Student Focus: Eric Wen, Co-Principal for a Day

Written by Andrea Griego, Student Support Coordinator

Eric Wen from Year 4B became the “Principal for a Day” after putting in the highest bid at the live auction at the POP Brunch in April.   Eric said that he was happy to receive this opportunity but was even happier that he was able to donate money to a charity that helps children receive life-saving heart operations.  We recently caught up with Eric so he could tell us about his experience as Principal for a Day!

What was your favourite part of the day?

I loved handing out the awards at the whole-school assembly. It was my first time so it was really exciting.

Do you think being a principal is difficult?

Yes, kind of…. You have to deal with many things. Today I had to deal with things like a fire drill and gate duty. So many other things too that went by so fast.

What was something that surprised you most about your day?

I was so nervous at the whole-school assembly. I was in front of all the students and teachers and I was afraid I was going to say something wrong or make a mistake. It takes a lot of courage to be up there and speak to everyone. I was scared but I did it!

Is being a principal something you would consider as a career?

Yes! It feels good being the boss! Also, you get to eat teacher’s lunch which is better than the student lunch.

Nice job Eric! YCIS is glad that you enjoyed your day as principal and that you were able to donate money to a worthy cause.

Staff Focus: Lynn Xie


Written by Roseline Yang, Community Relations Officer 

Lynn Xie has been in the spotlight recently with the organization of two special events involving not only YCIS community with Daddy Daughter Dance last Sunday, June 10 but also the wider Shanghai community with her cultural CCA concluding with a visit to the Lianyang Hospital. After 12 years of working at YCIS, this year will be her last.  We caught up with her recently:

When did you start working for YCIS and why are you leaving us?

I started here in 2006. Last year, I received my 10th year service award with YCIS! I first started at YCIS Beijing and then moved after a semester to YCIS Shanghai Pudong at Regency Park Campus to follow my husband to Shanghai. And now, I will be going to Hangzhou where my husband will start a new job! The loop is closing! Heading for new adventures!

Why did you choose to work at YCIS?

My husband is Chinese, so I really liked the idea of bilingual education. I thought it was a perfect match for me as a teacher and for my daughter who joined YCIS from Year 1. At that time, only YCIS was offering this now well-spread bilingual education in other international schools.

Oh, yes! The famous Anna who got all these IGCSE Awards last year and who just graduated from YCIS Pudong recently. Her speech at the Year 13 Graduation Ceremony was so full of humor! Anything you would like to share as a parent?

I am very appreciative of the strong YCIS curriculum and the great foundation my daughter got for her education. She had such awesome teachers at YCIS. From Primary to Secondary, it has been a nurturing environment for Anna. She is an introvert but you see how confident she was on stage. Through the nurturing environment at YCIS, teachers have known Anna well, and in Secondary School, teachers have been able to help her identify her strengths and weaknesses to bring out the best in herself. I just cannot imagine having her study anywhere else.

What are the changes you have witnessed about YCIS throughout all these years you have been here?

The growth of our school of course! Not only in size but also in quality.  Within my first three years here student enrollment nearly doubled. Just look at now: when I started, there were only three Y1 classes. Next school year, there will be five Year 2 classes and there will be an additional EAL Teacher, which brings the team to six EAL Teachers.

Every year, our school keeps improving. I believe that attaining and maintaining CIS Accreditation helps the school to set ambitious goals. Within China we have taken the lead on some key initiatives that other YCIS schools have also adopted.  Here’s a small example with the English Professional Learning Community I join every two weeks with other colleagues.  We have worked on reviewing writing prompts for assessment, and revamped writing criteria and level descriptors for the Criterion Scale adapted for YCIS Writing assessment.

Another anecdotic to share: Did you know that when I first joined, there was no Century Park Campus? All Secondary staff were located in this same EAL room (312) where I teach:  including current leaders Mary Yu, Jane Xie, and Amy Yang!

Ok, let’s talk about your work now! What do you enjoy in your job?

It is so much fun! I love my job! I love to be an EAL teacher as I am able to focus on the subject I love the most: English. This is a wonderful and very rewarding job as I am able to witness rapid progress from the students as they are sponges in their language learning. Actually, the students are at their developmental stage so they will learn in spite of me, but seeing them thrive after EAL and seeing them fully integrated in the life of our school is what brings the most joy!

You, have been amazing for my daughter. She came with half-broken English from local school and after just one semester, she was reading chapter books. Today, she cannot stop reading. How did you do?

It’s actually a team effort. Within EAL classes, we can focus more heavily on improving some of the language learning gaps. Apart from English strategies, my bigger aim is mainly to connect children with books. I let them choose what they are interested in reading. I want them to enjoy reading and talk to their friends about their reading. When they are hooked, this is it!

