ISY Elementary Blog

Adapt and Contribute

Mike Simpson, Elementary School Principal

September 10, 2021

Last week I wrote about our goal to develop self-efficacy in all of our students. This goal came out of a six year self-study as part of our accreditation as a leading international school. 

The other major goal that came out of that study reads as follows:

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

Our study was completed and these goals were set before COVID and the last two years have proven that we cannot predict the future. However, that does not mean that we cannot prepare our students for it. In fact, preparing students for the future is the primary role for any school.

At ISY, we prepare our students for the future through our very own interdisciplinary curriculum framework. This framework is designed to develop a deep understanding of essential skills and knowledge in every subject (or discipline). It allows students to deepen their understanding of a subject by making connections between topics, ideas and concepts in other subjects. Just as importantly, it is these connections that will allow our students to apply their understanding of a subject to an unknown situation in the future.

To help our students make these connections, our curriculum framework has three main parts in addition to internationally recognised academic standards in all subjects:

  • ISY Learner Attributes. We nurture the ISY Learner Attributes (Compassion, Collaboration, Communication, Courage, Creativity, Critical Thinking, Reflection) in every subject and everything we do at ISY.
  • United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We can use an SDG to give a meaningful and common ‘real world’ focus for all subjects. For example, students can study climate change in science and social studies and at the same time learn language and mathematical skills to deepen their understanding of climate change. By connecting subjects in this way, students develop a deeper understanding of climate change and of essential skills and knowledge in every subject.
  • ISY Interdisciplinary Concepts. We have ten key concepts or ideas (Causation, Connection, Culture, Form, Function, Perspective, Identity, Representation, Responsibility, Transformation) which we think about in every subject. Take Causation as an example – we want our students to understand why things happen in every subject. This deepens their subject understanding and also their general understanding of why things happen. They will then be able to apply their understanding of why things happen to any situation in the future.

Our interdisciplinary curriculum framework will produce subject experts. But it is the connections to other subjects, concepts, and ‘real world’ issues that will allow our students to adapt and contribute to an uncertain or unknown future as a force for positive change.


Counselor Support and Online Learning

Just like the classroom teachers, Ms. Patty, our Pre-K to Grade 6 counselor is working hard to replicate the support given to students when learning happens on campus.  She is also developing creative ways to meet the social and emotional needs of the school community virtually.  So what does this look like?

  1. Life Skills:  Weekly social-emotional & guidance classes are taught featuring lessons on resilience, growth mindset, emotion regulation, empathy and compassion.  
  2.  Support: Ms. Patty is available for individual sessions with parents and students at any time upon their request.  She can offer support for social-emotional concerns or provide guidance for developing coping strategies and building resiliency.
  3.  Outreach: If a student falls behind academically, a teacher is worried about someone, a student is not engaging in course work or other challenges arise, Ms. Patty will contact students and/or parents through email and hangouts to offer to chat or talk over video.  Exploring thoughts and feelings around challenges we face can often help with emotional management and, as a result, empower us to effectively manage the challenge.  
  4. Counselor’s Check-In:  Regular surveys assessing social-emotional wellness are given to students in grades 2-5.  The counselor reviews the responses, identifies concerns and reaches out to students and families.
  5. Community Connection: Providing opportunities for students to connect and build community through virtual recess, online meetings, birthday greetings, and social connections.

If you have any questions, concerns or would like to know more about the programs discussed above, please contact Ms. Patty at

Patty Amundson-Geisel

Pre-K to Grade 6 Counselor

After School Activities (ASAs) start next week!

The first session of After School Activities begins this coming Monday, September 13.  You will have received an email from our PowerSchool system confirming your child’s choices and containing zoom links for the activities.  You can also login to PowerSchool to view this information.  Any questions regarding the activities should be addressed to the activity instructor or the Activities Director, Ms. Isom (

Internet Issues

Offline Learning Activities

On Tuesday this week we emailed you a PDF of offline learning activities that your children 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. You will be emailed a PDF document of these activities every Friday starting next Friday, September 17. Please download this PDF document as soon as you receive the email which will have a link to this instructional video:

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