Chinese Class Publishes Book – Available on Amazon

Dear Parents,

This year our Chinese Foundation and Foundation High teachers and students worked with our Instructional Coach to produce a book for beginning Chinese language learners.  The aim was to offer it as a resource to those new to Shanghai including new teachers and others (plus those no-so-new like me who’ve never learned the language).

The book has been professionally published and is available FREE on Kindle on June 7th-June 8th (these are times in the US).

You can also order hard copies from Amazon in the US using the link below.

Book >>>

Spread the word!

Dr. Theron J. Mott, Middle School Principal

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Special MS Session: Inside Selective University Admissions

Dear MS Parents,

Please join us on Wednesday, May 18 at 9:30am in the PAC for a special session with former Tufts University Associated Director of Admissions, Dan Grayson.  Dan will share with Middle School parents information on what American institutions of higher education are looking for in applicants so that we can support our children in and out of school.

Dan has evaluated applications for 8 years at Tufts University, including 5 years focused on applications from Asia, with responsibilities that included directing digital branding and international admissions efforts for the university. Dan’s writing has appeared in the New York Times and his work in international admissions was featured in Fortune Magazine. Dan presents at international conferences on topics ranging from coaching college admissions essays to setting social media strategy. He likes podcasts and Reddit and dislikes eggplants.

Hope to see you there.

Dr. Theron J. Mott, Middle School Principal

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Gr. 7 Film Festival — A Huge Success

This afternoon I had the great pleasure of watching a number of student created documentary films.  These films engaged students with various aspects of our local community through an exploration of both historical and contemporary Shanghai.

As we strive to enhance the quality of learning for our students, we look for ways to

  1. Develop key knowledge, understanding and success skills,
  2. Engage students with a challenging problem or question,
  3. Ask students to investigate that problem or question over a sustained period of inquiry,
  4. Engage in authentic learning that connects to the world outside of SAS,
  5. Make choices that influence the direction of their learning within certain parameters,
  6. Reflect on their process and product,
  7. Receive constructive critique from others in order to enhance their learning and the products that showcase that learning, and
  8. Share their products with a public audience.

Today’s Film Festival was the culmination of one example of this enhanced approach to learning, and what I observed today were students who were excited about their learning, not because of their grades, but for the sake of the learning itself.

A huge thanks to Kirk Irwin, Melanie Ryan, and Azul Terronez who brought this learning to life with our students.  Additional thanks go out to the other grade 7 and middle school teachers who supported this project including today’s film festival, to the PTSA parents who partnered with us to make connections with professional film makers, and to all of the parents who came to watch the films.

I am confident that we will have many similar opportunities for students to engage in this level of learning and for parents to join us in celebrating it.

Dr. Theron J. Mott, Middle School Principal




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Yearbook Sales End Friday (Apr. 22)

MS yearbooks will be on sale as follows:

DATES:      Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday (Apr. 19-22)

LOCATION/TIME:       Café 678 from 7:50-8:10am    &    Cafeteria from 11:30-12:40pm

COST:       ¥210 per book

We will only order the number of books that we sell during this time, so if you don’t buy one this week, you won’t be able to get one.

Books will be distributed to students during the last week of school.

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Learnings from MS Principal Coffee

This month’s MS principal coffee showcased connections that students are making through their work in the arts and a grade 7 social studies project.  Student showcases included a bass/cello performance of an original student composition, an ensemble and a soloist, student actors, a student singer/songwriter, student filmmakers, and student visual artist mask and marionette creations .  In each of these creative endeavors, students shared their learnings that transcended the realm of the classroom as parents reflected on the similarities and differences between the learning they were observing with the students and what they had experienced as students themselves.

What we learned from our students is that in addition to subject specific knowledge and skills, they are developing the soft skills that matter in our every-changing and interconnected world.  The students spoke of a developing sense of self confidence in the choices they make and in their ability to showcase their art in front of an authentic audience.  They demonstrated internal motivation, for example, when Alina shared that she often stays after school to “play around” in the MS recording studio where she’s been recording the songs she writes.  They talked fondly of the connections they’ve been making with local and global experts as they’ve accessed experts in the field.  Finally, they spoke of creative problem solving as they hit unanticipated barriers.

As we look to the work of educators in an ever-changing world, we must recognize that we cannot educate our kids in the same ways we were educated if we expect them to be prepared for the future.  Instead we must equip them with the knowledge and skills necessary to be adaptable, collaborative, creative problem solvers who can effectively communicate in a culturally diverse landscape.  I left Thursday’s coffee inspired and grateful to be working with the students, families, and colleagues that we have here at SAS.  It’s a pretty unbeatable place!

