ISA’s December Newsletter

By Abner Oakes

ISA's National Director of Outreach and Engagement


Happy Holidays!

ISA’s New Case Study: Preparing Graduates for the Path Ahead

At ISA partner school Kensington Health Sciences Academy (KHSA) in the School District of Philiadelphia, no student is anonymous. KHSA’s commitment to every student is evident in its mission to “prepare every student academically and holistically to be responsible, caring community members, ready for college or career upon graduation.” Staff from KHSA and partnering organizations are committed to being allies for students and meeting each student’s needs within and beyond the classroom. KHSA’s whole student approach involves “building our community together, learning through inquiry, valuing integrity, and celebrating learning.”

Click here to read the case study.

Webinar on January 14: Digital Tools to Help English Learners

Join ISA for a webinar on January 14 at 4:00 pm ET called Digital Tools to Help English Learners. Stephanie Grasso, an ISA coach, will be joined by Sabrina Espinetti, a teacher of English learners at NYC’s Business of Sports School.

During the webinar, Stephanie and Sabrina will demonstrate digital tools to use with English learners (EL) in the virtual or blended classroom. They will look at ways to promote EL’s speaking, reading, and writing skills through the use of apps, as well as ways that teachers can differentiate activities and assignments using these tools. As in her previous webinar for ISA, Stephanie will continue to weave the theme of social-emotional support for ELs as she and Sabrina explore how to best support these students using digital tools. The 45-minute session will end with time for conversation with participants on their own best practices.

Click here to register.

Trauma Responsive Schools: Good for All Students

(Jeanne Carlivati, an ISA coach who works with ISA’s partner school in Rochester, NY, wrote this article.)

Most educators are familiar with the term ACE (adverse childhood experience), which can include but is not limited to abuse, neglect, bullying, food insecurity, mental illness, incarceration, homelessness, parental/family drug use, and parental death. Research that began in the 1990s indicates that children and youth who experience three or more ACEs have a much higher risk of failing a grade, experience poor school attendance, are unable to concentrate, often become irritable or withdrawn, have trouble maintaining friendships, are referred to special education at a much higher level because they exhibit signs of not being able to learn like their peers, and in many cases eventually drop out of school. (See this 2019 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and this 2020 article from Teaching Tolerance on a trauma-informed approach during the pandemic.)

But research also supports this good news: Young people are highly resilient and have the ability to reverse negative outcomes that emerge from an ACE. Schools can provide for these students by creating an atmosphere in which all students thrive, not just those students who have experienced trauma.

Click here to finish reading this article.