From 23-25 March, eight ISA students represented the school at the annual European Global Issues Network (GIN) conference at the Chamber of Commerce in Luxembourg. The conference was a culmination of several months of brainstorming, planning and student-led activities aimed at providing a solution to one of the 20 global issues that form the foundation of GIN.
This year’s theme was Facilitating Sustainable Change through Education and Integration. Students developed two projects that demonstrated their practical knowledge of the topic and how to apply their own solution through service in the local community. Both ISA projects explored ways to overcome linguistic barriers when interacting with a local Dutch-speaking environment.
“It was interesting to see which other projects were developed by other schools. It was a good way to learn from others and inspired our groups to look at new ways to develop our projects. I felt very happy with our project after presenting it at the conference,” said Hannah Boyles, one of the ISA students who attended the conference.
The first project explored the integration of different ISA-related communities through interaction with Art. The group visited De Schakel, an Amstelveen-based activity centre for adults with mental disabilities, where they interacted with a group of painters, and later visited Klaasje Zevenster, a local elderly centre.
The second project was a collaboration between the ISA GIN students and the independently-run Refugee Buddy Project, which attempts to bridge the gap between the international ISA community and the local refugee community in Amstelveen. ISA students have partnered with refugee students from a local high school for various social activities such as a community concert, a movie night and recently a cooking session at the school.
Another ISA student, Bailey Ransom said the experience was beneficial to all involved because it enabled the international community at ISA to interact with the local Dutch community.
Eight students from ISA travelled to Luxembourg to present at the conference, however there were numerous other students involved in the projects and activities demonstrating the students’ commitment to engaging with their local community and exploring innovative solutions to issues of global importance.
Art serves as a bridge across cultures—communicating the emotions, experiences and perspectives of the artists to the world around them. At ISA, the arts play an integral part in the Primary Years, Middle Years and Diploma programmes, allowing students of all ages to creatively share their own views through various media.
Each year ISA’s Kindergarten students, under the guidance of Lower School Visual Arts teacher Frankie Rees, explore how art can be used to as a form of communication through the study of Dutch artist, Vincent Van Gogh. Working with their homeroom teachers and in their dedicated art classes, the students create individual art pieces, inspired by Van Gogh, that reflect the learnings in the unit of inquiry (Find out from Frankie what this was).
Gaining inspiration from class discussions and a field trip to the world-renowned Van Gogh Museum, the student extended (name of Unit) to artworks which they displayed for the entire ISA community in a full-scale art gallery set up in the school’s main foyer in March.
Rees was more than impressed. “The Kindergarten artists were able to explore their creative process with all of the students produced a very special painting, on canvas, using acrylic paint and gel medium.”
“They learned how to use palette knives to add shape and texture to their flower forms and experimented with colour mixing and value. To see their own work exhibited in the school foyer was so exciting for the children and their families.”
Parents, staff and students who attended the gallery throughout the week were all extremely impressed by the range of artworks.
“It was really wonderful to see how the kindergarteners have taken such pride in their work and exhibiting each students work showcases how each of them have grown throughout the process.” noted Rika Maja Duevel, ISA Upper School Visual Arts teacher.
“As a teacher who has taught both kindergarten visual arts in the Primary Years Programme and the Diploma Visual Art programme I have seen just how important the exhibition component is to students. In the final year of the Diploma Programme students are both showcasing their work and also curating their shows. Building links between museum visits, artists, and creating is an invaluable experience for any age and I’m happy our kindergarteners.”
For the past 19 years, the ISA Special Olympics has been a highlight of the school calendar, with students from ISA and the van Koetsveld school in The Hague coming together to host a day of games and sports activities for local children and adults with disabilities.
On Saturday, 4 March, the ISA Special Olympics Club members, along with creativity, Activity and Service (CAS) students participated in this year’s Special Olympics led by ISA English teacher, Jennifer Gryzenhout and Pre-school teacher Eli Arenas Thomas.
One of the school’s strongest and longest-running community service projects, the day offers students the chance to engage with the local community while also experiencing the value of inclusion, connection and diversity. This year’s Special Olympics was created around the theme of “outer space” and ISA students decorated the foyer and annex and set up a range of fun and engaging activities and games. The support of students and volunteer parents who helped with the organisation of the event and the packing of lunchboxes was appreciated by all involved.
Jennifer Gryzenhout said she was very proud of the efforts of ISA students who rise to the challenges of staging the day with dedication, making a real difference to the lives of those who participated.
“The Special Olympics is a truly memorable event, with a lot of laughter and broad smiles at the end of the day. ISA students enjoyed the day almost as much as our guests! They interacted with our guest children with enthusiasm, responsibility and in the spirit of joy and inclusion.”
Next year’s event is looking to be even bigger and better as we celebrate 20 years of the ISA Special Olympics!
Global Village Day 2017 was again a great success setting a record with over 450 students representing the school’s 54 nationalities in the day’s events. An annual favourite, the event was a spectacular, colorful and vibrant display of dance, singing, traditional costumes and smiling faces celebrating the cultural and geographical diversity within the ISA community.
The morning was filled with various showcases including traditional dance and musical performances, speeches by the Middle and Upper School Student Council and of course, the highly anticipated Parade of Nations.
For the afternoon, the Lower School once again transformed its classrooms into ‘villages’ representing a specific country with games, foods and learnings that exposed students to the range of culture represented within ISA.
Global Village Day is organized each year by representatives from the Lower and Upper School Student councils, with support from staff, faculty and parent volunteers.
“Having everyone here today excited not only about our own cultures, but also about the global community that we represent, is a great reminder that we are very fortunate to benefit from such a diverse pool of students, parents and faculty that can’t really be found anywhere else in the world,” said Upper School Student Council Vice President, Ryan Collins.
Grade 10 students delighted parents, staff and their fellow students at the annual MYP personal project exhibition evening on 9 February, 2017.
The Upper School Library was transformed into a modern-day gallery with 95 different projects that included art exhibitions, musical performances, photography and poetry books and projects promoting sustainability.
The personal project at ISA encourages students to take real ownership of their learning. Students are challenged to demonstrate many of the learner profile traits, as well as the approaches to learning skills that they have been exposed to as MYP learners.
MYP Coordinator Paul Griffiths sees true value in the project and the processes the students go through to achieve their final product. “The personal project prepares students for future study and beyond.”
The common theme evident in all of this year’s projects was diversity. “The spread of projects was a true representation of the different learners that make up our 10th Grade student population,” said Griffiths.
In addition to the grade 10 students and their families, grade 9 students also attended the evening giving them excellent insight into the range of potential projects and subjects they can explore in the new year.
On Sunday, 5 February, 12 students from ISA represented the school at the Dutch regional finals of the global Oxford Schools Debate Tournament, held at the Wolfert Tweetalig School in Rotterdam. Organised by the Oxford University Debating Union, the tournament saw around 100 students from across the Netherlands debate and explore topical social issues including international development aid, welfare, and the purpose of the European Union. ISA students performed extremely well, with all achieving some success and Grade 9 student, Lukas Joosten, placing 4th out of all the speakers that participated on the day.
The students’ debating skills were developed for the event through training with high school teachers, Ian Kilbride and Jonathon Denny and grade 12 senior students, Chhavi Nashier and Ryan Collins. Although the ISA teams were not invited to Oxford for the global finals, debate coach, Ian Kilbride, said he was really impressed at the students’ improvement throughout the competition.
“The students listened to the feedback of the judges well and applied the advice [they received] to how they approached the next motion and, more importantly, all of the students enjoyed the day,” said Kilbride. Congratulations to all of the ISA students that participated in the tournament.