Dr. Theron J. Mott, Middle School Principal

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MS Principal Coffee – Wednesday @ 10:00am in PAC

Dear Parents,

I hope you will join us this Wednesday, April 13, at 10:00am in the PAC as we showcase the great work that students are doing in the arts.  We will have a full morning of students sharing their art and what skills they’ve gained that transfer beyond the art-making itself.  We are hopeful that this will give you a glimpse into the varied learning opportunities your child has that go beyond simply following the lead of the teacher.  Please join us.

Dr. Theron J. Mott, Middle School Principal

Mr. Glen Karlsson, Middle School Vice Principal

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Making Real World Connections: Filmmakers Share Expertise

Today was a very exciting day here in the middle school.  This afternoon we welcomed a half dozen professional filmmakers who shared their experiences with small groups of grade 7 students in preparation for a project they are embarking on called The Shaping of Shanghai – A Cultural Documentary.  As it’s title suggests, this project will engage students in creating a three minute documentary focusing on specific aspects of Shanghai life through filmed community member interviews and still photography.

Today’s event came about through a partnership between our middle school PTSA, our grade 7 social studies teachers Melanie Ryan and Kirk Irwin, and our middle school instructional coach Azul Terronez.  This builds on a similar partnership last year with leaders of NGOs who visited to support another grade 7 student project.

As we look to the future of education and our efforts to provide authentic learning experiences that connect to the world outside of school and public audiences to whom we can showcase learning, these partnerships are going to be essential. We are both grateful to the PTSA and our parent body for their partnership in this endeavor, and I know that I am very eager to see what the future holds.

Dr. Theron J. Mott, Middle School Principal



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New Teachers for August 2016

Dear MS Parents,

As I shared at Wednesday’s Principal Coffee, the greatest impact that I have on the quality of education your children receive is through my responsibility to recruit and retain the best quality teachers we can.  Therefore, I work collaboratively with Glen Karlsson (MS Vice Principal), Marcel Gauthier (Puxi Deputy Head of School), Richard Mueller (Head of School), the other principals, and the HR department to recruit the very best teaching candidates we can find.

Our process here at SAS entails countless hours of candidate paperwork screening including the review of qualifications and multiple confidential references for countless candidates per position.  That allows us to narrow our candidate pool to fewer than 10 highly qualified candidates per position who we contact for interviews, usually via Skype or face-to-face at international job fairs.  As principal, I then interview each candidate in order to narrow the pool.  I then pass candidates along to Glen Karlsson or another principal for a second interview.  We then narrow down to one or two finalist candidates per position and perform reference checks with their current supervisor and one supervisor from their previous school.  That ensures that what we’ve read in their confidential references is accurate and that they are a match for SAS.  Along with background checks, that also helps us to ensure child safety because we specifically ask questions that delve into that realm.

Successful finalist candidates are then passed on to Marcel Gauthier for the final interview.  If all three administrators feel the candidate is a fit for SAS, then I send them an e-mail outlining the professional expectations for our MS teachers at least 24 hours in advance of our final scheduled chat.  When we get back together, I ask them how they felt when they read those expectations.  If they respond with enthusiasm, I continue with the job offer.  If they respond with any hesitation at all, I stop the process at that point, and we begin the recruiting process again with different candidates.

As you can see, SAS follows a very rigorous recruiting process that reflects the level of importance we place on identifying high quality teachers who can positively impact your child’s learning.  In nearly every case, this process results in an acceptance of the job offer and an appropriate “fit” once they arrive in Shanghai.

Therefore, with that background on our recruiting processes, I would like to share with you the list below of the new hires who will join the SAS faculty starting August 2016.

Instructional Coach – Scott Williams
Scott has served as a Grade 7 Language Arts teacher here at PXMS since August 2007. During that time he has served as both team leader and Language Arts department chair. He has also served on a number of school-wide task forces and has provided guidance on a number of tech-related projects. Scott will work collaboratively with Azul Terronez and Andrew Miller to provide professional learning support in a variety of areas including but certainly not limited to PBL, cross-curricular instruction, assessment and differentiation, and transformational use of technology.

Instructional Coach – Andrew Miller
Andrew has worked as a visiting consultant with SAS for the last two years in his capacity as a Buck Institute for Education National Faculty member and PBL 101 trainer. He has also served as an ASCD faculty member providing professional learning opportunities in the areas of assessment, school culture, and gradual release of responsibility. Andrew writes for both ASCD and Edutopia and has extensive experience as a conference presenter and onsite consultant for a number of schools. Prior to starting his consulting work, Andrew taught Middle and High School English and Humanities at a project-based learning and STEM school in the Seattle area.

MS Counselor (Gold) – Monica Albertini
Though originally from Paraguay, Monica earned her Masters in Counseling from Boston University and has served as a counselor in international schools including her six years at the American School of Asuncion (Paraguay) and seven years at the International School Nido de Aguilas (Chile). Monica will be joined by her husband, Sergio, who is an Industrial Engineer, and her daughter, Agustina, who will be in Grade 5 next year.

