September 29, 2019

Emily Smith

Administrative Assistant

Queridas Familias,    

Podrán cortar todas las flores, pero no podrán detener la primavera,” (“You can cut all the flowers, but you can’t keep Spring from coming”)   Pablo Neruda.

After a rainy and cold start to the season, we are finally enjoying some exceptional spring weather, and teachers and students are taking advantage of the sun to have class and reading groups outside.  At this time of the year, the pace is quickened; however, our staff remains focused on academic excellence as we guide students through the many activities and final projects for the school year.   

Sixth grade Exhibition Groups have begun meeting with their mentors from the community, and the school is bustling with activity from this culminating project. In the exhibition, 6th graders carry out inquiry into a real-life issue or problem, and conduct authentic research--interviewing knowledgeable people in the field from local organizations and from around the world. As they do this, they show an understanding of the five essential elements of the PYP—concepts, knowledge, skills, attitudes, and action. This year, the groups are all researching one of the United Nations Sustainable Development goals ( and the preliminary results look fascinating. They will present their findings on May 30th, at 6:30 pm, and all ISLA families are welcome to attend!

We have completed MCA testing, and we are looking at excellent results at this point.  The specific data is still embargoed from release to the public at this point, but it is looking as if our literacy and mathematics intervention efforts are coming to fruition.  As we head into NWEA (MAP) testing, we are hopeful that we will see growth in the necessary metrics as well, and teachers are looking forward to seeing that data to inform instruction for the upcoming school year.

This past month, we have been very lucky to have some special guests visit our school, and add to the cultural education component for our students. First, we were fortunate to have a band of international acclaim from Colombia called the “Herencia de Timbiqui” liven up an assembly, as they were literally on their way from the airport for a long awaited musical gig at the Dakota Club.  Students sang and danced to the style of music termed “Afro-Colombian,” and learned a bit about percussion and their culture as well.

In addition, to celebrate a month of activities revolving around literacy and poetry, we were extremely fortuitous this month to have one of Minnesota’s treasures from the world of performance and storytelling here at ISLA: author and playwright Kevin Kling.  Kling dazzled the students with his stories at an assembly, worked with a few smaller groups on presentation skills, and conducted a workshop with teachers as well.  

Later this month, we are looking forward to seeing you all at the spring concerts, which allow the students to show off their language prowess along with their musical accomplishments.




Field Day!

Field day will be held on Wednesday, May 24th.  Sr. Diaz needs volunteers to make this day run successfully.  If you are able to help, please contact Sr. Diaz at


Library News

All library books should have been returned this week.  Raquel Melendez will be sending home notices the week of May 18th regarding missing library books.  If you believe that you are getting a notice in error, please e-mail Raquel at

6th Grade Graduation

The 6th grade graduation ceremony will be held at 2 pm on Thursday, June 1st.  

Sixth grade parents and family are welcome to attend. 

5 Steps For Loving Exercise...Or At Least Not Hating It!

We all know the benefits of physical activity--increased energy, better cardiovascular health, reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke, and many more. But about 80% of Americans don't make exercise a regular habit, and 14% would go so far as saying they don't like exercise.

How do you overcome an exercise aversion? Here are some tips to help you incorporate exercise into your life--and maybe even learn to like it!


1. Find exercise that suits you. Find an exercise that best suits your personality. If you are a social person, do something that engages you socially--take a group exercise class, join a kickball team or walk with a group of friends. Or, if you prefer having time alone, walking or jogging solo might be a better fit for you. Also, it seems obvious, but do something that you find enjoyable. If you hate running, don't try to make yourself do it just because someone told you it's a great way to exercise. If you'd rather go kayaking, then do it. It needs to be something that you find fun, otherwise you'll find it hard to continue.

2. Make it a habit. It can take a little while for something to become a habit (most experts say 21 days), so give yourself the time to create a regular, routine. One way is to try to exercise around the same time every day, and even schedule it into your calendar. Exercise can become addictive in a positive way. Once it becomes a habit, you'll notice when you aren't doing something.

3. Build exercise into your life. Be honest with yourself. If you don't live close to a gym, it may be harder to be disciplined to exercise on your own. Likewise, if you aren't a morning person, don't plan on somehow getting up at the crack of dawn for the boot camp class. The key is building activity into your lifestyle so it is not disruptive. Find little ways to be active throughout the day. Park at the far end of the parking lot, use the stairs, take a walk while your kids are at soccer practice, take an extra lap or two around the mall if you are shopping, join your kids when they are playing on the playground!

4. Do smaller bouts of exercise. It's OK to break up your physical activity into smaller segments. The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes a day of exercise most days, but if that sounds overwhelming, try three 10-minute workout sessions. You could do a quick yoga session in the morning, take a brief walk on your lunch hour and, if you commute with public transportation, get off a stop earlier and walk the rest of the way.

Keep going! If you miss a day or a workout, don't worry about it! Everybody struggles with trying to juggle everything in our daily lives. Just make sure to keep going, get back to exercising the next day. It doesn't take too long to get back on track. It's easier to make something a habit again than it is starting from scratch. If it has already been a part of your regular routine, you can fall right back into it.


