ISY Elementary School Faculty Blog

A Message of Strength

Mike Simpson

April 23, 2021

Last week, I was lucky enough to sit in on the Association for the Advancement of International Education’s Global Leadership Conversation. This was a chance for school leaders from around the world to listen to experts in various fields make sense of what has happened this year and wonder how this could shape the future of our schools.

Two experts who I particularly enjoyed listening to were human behavior and motivational expert Daniel Pink and child and family psychologist Michael G. Thompson. As a principal and as a parent, I found part of their message to be very reassuring – people are very resilient in the face of real adversity. As teachers and parents this year, we cannot but help but worry about the impact a whole year of online learning and countless other upheavals might have on our children beyond this year. Pink and Thompson would tell us to worry less. They gave some historical and some more recent examples to make their point that we should not assume people are fragile. We should instead look after each other assuming that we are strong enough to cope, adapt, and in many cases even thrive in the most difficult of circumstances. 

To me as a parent, Pink and Thompson’s message of strength means it is ok for me to spend less time worrying and more time making sure my children feel loved and supported and capable of adapting to the circumstances and challenges that they face now and in the future. That has always been a parent’s job but for many that job will understandably feel a lot harder this year. 

Parent Teacher Conferences have come at a perfect time to reassure our parents that they are doing a good job and that their children are going to be ok. I think that is what all of our parents need to hear right now amongst the feedback on areas for improvement and next steps.

QUARTER 4 SCHEDULE 

ABC SCHEDULE 

Starts this Wednesday, April 30

On Wednesday afternoons, Grade 1 to 5 students will get to choose two fun activities to do. They will be able to choose between fun Art, Body (PE), and Communication (Technology) activities. 

Below in this Wednesday’s schedule. Students will click on the Zoom links in the activity description to join the activity. Homeroom teachers can share this schedule with their students however will be easiest for the students to join the activities. 

ABC Schedule: Wednesday, April 28

QUARTER 4 PLANNING

IMPORTANT: In the last couple of days we have had a few parents tell us that they are moving into time zones that do not work for synchronous learning. We expect that more students will move into such time zones during up until the end of the Quarter.

These students will still get their work from their current synchronous classes but Jordan (Grades 4 & 5) and Mike (Grades 2 & 3) will meet with them online during the week to help them with the work.

This is manageable if we do the following important steps:

1. Grade 2-5 students will get all assignments from Google Classroom.

2. All assignments must include simple instructions on how to do the assignment plus links to all online resources that they will need to complete it. These do not need to be long – simple is best.

3. Specialists are also to post what they are doing each week to Google Classroom as an assignment. 

4. Please post assignments in this manner from next week.

Because of this change, we will not be requiring learning summaries on Fridays in Quarter 4. We will just send out a short email with the offline learning activities attached. If we do not need to use our current offline learning activities, we will need to update our offline activities for Friday, April 23.

5. Homeroom teachers within the same grade level should be assigning the same assignments to make this easier on students from different classes to work together with Jordan and Mike.

This quarter’s interdisciplinary theme is PARTNERSHIPS.

Here is a link to a summary of the PK-1, 2-3, and 4-5 Enduring Understandings and Essential Questions that we will use to connect learning in all subjects.

Here is a link to the Q4 PARTNERSHIPS SCOPE & SEQUENCE document from which all planning will be linked. Please complete this scope and sequence for your grade level by the end of Friday, April 9. It is ok if you are finishing up Quarter 3 up until Friday, April 9.

We have purposefully chosen EUs and EQs that allow teachers in all subjects to focus on whatever skills and knowledge that you feel the students need to either learn or revise before the year ends.

In all grade levels we are basically focusing on partnerships and how we work together and this interdisciplinary focus can be maintained while teaching anything. This will minimize the need for interdisciplinary planning meetings and detailed scope and sequences.

On Monday, we will provide more guidance on how we can record our planning. For now, just think about how you can incorporate a partnership theme into your subject over this last quarter.

HERE is a link to a folder with all of the slides that were created for Quarter 4 last year. These may or may not be of use this year. 

PARENT TEACHER CONFERENCES

Friday, April 30

This message went out to the community today….

On Friday, April 30, Elementary School teachers will be hosting online conferences.  This is an opportunity to talk with your child(ren)’s teachers about their learning experience and progress up to this point in the year.  To schedule a conference please see the instructions and link below. The opportunity to sign up for conferences will close on Wednesday, April 28th at 5:00 PM Myanmar time to allow time for teachers to organize their conference day. If you would like to cancel, change, or schedule a conference after Wednesday at 5:00 PM please contact the Elementary School Office for assistance (elementaryoffice@isyedu.org).
Directions for Scheduling Conferences:
  • Please see the instructions link – Conferences will be booked through PowerSchool. If you need help logging into Powerschool, please email powerschool@isyedu.org.
  • We encourage student participation. (if you as the teacher and the parents are comfortable having the student in the conference – students do not need to be prepped for this)
  • All conferences are 15 minutes in length allowing parents time to transition between meetings.
  • If the conference times available do not work for you, please email the teacher directly to arrange an alternative date and time for a meeting.
There will be no classes on Friday, April 30 to allow for the conferences to happen.

Mr. Simpson, our Principal, is also happy to meet with parents during this day. Please email him directly at msimpson@isyedu.org to set up a time.

PRIDE OF THE PRINCIPAL

If you have any student (or students) that you would like me to recognise for living the ISY Attributes send me an email with a sentence about why they are to be recognised and a time that I could come on Zoom and say hi. Any time or day is OK – If I have a meeting I’ll suggest another time until we get one that works. I will jump on your Zoom and then I’ll get you to put the student or student(s) into a break out room with me. I’ll have a chat with them and take a screenshot that I will send to their parents.

Students Leaving Yangon

If you become aware of a student who is planning to leave, please email Patty, Nimmi, and I and we will follow up with the parents. Please email us even if you have just heard this from the student and you are unsure if this is true.

Students withdrawing from ISY:

Students who are withdrawing from ISY are obviously no longer our responsibility from their date of withdrawal. These students will no longer be attending Zoom classes and teachers will no longer be providing feedback on their learning. These students will be removed from Powerschool.

However, given the extraordinary circumstances under which these families are leaving, we will keep them enrolled in our Seesaw and Google Classroom platforms until the end of the year. We will also keep them on other platforms such as RazKids. This will allow them to access learning should they wish to. This work is not for teachers to give feedback on and assess. We are unable to disable the chat and messaging functions of Seesaw and Google Classroom for individual students. We hope that this is not a distraction and if this becomes an issue with a withdrawn student, please let me know and I will reach out to the parents. 

These students will be asked to return their Chromebook or iPads and library books before they leave Yangon.

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