ISLA News March 2017

September 29, 2019

Emily Smith

Administrative Assistant

Queridas Familias,      

As you know, Student Led Conferences are scheduled on March 23rd and 24th this year. This conference format is a special part of the IBO/PYP, as it is an ideal format for students to share their learning across the units of inquiry, and respects the child’s role in the process. According to the curriculum framework of the International Baccalaureate, “the students are responsible for leading the conference and also taking responsibility for their learning by sharing the process with their parents...the student identifies strengths and areas for improvement. It enables parents to gain a clear insight into the kind of work their child is doing and offers an opportunity for them to discuss it with their child” (IBO, 2009).  This type of conference allows students to understand and reflect upon who they are as learners, develops their abilities in presenting and public speaking, fosters their skills of persuasion in terms of substantiating their assertions with evidence, and develops important critical thinking skills.  

This month, we are also entering the spring period of standardized testing.  We hope to build upon our excellent results from previous years, and see evidence of both growth and proficiency as a byproduct of our intervention programs, as well as the data driven decisions being made in the classroom. As always, it is important for students to get a good night’s sleep and eat a good breakfast on testing days.  It is also a good idea to bring a healthy snack for a break during testing.  From March 13 – 17,  6th graders will once again take part in the National Spanish Examination, an exam which allows us to measure the level of Spanish that ISLA students have acquired during their time here at ISLA.  Our students generally perform quite well on these exams: last year, 100% of the students passed the test, with a cumulative percentage of 76.8%.

Grades 3-6 will take the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) Reading test from March 20th to March 31st.  Last year, one important benchmark was the result for 3rd grade reading, which is a required measurement that all schools must report on in their Annual Report.  As third grade reading is such an important indicator for academic success, we were pleased that our third graders were 80.5% proficient, in comparison to the state average of 57.5%.  Starting on April 3rd, 5th grade students will take the MCA Science exam.  Last year, our 5th graders finished with 83.8% proficiency, which can be compared to the state average of 55%, and is higher than all of our neighboring districts.   This impressive achievement can most likely be attributed to knowledge and skills gleaned from the STEM curriculum which is taught in conjunction with the PYP program; together, both programs are complementary and incredibly conducive to learning science through the process of inquiry.  The last MCA assessment for the year is Mathematics for grades 3- 6, in which most ISLA students also outperformed the rest of the state and neighboring districts last year. We hope to continue building upon those results.

Please look through the information from the PTO in regard to the Fiesta De La Primavera, and help in any way you can in regard to donations and bidding.  This event is extremely important because it helps fund our Language Ambassador program. As many of you know, the LA program allows for authentic language and culture modeling as teachers converse with these dedicated young teachers from around the world. LA’s also provide extensive one on one help in the classroom, and offer ISLA students a valuable Spanish immersion experience throughout the entire school day, even throughout lunch and recess.  We are so thankful to have them here, and appreciative of everything the PTO does to make this happen.  

Best regards,  


Late Start     

Thursday, March 9th is ISLA’s next late start. Buses and school will start 2 hours late. If you need child care for this day, register online at They need at least 24 hours to process requests for care.


SW Metro ADHD Connection will meet
Monday, March 13, 7-8:30pm.

Topic:“5 Strategies to Help Develop Self-Regulation and Executive Function Skills”, presented by Paige Hays, Pediatric Occupational Therapist. What are self-regulation and executive function skills? How do these skills develop? And, how are they believed to be a core deficit in many disabilities, including attention disorders and learning disabilities? Focus will be on the everyday impact of struggling with self-regulation and executive functioning and practical ideas for families.

Meeting Location: Eden Prairie Center Community Room at 8251 Flying Cloud Dr, Eden Prairie, MN 55344. (Take elevator to basement level).


