News & Stories
Posted Thursday, Jan 25, 2018 9:27:00 AM
Educating Your Children on Personal Safety
By Shanaya S. Thompson, School Counselor K-8th at the International Community School (Singapore)
B.S. Psychology emphasis in Christian Counseling
M.Ed in School Counseling
At ICS we are committed to the care and safety of your children. Due to recent events around international schools involving safety and student's interactions with strangers, we wanted to take this moment to offer some tips and reminders that can begin or continue the conversations with you and your children in relation to "Stranger Danger". Here are 5 tips that you can use when discussing this particular topic matter.
1. Explain the Concept of Strangers
- It is important to not assume that children know what strangers mean.
- Ask them what a stranger means to them, and then stem from their response. Explain to them that "tricky strangers" make them feel unsafe or uncomfortable, while a "good strangers" is someone that they can trust and feel safe with.
- Make sure to give examples based on their age level of understanding.
- Kids often think of "tricky strangers" as the appearance of something bad (like a cartoon villain). Remind them that just because someone may "look" nice, doesn't mean that they are.
2. Establish Family Stranger Safety Rules
- Use friendly tones and explain why they should seek permission from parents/guardians before speaking to another adult they don't know.
- It is important for your child to know their own families information (i.e., first name, last name, parent's full names, and family phone numbers) in case they are separated.
- Explain what to do should they get separated from you. Provide different scenarios.
- When in public with your children, remind them to be within eyesight of you, and to inform you when they wish to relocate to a different area.
- Teach them how to conduct themselves in different scenarios when they are home alone.
- Educate them on safe routes home and being aware of their surroundings.
- Establish a family "code" word. Make it unique but easy to remember. Tell your child they should never leave with a person unless that person knows the code word.
3. Point Out Suspicious Strange Behavior
- Tell them that kids ask adults for help -- not vice-versa. Adults asking a child they don't know for any help is often a red flag.
- Education them on different phrases/words that strangers may say that should suspect possible danger. Some examples include, "My dog/cat is missing. Can you help me find it?", "Would you like this candy/toy"?, or "I am am friend of your parents, do you want me to take you home?"
- Explain to them that strangers should not be asking for personal information.
4. Role-Play Different Scenarios
- Kids learn better by doing. By role-playing they are able to grab a stronger hands-on experience while still in the safety of your care.
- Run through them several times until they understand them, and take time to re-emphasize them throughout each year.
- Practice different situations in different places such as malls, bus stops, etc.
- Inform your children that is is okay to be assertive with strangers. If they don't like something or they don't feel comfortable, they need to SPEAK UP!
5. Communicate Often
- The best time to talk about "tricky strangers" is when they are beginning to come out of their comfort zones.
- Recognize that the talk on "tricky strangers" is more than a talk. It's many talks! On going conversation is vital in their education of personal safety.
- When in new situations, re-establish the conversation. You can use the 3 "W's".
- Where they're going
- Who they're going with
- What time they'll be back
- Finally, be a great role model by always addressing parents first before addressing their children.
These are just some simply ways in which to keep your children safe. Educating your children on "Personal Safety" from an early age will help them understand the importance of protecting themselves when needed. This is also extremely helpful in building characteristics such as confidence and self-esteem. As always our staff is here to help support your children in these topics as well as supporting you as parents with these discussions at home. We are always on hand to support you should you ever need us. Though we know Singapore to be a loving, safe country, it is always important to educate our students on "Personal Safety" and being aware of their surroundings. We will continue to stay vigilant and helpful in coming along of your child and your family in all matters of safety.
"Every student, Every family, Every day for Christ".
Note: This content was adapted from http://www.froddo.com/keep-your-child-safe-5-rules-for-stranger-safety
Posted Thursday, Jan 25, 2018 9:21:00 AM
Exploring Creativity Through Hands-On Learning and Collaborative Experiences
By Kara Stucky, Middle School Design Technology Teacher at the International Community School (Singapore)
At ICS, we foster a growth mindset, allowing students to try new things, celebrate progress, and develop persistence. The overall goal is to prepare students for their future courses and careers through open-ended challenges to develop complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, and collaborative skills.
