ISY Elementary Blog


Sandy Sheppard , Elementary School Principal

2nd September 2022

Thank you for another wonderful week. Next week we will welcome our parents onto campus to share information on our learning here at ISY. The event will start in the Gym with a welcome by Dr Hedger, followed by informal chats with our specialist teachers and then on to classrooms. A meal will be provided in the staffroom for you at 5:30. I have heard some great ideas for making the evening special. I encourage you to think creatively. One idea shared was that the students were going to write a letter to their parents and leave it in the classroom, and in return, the teacher is going to ask the parents to leave a message for their child. I also encourage you to think about having the students make invitations for their parents to encourage them to attend. If you have any questions about the event, please let me know. There is more information in this blog.

We had a fantastic turnout for the Parent Association event this week; loads of parents signed up for committees. I hope this means that we will get the same kind of turnout for our Back to School event. We are asking the parents to wear masks.

We do plan to start assemblies again soon. We are just waiting for this COVID wave to calm. On that note, if you are absent and cannot teach online, then you should put your sick leave in. If you need help to do this, please see one of the secretaries.

Attending support meetings has made me  think about two things:

The first is the language we use when students have support.  For EAL, we would like this class to be referred to as World Languages – English. We believe this puts the class in a more positive frame.

Secondly, we need to continue to really focus on student’s strengths. If we can find the students strengths then we can highlight these and really help a student feel positively about their abilities. Sometimes to focus on strengths, we need to think outside of our normal classroom routines. Along with the support team, I am happy to have conversations around any students and how we can support them.

I love the idea presented at the end of this article

Have a fabulous weekend Sandy.


I’ve always loved the first day of school better than the last day of school. Firsts are best because they are beginnings.” –  Jenny Han




Support Meetings have started. Remember to bring any data you have on students that may need support.


5th September – Monday PD Reflection on Quarter 1 Units

7th September – Back to School event


12th -23rd September – MAP testing

END SEPTEMBER – reading assessments completed

ROOM #203

Just a reminder that books put in this room should be placed in the basket provided. The room is available for borrowing Math and Literacy resources. Guided readers are in this room along with books for your classroom library. if you need help finding books for units, please let me know I can easily assist in finding books from either #203 or #305.

ROOM #305

The Science resource room is ready. There are books in this room that may be useful for your units. There are some materials in this room as well. However, if you cannot find what you are looking for, you should email the office. They can then contact the science assistant. We have a large Science store room in the SS building, where all the other resources live. 





This is a new section I am adding. It would be great if at your Monday morning meetings or similar, you could share reminders I place in this section with the students; thanks.
  • We are so lucky to have some fun outdoor toys to play with; please remember to clean up the toys you play with outside. See the photos above after Friday’s recess time; someone forgot to clean up!frown
  • When eating outside, please remember to put all rubbish should go in the bins provided.
  • Playing in the sand is fun; make sure you clean your shoes before entering the classroom
  • Lunch with the Principal – Grade 5 students can sign up for lunch with the Principal on Mondays and Wednesdays.

MAP Testing (Grades 2-9): September 12-23

Our first MAP testing session will be September 12-23. Here is the MAP Testing Schedule (Fall) 2022-2023

Here is a link to information about how we test: MAP Testing (September 12-23 2022). Please read this if you are a testing teacher. Here are two important things to do prior to the test (details on how to do these things are included in the presentation linked above):

  1. Check that the students’ devices are able to run the tests. ISY Chromebooks will be available on the day the students test in case any students’ devices cannot load the test but these are limited so please have the students check their own devices next week and contact if you know a student will need an ISY device.
  2. Confirm necessary student accommodations. Linked to the presentation is a list of students who will receive testing accommodations. This list is not finalized yet. Please let Stacey know if you think another student should receive accommodations.

The tests will be set up for you (so we can make sure accommodation settings etc are consistent). However, please get familiar with the instructions in the presentation. These instructions are the same as last year, but if you are new to MAP testing or have any questions, please send me a message, and I would be happy to run through the process with you.

All information about MAP testing (including student data) can also be found on our ISY Faculty Pages

Social Studies: Using Core Knowledge as a launching pad to learn about other cultures – especially Myanmar culture. (Mike S)

Now that we are starting to get into our Quarter 1 units, I am starting to get more emails about planning and wanting to talk through ideas. The more emails, the better. I love hearing about what you are doing in class and am more than happy to help in any way I can.

I have had a couple of emails about Social Studies and specifically around how to use the grade level content from Core Knowledge. 

Core Knowledge provides a good spread of different cultures, and because the content is organized in grade levels, students will be exposed to different cultures as they move through the grades.

Core Knowledge provides a lot of content, and it is unrealistic to try to cover all content assigned to a grade level. Instead, consider your purpose for a Quarter (standards, SDGs, enduring understandings, or interdisciplinary concepts) and select the content that best helps teach that purpose. 

One of our strategic themes is Culture and Diversity, and we really want to integrate our students’ own cultures and especially the culture of Myanmar, into our Social Studies lessons. We can do this in an authentic way by using Core Knowledge as a launching pad for students to connect to their own cultures and Myanmar culture.

