Headlines Newsletter | Back to School 2020-2021 Academic Year

We've just completed the first quarter of the academic year, and previous years would have seen this back-to-school edition of Headlines already delivered to your email inboxes in late September. But almost nothing about this year's return to school has been traditional with one notable exception - the steadfast commitment of our faculty and staff to deliver truly distinct academics no matter the extenuating circumstances, even when that set of circumstances includes an ongoing pandemic. 

When I consider the effort made to re-open ISI in August following its forced closure the March before, what our community has accomplished together is a true marvel. And while we've just confirmed our first case of coronavirus involving a student as I am drafting this message, it is clear that our COVID-Ready Campuses initiative, launched this summer as a part of our Return Itinerary for the Academic Year 2020-2021, is working to keep our community safe and healthy thanks to nearly a dozen new policies and new infrastructure. 

Unrelenting as the pandemic's pressures have been, we couldn't let it perturb our progress on several fronts. Chief among them, the ONE ISI Capital Campaign to create a unified campus has reached another milestone. I hope everyone in our community will save the date on October 23 at 2:00 p.m. to join in a livestream event to mark the start of construction on the new Chen Family Lower School.

We've also been able to significantly advance on elements of our strategic operations plan for the new decade, which was published in January before the pandemic. A new priority in the plan, which is a living document subject to new considerations and inputs based on our school community's needs, is the creation of a Diversity and Inclusion Taskforce that is working to create our institution's first Equity Statement. The Equity Statement will inform our operations for so many years to come. 

Academically, I'm proud to report that our Class of 2020 students continued our institution's trailblazing success in the International Baccalaureate. Over the summer, their reported IB Diploma Programme results again met the global average, despite most schools globally reserving the IB framework for only their top five percent or fewer of students while we at ISI offer it to all students. Further, our students' pass rate of 70% on the Bilingual Diploma is triple the world average. I'm certain you share my awe of our students' performance, particularly for them having done it amid a pandemic.

Beyond these vital developments, there is so much to look forward to as the academic year continues, with the ongoing development and growth of our students at the heart of it all. 
Highlights from Summer and Back to School

FOX 59 News

In late July, Ms. Head and members of the faculty and staff team spoke with Fox 59 News about preparations for re-opening school amid the pandemic.

The story featured details of the ISI COVID-19 Ready Campuses initiative and many of the special precautions and policies being implemented to keep the school community safe and healthy.

Kars4Kids Parenting Blog

In September, Ms. Head spoke with a national parenting blog about the decision to begin the academic year with in-person learning.

The extended interview was published in its entirety and covers a number of the policies instituted by the school to protect health and wellness during the pandemic.
Highlights from Summer and Back to School

COVID-19 Ready Campuses Initiative

In late July, the centerpiece of our Return Itinerary Plan for the Academic Year 2020-2021 was published.

Dubbed COVID-Ready Campuses, the initiative introduced nearly a dozen new policies and support infrastructure that prioritizes the health and wellness of the entire school community amid the pandemic.

Ms. Head hosted a series of virtual town hall meetings to review the initiative with parents, faculty, and staff in the days following its publication.

Annual Bell Ringing

The coronavirus has impacted many school traditions as well as the ebb and flow of the typical school day, but the annual Bell-Ringing Ceremony to mark the first day of school was still enjoyed by students on August 11.

Modified to observe social distancing and other COVID-Ready Campuses policies, students individually rang the bell as they entered school while faculty and staff members kept the bells sanitized between uses.
Highlights from Summer and Back to School
Due to the pandemic, most of Ms. Head's engagements through the summer and back to school were held virtually, and many were focused on state and local health guidelines that had the potential to impact the start of the academic year.

Since June, Ms. Head has spoken with Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, Marion County Public Health Department Director Dr. Virginia Caine, and with many Heads of Schools from throughout the world to identify best practices for learning delivery during the pandemic.
ISI welcomes opportunities for Ms. Head to connect with your organization when major events are able to resume. Deliver your invitation using the button below.
New editions of Headlines are published at the start, mid-point, and end of each International School of Indiana academic year.

For the latest information from Elizabeth Head, the third ISI Head of School, we encourage you to bookmark and regularly visit her webpage.
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