We incorporate all of those necessary skills in a project based course called 'Design Technology'. This course is focused on concepts from science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM). Students explore their creativity through hands-on learning and collaborative experiences in making and inventing. They also learn how to apply the design thinking process through developing, testing, and refining prototypes.
Having this in mind, our 8th graders were tasked to do a project collaboration between Design Technology and English Language Arts. The idea came about when I came across a project that was done at another school - where the teacher had their students create robots as they read Shakespeare. I thought it would be a good learning experience for our students and shared the project idea with our English teacher, Ms. Crawford. She was interested in collaborating efforts to do a similar project with me. At that time, the 8th graders were reading To Kill a Mockingbird, so we decided to challenge them and see whether they could blend their creative juices to come-up with something that would have cross-curricular connections.
For this project, the 8th graders learned how to program the Hummingbird Robotics kits with Scratch. They learned how to program the motors to move and the lights to light-up. They also created variables and used sensors so that the robot could detect various aspects of its environment (light, sound, temperature, etc.).
The students used the Engineering Design Process to brainstorm, plan, create, and improve their robots. They created robots that reacted to stimuli and showed changes that occur in characters/themes in To Kill A Mockingbird. The presentations and expo that they did was an opportunity for the students to showcase their creative work and inspire others.
Here's what the students had to say about the whole learning process:
"Something I enjoyed about this project was that I got to have fun and get closer with people I wasn't close to, and this project also taught me how to stay humble and live with the golden rule as I was the one researching on claims and pictures.
Before we actually worked on the project, I thought that this would be impossible to do because it seemed really hard; however our team came across a discussion and opened our creativity for ideas, then at the end, we made it. I learned about myself that I am a easy person to give up, but I also have perseverance."
-Seo Young (Ivy) Hong
"I suppose that I learned that sometimes, the path that I take first isn't always the easiest and best path, because I see something in my head, but when I try to apply it other problems arise. By programming, I learned that I don't always think too far ahead. However, I learned that I can be a good team player and be a person going around the team and helping individual people out."
"I enjoyed designing the robot, and thinking of ideas on how we can implement the lights and servo motor into our project. I feel like this project helped me unleash the creative sense in me, as we were given a lot of freedom and resources to create our robot, so we really had to think outside of the box."
"I enjoyed the teamwork part about the project. It was a learning experience, also where I was able to interact with people I normally didn't always interact with.
Some problems that I did encounter while working on this project was trying to figure out all of the code. We definitely struggled with this a little bit, but in the end we were able to work it out.
What I learned about myself is that if I actually work extremely hard, and strive to succeed, in the end it will all work out and the goal will be achieved."
"I actually enjoyed the part when I programmed Scout with Ms. Stucky's help because I always thought that programming was hard until I actually tried it myself. I learnt that if it is so much more wiser to actually try something than to just say that it is hard without trying to do it."
-Ho Jung Kim
Posted Monday, Dec 11, 2017 7:00:00 AM
At ICS, we believe a well-rounded education includes nurturing good character through social responsibility and by serving the local community.
At the International Community School (Singapore), we firmly believe that a well-rounded education includes a healthy balance of nurturing good character by both including a social responsibility program and by serving the community in which the students live.
These efforts have enhanced the caring culture in ICS and students have been given the opportunity to reflect on their own values, beliefs, and behaviors. This in turn has enriched the academic learning experiences and encouraged students to be empathetic and serve the community in which they live.
