ISA Connections Issue 10

Page 1

Connections The International School of Amsterdam Magazine


Our Mission To educate for international understanding Our Vision To create a community of lifelong learners who value inquiry, critical and creative thinking, take informed risks, and act with integrity and compassion.


Connections The International School

ISA Appoints New Director

of Amsterdam Magazine

During the 2017-2018 school year, ISA commenced

Annual Report 2018

an international search for a new Director. We are happy to announce that Dr. Bernadette Carmody


will be taking over the reigns from our beloved Dr.

Erika Harriford-McLaren

Greene in 2019.

Co-editors Shelly Harrison

New Talent Spotlight

Megan Smith

ISA is proud to welcome its newest faculty and staff


members to our community.

Erika Harriford-McLaren Matt Jasinski

Class of 2018

Megan Smith

This year, ISA bid farewell to the Class of 2018,

Colm Brennan

Cl a

ss of 2 0 1 8

the largest graduating class so far in the school’s history.

5 10 16

Design and layout Wouter F. Goedkoop

Girl In Translation


Best-selling Author Jean Kwok visited ISA to dis-

ISA in collaboration with

cuss her book Girl in Translation and how students

XPat Media, The Hague,

can make a difference in the plight of child workers.


the Netherlands Printer Damen Drukkers

Stories that Move


ISA and the Anne Frank Foundation have, in co-

the Netherlands

operation with institutes and schools in Europe, developed a new anti-discrimination curriculum

ISA alumni, families,

which was recently awarded a global education

faculty and friends receive

prize. The project team was also invited to be pre-

Connections. We welcome

sented to the United Nations.

your comments and encourage you to submit

Faster and Faster

ideas and articles for

Beer Harms (‘22) discovered that his speed on the


soccer pitch could bring him so much more when

31 34

applied to the track. See how he is chasing his Letters and inquiries may be addressed to:

dreams on the track... all the way to national titles.


Alumni Reunions

Sportlaan 45

ISA is gearing up for alumni reunions in 2019. If you

1185TB Amstelveen

are in London, Amsterdam or Tokyo, stay tuned!

+31 20 347 1111

Financial Overview

The financial strategy of the International School of Amsterdam is set to assure the long-term viability of


the school. Learn more about our 2017-2018 results.

42 46

The World of ISA by Ricardo Rivera


Welcome Welcome to the Annual Report edition of the International School of Amsterdam’s Connections magazine. The 2017-2018 school seemingly flew by - as an increasing number of innovative and awe-inspiring student and community initiatives filled our calendars. This edition covers many of those activities and also includes a very useful summary of the accreditation renewal process that ISA will be undergoing during the next few years. Associate Director for Teaching and Learning, Ms. Sarah Grace, explains how the school will take part in a pilot programme, aligning ISA’s three accreditation agencies - the Council of International Schools (CIS), the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) and the International Baccalaureate (IB) - into one streamlined process. Read more to learn about where ISA sits in the latest accreditation cycle and how members of our community can, and will, take part in the review. ISA continues to participate in the Stories that Move anti-discrimination project by the Anne Frank Foundation. Since its launch three years ago, the school has actively provided pedagogical support and hands-on testing of the programmes tools and curriculum with Upper School students. The overall


project has been an international success, and this summer was awarded the prestigious Comenius EduMedia Award. The project leaders were also invited to present the tool and do educator trainings at the United Nations in New York. The Centre for Development, Learning and Technology will also host Stories that Move educator training workshops at ISA to extend the project to international schools around the world. Speaking of stages, ISA bid farewell to the class of 2018 as they completed a new life stage and the last of their requirements for the IB Diploma Programme. With a record 91 graduates, the school hosted the event off-campus for the first time since the school relocated to its current location in 1996. The event was held at the Schouwburg Theatre in Amstelveen allowing up to 600 friends and famliy to watch their loved one receive their diploma and take the next step into their future outside of ISA. The 2017-2018 school year brought so many great moments for learning and living the ISA mission— to educate for international understanding—for ISA students, parents, faculty and staff. We look forward to seeing all that the 2018-2019 year will bring.


New Board Trustee As an independent, non-profit foundation, ISA is strategically guided by a Board of Trustees (the Board) who are the stewards of the school’s assets and, through defining the school’s mission, vision and philosophy, they serve as the architects of the school’s future.

Peter Jun, Elected Trustee Peter was elected to the ISA Board of Trustees in 2018. He earned an MA in International Relations, with high honors, from the University of Amsterdam and a BA in Government (Political Science), cum laude, from Harvard College (University). Peter has been active in professional real estate investing since 1999, having worked for The Praedium Group, Lehman Brothers and Lone Star in New York and London. In 2006, he co-founded a real estate private equity firm, Arminius Group, which actively invests in German real estate. He has three children attending ISA: Alexander (grade 7), Megan (grade 4) and Aidan (grade 3). Peter was born in South Korea and is a dual US and Dutch national.

Mayor Van der Laan Sworn into office as Mayor of Amsterdam in 2010, Mayor Eberhard van der Laan, was beloved throughMayor Van der Laan

out the city - from native Amsterdammers to the

(second from left) opening

local expat community. A true supporter of the In-

the new ISA wing - October

ternational School of Amsterdam and its mission “to

2014 with Amstelveen May-

educate for international understanding”, Mayor van

or Mirjam van ‘t Veld, former

der Laan’s pragmatism, humour and commitment to

ISA Board Chair Leo van Os

his city’s citizens left a legacy that will continue to

and ISA Director, Edward E.

inspire and empower those he so proudly represent-


ed, including the students, families, faculty and staff of ISA. Rust zacht....


The Board of Trustees is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. Bernadette Carmody as the next Director of ISA, from the academic year 2019. This unanimous appointment culminates a thorough eight-month search and vetting process. In Dr. Carmody, ISA has found an experienced international school leader with expertise, vision and integrity, who possesses the exact mix of experience and intelligence, coupled with kindness and attentiveness to build upon Dr. Greene’s fourteen years of transformative leadership at ISA. Dr. Carmody comes to ISA with a long and accomplished career as an international educator as well as experiences that align with our strategic direction. Beginning as a teacher, Dr. Carmody has served as a coordinator of the IB Diploma Programme (DP), Creativity, Activity and Service, DP examination and English language/modern language learning before assuming leadership positions in the past 19 years. These positions include: assistant high school principal, middle school principal, high school principal and two school director appointments. Originally from Australia, Dr. Carmody’s long tenure affords her a unique perspective on international education from her global experience in Europe, Africa, South America, the Middle East and Asia. In her director role at Riffa Views International School in Bahrain, Dr. Carmody oversaw the establishment of the preschool and high school and the authorization of the IB DP. Under her leadership, the school received an overall ‘outstanding’ rating from the National Authority for Qualifications and Quality Assurance of Education and Training. As the current director of the American International School of Guangzhou in China, Dr. Carmody is actively leading capacity and school revitalization planning. She partnered with the AISG Board of Trustees to create and implement a master plan worth over USD 30 million, which accommodates growth at the lower school by making more strategic use of their two campuses and increases the competitiveness of the upper schools by building state-of-the art facilities. Through these initiatives, Dr. Carmody has established and secured a collaborative partnership with the local government which Board members believe will serve ISA well into the future.

New ISA Director Appointed Supported by the outcomes of her doctoral dissertation which focused on positive organizational culture, Dr. Carmody put in place practices to encourage a caring, inclusive and constructive environment for learning and teaching wherever she went. They include systematic research-informed processes, community surveys and conceptual frameworks to gather ongoing or initiative-specific input to identify stakeholder priorities and satisfaction aimed at informing strategic and pedagogical decisions. Her explicit focus on positive culture will compliment ISA’s culture of visible thinking. An educator with multiple academic degrees and professional certificates in English language learning, curriculum, technology and leadership, Dr. Carmody embodies the spirit of a life-long learner. She earned her B.A. from Griffith University in Australia, Graduate Diploma in Educational Studies from the University of Wollongong in Australia, M.A. in English Teaching from the University of London in the U.K., M. Ed. in International Administration from the College of New Jersey in Spain, and Ed.D. from the University of Southern Queensland. While it is difficult to imagine ISA without Dr. Greene, the Board is very confident that Dr. Carmody is the right leader to build on the strong foundation which Dr. Greene has established. She has committed to upholding ISA’s mission, beliefs and culture. In her own words, “I would love to further the work of creating a school with a culture of thinking for teachers and shifting conversations more toward opportunities for student learning than toward issues of schooling.” 5


Ms. Sarah Grace, Associate Director for Teaching and Learning

Maintaining Excellence With over 9600 English-language international

The accreditation process for both agencies includes

schools around the globe, it’s no wonder that expat

a preliminary study followed by a more in-depth re-

families are often overwhelmed when it comes to

flection involving all constituent groups in the school

choosing the “best” school possible when moving

community. This includes the school gathering per-

abroad. But how does a school become one of the

ceptions through surveys and committee work,

best and by what standards is this, or can this, be

accumulating evidence to show how the school is


meeting the standards, and looking to future areas for continued development.

