2023-11-17 Noticias de ISLA y ISLA PTO

November 17, 2023

Emily Smith

Administrative Assistant

Letter from the Director

I can no other answer make, but, thanks, And thanks, and ever thanks.”  William Shakespeare, “Twelfth Night”

Queridas Familias, 

Every year, I feel as if the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving offer us the opportunity for introspection and gratitude, and open the door to discuss this with our children.  Children are perhaps even more capable than we are of expressing gratitude, and its practice reaps massive awards. We all remember what Piglet from Winnie the Pooh said that day: ““Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.” — (A.A. Milne, 1926).  At the risk of inundating you with this same message, I would like to reflect on what this means for me in the ISLA community again this year. 

There have been some interesting studies recently about the benefits of gratitude in our lives.  Etymology dictionaries tell us that the word gratitude came into the language from the Latin gratus, meaning “pleasing”, and “thankful”,  and from Old French, meaning “grace” which in turn gave us the Spanish “gracia”.   It turns out that this bit of “gracia”--  and the gratifying  expression that something is pleasing and we are happy to have it in our lives-- actually helps us connect to something bigger than ourselves; in fact, it can be beneficial in overcoming some of the challenges that life throws our way.   As the Harvard Health Publication points out, gratitude  helps in countless ways, including improving overall physical and mental well being, developing empathy, and enhancing relationships.  

LIke many things, developing the skill of gratitude and capturing its advantages takes practice.   Dr. Robert A. Emmons  and Dr. Jeffrey Froh, two psychologists who have done much of the legwork on gratitude, point out that one of the ways to help your kids develop this skill is to have them keep a “gratitude journal”-- in which they jot down things that they are thankful for.  As they tracked students in their study, they found that students who did this got higher grades, aimed higher in their goals, expressed more satisfaction in general, were less materialistic, and had a genuine desire to give back to their community (Emmons & Froh, 2008, 2011). 

I am grateful to be part of ISLA-- a community which embraces inclusion and equity, and understands that preparing students for success includes fostering global citizenship, in addition to the ever present pursuit of achievement.  As you know, an integral part of our mission is to “empower the whole child by nurturing the development of personal growth, strong character, academic excellence, and global vision”. In the past few years many parents have reached out and expressed how grateful they felt to be part of a nurturing environment which creates a safe space for their children to express themselves and be themselves.  I would tend to agree, and add that we are thankful for all you do for ISLA as well.  

Wishing you a very happy Thanksgiving, 




  • Emmons, Robert; How Gratitude Can Get You Through Hard Times, Greater Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life, May 13, 2013.
  • Froh, Jeffrey J., Sefick, William J.;  Emmons, Robert A. Counting blessings in early adolescents: An experimental study of gratitude and subjective well-being, Journal of School Psychology 46 (2008), pp.213-233 
  • Froh, Jeffrey J; Emmons,Robert A;  Card,  Noel A.; Bono, Giacomo;  Wilson, Jennifer A.; Gratitude and the Reduced Costs of Materialism in Adolescents, Journal of Happiness Studies, Volume 12, No. 2, 2011
  • Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. Twelfth Night. Boston ; New York :Houghton Mifflin, 1928.
  • Milne, A. A. (Alan Alexander), 1882-1956. ( 2003). Winnie-the-Pooh.
  • Zakrzewski, Vicki; Gratitude Activities for the Classroom, Greater Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life, November 19, 2013.

Calendar of Events

  • November 21 - ISLA Board Meeting, 6:30 pm
  • November 22-24 - Thanksgiving Holiday, No School
  • December 1 - End of Trimester 1
  • December 6 - Noodles and Company restaurant night, 4-8 pm
  • December 8 - Grading Day, No School
  • December 13 - PTO Community Meeting, 6:30 pm
  • December 14 - Future Parent Information Night, 6:30 pm
  • December 19 - ISLA Board Meeting, 6:30 pm
  • December 25-January 5 - Winter Break, No School

• • •  Top Notes for this week  • • •

Give to the Max 2023
This year's goal is $30K with a participation rate goal of 75%. (Please note that participation rate is NOT dollar-based. It is based on the percentage of families that donate.)