In 2008, ICS established a social responsibility program called Week Without Walls (WWW). This program is certified by Standards of Excellence in Short-Term Mission and is a mandatory cross-cultural service program for all full-time high school students. During the first quarter of the school year, students and their parents select the top three choices of teams that they would prefer to join, and the school places them on a team with their choices as a major consideration. Weekly team meetings provide a small group setting to offer support and foster community within the student body. All of the trips are organized and lead by the high school faculty. Teams have served in Bangladesh, China, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines. The WWW program aims to see students:
- Exposed to other cultures outside of Singapore
- Develop a deeper appreciation for ways in which they have been blessed
- Experience the value of serving others
- Provide leadership opportunities
- Develop problem solving skills
- Foster teamwork
- Encourage unity in the student body
- Build cross-cultural friendships
For this current semester, our students served the local Singapore community at The Salvation Army (The Haven) in Pasir Panjang, Youth for Christ in Geylang, Willing Hearts in Kembangan, Health Serve in Geylang, Teen Challenge in Choa Chu Kang and Lakeside Student Care Centre in Jurong West.
The students were tasked to plan fun activities, arrange for a meal to be served, and build caring relationships. There were 100 students who were involved in this program and each group had a faculty to accompany and oversee the planning and execution of the activities.
ICS' High School Principal, Mr. Dean Weiss summarized, "We have been instructed to take care of the orphan and widows (James 1:27). In our society today, this equates to the downtrodden, forgotten, and the lost. So when our students commit to serving others with a heart of empathy and love, and treat them with respect and dignity- these are the ways we show love for the people that society deems unimportant. When we serve locally, remember we are making an impact through this program that is immense and eternal."
Posted Wednesday, Nov 15, 2017 3:00:00 PM
ICS students are learning skills throughout the year that will better prepare them for the next chapter in their academic careers.
Transitioning Well: How to Thrive in High School
By Ms. Shanaya Thompson, School Counselor K-8th & Mr.Tony Widder, Middle School Principal
One of the biggest fears of a student is transitioning into the unknown. Be it from elementary school into middle school, or middle school to high school, the jitters of starting afresh kicks-in, and the stress will start to form dark clouds above their heads. At the International Community School (Singapore), our school counselors take proactive steps to help our 8th grade students transition into high school.
Over the last several weeks, the counselors have been conducting surveys with ICS students regarding their interest in high school and beyond. Questions such as "What are you looking forward to most in high school?", as well as "What is your biggest fear about going into high school?" were included in the survey. In addition, the school counselors are preparing the minds of the middle school students to think about their upcoming life in high school, and directing their mindset to further future decisions such as college.
ICS students will continue this transition by learning skills throughout the year that will better prepare them for the next chapter in their academic careers. These activities include "Schedule-Planning" with their upcoming high school counselor, and "Time-Management Training" to give students opportunities to practice managing their time to be able to finish their tasks and avoid becoming overwhelmed.
Recently, our 8th grade students participated in a Q&A with current freshman students and high school teachers. The 8th grade students valued the opportunity to ask their questions and hear what the future in high school holds. Our school counselors and principals believe the students' confidence and abilities will continue to increase as they move forward in their transition into high school and preparing them for success in their future.
Proven Tips on How to Thrive in Middle School by the Pros - High Schoolers
- Turn assignments in on time
- Be proactive in writing your assignments down
- Ask questions and don't be shy to seek help when you need it
- Focus on the topics/extracurriculars that you like instead of overcommitting yourself as it can potentially cause you to become over-stimulated or stressed
- Take notes in class and use it towards future tests
- Complete homework on time and understand the responsibility and accountability when such tasks are not completed
- Understand the value of time given in class for educational learning and to choose wisely in regards to who they sit next to (i.e., learning that it might not be a good idea to always sit with friends if they may prevent you from learning)
Posted Wednesday, Nov 8, 2017 4:28:00 PM
The ICS Varsity Soccer team won a silver medal at the ACSIS Division 3 Championship last week. Coach Josh Sokolow shares his thoughts for this season.
