What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you. Ralph Waldo Emerson
April 23, 2020
As you might have heard on the news today, Governor Walz and MDE Commissioner Ricker, in conjunction with the Minnesota Department of Health, announced that the Distance Learning Period will extend for the rest of the 2019-20 school year for all public schools in Minnesota. They have decided to make May 1 and May 4 non-instructional planning days, so ISLA staff have begun to plan for optional enrichment and makeup activities for those days. School-age care for children of essential workers will still operate on those days, but there will be no teacher or LA meetings.
I recognize that this news might be difficult to hear for our entire school community. I also know that families are struggling with distance learning at home, and many of you are experiencing other difficulties as well. I think that I can speak for the entire community when I emphasize that we were hoping to return to school and to our typical spring-time celebrations that are typically filled with plays, concerts, graduation, and other ceremonies to recognize the hard work that students have put in all year. We are currently looking at creative ways to celebrate these accomplishments in a way that respects the constraints of social distancing. At this point, we do not know what this means for summer school or for summer school.
From the onset of this distance learning, I had my concerns about the amount of academic content and the number of MN State Standards which we had left to bring to fruition, and serious doubts that we would be able to tackle all of it. Recently, the Commissioner of Education has clarified the state’s stance on this, and has encouraged districts to “cluster” standards if possible, and to implement a multidisciplinary or transdisciplinary approach. Fortunately, that is exactly what the PYP in the International Baccalaureate is, and that is precisely what we do here at ISLA! As you know, ISLA is a high performing school academically, and our teachers work extremely hard to deliver content on a daily basis; indeed, I am extremely proud of the work that our faculty has done and is doing to make this transition. At the same time, as we have dived into distance learning, our teachers have had to scale back and modify their expectations for students, and we will continue to do so.
At our late start today, we made significant headway into the revision of our report card and other final assessments to accommodate these changes. We are also nearly ready to implement additional support for your child, including study halls and homework help sessions, RTI, and additional counseling services.
As we have been discussing assessment and how that will change in terms of distance learning, we have come to the realization that students are also building different capacities during this time period: as you work alongside your child, as they perhaps take on more chores than before, and as he or she helps their sibling(s). We have heard stories of children learning fractions while baking or helping with dinner, learning about field biology while cleaning up in the yard, and developing social skills as they take on more responsibility, and we know that this needs to be reflected in the year end assessment portfolio. But we also know that all of this is hard. It is tough on your family, it is challenging for the children, and it has been a struggle for the staff and faculty of ISLA. So, I would like to close by saying thank you. Thank you for everything that you are doing to help us in this new reality, and thank you for your patience and support.
ISLA is an incredible community, and we WILL get through this.
Please join us virtually for the May PTO community meeting. On May 5th, we will vote on the budget for 2020-2021 school year and for the PTO board officers. If you are interested in joining the PTO this is a great way to meet the people you would volunteer with and get a taste of what is involved. And we promise we not to have any homework assignments or Seesaw links for you or your children.
So grab a margarita for Cinco de Mayo and join us for some PTO diversión! Look for the Zoom link in next week's newsletter.
Election for ISLA's board of directors for the 2020-2021 year will take place on May 19, 2020.
For the slate of candidates click here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1qn9CEc6IOstWzJeEDdORe4cWIOe-Oem4/view?usp=sharing
For candidate biographies click 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.
Happy Friday ISLA family!
During this time of change and upset to routines that we are all dealing with, each of us is probably experiencing higher than average levels of stress. I wanted to pass along a few articles and some information about community resources that could help you and your family deal with the anxiety, depression or stress you might be feeling. Some of these websites have links to additional information and/or resources that might be helpful to you also.
Take care, keep healthy, stay active!
Please reach out if you have any questions!
Tanya Nelson RN, LSN
ISLA Main Office, 952-746-6020