Student support

The Imagine Neighborhood Podcast: “Each episode tells a story that’s amazing, fantastical, and maybe a little bananas, while it tackles the big feelings that come with growing up. And the Imagine Neighborhood gives you and your kids fun activities to do at home, in the car, or anywhere you talk to each other.”

Dojo: Short video series on a range of social-emotional topics including Moods and Attitudes, Perseverance, Gratitude, and Positive Thinking.

Exploring Emotions: “Feelings come in all shapes and sizes. When you help children express and understand their emotions, you’re helping them to overcome challenges, understand others, and communicate. In simple everyday ways, you can give them important tools that will help them handle big feelings, little ones, and every feeling in between.”

Practice Mindfulness With Belly Breathing: “During stressful or intense emotional moments, children may not have the coping skills to calm themselves. Diaphragmatic breathing, also known as belly breathing, is a calming exercise that both children and parents can practice to relax and feel grounded, and one that children as young as three can practice.”

Breathe Think Do app: “This is a resource app for you to share with your child to help teach skills such as problem-solving, self-control, planning, and task persistence.”

Daniel Tiger’s Grr-ific Feelings: “Children can play, sing, and learn about all kinds of feelings with their friend and neighbor Daniel Tiger from the hit PBS KIDS series, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.”

Calm app: “Calm is the perfect mindfulness app for beginners, but also includes hundreds of programs for intermediate and advanced users. Guided meditation sessions are available in lengths of 3, 5, 10, 15, 20 or 25 minutes so you can choose the perfect length to fit with your schedule.”

Calm app: “Calm is the perfect mindfulness app for beginners, but also includes hundreds of programs for intermediate and advanced users. Guided meditation sessions are available in lengths of 3, 5, 10, 15, 20 or 25 minutes so you can choose the perfect length to fit with your schedule.”

Tips for Teens: Taking Care of Yourself During a School Shutdown

Self-Care Journal: Download your own copy and complete electronically or print.

Activities for Well-Being and Boredom Busting

Schools Closed? How to Make a New Home Routine: “Children thrive on routines. To little ones, there is so much new in their worlds, their brains and their bodies every day that making things predictable is reassuring. Kids need that reassurance now more than ever.”

Handling Your Kid’s Disappointment When Everything Is Canceled: “School and events are shutting down, impacting children in unexpected ways. Here’s how to deal with the letdown.”

Parenting in the time of Corona: Elementary School Children: “…some thoughts on the special challenges of parenting elementary school children in the time of Corona or as we now call it COVID-19.”

Coping with Fatigue, Fear, and Panic During a Crisis: “We are dealing with two contagions — the virus itself and the emotions it generates. Negative emotions are every bit as contagious as the virus, and they’re also toxic. Fatigue, fear, and panic undermine our ability to think clearly and creatively, manage our relationships effectively, focus attention on the right priorities, and make smart, informed choices.”

That Discomfort You’re Feeling Is Grief: “..thoughts on why it’s important to acknowledge the grief you may be feeling, how to manage it, and how he believes we will find meaning in it.”

Life Kit, an NPR Podcast: “Everyone needs a little help being a human. From sleep to saving money to parenting and more, we talk to the experts to get the best advice out there. Life Kit is here to help you get it together.” Many episodes lately about coping with home isolation issues, and there is a Parenting section that might be helpful to you.

Meet our team!

Anne Payne
Anne Payne
College Counselor
Ashley Sequoia
Ashley Sequoia
Teacher, Learning Support
Codie Chaudoin
Codie Chaudoin
EAL Coordinator
Diana Baudere
Diana Baudere
Assistant , Learning Support
Hayde Summa
Hayde Summa
Learning Support , Teacher
Rachel Kayce
Rachel Kayce
Teacher, Learning Support

Learning Support

Learning Support is a part of the Support Services group at the International School of Latvia, which includes Counseling, EAL, Health, and Learning Support.

The LS department works to provide additional support for students, teachers, and parents in the school to help meet each student’s individual needs.

We believe that the best way to achieve this goal is through an inclusive education model.

The Learning Resource Center was founded in 2007 to develop a model of student support that matches the best of educational theory and research with the special strengths and needs of the International School of Latvia students.  Our goal was to create a unique center that strives to provide a range of multifaceted services at the Elementary, Middle and High School level. In 2014, the Learning Resource Center was renamed as the Learning Support (LS) department that would have a greater focus on in-class support, and to further develop our capacity to support a greater range of student needs.”

