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Missoula International School


In this issue: • Leaders In the Educational Landscape • Alumni Leaders in Action

• A Test of Willpower: AP Spanish as 8th Graders • Shaping our Future: Lego Robotics and 3D Design Thinking

Winter/Spring 2014



Leaders In the Educational Landscape Taking Personal Action to Improve Education


Assistant Head of School issoula International Jeff Kessler was chosen for the School’s faculty and staff NAIS (National Association are generally quite humble of Independent Schools) when it comes to talking Fellowship for Aspiring Heads about themselves and their and spent one week in Atlanta accomplishments. You might over the summer participating have to catch Miriam Trevelline in Leadership Development. at lunch to hear about her Jeff is currently working on course in brain development, a project related to the 6 C’s or get to know Sandra Noack of 21st Century Education a bit better before you get to with four other independent see her paintings, but when school leaders from around the these professional and personal country. achievements begin to spill out As a result of a professional MIS teachers and administrators build leadership skills together through into the classroom, it’s time development Innovation mental challenges, like the “egg drop challenge.” After these excercies, to survey the MIS educational Grant, K/1 multiage Spanish they take time to reflect on different leadership roles in the classroom. landscape. What you’ll observe teacher Esther Gil is beginning is that MIS has a team of to use an eBeam Edge Wireless educators right now who are constantly seeking new ways System in her classroom. This device makes any surface to be better leaders and better learners. interactive, like a Smartboard, and quickly transforms the Head of School Julie Lennox was chosen last summer classroom into a dynamic learning environment where to join the International Baccalaureate Organization students can focus, participate and collaborate. Educator’s Network. She joined the corps of volunteer John Kratz, MIS K/1 teacher, initiated a LEGO IB educators who lead IB Professional Development Robotics computer project with the K/1 students this year Workshops across the United States. Julie will also lead through an Innovation Grant, with plans in place to train school authorization and evaluation visits. other teachers on how to implement the program in the Julie was also elected to the Board of Governors for classroom. the NWAIS (the Northwest Association of Independent In October, 2/3 multiage and middle school English Schools.) She hopes these new appointments will teacher Gillian Kessler joined 2/3 multiage Spanish provide an opportunity not only for her own leadership teacher Patricia Cano in a workshop with NCBI (National development, but a way to open doors for Missoula Coalition Building Institute) called, “train the trainer.” International School to positively impact education This was an intensive, 3-day workshop where they reforms in the local and global community. Continued on page 11


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Missoula International School MESSENGER• Winter/Spring 2014






Leaders in the Educational Landscape MIS Teachers and Administrators Take Personal Action to Improve Education Alumni Leaders in Action 8th Graders Interview National Merit Scholar Semi-Finalist Ezekiel Peterson, MIS Class of 2010 A Test of Willpower High Scores in AP Spanish as 8th Graders Shaping our Future Lego Robotics and 3D Design Thinking Get Moving at MIS


Creativity and Collaboration in Action at MIS Students Take a Lead Role in the Translation of La Misión del Rey Arturo

Missoula International School inspires principled global citizens and lifelong learners through a challenging bilingual education from preschool to eighth grade.

Board of Trustees 2013/2014 Rob Fleming President Doug Webber Past President

Ray Aten Susan Beck Torin Etter Betsy Maier

Norm Williamson Vice President/Treasurer

Jennifer Marrow

Emily Richardson Secretary

Amber Sherrill

Kristen Von Doersten PA Council Representative

Shane Reely Sandra Simmons Mike Vetter

2013/2014 Grant Awards Support Innovation and Student-Led Environmental Action

Front cover: The MIS/MCT bilingual production of La MisiÓn del Rey Arturo premiered at MIS in December, and students took a lead in the translation. Click Here to see highlights from the dual-cast performance.