U19 ICS Soccer Team Recap for the Season
The Under-19 ICS Soccer team won a silver medal at the ACSIS Division 3 Championship last week. The team played against Chatsworth International School for their final game and came close to winning with the score of 3-2 after extra time. The ICS Soccer team is currently ranked 2nd in Division 3. Here is Coach Josh Sokolow's thoughts for this soccer season.
Members of the 2017 U-19 Soccer Team: Seong Woo Hong (Jim), Jin Wook Kim, Jevan Koh, Jason Law, Jong Sung Lee (Chris), Casey Mackinnon, Roby Mackinnon, Shreyan Mallik, Jung Min Park, Taeyong (Daniel) Park, Scott Strong, Derrian Susilo, Bryan Tan, Kean Tan, Ryo Wakabayashi
Are there any significant moments/memories that you can share with us about this season's Soccer Team?
We met at the end of 2016 and discussed what needed to change to get us into the finals since we've had the same goal (to win the Gold!) for the past three years. At the meeting, we discussed our game plan and the necessity to come into the season physical ready. I gave the boys a summer workout plan, and this allowed us to hit the ground running without having to work overtime on getting their base levels of fitness up. We recently sent our team to play a Division 1 level in a 7 v 7 tournament without three of our best players and we ended up winning because we played to our strengths. Our two best players Casey McKinnon and Jung Min Park, carried us to victory with their passing and goals. The role players played intelligently and worked hard so that we could maximize our chances and get the ball to our two best players.
What were the challenges of the team and how did you all overcome that?
We've had several of our key players had injuries and have missed out on games and practices. But other guys just stepped up and filled their roles to the best of their abilities. Again, that 7 v 7 tournament was a key match to test their mental capabilities and it proved to the guys that with hard work and team effort, they could win!
What are the strengths (mental/emotional/physical) of the team?
In terms of in game strengths, we're really great at set pieces (free kicks, corner kicks). We have a lot of passion for the game plus great service from our set piece takers, which is the common formula for scoring on set pieces. The boys also enjoy playing the game and playing as a team. So that translates into a sacrificial play that's uncharacteristic in male sports teams. We have zero egos and these guys will die for each other on the field.
Coach Sokolow's last thoughts for this soccer season.
I feel blessed to have the opportunity to coach this group - with a special mention to the Seniors of 2018! I came into ICS in 2015 hearing about this "Sophomore class" full of real soccer players that had played together for years coming up through the ranks. My first year was tough because I was considered the outsider. I had to build and earn their trust. I think I did that. I believe I'll stay in touch with them as they move on to university and beyond. They are really talented soccer players but more importantly, they're great guys with strong character. Credit goes to the school, parents and each other within the group for believing in them and helping them to grow in wisdom and in stature. Throughout this year, they have lived out the Bible verse of Proverbs 27:17 - "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." God has blessed me with these group of guys that have shown me what teamwork and hardwork is all about.
Posted Wednesday, Nov 1, 2017 5:00:00 AM
Mr. Raymond Corrigan, President of the Navy League of the United States - Singapore Council, a former ICS parent gave a speech.
The International Community School (Singapore) celebrated the 242th Anniversary of the U.S Navy at The Ritz-Carlton Millenia, Singapore on October 14, 2017.
The leadership team represented ICS at the Navy ball to honor the brave men and women who conduct a wide range of combat, training, humanitarian, rescue and other missions worldwide. The Navy Ball 2017 speakers were Mr. Raymond Corrigan, President of the Navy League of the United States - Singapore Council, Rear Admiral Don Gabrielson, Commander of Task Force 73, and Vice Admiral Phil Sawyer, Commander of the U.S. Seventh Fleet.
Mr. Corrigan, whose children all attended ICS said in his welcome note, "Our mission is to educate members of our international community in Singapore about the importance of having a capable and fully prepared sea services, to support the men and women of the sea services and their families, and to advocate for maintaining a strong U.S. industrial base to carry America's future."