Grade 6 Math – Josh Sadek
Josh has spent the last sixteen years teaching at various international schools including the American Cooperative School (Bolivia), Mont’Kiara International School (Malaysia), International School of Beijing, and most recently at Pasir Ridge International School. Josh will be joined by his wife, Tifani, who will be teaching MS PE, and their daughters Taylor and Jasmine.

Grade 6 Language Arts – Mary Burns
Mary has spent the last 5 years teaching at Seoul International School—most recently as a middle school literacy specialist. Prior to moving to Korea, Mary and her husband taught in their native North Carolina. Mary will be joined by her husband, Dennis, who will be teaching in the ES, and their son, Henry, who is not yet in school.

Grade 7 Math – Jennifer Naughton
Jennifer is also joining us from Korea International School, where she has taught MS Math for the last three years. Prior to that she taught in her home state of Missouri. Like Brad, Jennifer also enjoys coaching. Jennifer, of course, will be joined by her fiancé, Brad Evans.

Grade 7 Language Arts – Matt Errico
Matt calls Texas home, but will be joining us from the American School of Doha where he and his family have spent the last six years. Prior to that, Matt taught at Seoul International School. He is joined by his wife, Jeanne, who will be teaching ES EAL, and his daughter, Jenny, who will be in Grade 10 next year.

Grade 7 Science – Kathleen Hoeber
Kathleen joins the SAS faculty from Austin, Texas, where she has been working at an MYP school for the last six years first as a science teacher and most recently as a Science Special Ed teacher responsible for co-planning and co-teaching with the science team to support students with greater learning needs. Prior to that she was a middle school science teacher in a neighboring school.

Grade 8 Language Arts – David Fisher
David and his family will be joining us from Salinas, California where he has spent the last twelve years at El Sausal Middle School. David has served as an English/GATE teacher, as a site tech coordinator, and is currently serving as an Instructional Coach supporting the MS faculty in a variety of ways. David will be joined by his wife, Devon, and their two-year-old son, Bryce.

Grade 8 Social Studies – Brad Evans
Brad will be joining us from Korea International School, where he has spent the last five years teaching MS Social Studies, coaching a variety of sports, and developing an interest in the power of technology to enhance learning. Brad will be joined by his fiancé, Jennifer Naughton, who will be teaching MS Math.

MS PE & Grade 8 Advisory – Tifani Sadek
Tifani has spent the last three years wearing multiple hats at Pasir Ridge International School where she has served as PE/Health teacher, Activities Director, and Counselor. Of course, like Josh, she also taught at the American Cooperative School (Bolivia), Mont’Kiara International School (Malaysia), and the International School of Beijing.

MS Stagecraft – Devon Fisher
Devon will be joining us half-time after a two year sabbatical to care for her son, Bryce. Prior to Bryce’s birth, Devon served as a Performing Arts Center Technical Director and high school math teacher in Salinas. She also served as a middle school math teacher for the first four years of her career, so she is returning to her MS roots. She will, of course, be joined by her husband, David, and their son.

MS PE & CISSA Coordinator – Rodrigo De Marco
Rodrigo will be joining us from his home country of Brazil. While this will be Rodrigo’s first overseas teaching experience, he’s no stranger to international schools having worked at the Escola Americana de Campinas just outside of Sao Paolo, Brazil, for the last 19 years. Most recently he has served in concurrent roles as MS/HS PE teacher and school-wide Athletic Director.

MS Chinese – Sindy Shen
Sindy has been working at SAS for a number of years, most recently as a Chinese teacher in Pudong Elementary School. Sindy started out many years ago as a Chinese Teaching Assistant here in Puxi Middle School, so this is a coming home of sorts.

I hope you will join me in welcoming our new faculty in August.

Dr. Theron J. Mott, Middle School Principal

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SAS Summer Discovery Program

The 2016 Summer Discovery program is getting prepared for the Literacy Enrichment course and Science Exploration this summer on the Puxi campus. We will have courses beginning June 13 until August 5 for Pre-k to Grade 12.

We will also have pre-season sports programs, LEGO, Geometry and Chinese Language. We expect the website to be ready in early March.

If you have any questions please contact

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Wednesday’s Principal Coffee

Dear MS Parents,

I hope you will join us this Wednesday at 10:00am in the LMC for the Principal Coffee.  This month we will be focusing on:

  • PTSA Updates
  • Engaging Students in Authentic Learning
  • Recruiting Process & New Hires for 2016/17
  • Visioning in the MS
  • Preview of MS Counselor Coffee

Hope to see you there!

Dr. Theron J. Mott, Middle School Principal

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