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Director's Dispatch: Learning Together

At ISD, we want all community members to be heard, valued, and respected. One group of students has not always felt valued or respected. These are students who may struggle academically due to the fact they are learning English as a second language or they have learning differences or learning disabilities. Our mission is to help all students achieve their fullest potential and experience success at school. While there are external definitions of success, ISD believes that success is defined by the individual, meaning one student's measure of success is different from another student’s definition.

ISD has helped many students achieve their potential. Our acceptance rate for new students is 95% to 98%. If we are unable to accept a student, it is often because we do not have the programs to meet their needs. Once a student starts at ISD, it is rare for a student to fail and be asked to leave the school. A major part of the student's success is the dedication and effort of the teachers. To create the best learning environment, the classroom, ELL, and Learning Support teachers work closely together.

As an International Baccalaureate (IB) School, we are expected to “increase access and engagement in learning for all students”. This means classroom teachers need to differentiate both instruction, how they teach the students, and assessment, how they measure what the students know and are able to do. In addition, our English Language Learner teachers and Learning Support teachers work with students individually and in small groups throughout the day.

Over the next two days, all faculty will engage in two days of professional learning. This morning, all teachers and teaching assistants worked with Educational Consultant, Kristen Pelletier, on how to create a more inclusive school for students who have disabilities. Kristen was one of the leaders in creating the inclusion program at the International School of Brussels, generally considered one of the most inclusive schools in the world for students. She will continue to work with the secondary school teachers as well as all of the English Language Learner and Learning Support teachers. The elementary teachers will spend two afternoons learning how to further improve both literacy and language instruction, two foundational skills which serve as the foundation for all future learning.

At ISD, we believe in continuous improvement. We believe we can always get better. To do this, our teachers need to have the time to develop their skills as teachers. During these two professional development days, the educators are learning and working together to improve their teaching and ultimately the students learning.

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