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Posted Thursday, Feb 9, 2017 
In 2016, we had 15 AP Scholars, Scholars with Honors, and Scholars with Distinction, with the most being in the highest category.
By Kelley Ditzenberger, HS Principal
hsprincipal@ics.edu.sg


July 4, 2009, a day I will always remember. Pacing, wringing hands, waiting for the news. It had been nine very long months. The labor is now over, if only someone would hurry and let me know the news!


The news finally came...from the College Board. I was a proud teacher of my litter, 15 successful students. That day in July I proudly wore my teacher hat. Nine months of teaching AP Psychology made me so proud of my students. It is not the fireworks, hotdogs and potato salad that I remember from that 4th of July, it is the results of my first AP class-stellar. They did really well (making me proud, Lafferty!).


To this day our students continue to do well. Our students, your sons and daughters, continually to shine and amaze me. Between Calculus, Statistics, Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Chinese, Spanish, Economics, European History, US History, World History, Psychology, Literature, Music Theory, and more, our students perform very well. Their teachers deserve praise too. Teaching an AP course is an extra challenge and responsibility. Parents deserve kudos too. As a parent who has supported my own kids through 10 AP courses, I know parents play a role in supporting, encouraging, doing their household chores so they can study, and, of course, praying for them. So, as I report our results, let's rejoice as a community.


The statistics (see below) show some improvement from the May 2015 to the May 2016 results. But, they don't tell the entire story. For the May 2016 tests we had four new AP teachers and two new classes. The new classes were both lab sciences, which have a lower global mean than other AP courses. So, for us to have four new AP teachers and two new lab sciences classes that influence our numbers usually would mean a decrease in the passing rate (a 3 out of 5 is passing). In 2016, we also had 15 AP Scholars, Scholars with Honors, and Scholars with Distinction, with the most being in the highest category. In 2015, we had also had 15, but most were in the lowest category.




Keep up the good work ICS-in the classroom, on the field, on the stage, at the net...Go Knights!

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Posted Monday, Nov 7, 2016 
Why we believe in the importance of challenging our high school seniors to be able to defend their beliefs.

By Kelley Ditzenberger, HS Principal
hsprincipal@ics.edu.sg



My father-in-law was a lifeguard throughout college, he loved to swim among the turtles of Kaanapali Beach, Hawaii, and he was an incredibly strong 6'5" 33 year old, which was about when he threw my then 7 year old wife into the deep end. Sink or swim was his philosophy. She did a bit of both, but a key to her learning was that her expert-swimmer father was there to help her.

In less than a year many of our seniors will be impressionable freshmen, swimming among not turtles but sharks, swimming not in the deep end of a pool but in a merciless ocean with a deceptive riptide and without mom and dad or excellent ICS teachers close by.

Over the years I've had several parents and students who wonder why we have a Biblical Worldview class during the senior year. "Is it, after all, even a Bible class?" they often ask. Why are we explaining "alternative" worldviews to our students? Why are we giving them arguments against the existence of God? In essence, we are throwing them in the deep end of the pool while we are right there, standing by to assist, to give rebuttals, to challenge them to think beyond what they believe are their limits. Better to learn to swim in chlorinated water, without waves, with life preservers close at hand and caring instructors standing by, experienced and trained to recognize dangers, than to get pulled by the deceptive riptide or swallowed by a Great White in the great blue sea.

They may not be Michael Phelps, or, um, Joseph Schooling, when they graduate, but they do know the signs of a riptide. They won't be so easily duped by a professor who argues against a creator, who fires away at "proofs" that there is no God, and does so with the fervency of a country preacher and the intellect of an Ivy League scholar. ICS is not just an academic institution, but it is a training ground for a life well lived. Biblical Worldview is a boot camp of sorts, getting them ready to soldier-on in a world of worldviews.

Listen here to college president and professor, Michael Kruger, who found himself swimming with the sharks at a highly regarded "beach", U. North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He explains better than I can why we offer Biblical Worldview to our seniors, and how the church prepares students morally and socially, but not intellectually.

In the words of another famous swimmer, just keep swimming swimming swimming.

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Posted Wednesday, Sep 14, 2016 
9 of our teachers & staff share about why they chose to attend a Christian college and why students should consider it as an advantageous choice.

By Kelley Ditzenberger, HS Principal
hsprincipal@ics.edu.sg


I confess, I'm a big sports fan. When I sit down to watch a game, my youngest child, Lydia, always asks, "Dad, who are you rooting for?" 90% of the time I care who wins (when I was 20 it was 100% of the time...let the older readers understand). In that mere 10% of the time that I don't care or haven't thought of it, I quickly tell Lydia, "Of course, it's __________, the team that it is the underdog."

