IGBIS Newsletter, Issue 223

Mrs Anne Fowles, Head of School

Dear IGBIS Families,

We hope that you are all keeping well. 

Following our announcement on Monday afternoon, advising you that we would be teaching our students through distance learning and the Malaysian Government announcement of the Movement Control Order (MCO) later that evening, all of our staff were at school on Tuesday to ensure that our whole team would have all the support they needed to roll out the distance learning initiative. It is indeed fortunate that we began preparing for this possibility some time beforehand, as it has progressed seamlessly in nearly all areas of the school. 

While the MCO advises us to stay home, we believe that this should not stop quality education from taking place. It has been wonderful to hear that the distance learning initiative has been well-received by our students as well as our parent community. There are some real positives as teachers are online to have interactive sessions with their students and remain online throughout the normal lesson time, students can go back later to refine tasks or check the lesson recording to make sure they know what to do. If you haven’t done so already, please check in with your children to see what they have been doing.

Another COVID-19 memo will be sent out to the community soon to update you with some news of the school as well as some tips from various sources. Please take your time to read this thoroughly. If you wish to contact the school about any of these points, please don’t hesitate to contact our academic and administrative staff should you have any queries and they will be more than happy to assist you. Our working hours over the coming week are from 8:00 am till 4:00 pm. While the school may be closed, our staff will attend to you remotely online or via email during these times. 

Remember, it is the school spring break from March 21-29. You, your children and our academic staff should be enjoying a well-earned break from digital devices during this time. We ask that all IGBIS families stay safe and limit any travel arrangements as per the Movement Control Order. It will be good to take some time off to spend it with your family at home and to catch up with one another. 

Have a positive and safe Spring Break, everyone!

Simon Millward, Elementary School Principal

It was great to be in school on Monday and see the EY and Grade 5 students so engaged in their Chinese learning. The Grade 5 students had prepared a lot of different activities for the EY children. There were flashcards, making activities with pipe cleaners, finger puppet shows, movement games, paper plane making and throwing and much more. Thank you to the grade 5 children and the Chinese teachers for working together to create a rich learning experience.

Thank you for all your hard work, patience and flexibility as you have been working with the children at home on their distance learning tasks. Without your help, learning cannot continue very easily. Don’t forget to complete the google form asking for your feedback on this week’s distance learning (it was sent by email on Thursday). We will use this to help us move forward.

I hope you have a relaxing holiday next week. My plan is to play board games with my children, exercise and relax at home.

Michael Arcidiacono, Secondary School Principal

Dear parents and guardians,

Our first week of online learning is completed and overall it has been very successful. We are very fortunate to have the resources and skilled teachers who can smoothly shift their lessons to be delivered from a distance so that student learning can continue with minimal impact. Teachers and students have also reported some unexpected benefits from this change, which is positive to see. We are all living together through a difficult time, so we need to make the best of it and it is clear from initial feedback that teachers and students are doing so. 

We are surveying all community members about the first week of distance learning, to gather feedback and adjust our approach as necessary, should we need to continue in this model into the month of April. I would encourage families to discuss the first week of distance learning and consider what changes at home may be helpful as well.

Enjoy the holiday week!

Karen Skepper & Bill Mitchell, School Counsellor

During this period of time that the IGBIS community is engaged in school closure, students, teachers and families will need to be flexible and realise that we are operating out of our normal routine.  The unknown and new can sometimes be unsettling or create anxiety if you are concerned or feeling overly anxious about the current situation, please use the resources that are provided below and reach out to us.  We are still here for you!

We are available!

Both Mr Mitchell and Ms Skepper will be available to you during the school closure.  Please use the Google Hangouts Chat function to reach us.  We will be online throughout the school day, and will respond to emails and requests to chat as soon as we can!

Ms Karen Skepper:  Grade 1-8

We will be making every effort to provide (online) counselling and social-emotional support, during school closure. Some areas of discussion could be; Self-Regulation, Anxiety, Wellness strategies, effective coping and personal safety skills.

