ISY Elementary School Faculty Blog

Supporting Each Other

Mike Simpson

February 19, 2021

This week, it was reassuring for me to hear from international colleagues who, because of previous experiences in Myanmar and other countries, have insights into what is happening at the moment, how it might be affecting us, and what we can focus on to support ourselves and our community. 

As much as we are all impacted by what is happening in very real ways, I was reminded that it is very difficult for me to truly understand how my Myanmar colleagues are experiencing what is happening to them and their country. I was also reminded that you do not need to truly understand what someone else is going through to care for them and support them. 

To my Myanmar colleagues, on behalf of all my international colleagues, thank you for the support that you continue to give us as we work together for our students in these most challenging of times. We want you to know that we support you and can adapt the way that we work to allow you to deal with whatever you need to deal with outside of school. Just let Patty, Eric, your team leaders, or me know what we might be able to do to support you as we continue to work together.


If the internet is stable, we will start MAP testing this week on Wednesday.

Grade 2-5 students will be tested in Reading, Language, and Mathematics.

We will use this schedule starting on Wednesday:

MAP Testing Schedule (Grades 2-5): February 24 – March 2

2021 Winter NWEA MAP Testing Google Site

We will not be using Transition Days to MAP test. Students will be able to test online from home. As always, MAP testing will be considered just one data point used to fairly and accurately assess a student’s academic achievement and progress. We will be able to use our professional judgement to decide how much weight we place on the data given the circumstances.


New Schedule

Patty will still be offering Online Recess for our students but given the small numbers in each grade, we will consolidate the students into these sessions:

  • Grades 3, 4, & 5: Tuesday at 1pm
  • Grades 1 & 2: Thursday at 1pm


Students and teachers have been sharing out, over the past few weeks, what strategies and accommodations are used to help students learn.

This week we had an Inclusion Professional Development that centered on a student panel sharing their thoughts on learning. They were articulate in voicing what helps them learn and genuinely knew that each of you were listening. The student panel was excited to take part in this project and knew their words would have a positive impact for all. The students appreciated your questions and were  eager to address them, as well.  

Hopefully, students will self-advocate their needs and we will to strive to help each of our students as they develop academically and social-emotionally. 

Please contact Lynn Shoemaker at to “share out” your inclusive practices. 


While you are in the middle of reimagining teaching and learning, I was wondering if you would like to share your thoughts or experiences. No pressure but if you have any videos or articles that have caught your attention, I’d love to include them in this faculty blog. And if any of you like to write or want to give it a go, I’d love to help you get your ideas out to people who would appreciate them. Just let me know if you would like to share anything.

Here is an article about the Camera-On/Camera-Off Dilemma.


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.

No Longer Offering Chromebooks

As new students join our classes, our existing students arrive back into the country, we will no longer be offering Chromebooks as a matter of course. We initially offered Chromebooks to get everyone up and running quickly but it is not our policy to provide laptops or Chromebooks for elementary school students. Patty and I will make this clear to these students as they prepare to join us. This is just a heads up for teachers not to offer them to students. Teachers may still be asked to provide supplies as we have been doing.


Currently we are planning the below in-person activities next week.  If this schedule alters for any reason we will send a follow up email with any changes.  Please note that these activities are optional. If you don’t want your child to attend that is totally fine.  Transitional Day activities will run a synchronous program so students may join from home if they wish.

Transitional Days

From next Wednesday, February 24, we will continue with the transitional day schedule (see below).  The start time of these days will be confirmed next week.
  • Wednesday – Pre-K, KG, Grade 5
  • Thursday – Pre-K, KG, Grade 3
  • Friday – Pre-K, KG, Grade 4

After School Activities

Next week starting on Monday 22nd, we will begin with in-person After School Activities (ASAs) as well as online ASAs.


Below are links to the Quarter 3 schedules and guidelines that we are using to guide us. These are all available on the Elementary Faculty Pages.


Q3 Feb 1 – Mar 5: ES Specialists Schedule (including Transitional Days)

  • At this stage, all specialist classes will continue to be online except for Patty’s Life Skills classes. Classes are not yet able to visit the library.


Q3 Transitional Day Recess Schedule (Feb 1 – Mar 5)

  • Now that the students are in the swing of things, we have settled on a recess schedule. We need to be tight with our supervision and students must be supervised wherever they are playing (including on the four square courts) to ensure masks are being worn and students are playing safely. Students should not be playing tag. Four square and football is ok if the players wash their hands before and after and the ball is washed at the end of recess.
  • Only one grade level is to be on recess at a time, with the exception of KG and PK who can play together.


Zar Li has kindly offered to run 15 minute work outs for our students that will start at 8:10am every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. These work outs will start next Monday. The Zoom link for the workouts will be on the Friday Family Report each week.

Please encourage students to join and also post the Zoom link on your Google Classroom (if your class has one)

The workouts will finish at 8:25am to give students time to get a drink and get organized before joining their classes at 8:30am.

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