IGBIS Newsletter, Issue 245

Mrs Anne Fowles

Dear IGBIS Families,

I hope that you are all keeping well at home or in your workplace. For the newsletter this week I am sharing the COVID update that is going out to families today.

Update on School Reopening

As mentioned in the last COVID update, IGBIS and other international schools have asked the MOE for permission to reopen when the CMCO is lifted. AIMS and the British Malaysia Chamber of Commerce Education Committee have assisted as well. Eventually we received the positive feedback that international schools can reopen when the CMCO is lifted rather than waiting for the reopening of the national schools…Hooray!!

As to when that might be is another matter. The Malaysian Government will be making an announcement about whether to lift or to extend the CMCO in Selangor some time before December 6  Given the number of new cases appearing in the recent week, we are not overly hopeful, but let’s think positively and do our best to keep the numbers down and we might be successful.

Holiday Programme

We have missed out Summer School earlier due to the COVID-19 disruption. This round, we would like to run three days of workshops in our Holiday Program. We will run it virtually, on the 21st – 23rd of December, from 9am – 3pm. The workshop is open for students between the ages of 4 to 12. There will be Public Speaking, Creative Writing and Holiday Crafts in these three days. Fees are RM 600 per child. If you are interested to sign your children up or if you want to ask for more information, you can do so here.

Parent Referral

As we shared earlier in our newsletter, we have started a Parent Referral scheme. If you have friends or relatives who may be interested in having their child(ren) join IGBIS, you can always refer them to our Admissions Team by emailing them at admissions@igbis.edu.my. Every successful sign up will reward the referrer with a RM2,000 credit note which may be used to offset your child(ren)’s school tuition fees, top up e-purses, purchase uniforms, etc. We hope to hear from you soon!

Update on the Head of School Search

The school is delighted to report that a strong field of candidates applied for the Head of School position. The Head of School Search Committee has completed the first round of interviews with 8 candidates and from  these 4 have been chosen for comprehensive interviews with representatives of our community over the coming week. We hope to have more to share with you before long.

Have a safe week ahead and take care.

Mrs. Anne Fowles

Sandy van Nooten

We have just finished our 15th week of school and our 6th online.

I know that being online is not easy for anyone. It can be lonely, overwhelming, confusing and dispiriting. Our teachers are working as hard as they can to bring their classes to life. So much has had to be re-imagined for the online environment. Then we add in all sorts of expectations for them, like…  avoid long lectures, use breakout rooms, and provide opportunities each lesson for students to ‘produce work’ offline (though often on-screen) etc. Assessments are a huge challenge. We ask them to experiment and innovate.Sometimes we find software that allows us to take our planned assessment online, sometimes we have to devise a new one from scratch.  I’m super proud to be part of this team and this community.

If you sense your child struggling to cope with the current situation. Please reach out to their teachers and/or the counselors. A few things to consider (that might help)

  • If your child is working in their bedroom, have them keep the door open and check-in on them as much as possible
  • If they are struggling to get up in the morning, it is a good idea to  leave all devices in a common area (not in the bedroom)
  • Please check your child’s attendance since we’ve been online. We follow up and reach out, but there is not much we can do if they don’t turn-up and won’t respond.
  • Put a copy of their schedule on the fridge and help (where you can) with their time management.

Secondary teachers have been working hard on their GradeBooks on ManageBac. Every formative assessment that appears in ManageBac should have a feedback comment that gives you an idea of what your child needs to do to bridge the gap from where they are, to where they need to be. Every summative assessment will have a short comment and an associated grade. Usually, your child will get additional feedback as annotations on the assessment itself. If you haven’t been on ManageBac for awhile, I invite you to go into the GradeBook and take a look. 

We plan to release Semester 1 reports by 4pm on Dec 18th. The reports will look a bit different this year… hopefully more concise and clear.

I need to remind everyone that we have an 85% attendance requirement. There are some students who have fallen below this threshold. Please note that there can be serious consequences for unsatisfactory attendance. Congratulations to everyone who has met or exceeded our attendance expectation. For those who have fallen short, we’ll be in contact with families soon.

Thanks to the 70 parents, 34 teachers and 98 students who responded to the online schedule survey. Here’s a summary of the responses.

