At EIS we work together to instill a lifelong love of learning in all our students and are happy for them to join our vibrant, engaged, family and successful community.
As a Primary principal, I am honored to have the opportunity to lead such a wonderful division, filled with persevering students, an extremely dedicated staff, and a collaborative school community. Beyond fostering academic excellence, our educators work to develop strong, positive, and lasting relationships with each of our students. We strive to help students reach their personal best and thrive during their time with us by balancing academic rigor, social-emotional well-being, and student independence.
We are proud of all our students, who upon graduation continue their education at the universities of their choice. With their preparation throughout their years at EIS, they possess a drive to excel and positively influence society and are prepared to take on leadership roles in a complex and ever-changing world. Alumni often describe their school as “their second home.”
As a team, community, and family, at EIS we feel privileged that you have entrusted us with your child’s education. We are committed to providing them with an outstanding education and to always strive for excellence.
Escuela Internacional Sampedrana applies the Common Core State Standards. The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. Our goal is for our students to be fully prepared for the future and to be successful in the global economy. We are constantly revising and view our curriculum as a living document. Our teachers apply Understanding by Design to create high quality units from Wiggins and Mc Tighe.
Understanding by Design (UbD) reflects the convergence of two interdependent ideas: (1) research on learning and cognition that highlights the centrality of teaching and assessing for understanding, and (2) a helpful and time-honored process for curriculum writing (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005).
UbD is based on eight key tenets:
UbD is a way of thinking purposefully about curricular planning, not a rigid program or prescriptive recipe.
A primary goal of UbD is developing and deepening student understandingâ€”the ability to make meaning of learning via “big ideas” and to transfer learning.
UbD unpacks and transforms content standards and mission-related goals into relevant Stage 1 elements and appropriate assessments in Stage 2.
Understanding is revealed when students autonomously make sense of and transfer their learning through authentic performance. Six facets of understandingâ€”the capacities to explain, interpret, apply, shift perspective, empathize, and self-assessâ€”serve as indicators of understanding.
Effective curriculum is planned “backward” from long-term desired results through a three-stage design process (Desired Results, Evidence, Learning Plan). This process helps to avoid the twin problems of “textbook coverage” and “activity-oriented teaching” in which no clear priorities and purposes are apparent.
Teachers are coaches of understanding, not mere purveyors of content or activity. They focus on ensuring learning, not just teaching (and assuming that what was taught was learned); they always aimâ€”and checkâ€”for successful meaning-making and transfer by the learner.
Regular reviews of units and curriculum against design standards enhance curricular quality and effectiveness.
UbD reflects a continuous-improvement approach to achievement. The results of our designsâ€”student performanceâ€”inform needed adjustments in curriculum as well as instruction; we must stop, analyze, and adjust as needed, on a regular basis.
Understanding as an Educational Aim
UbD is predicated on the idea that long-term achievement gains are more likely when teachers teach for understanding of transferable concepts and processes while giving learners multiple opportunities to apply their learning in meaningful (i.e., authentic) contexts. The requisite knowledge and skills are learned and long recalled through the process of actively constructing meaning (i.e., coming to an understanding) and in transferring learning to new situations. In short, when we treat content mastery as the means, not the end, students learn more in the long term and can become more engaged in their work.
Our teachers work in teams, with team meetings daily, and a curriculum coordinator who works close with the teachers. The Literacy Coach , Lindamood Bell coaches, and math coaches work close with all the teachers.
At EIS elementary our teachers team plan. The schedule provides daily common planning time per grade level. The time is set to create lessons, to discuss lessons, and to improve specific teaching strategies. All teachers experience the benefits of teamwork and joint planning for professional camaraderie and student learning: when teachers work together to plan and implement the curriculum everyone seems to benefit. Our teachers learn daily from each other, have learned skills for team wok, and enjoy the team support. It is a learning path where every member feels valued!