The International School Consultancy (ISC), a leading market research provider on international schools

After the school has completed this in-depth study,

,noted in its 2018 Global Report on the Internation-

a ‘self-study’ report and associated evidence are

al Schools Market a rapid growth in international

submitted to the agencies. The agencies send a

schools with a “year-over-year increase of 6.3%.”

visiting team to the school to meet with community

With such growth comes the need for families to look

members and to verify the information contained in

at which schools are recognised for excellence for

the report. The visiting team submit a report which

academics, faculty, facilities as well as for reputation.

includes their independent assessment of how

A solid measure is to look at the school’s accredi-

they perceive the school meets their agency stand-

tation from reputable institutions which ensure that

ards, and their own suggestions of areas for further

quality standards are met.

development. This feedback is used to help identify

What is accreditation? Accreditation is a formal, independent verification that an institution or programme meets established

priorities in the school’s subsequent strategic and programme-specific action plans. The full cycle of accreditation lasts five years.

quality standards. In education, especially in the

Where is ISA in the accreditation cycle?

international school sector, accreditation agencies

ISA completed the preliminary study during the

provide this independent verification service.

2017-18 school year, which culminated in a visit of five representatives from the CIS and NEASC agen-

Although there are several agencies accrediting

cies. During the visit, which occurred in April 2018,

international schools, ISA chooses to be accredited

a range of classes were visited and meetings were

by the Council of International Schools (CIS) and the

held with students, faculty, administration, parents,

New England Association of Schools and Colleges

and members of the Board of Trustees. Visitors from

(NEASC) to ensure families and colleges and univer-

both agencies expressed how ISA is an organisation

sities that the school not only meets, but often ex-

focused on learning, that all meetings were charac-

ceeds, the best in global education standards.

terised by openness and honesty, and that they thoroughly enjoyed the time spent visiting classes and

The quality and rigour of a CIS accreditation is

the school. The subsequent reports, which formalise

recognised world wide by Ministries and Depart-

how ISA is ready to move into the next stage in the

ments of Education as well as independent national

accreditation process included many positive com-

associations responsible for school and university

ments including:

evaluation. NEASC, the oldest accreditation agency in the United States works with American public and

“At every point during the visit, members of the com-

independent schools as well as international schools

munity were engaged, reflective, and eager to learn

around the world.

ways to continuously improve their school.” (NEASC) 7

228 Schools 76 Countries

“ISA learners are immersed in a school culture that

educators working in IB schools who are trained in

systematically promotes its values, includes risk-

school visits. The Team Visitors submit a report to

taking, reflection, critical thinking and innovation.

the IB which includes commendations and recom-

Students are challenged academically, and support-

mendations. The IB Coordinators use this feedback

ed in their overall social and ethical development.”

to inform the IB programme-specific action plans for


each school division.

“It was clear from the extensive documentation

Synchronised Self-Study

provided with the school’s report and from the visit

Being a long-standing, reputable, three-programme

itself, that ISA is an exceptional school. Accommo-

school, which has achieved successful accredita-

dated in excellent facilities which add much to the

tions and IB evaluations in the past, ISA was invited

educational environment, the school offers a broad

to participate in a pilot of a new synchronised pro-

education to the full age range of students from early

cess with CIS and NEASC, using the IB Continuum

years to Grade 12. It is a well-established and well

standards. ISA is one of 14 schools worldwide in-

known international school founded over 50 years

volved in this pilot. The three organisations are seek-

ago with a strong sense of its own identity and a pas-

ing ways to streamline the process when schools are

sionate commitment to international education and

seeking accreditation from multiple agencies and

inter-cultural learning. Over the years the school has

needing to undertake an IB evaluation too.

continued to evolve and grow, embracing change

515 Schools 96 Countries

and technology as most appropriate within its param-

Community Involvement

eters of its mission, vision and beliefs. These guiding

The first stage of the ‘self-study’ process is to con-

statements remain central to its existence and direct

duct surveys of different constituent groups. These

the planning and decision-making process, as was

surveys are an important way for all members of the

seen during this visit.” (CIS)

school community to provide feedback on how the

IB Programme Evaluation

school is implementing its mission. Each student, from grade 5 upwards, parent, staff member and

In addition to the CIS and NEASC evaluations, ISA

Board Trustee were invited to participate in an online

also is reviewed by the International Baccalaureate

survey in October, the results of which will be shared

(IB). ISA was the first school in the world approved to

with the community for further discussion and to

offer the three initial IB programmes: Primary Years

prepare them for the next stages of the tri-part

Programme (PYP), the Middle Years Programme

accreditation process.

(MYP) and the Diploma Programme (DP). As of September 2018, there were 6,398 IB programmes being

Transparency and active involvement from all

offered worldwide, across 4,943 schools. This figure

sectors of the ISA community is imperative to

includes some candidate schools who are working

ensuring that ISA remains a leading IB World School

towards authorisation to offer the programme. In-

and a global leader in international school education.

dividual schools and districts in national systems,


ISA Authorised - 1997 1,496 Schools


ISA Authorised - 1992 1209 Schools


ISA Authorised - 1979 3,179 Schools 8

as well as the independent sector, are continuing

As the accreditation process goes on, ISA will be

to show interest in adopting one or more IB pro-

providing more information on the review process

grammes. The number of IB programmes has grown

and outcomes, so that all who engage with the

by 39.3% in the period between 2012-2017.

school – families, students, current and potential faculty and staff and external partners (government,

The IB requires authorised schools to conduct an

companies, higher education institutions) can remain

internal review, a ‘self-study, which is followed

confident in the continued level of excellence offered

by a visit of IB educators to the school, who also

by the International School of Amsterdam.

examine the school’s documentation submitted to the IB showing how the IB’s Standards and Practices are being met. The IB Team Visitors are employees of the IB working in the School Services division, or

EU General Data Protection Regulation On 25 May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into enforcement in the EU.

To ensure compliance, ISA has assembled an internal working group for ongoing review of the

The regulation aims to protect individual’s rights with


respect to their own data and guides organisations in

ISA’s Director of Educational Technology, Michael

how to uphold those rights.

McGlade, as the official Data Protection Officer for

ISA believes privacy is important and takes data protection very seriously. An organisation-wide audit was performed in 2017-2018 in preparation for the launch of the new regulation.





the organisation. If you have any questions about the GDPR and how ISA’s data processing may affect you and your personal data, please contact ISA’s Director of Educational Technology at 9


New Staff Spotlight Marketa Balkova - Business Office Marketa, originally from the Czech Republic, has been working at ISA since May 2018. She holds a Masters in International Territorial Studies in European Studies and a Bachelors Teachers’ Training in English and Geography from the University in Brno, Czech Republic. Prior to working at ISA, Marketa was an Accounts Payable Analyst at Dixons Carphone SSC. Tonia Campobenedetto - MYP Individuals & Societies Teacher Tonia came to ISA from the United States, where she world as a School Counsellor at Buckeye Junior High, Medina, before moving to Amsterdam and working as first as a Substitute teacher before joining ISA as an MYP Individuals & Societies Teacher. Tonia holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from Baldwin-Wallace College and a Master of Arts in Education from the University of Akron. Anais Chartier - Part-Time Upper School French Teacher Anais, hails from France and joins ISA as Part-Time Upper School French Teacher. Prior to ISA, Anais taught French Language Acquisition at Alliance Francaise in Utrecht and has worked as a Teacher of French Language Acquisition at the Institut Francais and as an Assistant of French Language Acquisition at Gymnazium Pripotocnn in Prague. She holds a Bachelor in Russian/Czech Languages, Literature and Civilisation and a Master of French Language Acquisition from the University of Bordeaux. Neil Cutting - MYP Design Technology Teacher A native of Australia, Neil teaches MYP Design Technology. Prior to ISA, Neil taught Design Technology at the International School Stuttgart, Busan International Foreign School and Beijing BISS International School. He holds a Diploma of Education in Art & Design Teaching from University of South Australia and a Bachelor of Teaching and Learning from Charles Darwin University. Bernadette Gorczyca - Upper School English Teacher Bernadette, a former ISA MYP English Teacher, has returned to ISA after teaching Middle School English at Rumson Country Day School in New Jersey. Originally from the United States, Bernadette holds a Bachelor in English and a Masters of Education from the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers College, New Jersey. Anders Granberg - Lower School Counsellor Anders, from Finland, has come to ISA after working as a Counsellor at Place2Be School in London. He holds a Masters in Counselling Psychology from the University of Malta and University of Maryland College Park and a Masters in International Relations and Middle East Studies from the University of St. Andrews. Chris Kale - MYP Music Teacher Originally from the United States of America, Chris is a long-time resident of the Netherlands, having taught music and singing lessons in Amsterdam for over 20 years. Chris Joins ISA as an MYP Music Teacher, as well as serving as the ISA Music Academy Coordinator. In addition to his new role as a MYP Music Teacher, Chris will also take over as the Middle School Choir Director. Alex Knight - Upper School Math Teacher Alex, from the United Kingdom, comes to ISA from Harris Westminster Sixth Form where he taught Math. Prior to that, he taught at the International School of Milan and at Wright Robinson College in the United Kingdom. Alex holds a Bachelor of Mathematics Education from the University of Manchester and a Masters in Mathematics Education from King’s College London.