The LS department is a program designed to increase the academic success of all ISL students who may have varied backgrounds, interests and individual learning differences.  A team approach through a Student Support Team (SST) has been adopted to ensure a holistic view of each student aiding in all decision making for support plans.

The following services are available in the Learning Support Department:

  • Accommodations and modifications for students
  • In-class support
  • When necessary, small group instruction and/or 1-on-1 support
  • Support Overview (SO) for Level 1 (equivalent to a 504 plan)
  • Individualized Learning Plans (ILP) for Level 2-3  (equivalent to an IEP)
  • Professional development for staff to support student programs
  • Fees for Learning Support:
    • We do not charge families any additional fees for Learning Support services. We believe that all students deserve the right to support towards success within ISL, and we are a community working together towards this common goal.
    • When the need for a one-to-one assistant is determined by ISL, typically the school will hire and supervise this staff member. This allows us to better supervise and train the one-to-one assistants to ensure proper implementation of the students’ lLP. The cost of this one-to-one assistant will be paid for by the family.
    • If additional services including but not limited to Educational Psychological Assessment, speech therapy, occupational therapy, or hearing test are needed, these services will be arranged and paid for by the family. The Learning Support department will help in finding professionals for these needs, as well as be a liaison between the professionals, families, and members of ISL.

We currently support students who have mild to moderate disabilities and are commited to accommodating students with a variety of needs. Our future goal is to provide a program for students with severe needs and enrichment. Please feel free to arrange an appointment if you are interested in discussing the support that our department can provide your child.

“The fundamental principle of inclusive education is the valuing of diversity within the human community…. When inclusive education is fully embraced, we abandon the idea that children have to become “normal” in order to contribute to the world…. We begin to look beyond typical ways of becoming valued members of the community, and in doing so, begin to realize the achievable goal of providing all children with an authentic sense of belonging.” –  Norman Kunc

Meet our team!

Ashley Sequoia
Ashley Sequoia
Teacher, Learning Support
Diana Baudere
Diana Baudere
Assistant , Learning Support
Hayde Summa
Hayde Summa
Learning Support , Teacher
Rachel Kayce
Rachel Kayce
Teacher, Learning Support

English as an Additional Language

Our school’s EAL Department is committed to supporting all students whose native language is not English, by ensuring they have full access to the curriculum taught, and are confidently progressing with their English language skills in all areas.

Our program also strives to educate our whole community about the language acquisition process, as well as our philosophy and methodology for teaching language through content.

We believe that the English language unites our community, and that learning it is a lifelong process for everyone.

At ISL, we believe that by modeling our own language learning, facilitating a school culture that values persistence and progress rather than perfection, we are able to create a comfortable environment for studying and mastering new languages.  Students are challenged in each class to communicate well, take appropriate risks, show caring, and be respectful. Through these key elements of the IB Learner Profile, it is possible for all students to thrive as language learners. At each level, we believe a student’s native language needs to be maintained for heritage and literacy purposes. A strong foundation in one’s native language is the best scaffold on which to build learning in other languages.

The ultimate aim of our EAL program is to provide just enough support to learners of English so they may continue in their academic development across the whole curriculum. Upon matriculating at ISL, students are evaluated for English language level and proficiency in the domains of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Together with a thorough review of their application for admission, previous school records, an informal interview, and in most cases, completion of the  Oxford Online Placement Test (for ages 11+) or the IDEA Language Proficiency Test (IPT) (for ages 5-10),  a determination is made to place students into our EAL support program. We have determined that most of our students are able to be independent and successful academically in their content classes when they reach at least a B2-C1 level of written proficiency. Our aim is to support and monitor each individual student through their language development until they are able to fully demonstrate their knowlege in all content areas in the English language.  There are two models of language support that English learners receive, depending on individual needs, either “push-in” or “pull-out”. Students with lower proficiency will start out in pull-out classes, then move to push-in, and finally exit our program when their EAL and content teachers determine they are fully capable to be independently successful.

In Grades 1 to 10, in order to be successful across the curriculum in academics, additional English language support is warranted for certain students. These students attend  English language support classes in place of studying Language B in the International Baccalaureate framework. These classes take the form of intensive and tailored language instruction, plus support for learning of other academic material within a small group setting. The EAL department works with teachers and students in and out of the regular classes, adapting to various individual needs. Such EAL support is intended to give students an intensive, shorter-term boost toward academic language proficiency in English. Each Spring term, all EAL pull-out students are reassessed, using various assessment data including testing and teacher evaluations to determine their needs for English language support in the following year. Students gradually transition from small group “pull-out” support to “push-in” support in classes to full independent learning. Students who exit the EAL program continue to be monitored to ensure that they are thriving and successful at making academic gains.