The connections the students make between two cultures strengthens their understanding of both cultures. Connections can be made around the purpose of the Quarter (standards, SDGs, enduring understandings, or interdisciplinary concepts).

For example, Core Knowledge about the Ancient Egyptians and the Nile is a great launching pad for students to explore the importance of the Irawaddy to Myanmar and the importance of other rivers to other countries our students come from. Using Core Knowledge as a launching pad in this way is a great way to have every child’s culture represented in the curriculum. And having the expertise and knowledge of our Myanmar colleagues available during the planning process will ensure that Myanmar culture is integrated into our Social Studies lessons.

I hope this makes sense. This would be much better shared in person, and I’m happy to jump online if you want to talk through any of this. Here is an old blog post about learning about to learn from that makes a similar point.


There is a new duty schedule which reduces all teacher’s duties from Grades 2-5. I would like to try it for one week to see if it works better. Please review the new duty schedule below; your duty may have changed. If you have questions or want to swap, let me know. NOTE – you may be called upon to cover duties for absences.

Monday – Sabine/Snow, Tuesday – Dan/Mabel, Wednesday – Laura/Zarchi, Thursday – Beth, Sandy, Friday – LuAnn, Htut Htut
  • After school duty/Before school duty Is a rotation of once every two weeks (there are two names)
  • A reminder of who is on duty before and after school will be in the weekly blog
  • Your name is across from the location you are supervising on the schedule above
  • You should wear a supervision vest so that you are distinguishable to all students. These are available in 105 downstairs; they should be returned after your duty. They have clinic passes in the pocket
  • There is a security guard posted for extra support at each recess
  • If you send a child to the clinic, they should have a clinic pass if at all possible, also please either use the security guard or have a student accompany them
  • Recess guidelines, for now, will be  – respect the play equipment, respect each other, respect the environment, and hats when playing outside. 
  • Please send a reminder home about the need for students to have named hats at school. If a student forgets a hat, there will be spare ones in the office. These should be returned after recess.
  • There is an outdoor play equipment room. Anything removed from this room should be returned to the room and put back properly. Please do not allow students to play with equipment that is too small for them. 
  • The bikes are for PreK/KG use only
  • On day 1, please advise students: of the guidelines above and also that 2nd recess for 2-5 is only the field/covered court and A building playground (no back playground)


FYI – there is a report that comes out once a week that gives information on paper usage in the school. As a school, we are trying to reduce the use of paper wherever we can as part of our strategic goal of being environmentally conscious.


Time Description
5:30 to 5:45 Welcome in the Gym by Dr Hedger
5:45 to 6:00 Enjoy tea and coffee and meet specialist teachers (Art, Music, World Languages, Physical Education, Counsellor/Life Skills who will be in the Gym. Specialist teachers should be in the Gym. At 6 pm, specialist teachers, please help usher the parents to the classrooms. Return to Gym for 6:30
6:00 to 6:30 Grade Level meetings  in classrooms. Please remind parents they can revisit the Gym.
6:30 to 6:45 Parents may revisit the Gym to meet specialist teachers
6:45 End of Back to School Night

FYI, I put this in the parent blog today:

What is a Back to School event? This is when the teacher shares with you information on the curriculum and routines of the class. Important information is shared to ensure a positive home/school connection is established. It is not a time to ask questions on how your child is doing, there will be parent/teacher interviews for this later in the semester.  See you Wednesday evening.

Curriculum Update September 2

This Monday, September 5:

Grade Level Curriculum Review Meetings from 2:45pm

This is the first of regular curriculum review meetings that will serve two purposes:

  1. Sharing of ideas between teachers.
  2. Gathering information to inform our Continuous Curriculum Review.

We will meet in the grade level groups below to reflect on the ISY Inclusive Practices – how are they being implemented, and what do we want to work on?

We will focus on the first column of practice in Quarter 1. We’ll do the second column in Quarter 2 and the third in Quarter 3. In Quarter 4, we can reflect on them as a whole to identify practices to work on for the following year.

Before the meeting:

To make the meetings focused and no longer than an hour, please reflect before the meeting using this Inclusive Practices Reflection (UDL: Engagement) spreadsheet.

You need to do two things:

  1. In your column, make a note of how you are implementing the listed ISY Inclusive Practices in your class.
  2. In your column, shade the box of the listed ISY Inclusive Practice that you would like to work on.

Grade Level




Ruth’s Room A102

Ruth (facilitator), Vickie, Zarchi, John.


Beth’s Room A301

Beth, Sabine, Ian, Isabel, Laura, Charlie, Dan, Brett, Bekka, Patty, Jono, Zin Wint Phyu, LuAnn, Sandy (facilitator).


Danny’s Room 405W

Seba, Sean, Drew, Nick, Sara, Danny, Tom, Samia, Rosita, Nway, Stacey (facilitator).


Frank’s Room D203

Frank, Sahana, Michael R, Heather, Rentia, Dorin, Yin Mon, Graeme, Sid, Steven, Leah, Mick, Michael H, Christina (facilitator).


NEXT Monday, September 12:

Whole Faculty Meeting re: PROFESSIONAL GROWTH PLANS from 2:45pm

Our Professional Growth Plan (PGP) Framework will be confirmed and explained.

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