Charmedie Leighton - Part-time MYP Science Teacher Charmedie comes to ISA after having worked as a school counsellor at Wolfville Elementary and Middle School and at Avon View High School in her home country of Canada. She has a Master of Education in Counselling and a Bachelor of Education in Secondary Education from the Acadia University and a Bachelor of Science Honours in Biology from Mount Allison University. Camillia Marmoush - Lower School Grade 3 Teacher Camilla, from Canada, holds a Honours Bachelor of Arts and Science, Political Science and History and Minor in Media Studies from the University of Toronto and a Masters in Elementary Education from the College of New Jersey. Prior to joining ISA as a full-time teacher, Camillia served as a Lower School substitute teacher at ISA and as a Third grade Teacher and Kindergarten Learning Support Teacher at the American International School in Cairo, Egypt. Karla Meiring - Lower School Student Support Teacher Karla, from South Africa, came to ISA after working as a Learning Support Teacher at the American International School of Johannesburg. She holds Bachelor of Education degrees in Early Childhood and in Special Needs from the University of Pretoria, South Africa. Rodrigo Moctezuma - Part-time Lower School Swimming teacher Rodrigo comes to ISA after having previously worked as an Aquatics and Physical Education teacher in Singapore, as a Club Med Sailing Instructor in Malaysia and as a sports coach and Physical Education teacher in Australia. Rodrigo holds a First Degree in Physical Education & Sports from the University of Applied Sciences, Amsterdam and will also serve as an ISA swim team coach and ISA sailing club instructor. Tara Mulay - Lower School Kindergarten Teacher Tara began her career at ISA as a substitute teacher before joining as a full-time Lower School Kindergarten teacher this year. She worked as a grade 1 and 2 teacher in California for 7 years and as a grade 1 teacher in Arizona for 9 years before ISA. Tara holds a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from the University of Arizona and a Masters of Arts in Elementary Curriculum and Instruction in Reading from San Diego State University. Michelle Mullins - Middle School Student Support Teacher Originally from Ireland, Michelle comes to ISA from ACS International School Hillingdon in the United Kingdom where she worked as a Case Manager and Learning Support Teacher for 6 years. Prior to ACS Hillingdon, Michelle taught English at GEMS Sheikh Zayed Academy for Girls in Abu Dhabi. Michelle holds a diploma in Special Needs Education from Wolverhampton University and a Bachelor in English and Media from the University of Limerick. Nadia Ntavarinou - Lower School Grade 1 teacher Nadia, who is Greek comes to ISA as a Grade 1 teacher after working as a Grade 3 Teacher at the Amsterdam International Community School and a Year 5 & 6 Teaching Assistant and Cover Teacher at the International School of The Hague. She holds a Bachelors in Occupational Therapy from Athens University of Applied Sciences, a Postgraduate Certificate in Primary Education from the University of Sunderland and a Masters in Developmental Psychology from Maastricht University.


Scott Pfarner - Facility Assistant Scott joins the ISA Facilities team with extensive experience in construction and maintenance. Originally from North Carolina, Scott has worked as a Construction Manager and Maintenance Technician in addition owning his own business, Helping Homes, for the last four years. Scott studied in the Construction Management Program from Asheville Buncombe Technical College.

Sudeshna Ray, Pre-School Classroom Assistant Sudeshna, from India, has been a part of the ISA community for some time as a Hindi Tutor and Substitute Teacher at ISA. She now joins as a Pre-School Classroom Assistant. She has an extensive academic background with a Bachelor of Education in Hindi & Science from Indira Ghandi National Open University, a Bachelor of Education in Hindi & Science from Indira Ghandi National Open University, a Master of Philosophy from the University of Hyperaban Central University and a Master of Science from Sikkim Manipal University in India.

Megan Smith - Communications Officer Megan hails from the United Kingdom and joins the ISA Communications Team as a Communications Officer. Prior to ISA, she completed an Erasmus year studying in Berlin and worked as a writing intern at Scyfer (Artificial Intelligence company). She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature from the University of Leeds and a Master of Arts in English Literature and Culture from the University of Amsterdam.

Stephanie West - Kindergarten Teacher Stephanie, from the United States, joins ISA as a Kindergarten teacher after working as a Group 2 teacher at the Amsterdam International Community School, a Grade 2 and 3 teacher at Glendale Elementary and as a Grade 1 teacher in Oregon. She holds a Bachelor of Science, Communication, Disorders and Sciences from the University of Oregon and a Master of Education, K-8 from Concordia University.

Alison White - Admissions Officer Alison, from Scotland, worked at ISA in a variety of volunteer capacities before joining as an Admissions Officer this year. Before the Netherlands, she worked as an EAL Teacher at the Swiss School in Singapore for several years. She holds a Higher National Certificate in Accounting from Napier Polytechnic Edinburgh and a Higher National Certificate in Hotel Catering and Institutional Management from Robert Gordon’s University.

Gabriela Zehner - Lower School Grade 5 Teacher Gabriela is Portuguese and joins ISA as a Lower School Grade 5 teacher, after first working as a substitute teacher at the school for a year. She worked as a Classroom Teacher at the International School Dusseldorf and as a Learning Support Teacher at the American International School of Johannesburg. She has a Bachelor in Education in English, Learning Support and Social Studies from the University of Pretoria, a Bachelor in Education Learning Support from the University of Pretoria and a Masters in Elementary Education from the College of New Jersey.


Developing Talents It’s been three years since ISA launched its Centre for Development, Learning and Technology (CDLT) - one of the first in-school training and development cen-

ternational School Consortium, the centre continues to give attendees access to the latest pedagogical

tres of its kind located within an international school.

approaches taught by the best minds in education.

The CDLT was originally built to extend the benefits

The 2018-2019 school year will offer even more

and learnings from the professional development courses offered to ISA faculty and staff to the wider global educational community, and in doing so it has created a rich network of shared knowledge and skills that is topical and relevant for every member of the international school community - from adminis-

opportunities for hands on learning with thought leaders like Jay McTighe, Grace Dearborn, Carl Anderson, Rosalind Wiseman, Mark Church, Will Richardson and Debbie Garvey. With 23 events on the calender for the 2018-2019

trators and teachers to ICT and support staff.

school year, the CDLT is continuing to try and find

Over the 2017-2018 academic year, the CDLT hosted

munity have the chance to develop and be the best

over 18 successful events during the year. With key on-going partnerships and collaboration with industry leaders such as the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Agency by Design programme and Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Project Zero, 14

the Council of International Schools and the WIDA In-

ways to ensure that all members of a school comeducational professional they can.


Class of 2018 On Saturday, 2 June, ISA grade 12 students, their families and ISA faculty and staff, came together for the 2018 graduation ceremony at Amstelveen’s Schouwberg Theatre. Due to increasing class sizes, this year marked the first time since 1996, when ISA moved to its current campus, that graduation was not held onsite.

Cl a

The evening was filled with smiles, tears, and laugh-

s s of


ter as the Class of 2018 and their families celebrated the huge milestone of completing the IB Diploma and Course Programmes. This year was ISA’s largest graduating class to date – with 91 receiving their ISA Diplomas. In addition to the being awarded diplomas, several students were also recognised with additional awards for outstanding achievements during their tenure as an ISA student.


The ISA Leadership Award The winners of the ISA Leadership Award are voted on by ISA faculty, and they are recognised as members of the ISA community who are shining examples of leadership. The

2018 ISA Leadership Award recipients were

Evie Portier and Paul Keen.

The ECIS Award for International Understanding The ECIS Award for International Understanding is presented to a student who has represented his or her country well, can speak at least two languages and contributes positively to the spirit of international understanding at ISA. The 2017 honour was awarded to Chavi Nashier.

