HS Friday Bulletin November 9

To access the full bulletin, please click here: HS FRIDAY BULLETIN NOV 9


Dear Parents and Guardians,

I’d like to start this week’s bulletin by sharing with you the email that Mr. Toze wrote to all High School parents, regarding underage alcohol consumption at parties that some of our High School students attend.

Dear Parents,

As we approach the holiday season, I do want to broach what some may see as an unseasonable topic: the inherent dangers in alcohol consumption by teenagers. We know that the legal age for buying and drinking alcohol in the Philippines is 18, but we also know that, because of lax policing and the easy availability of fake IDs, in reality more or less anyone with money can buy alcohol – whatever their age.

Not infrequently, I hear stories of parties at which students drink to the point of intoxication and require emergency medical assistance. This isn’t a problem that besets just Manila, or the Philippines; it is a problem in many parts of the world. Every year, there are media reports of deaths of young people caused either directly by binge drinking or indirectly through accidents or violence provoked by drunkenness. Below are just three examples from Canada, the UK and the USA:

My fear is that, one day, I shall be the school head who is called upon to make a statement in such circumstances.

Like you, I know the pressure that sons and daughters place upon their parents, and how easy it is to be “guilted” or coerced into saying “Yes” when we know that the right answer is “No”. I do want to be clear, though, that if we allow our children uninhibited access to alcohol – and especially to hard liquor – then we are putting their safety at risk.

Moreover, if we as parents sponsor parties or events where we enable or encourage children under the age of 18 to consume alcohol, then we are not just assuming a moral responsibility for what may happen because of their drinking; we are assuming a civil and criminal liability as well.

We at school understand that we have a role to play in all this. We have an extensive Wellness program where we explore the impact of alcohol on the body; we invite in expert speakers to talk about substance abuse; our counselors work with individuals who may be experiencing problems with alcohol. But what we cannot do is say to a student: “No, you aren’t allowed to go to this party on Saturday night because you’re only fifteen years old, and I know they will be serving drink there”. That decision lies within the province of a parent.

I do urge you to think carefully about the issues I have raised here and, over the course of the next few days, to have a serious conversation with your sons and daughters about alcohol consumption.


David Toze
International School Manila

Mr. Toze’s email is not only a preemptive one as we prepare for the run-up to Christmas and then Christmas break with all the festivities that go along with it, but also a reaction to a couple of parties this semester where underage high school students have been provided with alcohol by the host parents. I’d like to share with you here 3 simple questions that can be asked of the host parent in advance of these situations.

1. Are you aware of the party that is being planned at your house this weekend?
• Establish here that the party is being planned with the consent of the host parents.
2. Will you and/or your wife/husband be there to supervise the kids?
• Depending on the answer, you may wish to dig further.
3. Will alcohol be available?
• By available, I mean provided by the host/venue or brought by party-goers

If the answers to any of these questions, make you uncomfortable then, as Mr. Toze suggests in his missive, you should not be “guilted” or coerced into saying “Yes” when we know that the right answer is “No”. I realize that this is sometimes easier said than done when “everybody will be going” is the retort from your child, but, as I am starting to realize too, raising teenagers in the right way is not always easy. Good luck.

And now to other things:
Thanks for the parents who took the time to attend this month’s Parent Coffee last Tuesday. We started the morning with a demonstration of intellectual capacity with Ursula and Regina presenting again their ToK presentations as a sample of this year’s excellent batch. They were confident and articulate, the presentation was well paced and their use of intonation was engaging. As I said at the end, if you were ever in doubt as to whether your child is ready for the next stage of their education after ISM, just come along and watch their ToK presentation – it will put your mind at rest. Well done you two. Following of from Ursula and Regina, Mr. Woods, Ms. Alvarez, Ms. Govier and a selection of students from the sustainability counsel presented to parents on the planning that goes behind events like ICARE so that it isn’t just an outing, but that the learning is deliberate and pre-meditated. Well done particularly to Abhinav, who took the microphone and spoke with the confidence and knowledge of a TED-talker. Good stuff!

Today, International School Manila hosted our largest ever RoboRumble Tournament in the Little Theatre. Teams from three other countries joined this year, and we’ve been officially designated as the Philippines National Championship for VEX Robotics. Ten of our top HS teams competed in the event known as Turning Point. MS kids competed in the Next Level event. Saturday morning will be the final elimination rounds beginning at 9 am. Please come check it out! If you have any questions about the event, please contact Grade 11 student, Jason Cruz. cruzg@ismanila.org. He is the student RoboRumble Director and highly skilled at fielding robo-queries. Thanks to Mr. Dingrando, Mr. Philips, Mr. Venhuis and Mr. Hatfield for helping to judge and organize this year’s competition.