Math Instruction and Intervention
Our math program is growing! The teachers and students in the elementary division have been exploring new ways to solve problems. We are shifting from a focus on computation and memorizing procedures, to understanding and applying the mathematics in new situations. Students are now being asked to analyze, compare, demonstrate, explain, justify, reason, and model with mathematics. We are now taking a differentiated approach to mathematics instruction which allows our students to explore through hands-on discovery, receive small group instruction, participate in math workshops, complete math centers, and take part in a variety of other teacher-inspired methods that will enhance the learning experiences of each child. We want the students understand the mathematics, recognize when they need to use it (inside and outside of the classroom), and apply the concepts when solving problems.
Our curriculum is aligned with the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics. The standards are designed so that the students have fewer concepts to master within a school year. This allows them to spend more time developing a deeper understanding for the topics that are taught. This way, students will have a solid foundation in mathematics that will last a lifetime. We are teaching the curriculum with our newly adopted EnVision Mathematics textbook series published by Pearson Education.
A variety of resources are available to supplement mathematics instruction. Each classroom is equipped with a set of grade level appropriate manipulatives, textbooks, learning games, and a Smart Board. The students are also given access to a variety of educational websites, as well as the EnVision Mathematics textbook on-line. Students and parents can access the textbook at home. The teachers also utilize the school’s media center which contains many books on math concepts which provide opportunities for the integration of subjects. Faculty members are supported year round by math coaches that are available for planning, modeling lessons, and co-teaching.
Mathematics intervention sessions will be held in an effort to support our students who may be having difficulties in class. Any students who require additional support will meet with a staff member for 30 minutes twice per week to gain additional strategies so that they are able to succeed in the classroom. Our staff members are working very hard so that our students are prepared for secondary mathematics, college, and career.
Our Elementary has 2 Science labs where all our students, teachers, and assistants visit and work in small groups every week in projects. The teacher, assistant, and students visit the lab where we have a teacher and an assistant supporting the grade level units. Students truly enjoy their time in the science lab!
During the engagement stage, the teacher introduces students to the learning task and focuses on connecting prior knowledge to the new knowledge being presented in the lesson. As the science lab teacher makes this connection, it is an opportune time to find out what prior knowledge and possible misconceptions the children bring to the lesson. Thus, the Engagement stage provides an excellent opportunity for the teacher to access prior knowledge and understanding, identify what students already know about the topic, and modify the lesson.
“When students are doing inquiry-based science, an observer will see” the following:
Students View Themselves as Scientist in the Process of Learning.
They look forward to doing science.
They demonstrate a desire to know more.
They seek to collaborate and work in cooperative groups with their peers.
They are confident in doing science; they demonstrate a willingness to modify ideas, take risks, and displays healthy skepticism.
They respect individuals and differing points of view.
Students Accept an “Invitation to Learn” and Readily Engage in the Exploration Process
Students exhibit curiosity and ponder observations.
They take the opportunity and time to try out and persevere with their own ideas.
Students Plan and Carry out Investigations.
Students design a fair test as a way to try out their ideas, not expecting to be told what to do.
They plan ways to verify, extend, or discard ideas.
They carry out investigations by handling materials with care, observing, measuring, and recording data.
Students Communicate Using a Variety of Methods
Children express ideas in a variety of ways; journals, reporting about, drawing, graphing, charting, etc.
They listen, speak, and write about science with parents, teachers, and peers.
They use the language of the process of science.
They communicate their level of understanding of concepts that they have developed to date.
Students Propose Explanations and Solutions and Build a Store of Concepts
Students offer explanations from a “store “of previous experience and from knowledge gained as a result of ongoing investigation.
They use investigations to satisfy their own questions.
They sort out information and decide what is important (what does and doesn’t work)
They are willing to revise explanations and consider new ideas as they gain new knowledge (build understanding).
Students Raise Questions
Students ask questions (verbally or through actions).
They use questions to lead them to investigations that generate or refine further questions and ideas.
Students value and enjoy asking questions as an important part of science.
Students Use Observations
Students observe carefully, as opposed to just looking.
