ISLA February Newsletter

September 29, 2019

Emily Smith

Administrative Assistant

Queridas Familias,      

This past month after the winter break was, as usual, a flurry of activity.  Once again, the hallways were filled with smiles and laughter as ISLA student rejoined their friends and teachers after the time apart.  Many students rushed to utilize the new drinking fountain that parent volunteers helped install over the winter break (thank you!) and began to calculate the plastic water bottles they will not have to use over the course of the school year by using the built in “eco” counter.

Students were welcomed back with our first assembly of the year, which the Student Council coordinated in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and shared information about how his accomplishments in the areas of civil rights and nonviolent resistance are a perfect example of living the International Baccalaureate Learner Profile.  Students also enjoyed a dance performance from Ernesto Gutarra, a guest teacher who visited ISLA for part of this month from Perú, and shared his knowledge of Afro-Peruvian rhythm, the “cajón” and dance routines.  

On January 27th, PTO Winter Family night was also a big success.  There was a great turnout, and ISLA students had a great time dancing and playing, while parents visited and got caught up on family events.  I would like to thank the PTO for the thoughtful planning of the activities that closely align with our mission of creating empathic global citizens, and thank you all for participating in these service learning opportunities to help our veterans, the Humane Society, the ICA food shelf, and hospitalized children.

Recently, some families in the district might have received communication from Hopkins Schools regarding a potential grade alignment discussion that is being explored by the Hopkins School Board.  This would change the grade alignment for Hopkins Schools for elementary to serve K-5, for junior high to serve grades 6-8, and the high school would serve grades 9-12.  The Hopkins School District will be holding community meetings on February Feb. 6 and Feb. 16 from 6:30-8 p.m., in the Hopkins High School cafeteria. More information can be found here:   I will attend one of the meetings with members of the ISLA board to determine what this will mean for ISLA students and families, and we will keep you informed as we know more.   Later this month, we will conduct our lottery, from the biggest pool of student candidates ever: 130 as of today’s count.  Interest in ISLA continues to grow, and we thank you all for spreading the word about our mission of immersion and the IB! You are an integral part of passing on the story of our success.

Best Regards,  


Wanted: Your Passion for ISLA!

Looking for a way to help support the mission and oversight of our amazing school? ISLA needs you! We are looking for interested community members, teachers, and parents to fill several upcoming vacancies for three-year terms, beginning June 30, 2017. No previous experience necessary, but some areas of expertise we currently need include law, finance, human resources, marketing, fundraising, or education.

Because ISLA is a charter school, ISLA’s Board of Directors operates as its own school district. The Board is responsible for overseeing the general operations of the school, implementing policies and procedures, and long term financial planning. There are a number of different committees on which Board members can serve.

Questions can be directed to Gina Rumore, Election and Nominating Committee Chair, at

 If you are interested in applying, please submit a Statement of Interest to the Election and Nominating Committee by February 13, 2017. Click here for Statement of Interest 2017. A sample ballot, including nominated candidates, will be posted on the school’s website in April 2017 and the election for office will occur in connection with the annual meeting in May 2017.


ISLA Speed Rope Jump Contest

Dear ISLA Parents,

Like in years past, we are having the Jump Rope contest. Currently we are finishing the Jump Rope unit and the contest will take place on Tuesday February 7th in the ISLA gym. We invite parents, guardians, grandparents, relatives, and friends to watch.

I appreciate your support and enthusiasm in this activity to promote exercise and a healthy lifestyle.

These are the participating groups:

  • Division I - Grades 1 and 2 – starts at 1:15. All observing classes must be in the gym 5 minutes before the contest starts.
  • Division II - Grades 3 and 4 – starts at 1:55.  All observing classes must be in the gym 5 minutes before the contest starts.
  • Division III - Grades 5 and 6 – starts at 2:30. All observing classes must be in the gym 5 minutes before the contest starts.

Each selected student will have 2 ten second turns during the contest. The top contestant will be the one with the most jumps in 10 seconds. Six students (Three boys and three girls) in each division will receive awards for third, second and first place.

If you have any questions, please contact me at


Sr. Díaz

ISLA Spirit Week

ISLA spirit week is February 6-10th.

Here are the Spirit Week Themes:

Monday:  Día de Gemelos:  Students dress identically with a friend or two. 

Tuesday: Personaje Favorito:  Students dress up like their favorite book character. 

Wednesday: Día de Pijama: Students wear pajamas to school. 

Thursday: Día Deportivo: Students show their team spirit or dress like an athlete. 

Friday: Día Tropical:  Students will brighten up the winter days by wearing something tropical.

Parent Spotlight, Q&A
February 2017

By Heather Copps, ISLA Marketing Chair

Ximena Rayo

Sra. Rayo has been ISLA’s Assistant Director since our third year. Last year she stepped in as Interim Director to ensure a smooth transition for our students until Sr. Perrin’s arrival. She currently serves in the Minnesota Coding in the Classroom Leadership group, a statewide cohort. Some people may not realize that she is also an ISLA parent! She and her husband Bob have two sons, Matteo and Geo. Geo is in 5th grade at ISLA. 

Q: Can you tell me something about yourself and your connection to ISLA? 

A: I had been involved with Immersion Education as well as Technology Integration for almost twenty years by the time I came to ISLA. I have been a Physical Education teacher, a Computer Specialist, a Curriculum Coordinator and a School Administrator. I grew up in Santiago, Chile and attended a school which was one of the first to have IB in Chile. When I heard of this new school "ISLA" which was both Spanish Immersion and IB, I thought I needed to be a part of it! It has been wonderful to be a part of ISLA as a parent and staff member. I have seen how the little school I started working at has grown to over 300 students this year. 

Q: What has inspired to give your time and talent to ISLA? Why is it important to give? 

A: When I started, I was only half time at ISLA but most people didn't even know that because I was in the building all the time! In a charter school each staff member has multiple responsibilities. We all do much more than we would in a traditional public school. We are a small school that receives far less funding compare to our neighboring districts. So, yes money is definitely one way to give, but ISLA can't exist without a lot of volunteers. The numbers of parents, teachers and community members who are involved in many different ways at our school is incredible and amazing! We have a great school because we all care and we are committed to making each day a fantastic day for kids. 

Q: What makes ISLA so special? 

A: ISLA is a wonderful place. We are very mission-driven, so we have always stayed focused on our immersion and IB values. We also recognize that education continues to change and evolve, so we want to encourage inquiry, problem solving, & global mindedness. Right now we are in the process of creating a “MakerSpace” in our building. Last year we participated for the first time in the Hour of Code at the beginning of December, which was a great opportunity for our 6th graders to lead by planning and delivering the activities for each grade level. We did it again this year. We also created extracurriculars that promote coding. I have been extremely lucky to be accepted into the Technology Integration Cohort at TIES* last year and into the MN Coding in the Classroom Leadership Cohort by Code Savvy this year. There is much to know and learn, but little by little we are helping students be technology creators rather than just consumers. 

*TIES (Technology and Information Educational Services) is a Minnesota collaborative owned by 48 member districts. The mission is to leverage collective wisdom to make technology work across school communities.

President's Day - No School

Monday, February 20th there will be no school in honor of President’s Day.  If you need childcare for this day, please sign up at  24 hour notice is requested to accommodate your child.

ISLA Technology Committee needs you!

We are currently planning  for improvements to ISLA’s technology infrastructure, vendor support and various projects (such as the computer lab repurpose/replacement).  We need a few more with computer/technical knowledge to help determine needs and assess options.

If you could help via e-mail or in person (at our monthly meeting generally held the 1st Thursday of the month at 3:40 pm), please contact us at