When I was in 3rd grade, I loved to read books by Beverly Cleary, and I read all of her books because I could relate to them. My favorite time at school was to go to the library and hear the librarian read a story to us.

You have also been involved in charity.  Why?
Well, several years ago there was an opening for leading the charity committee, and I was happy to take it since this particular aspect of the school motto, “YCIS will align with Love and Charity,” fits so well with my Christian faith and the biblical values that I cherish.  It was always a pleasure to help with organizing, together with colleagues, charity events such as Charity Week, Quiz Night and the Daddy Daughter Dance. This year was the 9th year that I was involved with Daddy Daughter Dance, and I am confident that it will continue as a strong YCIS tradition after I leave the school.

Where does your interest in charity come from?

I used to live in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, where I had the opportunity visit in the homes of minority families. Of course, it is much more prosperous now that China’s overall economy has improved, but when I first came in China, it was quite a poor area. Once I got the opportunity to take a trip to rural areas with the UN World Food Programme, and it was eye opening to witness some of the impoverished areas there. I am very pleased that our school is focusing on the UN Global Goals such as Quality Education and Gender Equality. Events like the Daddy Daughter Dance, where the proceeds go toward empowering girls from less privileged backgrounds to continue their education beyond primary and middle school, are tangible ways that our school families can take a positive action, again reflecting part of the school ethos “Love and Charity”.

Is there something you would like to share with our community?

It is never too early to teach children that we can be a blessing to other people and that we can share from our own abundance. This follows the biblical principle that God does not bless me simply so that I can be blessed, but so that I can then be a blessing to other people.

At the recent Year 13 Graduation Ceremony on June 1, Secondary Co-Principal Mr. Runkel asked the Year 13 students to reflect on what heritage they want to leave to YCIS. It is clear for me that Mrs. Lynn Xie, our Primary teacher for EAL is leaving many students a life-long love for reading and, to the parents who have been supporting her, a sparkle of love for the charity organizations she has supported. And to her colleagues, she will also greatly be missed but fortunately Hangzhou is just 2 hours away from Shanghai!

YCIS Parents Playing a Key Role at YCIS

Written by Roseline Yang, Community Relations Officer

The mission and vision of the Parent Organisation Pudong has always been to embrace the whole parent community, and the school states it “Once your child joins YCIS, you automatically become a member of POP, Parent Organisation Pudong”.

YCIS believes in the partnership between the School and parents for the benefit of the student and offers many different avenues for parents to be informed and get involved in the life of the school and also in the learning environment of the students.

As you may know, there are two main groups of parent volunteers identified as:

Class Parent Representatives who take on the role for the whole school year to act as main communicators between the class teachers and the parents of the class, as well as a channel of communication from Parent Relations staff to the parents.

POP Core Committee members who take the responsibility for the whole year to support parents’ initiatives and organize meaningful activities or events for students and parents to celebrate the school community spirit, especially making the school motto alive, ‘Aligning with Love and Charity’.

Lately, we have observed that our parents have been exploring the part of the school motto “Align with Culture and Art” and “Align with Science and Technology” through their involvement and support of our Art teachers, culminating in the Annual Art Show. Other examples are the creation of the YCIS Parent Band, or parent involvement as coaches for our Primary and Secondary sport teams. Some parents have also taken the lead in offering CCAs related to Design and Technology.

Other parents have taken the school signature line “YCIS – Committed to Global Education” to another level by partnering with our academic team and offering classes related to the world awareness and environment through gardening and recycling art activities.   Not to mention YCIS Girls Scouts Troops, which work on the UN 2030 Global Goal “Gender Equality” by offering an avenue for our female students to develop their leadership skills thanks to the endeavor commitment of our parents. “Quality Education” has also been supported through parent and student involvement in ChariTea, helping support Secondary students from Zhejiang to continue their education in rural areas.

We have also seen the development of a strong parent advocacy regarding our school during our panel discussion at the CP Open Morning last November celebrating the 10th year of  creation and successes of Secondary section at Century Park Campus. Our Secondary students also receive great support form the parent community through internship opportunities for the Job Shadow and Summer Program Activities, and the newly formed and parent run YCIS Spirit Squad further enables our community to show their support and empowers them to be #proudtobeYCIS!

As a result, our POP Core Committee together in partnership with our Parent Relations Officers and with School Leadership support have come up with a new structure aiming at encompassing all parent initiatives and needs and we would like to reiterate, that there is an open and structured space for everyone to be involved and to be heard!

Parents are also always welcome to contact our POP Core members at: or our Parent Relations Officer Nadine and Roseline at: if they want to get involved in the school community.

