2023-03-31 Noticias de ISLA y ISLA PTO

March 31, 2023

Emily Smith

Administrative Assistant

Letter from the Director

(link to message in Spanish https://drive.google.com/file/d/13Cqban3hZU7szB84zDFcSn_U753jU3Iw/view?usp=share_link)

March 31st, 2023

Queridas Familias: 

I hope you are doing well today as we head into spring break--which will begin in typical Minnesota fashion with a good old fashioned April snowstorm. 😀  

I wanted to reach out to you, as after the message sent by the Executive Committee last week, I have received many phone calls, emails, and had some dropoff/hallway chats, so I thought some clarification was needed. 

My contract expires at the end of the NEXT school year,  in June 2024, and rest assured that I will continue leading the school with the same enthusiasm and commitment to our children, staff, and the ISLA community until then. It has been a pleasure to serve as Executive Director for this amazing community of students, staff and family that we call ISLA for the past eight years, but at the same time, it is an opportunity to continue my professional growth and I look forward to taking on new challenges.

At the March 21st board meeting, the board voted to open a search for my successor, and have begun the process of selecting a search committee. While I will not be including my name in the search, I am happy to offer inputs to the committee as is helpful and necessary to ensure a smooth transition. I am confident that the timing of this is right, and that ISLA will continue moving forward under thoughtful leadership after the search committee makes its selection. 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your commitment, engagement, and thoughtful collaboration in the work that we have done through all these years to ensure the successful implementation of ISLA’s mission. As I reflect on my time here since 2016, I am proud of what we have done together, and at the end of this letter I have included some highlights of our collaborative achievements.

It feels like only yesterday when I moved my family from South America back to Minnesota in January of 2016 to further ISLA’s mission.  While I feel a sense of intense pride over our accomplishments at ISLA thus far, I know that the time has come for new leadership that will help ISLA continue moving forward and for me to embark on a new professional venture.

I am confident that the ISLA search committee will find a candidate worthy of our mission, our extraordinary students and families, and our talented faculty; just as I know that ISLA will continue on with its successful and innovative path.  I look forward to collaborating with everyone on more exciting projects in my final year at ISLA.

Thank you for the time together, for your continued support, and for trusting me with your most precious cargo on this glorious journey. 



Highlights of accomplishments at ISLA 2016-2023
March 31st, 2023

Strategic Planning

In 2018 we started the process of creating a new strategic plan, as the old plan was set to expire, and was more of an operational manual to running a charter school. We saw this as an opportunity to develop a visionary map to bring us into the next era. We utilized extensive ideation sessions and community discussions and resources to land on a plan which was innovative, inspired, as well as addressing whole child learning, and key elements of our mission. This plan is being executed and has been the foundation to many of the important decisions that ISLA has taken in these years, such as expanding the school and buying the new building, building a new gymnasium, enhancing our programming, establishing a DEI committee, increasing enrollment, adding new positions and more classrooms, hiring a media specialist, expanding the school library, and more. 


As a public charter school, our sources of income are limited, so right after starting here at ISLA in 2016 I began to look around for financial opportunities and new sources of revenue for the school. With that in mind, we started from the ground-up 3 distinct business lines which included the concept design, curriculum development, hiring process, recruiting, among others. In 2018 we created “Aventuras” the before/after school programming, in 2021 we started El Nido, the pre-k programming, and due to increased demand of our Spanish immersion and high-quality programs we have expanded our offerings at our Summer Camp.  All of these new business lines have brought significant revenue for ISLA; this year alone, this section of the budget will bring in close to $750,000. 

Untapped Academic Funding, Program Review/Enhancement:

Academically, ISLA has always been strong, but there were a few curricular opportunities which were ramped up in the past 7 years. First of all, in 2017, I found, applied for, and secured a grant for funding reading and math interventions called ADSIS. Through this initiative, ISLA was able to fund expansion of and maintenance of our RTI (Response to Intervention) programming in Mathematics, Language, and Behavior. By the end of my tenure in 2024, ISLA will have received over $1,150,000 of this new funding that gives students the opportunity to work with reading and math interventionists to build back important skills. 

Another source of funding which I located, applied for, and secured for ISLA is our Q-Comp and TDE (Teacher Development and Evaluation) funding.  When I started, I noticed that the teacher evaluation system needed updating, and after an arduous application process, we began to receive Q-Comp funding in 2017. Through this program, we were able to increase funding for professional development and training, we started a mentoring and staff portfolio program, and teachers continued to utilize data to make informed instructional decisions in their PLC’s. By the end of my tenure, ISLA will have received over $500,000 of new funding through this program. 