They see details, seek patterns, detect sequences and events; they notice change, similarities, and differences.
They make connections to previously held ideas.
Students Critique Their Science Practices
They create and use indicators to assess their own work.
They report and celebrate their strengths and identify what they’d like to improve upon.
They reflect with adults and their peers.
Every day we walk in vibrant literacy classrooms that the teams have created. Our children read for joy and love literature. At EIS children write in writer’s notebooks and see themselves as writers. Our teachers carefully design literacy experiences for the students. The staff is committed in creating a school where children learn to read by reading volumes of books; books by authors who write to engage, entertain, and inform children with ideas that validate their lives and provide opportunities for meaningful text connections. Our school studies the work of real authors and where teachers question their instructional practices, observe children abilities in order to plan lessons, and collaborate to reflect on their instruction and understanding of children’s learning.
In our stations, literatures circles, guided reading, read alouds, and shared reading we consider the following:
A fundamental element of literacy is the development of oral language. Teachers encourage students’ language development through informal and guided conversation, by asking questions, and by providing opportunities for students to explain their learning or thinking. Teachers model and discuss vocabulary and formal English grammar while reading, writing, or sharing experiences, without correcting or evaluating students’ speech patterns.
Developing literacy requires an awareness that the spoken language can be taken apart in many different ways: sentences broken into words, words divided into syllables (sis/ter), and syllables divided into smaller, individual sounds (phonemes) such as /c/ /a/ /t/. Words can also be separated into onsets and rimes /c/ /at/. Phonological awareness includes knowledge of rhyming, alliteration (hearing similarity of sounds, as in “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers”), and intonation.
Phonemic awareness is one small part of phonological awareness. Spoken words are made up of individual sounds (phonemes) that can be heard and manipulated. For example, the word for has three phonemes, help has four; cane has three phonemes, as does same or make. Phonemic awareness activities include listening for, counting, and identifying distinct sounds (not letter names); hearing, matching, adding, chopping off, or rearranging sounds; and separating or blending sounds to make words. Phonemic awareness can be taught explicitly or indirectly through games, manipulative activities, chanting, and reading and singing songs and poems.
Word study includes both vocabulary/concepts and word identification/phonics.
Sometimes referred to as sound/symbol connections, or graphophonics, phonics is the understanding of how letters or spelling patterns (graphemes) represent sounds of speech (phonemes). It involves awareness of the sounds of individual letters or letter combinations. Phonics requires the understanding that sounds can be blended to make a word, and a mastery of some rules about certain sound patterns. Phonics can be taught in many ways. All learners do not require the same amount or sequence of phonics instruction. Phonics should be balanced with instruction on language and meaning. A student may be able to sound out a word, but not understand its meaning. In order to read with accuracy and understanding, words to be read must be part of a student’s oral language.
This refers to the strategies or skills readers use to figure out words when reading and spelling. In this video library, word identification includes phonic analysis, structural analysis, context clues, sight word recognition, use of configuration, and picture clues. Strategies readers use to identify words:
Recognizing or identifying whole words that follow irregular spelling patterns (sometimes called “sight words”), like have, their, or of; recognizing high-frequency words that appear in early texts, like and, for, and this.
Using configuration clues. Sometimes the distinct shapes of words can help readers figure them out. Elephant is a long word, and unusual in its shape; up is a little word. Because many words have the same shape, readers cannot rely solely on configuration.
Recognizing the formation of words (also called morphology or structural analysis). Beginning readers need to be taught to identify and understand the meaning of word parts — roots, prefixes, and suffixes. For example, begin with simple words such as play and play-ing, and then move to more complex words like agree and dis-agree-ment.
Using context clues. Good readers think about the meaning of what they are reading and use their understanding of the surrounding words, sentences, or even paragraphs to help them read an unfamiliar word.
For English language learners, using cognates, words that are similar in two languages. Sometimes this strategy needs to be explicitly encouraged, as English language learners may not use cognates spontaneously.
