ISY Elementary Blog

Teachers Working Together

Mike Simpson, Elementary School Principal

October 1, 2021

In earlier blog posts, I have written about 2 major goals we have for our students:

All students will be able to apply their knowledge and skills to adapt and contribute to an uncertain or unknown future. 

All students will develop the self-efficacy and agency necessary to drive their own learning, control their own lives and positively influence the lives of others. 

It is our job as teachers to ensure that every student achieves these goals because teachers cause learning. 

An influential study by educational researcher John Hattie showed that the single biggest positive influence on student learning is teachers working together to cause learning. Hattie’s study calls this ‘collective teacher efficacy.’ 

This week, our grade level teams met in Student Review Meetings to discuss the learning of every single student in the Elementary School. A grade level team includes every teacher who works with students in that grade as well as Ms. Patty and I. 

Planning and assessing for student learning is obviously something we do every day. However, a scheduled Student Review Meeting every six weeks makes us stop to consider the evidence that what we have done in six weeks has caused every single student to learn. It also provides a time for us to share ideas to maintain and accelerate the learning of every single student over the next six weeks. 

Personally, I enjoy these meetings. It is a good feeling to work with teachers who believe that they can cause learning and are committed to reflecting and acting on evidence to make sure that every single student is learning. And as a parent, it is a good feeling to know that teachers are working together for my child.


Building Resilience When Your Child is Anxious

Anxiety is a common emotion that all children experience at different times but if anxiety persists it can interfere with your child’s ability to make friends or engage in school.  Anxiety is one of the most common mental health concerns in children and it’s symptoms can be physical; headaches, stomachaches, sleeping troubles and emotional; fear, worry and irritability.

Often, with good intentions, people encourage children to ignore their anxiety, push it aside and carry on.  Adults say things like, “Don’t worry about that.” or “That’s not possible, why worry?”  This can, at times, lead children to unhealthy strategies for coping.  So how can we help honor our children’s anxious feelings yet encourage resilience to manage them?  Here are a few strategies.

  • Personify the emotion by giving it a name and a persona.  In doing this, your child can talk with that piece of themselves and learn that anxiety is just a characteristic of themselves, not all of who they are.  
  • Help your child assess risk.  Often anxiety overrules the brain and it is difficult for your child to properly assess the threat.  Ask your child to write out the worst and best outcome for the anxiety producing issue.  This will help your child better assess the real probability of their feared outcome.
  • Reframe thoughts: Help your child change the narrative from what is wrong with me to a celebration of self.  Instead of “I overthink too much,” encourage statements such as “I’m creative and have many ideas.”
  • Mindfulness:  Encourage your child to notice their thoughts.  Thoughts are just that and don’t have to be accepted as true.  We can allow some thoughts to pass through our minds and be released.

Anxiety is normal and should be allowed to be expressed.  In using the above strategies, you support your child to manage this emotion and build resilience.

Ms. Patty, the elementary counselor, is available to support ISY students and families.  If you are concerned about your child’s social, emotional or academic progress, please feel free to contact her at If you are interested in reading more: 7 Ways to Help with Anxiety.

Patty Amundson-Geisel

Pre-K to Grade 6 Counselor

Internet Issues

Offline Learning Activities

Every Friday, your child’s homeroom teacher will email you a PDF of offline learning activities that your child will be able to do if they lose access to the internet. 

Please only use these plans if your child is unable to access the internet. If you have the internet, your child will be able to attend online classes as usual. 

To make sure the offline learning activities stay connected to what is happening in class, our teachers will review and, if necessary, update the offline learning activities each week. Please download the PDF document attached to the email as soon as you receive it on Friday. The email will also have a link to this instructional video:

Quarter 1 Progress Reports

We are now halfway through our first academic quarter.

On Friday, October 29, you will receive a written Progress Report on your child(ren)’s progress at the end of Quarter 1.

This Progress Report will provide a focus for our first set of Parent-Teacher Conferences which will be held shortly after you receive the report.

In the meantime, please always feel free to reach out to your child(ren)’s teachers. They will always be happy to discuss your child(ren)’s progress with you.

Wednesday Assembly

On Wednesday, we had another Elementary School Assembly.

Mrs. Magers read us a pirate story called Small Saul. Saul might not be the biggest pirate, but he proves that he has the biggest heart… and the other pirates love him for it.

Mr. Brett’s Grade 1 students then presented a wonderful video that they made about what community means at ISY. 

Finally, our Elementary School Student Council led us in an activity to celebrate Peace Day. We all decorated peace signs. You can see some of our peace signs in below. The Student Council has been busy and also organized a Peace Day Celebration after school today. We really appreciate their efforts.

Previous Elementary School Posts