The ISA Award In recognition for her efforts in bringing a positive attitude to education at ISA across a range of subject areas, and for espousing the high ethical and moral standards that ISA aims to inspire in its students, the ISA Award was presented to Sophia Romansky.

Peggy Brannigan Award for Environmental Services The prestigious Peggy Brannigan Award for Environmental Services was bestowed upon Ze (David) Yao in recognition of his efforts through the ISA Green Team for the protection of the environment, and his actions as a role model for all students in the school in this area.

CAS (Creativity, Activity and Service) Award For commitment and effort in service of others right throughout his IB diploma studies, Paul Keen was awarded the CAS (Creativity, Activity and Service) Award. Through this award ISA acknowledges its dedication, as an IB World School, to creating ‘a better and more peaceful world’.

Simon Schilp Athletics Award In recognition of their prestigious talent in the sporting arena for ISA, Noa Pijl and Wade Cyr were presented with the Simon Schilp Athletic Award.









IB Results In keeping with the classes before them, the ISA class of 2018 performed extremely well in their IB examinations, with a consistency of academic achievement that has come to be expected for

The level of academic achievement demonstrated by this class of graduates was excellent with over 12% of the diploma recipients scoring 40 points or higher and with 48% percent of students in the graduating

students at ISA.

class leaving with a bilingual diploma.

The average overall points score of 34 followed in

Congratulations to the Class of 2018!

line with the successes of the past. The average grade per course was 5.4, over 0.49 points higher than the global average (4.91).











Average points of candidates who passed the diploma:






Highest diploma points awarded to a candidate:






World average subject grade of students who passed the diploma:






Average subject grade of ISA students who passed the diploma:






ISA Pass rate for IB Diploma:


CANADA University of British Columbia (2) (1) Brock University Concordia University Dalhousie University University of Guelph HEC Montreal McGill University(4) (1) University of Ottawa University of Toronto

JAPAN Kwansei Gakuin University Sophia University Waseda University (4) (4)

NETHERLANDS Amsterdam University College (3) (1) Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam (6) (2) Erasmus University College (3) Hogeschool van Amsterdam Hotelschool The Hague Leiden University College The Hague (4) NHTV International Hoger Onderwijs Breda Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (2) Technische Universiteit Delft (6) (4) Technische Universiteit Eindhoven (2) The Amsterdam Fashion Academy (2) (1) Universiteit Leiden (2) Universiteit van Amsterdam (11) (8) University College Maastricht University College Utrecht (2) Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (6) (3) Willem de Kooning Academie

UNITED KINGDOM Brunel University Cass Business School, City University London City University of London Coventry University (2) Durham University European University London Imperial College London (3) (3) King’s College London (12) (3) Lancaster University (2) London College of Communication Loughborough University (3) Middlesex University (2) Norwich University of the Arts Oxford Brookes University Queen Margaret University Queen Mary, University of London (2) (1) Regent’s University London Royal Holloway, University of London (2) School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (2) University College Birmingham University College London (7) University of Aberdeen University of Bath (9) (1) University of Birmingham University of Bristol (4) The University of Buckingham (2) (2) The University of Edinburgh (2) University of Exeter (3) (1) University of Glasgow (3) University of Hull University of Kent University of Leeds University of Liverpool (2) The University of Manchester (3) University of Plymouth

The University of Sheffield University of Southampton (2) University of St. Andrews University of Stirling (2) (1) University of Surrey (6) (1) University of the Arts London (2) University of the West of Scotland The University of Warwick (12) (3)

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Beloit College Bryant University Case Western Reserve University College of Charleston University of Colorado at Boulder East Stroudsburg, University of Pennsylvania University of Florida The George Washington University (2) Georgetown University University of Hartford University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Kalamazoo College Loyola University Chicago Manhattan College Minerva Schools at KGI New York Institute of Technology New York University (3) (2) Northeastern University (5) (2) University of Oregon (2) Pace University, New York City University of Pittsburgh at Bradford Princeton University Purdue University Rochester Institute of Technology San Diego State University Santa Clara University Syracuse University Temple University Texas A&M Univeristy The New School (2) (1) The Ohio State University

University of Virginia University of Washington West Virginia University

OTHER The American University of Paris, France (3) (1) ESADE Business School, Spain (3) (2) The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Howest, University College West Flanders, Belgium IE University, Spain (2) (1) Karlsruhe Institut für Technologie, Germany Politecnico di Milano, Italy Sciences Po Paris – Campus de Reims, France SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Poland The University of Hong Kong (2)

Nearly all ISA graduates pursue higher education. Members of the Class of 2018 were offered admission at the listed institutions. Bold face indicates school of matriculation; first parenthesis indicates number of accepted students if more than one; second parenthesis indicates number of matriculants. 19


A Price to Pay By Megan Amelia When the last bell of the day rings, most students can look forward to a somewhat relaxing evening after a long day of school; catching up on homework, eating dinner with family or watching a few episodes of a series on Netflix. But imagine if, instead of making one’s way home after school, your child would have to catch the subway to a downtown clothing factory, where they will spend the night finishing clothing, together with your entire family, for a meagre 1 cent per item. Mind you, that the subway is the only time your child will have to do their homework assignments, as they have no breaks at the factory. They have to be a fast worker, because if they don’t finish enough items, the entire family will go hungry. If any of you are lucky, you’ll be able to grab a few forkfuls of dinner right there on the finishing table whenever you get the chance. Together, the family will work until the early hours of the morning. And the next day, your child would have to wake up

The Story Behind Girl in Translation Kwok began her talk by telling the students the story of her life. Her family, being educated, fled the communist revolution in China to Hong Kong, where she was born. When she was five, her family moved again, this time to the United States. For most ISA students, this is a relatable experience; as a Chinese immigrant, Kwok left behind everything she knew at home and arrived into a whole new world, with an alien language and culture. Identifying with her at this point, proved not to be very difficult. However, the move abroad meant a level of poverty that most at ISA are fortunate enough not to have experienced. Her family spent all of their remaining money in the moving process, forcing them, including the children, to work in a Chinatown sweatshop, where they were paid illegally low wages.

for school and do it all over again.

Their hopes of an American dream had turned into

While for most of us, this situation is almost

derelict, and filled with rats and cockroaches. There

unimaginable, for internationally successful author Jean Kwok, this was a reality for several years of her life. Her best-selling debut novel Girl in Translation is based on her early experiences of poverty as an immigrant to the United States. The novel tells the story of eleven-year-old Kim, an academically-gifted girl who leads a double life; by day, she studies at the prestigious Harrison Prep school and by night, she works in a Chinatown sweatshop. The first of Kwok’s novels, it has achieved international success, being published in 18 countries and translated into 16 different languages. In November, Kwok visited ISA for a meet and greet session with students in grades 10, 11 and 12. It was a wonderful opportunity for the ISA Upper School students, some of whom were studying Girl in Translation as part of their English B course, to ask indepth questions about the book and the author’s life.

a nightmare; the apartment they were given was was no heating and the back windows of the house were smashed in, forcing them to keep on the oven at all times, to provide a meagre amount of warmth. With everything that the family brought from Hong Kong being completely inadequate for the harsh New York winter, Kwok remembers being constantly cold. The representation of the apartment ‘from hell’ in Girl in Translation, where the protagonist Kim and her mother have to ‘seal the windows in the kitchen with garbage bags’ for ‘a bit more protection from the elements’ is absolutely true to life, she explained. Kwok described feeling ‘all wrong’, with her handmade clothes and short hair, which left her feeling isolated and an outsider. As the youngest of seven siblings, and a girl, Kwok explained that she was not high up in the hierarchy of the Chinese family and described feeling like the ‘loser kid’. This experience is reflected in Kim’s feelings of isolation and otherness, as she struggles to fit in at school and 21

adapt to American culture.

own early experiences that formed the basis of the

The course of the authors life changed when her

early age that she must keep the poor aspect of her

brother Kwan, with whom she was very close, first sparked her passion for writing. Gifts were rare back then, but one day Kwan gave her a journal and told her “whatever you write in this will belong to you.” This powerful message stayed with Kwok and

life a secret from her peers, ‘I began to understand that there was a part of my life that should remain hidden’. This was also something Kwok did in her own life; hiding the true extent of her poverty, even from her closest friends. However, she was even-

inspired her to become a writer.

tually inspired to tell her story to raise awareness

With natural academic talent, she learned Eng-

people still live like she did; the working-class people

lish and then excelled at school, attending Hunter College High School, a public school for the intellectually gifted and later gaining admittance to Harvard with Advanced Standing. Although she had to work up to four jobs at a time to put herself through college, Kwok still graduated with honours in

of poverty and remind the world that even today, we often walk past in the street without noticing. The Cycle of Poverty Kwok represents poverty and exploitation as a cycle in Girl in Translation which reflects the reality of life for workers in the clothing supply chain. While

English and American Literature.