I think most of us are that way. We want to see the little guy win. We've all been there. We've all been the outsider, the disadvantaged, the one who has to fight for a spot at the table. We at ICS can certainly relate. Every day we are the smallest fish in a very big pond of large and deep-pocketed international schools. We are so glad you have been able to look past the superficial and look to values that go beyond the gilded glimmer.

We encourage our students to take this approach too. When they are in the midst of looking at colleges and universities, whether that be in Mrs. Thompson's office, in casual conversations, in steering them to the small college booth on college fair day, we want them to see the value of what a small, Christian college or university offers. There are MANY to choose from.

In case you are tempted to stop reading because a Christian college is simply too expensive, please know that they are more than willing to go great distances to work with families on the cost. One of my daughters is at a large state university-her financial aid decreased significantly after her second year (even though her grades have exceeded their minimum goals to maintain her aid). But alas, she's really just a number to the administration. When I was tempted to leave my small Christian college, Seattle Pacific University, they took great strides to make the cost affordable to me and my family. Mine is just one story, yes, but it is repeated countless times across the United States.

Hear from our own esteemed faculty about a few "ICSes of the college world":







Tricia Verver - Dordt College, Iowa

Attending a small Christian college allowed me to develop good relationships with my professors, which helped me see their true care and concern for me as their student. It also helped me develop a biblical worldview, truly enlightening my perspective of the world around me when I left my comfortable college 'bubble.'








Andrea Lawrence - University of Northwestern, Minnesota

I went to a school in the Twin Cities of Minnesota - it is now the University of Northwestern, St. Paul - that was a small Christian private school that taught me a lot about community and growth. The community there was hands-down one of my favorite parts of the college/university, I think because I came from ICS Singapore that was such a tight-knit community when I was in high school. That was very valuable to me, knowing they generally had the same moral values, and were a fantastic support while I was in the States in college and my family was overseas. I also thought, after having Bible classes all my years of high school, that I knew so much about the Bible; but I gained a new perspective of different areas of the Bible and "Christian life" - specifically about prayer.


Arlie Martin - Asbury University, Kentucky

Going to Asbury gave me a sense of purpose because the class sizes were small enough that I could be poured into and mentored by my professors in a field that I wanted to later be a part of myself. There was a true sense of Christian fellowship and community that helped to build me up at times when I was stressed, tired, broken, or questioning. Going to a small Christian school also allowed me to have a safe environment as I went through the tumultuous stages of deciding exactly what I believe and why.






Marjorie Kennedy - Judson University, Illinois

While I was a student at Judson, I knew the professors were invested in their students. I am especially appreciative of the academic adviser I had. I've been able to see how the professors have invested in our two children while they were/are at Judson. It makes it easier knowing that our children have been/are in a nurturing environment while we live in Singapore.







Kalie Sokolow - Covenant, Georgia

Being at a smaller Christian college, I was able to form personal relationships with my professors. Since class sizes were smaller for the most part, I felt like the professors were able to personalize their lectures for each individual class. It showed that they cared about giving us the best education possible. We were more than just names on a paper. They were also able to give us multiple perspectives about topics rather than just a narrowed and opinionated view, all while keeping the main focus on the ultimate meaning of life in this world. Furthermore, another thing I greatly appreciated was that they were able to show their support in our extracurricular activities. I often times had professors encouraging me in the sport I played. This happened for all of our sports teams. It gave a sense of unity throughout our whole campus, from in the classrooms to out on the sports fields.





Chelsey Smith - Kentucky Christian University, Kentucky

I think the main reason that a Christian College education is valuable is because it teaches students to see the world and their vocation through the lens of their faith. I think in our culture right now, it is a common view to see the sacred and the secular as different things, and religion isn't expected to shape how someone views their work. My degree was in Biblical Studies, so naturally my faith is expected to shape my work, but I had plenty of friends who learned to approach their fields differently while at KCU. Also, most Christian colleges tend to be smaller, which allows for professors to actually mentor students and to help them prepare for the challenges they will face in their fields. For me, that was invaluable.





Judith Shang - Grove City College, Pennsylvania

Small enough community to grow and establish myself in confidence as a maturing adult to the point that by senior year, I knew it was time to enter the "real world". My main ministry and experience was spent in ResLife. I loved the investment the school and the ministries poured into building leadership skills as well as the personal care from the staff. I also bugged Career Services for nearly two years and they still to this day keep tabs on me to see how I'm doing!


Katie den Hartog - Trinity Western University, British Columbia, Eh!

