HS Friday Bulletin September 14

To access the full bulletin, please click here: HS Friday Bulletin Sept 14


Dear Parents and Guardians,

This week, we have had one of the counselors from Freedom from Chemical Dependency (FCD), Mr. Glenn Hall, here at ISM to speak with the Grade 11 students about substance abuse and addiction. The message that I hope came across loud and clear to the students is that the risk of dependency (addiction) can be reduced significantly by delaying any use of addictive substances (drugs) for as long as possible; with 20 being the recommended age a person should wait until before they allow these substances to enter the body so that the brain does not develop a dependency upon them. Research suggests that by the age of 20 the brain’s prefrontal cortex is almost fully developed for most people (this part of the brain being responsible for addictive tendencies).

It was interesting to hear the list of drugs to which young people are most susceptible. It isn’t heroin or crack cocaine or crystal meth that are the most worry (although these are readily available here in Manila); it was the socially acceptable drugs of alcohol and the nicotine contained within cigarettes, Vapes and Juules, that our students come into contact with on a regular basis, which are classified as “gateway” drugs. These drugs can lead to addiction and may open the doors to the other aforementioned “hard drugs”.

In his two sessions with the Grade 11 students, Mr. Hall covered the following themes:
Session 1
• My story of addiction/ genetic predisposition.
• Media Literacy / how advertising companies target young people.
• Basic info on Marijuana/Alcohol
Session 2
• The Social Norms Approach/ Perception vs Reality
• The Truth about E cigarettes and vaping
• Early Intervention, how to help a friend/Role playing

I have linked the following student information sheets about these sessions below:
How to Help a Friend
Ten Steps to an Informal Intervention

And here are two factsheets for parents that cover some of these themes:
Parents Keeping Healthy Teens Healthy from Risky Alcohol Use
FCD Parenting for Prevention Factsheet

We also had an excellent session with parents on Tuesday morning during which time Mr. Hall shared some ideas with parents about this same topic. One of the publications on the FCD website summarized this session very well and I have taken an excerpt from this and included it below:

What families can do about underage alcohol use
While many teens drink alcohol, underage alcohol use is not inevitable. Families are not helpless to prevent it. Focus your efforts on the factors that protect teens from alcohol use. At the same time, you can work to reduce the factors that increase the chance that they will drink.

Support your teens and give them space to grow.
• Be involved in your teens’ lives. Be loving and caring.
• Encourage your teens’ growing independence, but set appropriate limits.
• Make it easy for your teens to share information about their lives.
• Know where your teens are, what they’re doing, who they’re with, and who their friends are.
• Find ways for your teens to be involved in family life, such as doing chores or caring for a younger brother or sister.
• Set clear rules, including rules about alcohol use. Enforce the rules you set.

Talk with your teens about alcohol use.
• When you talk with your teens about drinking, listen to them and respect what they say.
• Make clear your expectation that your teens will not drink.
• Teach your children about the dangers of underage drinking.
• Discuss laws about underage drinking, including the age law [18 here in the Philippines. MD]

Help your teens make good decisions about alcohol.
• Help your teens know how to resist alcohol.
• Help them find ways to have fun without alcohol.
• Do not give alcohol to your teens. Tell them that any alcohol in your home is off limits to them and to their friends.
• Don’t let your teens attend parties where alcohol is served. Make sure alcohol isn’t available at teen parties in your own home.
• Set clear rules about not drinking and enforce them consistently.
• Help your teens avoid dangerous situations such as riding in a car driven by someone who has been drinking.
• Help your teens get professional help if you’re worried about their involvement with alcohol.

Be aware of factors that may increase the risk of teen alcohol use.
• Significant social transitions such as graduating to middle or high school, or getting a driver’s license
• A history of conduct problems
• Depression and other serious emotional problems
• A family history of alcoholism
• Contact with peers involved in deviant activities

Be a positive adult role model.
• If you drink yourself, drink responsibly. That means not drinking too much or too often.
• Stay away from alcohol in high-risk situations. For example, don’t drive or go boating when you’ve been drinking.
• Get help if you think you have an alcohol-related problem.

