2020-09-18 Noticias de ISLA y ISLA PTO

September 7, 2021

Emily Smith

Administrative Assistant

It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela

Queridas familias, 

These days the words “unprecedented, and uncertain times” get passed around more than mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving, but rightly so.  It IS uncertain, and it IS unprecedented--at least in recent memory.   As you all know, we haven’t had a pandemic that has taken such a devastating toll on humanity in some time, but in our wide and varied history, there have been several other epidemics and pandemic outbreaks which were much, much, worse. In particular, the Cocoliztli epidemic from 1545-1548 claimed the lives of over 5 million people in Mexico, around 90% of the indigenous population in the Americas was devastatingly wiped out from smallpox, and the Spanish flu killed at least 50 million people. However, after the world recovered from the Bubonic Plague, we all know what materialized:  the Renaissance… a period of learning and innovation that created profound changes in the areas of art, architecture, politics, science and literature. I do not want in any way to minimize the pain, hardship, and grief that this pandemic has caused and is causing, (and I know that we need to be prepared for even more difficulties to come), but I firmly believe that this world, this country, this state, and yes--- this community of ISLA, will come out on the other side of this virus with new hope, new ideas, and new solutions to the world’s problems.   I am already seeing our teachers work these little miracles on a daily basis as they do things as a faculty which is nothing short of amazing.  In the same way, our children will emerge from this period with a whole new toolbox of skills, perspectives, and competencies.   

  • New building/relocation news!  At the ISLA board meeting earlier this week, the ISLA board approved the ISLA Affiliated Building Company (ISLA ABC)  to sign the purchase agreement for the new building.  We expect all parties to sign by early next week, and then the ABC has 45 days to perform its due diligence.  We are really excited about this opportunity, and the numerous pedagogical and programming enhancements which this implies for our program. 
  • ISLA Fiscal Health: Also at the board meeting, several financial scenarios and long term models were discussed, all of which had many different inputs and variables. Not all of these scenarios painted a positive picture of the state of our finances, but they were just that--scenarios with variable inputs. The ISLA Board is committed to a healthy, robust program based on sound fiscal principals, and has been awarded the Minnesota Department of Education School Finance Award many times.   We have maintained a healthy fund balance for this very reason---to protect the school in times of uncertainty such as these, and confront factors which can affect a charter school even more profoundly than even the bigger districts. We have absolutely no plans to cut teacher salaries, or discontinue our efforts to maintain competitive programs in the marketplace. 
  • ISLA Learning Plans:   As you know, the ISLA board asked that we revisit our hybrid learning plan every 4-6 weeks and determine the feasibility for a return to in-person learning for as many children as is possible. Getting as many students back to ISLA as soon as is safely and logistically possible remains a top priority. We are actively making plans to pivot to the next model, and utilize some of the funding from the CARES act funding to hire additional faculty and staff (these hires will be necessary in order to make any changes), and making schedules within our infrastructure constraints.  
  • You will be hearing more next week from your child’s teacher about small groups for your child that are being formed, as well as the beginning of some programming with LA work groups. Please see our distance learning page for updated class information, including the links for each class which are  updated weekly, and have valuable information about materials needed, and learning experiences each day. 
  • Social Emotional Support:  (New Video!)  We know this is a difficult time, and managing your own professional responsibilities, family dynamics, AND a distance learner has enormous challenges.  Therefore, we have contracted with Amy Vogel, our Occupational Therapist, to produce some helpful videos-- chock full of coping skills and ideas for establishing routines, and other strategies for helping our distance learners succeed.  She produced these resources especially for ISLA, with our young immersion learners in mind.  This week the focus is on developing strong relationships with your ISLA student. The SECOND  video in this series is here: ISLA Support Video #2 In addition, here is a resource/reference sheet that goes along with this video:  Isla support handout #2 

Thank you for everything you are doing to help us on this journey. 