Sports fans: This coming Saturday will be busy, busy, busy here on campus….
Sailfish Fall swim meet at ISM from 8am and continuing all day
Local Basketball league begins for Varsity teams at ISM. VBoys vs Letran 11am/VGirls vs UMAK 12:30pm
Local tennis competition begins at ISM roof top courts for MS tennis league
Local touch round #1 of league competition begins at ISM MS field for Varsity teams from 8am all day.
At away venues- HS Tennis teams at CSA/Wall Climbing team at ROX store BGC/Chess team at LSGH/Table Tennis team at Xavier
Next weekend we host the Rugby exchange with 4 of the IASAS schools arriving Friday Nov 16 to play games after school and all day Saturday Nov 17. For Faculty Rugby fans the schedule of rugby matches will be sent out in next week’s sports update.
Friday Nov 23 is Friday night lights #2 with Rugby games, Touch vs Brent/Faith and Basketball vs Brent.
Sat Nov 24 Sailfish Aquathon contact Coach Holly if you would like to enter as faculty entries are encouraged to join in the fun/fitness!

Looking forward to next week (and beyond). We are approaching concert season with the All Choirs, All Bands and All Strings coming soon:

All Choirs – Tuesday, November 13th at 5:30 in the FAT
All Bands – Monday, November 19th at 5:30 in the FAT
All Strings – Wednesday, November 21st at 5:30 in the FAT
Please come along and support the students and, at the same time, enjoy some wonderful musical performances.

Next Thursday, November 15th, we have an Evening of Particle Physics as Sana and Sae Joon report on their trip to CERN, Geneva last month – please come and join us as they explain their proposal that won this prestigious competition together with their experience, tests and results from the experiment that they carried out while in Switzerland.

At the end of next week will be an IASAS exchange weekend plus IASAS MUN.
IASAS MUN @ ISM (Thursday to Saturday)
Basketball @ TAS
Rugby @ ISM (Saturday)
Touch @ SAS
Swimming @ ISB
Tennis (boys) @ ISKL
Tennis (girls) @ JIS

Wishing you a restful weekend.

Mike Dickinson
HS Principal

HS Friday Bulletin October 26

To access the full bulletin, please click here: HS Friday Bulletin Oct 26


Dear Parents and Guardians,

Thank-you to Mr. Birchenall for writing last week’s High School Parent Bulletin while I was away in Kuala Lumpur with the Cross Country and Volleyball teams for the 1st Season IASAS tournament. The ISM girls and boys ran and played their hearts out and the boys VB team managed to take an easy bronze medal in the 3rd/4th place match on Saturday morning. The girls were out-played in their 3rd/4th place match, narrowly losing out on a medal to ISB. The boys and girls XC teams managed 4th and 5th but they’ll be back again next year and hopefully manage to bring back more silverware then. A special mention goes to Yosuke who came in in 4th place for the 5k and 3rd place for the 3k. Well done Yosuke. In Singapore, for Soccer, after a very promising start by both girls and boys they too unluckily missed out on medals with the girl’s bronze medal match ending in a penalty shoot-out and the boys ending in 5th. Thanks to all the Volleyball parents (and siblings) for making my weekend so memorable.

Try-outs started for Season 2 on Wednesday for Basketball, Rugby/Touch, Tennis and Swimming so many of our athletes can now focus their attention on these very different sports while other students can have a season off, to rest and concentrate on other things.

I’m happy to say that Parent Teacher Conferences ran smoothly again this year and I would like to thank Sam and Laurie in the High School Office for their support. Thanks also to our IT Department for their continued support and maintenance of the reservation software. I realize that some teachers have more demand than we were able to offer with the 2 afternoons and for this reason, those teachers will be available now that the conferences have ended if you still need to speak to them about your child’s progress – please email or call the high school office if you would like to make these extra conferences. We have, for a number of years, considered putting on a third day, but the loss to learning for another afternoon cannot be justified for so few missing conferences.

