“No cuentes los días, haz que los días cuenten.” “Don’t count the days, make the days count.” – Muhammad Ali
March 5th, 2021
It was quite an emotional homecoming for our grade 3 and grade 4 students on February 8th last month, and for our 5th and 6th graders on the 22nd. As their laughter filled this building again (although muffled through their facemasks), ISLA began to feel whole once more, much like your grandmother’s house on Thanksgiving when everyone finally makes it home. Of course, there will be more transitions for our students, for families, and for our faculty, but for now things are going quite smoothly and everyone is easily falling back into their old routines. Robust displays of learning can be seen and heard in the classrooms, in the hallways, and has even spilled out into the lobby; old friends have been reunited, and new friendships have sparked, all with close adherence to our Covid protocols. It was a big help to move all of the books and book stacks out of the media center, and much of the furniture out of each classroom. We were able to move all of this material to the new building, to a section of this new facility which will not undergo renovation. This has allowed us to conduct movement classes in the library, created more space in each classroom, and also permitted us to spread out our lunch schedule to ensure proper social distancing while the students are eating.
Busing: 2021-2022 School Year: As part of an intensive RFP process, we were very excited to interview a bus company and select them for a bus contract. This will ensure that all current bus riders in the Hopkins district will still be able to ride the bus, and we were even able to expand the bus offerings with an expanded bus zone. The contract is currently under legal review by our attorney, and details regarding the zone and participation will be forthcoming shortly, but I wanted to give everyone this great news, as well as advise you all of one significant change which will come about as a result. Namely, for this bid to work in our budget, we will have to change our start and end bell times. Currently, that looks like we will have to change our official start time to 9:20 am (Arrival at (9:00 instead of 8:45), and change our end time to 4:15. We are still working out what this means in terms of our overall schedule, but it clearly means slightly longer class periods, and a longer lunch and recess (which we have needed for some time anyway--we always felt as if our lunch period was too short).
2021-2022 Calendar: I encourage you all to take a look at our calendar for the upcoming school year. ISLA 2021-2022 Calendar. One major change is that we will be having early releases instead of late starts for our staff development, and we will utilize many of those early releases for teacher grading/assessment time. We anticipate that this will allow us to move to a grading system in which we can send a Toddle report card home after every Unit of Inquiry, (every six weeks). While this calendar states that the early releases will be 2 hours early, it is quite possible that our bus contract will require us to extend the early releases to 2.5 hours or so.
Covid 19 protocols: I would like to thank you for your help and your vigilance with Covid 19 protocols. Because of your precautions, such as quarantining after travel, erring on the side of caution by keeping your children home when they display symptoms, etc, we will be able to keep in person learning in place much longer.
ISLA Lottery: I am pleased to report that last month we conducted our biggest lottery ever, with over 213 participants, and 158 in Kindergarten alone. As we hoped, we were able to get close to filling many of the upper grades as well, and we even filled an additional section of first grade. Due to our amazing faculty, staff, students, and community--the word is out: immersion programming works extremely well, and coupled with IB, it is even better. It is very likely that we will start the school year with upwards of 385 students! We are looking forward to welcoming all of these new families to the ISLA community.
Standardized assessments: Many districts anticipated that Minnesota would receive a federal waiver for testing due to possible Covid 19 learning loss, but it turns out that this is not the case. This week, we received an update from the Minnesota Department of Education, and they will indeed require MCA testing this spring. We are looking forward to having our students buck the odds and excel once again on these assessments. More info will be forthcoming. Si se puede!
Language Ambassadors approved: Another long awaited piece of news landed in my inbox yesterday from the Amity Exchange Program, with the news that the State Department has given the green light to the J1 visa program which was first cancelled by the White house last summer, (and later delayed by Amity due to Covid 19). This is great news and we look forward to the start of the interview process.
Pre-k rollout coming Tuesday: After a few minor logistical delays with the launch of our pre-k program, we expect to be able to go live with that section of our website on Tuesday.
Don’t forget: Students can wear purple on Monday, March 8th for International Women’s day!
Thank you for everything you are doing to help us on this journey.
On Monday, March 8, ISLA students and staff will be wearing purple in celebration of International Women's Day. International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women....Marked annually on March 8th, International Women's Day is one of the most important days of the year to: celebrate women's achievements. raise awareness about women's equality.
Three wonderful weeks of camp for kids! Each week has a totally different theme and activities. They are all taught by ISLA staff. Come enjoy the summer and let’s get back to speaking Spanish or let’s start learning a new language!
ISLA camps are for immersion students and heritage language speakers, fluent in Spanish.
Half Day Camps are for all Kindergarteners and First grade students who want to have an immersion experience. No language skills are needed or required.
See Summer Camps at this link to register: https://www.isla.school/explore/summer-camps
ISLA families may be familiar with the National Spanish Exam, a motivational contest from the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP) that recognizes student accomplishment in the study of Spanish. Sixth graders at ISLA have a history of high achievement on the National Spanish Exam. These awards celebrate hard work by students and teachers at our school. The AATSP has restructured the contest and the National Spanish Exam is no longer offered to students below seventh grade. However, the new “National Spanish Challenge” is available to younger Spanish learners. ISLA students in first through sixth grade will participate in the National Spanish Challenge between March 8-19. Contest results are anticipated in late May or early June. For more information, please visit the AATSP website.
Lunes, 22 de marzo: Día de carreras - Career Day
Imagine your future self! What do you want to be or dream about being when you grow up? Try out a new gig besides being an awesome ISLA student!
Martes, 23 de marzo: Día deportivo - Sporty Day
An ISLA classic at heart. Wear your favorite jersey or athletic gear. Game on!
Miércoles, 24 de marzo: Día 2020 - 2020 Day
Time to get creative! Think of something memorable from a whacky year. Dress up in your distance learner go-to outfit, become the SuperHero from IStation. 2020 was tough, but we can still find joyful memories!
Jueves, 25 de marzo: Día cómodo - Comfy Day
Sweatpants have never been more coveted! Come to school in your coziest PJs or leisure wear. Time to snuggle in and learn!
Viernes, 26 de marzo: Día de película - Movie Day
Lights, camera, action! Dress up as your favorite character from a movie or show. Or, get glamorous and dress for a movie premier. Anything goes on this spectacular Friday!