Kim manages to break free from the cycle of pover-

After working for a while as a professional ball-

entirety of his life and continues the cycle by father-

room dancer, she left her job to pursue her dream of becoming a writer and went to Columbia University to do her Masters of Fine Arts in fiction. Kwok then moved to the Netherlands, for love, and once more had to adapt to learning a new language and culture. She taught English at Leiden University and Technical University Delft, and worked as a Dutch-English translator while she wrote Girl in Translation, which took a total of ten years. After it was accepted for publication, Kwok achieved her

ty, her counterpart Matt stays in Chinatown for the ing a daughter who will follow in his footsteps. Kim predicts how his daughter will too live in poverty: “I know how it will go; she already spends all her time after school at the shop, helping with small tasks like sorting beads; later, she will learn to sew by hand and then on the machines until, finally, she can take over some of the embroidery and finishing work, and then she too will spend her days and weekends bent over the unending yards of fabric.”

dream and quit her jobs to become a writer full-time.

Child Labour Today

Gaining new perspectives

for the students to dismiss Kwok’s experiences of

What was most striking about meeting Kwok was her passion and enthusiasm, not just for writing, but also simply for life. She gave the students inspiring life advice; while hard work itself is not fun, the deepest happiness comes from the knowledge that you are fulfilling what you were meant to do, to the best of your ability. Everybody fails, she argued, but success comes from resilience; successful people are the ones who get back up again. Getting back up again is something that Jean and her protagonist Kim had in common; they didn’t give up on their dreams after setbacks, but instead got back up and continued working hard. Her most powerful advice to the students: you’re the only one who can give up on yourself. Initially, Kwok was reluctant to admit that it was her 22

novel. In Girl in Translation, Kim is conscious from an

Before meeting the author, it might have been easy poverty as unique or rare, or to argue that times have changed since her childhood. However, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that today, 170 million children across the globe are engaged in child labour, so Kwok’s emphasis that ‘this can and does happen’ remains pertinent. Child labour, as defined by the UN is “work for which the child is either too young – work done below the required minimum age – or work which, because of its detrimental nature or conditions, is altogether considered unacceptable for children and is prohibited.” An estimated 11% of the world’s children are in situations that deprive them of their right to go to

school without interference from work. Many of these children, like Kwok was, are involved in the production of clothing to satisfy the demand of consumers in the United States and Europe. Without a voice of their own, children cannot stand up for their own rights. However, Kwok explained that her work is for those people without a voice; for the working-class

process. Choosing to buy from a retailer who is open about how and where their clothing is made and boycotting those involved in ‘fast fashion’ is just one way that consumers can help to change the reality of exploitation. One way to be certain that companies only sell eth-

people who don’t have their stories told.

ically-made clothing is to buy from those that have

What can you do about it?

Fair Wear Foundation, Fair Trade Label Organisation,

There is no simple solution to the global problem of child labour and the exploitation of workers; change has to come from both individuals and large companies. First of all, even though consumers might not want to admit it, it is important that they are aware that exploitation and child labour still exist today. This fact must be acknowledged before real changes can be made. Individual consumers should be aware of the dan-

signed up to accreditation schemes, such as The the Global Organic Textile Standard and the Ethical Trading Initiative. These accreditation schemes have a code of labour practices, which do not allow the use of child labour. These accredited brands are obligated to conduct regular audits to ensure that all of their suppliers meet these standards. This a good way to ensure that such standards go beyond just in-house policy of the company and that the lessons from Kwok affect real change.

gers of ‘fast fashion’’; the fact that the labour was

Further Reading

likely sourced extremely cheaply to make the clothes

for this type of retailer, making it more probable that

people, including children, were exploited in the


170 million children across the globe are engaged in child labour. The ILO estimates that at least 6 million children are in forced labour. 11% of the world’s children are in situations that deprive them of their right to go to school without interference from work.


The Counselling Corner Gaining a Growth Mindset The Upper School Learning Support and Counselling programmes held the second edition of their annual parent book club, discussing Carol Dweck’s Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. In the book, Dweck outlines how students can improve their ability to learn by having a growth mindset (believing one can be smarter by understanding the underlying reasons and efforts that can make that happen) versus a fixed mindset (believing one’s intelligence or abilities are fixed or predetermined). Dweck’s studies found that students who vigorously engaged with learning processes versus focusing solely on grades, ended up with higher scores than those with a fixed mindset who always worry about how smart they are. Through the discussion, parents were able to share and learn new techniques to encourage a growth mindset for their students in the IBMYP and IBDP programmes and for life beyond ISA.

“No Drama” Discipline The Lower School Counselling department also offered a parent book club, with a 6-session series based upon Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. and Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D.’s New York Times best selling book No Drama Discipline: The Whole-Brain Way to Calm the Chaos and Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind. In small groups of 8, parents worked together to gain a better understanding of the neurological development of children, how parents react to moments requiring discipline, and strategies to ensure that discipline takes into account the whole child and how a child’s mind processes actions and reactions.

Families in Global Transition Members of the ISA Counselling and Alumni and Advancement departments attended the 20th anniversary conference for Families in Global Transition in The Hague. The event, which is organised by governments, companies and agencies which work with transitioning expat communities, gathers each year to give guidance and expert advice to individuals, schools and organisations which aide families to help them find “perspectives on challenges and solutions related to a globally mobile lifestyle.” The learnings from the conference are used to strengthen the school’s transition programmes for Upper and Lower School students, parents and faculty. 24

A Fond Farewell to Harold Each year, ISA grade 5 students venture to the town

both with vision and without.

of Velsen-Nord for a very unique experience—to visit

Learning about Harold’s skills and adeptness at life

In het Donker Gezien— a museum which highlights

and sport was pivotal in changing students’ mind-

what life as a blind person is like. It’s a trip that for

sets and understanding towards those with disabili-

over two decades scores of students have looked

ties. And that was what was most important for him.

forward to, mainly because of a special visitor to the school, who brought the realities of life as a blind

Harold’s favourite saying was “Kijken doe je met je

person directly to the students through his stories,

ogen, zien doe je met je hart…” which translates to

his experiences and his trusty seeing-eye-dog com-

“you look with your eyes but see with your heart”. A


a member of the Orde van Oranje-Nassau, he epitomised so many of attributes of the IB Learner Pro-

For 20 years, Harold van der Voort was a fixture at

file - caring, risk-taker, open-minded, knowledgeable

ISA, bringing a wonderful sense of humour and an

and reflective. He enjoyed sharing his insights with

attention-grabbing ability to tell stories that not only

children so that they could be more compassionate

kept children of all ages in the Lower School interest-

and understanding human beings.

ed in what he was saying, but also left them yearning to learn more about what being blind is actually like

His wife Suze noted that he was always excited to

and how rich and interesting life can be despite not

come to ISA because “the children were always so

being able to see.

enthusiastic and curious”.

Harold lived a full life, and in addition to speaking

While trips to In het Donker Gezien will continue,

at schools, he also was a champion “showdown”

Harold’s presence, warmth, kindness and patience in

player , a popular European sport which was created

helping ISA to educate hearts and well as minds, will

specifically for individuals with visual handicaps. A

be sorely missed. The ISA Lower School has com-

cross between table tennis and air hockey, the sport

missioned an award in Harold’s honour, which will be

features a specially designed table that has goals

presented to his family in December 2018 to ensure

that must be defended at each end. Since players

his legacy remains strong.

wear taped ski goggles, it is suitable for everyone, 25

CAS & Service Highlights Service as Action One class engaged in service through advocacy by creating and distributing posters around ISA to raise awareness of world hunger, targeting their fellow students, who they believe are the future solution for tackling global issues such as world hunger. Another class created a Food Bank Project to take a more local approach to tackling hunger by gathering non-perishable food and donating it to an Amsterdam food bank. Other classes collected money to donate to the Amy Foundation, which aims to improve the lives of impoverished children in Gugulethu, a small township in South Africa and by funding the purchase of two chickens and cockerel for a village in Uganda.

World’s Largest Lesson This year’s grade 7 service projects were inspired by The World’s Largest Lesson, a campaign by the Project Everyone organisation to introduce U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals to children all over the world.

The Buddy Project

Grade 8 homeroom students also made an impact by collecting toys from the ISA community to give to children in need throughout Amsterdam. In total the students organized and packed over 300 toys to distribute.

