January 23, 2017

A priority at ISLA Academy is providing high-quality, healthy food for our children.  It is very important that children receive the proper amount of calories and nutrients in order for them to function at their optimum level. Our lunch program is largely vegetarian (with the exception of fish procured locally, and one free-range chicken day per month), we provide a variety of tasty, well-balanced meals using fresh, locally-sourced ingredients.  

Our new chef, Paola Mallen, is a Santo Domingo native with a passion for healthy, fresh, delicious food. After finishing her culinary arts degree, she relocated to Cabarete where she has worked at Cabarete gourmet restaurants Miró, and Tabüle. In addition to her work at ISLA Academy, she currently has a personal project called @freshfoodbymallen where she offers services as a personalized chef.

Chef Paola is a lover of fresh food, made from quality ingredients, and we are very excited to have her on our team. Check out her Instagram feed for snapshots of some of the tasty dishes she's prepared for ISLA academy so far!

In the Domincan Republic, there is an expression at mealtime, "Barriga llena, corazón contento"  which means  "Happy heart, full stomach".  

Photos by Olive Wang

January 20, 2017

At ISLA Academy, the New Year brought more opportunities for teacher collaboration across our campus. In January 2017, all of our teachers have spent time working with multiple classes. This creates consistency across the curriculum, encourages collaboration and connection, and gives our students a chance to experience the many talents of our entire teaching staff. 

When teachers have opportunities to collaborate and observe one another, a welcoming environment is created that places an emphasis on quality results and working together.  ISLA Academy offers progressive education on the North Coast of the Dominican Republic, with classes taught primarily in English, from Pre-School through High School. 

ISLA Academy has begun combining English classes with grades 1-3. We do this in level centers in order to teach more individually to the students. For example, some students work on phonics, some on guided reading, others work on reading comprehension and vocabulary. The students enjoy working in different groups and have been enthusiastic, reporting that it's "much more fun like this!".  Children learn more easily when they are happy and engaged with the process.

A recent article in the journal Stanford Social Innovation Reviewstated the following: “Teaching is not an isolated activity. If it’s going to be done well, it has to be done collaboratively over time. With collaboration, you are exposed to other teachers’ priorities and are better able to incorporate them to broaden your own approach in the classroom.” 

ISLA Academy is proud of the diversity our teachersprovide, with a wide variety of teaching experience, and nationalities. Their excellence and professionalism is the common thread, and our students benefit immensely from what they all have to offer. 

December 26, 2016

As we come to the close of our academic semester, we reflect on the highlights of our previous unit.  It has been a unique and challenging time for our community as we faced difficult weather conditions that impacted everyone.  In spite of it all, we were able to achieve and participate in many great events. The rainy months of October and November gave way to glorious sunshine and blue skies in December, and we made the most of it!

Student Activities

Student elections were held this unit.  Candidates gave their campaign speeches, learned about the electoral process, and were chosen to represent their classmates. Students also designed and built a new compost system for our food waste and garden. Members of the Yearbook Committee started development.

As we like to stay active and engage with our community and environment, all students participated in a beach cleanup at nearby Playa Laguna.  Our students worked together to make a big impact, picking up a lot of trash and plastic in one outing. Students collected recycled materials and built a Christmas tree from the materials with Miss Arianny.  It was a lot of work, but our tree looks amazing (and so does the beach)! Students also organized a bake sale to raise funds for flood victims.

Holiday Fair

Our Holiday Fair on December 10 got everyone in the holiday spirit with some good old fashioned family fun. The free Holiday extravaganza was open to the public, and included such fun activities as a Visit and Photo with Santa, Reindeer rides, Face painting, Sean in the stocks, Elf hunt, Sack races, Holiday photo booth, Santa's mailbox, Cookie swap, Upcycled craft stalls, Holiday basket raffle and more! It was an event to remember, and we’re so pleased to have been able to celebrate the holiday spirit together.

Guest Lecture Series

During the months of November and December, we had a terrific lecture series (see November Happenings for additional guests). Some highlights include:

A Guest presentation from Sandra Weber, owner of Claro Café in Cabarete, who spoke to us about making choices to reduce her business's environmental impact on the community.

Guest lecture and science presentation from Dianna Cowern, AKA Physics Girl.  She is a popular YouTube science personality, and spoke about how she does research and plans her many projects.  She was joined by a mechanical engineer who discussed the design process with our students.

Guest lecture from Letti Pascuito, owner of Kana Rapai recycled art center.  She taught our students about creative art using upcycling.