Which version: Prefer V142.9%30%24%32.3
Which version: Prefer V242.9%46%44%44.3
Which version: No preference14%24%32%23.3
Prioritise long lunch36%31%30%32.3
Prioritise long breaks27%13%9%16.3
Prioritise long lunch & break10%29%18%19
Prioritise one long break10%6%12%9.3
No priority17%21%31%31


  • Students and Teachers prefer V2, parents are split
  • Given the choice of long lunch or long breaks, all three groups prioritise long lunch
  • ~30% of students would like a long lunch and a long break
  • 31% overall have no stated priority

Lennan, Magnus and I will meet with StuCo next week to discuss the pros and cons of continuing with V2, or creating a V3 with long breaks and long lunch. Stay tuned.

Next week Allison Parratt will be launching a gift-fest for Zomi education. There will be two main ways to donate. The first is through buying a shoebox gift for a child of a specified age, the second is simply to donate items from a list of food, toiletries and other necessities.

This from Allison…

Zomi Education Center (ZEC) is a non-profiting education centre which serves to provide basic education to the kids who seek refuge in Malaysia. While 2020 has certainly brought on different challenges for many in our IGBIS community, those at ZEC are no exception. IGBIS has a longstanding relationship with ZEC and this December we are aiming to make another BIG donation and we would love your support. Our mission will bring joy to many by providing food, toiletry essentials and gifts in a shoebox for each of the children.

I hope our fabulous community gets behind this worthy cause. More information will follow early next week.

Have a fantastic weekend

Simon Millward

Wow, it’s been a busy week with our ‘Creativity and Kindness’ focus this week. Students have been engaged in ways to be kind to people around them and hopefully, you found your children being helpful and trying to bring a smile to your faces. I predominantly worked with our younger age (EY&KG) students this week and it was wonderful to see them sending messages of love to their parents.

They have been focused on their acts of kindness and we hope that these continue beyond this week.

We also watched Kindness Boomerang and we enjoyed seeing all of the acts of kindness that started with one person helping a young boy who had fallen off his skateboard. The kindness eventually came back to the original man when a waitress gave him a glass of water as it was hot work fixing the road.

Students also showed their creativity as they built boats and a vase out of recycled materials as well as using a homemade toilet roll stamp to create a wonderful picture.

Following on from this week and acts of kindness we have been contacted by our Secondary school students who are helping the ZEC centre. They need our help to support the children in their care. Any assistance would be much appreciated. Please see the message below.

Zomi Education Center (ZEC) is a non-profiting education centre which serves to provide basic education to the kids who seek refuge in Malaysia. While 2020 has certainly brought on different challenges for many in our IGBIS community, those at ZEC are no exception. IGBIS has a longstanding relationship with ZEC and this December we are aiming to make another BIG donation and we would love your support. Our mission will bring joy to many by providing food, toiletry essentials and gifts in a shoebox for each of the children.

Thank you in advance for all of your support.

Dates for your diaries

  • 30th Nov – 4th Dec: Inclusive Schools week: Equity and Access
  • 7th – 11th Dec: Inclusive schools week celebration
  • 17th Dec: Christmas assembly
  • 18th Dec: Report Cards sent home

Marc Koster, English Subject Leader

Hi there IGBIS community! 

It’s a pleasure to be writing the next ‘English Matters’ newsletter article for you. Each month we try to bring you news about what’s happening in the various year levels through the secondary school as well interesting bits and pieces about our wonderfully, frustratingly rich and rewarding English language.

‘English Matters’ in secondary-

The grade 10 Language and Literature students have been busy on their poetry unit. We investigated some history and characteristics of sonnets (Petrarchan and Shakespearean), then students set out to write their own. Here are two early examples:

The Death of a Dog

My hollow heart hangs in a depth of pain.
For my one true love, has been lost today.
My tears fall down- a waterfall of rain.
God, why’d thee taken my sweet doggy away?
Eyes - mesmerising as a starry night,
Paws - smooth, soft and silky - as rose petals.
Without her... every day feels like a fight,
Without her... I have lost someone special.
Now with God, she is in a better place
Angel above, we shall never depart...
Forever guarding with heavenly grace
I wish her the most love, deep from my heart...
I’ve lost my best friend, life is filled with fog,
It’s hard to accept, the death of a dog

Untitled Sonnet

Where shall I retreat when darkness descends? 
Thou stand welcomingly with open arms, 
Though with a heinous disguise that alarms 
Now engulfed by an abyss with no ends. 
Alone, lost in thought. Gravely I saunter. 
Through arid land only to dissipate
Or must I- a lonesome soul, ruminate 
Over my miseries, I fail to conquer 
But solace emerges from dingy depths
Thy tranquil presence lingers tenderly
Cease the silent screams that lurk dauntingly 
For beyond my despair reveals longing 
To bask in freedom so pleasurably,
Unleashed from shackles that trapped brutally. 

