Upper School (Grade 6 – 12)

Grade 6-10: Middle Years Programmes
Grade 11 & 12: Diploma Programmes

Welcome to the Upper School of Shanghai Community International School. Our mission is to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring learners who contribute positively to their communities. SCIS is an amazing place to learn – as an educational community we have a diverse student body, a dedicated network of supportive parents, a world-class curriculum, and fantastic facilities.

We are a 3-Programme IB World School with a successful IB Diploma Programme in Grades 11 and 12, and IB Middle Years Programme for Grades 6-10. As such, the IB mission statement and the IB Learner Profile pervades everything we do in the Upper School – developing students who will make the world a better and more peaceful place is not something we take lightly!

We recognize that the tremendous academic success of our student body would not be possible if we did not work so hard to make sure they were available for learning. We do this by focusing on approaches to teaching with our staff and approaches to learning with our students. Whether students leave us to go to pursue their post-secondary dreams or move with their families to other schools around the world, we try to make sure we provide them with a toolbox of learning and life skills – what we sometimes refer to as “learning to learn” and “knowing how to know”. These include skills in communication, thinking, self-management, research and social skills, including the so-called ‘soft-skills’ that we know to be some of the hardest for students to acquire – resilience, perseverance, self-motivation, and mindfulness.

Our core program in Grades 6-10 consists of Language & Literature, Language Acquisition (a choice of Mandarin, Spanish or French), Sciences, Individuals and Societies, Health and Physical Education, Mathematics, Design and the Arts (a choice of Music, Drama, Media and Visual Arts). These are delivered with the big picture in mind, purposefully contextualized to ensure students can see connections between their learning and the world around them, with some space to inquire and pursue their own interests, and with timely and actionable feedback built in to the process to ensure continuous growth. In addition, students have thirty minutes a day in Dragon Time – a fantastic opportunity to work in small groups with an advisor in a number of key areas including, social-emotional well-being, learning skills development, career-counselling as well as school and community spirit initiatives.

Our Diploma Programme caters to students in Grades 11-12 and is recognized as the gold standard in preparing students for the rigors of University and beyond into their future careers. We work closely with students to select appropriate courses that will lead to successful placement in the eventual programs of their choice in the University of their choice.

SCIS is not just about what happens in the classroom and we have a thriving and successful athletics program, a vibrant performing arts scene with performances in drama, music, and dance happening regularly as well a burgeoning service culture with students working in our community and taking meaningful action.

Middle Years Programme (MYP)

Grade 6 – Grade 10

Distinctive Features of the MYP

  • Key and related concepts are big ideas, which form the basis of teaching and learning in the MYP. They ensure breadth and depth in the curriculum and promote learning within and across traditional disciplines.
  • Global contexts provide shared starting points for inquiry into what it means to be internationally minded, framing a curriculum that promotes multilingualism, inter-cultural understanding and global engagement.
  • Approaches to teaching and learning, a unifying thread throughout all MYP subject groups, are skills which help students manage their own learning. They provide a foundation for success in further education and the world beyond the classroom.
  • Action and service, essential components of the MYP, set out clear learning outcomes that grow from students’ participation in local and global communities. MYP projects are informed by respected models of service learning and provide stepping stones toward the Diploma Programme’s core requirements for Creativity, Action and Service (CAS).
  • The personal project, for students completing the programme in year 5, is a culminating experience in which students apply their approaches to learning skills to complete an extended, self-directed piece of work. This required component provides opportunities for creative and truly personal demonstrations of learning.

10 reasons why the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) encourages you to become a creative, critical and reflective learner

MYP Course Requirements

The grid below lists all of the courses available to SCIS MYP students according to the subject group and year level. Important details to note are:

  • Unless indicated, all courses below are year-long courses.
  • Each student is required to take eight courses, usually one per subject group. Grade 9-10 students have additional flexibility and may choose additional language or arts courses in lieu of courses in Groups 6 or 7.
  • Korean and Mandarin Language and Literature courses are only open to native speakers of the language.
  • In Grades 6-8, Design and Visual Arts are required semester courses that split the year with students taking Design in the first semester and Visual Arts in the second semester or vice versa.
  • Language Acquisition (second language), students may study Mandarin, French, or Spanish. Students identified for EAL may also take English B. Students will be placed in the Phase that best corresponds with their language levels, language acquisition abilities, attitude and effort.