Guest cooking classes from local chef Paola and ISLA parent Odile Horjus.

Guest yoga instructor, Ms. Gabi joined us weekly to teach students of all ages about yoga.

Student Field Trips

ISLA Academy students had the opportunity to venture out into the community and learn about a variety of topics and engage with interesting people, doing interesting things, and help where needed. Our field trips related to topics being investigated on campus, so it was a wonderful opportunity to see ideas in action. 

Field trip to the Mariposa Foundation to meet international muralist Xaivier Ringer.  She spoke to us about the impact that art can have on affecting social change in a community.

A field trip to the circus at Extreme Hotel to learn acrobatic techniques, expand our comfort zone by trying out the flying trapeze and build class unity.

Sosua Bay field trip to participate in standup paddleboarding with Pauhana Academy.

Multiple trips to the communities of Maranatha, Sosua Abajo, and La Cienaga to deliver food, mosquito nets, rain boots, and clothing to the victims of the flooding.  These items were collected, organized, and distributed by students, parents, and teachers.

A visit to Charlie's Foundation in La Cienaga to deliver items to the children sleeping there temporarily due to the flooding of their village.  Several of our students also went later to play games and sing songs with the children. 

Field trip to a Fedujazz event to participate in a music workshop with musicians from the Dominican Republic Jazz Festival.

ISLA Academy is grateful to all of the friends we have made in the community that have made us feel so welcome, and have embraced our students. 

Amazing!  Thanks to all of the people that helped to enrich the learning experiences of our students, from the guest presenters to the parents that organized the events or provided transportation.  Here's to another great term at ISLA Academy.

December 15, 2016

ISLA Academy held Presentation Day for the second Unit of Inquiry on Thursday, December 1.  Students presented their learning and project development from the previous six weeks to their families and the community. Representative work was chosen from each grade level, and was on display around the school with teachers and students offering their unit projects for discussion.

Highlights included a performance by Phase 1 about feelings, a multimedia presentation by Phase 2 on Simple and Compound Machines (complete with a video, song and hand-made functioning objects), individual presentations from students in Phase 3 on such topics as Assembly Lines & Effective Systems, and presentations from students in Phases 4-6 that included endangered species such as the Panda, Rhino and Shark, the importance of upcycling & recycling,  and an innovative game board contrasting science and religion.

The campus buzzed with excitement as the gathering at ISLA Academy provided an opportunity for families to share in the enjoyment of their children’s education. Presentation Day takes place on the final week of each Unit of Inquiry, and is a dynamic and engaging opportunity for parents to learn more about the day to day studies and projects of all the students.

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.

The inquiry-based approach to learning utilized by ISLA Academy connects with a child's natural curiosity, and creates a culture of investigation and active knowledge-seeking. This approach encourages students to be participants in their own education, and nurtures the love of life-long learning. 

November 26, 2016

November was an action packed month at ISLA Academy. We welcomed several important guest speakers, and led a fundraising and flood relief initiative for those affected by the heavy rains that have seriously impacted our island.

Guest Speakers: Just Give Charity, Hollywood Pro, Ocean & Animal Preservation Experts

Family members from the charity Just Give visited us, and we were happy to share time with Adonie, 11, and Lydia, 8. They are brother and sister, traveling the world with their family, and have raised 1 million US dollars to donate to charities worldwide. They gave us a presentation with their Mom, and were a true inspiration to the children at ISLA Academy.  To learn more, visit http://www.justgive.today/

Hollywood producer and cinematographer Zach Graber was in town for a reality television series filming in the area. He gave a cinematography workshop to our students in Phases 4-6, which was fascinating and exciting. Zach spoke about the art of filmmaking, the best techniques in filming to create different moods and effects, and other film industry insights.

Lidia Sophia, an Owl Expert gave students in Phases 1-4 a presentation about the Ashy-Faced owl that is indigenous to the Dominican Republic. She presented extensive information to the students, and they were allowed to safely handle Maku, the rescue owl. It was a terrific learning encounter for our students. Sadly, this breed of owl is endangered, and Lidia spoke about some of the reasons why, including the effects of human behavior connected to issues relating to the food chain (which ties in with our second line of inquiry at ISLA Academy).

Following this tutorial on owls, our Security Guard Francisco noticed something interesting in the garden, which led to further investigation and the discovery of an owl, high up in a tree at ISLA Academy. The students were buzzing with excitement about this sighting.

