“Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” Nelson Mandela
Queridas Familias, April 3rd, 2020
I hope that this letter finds you and your family doing well, and coping with this new way of life here and around the world. After a few weeks of preparation and planning, on Monday, April 6th, teachers are looking forward to getting back to teaching, albeit in this strange new format. It appears that many of you did not get the chance to fill out this survey, which we need in order to modify the delivery of distance learning instruction. When you get a chance could you please fill it out...that is, if you haven’t done so already. Transitional Week Distance Learning Survey.
The majority of ISLA children had the opportunity to practice the different learning platforms the week before our spring break, and were able to interact with each other, their teachers, and the LA’s through the application Zoom. However, in light of the FBI security warning yesterday, regarding hackers who “Zoom bomb” calls and display inappropriate material, we are currently evaluating whether we will continue to use this application, or whether or not we will instead use Google Meet. For the first part of next week, expect recorded morning messages through Seesaw instead of the live call, at least until we get confirmation from our IT vendor and are assured of proper security for all.
As you might have seen in the news, Minnesota did apply for the waiver for the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA’s) and was approved for this application, so no schools in the state will take the standardized tests this spring. We are thankful to have made the purchase this year of Istation-- a new assessment/ intervention system which can be done online--in English and in Spanish, so that we can still have ways to measure growth, even from a distance. There are many other adjustments, hardships, and difficult changes to come this spring and summer, and here at ISLA we are beginning to strategize about how we can salvage at least some of our important events and routines.
All of this is challenging on us as adults, but even more so on the emotional and physical wellbeing of our children. Inevitably, they are absorbing much of the tension and anxiety about this pandemic as it comes at them from all directions. After the “honeymoon” period of this extended break, we will all see more behavioral changes in our kids, and not all of them will be good. Old tantrum behaviors could return, or you might notice them gravitating back to that old stuffed comfort animal which had been long forgotten in the bottom of the toy bin, or fighting more than usual with siblings, etc. Or perhaps they have become more clingy, needing constant conversation, or attaching to you like a barnacle as you pass by them in the hallway, as you try to work from home yourself. Or all of the above.
This is all normal and understandable under the circumstances. What kids (and all of us, really) require during these times is to feel safe, loved, needed. This is the time to devote whatever small snippets of your day which you can carve out to be present with them--get down on your hands and knees and play with them, bake banana bread, make a mess together doing experiments on the kitchen counter, or just do chores together and be silly. This is healing for all of us, and our kids want this now more than ever.
Yes, distance learning next week will provide some needed structure, but we know that it might also be an additional trigger for stress for both you and your student. Understanding that has brought us to the conclusion that we will need to support you as much as possible, and to start slowly in the process. We understand that it is highly unlikely that students will be able produce the same level of scholarship, study for the same amount of hours as they did here at ISLA, or achieve in the same way. However, they will grow in other ways, and learn different skills. In order to do that, we need to stabilize that social emotional component, and we need to put in the time for that to happen.
Are you interested in participating in chess club? Twin Cities Chess Club has figured out how to offer this class remotely. Here is the link to sign up: http://twincitieschessclub.com/School/Registration.html
I hope this message finds you and your family healthy and settling in to the new routine of being safely at home and taking on all the new challenges that it brings. While we are in this period of physical distancing it is still important for us to continue to be socially connected and invested in our communities, as well as continue to be planful and look to the future of ISLA. Included in the newsletter is a fun ISLA community activity for April! Please join us! Also, listed below we ask for your assistance to fill critical roles as we look to and plan for the future.
The ISLA PTO is a critical part of our school community. It finances the LA program, supports classroom and other school function needs, as well as drives the community building at ISLA. The PTO is overseen by a board of dedicated parents who believe in the vision and mission of the PTO. The PTO board includes 7 positions. While the positions are for one year terms we have several people who have been serving on the board for multiple years. Some of these individuals will be stepping down this year opening up several positions on the board.
Your ideas are important! Below is a list of the PTO board positions, including open positions, along with contact information for current members, and a brief description. Take a look and see what jumps out at you. There is the option to co-chair in any of the positions. Past experience is not needed to serve in these positions. You will be supported! Our current members are committed to supporting through the transition. If you aren't ready for a board position quite yet, but are interested in contributing we would love to have you join a committee, just let us know! We look for parents who care deeply about our school and want to continue to help the school and the community thrive.
If you are interested in learning more about any of these positions, feel free to contact me, directly reach out to the current position members listed, or sign up using the link below.
