ISY Elementary Blog
A Tough Week
Mike Simpson, Elementary School Principal
March 12, 2021

I consider myself to be a pretty positive person who can see a bright side to most situations. 

This has been a tough year before it even began but each week something positive has happened for me to write about in this blog. So I think it is fair to say that I have had a tough week if I am googling ‘positive things about 2020’ on a Wednesday evening in 2021 for ideas to write about!

I found something positive in an article that reminded me that ‘the pandemic has unintentionally furthered children’s independence.’ 

Developing student agency and self-efficacy (independence) is a key goal that we had identified before the pandemic in developing students who can adapt and contribute to an uncertain or unknown future. I agree that teaching and learning online has required students to be more independent. In fact, I think I have already written about it in this blog. 

I already knew that greater student agency and self-efficacy will be one positive from this year and I have seen multiple examples of this in our students this week. But this year, there have been more things to endure than to celebrate for many of us. 

Sometimes it is difficult to look on the bright side. But research shows that in difficult times, it is important for our mental health to allow ourselves to acknowledge that times are difficult and to feel rather than suppress negative emotions. Now, of course, teachers and parents need to be careful to regulate these emotions in the company of children but my own children know that this year has been difficult for me. I think that knowing this allows them to feel better about finding this year difficult themselves and tells them that we are all struggling through it together.

I think that our community’s sense of togetherness as we struggle through the year is just as important as focusing on the positive things that will come out of it. We are experiencing both the good and the bad together and always more of one than the other at any given time. I have found this week a tough one but I know that many of us did and we are stronger for getting to the end of it.


Healthy Choices: Get Moving with your Children!

The combination of Covid-19 and the current political situation, has limited our ability to get out and move.  In general, many of us have become more sedentary and have found it more difficult to make healthy choices. 

This is, in part, why last week the elementary student council sponsored Healthy Living Week.  Each day a different area of health was highlighted and addressed.  One day’s focus was physical fitness.  

The benefits of physical exercise are wide ranging, including but not limited to:

  • Improved memory and brain function
  • Reducing risk of obesity
  • Stronger muscles and bones
  • Enhances emotional well-being
  • Improved sleep

So how do we encourage our children to get active and make healthier fitness choices?

  • Set a regular schedule for physical activity.  Elementary students need at least 60 minutes a day of moderate to vigorous physical activity.  Put it in the daily calendar.
  • Be a role model.  Fitness is a life-long commitment, your example will help your child develop sound exercise habits for years to come.
  • Be active together as a family.  A family that plays together, stays fit together!  Get creative and find family sports that everyone can engage in.  
  • Expose your children to a wide variety of physical activities.  Fitness includes endurance, strength and flexibility.  Allowing children to explore a range of interests can help you discover a variety of ways to meet these elements.


Kids Health

10 Benefits of Physical Activity for Kids

10 Tips to get kids to exercise


Due to the continued difficulty of enough local staff to arrive at school and return home safely we will not be having transitional days next week and there will be no in-person after school activities.  School will be online starting from 9 am like this week.


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 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:

Previous Elementary School Posts