Work with others.
No matter how close you and your teens are, it may not be enough to prevent them from drinking. It’s hard for families to do this alone. It’s important to reach out to schools, communities, and government. You can help protect teens from underage alcohol use by working to see to it that –
• Schools and the community support and reward young people’s decisions not to drink.
• Rules about underage drinking are in place at home, at school, and in your community.
• Penalties for breaking the rules are well known. Rules are enforced the same way for everyone.
• All laws about underage alcohol use are well known and enforced.
• Parties and social events at home and elsewhere don’t permit underage drinking.
Full publication here

Now to other news:

Unfortunately, the super-typhoon that has been building for the past few days has precipitated the decision to be made to cancel the IASAS season 1 volleyball exchange here at ISM this weekend. Similarly, the soccer exchange in Taipei has also been cancelled. However, the cross-country team left for Bangkok last night and the Dance contingent also left for Jakarta. While we realize that this is disappointing for the kids (and for many parents) the decision was made in the interest of student safety and wellbeing.

Looking ahead to next week, please come along to the Fine Arts Theater at 5:30pm on Thursday evening to enjoy a celebration of German Romanticism (great word by the way – Romantic-ism) with the annual Great Works Concert. I happened to visit the Show Choir class this week while they were rehearsing and Beethoven’s Hallelujah Chorus is sounding absolutely beautiful. The hairs on my body were standing on end and it sent shivers down my spine – I hope it has the same effect on you.

Next Friday is our much-anticipated annual Battle of the Bearcats; a day of spirit-fuelled fun where the four grade levels compete against one another for the much coveted BoB Spirit trophy. The opening ceremony will take place in the High School Gym at 8:15. Go Bearcats!

Finally this week, I would like to remind all parents that may be planning a trip that leaves their child at home, that there is the requirement to complete the temporary guardianship agreement.

Temporary Guardianship: When both parents are going to be away temporarily, it is imperative for them to notify the appropriate school office in advance, stating who will be responsible for the student(s) and whom the school should contact in case of emergency. This notification needs to be in written form. There is a Temporary Guardianship form available at the High School Office for this purpose. It can also be downloaded from the ISM website.

Parents must notify the school of a change of address or telephone number. This can be done by the parent directly into the PowerSchool database via the parent log in. Parents should also inform the School Clinic of any significant change in the health status of the student(s). A copy of the form is also posted on our website under ADMISSIONS>APPLICATION FILE FORMS: Here is the link.

Wishing you all a restful and relaxing weekend.

Mike Dickinson
High School Principal

HS Friday Bulletin September 7

To access the full bulletin, please click here: HS FRIDAY BULLETIN SEPT 7


Dear Parents and Guardians,

Firstly, this week, a big thank you to all the parents that braved the awful weather and came to school on Tuesday evening to listen to Mr. Relf present a general information session about the International Baccalaureate Program here at ISM (ISM IB 101). This was followed in the FAT by the representatives from Columbia and Princeton who presented on the virtues and requirements of their respective colleges. Thanks also to Mr. Relf, Mr. Swan and the counselling team for organizing these 2 great events.

Sports fans! This Saturday morning is another busy day on campus with the 2nd of the Rifa Soccer Festivals for ES teams. Please be aware entry to school will be very busy from 6:45-8am so plan accordingly. We host 500+ people for the morning soccer festival. Upcoming events:

This weekend:
Fri Sept 7 HS Volleyball teams away at Brent
Fri Sept 7 MS A1 boys soccer at home vs Xavier Nuvali 5pm at MS field
Sat Sept 8 MS/HS XCountry Race #2 at Faith Academy
Sat Sept 8 Local league volleyball games MS and HS at ISM
Sat Sept 8 Rifa soccer festival #2 E&G divisions at ISM 8am-12:00noon
Sat Sept 8 Rifa soccer festival #2 ES/MS C division teams at BSM 8am and 1pm
Sat Sept 8 VGirls soccer vs DLSZ 4pm at home
Sun Sept 9 MS A1 vs DLSL 8am at MS field and VBoys soccer vs DLSZ 10am at HS field

Next weekend:
Sept 14-16 Varsity XC to Bangkok and Soccer teams to Taipei for Pre IASAS exchange weekend.
Sept 14-15 Volleyball exchange at ISM

Sept 14 – Friday MS GYM – Boys Crt 1 MS GYM – Girls Crt 2
3:45 PM ISM vs CSB-B ISB vs TAS
5:30 PM ISB vs TAS ISM vs MGS
Sept 15 – Saturday MS GYM – Boys Crt 1 MS GYM – Girls Crt 2
9:00 AM ISM vs ISB ISM vs TAS
11:00 AM Brent vs TAS Brent vs ISB
1:30 PM ISB vs Brent Brent vs TAS
3:30 PM ISM vs TAS ISM vs ISB
All matches best of 5 sets with all 5 sets to be played to allow more game time for all players

For full match details of weekday and weekend matches go to ATAC game schedule via the parent portal.

