Community in Transition: Connection & Complexity

The launch of any academic year involves many transitions in a school community as students join new grade levels, make new friends, and get to know new teachers. Such transitions are even more significant in an international setting. This year with 210 new students, 13 new faculty, three new coaches, four new administrators, and a shift to the IB Full continuum, we are all dealing with a lot of transition. 

From our youngest to our more mature learners, this week saw all constituent groups of our ISP community connecting and contributing to a sense of safety & belonging throughout this complex human organization we call ISP.

Early Childhood Foundations

Imagine being three or four-year-olds and transitioning to school life, new friends and new learning. Our youngest learners are making sense of their world as they connect objects to number sense, all while learning to play and explore together. 

Elementary School

In elementary classrooms, students are agreeing on how they will come together and function as new classroom learning communities in order to create a collective sense of safety and  responsibility.  Teachers are also supporting learners to make connections between these agreements, and the International Baccalaureate (IB) Learner Profile language, as seen on these Grade 5 post-its connecting to their class agreement. 

Middle School

Grade 6 students have been focused on a smooth transition to Middle School this week as they furthered their organizational and self-management skills during a mix of their regular classes, digital management skills, and preparing for Peter Sis’ upcoming visit. 

Grade 7 and 8 are on Grade level trips, furthering their outdoor skills while building social and self-management skills.

“It is a really great bonding opportunity and a fantastic intro to the social connections kids are needing right now.”

Michelle Juhasz, MS Principal

Upper School

For the first time since August 2019, our Upper School students are enjoying their annual “Week Without Walls” excursions, furthering their skills, engaging in new learning, and building community with their peers in various locations, from sailing in Lipno, to sketching in Venice, to canoeing in Austria. Here are a few glimpses of these trips and we will share more of their learning highlights in next week’s learning story.

Educators during Late Start

Led by our Learning Coaches, educators spent Wednesday morning making sense of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Approaches to Learning (Communication, Thinking, Research, Social and Self-Management Skills)  and planning for deep conceptual learning and transfer in their classrooms.


Parents are also transitioning, sometimes to a new country, a new school, a new section of the school, new teachers, and routines. During Back-to-School sessions and parent coffees, parents share some of what helps or hinders these transitions as they connect with other parents and the educators of their children.

As the 2022-23 year unfolds, we will share more glimpses, and more in-depth learning stories, of both young and adult learners as we consider and connect the complex ideas and systems of learning and community at ISP.