September 29, 2019

Sarah Walz

Fiesta Gatherings!

Another successful Fiesta! Thanks to all of the families, staff, and friends who participated through many volunteer hours, donating items and events, bidding in the online auction and attended the live event. The PTO is so appreciate of the ISLA community and involvement for sustaining a successful Language Ambassador program year after year.

If you are looking for more occasions to meet up with ISLA families, there are still a few gatherings available. There are opportunities for everyone with events hosted by staff and ISLA families!

·         LA and Student events – Scavenger Hunt and an afternoon of Futbal and More!

·         Teacher and Student events – Day at Como Zoo, Kinder Spa Day, Picnic at the Falls, Craft Day, and 2nd-4th grade spa day

·         Families – 2nd grade family kickball game, custom frame art class, Kinder pool party, and 2nd grade pool party

·         Adults – Murder Mystery Dinner, YogaFit Class, and LTD Brewery Tour and Tasting

Click on our ISLA store link below to learn more about each gathering and to sign up!

Mark Your Calendars

  • May 22 –Roller Skating Party
  • May 23 – PTO Meeting

Hello ISLA Parents, the PTO wants you!

We have PTO positions that we are looking to fill for next year and we need your support!

The following are the specific roles that will be open and available: PTO Chair; Fiesta Coordinator(s); Treasurer; and Fundraising.

Please know that no prior experience is required for any of the roles, just a willingness and passion to help support your child’s school. Also, any of these roles can be shared with a partner making it a bit more fun and easier to balance with other priorities.

The PTO is an integral part of helping build and foster a sense of community at ISLA. We support great events like the Welcome Back to School picnic and Dia De Los Muertos; we raise funds to support and execute the Language Ambassador program; and we promote volunteerism and engagement with many other events and activities at school.

We cannot do this without you, so please consider taking part of the PTO and helping support and shape the activities and spirit of ISLA!

Please feel free to reach out to me or any of the current PTO members if you want to learn more about it. Thank you!

Matt Stockhaus


Leiry Cipamocha

Grade: Sra. Patino (Kinder) and Sra. Alfaro (1st)

Can I be an LA For Life?

Host Families:

I stayed with the Betterman Family in the fall and am now staying with the Pollen family.

Impressions of the United States:

Before I came here, I expected American People to be blunt (based on movies and tv)

In reality, everyone is kind, not just the host families but everyone. I meet families in the classroom, and even though they don’t know me, they make me feel comfortable.

This feels like a home with the families, staff and kids.

Everyone worries about how I feel, what I want and need and make me feel at home. I’m able to improve on my English by talking with native speakers.

Relationship with the students:

I feel a connection with the kids. It means that I’m doing a good job with them when they come up to me at recess and ask that I come and play with them.

The kids are confident in telling me stuff without asking, even personal information. Kids are vulnerable and it shows I have a good interpersonal relationship with them.

American Culture:

Everyone has different backgrounds. My first host family was East Colombian and American, and my second host family was American, I got to see how each background has created their own family culture.

Each kid also comes from a different background, so I can see how so many cultures are mixed together to make their own.


I was able to take advantage of many travel opportunities so far.

1st trip was camping on Madeline Island. I was given the option to sleep in the camper or tent, and I chose the camper because I thought I’d freeze in the tent. We saw Lake Superior and made campfires.

2nd trip was to Chicago with the LAs. We went on the sky ride, many museums, and posed by the silver bean.

3rd trip was over Christmas to Ft. Lauderdale with my host family the Betterman’s.

4th trip was Orlando with my boyfriend (he’s in the same Amnity program in South Dakota). We went to Universal Studios, Magic Kingdom, and Island of Adventure.

5th trip was to New York City over New Years. We stayed in New Jersey and took the train to Madison Square Garden and walked everywhere. We saw Times Square, Central Park, 9/11 Memorial, Wall Street, Statue of Liberty, Museum of Natural History, and Chinatown.

6th trip was to Virginia with the Pollens to visit with family. They made me feel welcome the entire trip, including signs in the room in every language, decorations in my favorite color, and my favorite candy bar (Milky Way) in the room. Ginny’s mom knit me a pink scarf because she knew that pink was my favorite color and that I was always cold.

Advice to Future LAs:

Take advantage of all opportunities in school, with staff, host families, school families, and kids. Do the best you can with the kids and they will do the same with you. Take advantage of everything you can, as you don’t know if you will get the opportunity in the future. And winter is hard, so try to enjoy it. Enjoy every season as it’s a great experience. We are lucky to be in a school like this!

Thanks to All of the Families:

Every family had their own way to make me comfortable. Thanks to my host families for making me feel at home. The Bettermans made sure there was food that I was familiar with. The Pollens had my favorite Columbian food for my birthday (empanadas, white rice). When I got the flu, it was hard to be sick and not at home in Columbia, and the Pollen Family did their best to make me comfortable by making me Columbian soup, writing me ‘get well’ letters, and going to doctor appointments.

Thanks to the Tix family for inviting us to their cabin to experience winter (sledding, snowmobiling, cross country skiing and making snow angels).

Thanks to the Scott family for allowing me to spend a weekend at their house and taking me to a Columbian restaurant.

Thanks to all of the host families and ISLA families that made me feel at home.

What’s Next?

I would like to continue teaching. I have already taught Spanish, French and English, and I might look for opportunities to teach outside of Columbia. I previously taught English for a year and half during my training period, and I’ve learned a lot of Immersion techniques that I’d like to try.