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Secondary Newsletter

14th January 2021

Dear Secondary Gecko Parents,

Bayside welcomed back happy and rested geckos after the holiday, including a few new faces, students and teachers. Everyone jumped right back into continuing yearlong courses as well as a few new electives and ASAs. We remain vigilant and mindful of health and safety regulations, but hopeful that we will be able to continue to recover, rebuilding our learning community and so many of the learning experiences students love, inside and outside school. The new year is an opportunity, even more than usual this year, to look back with gratitude at all we have been able to do together throughout the pandemic, reset our minds and outlooks, and renew our hopes and efforts for the coming year.

As mentioned in the Head of School updates last semester, the secondary leadership team is now comprised of Cindy Barnsley and Craig Ortner, our Secondary Associate Principals. They will work closely together to lead the secondary school until we are joined by our new Secondary Principal, Ms Andrea Fossum, in August. Deputy Head of School, Mr Paul Ducharme will also be at Bayside two days each week to support the Associate Principals as necessary. Additionally, to provide further direct support to students, Mr Matthew Doige has joined our team as the Student Pastoral Care Coordinator. Mr Doige, who joined us with his family in August, was previously an Assistant Principal for Student Affairs in Beijing. All members of the team look forward to a semester of continued renewal and increasing reconnection with the entire community, students, faculty, and families.

This week, we also welcome Jessica Xu to our Mathematics faculty. Ms Xu is an highly experienced educator and has taught in in Australia, Taiwan and China. She has taught middle and high school mathematics including DP Maths and Physics and has been an IB maths examiner. 

Upcoming MS Humanities Learning Exhibit

Grade 7 students recently completed reading a modern historical fiction novel entitled Escape from Aleppo by N.H. Senzai. Set to the backdrop of the Arab Spring uprisings and the ongoing civil war in Syria, this story focuses on a young refugee fleeing her hometown of Aleppo in order to reunite with her family.

Currently, seventh graders are working on their summative assignment using a project-based learning approach. In this framework, students design their own question for exploration and create an accompanying presentation of learning to demonstrate their understanding of the novel’s themes and how they relate to real-life events within Syrian politics, history and culture. Through this process, students develop deep content knowledge as well as critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and communication skills. 

Students will present their work at a whole-grade exhibit which will take place during the school day on Wednesday, February 10 from 1:05-1:40 pm in the library. Middle school teachers and students are invited to attend. Due to space limitations, the event will be restricted to a guest list and any seventh grade parents who wish to attend must send us an email at or by no later than February 9 at 3pm. We hope to see you there!
Christine Calderon & Maya Strzempka - Grade 7 Humanities Teachers
Celina Mathews – Grade 7 EAP Teacher
Corinne Norris – Middle School Learning Support Teacher

SIS shines at Digital InnoMaker Camp 
SIS students participated in the 4th Tencent MiniE InnoCamp during the break. Challenges included graphical programming basics, Micro:BIT Open Source Hardware,  designing  creative scientific costumes, Python programming basics, mini game console creation, constructing creative Artificial Intelligent cars, self-driving techniques, developing games through Roblox, developing financial technology products, and audio production. Organisers said they were "impressed by the excellent performance of students from SIS during the camp" with Jiang Zhirun and Yuan Jiamin being awarded as Tencent MiniE Stars.

Tencent MiniE Stars awards presentation

Battle of the Books begins! Semester 2 for Middle and High School
What's Battle of the Books? 
An in-school club in which students compete to answer trivia questions about 10 books. Scan the code below for the list of books and book trailers about each title.

Who can join?
All middle and high school students are welcome on Fridays at Flex time in the library.
Students interested in competing with area schools will create teams and attend the Pearl River Delta competition in March!

Athletics & Activities
Happy 2021!  ASAs have started and with that has come many exciting opportunities for our students!

The SISxMayTown Wednesday Program has officially launched!  Yesterday, we took 23 MS students to MayTown and they went to their respective venues within the facility.  We have stressed with each provider that, in addition to keeping health and safety a high priority, it is important to teach theory as well as just "having fun."  So, as I visited each group of our students yesterday, I saw smiles on many of their faces and heard instructors reinforcing safety and teaching mechanics.  Below are some exciting photos!  If your student is interested in joining this Middle School program, please send me an email before January 19.  After this date, registration will be closed for the Winter Trimester.

Thomas Mathews 
Director of Athletics & Activities


New Year = "Goal-flections!" 

Happy 2021 to everyone! While there were plenty of challenges in 2020 let's try to remember some of the inspirational moments of 2020: like when "Chinese Medical Staff Brought Supplies to Italy", or how "Pet Adoptions Skyrocketed During the Pandemic", or the global science community coming together to develop vaccines. While it is easy to focus on the negative and suffering in the world, if we pause and look for the good, we will surely see instances of people coming together.  

Many people around the globe use the first day of the new year as a time to set goals. While some set unrealistic goals that they cannot achieve it, at least shows that they are recognizing areas of their lives that they can grow and make positive change. At the beginning of the year all students set goals on Managebac with their mentors. With the start of the new semester now would be the perfect opportunity to reflect on those goals and revise them. It is OK if your child did not meet their goal in the first semester. That does not mean they need to abandon their goal and start over, it just means they may need to make it smaller and easier to measure. For instance if your child's goal was, "To earn perfect scores in all classes", they may want to find something that would lead to perfect scores that they can measure. Such as, "I will work on homework or read from 6:00pm to 7:00pm every day." When setting goals it is helpful to remember to set S.M.A.R.T. goals. Is the goal "SPECIFIC", can the completion of the goal be "MEASURED", is the goal "ACHEIVEABLE" given the resources that are available, is the goal "REALISTIC" to the situation you are in and is there a "TIMEBOUND" length of days or weeks you are given to reach the goal. Please find some time to reflect on your child's goals with them as they start the semester and make it something that you can talk to them about each day as they work towards reaching it. 


Reach out to your child's counselor if you would like help setting SMART goals with your child. Scan the QR code below to connect with your child's counselor!

Upcoming Parent Coffee Morning 

Upcoming events
Thursday, 21 January - Parent Coffee Morning, "Control Yourself: Helping your adolescent child develop self-awareness and self-management", 8.30am Bayside Ampitheater

Thursday & Friday, 18-19 February - Professional Learning Days (no school for students) 

All the best,

Craig Ortner (Secondary Associate Principal)
Cindy Barnsley (Secondary Associate Principal)

Copyright © 2019 Shekou International School, All rights reserved.

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