Next week sees FCD (Freedom from Chemical Dependency) back in town after a 2-year break. FCD is a non-profit organization that provides substance abuse prevention education for schools, using skilled and experienced specialists, who have achieved long-term recovery from alcohol or other drug addictions. Since 1976, they have taught over a million students of all ages (www.fcd.org). Here at ISM we used to have FCD speak with our grade 9 students, but decided to move it, as the grade 9 Wellness curriculum also covers this same theme – hence the 2-year break. FCD Counselor, Mr. Glenn Hall will be here all week, working with our grade 11 students.

Parents will also have an opportunity to listen to what Mr. Hall has to say and to ask questions and advice at Tuesday’s High School Parent Coffee, which will be starting at the slightly later-than-usual time of 9:00am in the AMR. Please bring some cash along with you so that you can take advantage of the offerings that our service learning partners have outside the Kantina on Tuesday morning – Christmas is just around the corner and these locally produced handicrafts are great as gifts.

Bamboo Telegraph (BT) have asked me to include a plug in this week’s parent bulletin in order to expand their distribution base. Bamboo Telegraph is ISM’s official student-run high school organization. Their committed staff publishes a variety of articles on a weekly basis across our four sections (athletics, features, lifestyle, and opinion) as well as providing coverage of IASAS events hosted at our school through yearly IASAS bulletins. In addition to articles, Bamboo Telegraph Video (BTV), ISM’s video journalism platform produces new videos each week that cover events and issues which relate to life at ISM. Please check bambootelegraph.com regularly to catch up on all the ISM news.

Yesterday, Mr. Toze finalized the Calendar for school year 2019-2020, so I am sharing this with you here to help with your advanced planning.

Wishing you all a restful and relaxing weekend.

Mike Dickinson
High School Principal

HS Friday Bulletin August 31

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


Dear Parents and Guardians,

Well this year is well underway and we say goodbye to August. We have a long series of holiday-free weeks ahead of us as, from now until October break we have a string of 8 solid, 5-day weeks where a good rhythm of learning can hopefully be established.

I want to start this week by sharing an article that was sent to me recently regarding the use of smart phones in our and our kids’ lives which contains some interesting claims about smart phone dependence, sometimes to the point of addiction.

The smart phone, our most portable digital device, is amazing in its capability and capacity. It can, of course, be used as a phone or to text, to calculate, to find addresses, access the internet, measure your exercise, get a weather forecast, track a friend, set your alarm, listen to music, diagnose medical conditions, construct to-do lists, play games etc. Its power exceeds mainframe computers in use even 30 years ago whilst it is almost impossible to compare one with Bletchley Park ‘s Colossus Mk 2, built in 1944. This ran on 2400 valves. In contrast, we can use our smartphone on the move and, because of its versatility, it will draw us into some level of multitasking. We check Twitter whilst queuing, listen to music as we walk, connect to 24/7 rolling news as we eat and check what our friend s are doing or saying even as we hold a face-to-face conversation with others.
Miller, a neuroscientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, employs strong language when he refers to our alleged ability to multitask as a “powerful and diabolical illusion”. One of the world ‘s leading experts on divided attention he states unequivocally: “Our brains are not wired to multitask well … When people think they ‘re multitasking, they’re actually just switching from one task to another very rapidly. And every time they do, there’s a cognitive cost in doing so.” (2013, p.3)
He argues that we are not expert jugglers able to maintain a lot of balls in the many as five or six at once but, rather, that we are more like bad plate-spinners, rushing from one task to another and ignoring the one in front in order to give attention to others.
This frantic activity is not the index of our productivity; in fact, the more diverse things that we do concurrently, the less efficient we become.
Any form of multitasking will increase the level of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline in our bodies. Acting in tandem, these can overstimulate the brain and generate brain fog or disaggregate our thinking. Miller (2013) also argues that multitasking creates and sustains this dopamine-addiction feedback loop, which actually rewards the brain for losing focus. The prefrontal cortex is enchanted with the new and will easily allow the brain to redirect its focus and attention towards novelty. We are the ultimate cognitive jackdaws. Levitin, another neuroscientist, states: “We answer the phone, look up something on the in tern et, check our email, send an SMS, and each of these things tweaks the novelty-seeking, reward-seeking centers of the brain, causing a burst of endogenous opioids (no wonder it feels so good!), all to the detriment of our staying on task. It is the ultimate empty-caloried brain candy. Instead of reaping the big rewards that come from sustained, focused effort, we instead reap empty rewards from completing a thousand little sugar-coated tasks.” (2015, p.1)
It gets worse! Ward et al (2017) found that cognitive capacity is significantly reduced when a person ‘s smartphone is within reach, even if it is turned off. In their study, 800 smartphone users where asked to complete a series of tests on a computer. These were designed to require full concentration in order for an individual to achieve high scores. The tests were geared to measure participants’ available cognitive capacity – the brain ‘s ability to hold and process data at any given time. All participants were asked to turn their phones to silent. Some of the participants were randomly instructed to place their phones either next to them but face down, in a pocket or in a bag, while others were asked to leave their phones in another room.
The research project showed that where a participant had left their phone in another room they significantly outperformed the group who had their phones on the desk beside them. They, also, albeit slightly, outperformed those who had their phones in a pocket, briefcase or handbag. The findings suggest that the mere presence of our smartphone reduces our available cognitive capacity and impairs our cognitive functioning, despite the fact that we believe that we are giving the task in hand our full attention. When interviewed by Fotalia about his findings, Ward suggested that: “As the smartphone becomes more noticeable, participants’ available cognitive capacity decreases … Your conscious mind isn’t thinking about your smartphone, but that process – the process of requiring yourself to not think about something – uses up some of your limited cognitive resources. It’s a brain drain.” (Fotalia, 2017, p.1)
Ward and his team (2017) extended their reach in a further experiment. They looked at how an individual’s self-assessed dependence on their smartphone mapped against cognitive capacity. The same series of computer-based tasks were used to assess performance. Again, participants were asked to switch their phones off and then randomly given similar locations to store them while the participants took the tests.
The research findings indicated that the higher the level of dependency on the digital device of the participant, the worse the participant performed in the tests. However, putting the phone in an adjacent room restored the levels of their performance. The conclusion was that having your smartphone within sight or within easy reach actually reduces your ability to focus and perform tasks because part of your brain is actively working to ignore the phone.

