ISY Elementary Blog
Real Lifelong Learning
Mike Simpson, Elementary School Principal
May 21, 2021

A New Zealand story about an 82 year old retiree earning his PhD 60 years after graduating with his first degree got me thinking last week.

After retiring as a veterinarian, Dr. Dobbinson decided to go back to university to research an issue that he became particularly interested in – the welfare of animals when they are being transported. As a practicing veterinarian, Dr. Dobbinson was very busy dealing with all sorts of day to day problems and emergencies. He did not have the time to devote much time to any one issue in particular. So he waited until he had the time and that was not until he retired.

At ISY, we aim to develop lifelong learners who will be a force for positive change in the world. ‘Lifelong’ means your entire life and Dr. Dobbinson certainly interpreted it this way. But I think that it is common for people to think that learning, other than maybe learning a new hobby, effectively stops once you retire. I think that is a real shame. 

Dr. Dobbinson’s story made me realize what an incredibly rich source of new knowledge retirees could be if we supported them to use their time to study rather than to expect them to take up gardening or golf. Imagine the difference that a university of students all with more than 40 years of experience in the subjects that they are studying could make to the world? It makes me wonder why governments and universities do not give scholarships to retirees like they give to high school leavers. Maybe some do?

I hope that some of our current ISY students head into retirement as keen to study and make a positive difference as they are now. And I hope that someone pays for them to make that difference!


As we enter the last few weeks of school I am very proud of how committed our students (and teachers!) are to finishing the year strongly. I have had the pleasure of teaching a few classes this week and it has been a lot fun to see students still smiling and learning. 


Family Cyber Contract Accountability

A previous blog post discussed how to make a cyber contract with your family. This week we will explore how to hold your family accountable to the contract.

  • Lead by Example:  Show your family that you too respect the time limits, sharing expectations and safety rules.  Children are quick to identify rule breakers and will take their lead from you.
  • Coach: Lectures and nagging is not likely to encourage your child to follow the expectations.  Identify and celebrate areas in which they are being successful.  Then stress areas for improvement.  Review the reasons the contract was created and highlight the family values it supports.
  • Be consistent: The consequences for breaking the contact should be clearly stated within the contract.  Follow them.  If consequences are not consistently administered, your child will come to believe that the consequences are optional.  
  • Online support: If monitoring becomes a difficulty, consider installing parental controls or app monitoring programs.  Explain to your family that these programs are to support safety and accountability to the contract.  

Remember the contact is most effective when all members of the family have had their opportunity to help create it and therefore are all wanting to see its success.  If parts of the contract aren’t working, readdress that section.  The ultimate goal is to have a contract that protects while promoting your family’s values.

Ms. Patty can be reach to support families and students at


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 will work on pre-arranged offline learning activities that they have downloaded already.  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 Friday emails have a PDF document attached. This document is 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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