I attended Trinity Western University and I would say what made my experience distinct and valuable, was the fact that I was known. I was not just a number or a face in the crowd, but all my professors knew me, and cared about me. I could give a very specific example if you want :-) Being a Christian University, I was exposed to philosophies and theories of the world, but there was always discussion that brought us back to God's Word. We were not sheltered from the world but really taught how to think critically about what we read, heard, and saw going on and apply our Biblical Worldview.


Brittany Fields - Asbury University, Kentucky

One of the reasons that my experience at Asbury University was so valuable was the support that I received. Due to the size of the school, I felt as though I got much more one-on-one time with professors and staff when I needed it. I also appreciated how the school challenged my faith and pushed me to dig deeper and learn more about Christianity and who Christ is.



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Posted Wednesday, May 4, 2016 
Why ICS awards students according to a level of achievement measured against an objective standard, rather than against other students.

By Kelley Ditzenberger, HS Principal
hsprincipal@ics.edu.sg


There I sat, sitting in my friend's car listening to his daughter tell us the story of her graduating class. It wasn't what I expected. She attended a school much like ICS - small, Christian, and full of caring teachers and parents, so her experience during what should be a fond memory for many years to come, was anything but.

Graduation that year was not such a joyous occasion. Two of the top students in her class were competing so hard with each other that it tore them and nearly the entire class apart. This was friendly fire that turned suddenly into enemy combat. In the last few months of her high school career, one was involved in significant amounts of cheating. The reason? They were competing for the honor of valedictorian, the graduate with the top GPA during their high school career.

The demise of these students' friendship, the pressure that led to high stakes cheating, and the polarization that occurred in the entire graduating class was nurtured by...yes, the valedictorian honor. Certainly there are other factors, internal pressures - sin, competitiveness, and a type-A personality and external pressures - parents and the college admissions process (or at least the perception thereof). But, high school administrators must also look at how their own policies reflect the overall values of the school (decidedly Christian values in our case) and how these policies affect students.

So, with this in mind, Mr. Kennedy and I began a discussion about the valedictorian. The word "valedictorian" comes from Latin and essentially means the one who speaks strongly or with authority. For all the years that I've been at ICS, we have not used the word in its proper sense - no special valedictory has been offered to the valedictorian. The recipient is recognized but no place in the ceremony is reserved for him or her. In fact, we allow many students to speak because many have made significant contributions to ICS and have been impacted in deep and meaningful ways by their time at our school.

There were other factors too. More important ones. We do not rank any of our students for colleges, so it does not make sense to recognize a first and second, since we do not rank the third, fourth, fifth...?

Do we believe in competition? Yes, competition is a great thing and we give many opportunities for our students to compete, but we do so in a way that reflects our core values.

If the valedictorian is recognized, then the cumulative GPA must be accurate. Because of the time it takes to receive online grade results, a student's final GPA is sometimes calculated after graduation.

Lastly, many colleges, universities and high schools have moved away from conferring the honor of valedictorian. Instead, these schools desire to award students according to a level of achievement measured against an objective, not against another person.

This year we will follow suit; we will begin to recognize students accordingly:

  • 3.7-3.99: cum laude (with honors)
  • 4.0-4.249: magna cum laude (with great honors)
  • 4.25 or higher: summa cum laude (with highest honors)

We believe this is the best way to honor the honorable among us, to recognize the achievements of all students who have combined academic ability with the character that leads to disciplined and prolonged academic effort. This decision is in keeping with our core values of a caring community, a Biblical worldview, a holistic education, and personal excellence. On May 27th, please join Mr. Kennedy, the faculty and staff, and I as we recognize all of our 2016 graduates for their hard work, integrity, and for the completion of "their course of study" at ICS. I look forward to seeing you there!

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Posted Thursday, Jan 30, 2014 
ICS high schoolers learn servant-leadership through serving locally in Singapore.

Week Without Walls provides high school students with a chance to learn what it truly means to serve. But what about the rest of the year? High School principal, Kelley Ditzenberger, believes that being a servant-leader means "demonstrating that throughout your life everyday, wherever you are." Ditzenberger described how he would like the WWoW program to develop according to Christ's command in Acts 1:8. "Sending our students out to serve in the Philippines, India, Cambodia, and China this year are like the disciples' 'Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost part of the earth'. However, we must also serve in Singapore, which is our 'Jerusalem'", he says. So, beginning the 2013-2014 school year, in addition to participating in the Thursday morning Week Without Walls meetings, each high school student must also serve 3 hours (per quarter) of community service within Singapore.

The Wlling Hearts soup kitchen is just one of the places in Singapore where students have chosen to serve. So, ICS students arrive at the kitchen on early Saturday mornings to do everything from washing and chopping vegetables to cooking, packing, and delivering the meals. Helping the prep the 3,000 meals that Willing Hearts make and distribute each day allows ICS students to interact with the other volunteers and hear their stories and reasons for volunteering. It also gives our students an opportunity to be a part of something larger than themselves, to share in Willing Hearts' vision of "improving the lives of the underprivileged and marginalized by providing them with their "daily bread" and to help them become useful members of our society".