ICS is honored to be able to support the Naval operations in Singapore by being one a sponsor for this Navy Ball. "We have a great appreciation for our Navy Heritage. Happy 242 Birthday to the U.S Navy!" said Mike Crabtree, Business Manager for ICS.
Posted Monday, Oct 23, 2017 12:49:00 PM
Singapore's 1st First Lady, Puan Noor Aishah, said, "I am very happy to be able to be involved in this partnership with the alumni of YISS and ICS."
A School Contribution that leaves Memories and a Legacy
(Translated into English. Original post can be found at the Berita Harian.)
Puan Noor Aishah, alumni of Yusof Ishak Secondary School and the International Community School (Singapore) demonstrated their devotion to the library at Yusof Ishak Secondary School (YISS) in Bukit Batok. It is a library that has been built from the heart. The former first lady, wife of ex-President of Singapore Allahyarham Encik Yusof Ishak, Puan Noor Aishah, attributes the school as her husband's legacy. The alumni of YISS hopes the school will be a remembrance of him to the youth at the school.
Recently, these three parties met at the house of Puan Noor Aishah on Jalan Buloh Perindu for tea following the recent meeting at the original site of YISS where ICS currently resides.
As part of ICS' 25th Anniversary celebration, the school is kicked-off a project called, "25 Acts of Kindness". Ms. Sarah Goh, Development Director of ICS, explained that as a part of the service of "25 Acts of Kindness", ICS would be donating 25 books to the YISS library that is currently located in the Bukit Batok area. This is one way that ICS contributes and serves the community of YISS. The Director of ICS, Mr. John Kennedy presented the books to the teachers from YISS during the visit. Since the beginning of the project which started in September 16th, the ICS community has targeted to complete 15,000 acts of kindness by April of next year. They were excited to report that 900 acts of kindness have taken place. The acts of kindness range from saving someone at the pool to giving up a seat in the MRT to someone who needed it.
YISS alumni Cik Latifah Ali, who advocated the reunion at ICS last month said that she was impressed by the outstanding character of ICS in working together with them and even involving them in their project of "25 Acts of Kindness".
The 83 year-old Puan Noor Aishah said, "I am very happy to be able to meet and become involved in this partnership with the alumni of YISS and ICS. They both are contributing to the community and I am touched to be surrounded by friendly people with good hearts in my home. Before this, I had not been to the old site of YISS. I have already been invited a few times to Bukit Batok but usually it was only my husband who visited the original YISS site."
During this time, Puan Noor Aishah, alumni of YISS and ICS also signed a card for President Halimah Yacob about the historic election. A watercolor portrait of the face of President Halimah was painted by an ICS Grade 11 student, was also presented as a gift. Mr. Kennedy said, "It's a proud moment for ICS to be able to take part in this well-wishing with the 1st First Lady to the 1st Lady President of Singapore. We appreciate the culture and community that we live in and would like to send Puan Halimah Yacob our heartiest congratulations in her new position as the President of this wonderful country. We have forged many meaningful relationships with our local community, and will continue to serve this country to our best of our abilities."
On October 28th, Puan Noor Aishah and the alumni of YISS were invited to the Family Carnival at ICS.
Posted Wednesday, Oct 11, 2017 8:24:00 AM
Read more of this testimonial of our student's family who was blessed by the ICS caring community during this 25 Acts of Kindness project.
ICS: A Truly Kind and Caring Community
The International Community School (Singapore) is celebrating 25 years of community with Acts of Kindness. This school-wide project runs from September 16, 2017 to April 13, 2018. Students, teachers, staff and parents are encouraged to perform 25 acts of kindness per person.
For the past 25 years, God has been faithful in providing ICS' needs. We want to share our blessings in multifold with our community and teach our students to do the same. Here is a testimonial of our student's family who was blessed by the ICS caring community during this project.
