IGBIS Newsletter | Issue 176

Dear IGBIS Parents and Community Members,

We hope that you all had a wonderful break over the Christmas/New Year period and Happy New Year! It looks like 2019 will be a great year ahead. We had over 25 new students join our school this week and more coming in the weeks ahead, so there is something of a growth spurt taking place at IGBIS. Our whole community have been very welcoming of the new students and their parents, and the student ambassadors did a fantastic job of looking after them on Monday.

As you have driven past the school in recent weeks you may have noticed the work that has been taking place to install outdoor lighting around the sports field. This has been a joint project with Sunarize who provide after school activities for our students and a community soccer/football programme on the weekend. Consequently we expect to see even more community sports taking place on the sports field in the future.

Our school calendar for the next school year is appended to this newsletter and is also available on our website. Some dates may vary a little as we add in our staff professional development days and the birthday of the Agong once this is confirmed. However the dates for the beginning and end of the school year and all of the major holidays should now be fixed.

Mrs Anne Fowles | Head of School

Welcome back after our winter break, we hope you had a relaxing and safe time as you either stayed in Malaysia or travelled to another country. The students certainly seem refreshed.

This has been a busy week in Elementary and I am pleased to be able to welcome our new families that joined the IGB International School community. I am sure you as parents will help them as they transition to a new school and for many, a new type of education system.

On Wednesday the Grade 4 students had a field trip to the National Planetarium as part of their new unit of inquiry. I look forward to hearing more from them about what they learned.

On Thursday, as a change from our usual Elementary assembly time, we used the time to have an Elementary Art morning. In keeping with our belief that students need some ownership over their environment, we made time available for them to work in their house teams to create works of art to beautify the elementary cafeteria. A big thank you to Ms. Lisa and all those involved with the organisation and support to make this happen.

Next week we have the music academy concerts. This is a wonderful opportunity to see the students who are learning an instrument (including voice) to showcase their growth so far. For some students this may be the first time they have performed in front of an audience and they are being risk takers to do this. So please come and support the children as they perform.

Dates for your diaries

  • Tuesday 15th January: Music academy concert- Students of Ms Iko Chia (piano and violin) and Mr Chew Yew Chee (violin): Drama Studio 2: Starting time 1.45pm
  • Thursday 17th January: Music academy concert- Students of Ms Puisim Wong (piano), Ms Irma Lailatul, (voice) and Mr Adil Rahim (guitar). Drama Studio 2: Starting time 1.45pm
  • Monday 21st January: Public holiday
  • Friday 25th January: Semester 1 reports go home
  • Monday 28th January: ES Sports Day
  • Friday 1st February: Chinese New Year assembly, Theatre 1.30pm

Simon Millward | Elementary School Principal

Dear parents,

Welcome back to all of our students and families! I hope the vacation was a restful one and students are refreshed in their return to lessons. We resumed school quite quickly this week, with activities and athletics getting under way as well. There will be a variety of sporting fixtures on in the next few weeks as Season 2 gets underway.

We are pleased to welcome a visiting artist for the next two weeks – Ms Anna Brockway will be working with our MYP and DP students in their performing arts classes, this should be a fantastic experience for them. Should you encounter her in the hallways, please join us in welcoming her!
Looking forward, teachers will be finalising their report comments in the next week or so and we will be issuing reports via Managebac on the 25th of January. In the following week, we will also have our Secondary School Sports day on the 29th of January. 

I look forward to seeing parents at our upcoming PVO meeting on the 17th of January.

Best regards,

Michael Arcidiacono | Secondary School Principal

In many ways, our website redevelopment project represents what our community is all about. At IGBIS, learning is about valuing the ability to design and build, to improve methodically, listen to feedback, and execute according to a well-drawn plan. It’s about sharing and being transparent in your goals, seeking opinions and deciding as a team how to improve. If you haven’t already, head on over to our new website at igbis.edu.my. In so many ways, it represents who we are.

Over the last several years, we have been collecting feedback on our community’s expectations for a public-facing website. One of the key insights our stakeholders had, was that our previous website was difficult to navigate. With that in mind, we looked carefully at how other school websites organised their own pages, and realised that one of our problems was that we were relying on a drop-down system that wasn’t allowing the user’s to explore and discover our site. Another comment was that the previous site wasn’t very friendly to mobile devices. Taking that on board, we selected a professionally designed, responsive theme. In addition, there was the stated desire to make our newsletter more readable, instead of a PDF download that was difficult to scroll. That being the case, this edition of our newsletter is the first to be a part of our website!