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Posted Wednesday, Jan 29, 2014 
4 reasons why ICS is an Advanced Placement school and why that matters.
(To better understand the basic similarities and differences of the two programs, please read the full Principals' Pen post.)
 
ICS has developed programs that are similar to the IB requirement of an extended essay (senior thesis), community service (internationally and locally), and a biblical worldview class that examines the idea of "knowing" from a biblical perspective from a teacher who is a committed Christian. Frankly, we believe ICS's approach to these three areas of our students' education is fundamentally better than what the IB program provides because of the broad and biblical worldview perspective ICS offers, and because of teachers who are committed to modeling Christ to students, not just teaching material.
 
ICS has not developed these programs to be like IB. Instead, ICS chooses to challenge students and give them an opportunity to demonstrate learning in authentic ways (senior thesis), model Christ through service (WWoW and local community service-regular, relational, and redemptive) and challenge its students to think seriously about truth and knowing while they are still under the watchful and wise guidance of parents, extended family, and a caring faculty and staff.
 
Perhaps the greatest benefit to the AP program compared to IB is the flexibility that it offers students. If a student's math abilities or interest level is not ready for a college level math course, then AP does not force the student to take a course that would challenge them in such a way. The same is true for students who are math and science oriented, who may not want to pursue humanities courses. The IB program is more rigid in its requirements. The AP program offers students an opportunity to receive the same level of academic rigor as the IB program does while offering the flexibility that considers the student as a unique individual, not meant for a mold created by a third party who does not know the student's needs, dreams, gifts, and abilities.
 
Yet another difference that speaks to the AP program's flexibility is that students who are in grade 10 (as opposed to grade 11 for IB) are allowed to take college level courses, if they have convinced the faculty and administration that they are intellectually and social-emotionally prepared for the challenge of college material.
 
Both programs provide an opportunity for students to deeply understand the content of the subjects they choose to study. Both programs deserve praise for bringing the best out in students through their wide variety of courses that strive to provide a solid foundation for college and the exciting and challenging world that they will soon encounter. Because we want our students to have the flexibility of the AP program and, more importantly, to teach truth from a biblical perspective that is not encumbered by the epistemological perspective of a decidedly secular, external organization, ICS unreservedly prefers the AP program.
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Posted Wednesday, Jan 29, 2014 
ICS 3rd graders turn Social Studies class into fundraising project for Philippine's ministry.

In a span of 6 months, the ICS 3rd graders have raised $2,940.75 SGD to Kids International Ministry in Manila. This donation will help build a new playground on their property, as well as to be used for other needs. "It all started when I shared with my class about what I did with K.I.M over fall break," says 3rd grade teacher, Mandy Chaplin, "once they heard about what the ministry was doing and their impact on the children they care for, they were passionate to help. This project is entirely their idea." Working alongside her co-teacher, Erika Mejia, Chaplin has spent their classes' social studies period teaching economics and business - ultimately giving the 3rd graders the opportunity to develop a model of their fundraising project, and carry it out.

The 3rd graders first created products to sell (handmade Christmas coloring books, notebooks, flower kits, and more). Then they advertised them to the other classes and parents through pre-order flyers and the promotional video below. Finally, they delivered them. The 3rd graders also organized a free-dress day when any elementary student may have a uniform-free day if they donated $0.50 to the K.I.M. playground fund. Some students also spent their time outide of school to sell their items to friends and neighbors throughout Singapore.

"I'm so proud of them," says Chaplin, "They are learning so well what it means to live productively, which is this month's Expected Student Outcome focus, and are showing Christ's love in their desire to help others.

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Our mission is to educate minds and transform lives to impact the world for the glory of God. Our teachers view each student as a unique individual created by God, thus take seriously their responsibility to teach, encourage, and guide them. With a low student-teacher ratio and students from over 26 nations, ICS is a fully accredited K-12 international school teaching an American curriculum with a Biblical worldview. Since our founding in 1993, we foster a caring community committed to provide each student with a quality, holistic education within and beyond the classroom. Alongside academics, we instill in each student a love and respect for all cultures, a zeal for lifelong learning, and a passion for personal excellence.

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International Community School (Singapore)
27A Jubilee Road, Singapore 128575
Tel: +65 6776 7435 Fax: +65 6776 7436 Email: info@ics.edu.sg

CPE Reg No: 199303918N
Reg Period: 06/07/15 to 05/07/19


ICS is fully accredited by the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and is a member of the Network of International Christian Schools (NICS).

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