Creativity, Activity & Service

In the Spring, the Buddy Project held their Parcels

For Peace Week to raise internal awareness of the


situation for refugees and to encourage the ISA com-

The student animal rights and protection group PAWS

munity to take practical action to help. Before and

raised funds to virtually adopt a South American sloth,

after school, they collected clothing and hygiene

named Madonna, from the Sloth Institute in Costa

products, which were transported directly to refugee

Rica. The non-profit organisation aims to rehabilitate

camps. In addition, the club organised a film screen-

and release their sloths in an effort to stabilise the

ing of Ai Weiwei’s Human Flow, which was filmed in

dwindling number of wild sloths. The contributions

23 countries and examines the staggering scale of

will most importantly help one of the world’s most

the refugee crisis and its profoundly personal human

beloved animals.

impact. 26

Holiday Gift Fundraiser

Going Green... Going Strong The ISA Green Team remains an integral part of the

Taking the Earth Hour Challenge

ISA community, promoting sustainable actions and

The Green Team initiated a school-wide campaign

initiatives to encourage everyone at the school—from

for the ISA community to participate in the Earth

the youngest and oldest students to administrators

Hour pledge by turning their lights out for an hour on

and parents—to be active participants in protecting

Saturday, 24 March to show support for protecting

our planets vital resources. It was certainly an active

our planet and stopping climate change. The Earth

year for the Upper and Lower School Green teams.

Hour Pledge started as a symbolic grassroots “lights

Beach Cleanup

out” event in Sydney Australia in 2007, created by the World Wildlife Fund in an effort to raise aware-

Following on the success from the prior year, the

ness of human impact on the environment. ISA plans

Green team organised two beach cleanups—one in

to continue the project annually, so that each and

the Fall and one in the Spring at Zandvoort beach,

every community member gains a deeper under-

where they were once again met with an astonish-

standing of how easy it can be to make a difference.

ing amount of plastic, broken fishing nets, used batteries, aluminium cans and other debris which had

CNN #ZeroPlasticLunchDay

washed up on the shores. Several garbage bags of

While recycling has become an everyday part of

waste were collected in just a few short hours.

ISA life, the Green team is looking at ways to make

Movie Night - Before the Flood

the campus single-use plastic free as possible, and thus participated in the CNN #ZeroPlasticLunchDay

To start off the new year, the Upper School Green

campaign. Students and families were encouraged

Team hosted a free movie night in the ISA theatre

to go single-use plastic free, provided information

featuring the National Geographic Film Before the

on where to obtain alternatives to single use plas-

Flood. Working from the question, “If you could know

tics and the school cafeteria joined in by removing

the truth about the threat of climate change--would

all single use plastics from the shelves and cutlery

you want to know?”, Before the Flood features actor

bins. Several of ISA’s student were featured on the

Leonardo DiCaprio on a journey as a UN Messenger

CNN twitter account as well as examples of plastic

of Peace, as he travels to five countries and the Arc-

free alternative packiging that was offered for lunch.

tic to witness climate change first hand.

As a result, no plastic straws or cutlery are used anymore and the cafeteria and Green Team are working

Both Lower and Upper school families attended to

with Eco-School Netherlands to devise a plan for the

learn how they could be stewards for planet Earth.

school lunches offered to be 100% single use plastic

Vegan snacks were made available before the show.

free. Stay tuned! 27

To the Rhythm of a Different Drum The Grachtenfestival is an eagerly-anticipated

A growing passion - Marimba at ISA

cultural highlight of the summer here in the Nether-

The marimba, a percussion instrument with roots

lands, drawing in thousands of music lovers from

based in Africa, has become an important part

all around the world. The ten-day celebration of

of ISA’s musical culture. ISA Lower School music

classical and contemporary music, held annually in

teacher Fabian Galli, who leads both the student

August, is set along Amsterdam’s historic canal belt,

and adult marimba ensembles at ISA, first intro-

giving musicians the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity

duced the wooden-barred instrument to Lower

to perform with the most beautiful locations of Am-

School music classes four years ago. Since then,

sterdam as their backdrop.

marimba has become popular across the ISA community, growing from a fun classroom learning

While world-renowned musicians take to the various

activity into two performance groups with a total of

stages throughout the city, the Grachtenfestival also

almost 75 student and adult members.

provides opportunities for musicians of all ages and backgrounds to perform, allowing them to take their

Galli, who has been teaching children music for

first steps into their professional music careers and

more than 30 years describes marimba as a style of

to make a name for themselves in the broader world

music which is played “all around the world in many

of classical and jazz music.

different cultures, with a very appealing and happy sound”. Little wonder then that this form of percus-

This year, for the festival’s 2018 edition ISA’s stu-

sion has been such a success, as the international

dent and adult marimba percussion ensembles

nature of marimba music perfectly embodies ISA’s

got their “big break” when they were invited by the

mission to educate for international understanding.

event organisers to perform as one of the selected


acts at the festival. For ISA, and the musicians, it

“Music and the arts are a core part of our IB curricu-

was a chance to share the magic of the school’s

lum here at ISA“ notes Galli. “As a music teacher for

rich musical programme with the world. For the

younger children, I wanted to find a way to keep the

public attending it was a chance to learn more

children engaged and make learning about music

about marimba music and dance to the rhythm of a

even more fun. I attended a professional conference

different drum.

where I saw other children learning the marimba

Looking beyond ISA The performance groups - both student and adult - are now sharing their passion beyond the classroom walls of ISA. For the past four years they have hosted a community fundraiser to support a small school in Ghana— the Nunya Academy— to further build the school’s infrastructure and to develop a stronger music programme to create a pathway to higher education for the young students who attend. To date they have raised over 25,000 euros for this cause. Over the years, the students have played openings and came back to ISA wanting to add it to our programme. I showed a video of the performance to our director, Dr. Greene, and he immediately agreed that we should do it. “ Since its introduction, learning about and playing the marimba has really taken off in the school community. Students love the instruments because they are bigger and “easier to play” than the typical xylophones used in music classrooms. Teachers and parents love watching students develop a passion - so much so that the school began offering after-school lessons in the extracurricular Music Academy and launched an adult marimba group.

for large international conferences in Amsterdam and now having had the opportunity to play for the public at the Grachtenfestival, hope to be able to share their love of marimbas to others in Amsterdam and throughout the Netherlands. “We appreciate being able to share what we’ve learned here at ISA with our community. As a music teacher, I love knowing that my students can share what they’ve learned to bring joy to others.” This article was originally featured in the 2018 Autumn edition of The Xpat Journal ( - ISA’s publication partner.

While marimbas are only a part of the overall music programme in the Lower School, Galli recognises that this particular instrument has really made an impact. “Parents often ask what instrument should my child play, and I always answer ‘make sure they study what they love. It’s been great to know that more and more children are answering ‘marimba’. It’s an instrument that translates well when learning other percussion instruments or even playing the piano since the bars are so similar to piano keys.”


Middle School Production Faberoony Last Spring, the Middle School Theatre Ensemble staged an adapted version of Bob Hescott’s play, Faberoony. The play, originally 28 pages, was expanded to an astounding 65-page script, to make a more rounded production for the ISA community. ISA Drama Teacher, Julia Watson, wanted the production to be more inclusive of the creative talent within the student community and therefore enlisted the help of the Grade 4 and 5 Centre Stage Drama Club to make the performace a cross-school success. The story is centred around a morning talk show for children, Faberoony, where everything that is supposed to go right, goes wrong. Faberoony is an episodic play which both made it easier to rehearse and allowed students to be heavily involved in the adaptation process, as they were able to improvise

As Sian Lysaght, Department head for ISA’s Upper School Arts explained: “as teachers, we are all familiar with the business of herding cats through the eye of a needle, but to undertake to direct a cast of some 70-plus Lower and Middle Schoolers in a theatrical

new material during rehearsals.

performance with a real live audience, is [...] well be-

The students’ creativity shone throughout the

off to Drama teachers the world over who dare to

production as they worked hard to create new characters and plot twists in the overall story. Additionally, every aspect of the production, including lights, sound and set movement was managed by the students themselves. “Quite often, students don’t have a lot of agency when it comes to a script for a play. I wanted to change that when it came to Faberoony, and allow them to have a chance to see all sides of performance - from writing and directing to acting and stage management,” noted Watson. 30

The play ran for three nights and was a success.

yond my shepherding skills. So from the get-go hats even consider doing this.”