Mr Mitchell – Grade 9-12

  • Grade 9 students: Please reach out as needed.
  • Grade 10 students: Will be specifically online during your regularly scheduled Wellness and AMP blocks.  A focus will be placed on reviewing your currently selected courses for next year. 
  • Grade 11 students: Will be online during your scheduled Study Blocks, Wellness and AMP.  We will use a google site(code to be sent) to continue our work on College Applications and also the CIALFO platform. 
  • Grade 12 students: Will be online during your scheduled Study Blocks, Wellness and AMP.  Please share your college decisions with me as they arrive in your mailbox.  Just an email away if needed. 

Student Resources

  • Smiling Mind –  Smiling Mind is a great mindfulness app/website for the whole family (Age 7+). Many of our students use Smiling Mind in class as a way to help calm and focus their brains and bodies. 
  • Common Sense Media – As digital citizens, we have our responsibilities and obligations.  During this, we also have to consider our online safety, wellbeing and privacy.  Resources available at Common Sense Media on pertinent topics. 
  • Safer Internet Quiz – Quiz designed for 7-13-year-olds, but can be played by anyone.  What does your identity look like online, and do you feel free to be yourself?

Parent Resources

  • How to talk to children and address their coronavirus concerns – CBC News article on approaching the conversation with our youth. 
  • Tips for Coping with Coronavirus anxiety – The Australian Psychological Society (APS) has developed this information sheet to outline some useful strategies which can help both adults and children cope with the stress or anxiety experienced as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. 
  • Helping Children Cope with Coronavirus and Uncertainty –  Richard Weissbourd, a senior lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, shares ideas about how adults can talk to children about the virus. In the video, find some tips and takeaways.
  • Beyond Blue – Wellness website with information and links regarding looking after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak. 
  • Smiling Mind –  Smiling Mind is a great mindfulness app/website for the whole family (Age 7+). Many of our students use Smiling Mind in class as a way to help calm and focus their brains and bodies. 
  • Common Sense Media – As digital citizens, we have our responsibilities and obligations.  During this, we also have to consider our online safety, wellbeing and privacy.  Resources available at Common Sense Media on pertinent topics. 


  • Peace Out – Short stories that help students calm down and relax by guiding them through visualization and breathing exercises. Perfect for parents, teachers, students who want to teach or learn mindfulness and self-regulation.
  • Feeling anxious or worried? Listen to these 9 podcasts. – Podcasts are a great way to take in information and learn something new. You don’t need to take any time out of your day, simply pop in some headphones on your morning commute or lunch break and listen. There are several fantastic podcasts that not only discuss anxiety and mental health but also provide actionable tips and advice. If you’re not sure where to start, try out these nine podcasts.


Dear IGBIS Community, 

We are currently asking all families at IGBIS to take part in our new challenge #igbis20tostayhealthychallenge. Students and their families should exercise for at least 20 minutes per day whilst we are away from school. We would love to see you exercising with your children if possible. If you would like to please add your videos to twitter to under the hashtag. Alternatively, you could share your videos through Seesaw. We are not asking for you to complete specific exercise routines. The 20-minute activity could include, dancing to “Just Dance”, going for a walk (if possible) playing an active game. We look forward to seeing what ideas you come up with. 

The PE department wants to keep students active as much as possible through this difficult time. Below is a link to a website which contains a wide range of exercises for you to use. More information will be provided shortly from different apps and exercise routines you can do. 

Please do not hesitate to email a member of the PHE department for further information.

Julie Arcidiacono, Community Support and Services Coordinator

Celebration of Digital Learning Successes

A huge thank you to all of our IGBIS parents and caregivers for the overwhelming support in engaging with our students during this distance learning period. There have been many challenges and frustrations, and the learning curve has been huge for teachers, parents and students alike. We would like to celebrate our successes and invite you to share photos of your children (and even yourselves) in action. These photos will then be shared with our community and possibly beyond, via social media or our website for instance, and hopefully inspire others that successful education can continue despite the coronavirus pandemic hardships.

Please add your images to this shared Google photo album. Photos could be of your child video conferencing with his/her teacher, moving to GoNoodle, uploading a video to Flipgrid, working on a SeeSaw post, doing chores at home, maintaining a healthy lifestyle by exercising, playing a board game, and beyond.