You can find out more information about our MYP programmes in these brochures:

  1. MYP Subjects at SCIS
  2. Upper School Academic Handbook

SCIS Middle Years Programme Video

Diploma Programme (DP)

Grade 11 & Grade 12

The majority of SCIS students pursue the IB Diploma in Grades 11-12. In addition, all students at SCIS are working toward the SCIS High School Diploma, an accredited American diploma which certifies completion of a four year high school education. Students normally begin Grade 11 as IB Diploma candidates. Students who prefer to pursue the SCIS Diploma only, may opt out of the IB Diploma in consultation with their parents, the college counselor, and the DP coordinator.

Distinctive Features of the DP

  • The IB Diploma Programme (IBDP) is widely recognized as one of the most prestigious and challenging pre-university courses, being accepted in 3,300 universities from 90 countries
  • The benefits of an IB education are especially strong when it comes to
    higher education. Top universities from around the world have shown how they value the IB’s credentials by building special pathways for IB students; by granting credit or advanced standing for performance on IB exams; or even by providing scholarships for IB students.
  • DP students tend to complete their undergraduate degrees at higher rates than their peers, and often in less time.
  • IB students can tend to make more contributions to campus life by participating in activities such as community service, tutoring, assisting faculty in research, study abroad, internships, and joining clubs and other student groups.
  • the IB goes to great lengths to ensure the validity and  reliability of our assessments. IB assessments have been demonstrated as strong predictors of university performance.
  • IBDP students have been cited as demonstrating the following skills:

– Interest and experience in research
– Time management and organizational skills
– Critical thinking, inquiry and problem solving
– Strong language and writing skills
– International-mindedness and a sense of responsibility for the community.

DP Course Selection:

In the Spring of their Grade 10 year, or on enrollment in Grades 11-12, all students will have an individual course selection conference with the DP Coordinator, the College Counselor, and at least one of their parents. Course selection is intended to allow students to pursue their current interests, and prepare them for their chosen pathways to higher education and beyond.

For IB Diploma students, course selections must meet the following requirements:

  • At least one Language & Literature class (Language A).
  • At least one Language Acquisition class (Language B). This requirement is waived for students enrolled in two Language A classes.
  • At least one Individuals & Societies class
  • At least one Science class*
  • Exactly one Math class
  • The Core Block, which includes TOK (Theory Of Knowledge), Research Skills, and coordination of EE (Extended Essay) and CAS (Creativity, Activity, Service), is required for all students in Grades 11and Grade 12.
  • Course selection must allow for three Higher Level and three Standard Level courses.

SCIS Diploma candidates who choose not to pursue the full IB Diploma will work with the College Counselor and DP coordinator to develop an individualized program which meets all graduation requirements.

Standard Level (SL) classes meet for a minimum of 150 hours over the two years of the program while Higher Level (HL) classes meet for 240 hours. The extended meeting times for HL classes reflect the greater depth and complexity of the content studied. Most SCIS classes are taught with the levels combined. SL students are normally released for self-study during while HL content is being covered.

DP Requirements:

  1. Completion of six IB-DP courses meeting subject group requirements, with at least three taken at a Higher Level.
  2. All assessment components for each of the six subjects and the core Diploma requirements must be completed in order to qualify for the award of the IB Diploma.
  3. The IB Diploma will be awarded to a candidate provided all the following requirements have been met.
    • CAS requirements have been met.
    • The candidate’s total points are 24 or more.
    • There is no “N” awarded for theory of knowledge, the extended essay or for a contributing subject.
    • There is no grade E awarded for theory of knowledge and/or the extended essay.
    • There is no grade 1 awarded in a subject/level.
    • There are no more than two grade 2s awarded (HL or SL).
    • There are no more than three grade 3s or below awarded (HL or SL).
    • The candidate has gained 12 points or more on HL subjects (for candidates who register for four HL subjects, the three highest grades count).
    • The candidate has gained 9 points or more on SL subjects (candidates who register for two SL subjects must gain at least 5 points at SL).
    • The candidate has not received a penalty for academic misconduct from the Final Award Committee.
  4. A maximum of three examination sessions is allowed in which to satisfy the requirements for the award of the IB Diploma. The examination sessions need not be consecutive.

You can find out more information about our DP programmes in this brochure:
Upper School Academic Handbook

SCIS Diploma Programme Video

SCIS High School Diploma Requirements

Students who opt-out of the full IB Diploma will work toward the WASC accredited SCIS High School Diploma. SCIS Diploma students must complete a minimum of 25 year-long course credits during grades 9-12, and meet core requirements.

SCIS courses earn 1 credit per year or 0.5 credits per semester. Students are expected to maintain a full courseload during every year of enrollment.

Students with ILPs under the Learning Support program may work towards modified expectations, as appropriate.

Core Requirements:

Extended Essay: An individually researched scholarly essay connected to one of the subject groups, supervised by the EE Coordinator and internally assessed.

