HS Friday Bulletin September 8

To access the full bulletin, please click here: HS Friday Bulletin Sept 8


Dear Parents / Guardians,

This week has been a week of bad news I’m afraid.

Our High School Librarian, Emma Rees took ill last weekend and will be leaving ISM, returning to the UK so that she can receive the necessary medical treatment. Emma played an integral part in the renovation of the high school, middle school and elementary school libraries last year. The collection is in the best shape it has ever been and the cross curricular links that she has established between the library and the other academic disciplines has ensured that our students and teachers are well served and well resourced. I’m sure that I speak for everyone in the ISM community when I wish her a full recovery. Thank you, Emma, you will be missed.

Our Orchestra and Stings teacher, Giovanni Bobisse, will have to return to his home country, Italy this weekend for personal reasons and will not be returning to ISM. Giovanni has been with us for 3 years, but, because of his contributions, it seems like he has been here for much, much longer. His individual style, wit and rapport with his students has been an absolute pleasure to observe and I have enjoyed his company and his contributions tremendously both here at school and in the wider Manila community. Shortly after he arrived in the Philippines, Giovanni founded the Tondo Chamber Orchestra, dedicated to teaching underprivileged children a musical instrument, but, in the process, teaching them so much more than that. Thank you, Giovanni and good luck. Our Middle School Principal, Ms. Harrington, and I are actively seeking a replacement for Giovanni.

They say that bad news comes in threes, and the third piece this week happened yesterday, when we were notified that this Saturday’s ACT test had been cancelled. ACT received credible evidence that some of their secure test materials had been compromised. Unfortunately, ISM is among those test centers that are impacted by this situation. Accordingly, ACT took the decision to cancel the test event at the impacted test centers around the Asia Pacific region to ensure the fairness of the exam for all examinees. ACT will not be rescheduling this test, but instead students will have to wait until the next test date on October 28th. In their letter, ACT apologized for any inconvenience this has caused.

And now for some other (hopefully, brighter) news. Thank you to those parents that have sent the recent news articles regarding the government’s insistence that random drug testing be carried out at all junior and high schools. As you may already know, we have been using our present drug-testing clinic for many years now and we are happy with their professionalism and confidentiality. We see no reason why any legislation, which may be new to many other schools, should have an impact on our drug-testing program. I have read through Order #40 and I am confident that our present program testing does already comply with this legislation. I will of course let you know if there are any changes that need to be made to our current practice in order to comply with this new order.

Thank you to Mr. Swan and his team of Counselors for the interactive workshop that they organized for last Tuesday morning’s High School Parent Coffee, in which discussions were facilitated on some of the challenges that both ISM students and parents face. This allowed parents to share their views and strategies that work for their family. Our Counselors also shared strategies – and data – relating to the questions/statements being discussed. Thanks to everyone who attended, despite the awful weather. Here is the link to the slides that Eric used in his presentation. Our next parent coffee is on October 10th at which our IT Coordinator, Dr. Collett will be talking about all things tech here at ISM, including tutorials in Snapchat and other apps that our children are using to communicate with their friends.

Thanks also goes out to Mike Relf who gave another very informative presentation at last night’s IB Information Night. The first part of the session really did show that ISM is performing at a very high level when compared with other schools around the world. The rest of the evening was dedicated to an explanation of the structure and systems surrounding the IB diploma. Here is the link to Mike’s slides.

We have another packed weekend of sport again this weekend, starting this afternoon/evening and continuing for much of tomorrow. For the full fixture list please navigate your way to the ATAC blog (click “Game Schedules” on the Schedules tab).

Looking forward to next week. On Thursday, all new parents are invited to the lobby of the Fine Arts Theater for the New Parent Meet and Greet, starting at 5:00pm. Please come along if you are a new parent and enjoy some nibbles, a glass of wine and an opportunity to chat with other new parents, members of our PCA and the school administrators.

What? No long weekend?! Have a great (regular) weekend everyone!

Mike Dickinson
High School Principal

HS Friday Bulletin August 31

To access the full bulletin, please click here: HS Friday Bulletin Aug 31


Dear Parents / Guardians,

Last Tuesday evening, I attended the Grade 9 “Navigating Your Way Through High School” and I realized just how much information needs to be absorbed so that parents can fully understand who we are as a school, where we’ve come from and where we and your child(ren) are going during their four years here. Thank you to Crystal Cappuccio and Scott Lassey for running this informative session. Here is the link to their presentation. During the evening, I also became aware that a second language course in ISMese is needed to gain a grasp on some of the colloquialisms that we use here. For this reason, I am sharing the ISM acronym sheet that I put together for the new parent coffee at the start of this year – I hope you find it useful.

Next Tuesday will be our 2nd High School Parent coffee of this year. Our Program Leader for Counseling, Eric Swan, will be holding an interactive workshop discussing some of the challenges that both students and parents face at ISM. Discussions will be facilitated by the counselors allowing parents to share their views and strategies that work for their family. Counselors will also share strategies – and data – relating to the questions/statements being discussed. Please come along to the Little Theater at 7:30 on Tuesday and share your experiences with other parents or simply listen to theirs.

I know that you will have already received an email about next Thursday’s IB Information Night in the Little Theater starting at 5:00pm, but I thought that I would give it an extra plug here. ISM offers the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma, a program that is recognized in most countries of the world as a university entrance qualification. Students in Grades 11 and 12 may choose to work toward the full IB Diploma or they may take selected courses for a partial diploma. Students are required to take external examinations at the end of each IB course. This event will present the following:
• Overview of the IB program
• Outline of IB School Statistics and Results from SY 2016 – 2017
• College perspectives on the IB program
• Q & A
This event would be a great opportunity for you, especially for the new parents, to voice out your concerns, familiarize yourself with the progress and benefits of the IB program in ISM.

And finally, we have a pretty full program of sports here at ISM this weekend. Some of these should have been played last weekend but were cancelled due to the inclement weather. Please come to school and support the Bearcats if you are a sports fan and can afford the time.
Aug 31 HS Boys Aspirants soccer and MS A1 vs La Salle 5pm
Sept 1 HS Varsity Girls Soccer vs ICA 8am
Sept 1 HS JV Girls Soccer vs Poveda 10am
Sept 1 MS A2 Soccer vs DLSL 8am and vs Keys 12noon
Sept 1 HS Varsity Girls Volleyball vs CSA 8am
Sept 1 MS Boys Volleyball vs Xavier 8am
Sept 1 HS JV Girls Volleyball vs CJPS 11am
Sept 2 ES Rifa soccer festival #1 E&G divisions at ISM 8am
Sept 2 MS C1&C2 soccer teams at BSM 8am
Sept 2 ES C3 soccer team at BSM 1pm
Sept 2 MS Rifa Girls soccer at ISM 1pm
Sept 2 HS XCountry race #2 at Faith (MS & HS runners

See you on the bleachers!
Have a great (long-again) weekend.

Mike Dickinson
High School Principal

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