On the International Baccalaureate (IB) front, my previous experience with IB in an international school provided a good base to guide ISLA through two IB-PYP reviews--both which were led by IB Coordinator Karen Speich, and select faculty.  Also, based on the global focus of the IB program, ISLA began to observe numerous United Nations International Days and started to utilize the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to organize some of our curriculum. In terms of technology, we were able to reach one-to-one status with our chromebooks and get high speed fiber by applying to E-Rate. Most recently, we were able to select and implement a new Mathematics curriculum, and finally, we implemented Design/Makerspace curriculum (Exploracion) and built a laboratory classroom with 3-D printers,  which benefits students by reinforcing our “Engineering is Elementary” curriculum, as well as enhancing STEM,  Design thinking, and Coding capabilities. 


As the school grew from 300 students in the winter of 2016 to the 400 students of today (440 with El Nido), it quickly became apparent that we would need a bigger facility, or we would need to build on the old campus.  For example, every day after lunch, our Language Ambassadors and Educational Assistants frantically folded up our lunch tables and mopped the floors as quickly as they could, as there was always a class waiting to come in for PE class shortly after. When we located our current facility, we immediately knew that we had found our new home.  Over the course of the next 18 months, we tackled through the biggest move of our lives--building out our current space and tripling our footprint (30k sq ft to 100k sq ft) in the middle of the Covid 19 pandemic, supply chain issues, and community shutdowns.  In the end, it was all worth it, as we were able to see the joy of ISLA students playing and learning in the enhanced green spaces, the brand new gym, the Exploracion classroom, the open space library, and classrooms with ample natural light. 

Human Resources:

One of our priorities on the HR committee is to constantly seek out HR benefits every year, all while maintaining market rates to help make ISLA the preferred place to teach and learn. However, when I started, I noticed that there was not any tool for gauging staff needs.  After implementing a yearly staff satisfaction survey in 2017 so we could find out more about the needs of staff and faculty, we have since added benefits such as short term disability, vision, an FSA, a 403B, tuition reimbursement, and staff discounts for their own children on programming. 

Likewise, I noticed that the evaluation process for the Executive Director was not integral and did not allow for enough input from the community, so I asked the school board to implement a 360 degree evaluation, as I had seen in my international school experience how this process allowed for accountability, stakeholder input, and created a more positive institutional growth. 

One of my proudest moments was being selected by the Minnesota Department of Education for two consecutive years, as the lead State representative to travel to Spain to interview teachers for all of the Spanish immersion schools in Minnesota. I have taken even greater pleasure at being able to find new great talent from around the world, and helping build and foster capacity my team by creating a new organizational structure,  

Pandemic Navigation:

Navigating the high seas of Covid 19 policy and procedure made us all into armchair quarterbacks and infectious disease experts, but our ISLA staff and community proved to be up to the challenge of the global pandemic.  However, at times it felt as it was triage in the halls of the Department of Education, with their eleventh hour changes and embargoed calls from the Governor, the constant shifting of models, social distancing and contact tracing requirements, and confusing and contradictory instructions for applying for and utilizing Covid funds. But through it all, we stayed healthy (in fact, I have never taken a sick day at ISLA in my seven years--I know, I know…knock on wood 😀), and we made it through the other side to educate a world which will never be the same again. 


Jeremy Perrin
Executive Director ISLA

Fundraising Committee Corner

Calling all Grandparents!

Please consider joining La Brigada de los Abuelos. A great opportunity to meet other grandparents and support ISLA. Feel free to reach out to Abby at awalker@abbeydelsol.com or 612-889-5607 with any questions.

The grandparents are looking to get together and talk shop in early April. Gracias!

Aventuras Open Over Spring Break

Aventuras is being offered for the week of Spring Break, from April 3rd to 7th, don't miss out on it. Sign up here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc6ROIJ0zAYvE5efH-g3DOn78JVUrtGRAaPyW3Ukt_AzGGZpQ/viewform?usp=sf_link

Summer Camps!

There is still space available in our summer camps. You will want to register soon to ensure a spot for your child.

Grandeza de naturaleza: Nature’s Greatness!