Composition The process of “arranging ideas to form a clear and unified impression and to create an effective message” is composition (The Literacy Dictionary, IRA. 1995, p. 38). In this video library, teachers help young writers develop and write down their ideas to convey a message to an audience. Purposes for writing include describing, sharing feelings and thoughts, expressing opinions, and creating a story or narrative.
Finding and constructing meaning in a text is the reason for reading. If readers can read the words but do not understand what they are reading, they are not really reading. Comprehension comes from engaging with ideas and constructing a sense of the whole. Students who are good at monitoring their comprehension know when they understand what they read and when they do not. Research shows that instruction, even in the early grades, can help students become better at monitoring their comprehension and developing strategies to build understanding. Explicit modeling and instruction can help students be aware of what they do understand; identify what they do not understand; and use appropriate “fix-up” strategies to resolve problems in comprehension.
Teachers build students’ comprehension by predicting, asking questions, helping students access background knowledge, and making connections during read-alouds, shared reading, or in guided-reading groups. (Adapted from Put Reading First, The Partnership for Reading. 2001, pp. 48-49.)
Vocabulary encompasses the words we must know to communicate effectively, including oral or reading vocabulary. Oral vocabulary includes words we use when speaking or words we recognize when listening. Reading vocabulary includes words we recognize or use in print. Students learn the meanings of most words indirectly through their experiences and conversations with each other and adults in school and their communities. They also develop vocabulary as they read on their own and listen to adults read aloud. In this video library, teachers help students develop reading and oral vocabulary during read-alouds or shared and guided reading, and other carefully designed activities. (Adapted from Put Reading First, pp. 34-35.)
Fluency is the ability to read text accurately and quickly. During silent reading, fluent readers recognize words automatically and group them so they can understand what they read. Fluent readers do not concentrate on decoding words. Instead they focus their attention on what the text means. In short, fluent readers recognize and comprehend words at the same time and their reading is effortless and expressive. Shared reading with the teacher and classmates, and repeated readings of text as in Readers’ Theater, help beginning readers develop fluency. (Adapted from Put Reading First, pp. 22 and 24).
Fast, effortless, and accurate word recognition grows out of repetition and practice. Automaticity does not refer to reading with expression or evidence of comprehension. Games and activities using lists of high frequency words, personal word lists, and word walls help students develop automaticity. Automaticity allows a student to concentrate more on other aspects of reading, such as comprehension. (Adapted from Put Reading First)
Reading and Writing Workshop
The Reading and Writing Workshop programs are methods of writing and reading instruction aligned to the Common Core developed by Lucy Calkins and educators involved in the Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University in New York City, New York. Here at EIS they are both used day-to-day to present students with different strategies. Each session is delivered through the same structure everyday. We begin with a connection, telling them how the strategy will fit their lives as readers and writers. Then we teach it through either demonstration, guided practice, inquiry, or merely by giving examples. After this, they are actively engaged to practice the strategy orally and they are encouraged to link the new strategy to their work. During independent reading or writing time we confer with individual students or small groups to research and monitor their work. Finally, we come back together and ask students to share how it worked for them.
In the Reading area students are taught as a whole class in ways that are flexible enough to support the diverse learners, but also concrete enough to be clear and able to be captured. It helps students to understand how a reading skill actually results and works. This helps them all progress in a step-by-step fashion towards greater competency.
The program is divided in different units in which students are guided and given the specific strategies to build and understand that they own their reading lives, working on stamina, fluency and engagement. They are given asserted guide on envisionment, predictions, inferences, building theories about books, gathering evidence and synthesizing what they read at their own specific level. With these units students progress to acquire more independence, read more complicated texts, and more interpretive reading work that will enhance their reading skills with new and profound challenges.
The Writer’s Workshop is designed to emphasize the act of writing itselfâ€”students spend most of their time putting pencil to paper, not just learning about it. Over time, students learn to choose their own topics and to manage their own development as they acquire a variety of writing strategies in a sustained and self-directed way.
