The last two months of the school year at the International School of Arizona in Scottsdale created unique challenges for students due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with remote learning becoming the only way to provide instruction.
On top of those challenges, the school had to grapple with doing it all in a foreign language.
Despite the changes in the learning environment, the teachers of the school --- which provides foreign-language immersion programs in French and Spanish for students from pre-K to eighth grade --- received high marks from parents for online learning in a recent survey.
This led the school to claim a successful end to the school year despite the closure of classrooms, according to a press release.
“We were very pleased at how well our teachers responded to this unprecedented challenge, and it is gratifying to hear that our parents agree they did exceptional work,” Micheline Dutil-Hoffmann, headmaster of International School of Arizona, said in a prepared statement.
“It was hard work to keep our curriculum and instruction consistent during this time, but our teachers, parents and students all did a great job.”
Parents gave the school a four out of five mark on how well ISA’s virtual learning programs worked for their children and families.
Most parents replied that the school did an “excellent” job in maintaining student-teacher relationships, including student support, routine-building, encouragement of self-care and wellness, connecting to the ISA community and creativity in lesson planning.
“The teachers did their absolute best on short notice,” one parent said in a response “I know they care about my child and their well-being.”
Another parent wrote they were proud of the school’s “exceptional job with distance learning.”
“We spoke to many other families from public, charter and catholic schools who had little to no instruction or interaction,” the review stated. “Once we got into a routine our system worked great, and we felt our child actually completed the 5th grade curriculum. Thank you so much. Well done.”
The International School of Arizona offers language immersion programs which begin at 18 months and continue through eighth grade. Its Spanish and French language immersion programs allow children to achieve bilingualism through play, structure, acquired routines and the study of language, math, science, social studies, music and art.
International School of Arizona offers a learning environment with small class sizes, STEAM elements and “a diverse, welcoming atmosphere,” a release claims.
Despite the success of the virtual learning efforts, ISA’s teachers and staff are looking forward to opening the school for the start of the school year in August, with extensive safety measures put in place.
School officials claim it has benefited from studying other schools in Europe, Canada and on the East Coast where its French sister-schools have already welcomed students back into the classroom.
“We are committed to providing the best possible education no matter what the circumstances, but we are certainly looking forward to having our students back in class,” Ms. Dutil-Hoffman said.
“We are hopeful to have an uninterrupted school year where we can help our children excel and interact in a safe, welcoming environment.”