It’s always nice to announce the arrival of a new member of the ISM community. Liam Nourse was born on Monday evening to our Math teacher Carey Nourse and his wife Penny. Congratulations Carey and Penny on the safe arrival of the youngest Bearkitten and welcome, Liam to the ISM family. Here’s the picture and message I received from Mr. Nourse on Monday at midnight – “Baby is healthy 9 lbs and 6 ounces. Mom is fine too. Might be a bit late in the morning…”. Priceless!

Yesterday, our Counseling team ran this year’s JUKO evening (Junior University Kick Off) to an audience of more than 150 parents and students. Thanks to Eric Swan and the rest of his team for organizing and presenting sessions. Please stay tuned for the sharing of the slides and for more information

We ended this first part of the semester this afternoon with Filipiniana – a celebration of Filipino culture and customs. After the parade at 12:00pm, we enjoyed the “Barrio Fiesta” where there were Filipino delicacies for sale that tantalized our taste buds. The rest of the afternoon, was a program packed with Filipino music and dancing during the cultural program in the Fine Arts Theater. The theme of this year’s Filipiniana was “Katutubo” and of course, the first thing I did was to Google Katutubo to find out more. Katutubo is the Tagalog word for “Native People” and this afternoon in the FAT we saw images of indigenous Filipinos still going about their daily routines to show us just how diverse and rich the Philippines is in culture and customs and that we need to celebrate and preserve these cultural differences so that the Philippines doesn’t become just another homogenous blend like so many other places in the world. It made me realize that like the Philippines, ISM has its own customs and culture that we must preserve. I couldn’t help wondering if the very fact that International School Manila is located in such a warm, friendly, vibrant, happy country has anything to do with the warmth, the vibrancy, the friendliness and the happiness of our school and of our students. Every day, in every classroom that I visit, I see smiles and I hear laughter as students and teachers enjoy their experiences in teaching and learning together. I’d like to say a huge thank-you to Margarita, Elisabeth, Rocio and the rest of the PCC team of students for working so hard to make today a success. Thanks to the PCC teacher advisors and to the PCC parents, who have given their time so selflessly to support this event. Also, thank you to all our performers and their teachers for their time and effort in putting together the cultural program that we all enjoyed so much.

Looking forward to after the October break, the first Tuesday back, November 6th, will be our last Parent Coffee for the semester. This month we celebrate the end of another successful series of ToK presentations with a demonstration from Rocio and Regina. Also, Mr. Woods and Ms. Alvarez from the Sustainability Council will be there to tell us what’s been going on in the lead-up to ICARE and our efforts to make ISM a more environmentally friendly place to be.

At the end of the first week back, on Friday and Saturday, November 9th and 10th in the Little Theatre, ISM will be hosting our largest ever RoboRumble Tournament. We now have teams coming in from three other countries, and we’ve been officially designated as the Philippines National Championship for VEX Robotics. Ten of our top HS teams will be competing in the event known as Turning Point. MS kids will be competing in the event called Next Level. On Friday, Nov 9th, the best spectating times will be between 9 am and noon, and then from 1 pm to 3 pm. Saturday morning will be the final elimination rounds beginning at 9 am. Please come and check it out! If you have any questions about the event, please contact our student RoboRumble Director, Jason Cruz (cruzg@ismanila.org) who is highly skilled at fielding robo-queries.

And with that, I wish you all a restful and relaxing October break.

Mike Dickinson
High School Principal

HS Friday Bulletin October 19

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


Dear Parents and Guardians,

As Mr. Dickinson is currently in Kuala Lumpur with our IASAS volleyball teams, I have the pleasure of writing our Parent Bulletin this week and I want to begin by congratulating everyone involved with this year’s High School play ‘Haroun and the Sea of Stories’. The play was an adaptation of the Salman Rushdie story, an innovative and ambitious allegory that was perfectly produced and impeccably performed by the cast. I’m sure that those of you who attended were as enthralled as I was by the acting, the choreography, the costumes and the imaginative set. Well done Tami, Pari and everyone else who helped to make the show such a great success.

Next week begins with Parent Teacher Conferences on Monday and Tuesday afternoon. We are all looking forward to meeting with you and discussing your children’s progress. Much of the work involved in organizing these conferences falls to our High School Office staff so I want to thank Laurie Atilano and Sam Ramos for their hard work and our IT department for supporting the online registration system. The High School schedule for both days is posted below. Bus riders, please note that buses will leave school at 12:15pm on both days.