Donations are open now at https://www.givemn.org/organization/Islapto

Please share the link with your community, family and friends!! Ask them to support your community with their donation to the ISLA PTO this year! You can also consider asking if your workplace matches your donation!

ISLA’s Give to the Max fundraising is focused on enabling funding for:

  • Our Language Ambassador program to bring native Spanish speakers from around the world to work directly with teachers and students in the classroom every day
  • Teachers and staff with classroom materials and staff support
  • Families for field trip support, classroom parties and extracurricular activities
  • ISLA community building events (Yahoo/Boohoo, Back to School Picnic, Dia de Los Muertos, Winter Family Night, Spring Family Night, and others)

The classrooms with the highest participation will win the following prizes:

  • 1st place – Classroom pizza party, teacher appreciation prize and non-uniform day!!!
  • 2nd place – Special treat for the class and non-uniform day!
  • 3rd place – Non-uniform day!

Any classrooms that achieve 100% participation will win the 1st place prize!

Treat your teacher to a cozy, covered parking spot for the rest of the year– The first classroom to reach 100% participation rate will win this great prize!!

Many ways to donate:

– Venmo @ISLA-PTO  

– Bring Cash or Check to teacher

– Online through GiveMN.org

– Stock Donation through StockDonator.com
– Make sure to check if your workplace does donation matches!!

IMPORTANT NOTE: Please reference GTMD and list your child’s name, teacher and grade for classroom participation credit. THANK YOU so much for your continued efforts in making ISLA a great place for our kids and families.

• • •  PTO Website • • •

Website overhaul underway!!

Thanks to ISLA Parent Bob Sparkins, I am slowly revamping the ISLA PTO website!! It is still a work-in-progress, but we are working towards it being a one-stop shop for all things ISLA that you may need to know… Fiesta, Volunteer opportunities, donation needs and more!! Feel free to reach out to me (Caitlin Edstrom) at ptosecretary@isla.school with any questions about this project!

• • •  Language Ambassador Updates • • •  

Looking for Host Families

The LA team is looking for SPRING host families. The main requirement for hosting an LA in your home is to have their own bedroom! This is such a great opportunity for your kids (and you) to be further immersed in the Spanish language and learn about another culture from these wonderful humans!! You can gain a lifetime friend for you & your kids by hosting an LA and making loads of memories. Stipends & grocery gift cards are available to host families along with support from our amazing LA Coordinator, MK! If you are interested in learning more, please reach out to islalaprogram@gmail.com or fill out this google form! Have questions? You can also go over the new LA Family FAQ sheet.

THANK YOU SO MUCH to those that came out to carve pumpkins with the LAs. What a fun evening!!! We are looking forward to planning our next LA event– If you have ideas for fun activities, please reach out to islalaprogram@gmail.com

• • •  Spirit Store • • •  

Thank you to those that ordered from our recent Spirit Store opening!!

Your orders will be delivered to your child’s classroom the week of December 18th!

The Spirit Store is provided by the ISLA Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) for families to purchase uniform approved shirts and sweatshirts and show their school spirit! The Spirit Store is a fundraiser for the PTO, and proceeds support PTO sponsored events such as the back to school picnic, provide funds for classroom supplies and field trips, and also supports the LA program.

• • • Community PTO Meetings • • •  

Next meeting: 12/13 6:00-7:30pm (food at 6, meeting begins at 6:30!)
Where? ISLA conference room & playground or gym (Enter through main doors, we will have someone waiting to let you in)!
What? Dinner, time to meet & chat with other ISLA parents while we share-out all the things the PTO has coming.

We will also have a speaker coming to us from The Pacer Center!
It is a parent training and information center for families of children and youth with all disabilities from birth to young adults. They also have a National Bullying Prevention Center to provide resources designed to benefit ALL students, including those with disabilities. Pacer is beneficial for families, educators and other professionals who work with students with or without disabilities. You can learn more at: https://www.pacer.org/

(Zoom meeting link to come)
6:30– 7:15 PACER speaker
7:15– 7:30 ISLA PTO updates

View prior meeting slides:  Link to PTO Community Meeting Slides & Recordings

– Please RSVP –

It will help us plan dinner portions as well as childcare (provided by our LAs)  

PTO Community Meeting Attendance

We are so excited to be hosting these monthly restaurant nights!! Thank you to ISLA-family owned Chevy’s for hosting us this past week– We will provide a running total from Chevy’s and all of our restaurant nights soon!!

