ISY Elementary Blog
School After Thingyan
Mike Simpson, Elementary School Principal
March 26, 2021
Further to Dr. Hedger’s Tuesday update on the majority of our faculty departing Yangon the weekend before Thingyan, we would like to update you on how you can expect school to operate after Thingyan.

Essentially, school will operate as it is operating now. All of our teachers will still be teaching live synchronous classes on Myanmar time between 9am and 1pm. Students will remain in the same classes with the same teachers and classmates using the same online platforms, tools and Zoom links. We consider this consistency in classes to be very important for our students to stay connected and engaged in their learning in this quarter. If you find yourselves in a time zone that might make it difficult for your child to join their regular class between 9am and 1pm Myanmar time, please email me directly on and we will work with you to develop a learning option that will work for your child as we have with other families up to this point.

By leaving the weekend before Thingyan, learning will not be disrupted up to the break and then teachers are able to use the Thingyan break to get settled and recommence classes on Monday, April 19 as planned for in the calendar.


A Successful Farewell 

With the recent departure of many ISY families from Yangon, I was reminded of the importance of saying good-bye.  In today’s world of zooming in and being connected, good-byes may be overlooked as it may not feel like a “real” good-bye since we will still see each other online.  Saying farewell is a process that can be tailored to fit your personal preferences but is an important step in helping one have a successful transition.  There are 2 major models, RAFT and RAKE, that offer guidelines for both those leaving and for those that remain.  Although these models are thought to be processes that can take several weeks, they do not require it and often small things can be done in a short amount of time to accommodate the key areas suggested. 

Yearbook Photos

Everyday next week we will have open times when anyone who hasn’t already had a yearbook photo can come in and have one.  These will be between 7:45 – 8:45 am and between 1:30 – 3:30 pm.  Simply come to the B Building which is the small administration building next to the soccer field. You don’t have to make an appointment but please make sure you are wearing a mask, that you wash your hands and that while waiting you socially distance yourself from each other.

If you can’t make one of these days for any reason you can send in a photo for us to edit and add to the yearbook.  Mr. Ailes has been joining classes virtually to help with this but you can also send in your own photo.  Below is a video with the kind of photo we are ideally looking for.  In the video Mr. Ailes suggests a stool  but standing against a blank wall is also fine.  Also, try to make sure your child is smiling and please make sure you tell us who the photo is of.  Finally, don’t worry about cropping the photo as Mr. Ailes will do that for you.

Instructions for taking a Yearbook photo

Where we are missing photos by the end of the year we will simply use last year’s photo or for new students a photo we have on record but it’s always nice to have a fresh photo.  Photos can simply be sent to


With students no longer being able to attend Transitional Day classes on campus, we have decided to set aside weekly times between 2:30pm and 3:30pm for each grade level to have preferential access to the facilities and playground. These times will provide opportunities for students in the same classes and grades to connect and play in person


  • Monday: Pre-Kindergarten & Grade 1
  • Tuesday: Kindergarten & Grade 2
  • Wednesday: Pre-Kindergarten & Grade 3
  • Thursday: Kindergarten & Grade 4
  • Friday: Grade 5

You can use this ES Preferential Play Times Sign Up Form to book a time for you and your children to come on campus as per the schedule above. The same rules for facility use apply:

  • We can only have up to 30 community members on campus at any one time (including adults and children)
  • Every child must be actively supervised by a responsible adult at all times. There will be no ISY staff or faculty supervision.Students cannot be dropped off at school without adult supervision.
  • Masks must be worn at all times by both adults and children. This is particularly important for us to be able to safely keep our campus open for our community.
  • Siblings may come on campus with their brother or sister during their brother or sister’s play time (e.g. a Grade 1 student may come on to campus with their grade 2 sibling during the Grade 2 play time)


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:

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