May 10, 2017

ISLA Academy would like to welcome Lander Torfs to our staff.  Lander is a talented teacher and gardening expert and will be leading several big projects over the course of his time at ISLA.  He is very interested in sustainability and green gardening practices.  Lander Torfs credits include:

2009- 2013 Bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture from Ghent University in Belgium.

2013 – 2014 Certificate for Secondary Teaching at HES Gent.

Please give Lander a warm welcome on the ISLA Academy campus when you see him.

April 3, 2017

ISLA Academy has recently welcomed Hazakyah Hardy-Dia to our team of talented teachers.  He is a longtime educator, with experience teaching sports, music, dance, drama, and English. 

Hazakyah Hardy-Dia is a published author, a founder of the Dominican Republic's leading organization of English teachers, and a world-record holding professional boxer.  Hazakyah has taught in this community for several years, in international schools and in his own boxing facility. 

Along with Mr. Jerome, Hazakyah will be handling the majority of the enrichment classes offered to our students. Please help us welcome him to ISLA Academy! To learn more about our international team of educators at ISLA Academy, please visit the website page here.

March 9, 2017

Third Presentation Day ISLA Academy in February 2017

ISLA Academy held Presentation Day for their third Unit of Inquiry on Thursday, February 2, 2017.  Presentation Day is a chance for students to share their latest personal and class projects with their families and the community.

At ISLA Academy, students learn using the inquiry cycle.  Every six weeks, the students focus their learning on a unique Central Idea, based on grade-level science and social studies standards.  Working alongside a professor, students design and plan their own six-week projects, each one seeking to show the community the student’s understanding of the Unit’s Central Idea.

When studying a Central Idea, students are taught how to develop their own questions about the topic.  They are encouraged to find the connections between the Unit content and their own lives.  In addition to choosing the focus of their inquiry, they also play a role in the selection of their mode of presentation.  This is especially important, as it allows for students to display their understanding using a variety of learning styles. 

Once the focus of the project is selected, students write a ‘Driving Question’.  This question is what drives the research and investigation of the project.  Examples of strong driving questions include “Could the world ever adopt a universal language?”, “What can we learn from the fall of the Mayan Civilization?”, “How can someone become a billionaire?” “Why do I need to wear a bicycle helmet?”, and “How do we move big things?”  Students and teachers use backward-design to plan the research and learning necessary to answer the driving questions.

Examples of the different ways that students have presented their learning include designing a board game, creating an educational online app, giving a TedTalk, writing and performing their own play, spoken-word poem, or rap-battle, designing an aquaponics system, or starting their own business.

Each Presentation Day, we see continued growth in our students’ learning, self-management, public speaking, research skills, and ability to make connections across subject areas.  We welcome the entire community to come out and take the opportunity to meet our very talented students and to ask them challenging questions about their inquiries.

The next Presentation Day is scheduled for Thursday, March 16, 2017 from 1-3 pm.

More about ISLA Academy

ISLA Academy offers high-quality education for PreK to Grade 12 at their campus located in Cabarete-Sosua on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. ISLA Academy is a unique offering to the private, international schools of the Dominican Republic, providing a rigorous, inquiry-based curriculum taught primarily in English, with an experienced team of internationally certified teachers from eight different countries.

October 21, 2016

Presentation Day was held at ISLA Academy on Thursday, October 13th to present and celebrate the first six weeks’ Units of Inquiry. Individual students and class groups gave presentations for friends and family, highlighting their investigations. There are six Units of Inquiry covered in the academic year, each lasting six weeks.

Representative work was chosen from each grade level, and included song and dance, philosophy, and health and science.  Student work was on display around the campus, with teachers and students offering their unit projects for discussion.

Presentation Day takes place on the final week of each Unit of Inquiry and is a wonderful opportunity for parents to see the work of their children and other students, while learning more about their day-to-day studies and projects.

This fun and dynamic gathering at ISLA Academy provided an opportunity for families to learn more about inquiry and project-based learning and share in the excitement of their children’s education.

More about ISLA Academy

ISLA Academy offers high-quality education for Preschool to Grade 12, at their campus located in Cabarete-Sosua on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. ISLA Academy provides a rigorous, inquiry-based curriculum taught primarily in English, with an experienced team of internationally certified teachers from eight different countries.

A unique offering to the private, international schools of the Dominican Republic, ISLA Academy is the only institution that offers an exclusively inquiry-based method of learning. By connecting with a child's natural curiosity, an inquiry approach creates a culture of investigation and active learning that encourages students to be participants in their own education, not only in childhood but also throughout life. 

September 29, 2016

We enjoyed the support of so many families at both of our recent Curriculum Nights at ISLA Academy. The incredible turnout underscored how parental involvement is a crucial factor for the academic success of any student. Reading to your child, participating in activities that stimulate and challenge them, spending quality time together for meals and recreation, and taking an active interest in their education all support their development in positive ways. We are so grateful that the students at ISLA Academy enjoy the care of such wonderfully invested and engaged families.

During both of our Curriculum Nights, we talked about common terminology found in our unit planners.  From its origins with Socrates to the founder of modern education, John Dewey, inquiry-based learning is the posing of questions, problems or scenarios and investigating answers, rather than simply presenting established facts.  A subject may be taught as a process and way of thinking – not presented solely as facts to be memorized, which can dampen the love of learning.

Inquiry has been used as a teaching and learning tool for thousands of years, however, the use of inquiry within public and private education has a much shorter history. Becoming increasingly mainstream, inquiry-based learning is commonly used in STEM Magnet schools, and academic research has continually shown that students at all levels of education can successfully experience and develop deeper level thinking skills through inquiry-based learning.

At ISLA Academy’s Curriculum Night, we previewed the six Units of Inquiry to be covered this year and discussed the stages of the Inquiry Cycle that each class will move through during a six-week unit.  More importantly, ISLA Academy teachers and staff were happy to speak to parents in person about ways to support their own child’s learning while they are outside of the ISLA campus.

ISLA Academy is a unique newcomer to the current offerings of private, international schools available in the Dominican Republic. It is the only learning institution in the area using an inquiry-based method of teaching. ISLA Academy, located in Sosua-Cabarete, offers a high-quality, rigorous and personalized curriculum taught primarily in English.

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