ISY Elementary School Faculty Blog

Mike Simpson

March 26, 2021

To say that this was a tough week seems almost disrespectful to the range and depth of emotion that we are all ricocheting through. I have a tremendous amount of respect for you all. It means a lot to be part of this group and I know it will mean even more as time goes on. 

The depth of our work together will provide professional and personal strength and inspiration for all future ISY students, families, and educators. Working with you certainly inspires me.

We will catch up on Monday afternoon to set ourselves up for the last quarter. We will keep it as simple as we can so we can be as effective as we can for our students.


 Quarter 4 will begin on Monday, April 5.

Here is the Quarter 4 Schedule up until May 12.

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. 

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 continuing with synchronous learning:

Some of these students will continue with synchronous learning. In these cases, the students will obviously remain enrolled in all school programs and platforms and will Zoom into synchronous classrooms. I will talk directly with any families who think they might want an asynchronous option. Please direct any parents to me if they would like to talk to you about this option. 

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

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.

Elementary School Preferential Play Time

This message went out to the community today…

With students no longer being able to attend Transitional Day classes on campus, we have decided to set aside weekly times between 2:30pm and 3:30pm for each grade level to have preferential access to the facilities and playground. These times will provide opportunities for students in the same classes and grades to connect and play in person


  • Monday: Pre-Kindergarten & Grade 1
  • Tuesday: Kindergarten & Grade 2
  • Wednesday: Pre-Kindergarten & Grade 3
  • Thursday: Kindergarten & Grade 4
  • Friday: Grade 5

You can use the ES Preferential Play Times Sign Up Form to book a time for you and your children to come on campus as per the schedule below. The same rules for facility use apply:

  • We can only have up to 30 community members on campus at any one time (including adults and children)
  • Every child must be actively supervised by a responsible adult at all times. There will be no ISY staff or faculty supervision.Students cannot be dropped off at school without adult supervision.
  • Masks must be worn at all times by both adults and children. This is particularly important for us to be able to safely keep our campus open for our community.
  • Siblings may come on campus with their brother or sister during their brother or sister’s play time (e.g. a Grade 1 student may come on to campus with their grade 2 sibling during the Grade 2 play time)


PK-KG Report Writing Instructions

Grade 1-5 Report Writing Instructions

Spreadsheet for individualized ISY Learner Attributes comments  (due 8am, Friday, April 2)

Common Grade Level Subject Comments (due 8am, Friday, April 2) :

Enter all comments and grades into Powerschool by 4pm, Wednesday, April 7.

Reports will go live on Powerschool on Friday, April 9


This will be very simple.

Please have all materials off the floor and on a shelf or ledge. Please cover anything special to avoid it getting too dusty. 

Nothing needs to be boxed up or moved out of your room.

Leave the furniture set up as it is.

You can leave posters etc on the wall but please put a note on any that you want to be put back on the wall if the maintenance team needs to paint.

The maintenance team will do touch up work over the summer. If your room has any maintenance needs, please add them to this ES Summer Room Maintenance document by the end of next week when I will forward it to John.


What is the Orton Gillingham Approach? 

Orton Gillingham is a direct, explicit, multisensory teaching approach to teaching spelling, reading and writing specifically designed to help struggling readers.  Orton Gillingham approach is widely used to teach students with dyslexia

This structured approach explicitly teaches the connections between letters and sounds – phonological awareness, and then builds on these skills over time to reading and writing.  It also applies the multisensory approach, a common component of effective literacy programs which is considered highly effective for teaching students with dyslexia. The use of auditory, visual and kinesthetic strategies help students connect language with letters and words.  

Sonday System is an effective program designed by Arlene Sonday who has worked for over 40 years with thousands of students to improve their reading, writing and spelling using the Orton Gillingham approach. Watch this video to learn how to conduct an Orton Gillingham lesson live with rigor and fidelity using an on-line platform.

There are many benefits in using the Orton Gillingham approach for dyslexic students as well as for all students. 

  • It is an early detection for students struggling with reading disabilities. Early intervention is highly desirable when it comes to reading disability. 
  • It is both diagnostic and prescriptive.
  • It focuses on the needs of individual students. 
  • It is sequential and cumulative.
  • It is appropriate for teaching individuals, small groups and even in the mainstream classrooms. Primary, elementary, secondary, and high school students can all benefit from this approach.  

Overall, the Orton Gillingham approach can teach anyone how to spell, read and write!

If interested read more about Orton Gillingham here


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.

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