At EIS each teacher from grades 1 – 5 is supported in implementing the program by a literacy coach who mentors, observes and co-teaches various sessions with them for the purpose of enriching literacy instruction across grade levels.
Spanish and Social Studies Integrated
Integration and Differentiated Instruction
Research based strategies suggest that teaching integrated subjects helps students make connections and develop critical thinking skills as an integrated function and make sense of the world around them through problem solving, and transferring the knowledge of concepts and skills into real life situations.
Teaching Spanish and Social Studies integrated has helped in promoting collaboration, meaningful interconnected understanding of the content with the skills that will help them access and assess their knowledge. When students are encouraged to think beyond the facts and connect factual knowledge to ideas of conceptual significance, the find relevance and personal meaning. Students are able to effectively communicate their knowledge of the Social Studies content.
Along with differentiated instruction, we can respond to the needs of every student. Our program follows the Curriculo Nacional Basico de Honduras with additional resources and components of best practice in schools. It is not what we teach but how we teach that builds the skills and knowledge.
In addition, our teaching protocol of Understanding by Design allows us to lead students to deep understanding of the content taught. Every component of the lesson plan is developed to the best potential. It expands on six facets of understanding, including being able to explain, interpret, apply, have perspective, empathize, and have self-knowledge about a given topic. UbD is the tool were both subjects combine to unify learning of concepts and skills.
Our own Spanish learning center supports class instruction through monitoring and reporting of beginning, mid and end of school year evaluations. The results serve as a starting point to set goals for our students. These goals will guide teachers to conduct lessons that will target their needs.
In conclusion, the structure of these classes is designed to meet the needs of the 21rst century learners.
The gifted and talented program at EIS provides a setting for gifted and talented students to work together in a group setting and to participate in an educational program in which the design is determined by the gifted student’s individual needs and interests, allowing for accelerated levels of mathematics instruction beyond the standard course of study. This helps students to work at their independent ability level of potential while developing socially, intellectually, in leadership skills, developing unique gifts, pursuing natural talents and interests, and becoming motivated, lifelong learners. We want to develop students who are prepared to achieve and succeed in the field of their choice in a global world by providing an academic environment that challenges gifted and talented students. It offers the support necessary for the student through research, innovation and accelerated opportunities that stimulate students to become outstanding learners. . Differentiation in the depth, breadth, and pace of instruction is designed to challenge the abilities of advanced learners, with strong emphasis on the development of higher order thinking skills.
What would be possible if your school was filled with students who were responsible, who showed initiative, who were creative, who knew how to set goals and meet them, who got along with people of various backgrounds and cultures, and who could resolve conflicts and solve problems?
The Leader in Me process helps develop the essential life skills and characteristics students need in order to thrive in the 21st century.
The Leader in Me process is designed to be integrated into a school’s core curriculum and everyday language so that it isn’t “‘one more thing” teachers and administrators have to do. It becomes part of the culture, gaining momentum and producing improved results year after year, benefiting schools and students in the following ways:
Develops students who have the skills and self-confidence to succeed as leaders in the 21st century.
Decreases discipline referrals.
Teaches and develops character and leadership through existing core curriculum.
Improves academic achievement.
Raises levels of accountability and engagement among both parents and staff.
Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes is an organization dedicated to helping children and adults learn to their potential. Our research-validated instructional programs strengthen reading, comprehension skills, and vocabulary by developing the sensory-cognitive functions that form the foundation of learning.
In partnership with Escuela Internacional Sampedrana, Lindamood-Bell and EIS since 2008 are working together to improve English knowledge and usage in all our community.
The Student Success Center is an educational service that provides students and teachers with the specific support they need to achieve and feel successful in student’s academic life.
Assist teachers and assistants:
The SSC Staff will support with differentiated strategies and classroom accommodations to facilitate learning process to identified students.
Grade Team Support:
The SSC Staff will support the grade team with collaboration, consultation, classroom profile meetings, mentorship for classroom accommodations, modeling, professional development, and resource sharing.
Communication with teachers, parents, specialists, outer agencies/services.