Thank you for your time and consideration!
2019-2020 PTO Board Chair (OPEN)
Ginnie Pollen firstname.lastname@example.org
Leader of the Pack - Provides direction and leads PTO Board and Community meetings. Works with the school board and director related to ISLA PTO. Presents at school events and School Board meetings. Plans the annual PTO calendar.
Community Building/Social Events (OPEN)
Community Builder - Plans, executes and communicates ISLA family community building events with event committee and volunteer help. Volunteer coordinators assist with volunteers as needed.
Work with the ISLA PTO Board to set Fundraising targets, Plan & execute on ISLA PTO annual fundraisers - Jog-a-thon, Give to the Max Day, Restaurant Nights, School Supplies, etc. to meet annual goals.
Volunteer Coordinator (1 OPEN, 1 Filled)
Logistics - Coordinates and Communicates volunteer opportunities to ISLA parents in partnership with the school. Supports Rooms Parents. Provides information to committees regarding volunteers who are interested in helping at specific events. Administrator for Signup Genius account. Partners with the school on school's volunteer needs.
Renee Moran email@example.com
Central Communications - Attends PTO meetings, records proceedings and votes, and submits PTO meeting minutes. Assists the PTO Board in handling any necessary correspondence (weekly newsletter).
Karen Heuiser firstname.lastname@example.org
Coordinate Language Ambassador program needs, bring planning and needs to ISLA PTO Board meetings, partner with ISLA School's LA Program liaison.
Angela Mhiripiri email@example.com
The Bank - Receives all ISLA PTO monies. Keeps a full and accurate record of receipts and expenditures. Makes payments as authorized in the Approved Budget. Ensures all expenditures follow the defined process. Presents a statement of accounts at each meeting. Files all appropriate tax documents as required.
We hope this email finds you well. If you’re like us, you’re missing your friends, your normal day-to-day activities and school. We wanted to find a way to drum up some ISLA spirit and remind us all that though we are distant, we are all in this together!
SO we have a fun challenge for you! We are going to create a video together — yes, from afar. Have you seen the video of celebrities singing Imagine by John Lennon? If you haven’t, you can click the link to watch, it is heartwarming and unifying.
AND we are going to do our own ISLA set of videos! We’d like you to participate and submit a separate video of your family singing/dancing/both to each of the songs below. We are going to piece video entries together and create a unified video for each song. We’ve included all the info you need below.
THIS IS GOING TO BE FUN. Here’s how to submit your video:
Don’t Worry, Be Happy | Family Videos - "Don’t Worry, Be Happy” in Spanish or English
1) Record yourselves on your phone or computer. (Please be sure we can see and hear you)
You can find Spanish and English lyrics here.
You can find karaoke music and sing-a-log lyrics here:
2) Upload the files here.
3) We’ll do the rest!
ISLA School Song | Student and Staff Videos - Your kids will know this, even if you don’t :)
1) Record your student (or yourself if you are staff) singing/dancing/playing the piano/all the above the ISLA song.
Here are the lyrics and piano music if you need a reminder of the tune.
2) Upload the video here.
3) Wait for the super fun mash-up video to arrive in your inbox!
**By uploading your video, you give ISLA PTO permission to use it in the mash-up videos, which will be shared.**
Please submit your videos by 10 PM Monday, April 6th. We can’t wait to see what you create!
Bethany Bradley and the ISLA PTO
Election for ISLA's board of directors for the 2020-2021 year will take place on May 19, 2020.
For the slate of candidates go here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1qn9CEc6IOstWzJeEDdORe4cWIOe-Oem4/view?usp=sharing
For candidate biographies go here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/156cD_fhLrbqvkKvdhdnZYMCpxdAlp9DB/view?usp=sharing
The ISLA Human Resource Committee is currently recruiting members, and we'd love to have you join us! The H.R. Committee is an advisory committee to the ISLA Board of Directors, made up of parents, community volunteers, ISLA faculty, staff, and administration. We provide recommendations, guidance, assistance, and support to the Board and the ISLA administration with respect to a variety of human resources matters. As a part of this Committee, you have the opportunity to make a significant impact in the lives of the amazing faculty and staff of ISLA. We regularly solicit employee feedback and recommend actions to increase employee engagement and satisfaction. A few of our many accomplishments from the past few years:
Come join our team! No experience necessary, but H.R. or employment law experience would be wonderful! If you are interested, please contact Kris Taylor, the current H.R. Committee Chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org.