ISY Elementary Blog
Manners still make the world go round 
Mike Simpson, Elementary School Principal
February 26, 2021
Every now and then I join a class meeting to chat with students who who have recognized by teachers as consistently using one of our ISY Learner Attributes:

  • Compassion
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Courage
  • Creativity
  • Critical Thinking
  • Reflection

Last week, I chatted with a group of fourth graders who had been working in a group and were communicating and working together very well. As part of these chats, I always ask for advice on how teachers and other students help to develop these attributes in all of our students. 

These students spoke about all of the challenges of communicating online – not being in the same room, poor internet connections, and difficulties in seeing what others in the class are doing. They spoke of issues around cameras being turned on and off. 

These students all tried to keep their cameras on when they worked together and often shared their screens so others could see what they were doing. But they noted that there are times when it is appropriate to have cameras turned off. When I asked them about how they might decide to turn their cameras off, one student said it is really about good manners and the others agreed. 

People might not want to watch them eat a snack so they might turn their cameras off while they are doing this. They might also turn their cameras off when they leave their room for a moment. They might turn their cameras off if it is time to work by themselves on a task. If they need to turn their camera off because of bad internet then they would write this reason on their screen. 

One thing they all said though was that when another person was sharing an idea, they would always turn their camera on (except maybe when the internet connection was poor). They said that it is important for others to know that they are being listened to and it is good manners to give your full attention to people who are talking to you – whether online or in person. And if you show good manners like this to the people you work with, they will show good manners back to you and you will be able to share your ideas. 

When I was a child, my mother always used to say ‘manners make the world go round.’ It is very comforting to know that as technology continues to provide us with new ways to communicate and work together, we have students who understand that simple human actions and gestures like good manners still make the world go round.

Elementary School Parent Virtual Coffee


It was great to see some of you at this event on Thursday night. We appreciated being able to share with you how we are supporting your children. If you have any questions or thoughts as to how we can best support your child(ren), please do not hesitate to reach out to your child’s teacher, Ms. Patty, or me and our administration team.

Here is a list of resources that were shared on Thursday:


Patience & The Unknown

Patience is the capacity to remain calm and tolerate problems or suffering without becoming overwhelmed or anxious.  It sounds simple enough but how do we remain patient when so many things are unknown?  I am often asked by students and parents questions that seek a fortune teller’s insight. Unfortunately, I have not been granted the gift of seeing the future.  I have had to grow comfortable with the fact that I can’t always provide the answers others are needing.  Here are a few things I have learned:

It’s okay to say I don’t know.  In times of uncertainty, it’s important to be honest.  If I can’t provide an honest answer it’s best to admit it.

Talking about uncertainty doesn’t make it worse.  The situation is stressful and therefore, it is stressful to talk about but my addressing the issues don’t make it worse.  As a parent, talking with my child about uncertainty doesn’t increase their worry but it allows them an outlet to share and clarify.

Focus on safety.  When personal or emotional safety is a concern, identify the steps and protocols in place to ensure safety.  If appropriate, review or create a family safety plan.  This can help increase a sense of control and a sense of security.

Know the audience.  Don’t overwhelm children with unnecessary information.  Adults can handle more details but only if they are ready to hear it.  Provide honest, brief explanations about what is being done and the steps taken to form a resolution.  

Finally, focus on patience.  At times the only honest answer I have is “we’ll see.”  At these times, patience is essential. Remember that patience can be cultivated and tolerance of the unknown can be developed. Be mindful of the moment, acknowledge areas for which you do have control and find gratitude in the small things. 

Ms. Patty can be reached at  She is available to support families and students of ISY.

Virtual Recess is still running from 1:00-1:30 PM.  All activities will be student driven but will include fun and games.

  • Grades 3, 4, & 5: Tuesday at 1pm
  • Grades 1 & 2: Thursday at 1pm


We have done some planning for the unlikely event that there is a country wide permanent loss of access to Google tools.  In that event everyone should log in to PowerSchool and look for the menu item on the left side of the screen called ‘Office 365 Credentials’.  Here you will see a single user name and password for both email and for documents. The email has already been set up such that all school email from now on is being forwarded to the alternative email platform.  The documents platform is the place where teachers would upload documents for students.  There is no need to log in to Office 365 before losing access to Google.  It is advisable, however, to login to PowerSchool just to make sure you know your login and password.  If anyone needs help with logging in you can review this simple guide to resetting your password and if that doesn’t help you can contact the PowerSchool Help team at

Although we have yet to lose complete access to the internet during the school day, we do have a plan for this happening.  In that event, students not involved in a transition day, will work from home on pre-arranged work that they have downloaded already.  Elementary School teachers have sent a download to parents today and Secondary School parents and students will be getting their downloads on Monday.  Secondary students and Upper Elementary students will go through the download process with their teachers in class.  It is important that this work is downloaded as soon as it is received so no use of the internet will be required to access the instructions.  These downloads will be updated from time to time in line with the progress of students through their various studies.

Offline Learning Activities in the Elementary School:

The grade level summaries you receive every Friday will now have a PDF document attached. This document will be a summary of what has happened in class that week plus a selection of Offline Learning Activities. Students are to do these activities only if we lose internet access and classes cannot proceed online. These activities are connected to what we are doing in class but they are only to be done on days that we cannot meet as a class. When classes resume, students will share and reflect on their work. Please download the PDF Summary & Offline Learning Document when you receive the email on Friday. In this way these Offline Learning Activities will be immediately available to students if we lose internet access in the following week.

Below is a video that outlines how to download a PDF document:

Transitional Days

Next week, we will continue with the same transitional day schedule (see below).  All classes will begin at 9:00am each day (not just Transitonal Days). Grades 1 to 5 will finish Transitional Days at 1:00pm. Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten will finish at 12:30pm.
  • Monday – Pre-K, KG, Grade 1
  • Tuesday – Pre-K, KG, Grade 2
  • Wednesday – Pre-K, KG, Grade 5
  • Thursday – Pre-K, KG, Grade 3
  • Friday – Pre-K, KG, Grade 4

ISY is aware that there are continued planned protests over the coming days and weeks.  We want to make it clear that attendance on campus for Transitional Days is optional.  We will continue to run a synchronous program until the end of the year so any student who does not feel comfortable coming on to campus for any reason is welcome to join from home.  If a child will be absent from both the transitional day program and the synchronous program we only ask that the divisional offices be informed.


(on hold for this week)


Previous Elementary School Posts