Student-Led Conferences

Student-led conferences are scheduled for March 23 and 24.  Conferences will be held from 1 pm-8pm on Thursday, March 23rd and 8 am-2 pm on Friday, March 24th.  These conferences with your child are meant to be an informative and rewarding experience.  As you probably know, your role in this conference is that of active listener.  As your child reports to you on his/her progress, feel free to record any questions or comments you have. 

The time will be structured so that the conferences occur simultaneously.  You will first meet with your child and discuss the portfolio of work for 15 minutes.  After 15 minutes the teacher will join the conference to review fall goals, discuss and answer questions.  All parties must do their best to adhere to the schedule, as there is no lag time between one group finishing and the next one beginning.  If you feel the need to continue the conference beyond 30 minues, you can schedule a time with the teacher at a later date. 

This conference is a time for open and honest discussion with your child about his/her progress in school.  Children are involved in the conference in an effort to continue optimal communication between child/parent/teacher.  If you have a concern that you would prefer to address with the teacher in prívate, please let him/her know and you can make arrangements to communicate with one another at another time. Click on teacher's name below to sign up for conferences.

Sra. Holzbauer
Sra. Patino-Johnson
Sra. Martinez
Sra. Alfaro
Srta. Ortiz
Srta. Hester
Srta. Pfeiffer
Sra. de la Cruz
Srta. Olesen
Sr. Allueva
Sra. Adams
Sra. Maldonado
Sra. Devers
Sra. Ashby
Sr. Diaz
Sr. Martin
Sra. Slininger

Getting Kids Involved with Healthy Meals   

Making good food choices doesn't have to be time-consuming and daunting. With a few simple ideas, we can help kids learn to choose healthy options and to try new foods.  

If children are involved in the meal preparation process, they are much more open to trying things. Even the younger children can be involved with meal planning. Ask them to name a favorite fruit or vegetable, then plan a recipe around that choice. Older children can take on a whole meal--choose the menu, find recipes and make the grocery list. In the store, the list will help keep them on track. If they are eyeing up those sugary treats, remind them that they are in charge of sticking to what is on the list.

When in the grocery store, keep it fresh and better-for-you by shopping mostly around the perimeter. Here is where you will find plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy and meat. And even better, take them to a farmer's market when available or grow your own vegetables. Teach them where their food comes from, get them invested in the entire process. Challenge them to pick up a new, healthy food they haven't tried before, and incorporate it into the meal. If it seems they don't like it, don't give up. Sometimes it takes multiple exposures for kids to feel comfortable with new foods.

You can keep family meals simple, yet still nutritious and interesting. And no matter how simple it is, take the time to sit down and enjoy it as a family. Make sure to point out who contributed to the meal and thank them for their efforts.

Here's a quick recipe for energy bars to help you get started cooking with your kids. They are super easy to make and you can adapt the recipe to your own tastes.

Fruit & Nut Energy Bars

1/2 cup lightly toasted nuts
3/4 cup dried fruit
3/4 cup quick­cooking oats
3/4 cup crispy­rice cereal
2Tbsp. coconut, optional
1/2 cup almond or peanut butter
1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

  • Line a 9 by 13­inch pan with parchment paper, leaving enough hanging over so that you can use it to cover the bars later. 
  • Put the nuts, dried fruit, oats, cereal and coconut in a bowl and toss. 
  • Put the nut butter and honey in a small bowl and microwave until it is softened, about 30 seconds. Stir until smooth. Add the vanilla extract and stir again. 
  • Pour the nut butter mixture over the cereal mixture and stir until well combined. 
  • Dump the mixture into the prepared pan and pat down firmly. Using the overhanging parchment paper, cover the bars completely. Cover with plastic wrap 
  • Cut bars into 16 pieces and enjoy!