ISLA CLASS OF 2011 is graduating from High School

From an interview with four Hopkins High School Graduates

Luci Miller, Rachel Anderson, Chance Douglass & Kirsten Magaard

What are some of your favorite memories of ISLA?

  • Loved having Sra. Boeser for two years. She taught us how to sing Happy Birthday in 5 languages. She let us name our class fish: Turple
  • Sr. Franco was so funny. Loved teasing and talking with him
  • Gym Class with Sr. Ruiz
  • Having class with Sra. Backstrand & Sra. Tix
  • Getting rewarded in advanced math class with fancy French braiding
  • Readers Theater
  • Wax Museum Characters
  • All the different projects we did: Painted Chair Planter, Mosaic table, Making purses out of old sweaters, Decorating Piggy Banks, Knitting our own hats
  • RECESS – especially in winter playing the Ice Game in the huge snow banks in the parking lot
  • Getting to know people from so many different countries: Columbia, Argentina, Chile, Spain

How well did ISLA prepare you for Junior and Senior High?

We got set up for the Juntos program at North Junior High. In Juntos, thanks to Sr. Thompson, we learned so much more than how to speak another language. We worked hard reading, writing essays and presenting about Spanish speaking cultures around the world. We explored art, learned about different religions and read novels. We covered current issues like immigration, gangs and drug cartels. It was such a high level, intense program but we had a ton of fun. In the spring, Sr. Thompson would drive us in a mini-bus to ISLA to read to 3rd graders. When we took the AP exam in 9th grade (the youngest class do that), we were so nervous because we all wanted to do well for Sr. Thompson. We scored an average of 4 – an awesome achievement for first time taking an AP exam.

In High School, we were really ready for the advanced classes – especially because of the IB stuff we did. There was always at least one other ISLA student in every Honors or AP class we took. We got to take college classes and earned 2 semesters of college in Spanish at the U of M! And because we were so fluent in Spanish, they had to make the college classes harder.

ISLA opened us up to different ideas and showed us how to be welcoming and friendly. Because of ISLA, we are fluent in a second language. We love speaking Spanish. We have used our Spanish in our work settings. We have traveled to Spanish speaking countries (and became translators for our families and peers!)

What are your plans after you graduate?

  • Rachel: Going to the University of San Diego and planning to double major in Spanish and International Business
  • Chance: Going to Truman State University, playing soccer, majoring in Spanish & Business
  • Kirsten: Going to the College of William and Mary, planning to major in Spanish and Economics or International Business
  • Luci: Going to UMD planning to major in Spanish and maybe Environmental Science.

Schedule and Dress Requirements for Spring Concerts 2017

Kinder 5/19/2017 9.30 am

Girls and boys in dark pants, shorts or skirts (navy or black) Solid shirts in yellow, green, red or pink.

ISLA will provide or make flower crowns for all students.

Second Grade 5/11/2017 10 am

Boys and girls in dark pants, shorts or skirts (Black or Navy) with a red, black, white or striped shirt.

ISLA will provide eye patches and red and black bandanas to wear on their heads.

Third & Fourth Grade 5/10/2017 6.30 pm

Boys and girls in dark pants, shorts or skirts (Black or Navy) with a red, black or white shirt.

ISLA will provide eye patches and red and black bandanas to wear on their heads.

Girls and boys in dark pants, shorts or skirts with any shade of blue or green shirt.

Quinto y Sexto Grado + BANDA 5/18/2017 6.30 pm

Boys and girls in dark pants, shorts or skirts (Black or Navy) with a red, black, white or striped shirt.

ISLA will provide eye patches and red and black bandanas to wear on their heads.

Boys and girls jeans with their Tie Dye ISLA shirts.


An Invitation to VOTE for ISLA Board Members…

The ISLA Board of Directors invites you to attend its annual meeting on Tuesday, May 16, 2017, at 6:30 pm in the Media Center. We will be electing new members for five open board seats.  The Election is by secret ballot.

Pursuant to ISLA’s Bylaws, the Election and Nominating Committee has nominated the following slate of five candidates for ISLA’s Board of Directors, serving term between 6/30/17 and 6/29/20 (unless otherwise noted).

  • Nora Tycast  - ISLA Parent
  • Kris Taylor -  ISLA Parent
  • Jaiah Kamara—ISLA Parent
  • Dan Tix—ISLA Parent
  • Martin Hoff—ISLA Parent (1 year term)

Please join us at the annual meeting to vote in this Election. Those eligible to vote, as provided by the school’s Bylaws, are all parents and legal guardians of students currently enrolled at ISLA, the teachers and staff of ISLA, and the ISLA Board of Directors. Eligible voters can either vote during the school day (8:45 am-4:30 pm) in the school office, or at the beginning of the Board’s meeting at 6:30 pm in the Media Center.

Meetings of the ISLA Board, including the regular annual meeting, are open, and members of the ISLA community are encouraged to attend the School’s Board meetings.