As with any project, there are numerous details to plan. We started by investigating software solutions that would ensure that our website would have a responsive theme, with plenty of options for us to tinker, no matter what screen size. We also had a few other items on our to-do list, such as incorporating student experiences, and refreshing our images to be more vibrant. Our team of Arvin, Tanya, and Adiyati, led by myself, decided to break the project up into two parts:

Milestone 1 (December/January 2019)

  • Refreshed and updated content to reflect the IGBIS of today
  • Revamped user interface that works on mobile as well as it works on our laptops and desktops

Milestone 2 (March 2019)

  • Production-quality videos from the student’s point of view
  • Further expansion of content
  • Integration with our other systems, such as Google and OpenApply
  • A new Splash Page

With the plan decided upon, it was time to execute. That is where our choice of software became important. While our initial proposal included seriously considering third-party solutions, we once again chose WordPress and Open Source technology as the best solution for IGBIS. What made that selection easy is when we reviewed the newest features of WordPress 5.0, which included an easier and more intuitive way for us to refresh our content. Furthermore, the abundance of themes available in the WordPress environment meant that we could select and acquire a professionally-designed blueprint, but modify it for our own purposes. In fact, it was quite fun for me to roll up my sleeves and dig into some advanced features of WordPress, such as Custom CSS.

In fact we teach this technology in our Design Department! How cool is that?!

The completion of this project in some way is like the completion of my own Personal Project, and it was a joy to celebrate it together with the Grade 10 students who also displayed their wares in December. I would also like to thank Arvindar, Adiyati, and Tanya in the Marketing Department for all their numerous contributions. Also thanks to the many staff members who rewrote articles and submitted photos to make it sparkling new. And as always, thanks to the entire community for contributing to our growing collection of awesome IGBIS experiences.

Adam Morris | Website Revamp Coordinator

IGBIS Events

PSAT 8/9 Testing Date #2

Wednesday 16 January, 2019. 3:00pm to 6:00pm. See Mr. Mitchell (bill.mitchell@igbis.edu.my) by Monday 14 January to secure a seat.

IGBIS Career Exploration Morning

Friday February 22, 2019. 7:45am to 10:00am

Calling all parents!  Would you like to inspire our secondary students regarding their future career aspirations? Do you have an acquaintance that would fit the bill? I am looking for people to spend about 20 minutes sharing their career stories with our students.

You would be free to use the 20 minutes with the students in a way which you believe would help students gain insight and inspiration into your profession or career. However, a suggested agenda for the sessions might include:

  • 2-3 minutes to introduce yourself and share what inspired you to work in your field.
  • 5-7 minutes talking about ‘a day in the life’. Perhaps share a video clip, some photos of your work environment, give an example of a problem you have had to solve recently, share why you are passionate about what you do.
  • 3-4 minutes talking about the pathway that led you to be where you are today. What qualifications did you gain? Where and what did you study? What strengths or character traits are important to be successful? What other jobs have you had through your life.
  • 5-10 minutes for a Q&A and discussion led by students. Students will be prepared with questions they could ask.

Please let me know if you are interested in participating so that I can share further details: bill.mitchell@igbis.edu.my

Follow the secondary calendar or see the College Counselling Events calendar for future visits and events.

Kuala Lumpur Events

MABECS events

The Malaysia British Educational Cooperation Services (MABECS) is presenting a number of events for pre-university students.

The UK Three

Professors from three prestigious UK based universities—Newcastle University,  University of Reading and University of Southampton—will discuss studying in Johor for a UK qualification. They will also offer three taster lectures.

Date and Time: Saturday, 19 January from 11:00am to 3:00pm

Venue: MABECS, B-3A-5 Block B West, PJ8, 23 Jalan Barat, Selangor (Waze: MABECS)

Presentation Schedule:

11:30am: ‘You want to be a Doctor?’ by Dr Ong Gim Seong, Newcastle University

12:30pm: ‘BE DIGITAL! Future-proofing your career in the construction and surveying professions’ by Dr Mohd Faris Khamidi, University of Reading

1:30pm; ‘Internet of Things and Smart Grid’ by Dr Mihai Rotaru, University of Southampton

Reserve your seats here.