Did you know? The Messenger is online, with links to recent news and videos. Visit

curiosity creativity connection curiosidad creativitad conexión Julie Lennox, Head of School Jeff Kessler, Assistant Head of School Joann Magee, Office Manager Gary Cram, Director of Finance Bethany O’Connell, Director of Development Sabine Sriraman, Administrative Assistant Layout and design by Bethany O’Connell

Alumni Leaders in Action An interview with Ezekiel Peterson, MIS Class of 2010 by Gracie Kilminster-Bird and Gabriella Stokstad

8th grade graduation will arrive quickly this year for Gracie and Gabriella, so it is natural to begin gearing up mentally for the transition to high school. Recently, the two students met up with one of MIS’s first middle school graduates, and today a top student in the nation, for some practical insight into achieving success in high school.

Gracie: What were some of your high school accomplishments? Some of my biggest accomplishments have come from my involvement in Speech and Debate, Model United Nations, and science. I feel like I’ve really been able to grow as a person by doing these things, as well as accomplish something and win some cool medals, too. Gabriella: When you were a freshman, did you think you would be at the place that you are now? I had no idea what to expect as a freshman, so I think I’ve definitely changed in a way that I couldn’t have predicted before. There was really no way to tell what was going to happen. Overall I think it went really well and I had a really great time in high school. Gracie: What colleges have you applied to? I applied to Columbia University and that’s like, a really hard school to get into. I got deferred there and they will give me a decision a little bit later, so who knows what will happen. Let’s see, umm, CalTech, Harvey Mud College, University of Utah, and there are some other ones in there...Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in upstate New York, so, all kinds of places, just kind of spreading it out a little bit, seeing my options.

Gracie: When you were younger, what were some of your goals for later in life? How young are we talking? Gracie: Like, our age. Okay. I still hadn’t really decided what I wanted to do in 8th grade. I definitely knew that I did want to go to college somewhere, so that was something I was thinking about. I wanted to study something related to science because I was really interested in science. As of now, it looks like both of those are panning out but we’ll see, because things could still change, I don’t know. Gabriella: How hard did you have to work in high school to have a successful senior year? There is a lot of effort that you need to put in. It’s not like you can just breeze through and get everything you want. If you are trying to go to college you have to put in some effort, try to get good grades, and take some classes that you might not otherwise take. I am in some advanced English classes right now, which is definitely not my passion, but once you get into those classes it can get easier. It can open your mind to things you might not have thought of before. There is definitely a good reward at the end for the effort that you are putting in throughout high school.

Gracie: So, are you nervous about going into college? Absolutely. It is an incredibly new experience, so yes, but at the same time, I am really excited to go. I am nervous about all the Gabriella: What do you want to do as an adult that you new people I will meet, but I am really excited about it. couldn’t do as an adolescent? Gabriella: What was the best thing about being at Well, I really want to study chemical engineering because I find Hellgate High School? it incredibly fascinating. That whole field really interests me. I think Hellgate has a really good selection of extracurricular Also, going off your question, as an adult I will definitely have activities, and a good way of including people in extracurricular a lot more freedom than as an adolescent. Life can be really activities. I can definitely look at Speech and Debate as an interesting, to travel to different places around the world, like example of that. It has been one of my favorite things that I some places in Asia. I’ve never been to Asia before and I think have done. At a lot of other schools it is super competitive and it would be really interesting to experience that, too. That’s they coach you really hard with rigorous practice schedules. something I’d like to do after college or during college. To some extent it is like that at Hellgate, but [Speech and


Gabriella: What were some of the extracurricular activities that you participated in? Well, I said Speech and Debate and Model United Nations were the two really fun ones. I just came from Academic World Quest, which is like this huge geography, history, current events quiz competition. I have done a lot of math competitions. I know you guys do the State Math Competition in the spring. In high school, you can actually win scholarships. I took an APS class, Advanced Problems in Science, where you basically do your own independent research project and then you get to present it at different science fairs and research symposiums around the state. That was really fun, too. Gracie: What can you say to the people who are working towards senior year? For the freshmen, sophomore, and juniors? I would say, don’t stop working hard in your classes just because it feels like high school is coming to a close. It’s really easy to start slacking off, which kind of happened to me a little bit, but it’s really important to stay focused even though you are coming to the end. If you finish strong, that is even better than if you were to just kind of taper off in the end. (left to right) Gracie, Gabriella, and Ezekiel talk about how to succeed in high school Gabriella: Do you see any connection to during a recent interview at MIS.