Newsademic reading and discussion resource

A number of teachers use this informative news resource in their middle school (Grades 6-10) classes, whether English ‘Lang Lit’ or English Language Acquisition.  Every couple of weeks a new updated version is released bringing us important and quirky news from around the globe. Everything from politics to amazing discoveries in the natural world… and beyond! 

Achieve 3000 program

If your son or daughter is taking English ‘Language Acquisition’ in grades 6-8, he or she may be involved with Achieve 3000, a lexile based reading program that guides students through reading comprehension activities suited to their individual reading level. 

Here is some promotional material outlining the features of the Achieve 3000 program.

(Our program coordinator Ms Flavia Godja can answer any questions you may have)

English Matters’ quirky link-

We hope you had a look at the https://www.bulwer-lytton.com  web page last month. 

Looking for the right word at the right time? This month, why not browse through https://www.wordhippo.com/, used and recommended by yours truly.

‘English Matters’ monthly quote-

George Bernard Shaw balances last month’s verbal slap in the face with this gem-

“… just think what you’re dealing with. The majesty and grandeur of the English language; it’s the greatest possession we have.”

Yuri Kim, Languages Subject Leader

We hope students have been thoroughly engaged in learning their languages and literature.  The languages department has provided a variety of different tools and resources to motivate students’ learning environments during CMCO so that students can maintain and improve their language and literacy skills. Students have been improving their Chinese, Spanish, Malay or Korean and are being exposed to different cultural perspectives to become more open-minded and Internationally minded learners. 

One of the keys to success in language learning is students’ own intrinsic motivation. Motivation is a great success tool for learners to initiate their own learning. Do you want to challenge yourself with your daily goal? If you are interested in new opportunities to learn a new language or read different types of books, we would like to introduce some useful language and literacy websites for our community to explore. We hope we can all learn something new and share our knowledge and experiences when we come back. 

A shot of a student’s work

“One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.” 

Frank Smith
  1. Chinese Books
  2. Malay Books 
  3. Japanese Books
  4. Let’s Learn Korean 
  5. Language learning: Chinese, Spanish, Korean
  6. Most Popular Audiobooks

Leanne Harvey, Middle School Counselor

One of the characteristics of any International School is that students are frequently transitioning in and out, ready to embark on a new education journey. IGBIS is no different and that transition most frequently takes place at the start and end of the school year. The end of Semester One is also a juncture or natural transition point and this year at IGBIS and other schools around the globe, this pattern will continue. 

While these transitions are exciting and are frequently an opportunity for us to reconnect with family and friends all over the world, it does involve having to say goodbye and leave some very special and important people behind. This is not only difficult for those saying goodbye but also for those who are left behind. As a counselling department we would like to share some ideas to assist and support those in transition whether you are moving far away or staying relatively close by.

Building your Transition RAFT

Photo by Tuur Tisseghem from Pexels

The topic of Third Culture Kids in transition is of particular interest to me, having used this as the study for my Masters Thesis. David C Pollock, one of the most significant researchers in this field suggested that in order to enter well, we have to leave well. He recommends building a transition RAFT as a helpful strategy. While we are not actually building a boat, RAFT is an acronym for Reconciliation, Affirmation, Farewell and Think Destination. When we follow these steps it is as if we ARE building a ‘life raft’ for success. 

R = Reconciliation 

Reconciliation is just that: reconciling with people, making the relationship right. Just because you leave a place doesn’t mean the problem goes away. It doesn’t – instead, it goes with you. Research has been done on health-related issues due to unforgiveness. If there are bridges to build, build them before you go.

A = Affirmation

Is there anyone you are super thankful for? Anyone who has helped you greatly while living in KL or while attending IGBIS? Tell them. Let them know how much you appreciate them and what they did for you, for your kids, for your family. If this is difficult, write a letter to tell them – but just tell them. You have the opportunity to make someone feel appreciated – and you’ll feel great that you did it.

F = Farewell

This is the not so fun part; saying good-bye. You immediately think of all the people you want to tell good-bye. Don’t forget to say “Good-bye” to places and things as well. This may sound strange, but it really helps to bring closure. This one is important for kids as well. Plan these “events” on a calendar so you get them in.  Even more challenging in this time of COVID 19, but be creative and reach out if you need suggestions or help.