Five Ways to Minimise Summer Learning Loss

Written by Veronica Martin, ECE Coordinator

Summer learning loss is a well-researched and documented phenomenon in which students regress in their learning over the long summer holiday. Of course, summer is a time for children to catch up with family, who are often far away, and to enjoy a well-earned break. However, there are a few steps you can take to limit the effects of Summer Learning Loss without impacting on your family’s quality time together. It is worth noting that the amount of time needed to prevent Summer Learning Loss is relatively small: just 2 to 3 hours per week has been found to be effective.

  • Use the school’s online subscriptions

School may be closed, but Mathletics and Raz Kids stay open! Both these apps are great for keeping students up to speed with Mathematics and Reading respectively over the long summer break.  Ensure you remember to take down the website and log in details before you go away on holiday.

  • Read, read, read

We suggest your child reads every day over the holiday period. Books can be taken on planes, trains and automobiles-or anywhere else you may be! Reading in the morning, before other plans cause distraction, is a great idea.

Glenda Perks, Secondary English Teacher says “Literature opens up the worlds of those both alike and different to me. It allows me to experience their lives, feelings, hardships, joys and ultimately it shows me the truth that we are all flawed human beings, wanting to make our way through this world, trying to find out who we are, make a difference to those around me”.

  • Stay active

Physical activity can also take a hit over the summer. There is a link between physical and mental fitness, so combat brain drain by taking walks and cycle rides, encouraging your child to play team games, or even taking up a new sport, such as swimming, tennis or rock climbing.

  • Take advantage of local opportunities.

Lots of our families travel overseas during the summer. Take the opportunities to visit local museums, libraries, and art galleries with your children, and have them journal, either in words or pictures, or using technology, about what they have seen. Of course, if you are staying in Shanghai, there are fantastic opportunities to do these things here as well.

  • Let them play!

Children learn so much through play. However, you can maximise the value of their play by talking to them about what they are doing, asking them to explain their games to you, and joining in with them to provide language rich opportunities. Much discussion we have with children is directional: telling them what to do. See the summer as an opportunity to discuss with your child things they love doing and gain perspective on how they see the world. Add in some drawings or painting time to let them express their creative side.

Make some playdough for children to play with for hours. See recipe below, or you could buy some ready-made. If you make it with your child you can have mathematical conversations as they measure ingredients out.

Cooked Play Dough

3 cups flour
1 cup salt
6 teaspoons cream of tartar
3 cups water
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Food coloring

Mix flour, salt, and cream of tartar in a large saucepan.

Blend water and oil together in a bowl.

Add to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until it thickens.

Add several drops of food coloring until you get the right color.

Cook for about five minutes.

Take the play dough out of the saucepan and put it on a cutting board or counter and knead for a few minutes.

Add flour if it’s too sticky.

This play dough should last around three months if you keep it sealed in an airtight container or plastic zip-lock bag. It’s so smooth and fun to play with when it’s still warm.

We wish you a wonderful summer holiday, wherever you are in the world.

Art CCA Project Becomes a Community Event

Written by Lynn Xie

Recently a small class of Year 6 students acted as ambassadors in a joint effort with students from the Shanghai Puming Primary School directly across from the Century Park campus. These artistic students created a large banner using the letters and characters for Shanghai. Their final creation displays many of the things that come to mind for people who love this city that we all call home including the famous landmarks, the cuisine, the colors and the culture.

Together the students, a few of the students’ parents and teachers, visited the Lianyang Hospital where their Shanghai banner will brighten the children’s ward. After seeing where their art will hang to be appreciated by the public, everyone was invited to visit the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Cultural Experience Center on the second floor of the hospital where they learned about some of the famous practitioners of TCM and even got to make a packet of Chinese medicine to take home, which help students to have a better understanding of Chinese traditional medicine and cultures.

Although the end results of the few hours that the students spend together is a piece of art that is pleasing to the eye, one of the main purposes of the project was to foster interaction between the neighboring schools and the local community. Throughout the project each of the students served as a worthy ambassador of the school they represented.

Lianyang Community Center also reported this news. If you are interested in reading it, please click the link.

Girl Scouts Builds Girls of Courage & Confidence

Written by Janelle Garrett , Lower Secondary Coordinator

YCIS Pudong is proud to be part of the global scouting family through Girl Scouts providing so many opportunities for many of our students. Girl Scouts is ultimately about building girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. It is a proven leadership development programme that provides a variety of experiences that foster collaboration over competition and help girls to stretch themselves beyond their limits, and transfer valuable knowledge and skills gained to any environment, both now and in the future.

Last week, our Girl Scouts (Daisies, Brownies, and Juniors) celebrated their achievements over the year with an End of Year Celebration and Bridging Ceremony. From gaining outdoor skills and making memories camping with their friends and families, to collaborating with Girl Scouts on global challenges on World Thinking Day, to working through Learning Journeys on topics ranging from caring for themselves, others, animals and their planet to learning how to become advocates, organize initiatives and project manage to become real agents of change in their community, it is clear that this has been a year of incredible growth for our girls.

