ISY Elementary Blog

Lifelong Learners

Mike Simpson, Elementary School Principal

May 20, 2022

As we come to end of this school year and (dare I write it…) the end of online learning, I have been looking back over two years worth of Elementary School Blogs to remind myself of all that has happened over this extraordinary time. 

This piece comes from the blog published on November 6, 2000. When it was written, I don’t think many of us would have believed that we would still be online on November 6, 2021!

November 6, 2020

At ISY, we have three ISY Learner Outcomes. We want all of our students to leave ISY as:

  1. Compassionate Global Citizens
  2. Lifelong Learners 
  3. Agents for Positive Change

Over the break I was thinking and reading about what it means to be a lifelong learner. Yuval Noah Harari’s books are excellent if you’re thinking about what the future might hold and how you might need to adapt to it. 

In Homo Deus, he wrote:

‘Traditionally, life has been divided into two main parts; a period of learning followed by a period of working. Very soon this traditional model will become utterly obsolete, and the only way for humans to stay in the game will be to keep learning throughout their lives, and to reinvent themselves repeatedly. Many if not most humans may be unable to do so.’

In 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, he wrote:

‘To survive and flourish in such a world, you will need a lot of mental flexibility and great reserves of emotional balance. You will have to repeatedly let go of some of what you know best, and feel at homewith the unknown. Unfortunately, teaching kids to embrace the unknown and to keep their mental balance is far more difficult than teaching them an equation in physics or the First World War.’

No-one wants to be learning online. As hard as we try and as good a job as we do, we all worry that our children are missing out on something. But these two quotes got me thinking that maybe we should stop worrying about what they might be missing and start valuing what we know that they are certainly getting – an education in ‘embracing the unknown.’ 

Every day, our Elementary School students see their families and teachers struggling to learn new skills, thinking of ways to overcome unexpected challenges, and adapting to meet them, all the while trying to ‘keep their mental balance.’ 

Never before have our children had such an insight into what it means to be a lifelong learner. It means being able to struggle, think, adapt and keep your head so you can apply what you know to whatever life throws at you.

It is strange to think that our children might be better for this experience if we keep struggling, thinking, and adapting with them. But if we want to develop lifelong learners, this is the time to do it!


Steps for a Successful Goodbye  

Can you believe we are nearing the end of another challenging but successful school year?  The close of the school year is always a challenge for me.  On one hand, I am proud of all that the students and staff have accomplished.  On the other, I realize that some members of our community will not return to ISY for a variety of reasons.  Whenever I think of farewells, I am reminded of David C Pollock, Ruth Van Reken and Michael Pollack’s Third Culture Kids: Growing up among Worlds work regarding the importance of saying good-bye.  

In today’s world of zooming in and connecting online, properly saying good-bye may be overlooked or avoided but remains important for a successful transition.  Saying farewell is a process that can be tailored to fit your personal preferences but these 2 major models, RAFT and RAKE, 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 steps.  

If you or your child needs support as you are transitioning, please feel free to contact Ms. Patty at  She is also available to answer questions, concerns and provide support.

Patty Amundson-Geisel

Pre-K to Grade 6 Counselor

ISY iPads and Chromebooks Collected Today, Friday, May 20

Many of our students borrowed ISY iPads or Chromebooks to help with online learning at home. Now that we have returned to in-person learning, we have collected these devices to be used in classes next year.

Today, students left their borrowed ISY iPad or Chromebook at school. They will be able to keep using their iPad or Chromebook at school but they will no longer take it home. If you still have an ISY iPad or Chromebook at home, please return it to the Elementary School Office as soon as you are able to.

Return Library Books by Monday, June 6

If you have any overdue books you will be emailed a reminder from the library. Books can be brought to the library or put in the return basket on the front steps.

All library books are to be returned to the library by June 6. 

After School Sport

Now that ASAs are finished for the year, we would like to offer a few drop-in activities for students.  Boys and girls can just show up on the following days/times with a water bottle and athletic clothing/shoes.  If you have questions, please contact the coaches listed below:

All-Ages Touch Rugby – Begins Thursday, May 5

In cooperation with the Centaurs Rugby Club, ISY is offering non-contact rugby as a drop-in after school activity. Our aim is to build the skills and player numbers to play other schools around Yangon. There is currently a high school girls SEASAC touch rugby team at ISY!

Thursdays 2:20-3:30pm

Sports Field/Covered Court

All ISY students are welcome to participate!

Contact: Mr. O’Sullivan at

All-Ages Soccer – Begins Monday, May 9

Coach Albert will work with students of all ages on soccer skills and drills!

Mondays 2:20-3:30pm

Contact: Coach Albert at

Middle School Transition Parent Meeting

All parents of current Grade 5 students are invited to join us on May 30th at 5:30 PM for an informative online meeting regarding their child’s transition to middle school.  The meeting will seek to answer your questions as your child enters secondary school.  Zoom link will be sent via email closer to the date.
If you have any questions, please reach out to Ms. Patty at 

Departing Families – Withdrawal Form

If you are withdrawing your children from ISY please be sure to complete the withdrawal form which can be found on PowerSchool.

Online Learning

Now that we are into the last few weeks of the year and we have settled into in-person learning, we will not be accepting any more students into our online learning program.

Moving forward, we are also setting a goal to eliminate the hybrid /online program for the 2022-23 school year.  The only exception to this would be interruptions due to directives from the Myanmar authorities, or short term COVID spikes causing class, grade level, or full school return to virtual learning for short periods.

Elementary School Bracelets – Please return

Before the pandemic, Elementary School students used bracelets (see picture) to enter the campus. If you have a bracelet at home, could you please return it to school by putting it in the box on the Front Steps.

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