"My name is Hena, and I am the mother of Aryan, who is in Grade 3. Very recently, I was required to be in India to take care of a family emergency. I was in despair because that would have meant my small children would be left unattended when my husband went to work. I nearly cancelled my trip, until Tracy, a mom at ICS offered to look after my kids after school.
Over the next 2 weeks, Tracy and her two lovely daughters - Sydney and Saylor ensured that my kids were well taken care for until their father returned home from the office. Many other families (of whom I've only met once!) offered to help us arrange for my kid's food in school as well as at home.
Other helpful ICS family - Anju and her husband also dropped by my house personally a few times with loads of food. Aryan even stayed with them overnight. I also received very significant help from our ICS receptionist, Shally and another amazing ICS mom, Elizabeth for coordinating and managing things in my absence.
I would like to express my gratitude to everyone who has helped us in time of need and also to those who have offered to help. The response was immediate and overwhelming - truly demonstrates the Spirit of the ICS Community!"
"Let all that you do be done in love." - 1 Corinthians 16:14
Posted Tuesday, Oct 10, 2017 9:22:00 AM
One of the core values of ICS is to be a caring community. We participate to show our love and support for the people around us.
ICS Walks Against Breast Cancer
October 7, 2017 - The tropical rain did not dampen the spirits of our ICS staff who went to support the 'Pink Ribbon Walk' held at the Waterfront Promenade in Singapore.
For some, this was a personal journey to make. Mrs. Marjorie Kennedy, our Director of Library Resource Centre shared, "We started walking in the Pink Ribbon Walk last year following my diagnosis with breast cancer. I was still recovering, but felt it was important to show my support for the Breast Cancer Foundation in Singapore. It was amazing to see our group grow from 11 last year to 22 this year!"
With 1,850 women being diagnosed each year, breast cancer remains as Singapore's most common cancer among women. [Source: Singapore Cancer Registry] "Martha and I were happy to support this important cause and it was even more special to get to share it with our friends from ICS," said Mr. Eric Alfrey, our Director of Admissions.
One of the core values of the International Community School (Singapore) is to be a caring community. We participate to show our love and support for the people around us. Mrs. Sarah Majestic, our Finance Manager shared, "I have been walking in the Pink Ribbon Walk since we moved to Singapore 5 years ago. I participated in cancer walks in the US and walked for my friend April who is a stage 4 breast cancer survivor. Last year we had a staff member battling breast cancer so I invited all of the ICS staff to attend the Pink Ribbon Walk. In just 2 years we have doubled our participation in this event to 25 ICS staff members. It is an important cause and I am proud to see co-workers celebrating life together!"
Learn more about the Breast Cancer Foundation here:
Breast Cancer Foundation (BCF) is a non-profit organisation set up in 1997 with the mission to eradicate breast cancer as a life-threatening disease. Being an advocacy group, BCF propagates awareness and education through talks, events, exhibitions and publications, and advocates early detection through regular screening. Support and volunteer programmes are organised for survivors and their family members, caregivers and volunteers through counselling, training, empowerment and 'Healing Through The Arts' activities. BCF is one of the few breast cancer advocacy groups in the world with a Men's Support League to emphasise men's role in society's fight against this affliction.
For more information, visit http://www.bcf.org.sg.
Posted Monday, Oct 2, 2017 7:00:00 AM
ICS empowers students to positively impact our social environment through Positive Behavior Support, emphasizing respect, safety, and responsibility.
3 Strategies to Prevent Bullying and Harassment in Schools
By Shanaya S. Thompson, School Counselor K-8th at the International Community School (Singapore)
B.S. Psychology emphasis in Christian Counseling
M.Ed in School Counseling
Is your child being bullied in school?
Do they know how to stand-up for themselves against the bullies?
Is there a way to prevent themselves from being a target for bullies?
These are some concerns that parents have when they send their children to school.
The International Community School (Singapore) is getting ahead of the problem by implementing a program called "Positive Behavior Support". This program focuses on social climate and teaches students the core values of respect, safety, and responsibility.