Veterinary Medicine Information Session

University of Edinburgh

This session is an opportunity to understand what Veterinary studies is like at the University of Edinburgh, how to apply and resulting career paths that exist within Veterinary Medicine. Distinguished academics and alumni will also share their personal career experiences and provide a real insight into Edinburgh city and studying abroad. The university’s Vet School is number 1 in the UK in terms of research excellence and is in the top 20 worldwide, QS ranking.

Date and Time: Sunday, 20 January from 10.00am to 11.30am.

Venue: The Gardens Hotel, Kuala Lumpur

Please register here to secure your seat.

Preparation Programme for the SAT

Mont Kiara International School (MKIS) from 1st to 5th April, 2019

MKIS is graciously hosting Testtakers’ SAT preparation programme over the April break. This programme will cover all aspects of the SAT for students sitting the May 2019 test. Students from other schools are welcome to attend this programme.

Testtakers was selected based upon their ability to provide a quality programme at a special price. Testtakers Managing Director Jeremy Craig is a Columbia University graduate who has worked with thousands of international school students and has been teaching SAT preparation for nearly 25 years. The programme includes 22 hours of classroom time, three computer-scored diagnostic tests, our Study Buddy flashcard box, and the College Board’s Official SAT Study Guide. The fee is S$600, which covers all course materials and instruction. Testtakers runs ongoing programmes with many schools in the region including the Stamford American International School, Garden International School, Anglo-Chinese (Independent), UWCSEA, Tanglin Trust School, Overseas Family School, and the Jerudong International School (Brunei).

The focus of the programme is to learn and apply new innovative test taking techniques rather than tedious practice and rote memorisation.

If you would like to register for this SAT prep course, please click the link below to complete the online registration. Payment can be by credit card via PayPal or wire transfer. Note: there are no extra charges for payment via PayPal and you do not need an account. If you have any questions about the programme, please email Testtakers at: info@testtakers-sg.com.


Note there will be a 10% early booking discount for payment before January 31th.

University Advising

EducationUSA advisers provide comprehensive U.S. university advising every Tuesday and Thursday. Register Here

Bill Mitchell | Grades 9-12 School Counsellor

Welcome back to school! A few parents have enquired on how they can get more involved with school events, so I would like to share this brief summary about the PVO with all of you.

What is the PVO?

All parents of students attending IGBIS are members of the Parent Volunteer Organisation (PVO). The PVO is a great way to get involved in the school community. No formal introduction is needed and there is no cost to join.  

A minimum of four PVO meetings are held annually and additional meetings take place as and when required. The agenda is shared a week prior to the meeting via the school newsletter. All parents are always welcome to attend.

The aims of the PVO are to:

  • foster communication and cooperation between IGBIS staff, students and parents;
  • build a sense of community for the benefit of the school, the students and the wider community by organising specific events;
  • serve as an umbrella organisation for parent support activities, working in close cooperation with the appropriate members of the school administration, faculty and staff; and
  • welcome new parents to IGBIS and build awareness of activities and opportunities for their involvement.

All PVO members are expected to:

  • act in the best interest of IGB International School, including its facilities, properties, fellow parents, students and staff members.
  • make relevant and positive contributions to meetings they attend.
  • use communication methods responsibly and involving school-related items only. Whatsapp chats are to be used to assist in clarifying issues. Social media postings must not portray or name students, unless authorised by their parents.
  • respect staff and student privacy while carrying out PVO activities. This includes contacting them out of school hours, in person or by phone. Email is the best method of communication as it allows time for addressing matters at people’s availability.

Class Reps

Parent Class Representatives (Class Rep) are PVO members who have volunteered their time to be the link from home to school. There is at least one Class Rep per grade level, assigned at the beginning of each academic year. Their main role is to work alongside with classroom teachers to communicate information from the school to fellow parents. In addition, the Class Rep may also choose to organise social gatherings amongst their grade level, especially to to welcome new families and to bid farewell to departing ones.