Event: Mary Poppins

Where: Maranatha Hall, University of Northwestern - St. Paul    
3003 Snelling Avenue N. St. Paul 55113
When: March 23rd, 2017 at 10:00 am

Ticket price: $5.00 per person

ISLA has received an invitation for the University of Northwestern Theatre production of Mary Poppins, The Broadway Musical on March 23 at 10:00am. As this is a Student-Led Conference day we are passing on to families this invitation. There is a limited number of tickets left and if you would like to attend with your child/ren, feel free to follow the link and register by Wednesday March 1st.

Sr. Martin will be attending the performance and would meet ISLA students and parents/guardians who attend.

Follow the link to register:

We will be accepting registrations until Monday, March 6 at noon. It will be on a first come first serve basis or until demand is met.

Summer Camp Registration is open!

Click here to register

Adventure Wilderness/ Aventuras en la Naturaleza

July 24 – 28 Entering Grades 1-5

Amazing Animals / Animalísimo

July 24 – 28 Entering Grade K

Magical Wizarding World through Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts / El Mundo Mágico de Harry Potter y las Bestias Fantásticas

July 31 - August 4 Entering Grades 1-5

MakerSpace, Coding and Minecraft / MakerSpace, Programación y Minecraft

August 7- 11 Entering Grades 1-5

Volunteer Spotlight, Q&A

March 2017

By Heather Copps, ISLA Marketing Chair    

Kindergarten Superstar parents!  

Say hello to our Kindergarten room parents! They are all new parents to ISLA and have not wasted any time finding ways to volunteer for ISLA!


Beth Lauzen has three sons ages 6, 5 and I year. She works part time as a Geologist and her husband, Dave, is a Software Engineer. When she is not volunteering at ISLA, she plays flute in the Hopkins Westwind Concert Band!

What made you decide to volunteer in your first year at ISLA?

Benjamin is our oldest son and this is our first experience with Kindergarten and elementary school.  I wanted to volunteer and help to be a part of his experience and get connected to the school community.  With two other boys at home still I thought the room parent position would be a good way to help out because getting to school to help out at lunch is pretty tough. 

 “My mother is a kindergarten teacher in Michigan  and I know hard teachers work!”

What do you love best about ISLA?

So far we love the community of ISLA. Everyone we have met has been so warm and welcoming and happy to have us there.  We also love how Benjamin is learning and growing at ISLA. 

Betsey Palmgren volunteered because she wanted to get to know the community better and the school as a whole.

“I also wanted to be able to put faces to names when Jax was coming home from school talking about his classmates.”

What do you love best about ISLA?   Hands down the sense of community and the family involvement. It truly is an amazing, passionate group of people who are very invested in their children which is why we chose the school.

Tell us more about yourself.  I am Betsey and my husband is Sean. We have two boys: Jax who is 6 and Hank who is 2 1/2. I am a stay at home mom full time and an event planner part time. My husband works full time for Target. I am very passionate about volunteering as my background is in non profit.

“We try as a family to volunteer when we can as we feel It’s important to start as early as possible when it comes to helping others.” 



Kris Taylor, Kindergarten Room Parent and Director on ISLA’s School Board!

What made you decide to volunteer in your first year at ISLA?  

Our family is new to ISLA and I want to be an active part of the community.   

“We chose ISLA because of its small size, academic excellence, and its dedication to being an IB school.  We love the sense of community that has been evident since the first day.” 

What else can you tell us?

Jason, Owen (kinder), Audrey (3 years) and I moved to the Twin Cities 2 years ago and we are really enjoying the area.  We are learning to embrace the northern Winter and the kids are enjoying learning to ski and skate.  I work for Target and Jason works for the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC).  Jason coaches the kids sport teams and I am an interim member of the ISLA Board. 

Please also thank Kindergarten Room Parent, Chito Arcillo, for his enthusiasm for helping at ISLA!

ISLA depends on volunteers …….

like these Kindergarten parents to maintain our wonderful school. From lunch room duties to fundraising to governing committees, parent volunteerism is what ensures that our teachers and staff can do their jobs well and provide the best education for all our students, while maintaining our excellent financial standing.*

Volunteering is fun and a great way to connect with other families!