Stories that Move From ISA to the UN The Stories that Move project, an anti-discrimination campaign and curriculum created by the Anne Frank Foundation in cooperation with ISA, has proven to be

How it all began Having originated from an international youth voices conference in Berlin in 2013. After the success of the

a mark of true innovation in education.

conference, the project leaders were inspired to build

A free, online tool and curriculum available in 7 lan-

participants, resulting in Stories that Move. To ensure

guages, Stories that Move is available for any person or organisation that wishes to combat discrimination. The aim of the project is to create a framework and space for safe, open dialogue about identity, discrimination, and to inspire students to take positive action in local and/or global communities. Aimed at middle and high school students it does an excellent

upon the powerful messages of hope from the youth its success, they chose to seek out additional partners that were not involved in the original conference and, in particular, wanted an educational partner that had extensive experience with online learning method. Thus, they approached the International School of Amsterdam (ISA) to join.

job of underscoring the principles of the IB MYP:

ISA became a project partner in 2015, shortly before

“The MYP encourages students to make practi-

The first international project team meeting was held

cal connections between their studies and the real world. The MYP aims to develop active learners and internationally minded young people who can empathize with others and pursue lives of purpose and meaning. The programme empowers students to inquire into a wide range of issues and ideas of significance locally, nationally and globally. The result is young people who are creative, critical and reflective thinkers.” - International Baccalaureate

the Stories that Move project was officially launched. at the ISA campus in autumn of 2015 with multiple schools and organisations from throughout Europe attending to offer diverse perspectives and insights. In addition to experience with online learning, ISA has been able to offer exposure to a diverse student population (60 nationalities) and innovative pedagogical practices (such as Harvard’s Project Zero Visible Thinking Routines) to round out the project’s goals. 31

cilitate the international project launch and teacher workshops in Berlin. The grade 8 teaching team also collaborated closely, by trialling the materials in their homerooms and providing feedback to the Stories that Move partners on both the look and feel of the online learning tool. The project leaders also invited several grade 8 students and members of the ISA Amnesty International student CAS club to participate in two on-site review sessions at the Anne Frank House to further discuss and test the online tool. A group of four students, Istvan (Zozi) Lencz (Hungary), Rania Khan (Bangladesh), Trinabh Banerjee (Netherlands), and Leilani Hancock (United States), who had been working closely with the programme were asked by the Stories that Move project team to present and lead a social media campaign at its international launch in Berlin in July, where it won the prestigious 2018 Comenius EduMedia Medal for excellent teaching materials. These four students had previously participated in workshops at the Anne Frank House, the ELMLE conference, and provided feedback and ideas over a three-year timespan. Since the official programme’s launch in July, ISA has expanded its use of Stories that Move and it is now being used in grade 10 English as an Additional LanISA and Stories that Move This is the fourth year that ISA and grade 8 English teacher Shannon Hancock have been involved in the project. Over the last two years, Hancock has piloted the materials online and offline with students as well as provided input on teaching strategies (such as Visible Thinking and making connections with the MYP/IB teaching methodologies), content, design of

8 homeroom. ISA’s grade 9 Individuals & Societies classes plan to use the Discrimination Learning Path section of the project during the 2018-2019 school year and the Dutch department has also expressed interest in using the online learning tool in the Dutch language later this Spring. Ambassadors for change

lesson tracks, and refining of the learning paths.

After the student’s success at the international pro-

Hancock has been a member of the project team over

asked the four students to continue as ambassadors

the course of the 9 team meetings in the 7 partner countries: Netherlands, Slovakia, Austria, Germany, Ukraine, Hungary, and Poland. She has presented the Stories that Move project along with ISA Director of Educational Technology, Michael McGlade, at two conferences: the ECIS Leadership Conference in Berlin and ELMLE Conference Amsterdam, both in 2018. Both Hancock and McGlade also helped fa32

guage, grade 7 Individuals & Societies, and grade

ject launch in Berlin, the Stories that Move partners for the tool. Subsequently, the students decided to create a Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS) club in ISA’s high school. They meet each week with the goal of creating a larger team of middle and high school students to: •

Create a series of parent workshops covering the 5 learning paths

Reach out to other schools in the Netherlands

to support and promote the online learning tool •

Continue to act as speakers for the project at conferences and workshops

Prepare as teacher/student trainers for the tool.

Global Impact In addition to receiving the Comenius EduMedia Medal, the project team was invited to present at the United Nations in New York in the fall of 2018 to mark the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht. Karen Polack, the international coordinator for Stories that Move, was chosen to represent the project and also hosted a teacher workshop for the The United Nations Outreach Programme, to train teachers to use the website, videos and tools for their classrooms. The Anne Frank Foundation will continue it’s Stories that Move trainings through two workshops for interestesd educators at ISA’s Centre for Development, Learning and Technology in 2018 and 2019.

“Through these experiences, I have learned that we all deal with discrimination and intolerance each and every day, granted to varying extents. No one is immune. No one of us lives without bias and a certain degree of oppressive stereotypes about one another. We are human, and we are products of our individual cultures and experiences. This shapes us, and not always to make us love each other.” Leilani Hancock “I consider myself to be well-informed. Every day, I read the news stories of people who have faced discrimination, prejudice or racism as a result of a multitude of factors. Despite this, there is only so much information one can receive from a news story. And as I reflected personally, I began to realise the importance of personal stories. It’s not every day that someone who has faced discrimination comes up to you and shares their story with you face to face. Trinabh Banerjee “In a world where discrimination is pervasive, inescapable, and rooted in the entire history of humanity’s existence, the next generation must be equipped to take on injustices wherever they may be found.” Raina Khan Throughout history, the question regarding true and false have both shaped and also taken away lives. The distinction between what qualifies as fake and real is indeed what complicates the whole scheme of things. The public on the other hand, enjoy the most dramatic stories and those that will bring themselves to the edge of the seat. From the wave of requirements and number of viewers arose the frequent circulation of false stories in the news. This struggle can fall hard but thankfully, for many young people like myself, we are born into a period of time where communities seek to work towards a better future. We have been granted the educational toolbox, opportunity, and platform: Stories that Move (STM). Istvan (Zozi) Lencz


Faster and Faster....

By Colm Brennan


In his 2008 book Outliers, celebrated author Malcolm Gladwell mounted an investigation into factors that can predict, and contribute to, individuals achieving high levels of success in any given field. Gladwell considered influences ranging from the year of a person’s birth, to the day in a calendar year someone might be born, to the amount of time into mastering a craft an individual devotes. The book proved to be enormously popular, and helped popularise the concept of the ‘10,000 Hour Rule’: the theory that to achieve expertise in any area, one must hone the skill with 10,000 hours of practice. For most of his life, Berend (Beer) Harms, ISA grade 10 student, had been clocking up his hours in soccer. He had represented ISA well at NECIS in athletics in the past but, up until the summer of 2017, NECIS athletics were the full depth of his competitive experience. Beer had always been the quickest player on his soccer team, but it wasn’t until that summer that his teammates’ frequent suggestions that he try out that pace on the athletics track finally led to a true test of his speed. After 8 years of playing soccer, Beer took a plunge into the unknown, and tried out for the Phanos athletics club at the Amsterdam

id development in those early stages didn’t tail off from there, and he continued to improve at a very fast pace. By August 2018, he was powering over the finish line to become the overall Dutch National 800m champion for his age, smashing his personal best time at 2 minutes flat. This made him the fastest athlete for his age ever in his running club, and would make him the fastest NECIS runner ever too. In one year, he has also shaved a full 8 seconds off his fastest 400m time, numbers that sound incredible

Olympic Stadium.

for that level of competition.

It turned out that Beer’s soccer teammates had quite

It could be easy at this point to lose focus with how

the eye for natural running talent. In the first club championships day that he attended after just a few trial training sessions, Beer blazed to victory in both the 400m and 800m events. A coach from the club approached him about turning his dabble into athletics into something much more meaningful. From there Beer set about proving that, while everyone needs to put the hard hours into training, there are some competitors that are born with something just a little bit special. Competitive athletics with a new coach and new teammates was a fresh test for Beer, but he was enjoying the challenge and being part of his new club: ‘It was different. It’s not a team sport,

rapid the ascent to the top has been for Beer in the Netherlands so far. However, he is taking it one quick step at a time for now: ‘I don’t really have any specific goals yet; so far, it’s just to run faster, and faster and faster. Every time I train, I see the records on the wall… I just want break them’. The limit to what Beer can achieve seems high, but he is keeping his feet on the ground for now. His education, he says, is still his priority. He sets himself specific hours each evening for school work, so that even when he has to train and work his job at Albert Heijn, homework is the last thing that will be neglect-

but you’re still all together’

ed. There are some seeds of aspirations to run at

That winter of 2017, Beer came third in the Dutch

so striking the right balance between training and

group C (14-15 years old) National Indoor Championships for 800m, in a time of 2:11. At that stage he had been training a couple of times a week for 6 months, and was competing against rivals who were training 6 times a week for many years. Beer’s rap-

University level on a scholarship after he graduates, studying will be crucial. One thing is for sure though: if it takes 10,000 hours to master a craft, Beer Harms has a lot of running still to go before he hits his full potential. Who knows where the rest of those hours can take him from here. 35