This school year is going to be very different in many ways! One thing that is changed from past years, is how we address students or staff that are ill. Now with the pandemic occurring, we have to look at symptoms that are common for many different illnesses, as potentially being COVID-19. That is the first diagnosis we need to think about, rather than first thinking that it’s just allergies, or just the flu, or brush it off as being nothing to worry about. Most people who are sick with COVID-19 have very mild symptoms, and many have just one or two symptoms. So, it will be important this year to take any symptom seriously and follow the appropriate recommendations on the flowchart of the Decision Tree.

We ask that you be in touch with us if your child is sick with any of the symptoms listed on that Decision Tree (also spelled out on the Home Screening Tool). We can help clarify the guidelines and help decide what the next steps should be. It will be very important that the exclusion from school guidelines are followed, in order to protect everyone in our school community. You can send an email to covid19reporting@isla.school, and the School Nurse will follow up with you. Please include the best phone number to reach you within the email.

We recognize that it will be frustrating for parents/guardians to hear that their student has to stay home for an extended period. We understand that it will be an inconvenience for everyone. But this is one of the many layers of protection that have been recommended to help protect all of us and our whole community, and is essential to stop the spread of COVID. Please don’t think of this quarantine or exclusion time as a punishment, but rather it is something you can do to keep others safe and healthy.

The most important thing for this school year is: stay home if you are sick (don’t tough it out!) or when you are exposed to a confirmed positive case of COVID.

Please reference the following documents from the MN Department of Health. The Attendance Guide  helps answer any questions you might have about when your child should stay at home, and when they can return to school. It lays out several scenarios and what would happen in each case, it helps guide you through the flowcharts on the Decision Tree. The Home Screening Tool is a checklist that you can reference each morning to make the determination of whether or not your student should attend school. If you answer “Yes” to any of the questions on this tool, please reach out to ISLA by sending an email to covid19reporting@isla.school. If you have a copy of the “CDC Daily Home Screening for Students” checklist, please get rid of that and use this Home Screening Tool from the MDH instead. The CDC checklist does not reflect the most current guidelines. As more research is done and information is gathered, the CDC and MDH do periodically update and change their guidelines and recommendations. The COVID-19 resource page on the ISLA website will reflect the most current information.

COVID-19 Attendance Guide for Parents & Families

Home Screening Tool for COVID-19 Symptoms

COVID-19 Decision Tree for People in Schools

These resources, along with many more valuable links, can also be accessed from the green “COVID-19 UPDATES” button at the top of the ISLA homepage. You will also find a link to the covid19reporting@isla.school email address, to quickly report any exposure you have to a person with confirmed COVID-19 or if you have any suspected COVID-19 symptoms. This email will go directly to the appropriate ISLA staff, and you will get a response back regarding what the next steps should be.

If you have any questions or concerns, or need any clarification, please reach out to the School Nurse. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work together to have another great school year! Be safe and stay healthy!

Tanya Nelson RN, LSN

International Day of Peace

Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on September 21. This year more than ever we need to reflect on our work of developing inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. With this in mind, as is our ISLA tradition, next Monday we are joining in solidarity with IB schools from around the world to recognize this day. All students who are in the building and at home, will be asked to wear white tops. We will be taking a photo and making a short video joining our online learners with our in-person learners. Let's shape peace together!

PTO Community Meeting

JOIN US!  The first community PTO meeting will be held October 13th at 6:30 by Zoom.  Everyone is welcome to attend and we will be having a speaker, topic TBD. The PTO board is looking forward to a great year ahead, even if it is an unusual one!  More details to follow in the coming weeks.


Looking for easy ways to help support the great work that the PTO does for our kids and their school?  Here are two great options!

Mabel’s Labels:  You can find your child’s things easily in the lost and found by marking them with bright, durable, Mabel’s Labels. Go to https://campaigns.mabelslabels.com/ and click on ‘Select your School/Organization and choose International Spanish Language Academy.  A portion of your purchase will support the PTO.

Amazon Smile: Shop at Amazon?  You can have a portion of your purchase donated to the PTO!  Go to https://smile.amazon.com/ and search for International Spanish Language Academy.  Then just make sure to bookmark AmazonSmile and use it for all your Amazon shopping needs.

Download this app to scan in your receipts to make easy money for our school!

Go to: Home - Box Tops for Education