June 26 - 30
Students entering grades 1-6

El jardín de kinder - Kinder Garden

June 26 - 30, 1/2 day camp
Students entering kindergarten

Movimiento total: Total Movement!

July 10 - 14
Students entering grades 1-6

Estación de creación: Creation Station

July 17 - 21
Students entering grades 1-6

Equipazo de verano: Summer Dream Team!

July 24 - 28
Students entering grades 1-6


It's time to purchase YEARBOOKS! ¡Ya es tiempo de comprar el ANUARIO!

Order your yearbook HERE today! Compre su anuario AQUÍ hoy!

We’re also looking for ISLA community photos to use in the yearbook! Use the links below to share your photos with the yearbook team. If you need to sign up for the first time, our school code is 1016123740893948. Please reach out to hestrada@isla.school with any questions.

También buscamos fotos de la comunidad de ISLA para usar en el anuario. Usa los vínculos abajo para compartir tus fotos con el equipo del anuario. Si necesitan registrarse por primera vez, el código escolar es 1016123740893948. Por cualquier pregunta, se pueden conectar con hestrada@isla.school.

El Nido
Phy Ed/Educ fisica
Spirit Week/Semana de espiritu
Teachers & Staff/Maestros y personal

Spring Extra-Curricular Activities

Spring extra-curricular activities will begin the week of April 17th. There will be no activities the week of April 10-14. Here are the spring offerings:

GoooooL! - Goal!

Students will learn and recognize sporting rules of fúbol (soccer)  by playing and putting into practice what they have learned during each class. Students will develop teamwork, while fine tuning their individual skills with each lesson. We will learn to receive and make passes, ball control, vision of the field and even some tricks, among many other techniques. Our goal is to train the students in the different aspects of the sport, starting with the physical as well as the tactical. All classes are taught in Spanish by our wonderful Language Ambassadors (LAs).

Who: Grades K-6, Maximum 15 students
When: Monday afternoons 3:50-4:50 pm, April 17-May 22
Where: Gym
Who:Profe Juan, Profe Daniel
Cost: $72.00, 6 sessions
Register here

VAMOS A BAILAR!!!! Let’s dance!

Spring has sprung! It’s time to put on your dancing shoes and dance with us!  This workshop is based on Latin rhythms such as Zumba, merengue, bachata, salsa, etc. Dancing is an aerobic form of exercise which has a lot of physical benefits. It helps development and improve coordination, mood, and range of motion because it actually uses the body as an instrument of expression and communication.

Who: Grades K-6, Maximum 25-30 students
When: Monday afternoons 3:50-4:50 pm
Weeks: April 17 - May 22
Where: Buenos Aires Room (the old gym)
Who: Profe Chema, Profe Leire, Profe Erick, Profe Raul
Cost: $72.00, 6 sessions
Register here


Do you want to have fun and learn how to create and design a video game? During these weeks we are going to explore the wide range of possibilities that Scratch and introduce our students into the coding world. They will be able to manipulate the computers and different materials to elaborate their own game and enjoy time developing their skills.

Who: Grades 4-6, Maximum 10 students
When: Mondays 3:50-4:50 pm
Weeks: April 17-May 22
Where: Computer lab
Who:  Profe Nuria, Profe Elena
Cost: $72.00, 6 sessions
Register here

Cartooning @ ISLA

What runs from ear-to-ear and is contagious? Give up? It’s the SMILE your child will have as they get to explore the fun, artistic world of Young Rembrandts cartooning! There’s no better time than now to sign up your child to have fun, be challenged artistically, and to create amazing pieces of artwork.

Who: K-6
When: Wednesdays, 3:50-4:50 pm
Weeks: April 19 - May 24
Where: Art room
Cost: $79.00, 6 sessions
Enroll online at https://bit.ly/islaspring23

Chess Club – Twin Cities Chess Club

This class begins on Thursday, April 20 and goes through May 25. Want to amaze your friends and impress your opponents? Want to increase your IQ while having fun playing chess and compete for various prizes? Learn from Twin Cities Chess Club instructors who have years of experience. Competitive Chess tournaments are scheduled once a year and students can play for real chess trophies! All levels are welcome. We have a great instructor for this class but he is not a Spanish speaker. $60 for 6 sessions. Register online at https://twincitieschessclub.com/school/registration.html

Classes will be 3:50 pm - 4:50 pm.
Art/Exploracion Room