The EAL specialist joins the content teacher in the regular classroom and assists both the teacher and students  in adapting the delivery of the content to support English language learners in that classroom. Thus, language learning is contextualized into academic content. Students learn grammar, syntax, and academic vocabulary through genuine classroom contexts in each of their classes as a result of careful preparation and planning, with integrated co-teaching.

On average, language acquisition research consistently shows that it takes seven to nine years to learn a new language proficiently in both social and academic contexts. The WIDA Guiding Principles for Language Development show how firmly rooted the EAL philosophy is the academic and research-based work on language learning. As teachers and parents, we need to remember to be patient with our students. We should look for steady progress rather than leaps forward. As students will often be exhausted when they begin this process, providing breaks at school and extra sleep at home are crucial components to their success. It is important to note that learners often experience a period of silence and varying emotional stages associated with being immersed in a language new to them. With patience, time, and practice, progress is sure to come.

Below are a variety of EAL study and learning materials. Many of these also include learning tips and techniques for improving overall reading and learning.

  • School supported Brainpop ELL
  • ABCya! offers a variety of educational games targeted at students in Grades 1-5.
  • Starfall focuses on developing young readers.
  • Little Bridge offers a variety of English language exercises and games for young learners.
  • The EFL PLayhouse has many games, activities, crafts and learning materials for young students.
  • ESL Gold has a wide array of online practice activities and exercises.
  • Dave’s ESL Café offers many resources to help, including every student’s favourite phrasal verbs, slang and grammar tips. You can also engage in the forum with other English language students and practice your English by joining in with one of the many discussions.
  • The Learn English Site from the British Council offers downloadable podcasts, games, academic writing help and an IELTS section.  You can also download free apps for your iPhone or iPad.
  • ESL Point offers graded help in all the skills.  There are many online practice exercises with clear explanations.  There is also a TOEFL/TOEIC section with online material and quizzes.

Meet Our Team!

Cathie Turek
Cathie Turek
Teacher, EAL
Codie Chaudoin
Codie Chaudoin
EAL Coordinator
Rita Vaciete
Rita Vaciete
Teacher, EAL

Mother Tongue

Current research in the field of language acquisition overwhelmingly shows that academic achievement is consistently enhanced, particularly in lower grades, when new language learning is done in parallel with the home language, rather than only in place of the child’s original mother tongue.

School-based support for language development in both the main language of instruction as well as mother tongue has far-reaching benefits, including those in emotional,  social and academic areas. For example, students will find it easier to discuss classroom content and lessons with their families, students will understand similar linguistic structures (like nouns, adjectives, tenses, etc.) across multiple languages, and students will strengthen their sense of cultural identity while better understanding others.

Here at ISL we believe in supporting students’ mother tongue, and we offer Latvian and Russian Mother Tongue classes during the school day in early elementary grades. Some lower English proficiency students in the upper grades of the MYP pursue self-study of their mother tongue in place of an acquisition language as they are still developing their English skills. Some Diploma Program candidates choose to study their Mother Tongue as an additional Language A option instead of selecting a Language B option, and they earn a bilingual diploma.

The greater the sophistication of a child`s mother tongue knowledge, the easier it is for them to learn new languages. Children who have a solid foundation in their mother tongue develop better literacy skills in all other languages that they learn. When parents and other important adults have time to discuss and read in the child’s mother tongue, and thus help expand the child’s vocabulary, the child will be better prepared for school and will more easily learn new languages. Children’s knowledge and skills transfer across languages. Skills learned in the mother tongue will transfer to the other languages learned in school, as long as all languages are supported.

Our program is offered in  Latvian & Russian. Students receive three sessions per week of instruction in these two languages, to supplement their regular classroom instruction.  Lessons focus on their IB Unit of Inquiry, math vocabulary as well as reading and literacy support. Students whose Mother Tongue is other than Latvian or Russian have an opportunity to take Latvian As A Non-Native Language, or to receive EAL assistance to improve their English language proficiency.

There are two paths to earn a bilingual diploma. The first is when students choose to study their mother tongue as a `self taught`course for and additional Language A (group 1), choose English as their Language B (group 2), and they write their Extended Essay in the English language. The second option is when students choose two Language A options, one in English and one in their mother tongue.

Dace Lakse
Dace Lakse
German B, Latvian Mother Tongue, Teacher
Mihails Devjatovskis
Mihails Devjatovskis
Russian B, Russian Mother Tongue, Teacher

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Life in ISL

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