• • • Upcoming • • •

Wednesday 12/6 4–8pm
Noodles & Co.
8120 MN-7, St Louis Park, MN 55426

Wednesday 1/18 4–9pm
Cafe Zupas
13000 Technology Dr., Eden Prairie, MN 55344

• • • More ways to get involved • • •

Serve lunch to your kids!

While this isn’t technically a “PTO-sponsored” volunteer opportunity, it is a really fun thing to do at school. So I just wanted to give a quick shoutout to Jorge in the kitchen!! This year was the first time I’ve been able to volunteer for lunch, and it’s been a blast both times I’ve been in. Jorge is fun to work with and it’s so cool to see your kids get excited to see you during their day (you can also go sit with them for a bit between serving)!! Plus, you can get a peek at how DELICIOUS the food has been this year with our new vendor– YUM!! Sign-ups are posted about a month in advance to help plan your schedule. Come try it out!!

Click here to see available slots!

Box Tops for Education!

Download the app on your phone and search for International Spanish Language Academy to begin benefiting your kids’ school! After setting up your account, you can send digital receipts via email or scan a hard copy in the app. No more ripping boxes up!!

Use any of the below referral links to give ISLA an extra bonus when you sign-up:

Mabel’s Labels

Keep your kid’s stuff out of the lost & found!! Check out the Tag Mates (or even the stamps) from Mabel’s Labels! This is yet another quick & easy fundraiser for the ISLA PTO– 20% of proceeds will go back to the ISLA PTO!

Just Search for International Spanish Language Academy at www.campaigns.mabelslabels.com

Teacher Wishlists!

Our wonderful teachers work so hard to make their classrooms welcoming and comfortable for our kids. This year, the PTO has asked that our teacher’s share a list of items they need to complete this huge task. Here are their lists, broken down by grade. Any item is a huge help for our teachers & is SO very appreciated by them AND your kids in their rooms. We are still awaiting a few lists, and will send out updated links when they are ready! If you have access to donations of comparable items outside of Amazon, just reach out to me at ptosecretary@Isla.school and I’ll get their list updated!

El Nido
Group wishlist for all of El Nido

Doris Bonifacio Salas
Silvia Herrero-Fernandez
Maryann Najera
Luis Vivas

1st Grade
Bonyin King
Erika Leal Gil
Edily Sanchez

2nd Grade
Irene Martinez
Miriam Oropeza
Lina Pinto Perez

3rd Grade
Corene Adaxms
Rosa Fernandez
Patricia Floe

4th Grade
Riana Dilley
Roberto Izquierdo
Pilar Robles

5th Grade
Stewin Bernal
Jordi Costa

6th Grade
Rachel Karlov

Exploración & Art: Adriana Maldonado
Exploración & Art: Ana Luisa Galleres (link to come)
Physical Education: Igor Diaz
Tech: Edgar Avendano (link to come)
Music: Danyelo Rivera
Lunch: Jorge Gomez

Special Education
Ruth Garcia
Tatiana Gordillo
Thairys Rodriguez

Emily Smith
Jessica Gielen

Nurse: Tanya Nelson

• • • Tickets Now Available • • •  

When: Saturday, March 9th, 2024 6-11pm
Where: Bloomington Event Center

Fiesta de la Primavera is ISLA PTO’s biggest fundraiser AND party of the year for parents, teachers, LAs, staff and more from our ISLA community. This is an adult-only event where we will have food, games, prizes, music, dancing and our live & silent auctions! It is a time where we can come together as a community, connect or reconnect and celebrate!! All proceeds raised at Fiesta de la Primavera go back to the ISLA PTO to support the Language Ambassador Program where we bring student teachers to our school from native-Spanish speaking countries. They provide support for our classrooms and enrich the experience our kids have everyday at school by sharing their unique cultures & stories both in-school and with after-school activities, social gatherings and more! It's such an amazing program & I'm grateful to take part in that coming together.

• • • Ways to help with Fiesta  • • •

Volunteer your time!!!
We will respect the time you have available whether it be 1hr or 10hrs per week/month/etc.