PVO Special Event Committee Members

Special events are announced during PVO meetings and parents are invited to join as Special Event Committee Members to assist in the organisation of the event. Some Special Events held in the past include the PVO Social, Holiday Bazaar, 24 Hour Race and Staff Appreciation Lunch.

International Day

International Day is our annual celebration of the school’s diversity. It is typically held on a Saturday morning during Semester 2. Parents, staff and students are invited to share more about their culture by dressing up in typical clothing, decorating a country booth and preparing treats to share with the community. Some countries even prepare a performance to present for all to enjoy! It is a wonderful way to celebrate our cultural melting pot and many look forward to this event all year.

Our next PVO meeting will be on Thursday, 17 January from 8:00am to 9:00am in the Level 2 PVO Room, in front of the School Clinic. All parents and caregivers are welcome. We will welcome new parents to IGBIS, collaborate alongside the Senior Management Team on guidelines and ways to improve our PVO, and begin planning for International Day, which will be held on Saturday, 16 March. If you cannot attend the PVO meeting, the minutes will be shared after the meeting on the PVO website, located on the Splash Page.

Julie Arcidiacono | Community and Events Coordinator

The current draft calendar for the 2019-20 academic year has been released. Although this calendar is a draft only, it may assist you with planning holidays and other events during the next school year.

Download PDF

Welcome back to a new year!

After long breaks like the Christmas holidays, the transition back to school can be challenging, not only for students but for parents as well.

With help from TeachHUB.com and www.goodtherapy.org, I’ve put together five tips to kick start the new year and get the household prepared for a fresh beginning.

1: Get back into your sleep routine. Unplug and get those zzzzs! Over the holiday period, we tend to relax the rules on TV, computer and other media. It’s easy for children to become night owls knowing they can sleep in the next morning. These habits can make the first weeks back to school challenging. Begin by tapering back on screen time and easing back to a reasonable bedtime. Re-establish school routines by having your child wake up at the same time every day, eating the evening meal around the same time.

2: Don’t forget Breakfast. Healthy and filling breakfasts are vital in a child’s ability to focus in class. If your child arrives to school hungry, they will be slow and distracted from the get-go!

3: Get Organised. Preparation is key. Check your child’s school supplies – backpack is clean, school uniform is ready to go, notebooks, pens and pencils are at hand. Read (and not just with your child!) – scanning the newsletter, emails, and any notes that come home from school. Take the time each day to check for information that may come home from school concerning upcoming field trips or school events. Though some of it may not be relevant, this habit will make life much easier for everyone. Designate a spot in your house for homework, permission slips and any other school-related papers.

4: Check in. Take a moment to update your child’s teacher with a quick email about any changes that may have occurred on the home front over the holiday break or if you have any concerns about your child’s progress at school.

5: Have some one-on-one time. However challenging this can be in our daily life, children start to act out when they do not get enough one-on-one time. If possible, find some time at the end of a school day to read, play and just have fun with your child.

Through preparation and organisation, you can ensure that your child will have an easier transition to the start of the new year.

Warm Regards,

Karen Skepper | Elementary School Counsellor

Dear Parents,

The Instrumental Music Academy will celebrate the continued development of the musical skills of students in two concerts over the coming week. Both concerts start at 1.45pm in Drama Room 2.

Tuesday 15th January – Students of Ms Iko Chia (piano and violin) and Mr Chew Yew Chee (violin)

Thursday 17th January – Students of Ms Puisim Wong (piano), Ms Irma Lailatul, (voice) and Mr Adil Rahim (guitar).

Semester 2 Registration

Each semester you are requested to complete an online registration form for your child’s inclusion in the IGBIS Instrumental Music Academy. The registration will be open from Monday 14th January. Please go to the Music Academy link on the Parent Page to complete the registration.

Semester 2 lessons will commence Monday 11th February following the school holidays. There will be 15 lessons in Semester 2 for Tuesday and Thursday lessons, and 14 lessons for Monday and Friday lessons. The tutor fees will remain the same at RM60 for each individual lesson (preferred) and RM45 for each group lesson (groups lessons are only available for students at appropriate ages and stages).

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me by email at hadewych.dujardin@igbis.edu.my


Ms Hadewych Dujardin | Cordinator IGBIS Instrumental Music Academy