Debate] also has a much more inclusive atmosphere. The coaches connect well with the students and I think Hellgate does a really good job of making students feel included. Gabriella: What is senior year like for you personally? It’s very stressful but at the same time it’s exciting to be looking into the future, looking to see what is going to happen. There is definitely a lot of stress involved because it is still unclear, but at the same time, you know, you start to get excited about where you are going to go next, you are becoming more independent, breaking away from home. Gracie: What are just some of the awards that you have won, since there are probably a lot of them? True. (He laughs.) I was, or I am currently, a National Merit Scholar Semi-Finalist. I am still waiting to hear back about that, but that is really exciting for me because that has to do with how you do on the PSATs your junior year and whether you qualify. I did really well at Model United Nations this year and I had a really good time doing it. I got to be Pakistan at the General Assembly and I won a lot of awards, and I got a scholarship to the UN if I want to go there. I’ve also been doing well and having a really great time in Speech and Debate. There are a bunch of different events. I do legislative debate, where we kind of pretend we are Congress, and I have been in the top three for almost all of the meets.

your interest in Model United Nations and going to MIS? I think MIS definitely helped me take a more global perspective on the world and look at the world in a larger way than being domestically focused and that has helped me be a good participant in MUN. Model United Nations is a lot of fun. It’s really unique in the way that you get to pretend to be from a different country. Gabriella: Cool! Well, that’s it for now. Gracie and Gabriella: Thank you! Thank you!

ò MIS Class of 2013 in the news: Congratulations to Ingrid Biehl, MIS Class of 2013, for being among the top four finalists to advance to Regionals in the Poetry Out Loud Recitation Contest. The contest was created in 2006 by the National Endowment for the Arts and The Poetry Foundation to increase awareness in the art of performing poetry.


A Test of Willpower: Achieving AP Spanish as 8th Graders


issoula International School graduated two more students last year with top scores on the Advanced Placement Spanish exam. In most cases, students begin AP exam preparation in their Junior or Senior year of high school. Preparation for the exam includes completing the equivalent of the AP Spanish Language course, comparable to an advanced level (5th and 6th semester or the equivalent) college Spanish language course. This year, twin sisters Ava and Georgia Kazemi, MIS Class of 2013, are both in the ninth grade at Hellgate High School. They shared a few insights about their experience taking the AP last year. Both Ava and Georgia received encouragement to take the exam as early as the 6th grade, when Karim Del Pozo taught the course with Stella Gardner and Lily Chumrau, both MIS Class of 2011, who received top scores. “We saw Stella and Lily do it,” recalls Ava, “So we knew it was possible.” They were thinking about entering high school, the challenges they might have with continuing to stay active in the language, and they wanted to take advantage of this opportunity. Beyond the rigorous language requirements, becoming prepared for the AP Spanish exam requires a high level of commitment, self-control and maturity. Even though the class is two hours long and afterschool, both sisters felt that the time flew by quickly. They found that the extra emphasis on grammatical details gave them new skills as language learners and helped them learn to form sentences more like a native speaker. In fact, both feel that


middle school is the time when language immersion comes together and fully clicks, because students are old enough to combine the language immersion setting with a more in-depth practice of grammar and sentence structure. The practice was essential, feels Georgia, because once she was in the middle of the exam, she was much more nervous. The biggest challenge was to develop college-level essays. “Understanding the content of the test was easy,” Georgia recalls, “We have some experience writing essays, but it was challenging during the exam to formulate our thoughts and analyze the writing as well as a college student would” They wrote many practice essays and learned strategies for note taking, as well as how to write an effective essay when confronted with an unfamiliar topic. They found that once they came to the exam, the essay portion was less difficult than what they had worked on in practice. One of the other things that really helped them was that they are so used to speaking the language at MIS. They had a big advantage on the oral sections, where a good accent is important. “We speak it here so much,” says Georgia, “So we have more confidence than some of the other students when it comes to speaking the language.” Both students agreed that they went into the course feeling less tied to the outcome and more excited about the opportunity to try it. “Going into it, you have a win-win situation,” says Ava, “You may get the college credit, but even if you don’t pass, you learn so much more by going through it. “ Ava and Georgia both received a 4/5