I think that one of the things we can all do as parents is to manage the use of smart phones at home. Let’s start by having a central location (not the bedroom) where all these devices are charged each night – go on, give it a go; let’s all (we and our children) try to get some uninterrupted sleep. We could then make moves to have phone-free dinners and have the kids put their phones somewhere out of reach and out of sight while they’re doing homework. Why not read the article above with your child and use it as the starting point for a discussion about mature and sensible use of smart phones?

And now to other things:

Kawayan (Yearbook) Photos – these were taken for the grade 9, 10 and 11 students this week. The grade 12s are having theirs taken tomorrow, Saturday September 1st and then again next Saturday, September 8th. Order your pictures using these links.
• Photo Order Sheet for Grade 9-11
• Photo Order Sheet for Grade 12 (Seniors)
Thank you to Ms. Cappuccio and Mr. Lassey for last night’s “Navigating your way through High School” presentation to the Grade 9 parents. The use of smart phones and the tools and apps that have been developed to try to tame these beasts was one of the discussion points too. Here’s the link to their presentation.
Friday August 31st – Friday Night Lights #1

This evening is the first Friday Night lights of the year. Saturday will also be a very busy day on campus with the first of the Rifa soccer festivals along with local league volleyball games.

Typically we have upwards of 500+ people Saturday morning and 300+ Saturday afternoon for the festivals so parking on campus will be at a premium. Here’s the game schedule for the weekend:

MS Field – 3:15-4pm MS A1/A2 training session and or practice match 2x20min.
MS Field – 4pm ISM JV girls vs Faith JV warm-up
MS Field – 4:15pm Kick off JV Girls vs Faith JV (2x 40min)
MS Field – 5:45pm ISM Aspirants boys vs Faith JV boys (2x40min)
HS Field – 4:15pm ISM V boys vs Faith V (2x40min)
HS Field – 5:45pm ISM V girls vs Faith V (2x40min)
MS Gym – 4:15pm JV boys vs Faith Crt 1/JV Girls vs Faith Crt 2
HS Gym – Vboys vs Faith Crt 1/VGirls vs Faith Crt 2
*Best of 5 matches with all 5 sets to be played.

Saturday September 1st – HS/MS Fields
ES Rifa soccer festival E and G divisions at 8am
ES/MS Rifa soccer festivals C divisions at BSM 8am and 1pm start
ES/MS Rifa Girls soccer festivals at HS/MS fields 1pm start
MS/HS Volleyball local league matches at MS gym.
MS A1 boys soccer away at DLSZ 2pm

Sunday September 2nd – HS Field
Aspirants/MS A2 boys soccer vs DLSZ and Marist 8am/10am

Looking ahead to next week, all Grade 10 and Grade 11 parents (and of course, anyone else that might find it interesting) is invited to the Little Theatre at 5:0pm to listen to Mr. Relf’s presentation on the IB Diploma program. This is particularly relevant for parents who are coming from a country and a system that does not follow the IB Diploma, as about 75-80% of our ISM students in Grades 11 and 12 do follow this path.