In their own words…

“Girls need to be brave so they can change the world. In Girl Scouts, we learn about girls and women who are smart, courageous and strong…we also learn to think about how we can be like them… Girl Scouts gave us the idea to do more than what we do in class to make a difference to stop climate change that is hurting the environment. We came up with ideas and worked with Ms. Roseline to make a video to show how we can be superheroes for our planet.”

Chiara and Lily, Daisy Scouts, Year 2

“I liked working with my family to build a car for the Pinewood Derby. We won a trophy and my friends jumped…but the fun part was building it and making it go fast.” Moya, Daisy Scout, Year 2

“Girl Scout camping is one of the most interesting activity of all. It provided me the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and it turned out to be a lot of fun!” Sophie, Brownie Scout, Year 3

“Girl Scouts means a lot to me. It helps me to have friends after school and share something special with other girls all over the world. I also like to work with older girls and help the youngest. Girl Scouts gives me the opportunity to practice and learn many things I was afraid to try before joining.” Ana, Brownie Scout, Year 3 

“I was excited to do a big project like the Bronze Award, the highest award a Junior can obtain. Making a welcome website for families new to Shanghai and planning each step out was different from what we normally do in school. I liked the teamwork, with each girl responsible for her own task, but also helping each other. I’m thrilled to be a Cadette next year, completing a new journey exploring and learning new stuff. I’m looking forward to continuing to learn, work, and have fun with my Girl Scout friends.”Amelie, Junior Scout, Year 6

Watch the video about the creation of the website to introduce new children to Shanghai 

**Please Note: Girl Scouts is a completely volunteer parent-run organization. It is only possible to offer Girls Scouts these opportunities with amazing parent troop leaders and parent volunteers. Consider volunteering with Girl Scouts next year as it is a great opportunity to learn and grow with your child.

Contact Jutta Petznick: email: if interested in being a volunteer!

Job Shadow and Careers Day at YCIS Pudong Secondary

Written by: Timothy Gartz, University Guidance  & Matt Grady, IB Diploma Coordinator

From June 11-21, YCIS Pudong is excited to continue our tradition of providing the job shadow internship program for all Year 11 students. This year, we are pleased to include several YCIS Gubei students for the first time who demonstrated interest after hearing of the programme that continues to yield outstanding results. What’s impressive and truly appreciated by our school community is the wide range of internships available to our students. YCIS has partnerships with 18 different renowned corporations and organisations this year in industries such as: Hotel and Hospitality, Art & Design, Law, Medical, Sport, Finance, Engineering, Marketing and Psychology. Each site is well supervised, has provided a complete schedule and target goals for our students and in many cases, offer opportunities not made available to other high school students in Shanghai or even the world. Our University Guidance counselor Mr. Gartz notes:

“This programme is unique in providing our students at the high school level real-world work experience. The students are treated as young professionals and expected to represent themselves and our school with pride”.
Importantly, the programme raises student awareness regarding the value of regularly participating in internships throughout school and at university. Ultimately, students begin to understand and view work experience as an opportunity for building skills, relationships, experience and a quality resume, which potentially opens up employment opportunities for them in the future.

In preparation, our students have been guided on producing professional Resumes and Introduction letters to each company. In addition, a valuable preparation briefing was led by Mr. Gartz and our IGCSE Coordinator Mr. Lee on Monday June 4 to review expectations, ways to make a strong first impression and to discuss 21st century job skills that students can begin practicing, evaluating in their placements and discuss with company supervisors. At the end of the programme, students will complete site evaluations with their supervisors and discuss ways to further improve the experience in coming years. The job shadow programme has already shown to have a very powerful impact; as several in our recently graduated class of 2018 reported it having a powerful impact in directing their career paths and university choices.

YCIS Pudong has a long term vision for expanding our job shadow partnerships based on the positive feedback received from both our partners as well as our students. YCIS is very grateful for the opportunities provided by our current partners and greatly appreciates hearing from other organizations that would be willing to contribute to the Job Shadow programme.  Contact  Mr. Gartz if interested –

Because career exploration is so important, we will host an annual Careers Day on June 22 at the end of Job Shadow so each of our Year 9 – 12 students can benefit. Each of them will have the chance to choose 3 unique career presentations to participate in before we come together for a full school assembly where a few students will share a review of their Job Shadow experience and the presenters will be recognized. We have invited several of the supervisors from Job Shadow but also extend the invitation to others who are outstanding in their respective fields. So far, we have confirmed speakers in the areas of Creative Design, Computer Engineering, Marketing, Veterinary Science, Medicine and Sports to name a few. We look forward to this  exciting way to inform our students of several career paths that our IGCSE and IB programmes can take them.