Bullying and Harassment Prevention in Positive Behavior Support: Expect Respect is a program conducted by the University of Oregon, USA. It is designed to empower students to positively impact the social environment in their school. ICS helps students accomplish this by teaching them specific skills and including them in discussions about how these issues can best be addressed.
Here are the 3 strategies we want students to learn as part of Bullying and Harassment Prevention in Positive Behavior Support: Expect Respect.
Stop Strategy: In a situation where disrespectful behavior occurs, it is important for student recipients to utilize the following steps in an effort to stop the problem behavior before it escalates.
If someone treats you in a way that feels disrespectful:
- Step 1: Be assertive and say, "STOP!".
- Step 2: If the person stops, say something like "Cool" or "OK" and move on with your day.
- Step 3: If the person does not stop, decide whether to ignore the person or seek support.
- Step 4: If you decide to ignore, don't look at or talk to that person. If you decide to seek support, select a school adult to approach and ask for support.
Stopping Strategy: In a situation where a student asks another student to stop behaving disrespectfully, it is important for the accused student to utilize the following steps in an effort to de-escalate the situation.
If someone says, "STOP!" to you:
- Step 1: Stop what you are doing, even if you don't think you are doing anything wrong.
- Step 2: Remind yourself "No big deal if I stop now."
- Step 3: Say "OK" to the person who asked you to stop and move on with your day.
Recruiting Support Strategy: In a situation where the recipient of disrespectful behavior has attempted to stop the behavior, yet the problem behavior continues, it is important for the student recipient to take the following steps to recruit support for de-escalating the conflict.
If you use the School wide stop phrase and the person doesn't stop:
- Step 1: Decide whether to ignore it or seek support.
- Step 2: If you seek support, select a school adult to report to.
- Step 3: Approach the adult and say, "I'm having a problem with ______. I asked her/him to stop and she/he continued."
- Step 4: If the adult doesn't have time to help solve the problem right then, ask the adult when she/he will have time and make an appointment.
Providing Support Strategy (for adults): In a situation where a student comes to you with a conflict that they cannot resolve on their own, it is important to take the following steps in order to help the student resolve the situation.
If a student approaches you with a problem involving disrespectful behavior:
- Step 1: Say "Thanks for telling me."
- Step 2: Listen empathetically. Ask if this is the first time; determine who, what, when, and where.
- Step 3: Ask the student if the person who didn't stop is likely to retaliate if confronted.
- Step 4: Help the student select a course of action. Possibilities include:
- Filing a harassment report
- Creating a safety plan for minimizing contact
- Letting it go ("I just needed someone to listen to me")
Keep your children safe by giving them these tools to protect and defend themselves from bullying.
Posted Friday, Sep 29, 2017 10:15:00 AM
It gives us great pleasure to be invited to Puan Noor Aishah's home for tea alongside the alumni organizers of Yusof Ishak Secondary School.
International Community School (Singapore) and Yusof Ishak Secondary School Alumni Organizers Kick-Off '25 Acts of Kindness' Project in Singapore's 1st First Lady's Home.
It gives us great pleasure to be invited to Puan Noor Aishah's home for tea on September 28, 2017 at 4pm. During that time, the International Community School (Singapore) (ICS) and Yusof Ishak Secondary School (YISS) alumni organisers kicked-off a project called "25 Acts of Kindness" as part of ICS' 25th Year Anniversary celebration.
ICS donated 25 of its library books to the Yusof Ishak Secondary School that is situated in Bukit Batok. As part of the act of kindness, the YISS alumni helped to wrap the books and Mr. John Kennedy, Director of ICS, presented the donated books to the current teachers of YISS.
Puan Noor Aishah, YISS and ICS also signed a custom made congratulatory card to Puan Halimah Yacob on her appointment as the new President of Singapore. A watercolour portrait of Puan Halimah Yacob - painted by a 11th Grade ICS student was presented for photo-taking.