Creativity, Activity, Service: Engagement in a range of experiences leading to progress toward the CAS Learning outcomes.

Theory of Knowledge: Internally assessed completion of Theory of Knowledge requirements.


Subject Requirements Credits
Language and Literature 4
Language Acquisition 3
Individuals & Societies 3
Sciences 3
Mathematics 3
Arts & Design 2
Physical and Health Education 2
Additional Coursework 5
Total Credits Required 25




Sample Schedules

These sample schedules are meant to reflect the campuses in general.  Individual campus schedules might be slightly different.

Highlights of Upper School

Making memories…

While classes, friends, sports, and the arts form the backbone of high school, there are a few special events that happen throughout the year.  Click through below to see some of the highlights High Schoolers experience at SCIS.

MYP Personal Project

The Personal Project encourages Grade 10 students to practise and strengthen their approaches to learning skills, to consolidate prior and subject-specific learning, and to develop an area of personal interest. The personal project provides an excellent opportunity for students to produce a truly personal and often creative product/outcome and to demonstrate a consolidation of their learning in the MYP. This offers many opportunities for differentiation of learning and expression according to students’ individual needs.MYP projects are student-centered and age-appropriate, and they enable students to engage in practical explorations through a cycle of inquiry, action and reflection.

Job Shadow Program

The Job-Shadow Experience was a pilot work program for a select group of Grade 10 students based on an application, teacher evaluation and committee vote. We elected 13 students with a positive reputation for a strong work ethic, initiative, accountability and the ability to bring creative ideas to fruition. During the week of May 21-25, students shadowed a Shanghai professional during normal business hours for one week with the expectation to complete a project agreed upon by the employer. This was a true win-win partnership because both parties learned new ideas and grew personally. Students gained an insider perspective on a chosen career and put their classroom knowledge within the real-world context.

China Trips

As international families know, no education is complete without international travel.  Every fall, students gather to embark on a one-week cultural enrichment adventure in China.  Each grade goes somewhere different.  But they all share in common fantastic first-hand experimental learning.

  • Grade 6 China Trip:  Nanbeihu.
  • Grade 7 China Trip:  Yaolin.
  • Grade 8 China Trip:  Chengdu and Sichuan Province.
  • Grade 9 China Trip: Fuijin, Xiamen.
  • Grade 10 China Trip: Inner Mongolia.
  • Grade 11 China Trip: Guizhou Province.
  • Grade 12 China Trip: Hainan Island.

Disneyland Field Trip

Students were ready for a day of experiential learning with tasks related to Mathematics, Physics, and Business Management.

Task #1: to calculate the height of the tallest tower of the Disney castle using trigonometric methods.

Task #2: to investigate circular motion using acceleration data and Calculus to write vector equations for acceleration, velocity, and displacement.

Task #3: to record and analyze examples of how Shanghai Disney manages physical evidence in an innovative and/or culturally appropriate way.

First® Lego League

Our SCIS ‘Hydro Dragons’ joined over 40 other teams from 18 different schools in the FIRST® LEGO League (FLL) tournament at Shanghai American School. FLL has been around since 1998, challenging student teams to research real-world scientific topics, come up with innovative solutions, and participate in regional competitions across the globe, and while many of the over 300 students attending have experienced this before.

Global University Fair

SCIS will be hosting a global university fair every year, inviting more than 100 top universities to the campus. This will be an excellent opportunity to gather information about various universities and colleges and ask questions that will determine how well they match the students’ goals and passions. This experience provides students the chance to discover, learn and experience what life is like at university. We encourage all students and parents in the Upper School to attend.

Hongqiao ECE Campus

2212 Hongqiao Road, Changning,
Shanghai, China 200336
Tel: 86-21-6295-1222
Fax: 86-21-6261-4639

Hongqiao Campus

1161 Hongqiao Road, Changning,
Shanghai, China 200051
Tel: 86-21-6261-4338
Fax: 86-21-6261-4639

Pudong Campus

198 Hengqiao Road, Zhoupu,
Pudong, Shanghai, China 201315
Tel: 86-21-5812-9888
Fax: 86-21-6261-4639

Hongqiao ECE Campus

2212 Hongqiao Road, Changning,
Shanghai, China 200336
Tel: 86-21-6295-1222
Fax: 86-21-6261-4639

Hongqiao Campus

1161 Hongqiao Road, Changning,
Shanghai, China 200051
Tel: 86-21-6261-4338
Fax: 86-21-6261-4639

Pudong Campus

198 Hengqiao Road, Zhoupu,
Pudong, Shanghai, China 201315
Tel: 86-21-5812-9888
Fax: 86-21-6261-4639