Finally, a reminder that the Parent Coffee that was originally calendared for next Tuesday, September 4th, has been moved to September 11th at the slightly later start time of 9:00am in the AMR. We did this so that we could take advantage of the expertise of the Counselor from FCD (Freedom from Chemical Dependency) who will be here all of that week, working with our Grade 11 students.

And with that, I wish you a safe and relaxing weekend. Go Bearcats!

Mike Dickinson
High School Principal

HS Friday Bulletin August 24

To access the full bulletin, please click here: HS FRIDAY BULLETIN AUGUST 24


Dear Parents and Guardians,

It’s been a very short week this week without an awful lot to report, so please forgive the brevity of this week’s bulletin.

Firstly, thank you to the Counseling team for their College application night last night. Mr. Swan would like me to pass on his thanks to the 190+ parents that attended. I do hope that you found the session worthwhile and informative.

Looking forward to next week, Monday is another public holiday for National Heroes Day – I hope that you are taking advantage of this and doing something fun. If you don’t have plans, then perhaps you could support some of our Bearcats in their various sporting endeavors:
Tonight, Friday, August 24th
Soccer Varsity Boys vs LSGH HS Field

Tomorrow, Saturday, August 25th
Soccer Varsity Girls vs CSA HS Field 8:00am
Soccer JV Girls vs ACM MS Field 8:00am
Soccer MS A1 vs SR MS Field 1:00pm
Soccer Aspirants vs SR HS Field 1:00pm
Volleyball JV Boys vs NDGM MS Gym PRADA 8:30am
Volleyball MS Girls Gold vs CSA away at CSA 8:00am
Volleyball Varsity Girls vs DLSZ-B away at CSA 9:30am
Go Bearcats!

A reminder that next week Tuesday to Friday, is picture taking week for the Kawayan Yearbook. Our official school photographer, Tino Ley, will be on campus next week to take student photographs for the ISM Kawayan Yearbook.

For Grade 9: Yearbook photos will take place from Tuesday, August 28 to Friday, August 31 in Room 1123 (Music hallway near the AMR). Grade 9 students will have their photographs taken during their Integrated Science 1 class.

For Grade 10: Yearbook photos will take place from Tuesday, August 28 to Friday, August 31 in Room 1123 (Music hallway near the AMR). Grade 10 students will have their photographs taken during their Modern World History or AP US History class.

For Grade 11: Yearbook photos will take place from Tuesday, August 28 to Friday, August 31 in Room 1123 (Music hallway near the AMR). Grade 11 students will not be given class time and are expected to go to Room 1123 individually during break, lunch, study hall or after school. Tino Ley will be on campus until 4 pm on all four days.

For Grade 12: Senior yearbook photos use a different process and each Senior should sign up for a slot. A google sign-up sheet has been shared with the Seniors by the Kawayan Team. Senior Photos will take place on September 1 and September 8. Specific details like what to wear and what to bring have been shared with the Seniors.

If you would like to order photos of your son or daughter, please complete the Photo Order form and include the payment. Your son/daughter should give this sheet directly to the photographer during his/her scheduled slot. Please remind your child to ask for a receipt.

Next Thursday at 5:30pm in the FAT, Ms. Cappuccio and Mr. Lassey will be presenting our Grade 9 Navigating High School. Please come along if you are a Grade 9 parent.

And finally, next Friday, August 31st is the first of our FNL (Friday Night Lights)
Friday, August 31st Friday Night Lights #1Soccer MS A1/A2 training session and or practice match 2x20min. 3:15-4pm
Soccer ISM JV girls vs Faith JV warm-up 4pm
Soccer Kick off JV Girls vs Faith JV (2x 40min) 4:15pm
Soccer ISM Aspirants boys vs Faith JV boys (2x40min) 5:45pm
Soccer ISM V boys vs Faith V (2x40min) 4:15pm
Soccer ISM V girls vs Faith V (2x40min) 5:45pm
Volleyball JV boys vs Faith Crt 1/JV Girls vs Faith Crt 2 MS Gym 4:15pm
Volleyball Vboys vs Faith Crt 1/VGirls vs Faith Crt 2 HS Gym 4:15pm

And that’s all for now. Wishing you a restful long-weekend.

Mike Dickinson
High School Principal