on the exam. As a comparison, recent data about AP Spanish scores from colleges and universities shows that about 25% of students are able to achieve that score. Ava and Georgia are interested in learning more about the IB Diploma Program offered at Hellgate High School. Georgia wants to continue learning Spanish, and both are looking for more opportunities to travel or become part of a cultural exchange. Ava is interested in summer travel to a Spanish speaking country. Both students credit their MIS trip to Mexico as being fundamental in helping them on the AP test. They recall thinking and dreaming in Spanish for a few weeks after the trip. Their mother, Kim, recalls, “This test, combined with their trip to Mexico, really put a cap on their MIS experience. It showed that they could shine in an authentic cultural setting as well as a highly academic setting. It really wrapped up their education nicely.”


(Above) Georgia and Ava hanging out with a group of students in La Paz, Mexico last spring. Sherry Dickerson, MIS 4/5 Multiage and Middle School Spanish Teacher, currently teaches AP Spanish to several of this year’s 8th graders. Sherry had this to say about the value of the AP process, “Students who prepare for the AP Spanish exam undergo intensive grammar study, practice reading comprehension techniques, listen to authentic sources, learn how to write essays, and speak fluently in simulated conversations. They work hard to complete challenging reading and writing activities each week and strive to master grammatical concepts that they can apply when communicating in oral and written form.This process allows students to strive for success as they prepare for the exam, but it also gives them an opportunity to refine their language skills as they prepare to study Spanish at the high school and university level.”

STUDENTS TAKING ACTION Students, teachers, and parents at MIS are making a conscious effort this year to recognize and reflect on actions they can take as a result of their learning. For instance, the 7th/8th grade Spanish class organized a school-wide food drive for a week and asked every class to participate. At the end of the week, the Missoula Food Bank delivery totaled 345 pounds!

HEALTH SCIENCE ACADEMY STUDENTS AT BIG SKY HIGH SCHOOL TO GO ON GLOBAL EXCHANGE TO CUBA Four former MIS students will be putting their Spanish language skills to good use at the end of March. Carley Lane, Nick Simmons, Matt Tillman, and Everett Bayer, who all attended MIS, will join Big Sky High school in participation with Global Exchange on a “once in a lifetime” experience traveling to Cuba. They have been granted legal permission by the US Government to travel to Cuba to learn more about Cuban society. While there, they will learn about health care, education and sustainable food systems. Students will be accompanied by two teachers in the Health Science Academy at BSHS who will help deepen their interpretation of health care generally, and to go beyond the most basic understanding of how health care works in our world. Additionally, they will be joined by a food systems expert to help the American group appreciate concerns about food security, organic agriculture and how health is impacted by healthy food and nutrition. One of the other teacher/chaperones will help students make sense of the global issue of climate change.They will also have an opportunity to appreciate how Cuba has had to transition from a period when petroleum was more readily available until now. The Spanish Teacher at Big Sky, Jay Bostrom, will be guiding students through a dynamic and wondrous culture while they continue to improve their linguistic skills.


Shaping our Future: Lego Robotics and 3D Design Thinking Get Moving at MIS


(Above) K/1 multiage students bring their robots to life during the first Lego Robotics lesson. (Top Right) 7th/8th grade Tinkercad designs and mock-ups for “a liquid-holding vessel,” which were then printed by a 3D printer.


tudents of all ages at MIS are exploring technology while building new skills to thrive in the 21st century. This fall, K/1 multiage teacher John Kratz received an Innovation Grant, offered through MIS’s professional development budget, to bring a LEGO robotics program to MIS students. With John’s leadership, all of the kindergarten and first grade students at MIS are using computer software and LEGOS to build robots programmed to solve real life problems. According to John, “Robots present diverse possibilities. Students can create scientific instruments that gather data from the environment, moving vehicles that accomplish tasks, and musical instruments.” John has developed LEGO Robotics programs in other schools while working for Vision Education and Media in New York City. There John was a classroomintegration specialist, teacher trainer, and curriculum developer. “Through innovation, inquiry, and trial and error, students work to forge creative solutions to the world’s problems,” says John.