If you want to get involved, contact the PTO Volunteer Coordinator, Ginnie Pollen, or call Emily in the office!

*ISLA is funded differently than mainstream schools. If you want more information about this, don’t hesitate to ask a Board member or simply inquire in the office!

Extra-curriculars Winter 2017

Session Details

  • Date: March 27 – May 19
  • Time: 3:45pm to 4:45pm
  • Location: ISLA

Sign-up Details

Register here

  • Registration Deadline is March 22nd
  • Registrations accepted on a first come first serve basis
  • Late registrations are not accepted
  • Please make checks payable to: ISLA-PTO

Additional Details

  • Please have your student bring a nutritious snack and a water bottle     for after-school snack time
  • Please be prompt to pick up your     children. Any student not picked up by 4:50 will be sent to Compañeros


  • Monday
  • Grades 5-6
  • Limit 8 students

MinecraftEDU is a specialized version of Minecraft for educational environments that incorporates IB principles. These activities promote teamwork, friendship and creativity through true edutainment.

Painting Life/Pintando la Vida

  • Tuesday
  • Grades K-4
  • Limit 8 students

Would you like to express your feeling through painting?  This is an amazing opportunity to show what you have inside.  In this extra-curricular activity, you will be able to create your own paintings as well as learn more about painting techniques.

We are all hands on deck!

The Spanish Corner / El Rincón Español

  • Tuesday
  • Grades K - 3
  • Limit 15 students

Do you want to be immersed in Spain? Using arts and crafts, songs, dances and traditional cooking, you will learn about Spain in a didactic fashion. It will be fun and at the same time increase vocabulary in Spanish and knowledge of culture, promoting creativity, empathy and friendship.

Google CS (Computer Science) First / Aprendamos programación con Google

  • Tuesday
  • Grades 5 - 6
  • Limit 10 students

This class will encourage students to go from consumers to creators.  It is intended to help students to increase the access and exposure to Computer Science (CS) through interactive activities and projects.  Our goal is to increase confidence when using computers, instill courage to try new things and provide a sense of belonging in technology for students.

Soccer/Juguemos Fùtbol

  • Wednesday
  • Grades K-4
  • Limit 20 students

If you are passionate about sports, this is the activity for you. As you might know Soccer is the most popular sport around the world. Your  will not only increase your Soccer skills and your physical abilities but also develop your IB values in the process. Get Ready to learn and enjoy this sport to the max!!!

Zumba Kids with Salsa Rhythms / Zumba para Niños con Ritmos de Salsa

  • Thursday
  • Grades K – 5
  • Limit 15 students

Join the group to enjoy this Colombian discipline specially created for kids, which combines dance movements with a series of aerobic routines. If you like to dance and exercise at the same time, Zumba is for you! Come and have a great time with Srta. Leiry and Sr. Mario.

Chess Club – Twin Cities Chess Club

  • Thursday
  • Grades K – 6
  • Minimum 6 students

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 Spanish speaker.


  • Thursday
  • Grades 3-4
  • Limit 8 students

MinecraftEDU is a specialized version of Minecraft for educational environments that incorporates IB principles. These activities promote teamwork, friendship and creativity through true edutainment.

Click here to sign up.

Young Rembrandts Drawing Class

Classes Held Wednesdays
3:35 - 4:35 p.m
March 29 - May 17

There’s no better way to get a jump on spring than with our fun Young Rembrandts cartoon class. These drawings will delight our students as they learn how to tell jokes through drawing. And it doesn’t stop there; our lively cartoon class is packed with hilarious and silly characters and scenes – all new this season. Sign up today!

Tuition $69
for a 6 Week Session


Click here to enroll

YOUNG REMBRANDTS provides all classroom supplies and a trained instructor. Classes are held immediately after school. Parents are responsible for transportation at class end. 

YoungRembrandts - 612-382-6745 -