All posts by Clarissa Sayson

Parent Workshop: Engage and Support Your Child with Reading at Home

Dear Parents,

As you know, we encourage reading at home on a daily basis, either in English or in your home language.  We want children to develop a love for reading and to read to learn.  As parents, you serve as role models to your children and can greatly influence who they become as readers and writers.

Please mark your calendars and plan to join us for a reading workshop led by Emily DeLiddo, who has been working with teachers on Writers Workshop and will be working with us next school year on Readers Workshop.

Date: March 8, 2019

Time: 8:30 AM to 10:00 AM

Location: MPR

Emily DeLiddo was a senior staff developer at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project (TCRWP) at Columbia University for close to twelve years. She travels to schools nationally and internationally modeling lessons and leading study groups around balanced literacy.

In this workshop, Emily will give practical suggestions for how parents can support their child’s literacy at home.

We look forward to welcoming you to the workshop next week.

ES Leadership Team

Mission/Vision Open House

Your voice and thinking are valuable to us at ISB as we revise our Mission statement.

The Office of Learning will host a week of drop in hours for you to give feedback and perspectives on ISB and the future ISB.  The Office of Learning room 2125 will be open to all parents from Monday, Feb. 11th to Friday, Feb. 15th between 8:30am and 10:00am.

This is our last opportunity to gather your perspective and thinking, so please join us on the day that works best for you! There will be prompts in English and Chinese that you can respond to at any time those days to give your perspectives about ISB.

Drop by to add your voice and perspective to this important work.

If you would like more background to this work, please read this letter sent out several weeks ago from Communications.


Upcoming Parent Presentations

Dear Parents,

The week after the CNY holiday ISB is hosting parent presentations in the coming weeks.

Dr. José Medina: The Importance of your Home Language at School

Wednesday, February 13 at 8:30 am in rooms 1226-1227 in the MS/HS library

Session Description:  What does the research say about the best way to acquire a second language? What role does my first language play in language learning? This session will explore the research and how it informs the practices that my students’ teachers are employing. We will further discuss how we can support our students at home as they learn another language.

Bio:  Dr. José Medina is the Chief Educational Advocate at Educational Solutions, a consulting company that serves to create educational access for all students, their families, and the communities they live in.  With a specific focus on meeting the needs of emergent bilingual students and language learners, he provides a broad range of support to educational entities throughout the United States and internationally.

Tanya Crossman: Parenting Your International Child

Friday, February 15 at 8:30 am in the Bank Area 1323A

Session description:  Our ISB students move between cultures every day, as they navigate our specific ISB international school culture, their home culture, and the Chinese culture of our Beijing context. Many of them go on to This seminar explores what it means to grow up cross-culturally, how these childhood experiences affect and shape a developing mind, and ways that parents can better understand and support these young people.

Bio:  Tanya Crossman is an internationally recognized expert and speaker on Third Culture Kids and issues facing cross-cultural families. She is the author of Misunderstood: The Impact of Growing Up Overseas in the 21st Century, which articulates the experiences of young people growing up cross-culturally. Tanya is passionate about coming alongside cross-cultural families with information, encouragement, and support. Tanya lived in China for over ten years from 2004-2014 and recently returned to Beijing.


Please mark your calendars and plan to attend!

The ES Leadership Team

Please Support HS Charity Club Toy Drive

Hello Elementary School!

We are from the high school’s Nightingale Charity Club, a club that aims to fundraise and support our Beijing community by funding operations for special needs kids in local orphanages. Every year we aim to find a way for our ES community to bond with the kids at the orphanages we support and have an opportunity to give back to their local community.

This winter we will be putting up a Giving Tree on the red carpet right by the Elementary School Office from December 3rd to December 13th. Under this tree there will be two boxes available for kids to drop off toy donations. We are accepting any toys that you or your children have outgrown or any packaged toy donations that you wish to purchase.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Toys should not be broken or have visible cracks or dents in them
  • Toys should be clean (e.g no dirt, no unsanitary stains)
  • If you wish to donate toys that are battery operated, though we cannot give them to the orphanage we will still donate them to Roundabout (another honorable donation center).

We are very excited to bring this toy drive to the elementary school and cannot wait to see your community spirit! Happy winter!