High School PTC Schedule for Monday 22 October
7:30am – 8:40am Block A
8:40am Break
9:00am – 10:10am Block B
10:15am – 11:25am Block C
11:30am HS Early Student Release
12:15pm School Buses Depart
1:00pm – 6:00pm Parent Teacher Conferences

High School PTC Schedule for Tuesday 23 October
7:30am – 8:40am Block F
8:40am Break
9:00am – 10:10am Block G
10:15am – 11:25am Block H
11:30am HS Early Student Release
12:15pm School Buses Depart
1:00pm – 6:00pm Parent Teacher Conferences

Please bring a copy of your conference schedule with you, either by saving one to your handheld device or printing a copy at home for your reference.

Next week, we are also pleased to welcome Dr. Belinda Chiu, a Senior Associate Director at Dartmouth College, who is visiting Manila on Monday 22nd and Tuesday 23rd October. Dr. Chiu is a trainer and strategist who has offered to run sessions for our students, faculty and parents on mindfulness and resilience with a particular focus on reducing the stress and competitiveness of high school and the college admissions process. She will run seven sessions in total: one for each grade level, one with our counseling team, one with our Wellness team and our Grade Level Coordinators and one for our parent community. The presentation for parents is in the Fine Arts Theater at 12pm on Tuesday 23 October, so the timing will allow you to go straight from her presentation to Parent Teacher Conferences.

The week ends with Filipiniana Day, the annual celebration of our host country. The Philippine Cultural Club have worked hard to prepare a great program for us to enjoy so buy the T shirt or dress up in your favorite Filipiniana costume and join the fun. It promises to be a great way to ease into our long-awaited October break. The program for the day looks like this:

HS Filipiniana Day Schedule for Friday 26 October
7:30am – 8:15am Block D (45 minutes)
8:20am – 9:05am Block E (45 minutes)
9:05am Break
9:25am – 10:10am Block F (45 minutes)
10:15am – 11:00am Block G (45 minutes)
11:05am – 11:50am Block H (45 minutes)
12:00pm – 12:15 pm Parade
12:15pm – 1:10pm Barrio Fiesta
1:15pm – 1:25pm Advisory
1:30pm – 2:45pm Program in the FAT
2:45pm Dismissal

Have a great weekend everyone and, if you want to follow the fortunes of our IASAS athletes, go to www.iasas.asia for schedules, photographs, live streams and results.

Dave Birchenall
High School Assistant Principal


To access the full bulletin, please click here: HS FRIDAY BULLETIN Oct 12


Dear Parents and Guardians,

Firstly this week, for all sports fans as the first season is coming to an end, please see below for home and away matches this weekend.
Saturday, October 13
***HS Aspirants soccer team ‘plate division’ semifinal vs DBTC 12noon HS field
***Chess team away at Brent 8am
***VBoys volleyball 3rd place playoff vs CSA at CSA 2pm
***VGirls volleyball tune up game away at Southville 9am

Next week is IASAS week, bringing Season 1 to a close with our Soccer teams going to SAS in Singapore and Volleyball/Cross Country teams going to ISKL Kuala Lumpur to compete. Teams depart Wednesday and tournament play is Thursday to Saturday with the return to Manila on Sunday. Follow all the live stream/results via www.iasas.asia. Go Bearcats!

Last night was the opening night of this year’s High School play, “Haroun and the Sea of Stories”, which was originally written by Salman Rushdie for his young son, but has since attracted readers of all ages.

The cast has been working since August with HS Theatre teacher, Ms. Tami Monsod, to devise unique ways to stage this fantastical journey. This is a great piece of story-telling that is perfect for the whole family. The play will be performed in the ISM Fine Arts Theatre 4 more times:
***Friday, October 12th @ 6pm
***Saturday, October 13th @ 10am, 2pm & 6pm
…and some tickets are still available. Please pay in cash at the ISM Cashier’s Office or at the electronic kiosk, then print a receipt, and take this to the Cashier’s Office to exchange for a ticket.

I would like to remind those of you intending to come that the show starts with a unique entrance so arriving late won’t be possible; please be on time.

This morning the registration software for the Parent Teacher Conferences opened for you to make a further four reservations (now to a maximum of 8 reservations) for the PTCs on the afternoons of October 22 and 23. When you log in, you may see that a conference has already been made for you at the request of a teacher. Please feel free to change the time of this conference to suit your needs, but do not delete it entirely as the teacher wishes to speak with you about your child.

Wishing you all a restful and relaxing weekend.

Mike Dickinson