Assessment Data Management:
We keep record and manage data to monitor student progress and growth. Continuous reports to EIS administration, parent conferences, and Honduran Ministry of Education.
Elementary Learning Center is currently focused on providing students Grades 1-5 with remedial Reading Intervention in the areas of: Reading Fluency, Reading comprehension, Vocabulary, writing skills and overall Literacy Skills.
Individual reading and writing screenings to all students (Beg and End of School Year)
Currently we are using the Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System(2011)
This assessment is used to screen reading skills, which screens Reading Fluency, Reading Comprehension,and Writing.
Letter and Sound Identification
Currently we are using an EIS SST team revised screening
Sight Words Identification
Currently we are using the first 25 “Star Words” from Lindamood-Bell Kit
Diagnostic Assessment (students scoring below 15%ile and identified students)
Classroom teachers assess their students every bimester with running records using Fountas & Pinnell “The Reading & Writing Project” from Columbia University
Note: Mid Year Assessment only for identified students
Small Group Instruction in the Learning Center (pull-out)
Currently we are using Lindamood-Bell Programs to provide Intervention.
Seeing Stars Program
The Seeing Stars program successfully develops symbol imagery and directly applies that sensory-cognitive function to sight word development, contextual fluency, spelling and increasing the speed and stability of phonemic awareness.
The program begins by visualizing the identity, number, and sequence of letters for the sounds within words, and extends into multisyllable and contextual reading and spelling.
Visualizing and Verbalizing Program
The Visualizing and verbalizing Program successfully stimulates concept imagery. Individuals become able to image gestalts which include color, and even movement. This improves their language comprehension, reasoning for critical thinking, and expressive language skills.
The pull-out support has to be approved by the student’s parents and take place during the class of Writer’s Workshop 4 times a week for 50 minutes.
The pull-out support has to be approved by the student’s parents and it replaces the Reading Class (5 times per week for 50 minutes)
Referring Students to Psychological Assessment:
The LC staff will refer identified students for a complete psycho-educational evaluation done by our school psychologists (throughout the school year)
Specific Accommodations (Handwriting, MATH, Gross motor, etc)
This academic strategy is used only for identified and diagnosed students with specific educational issues that prohibit the student form performing at grade level. Students have accommodations only in the area of need. The goal is to provide accommodations to the student to be successful in the schooling process.
BEHAVIOR PLAN (specific accommodations to help students improve behavior )
This strategy is used only for identified and diagnosed students with specific behavior issues that disable them to perform properly at school grounds. Students have accommodations in all subjects. The goal is to provide accommodations to help the student modify and control their behavior and be able to reach the yearly standards and grade level educational competencies.
IP (Intervention Plan) with accommodations to reach curriculum standards.
This strategy is used only for identified students with specific learning issues and that already have a psychological diagnose. Students have accommodations in all subjects that need extra support. The goal is to provide accommodations so the student can reach the yearly standards and grade level educational competencies.
IEP (Individual Educational Plan) with significant adaptations to the regular curriculum.
This strategy is used for identified students with specific and diagnosed learning disabilities that cannot perform as expected in reaching the curriculum standards and grade level competencies. These students (special educational needs) need adaptations to the regular school curriculum. They will move beyond in their educational process with specific grade level content according to their mastery level and independent level of support. The curriculum competencies are chosen in order of priorities according to the student’s educational performance level. The curricular/educational decisions are taken by the interdisciplinary team that works around the student to benefit and maximize the student’s general educational performance.
Inclusion: Shadow teacher Intervention
A shadow teacher assists the special need student in their regular classroom. The shadow teacher reinforces all grade level content one-on-one with the student, meanwhile the homeroom teacher teaches the rest of the students.
This intervention is only for identified students with specific learning issues and that already have a psychological diagnosis.
A self-contained classroom is one in which the students share similar academic requirements. Sometimes the children are all in the same grade level, but other times, particularly when there are a limited number of special Need Children, the classroom may contain children spanning more than one grade level, grades four through six, for example.