Nightingale Charity Club




ES Parent Coffee: Follow Up and Presentation

Dear Parents,

Thank you for attending last week’s coffee.  Included with this post is a copy of the presentation for your reference and a message from Kathryn Handy, the ES Instructional Coach:

Thank you to everyone who attended the Parent Coffee last Tuesday. The group was engaged, enthusiastic, thoughtful, and full of active participation. The opportunities to speak with the wider community, listen to new ideas, and answer your questions was not only encouraging and exciting but provided points of reflection and opportunities to look forward.  For those reading now who want to learn more about Differentiation in the Elementary School, thank you. It is a great honor to partner with you in supporting your children.

As instructional coach and math curriculum area leader at ISB part of my job is to “look for learning.” Fortunately, because of the caliber, dedication, and growth mindset of teachers at ISB, this part of my job is easy. When I spend time in classrooms and partner with teachers I am constantly blown away by the experiences and learning opportunities available for our students. Since the focus of the Parent Coffee was Differentiation in the Elementary School, I wanted to add a post to celebrate the incredible learning and differentiation that I get to see daily.

We are fortunate to have dynamic environments and flexible seating where students can learn in spaces that support them. There are spaces for students to work collaboratively, in partnerships, and independently. A variety of materials and learning tools are available for students and teachers to support the learning. Recently on a walk through of the PreK space I learned how every space and station is intentionally structured to aid in the academic and social development of the child. There is no area that has not been considered. Yesterday during a rich math problem in a Grade 4 class, students were in groups of varying sizes, self selecting materials from multiplication charts to manipulatives, and seeking help from each other and the teachers. Every student was engaged, every student was working on the task, every student was eager to discover the answer, and every student was growing in their understanding and application of factors. And while this is a recent example, this is present in every classroom I am fortunate enough to visit.

Not only are teachers differentiating their environment to support students but also differentiating the process in which students are learning. Grade 1 students recently wrote nonfiction books. The expertise of the teachers to teach the same writing techniques while allowing students choice in their topics is not only admirable but requires careful and consistent planning, monitoring, and reflecting. Students wrote nonfiction books on the topics of books, the ocean, and roller coasters and were able to become more proficient writers. In Grade 5, one classroom of students are reviewing for an upcoming assessment through a scavenger hunt around the room. Students are showing their thinking using strategies that work for them and have choice and support from teachers to answer different questions based on their learning needs.

It is impossible to roam the hallways in the elementary school or go into classrooms and not see how teachers are differentiating products for their students. In Kindergarten, students are showing their understanding of shapes and domain specific vocabulary by building towers, creating pictures, or sorting examples and non-examples. Grade 3 is deepening their learning about goods and services by literally providing different products to teachers. Grade 2, through research and investigation, is developing different products to support their reduce, reuse, recycle unit.

There are also examples of teachers differentiating content to support students. As students become more secure readers teachers at every grade level use their knowledge of the standards, progressions, and a student’s zone of proximal development (ZPD) to appropriately challenge and push the students forward, all while developing a love of reading for different purposes and serving the several other students in the classroom. Students who need more individualized support in different subject receive the appropriate content based on data, carefully articulated learning plans, and personalized goals.

I have never worked in an environment with more devoted, discerning, and caring professionals. And on this American Thanksgiving, I can’t think of anything I am more grateful for.

ES Parent Coffee Nov.20,2018-2019 FINAL

Welcome to School Year 2018-2019!

Dear Parents,

We had a lovely day one in the ES!  The campus has come back to life with the voices and laughter of children and we are all very excited for the learning that lies ahead of us.

If you are a parent of a PK3 to Kindergarten child, the homeroom teacher will set up a time to meet you.  If you are a parent of a grade 1 to grade 5 child and have not yet had the opportunity to meet your child’s teacher, please try to visit your child’s classroom tomorrow, Tuesday, between 3:45 and 4:30 P.M.  This is a time for informal conversations and introductions. More specific information about your child’s grade level program will be shared during Back to School Night; more details about this event will follow in the coming weeks.

Today’s morning drop-off went very smoothly.  Starting tomorrow if you choose to come to school with your child and want to enter the building, all parents must go through main reception with their ID card.  Only ES students are permitted to enter through the OLE gates.  We have this procedure in place to ensure the safety of each child.  Also, please make sure that your child knows how to get home at the end of the day.

We look forward to working in partnership with you this year.