Students use LEGO construction sets and computer software to build and program robots. With his professional expertise, John will train other MIS teachers to deliver LEGO robotics in their classrooms. At the end of the students’ first project in December, John was impressed not only with their ease and ability in using the computers and the software, but he was also captivated by their increased use of Spanish with the peers in the process. They collaborated with their classmates using only Spanish to navigate shapes, colors, computer commands, robotic movements, and sounds. You can see their reflections on the process on MIS’s Youtube channel. MIS’s oldest students are also inquiring into new skills and technology in their Technology class. Seventh and eighth grade students are working with their technology teachers, Julie Lennox and Ryder Delaloye, to use the Design Thinking process and apply it to a 3-D design and printing process. Design thinking is a process used by designers, engineers, and planners in all fields to solve real world problems and improve people’s experience with objects and places. MIS parent and software engineer, Glenn Kreisel, worked with the class to help demonstrate the revolutionary possibilities offered by 3D printing technology. “These students are already so familiar with manipulating objects in the physical, 3D world, so they naturally understand this technology much more quickly than something more abstract like programming in code,” says Glenn.

MIS students use the design thinking process to solve challenges and create three-dimensional objects that are then printed on a 3D printer. For their first project, they worked individually to design an object that would hold liquid, have an innovative feature, and have a handle. They used a program called Tinkercad to learn how to design objects in a three dimensional design field. Glenn is excited to see students feel empowered to engineer everyday objects with precise and totally unique customization. “For instance, these students could help John’s K/1 students create new moving components for their LEGO robotics projects that have never been created before,” Glenn says. “This is a totally new way to think about industry and manufacturing, not to mention the breakthroughs already being developed in the medical field using 3D printing.” For their second project, students will work with a classmate to design a vessel to hold an egg and keep it from breaking when dropped from a 15-foot elevation. They will collaborate and get advice on their design from a high school student from New Tech High School in Napa, California via Skype and Google docs. In today’s digital world, design and long distance collaboration will undoubtedly be the norm. MIS students are now taking the lead and getting a head start.



Creativity and Collaboration in Action at MIS Students Take a Lead Role in the Translation of La MisiÓn del Rey Arturo Missoula Children's Theatre (MCT) and MIS have been teaming up on Spanish versions of MCT plays since 2006, but last December marked a new milestone as being the first year that MIS students premiered the Spanish translation of King Artur’s Quest- La Misión del Rey Arturo. An annual tradition at MIS since 2006, this was the first time that 8th grade students worked with their Spanish teacher, Lynn Hudorovich, to translate both the score as well as the play into Spanish from the original English version. Michael McGill, Executive Director of MCT, Inc., and the playwright/composer of King Arthur’s Quest, is especially excited that the students were called upon to do the translation of the show. “Community collaboration like this is a win-win situation,” says McGill, “It’s a symbiotic relationship that is especially satisfying when students engage in this kind of multi-level learning.” La Misión del Rey Arturo was performed on December 13th with two different casts of MIS students in the 2nd-8th grades. The MCT/MIS creative collaboration each year gives students an opportunity to showcase their language learning and gain experience in the performing arts. This year’s 8th grade parents recalled past plays as they watched the royal performance, marveling at how their little dust bunny had evolved into a knight in shining armor. From “shrinking damsel,” to assistant director and perhaps one day, to Rey Arturo, MIS students step out on the stage with great confidence in two languages.


Click Here for the full review in the Missoulian.


Watch Highlights of the dual-cast performance on Youtube.