"It's a proud moment for ICS to be able to take part in this well-wishing with the 1st First Lady to the 1st Lady President of Singapore. We appreciate the culture and community that we live in and would like to send Puan Halimah Yacob our heartiest congratulations in her new position as the President of this wonderful country. We have forged many meaningful relationships with our local community, and will continue to serve this country to our best of our abilities," said Mr. Kennedy.
ICS also invited Puan Noor and the YISS alumni to visit the campus on 27A, Jubilee Road by presenting them with coupons to the ICS' Family Fun Carnival on October 28, 2017 from 10am to 3pm.
Posted Tuesday, Sep 19, 2017 1:04:00 PM
Over 600 ICS families celebrated the 25th Anniversary kick-off at Adventure Cove Waterpark.
ICS Family Celebrates 25 Years
September 16, 2017 - The International Community School (Singapore) (ICS) kicked-off its 25th Anniversary by having a splashtastic time at Adventure Cove Waterpark in Resort World Sentosa on Saturday. More than 600 ICS family members gathered to celebrate this meaningful milestone.
In conjunction with this event, ICS will also be blessing its surrounding community with a project called "25 Acts of Kindness". This project will involve ICS students, parents, teachers and staff coming together to do 25 acts of kindness per person.
"Our goal is to reach 15,000 acts of kindness by April 2018. We are a community that truly cares and want to make a positive difference in Singapore and beyond. This project is part of our core values, and the best way to teach our students this important virtue is to walk alongside them and teach them how to do it by example," said John Kennedy, Director of ICS.
For more information on the "25 Acts of Kindness", please email email@example.com.
See more photos from the event below:
Posted Monday, Sep 11, 2017 4:47:00 PM
ICS warmly welcomed Singapore's 1st First Lady, Puan Noor Aishah, who was delighted when our Elementary Choir performed for 250 YISS alumni.
YISS Reminisces the Past
(Check out the original article written by the Berita Harian)
"A place that bore bitter memories is remembered, what more if it is a place of sweet memories." This Malay proverb captures the way Madam Latifah Ali feels about her alma mater, Yusof Ishak Secondary School (YISS) - a place that taught her about the importance of education and friendships.
Madam Latifah and another YISS alumni named Mr. Noorman Semar, organized a reunion that involved 250 ex-students from batch year 1965 to 2000.
This gathering was held at the original YISS property on 27A Jubilee Road, which is now home to the International Community School (ICS) until the lease ends in year 2020.
The wife of the first President of Singapore Yusof Ishak, Madam Noor Aishah attended as the guest of honor.
Madam Latifah, a clerk, reminisced, "The bitter sweet memories of YISS is still fresh in my mind. Especially the time when I was asked to go out of the classroom because I didn't listen to my teacher. This moment is still carved in my mind. Even though I don't have a higher education, YISS is the place that reminds me to give back to the community."
Madam Noor Aishah was very touched to be invited said, "Until now, the representatives of YISS that are at the Bukit Batok premises still invite me to come to their celebrations."
"ICS Director, Mr. John Kennedy said, "Because ICS is celebrating its 25th Anniversary, we are launching a project called, "25 Acts of Kindness." We will work together with the YISS (organizers) to continue its legacy. Our relationship with the (YISS) alumni is one of the ways in which we (ICS) give back to the community."
Posted Thursday, Feb 9, 2017 2:48:00 PM
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
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!
Posted Monday, Nov 7, 2016 12:27:00 PM
Why we believe in the importance of challenging our high school seniors to be able to defend their beliefs.
By Kelley Ditzenberger, HS Principal
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.
Posted Wednesday, Sep 14, 2016 3:57:00 PM
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
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.
Posted Wednesday, May 4, 2016 12:00:00 PM
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
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!
Posted Thursday, Jan 30, 2014 10:00:00 AM
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".