Dr. Gabriel Maldonado, a PhD Biologist, and former Director of the Liceo Cientifico School in Salcedo, Dominican Republic gave a 3-hour presentation to our students in Phases 5 -6 on parrot fish and their relation to coral reefs. It was an honor to host him as our guest, and our students learned a great deal about the ocean, and the importance of preservation efforts. The topic led to challenging questions by our students about the future of tourism in the Dominican Republic, and our responsibilities as World citizens.

November 15, 2016

ISLA Academy is collecting donations and goods to deliver to families affected by severe flooding in the Maranatha region of Sosua, Sosua Abajo and La Cienega village of Cabarete, Dominican Republic.

Please bring donations (suggested items below) to the ISLA Academy campus in Playa Laguna, Sosua. If you would like to contribute a monetary donation, it will be used to purchase necessary items from the list for people in dire need. Donations are being offered to families in cooperation with a local church

in the region, which ISLA Academy staff is collaborating with in our outreach effort. 

Items needed: Matches, oil, rice, powdered milk, sardines, salami, candles, coffee, sugar, soap, antiseptic, toilet paper, blankets, sheets, clothing.

ISLA Academy staff, family and friends have been fundraising, preparing and delivering meals to families whose homes have been destroyed due to the severe flooding along the north coast region of the Dominican Republic.

For more information on how you can help, please contact us:
Tel. (809) 571-4633

Cash donations can be made here:



November 4, 2016

Presentation Day, Halloween, Spooky Movie Night at ISLA Academy, October 2016

 ISLA Academy wrapped up its first six weeks of the 2016-2017 academic year with the completion of the first Unit of Inquiry. Presentation Day was held to showcase students’ work, and student assessments were completed. Each presentation is assessed on the ability of the student to show deep understanding of the unit’s central idea.  At ISLA, students spend each unit working on investigative projects.  Students propose an idea and then meet with their teachers to develop project calendars, grading criteria, and a method of presentation. A high importance is placed creativity and planning.  Sample presentations included a philosophical debate between two students acting as Rene Descartes and George Berkeley, a ‘Shark Tank’ agro-business proposal, and a Guide to Healthy Living pamphlet.   

To celebrate the autumn season and Halloween, ISLA Academy held its 2nd Annual Spooky Movie Night Extravaganza on the lawn, on Friday, October 28. This year we showed the kid's Halloween classic, Tim Burton's The Corpse Bride. This fun, family event was complete with a bouncy house, campfire and S’Mores, delicious snacks, fun activities, and even a ‘Thriller’ dance performance.

Halloween has grown in popularity along the north coast of the Dominican Republic throughout the years, and ISLA Academy happily joins in the fun. Encouraging children and staff to wear costumes to school, ISLA Academy celebrates Halloween in full glory. Students were invited to partake in trick or treating in the nearby communities of Sea Horse Ranch and Perla Marina after school, as well.

ISLA Academy continues with its academic mission of serious education as the students embark on their second Unit of Inquiry. A unique offering to the private schools of the Dominican Republic, ISLA Academy supports a child’s natural curiosity through inquiry and project based learning, maintaining a student’s love of learning while enjoying creativity and fun in a distinctive educational environment.

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.

September 15, 2016

International Teachers & Campus Expansion

The 2016-2017 school year is off to amazing start at ISLA Academy. We have nearly ten times as many students as we had at last year’s opening, and most importantly, there is an abundance of positive energy from students, teachers and staff that are ready to make this a truly special year. With 86 students in grades ranging from preschool through high school from 27 different countries, and 14 teachers from 8 different countries, our campus is uniquely diverse.

ISLA Academy is proud of our incredible team of educators.  With experience teaching in more than 20 different countries, our team is highly-qualified and truly international.  In addition, we feel confident in saying that they are one of the most skilled team of educators in the entire Caribbean. To learn more, you can see their bios here: Our Team

Our new Preschool is an addition that enjoys the attendance of our youngest students ages 2-3, led by teachers Anne Goosens of Belgium and Sandra Peralta from the Dominican Republic. The children have the opportunity to enjoy supervised play and exploration on our campus, and delight in a newly built casita and tranquil garden play-space created just for them.

We have expanded our ISLA Academy campus by opening an annex learning center which provides additional classrooms for our high school students.  After School Clubs are a vibrant elective to our academic school offerings (and are open to students from other schools, all are welcome to register and attend). After School clubs at ISLA Academy include Soccer, Guitar, Art, Cooking, Chess, STEM, Tennis and more.

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 offers a high-quality, rigorous and personalized curriculum taught primarily in English.

We welcome you to visit us at ISLA Academy!

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