NECIS Sports 36


A Higher Calling

When ISA Individuals and Societies teacher and CAS Coordinator Vlad Gogelescu moved to Amsterdam from Mombasa, Kenya, he knew that he wanted to find a way to connect his new students at ISA with a very special CAS experience that would forever

and on the mountain could be for young minds. For many students this trip would be a first to Africa and away from their parents for an extended period

change them.

of time. Not quite knowing what to expect, Gogeles-

About two hours drive from the Kenyan capital sits

nator Jennifer Gyzenhout, launched the trip with the

the majestic peaks of Mount Kenya. Whilst somewhat lesser known than it’s African counterpart, Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Kenya, at 5199 meters high, is Africa’s second highest mountain and offers a similar sense of reverence, connecting visitors to the surrounding land and people and rightly earning it’s majestic nickname name as “God’s Resting

cu, with assistance from Service as Action Coordihope that some students would jump at the opportunity to experience Kenya and it’s people and culture - and to be ambassadors for ISA and it’s mission “to educate for international understanding”. Within two weeks, 13 students had signed up and the trip was set. Once arriving, the students had


12 days to serve as volunteer teachers at a public

Nestled in a valley in the town of Naro Moru lies Ba-

teaching repsponsibilites including lesson planning,

tian’s View, an experiential education centre, which aims to connect students with East Africans to learn form each other, connect and become more open to new cultures and customs. While teaching at an international school in Mombasa, Gogelescu was well 38

aware of how transformative time spent at the centre

primary school near the town of Naro Moru with full classroom teaching, and assisting with extra curricular activities with the Kenyan students. They were also required to actively assist in the early work of physically building a new classroom for students and donated a collection of running shoes for young stu-

dents who were eager to train in running—a national pastime in Kenya. In addition to this, during the trip the students visited the equator, and met with elders who were part of Kenya’s struggle for independence in the 1950s— all before attempting to climb to the peak of Mount Kenya. For three days, starting from the lower forests of Mount Kenya up to the mountain’s higher peaks, the students hiked with the assistance of guides for five hours a day. On the last day, the students who felt strong enough (and weren’t battling altitude sickness) began the final ascent, waking up at 2:30 a.m. to prepare. The students made it to within 150 metres from the summit, before unfortunately being forced to stop due to icy conditions on the mountain. The Kennedy Club For many students, the trip was life changing and gave them a new persepective on the importance of education for all and how they can make a lasting impact beyond the two weeks spent abroad. While serving as teachers, the students met a crying young boy, named Kennedy, who after scoring high marks in the schools national examinations could not afford to go to school. After learning how small the amount was that needed to his education for a year, and that his family and village could not raise the full funds, the students gathered one evening after teaching to discuss the sitiuation and pooled their spending money to ensure that 39


Kennedy would be able to get the education he deserved. But it didn’t stop there. Upon returning from Kenya, grade 11 student Zoe Harriford-McLaren couldn’t get Kennedy out her mind. After sharing her thoughts with friends and family and having discussions with Gogelscu, she decided to launch the Kennedy Club to raise finds to ensure that Kennedy, and other high-achieving students like him, wouldn’t be left behind and would have a chance to get an education and change their lives and that of their families and communities. Pairing up with fellow grade 11 volunteer and climber, Molly Walsh, the two are co-chairing the new CAS club, which has more than half of the original trip members amongst it 13 members. The aim is to raise enough money to allow Kennedy to complete his secondary education and hopefully prepare him for university, while also raising funds to assist the schools served by Batian’s View to help others like Kennedy achieve success. With any luck, the club will grow over the years, cementing itself as a bridge between the ISA community and the students and families in Kenya.


Upcoming Alumni Receptions London Kick off the new year by celebrating with the ISA alumni community in London. This will be our third trip to London, and this time we will be celebrating at The Design Museum in Kensington. Take the opportunity to tour the museum’s collection, as well as spend some time connecting with your ISA friends.

The Design Museum 224-238 Kensington High St. Kensington, London

26 January 2019 13:00 - 17:00


Tokyo Then join us later in the year when we host another reception at the Hotel Okura Tokyo. It has been almost four years since our last reception in Tokyo, so make sure you plan on attending this always enjoyable and popular event!

Hotel Okura Tokyo 2-10-4 Toranomon Minato-ku, Tokyo

4 June 2019 19:30 - 21:30


We will be hosting a celebration at ISA’s campus in honour of those that graduated ISA in 1979, 1989, 1999, and 2009. While all ISA alumni are welcome and encouraged to attend the reception, there will be a special focus on these graduates.

ISA Campus Sportlaan 45 Amstelveen

6 July 2019

If you are interested in attending, please RSVP at Please email if you have any questions. We hope to see you there! 43

Withdrawal Survey Like most international schools, ISA’s community is always changing. With the average student stay of 3-5 years, our community must sadly say goodbye to many families each year, whether they are graduating from ISA or moving on to a new adventure. We have taken steps to give our leaving families the opportunity to reflect on their time at ISA. Over the years, ISA has conducted a variety of surveys to ensure that we have a deeper understanding of both the perspectives and the interests of our community. The data generated from these surveys allows us to review opportunities for growth, as well as to identify ways in which we can further support families during

though the teachers helped facilitate growth in the classroom, contributed to a supportive learning atmosphere and demonstrated care and concern for their children. Additionally, ISA’s international community and emphasis on international understanding were highly valued. Parents found it beneficial to be part of a global community where different cultures are represented and celebrated. Parents also highlighted the IB curriculum as a strength, with appreciation for the curriculum’s international focus, representation of different learning styles and strong academic rigour. Parents also valued the warm, positive and nurturing environment at ISA. The survey also highlighted some areas that could require more attention in the future. As is typical in an international community, the areas of improvement re-

their time at ISA and in the next steps of their journey.

flect the differing experiences of ISA families. While the quality of teachers were

When families make ISA aware of their plans to

teachers could be stronger. There were also a few mentions of additional support

relocate, we encourage them to submit an internal Withdrawal Form and Survey. The survey portion of this form provides families with the chance to provide feedback about their time at ISA, outlining their perceived strengths and areas of improvement. In the 2017-2018 school year, ISA had a total enrollment of 1,433 students. Throughout the year there were a total of 369 students that withdrew. The ISA Withdrawal Form and Survey was sent to the parents of all 369 children, with 342 forms submitted giving a response rate of 92.3%. Parents were asked to rank various aspects of ISA through different prompts, as well as given the opportunity to provide qualitative responses about the school. The results of these questions can be seen on the following page. Parents were also given the opportunity to describe the strengths of ISA for both their child and their family and the overall value of ISA. There were many common themes between each question, as well as last year’s survey results.


The quality of ISA’s teachers was often cited as a strength as parents felt as

overwhelmingly seen as a strength, there were some parents who felt that some and guidance needed for students, as well as improvements in cafeteria services. The number of parents that listed an area of improvement was very low, but the recommendations provided will be considered in the administration’s planning for the future. The results of the Withdrawal Form and Survey have been presented to the administration, Board of Trustees, and the Lower School and Upper School Parent Advisory Committees.

“ISA teaches kids to have respect for themselves and for others. It turns them into self-learning, inquisitive kids with the courage to follow their individual curiosity.”

“ISA was a great place for our child in many ways--exposure to international children, many lovely teachers, interesting curriculum, great learning support, lovely facilities.”

“ISA has provided a root for our family living away from our home country. We have been able to meet and socialise with many international families who are in the same situation as ourselves.”

“We have found ISA to be very structured and pro-active across all subjects - academic, extra curricular and parent interactions.”

“The best thing about being at ISA was the exposure to all of the different international communities.”

“It has been wonderful to have such a warm, open, relaxed relationship between, teachers, students and parents.”

ISA’s Mission is to educate for international understanding. How well does that phrase reflect your experiences at ISA?


of responses indicate that ISA’s mission exactly or mostly reflects their experiences.

141 Mostly Reflects

Exactly Reflects 167



Does not reflect

International Community

Barely Reflects



Somewhat Reflects

Quality of Teachers School Atmosphere and Culture Holistic Education IB Curriculum Extracurriculars and Sports

How likely would you be to recommend ISA to another family?


of responses are extremely likely or likely to recommend ISA to another family

Extremely Likely 209


All School

91 Likely

TOP STRENGTHS FOR FAMILY School Atmosphere and Culture



International Community



Parent Engagement Quality of Teachers


Please rate the overall value of the education your child received at ISA.


of responses rate the overall value as excellent or good

Excellent Value 166

129 Good Value

School Atmosphere and Culture International Community

All School

Quality of Teachers IB Curriculum Building Strong Connections

Poor Value

3 23

Average Value


The International School of Amsterdam


To Educate for International Understanding

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