ISY Elementary Blog
Mike Simpson, Elementary School Principal
January 29, 2020

It has been another successful week of Transition Days in the Elementary School. We will use the same schedule next week and will update you again as to any developments in this blog next Friday.

Today marks the end of our second quarter. We are halfway through this academic year and the first year of our SDG-inspired interdisciplinary approach to learning. In the first half of this year, our students have used the SDG-inspired themes of People and Prosperity to focus and apply their work in all subjects (or disciplines). In the second half of this year, they will use our Planet and Peace as themes to deepen their understanding in all subjects and make connections between all subjects.

The more perspectives a student looks at a topic, idea, concept, or theme from, the deeper a student’s understanding of it becomes. This is also true of a student’s understanding of subject specific skills and knowledge. By connecting and applying a skill or piece of knowledge to other subjects, they gain a deeper understanding of why they are important and how they can be applied in different contexts. Being able to apply a skill or piece of knowledge to a different context shows a depth of understanding that cannot be developed or assessed if it was taught in isolation.

Our interdisciplinary approach to learning is working. Today, I helped facilitate a group of Grade 3 students present their arguments as to why and how we need to address poverty, hunger, and equality in education. The connections that all of the students made between all three of these issues were clear and insightful. The way they could talk about these issues ‘off-script,’ showed a depth of understanding that I did not expect and I taught third grade for four years.

In the second half of this year, I am excited to see the impact that our interdisciplinary approach to learning will continue to have on our students. And I am very excited to see where it can take our students and our school in the long term.

COVID Safety: Can my child go to school today?

Here is a link to a very useful Can my child go to school today? flowchart prepared by our ISY Medical Clinic. It will help decide whether to send your child to school if they, or someone they are close to, have been ill. 



With COVID, we needed to adapt our schedule for online learning to prioritise our core curriculum subjects as we started the year. This meant we needed to combine our World Language and Culture and Communication programs. These classes are related but intended to be taught separately so students can focus on developing specific skills in their chosen language.

For the first semester (ending today, January 29), we decided upon a Culture and Communication focus with all Grade 2-5 students (French and Mandarin) in the same class. We decided to use the Education Perfect app to provide our students with skills practice in the language of their choice. This is not how we would normally teach languages in the Elementary School at ISY and, while this app is a useful supplementary resource, it is not the basis of our language program.

For our second semester (beginning this Monday, February 1) we will shift our focus from general Culture and Communication classes to specific French and Mandarin classes. We will be separating the students into separate French and Mandarin classes which will allow for smaller groups all focusing on the target language. We will have two teachers assigned to each of our French and Mandarin classes to allow for more specific instruction.


How ISY Seeks to Protect Students 

ISY has a robust child protection policy that seeks to ensure safety on several levels.  Each of these levels provides protection from those that seek harm from a differing perspective, thus creating a thicker layer of protection for all students.

The first layer of protection involves training of all ISY staff and volunteers.   Yearly, all staff receive training regarding child protection issues and their mandate to report.  Further, all staff pledge to uphold the code of conduct.

The second layer involves advertising and recruitment.  Clearly marking our school’s website and other publications as a school that protects students is a major deterrent.  All candidates to be employed at ISY undergo a thorough check and are asked specific questions to safeguard students.

The third layer involves the students directly.  The counselors teach a safeguarding curriculum that seeks to educate and empower students.  This curriculum includes a variety of topics, such as but not limited to, assertiveness, identifying abuse and digital citizenship.

If you have any questions regarding ISY’s efforts to support and protect students, please feel free to contact Ms. Patty at

Patty Amundson-Geisel

ISY Elementary Counselor

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


Students will be asked to practice social distancing at all times and please note that masks will need to be worn in all areas of the school. This includes while in classrooms. Please always enter through the front steps area as this entrance is outfitted with a thermal camera to check temperatures.  We also ask that everyone wash their hands at the sinks on the front steps before entering the campus.

All Transiton Days start at 8:30am. Grades 1 to 5 finish at 12:30pm. Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten finish at 11:45am.

MAP Testing

During this week of February 1-5, we will be MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) testing in the Elementary School (Grades 2 to 5). MAP assessments in Reading, Language, and Mathematics are online adaptive assessments that provide useful data in developing a fair and accurate assessment of a student’s academic achievement and growth.

Prior to the testing dates, teachers have prepared students to ensure their device is ready as well as the process of how the tests will be administered and what to do if they have a question.

Parents, it is important to allow for students to demonstrate what they are ready to learn by not providing assistance in answering questions. Additionally, we ask your help ensuring that the testing environment at home is free from distractions as possible during the assessment. This will yield a fair and accurate assessment of a student’s academic growth and achievement so teachers can combine MAP assessment data with all other student data that they have collected in the classroom. MAP data itself is not used for grading at ISY but this combination of data informs teacher instruction in meeting the needs of each child.

Here is a link to some useful information about this week’s MAP testing at ISY.


Did you know that Mr. Zar Li, our head security officer, was a former Mr. Myanmar! He is very fit and knows 100s of different exercises to stay fit.

Mr. Zar Li has kindly offered to run 15 minute work outs for our students that will start at 8:10am every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. These work outs will start next Monday. The Zoom link for the workouts will be on the Friday Family Report email that you receive from your child(ren)’s teacher. All ages are welcome and parents are welcome to join in too.

The workouts will finish at 8:25am to give students time to get a drink and get organized before joining their classes at 8:30am.

These workouts do not replace regular P.E. classese during the school day. 

Previous Elementary School Posts