dave Birchenall and I start year 2 together.  Take care everyone, have a relaxing summer vacation.

Mike Dickinson

High School Principal