T = Think Destination

It’s just that – think about the next place. How will it be different from where you are now? How will it be the same? Go through this dialogue with your kids as well. It will help them in the process. Use the internet and read about the new place and the exciting adventures that await.  Check it out on Google Maps. Reminder: It’s okay to feel excited about the new destination as you say good-bye to all the old things. It’s normal.

For me this time is difficult too. Even though I am not leaving, many people who are important to me are. Not only am I saying farewell to some of you, my family is also saying farewell to our son Harrison who was in the 2019/20 graduating class, as he heads to Australia to attend College. For me, to say farewell and good luck I try to build the RAFT too, I just don’t need to follow the final step, Think Destination. Some of the things I do for those who are leaving are: write a special note or email, share special photos, give a special memento or gift and make sure I have contact details.

Whether you are a parent, or a student, someone who is leaving or someone who is being left behind please know that the counselling department are here should you have any questions or need assistance or support with issues around transition. 

I would like to say have fun building your RAFT but I know that it is not ‘fun’ so I will say make this time special and cherish every moment of the time you still have with friends and teachers. It is difficult while we are online, but be creative. This is an important time.

Stay safe and I look forward to sending a final farewell to our leavers in a few weeks time.

Steven Harvey, Technology Coach


Take a moment to ask yourself these questions:

  1. Think of a memory making experience you have had in the past?
  2. Consider the experience. Why is it this experience you are thinking about?

So, what was your ‘memorable making experience’? Was it something big and complex like sewing a dress, or something a little less complex like making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?

What made it so memorable? Was it the result that surprised you or was it the ease with which you achieved a result? Was it memorable because the task failed?

In the Design Lab, we celebrate all achievements, whether they turned out the way we expected or not. It is important for students to experience frustrations and even fail, but not to give up too early. All of these experiences shape who we are as a maker.  Everyone is a maker in some way—we have all had memorable making experiences: making is what makes us human!

A range of activities may be considered making—it’s not just about robots, drones, or the latest technology. Making could be with LEGO and toys; it could be building with wood, metal and screws; it could be cooking or making a sandwich. Making can be a range of things.

Making is not discipline specific—it’s not just about increasing proficiency in the STEAM subjects. STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Mathematics) might lend itself to ‘making’, but making can happen across any subject area. Students may create or ‘make’ a dance in HPE; create a map in I&S; make a poster in World Languages. Anywhere where a student would consider the Design Process (Think, Make, Improve), they are engaged in making. So making is not an esoteric practice practiced by a few, but something we all do/are.

The questions posed at the beginning of this article are part of a thinking routine called Memorable Making Experience and is a reflective activity for introducing young people and adults to learning. Having spent time considering these questions by ourselves, students would then share their ideas within a small group and then in a larger whole class discussion.

A thinking routine is a way to develop a student’s thinking and loosely guide a learner’s thought processes by asking students what they know, what they want to know, and what they have learned as part of a unit of study. Reflection is a powerful tool in a learner’s arsenal because someone who reflects can take the time to learn from their mistakes and put in plans to make changes, test their new hypothesis. When it’s done collaboratively, the result can be a rich, powerful learning experience.

Denny Seo, Student Council President.

Last week, Student Council launched “Teacher’s Try” as an experimental project where we get teachers to try out new things and establish the sense of community that was difficult to preserve during distance learning.

Our first episode was teachers trying the popular video game “Among Us.” With a large number of teachers participating, we got to see who were the best (and maybe worst) gamers from the teaching staff of our IGBIS community. Although it took the team 30 minutes to just give them the instructions and get the game ready, the project was a great success and our students seemed to love it. We streamed the highlights on Youtube and together with a Kahoot with each homeroom working as one team, we were able to feel the sense of community once more.

The video is still up for anyone who would like to see the video:

StuCo will come back with even better initiatives:),


We have missed out Summer School earlier due to the COVID-19 disruption. This round, we would like to run three days of workshops in our Holiday Program. We will run it virtually, on the 21st – 23rd of December, from 9 am – 3 pm. The workshop is open for students between the ages of 4 to 12. There will be Public Speaking, Creative Writing and Holiday Crafts in these three days. Fees are RM 600 per child. If you are interested to sign your children up or if you want to ask for more information, you can do so here.