Message from the Principal August 31

Dear Parents,

 I would like to thank the many parents who attended High School Open House or Back to School Night, last Tuesday evening. We had a good turn out from parents and from comments I have received it appears that it was a highly successful evening. I was busy myself with my Grade 12 homeroom, and then teaching my Grade 11 Information Literacy Class, followed by dropping into a few of my own son’s grade 9 teacher presentations.

 For those who were not able to attend HS Open House I would like to include here part of the body of my welcome address.

 “Here is ISM’s Mission Statement. You will have seen it before no doubt, posted around the school and also in the front of all of our school publications. I have highlighted just two areas that I want to briefly comment on.


 International School Manila is an independent, international school whose structure, traditions and style emanate from the United States and whose curriculum and methodology reflect the best in worldwide educational research and practice. Our school is diverse and dynamic, and our students have the highest aspirations for their education and future lives. Our mission is to build a community of reflective learners who are passionate, caring and responsible contributors to the world in which we live.

 CORE BELIEFS that bind our community of faculty, staff, parents and students.

 We strive to

 Advance the value of learning, growth and self-awareness as life-long endeavors. 

  • Nurture creativity and originality as precursors for critical and reflective thought and action. 
  • Succeed collectively as well as individually, achieving our personal best in all aspects of school life. 
  • Maintain a healthy balance in the time devoted to work, rest and recreation. 
  • Involve our community in sustaining and safeguarding our environment. 
  • Interact through honest, respectful and open communication.
  • Acknowledge and celebrate our differences and encourage empathy, compassion, understanding and respect for human dignity.
  • Live our lives positively, joyfully and ethically.

 Let me deal with the second highlight first, I commented in the opening student assembly that we are very excited that this year ISM has chosen to adopt a school wide goal which engages our community to focus on sustainability issues. The fact that this initiative evolved from our hosting of the Global Issues Network conference and is student organized is a powerful example of our mission statement in action.

 The first highlight concerning the latest educational research and practice was an opportunity I could not pass up. It is not very often that I can brag about my alma mater, but Professor John Hattie, formerly of the University of Auckland, has done some brilliant work which I would like to briefly comment on. 

In a meta-analyses synthesizing over 800 educational studies relating to achievement, Hattie calculated an “effect size” for a range of influences and noted the source of that influence. Here are the top 15 influences.

 Clearly the single greatest factor on learning that schools can control is the teacher.


Influence Effect Size Source of Influence
Feedback 1.13 Teacher
Students’ prior cognitive ability 1.04 Student
Instructional quality 1.00 Teacher
Direct instruction .82 Teacher
Remediation/feedback .65 Teacher
Students’ disposition to learn .61 Student
Class environment .56 Teacher
Challenge of Goals .52 Teacher
Peer tutoring .50 Teacher
Mastery learning .50 Teacher
Parent involvement .46 Home
Homework .43 Teacher
Teacher Style .42 Teacher
Questioning .41 Teacher
Peer effects .38 Peers


Hattie, John A. (2008). Visible Learning: A Synthesis of Over 800 Meta-Analyses Relating to Achievement

 So to paraphrase Jim Collins in his book “Good to Great”, we need the right teachers on the bus or in ISM’s case the jeepney, and then sitting in the right seats, to move ISM from being a good school to an even better one. Teacher feedback to student and the instructional quality are two key influences on learning.

 I have spoken before about the significant progress we have made as a school with the design of our curriculum that places at the center teaching and learning for understanding.  Within that framework we have also made serious progress on assessing student performance with authentic tasks, where students are engaged in real world applications.

 As we walk around ISM we frequently comment on the fantastic and ever improving ISM facility. You will see a number of those significant improvements tonight. In addition we acknowledge that we are very fortunate to have many brilliant students, which of course relates to Hattie’s second most important effect, but we also know that schools are more than bricks and mortar and I hope that tonight when you are in your daughter or son’s class you will get a sense of the great work that our ISM teachers do on a daily basis. My own litmus test when I sit in classes is would I have been engaged and encouraged to learn in this class? Would I want my own children taught by this teacher? I am pleased to report that at ISM the answer is a resounding YES! I think we have assembled a truly world class faculty and I would love to hear your feedback if after tonight you don’t entirely agree with me.”

 We have listed many opportunities and activities in this Bulletin. Please avail of these, beginning with next Tuesday’s PTA Bearcat Welcome and followed by the September HS Parent Coffee.


Kind Regards

William R. S. Brown

High School Principal

Message from the Principal August 24

Dear Parents,

 Today marks the end of the first three weeks of school. Unfortunately it has not been without disruption. As you know we lost two days to floods in the first week of school and then another day last Monday to Presidential decree. To contribute to even more time at home, we have National Heroes day this coming Monday and thus another long weekend. In planning the school calendar we had planned 181 school days this year. We will reclaim Monday January 7, as a school day and so the net loss to date is two days. Should we lose even more valuable HS instructional time we may need to be even more creative, but let’s hope we can now settle into the rhythm that is “business as usual” in the high school at ISM

 Even with disruptions we have still been busy, with College night, IB Information meetings, student leadership training at the Island Cove Resort, HS play auditions and rehearsals and our full range of athletic endeavors have begun with games versus Faith last Friday and the Brent Lions tonight!

 High School enrolment is strong and continues to grow each day. We now have 757 students in classes. Unfortunately this growth has peaked in one or two subject areas and thus while not wanting to disrupt any student schedules, we have had to make some slight adjustments to balance classes.

 The next BIG date on the calendar for parents will be the High School Open House to be held on Tuesday, August 28th. It is always a highlight to bring the parents to school for the evening and to let them the wander the hallways looking for the right class! I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible. I have asked the teachers to go easy on lateness for the classes that night!

 Another important date on the HS calendar is Wednesday, August 29. This is when we launch our HS club program with Club Expo. It is the opportunity for all HS students to view displays and presentations from the vast array of HS Clubs and organizations and to sign up for membership. It is important to remember that students should not overload their schedule and that when they do sign up for a club; they in fact turn up and follow through on their commitment to that organization.

 While talking about commitment, on Saturday, Sept 3rd we will have our entire senior IB Diploma batch” working from 9-5pm on their Extended Essays, ably supported by teachers volunteering their Saturday morning. This is a crucial component of the IB Diploma and I want to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the students, the teachers and Mr. Mike Relf, our new, equally hardworking IB Coordinator!

 I hope to meet as many of you as possible at HS Open House.


Kind Regards,

William R. S. Brown

High School Principal

Letter from Mr. Toze

Dear Parents:


As you may know, we put together our school calendar more than a year in advance in order to help our community plan their vacations. This is not always easy, since the location of special holidays is a mystery at times and often not confirmed until very close to the days themselves. Under the previous administration, there was a policy that all public holidays would be moved to the nearest Monday. Although this wasn’t strictly adhered to, it did at least allow us to plan our calendar with some degree of certainty. More recently, we were told that holidays would be allowed to fall on their proper dates – whether that happened in the working week or at the weekend. For this reason, we did not plan for a holiday to mark Eid-ul-Fitr, which should be celebrated next Saturday evening and into Sunday. However, we have just been told that a proclamation has been signed to denote next Monday as a special holiday in honor of Eid.

We are, of course, obliged to follow this mandate, and accordingly there will be no school on Monday 20th August.


Having lost two days to the rains that fell last week, I am unwilling to concede yet another school day out of our year, and for this reason we shall begin the second semester one day early on Monday January 7th instead of on Tuesday January 8th.


David Toze