Leaders In the Educational Landscape ...Continued from page 2

explored different tools to build inclusive communities, reduce inter-group conflict, and understand diversity. Patty explains, “Personal reflections fell into deep conversation about how our individual experiences and diverse backgrounds help us understand others and bring people together.” With this training, Patty and Gillian will help support the middle school advisory team and work with the full faculty to build trust, communication, and an inclusive student community. MIS 4/5 Teacher and 7th/8th grade Spanish Teacher Sherry Dickerson will present at the TESOL conference (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) to provide tips on teaching intercultural competence through multicultural literature. In addition to this conference, she will attend sessions to further collaborate with teachers from around the world in implementing cutting edge technologies and techniques for teaching second languages. Ryder Delaloye, middle school math and technology teacher, is the recipient of the Moser/McKinney Fellowship in Education, which funds his education while he pursues a Ed.D in Curriculum & Instruction in the UM College of Education. As part of the fellowship, Ryder serves as an ambassador for the UM College of Education, focusing his research on educating for sustainability. He looks forward to bringing his research into the classroom at Missoula International School. Lynn Hudorovich, MIS 2/3 multiage and 6th grade Spanish teacher, participated in an online PYP course on Climate Change this fall, offered through the American Museum of Natural History’s Seminars on Science. Lynn will delve deeper into this topic during upcoming PYP units related to the environment as a result of this course. Through continuing professional development, MIS teachers serve as role models to MIS students, demonstrating their personal and prefessional commitment to growth as both leaders and educators.

ò MLK Poetry Contest: Congratulations to MIS Student Writers! Four MIS 2nd and 3rd grade writers were winners in the NCBI/ Missoulian sponsored Martin Luther King, Jr. poetry writing contest. These students had their poems published in the January 20th issue of the Missoulian. The children read their poems aloud to the Missoula Community, where they received honors at Missoula's Annual MLK Jr. Day Community Celebration at St. Click here to read Paul's Lutheran Church. all of the winning poems!

2013/2014 Grant Awards Support Innovation and Student-Led Environmental Action

Innovation Grant

A $10,000 grant from the Engelhard Foundation this fall supports the School’s strategic goals for professional development. The grant is intended to help support increased innovation, curiosity and creativity at MIS, to benefit MIS students, and complement the MIS mission and current programs. As a result of the funding, MIS was able to award professional development Innovation Grants this year, to deepen collaboration and collegiality among MIS teachers and students, and to continue to professionalize the MIS Faculty.

Sharing the Planet Grant

MIS received a $10,000 grant in December from a grandparent who works with environmental organizations in Alaska. The “Sharing the Planet” grant will be used this spring to support student-initiated action related to environmental education and awareness in the community. As students begin units of inquiry this spring related to pollution and sustainability, they begin to develop their own ideas for showcasing their learning during their final assessments. The funds give students and teachers an additional opportunity to bring their awarenss of global environmental issues to the Missoula and International community through student-initiated marketing and educational projects. 1st Place- Preschool to 2nd Grade Division If you can’t fly, run. If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t walk, crawl. But by all means, keep moving. -Martin Luther King, Jr. If you can’t get there, use all your power and smash through the walls of fear with your titanium soul, never hide, flow over the pits of treachery, tear through the pain, but never give up, no matter what you look like, stampede over hatred, keep your beliefs, no matter the consequence. ~by Ellis, 2nd Grade


2013/2014 MISsion Forward Fund Update MANY WAYS TO GIVE, MANY WAYS TO BE GREAT

All part of the goal! Just click and earn towards our MISsion Forward Fund Goal

eSCRIP MAKES GIVING AS EASY AS SHOPPING Make your online shopping dollars count for MIS by taking advantage of the eScrip online mall. Click on the online mall through a link on the MIS homepage or bookmark the link above for later. • By using the Online Mall, MIS earns up to 16% of your purchases from over 1,000 name brand merchants. You can even give back by booking your travel through the online mall! • You shop from the same websites you know and pay exactly the same price. • The specific items you buy are not recorded in any way. • Be sure to visit the Online Mall first whenever you shop online so MIS can earn every time. A direct gift to MIS is tax-deductible! Contact Bethany O’Connell, Director of Development, for information about giving gifts of stock or other charitable giving. Your financial advisor can provide more information about how you may benefit from the tax advantages of giving to MIS. MIS is a 501c3 nonprofit organization with the tax EIN #81-0501614.


The Messenger welcomes your writing, art and stories related to MIS, alumni news, and international education. Please stay in touch! If you have a change in contact information, email:

Missoula International School 1100 Harrison Street Missoula, MT 59802 406.542.9924

Missoula International School Messenger Winter Spring 2014  

A magazine for the alumni, parents, grandparents, and friends of Missoula International School.

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