Great Teachers Make Great Schools
With a diverse student body representing roughly 30 nationalities each year, we are a true global community and consider it paramount to hire outstanding teachers who are well-versed in international schools, multilingual education, and early-childhood education.
More than 75 percent of the Elementary School Faculty holds advanced degrees. Faculty members speak more than a dozen languages, with native English speakers leading both the American and Italian Sections.
Our teachers work hard to form a personal connection with each student, strive to create a nurturing atmosphere in the classroom, and believe deeply in student potential.
|“I enjoy teaching at the Elementary School level because the students give you unconditional love, and it is exciting for me, as a teacher, to see the excitement surrounding that moment when they understand a new concept. They get very emotional, and it is like a light bulb went on.”|
|– Ms. Natasha Koltypin, Grade 1 American Section|
Children at the TASIS Elementary School come from all over the globe, with vastly differing abilities in math and reading in English. Our teachers therefore differentiate instruction in both reading and math within each grade level. Each student’s progress is constantly monitored, and adjustments are made as needed.
Small-group and individualized reading instruction is provided on a daily basis, and students have specific, ongoing assessments to determine placement in the appropriate reading group as our instructors focus on the five pillars of reading development: phonics, phonemic awareness, vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency.
Students in need of greater challenge are accommodated in a number of ways. Teachers stretch advanced readers by assigning them more difficult titles for independent reading, for example, while in Math a teacher may choose to provide instruction to the full class for 10–15 minutes before breaking the group into different stations designed to serve each student appropriately. Pull-in teachers join the classroom to help the homeroom teacher meet the needs of each learner, and students who continue to demonstrate the need for greater challenge are provided with more demanding assignments.
The average Elementary School homeroom currently has just 14 students. Small class sizes allow our teachers to more effectively track their students’ development and gain a better understanding of their strengths and passions.
Our faculty has adopted the Responsive Classroom approach, a teaching method that helps students strengthen both academic and social-emotional skills, builds a collaborative community of learners, and delivers content in a manner that is interesting to students. Professional development in the Responsive Classroom approach has helped teachers improve their discipline practices, train students to be responsible for their own behavior, and prepare teaching spaces and lesson plans that help the class achieve its goals.
Some in the teaching profession view discipline as something separate from instruction—something that a teacher must impose on her class so that she can teach in peace. At the TASIS Elementary School, we have a different approach: here, discipline is an important learning activity. We believe that some of the most important lessons children learn at school take place on the playground as well as in the classroom. Our approach to discipline is instructive rather than punitive.
Whether a child is struggling with his multiplication tables or trying to learn how to behave well, the teacher’s job remains unchanged. It is not to punish, but rather to instruct and to increase virtue.
Technology in the Classroom
We use technology to enhance traditional teaching methods, not replace them. Our technology-rich environment, which is designed to support our youngest learners in their classrooms and meet diverse learning and language needs, provides ample opportunities for students to use modern tools to learn, create, and collaborate. All students in grades K–5 have access to iPads as they learn a multitude of content and skills that help prepare them for success in the Middle School, including the following:
- responsibly using apps and the internet to find information and images
- writing with word processor and graphic organizer applications
- practicing arithmetic, spelling, and grammar
- creating and delivering informational presentations
- creating and editing videos and other forms of multimedia
- developing digital citizenship skills
- using translators and dictionaries
- sending email communication (in grades 4–5)
All Elementary School teachers are provided a Mac laptop and an iPad. Teachers work together to share ideas and design lessons that integrate technology in age-appropriate ways. They also collaborate with our Learning Technologies Coordinator in one-on-one sessions, team meetings, and in-class lessons.
Our dynamic Service Learning program instills compassion in students and builds awareness for important local and global issues. Students work on different service projects at each grade level. Their level of involvement grows each year, with the ultimate goal of building a foundation for success in the High School’s pioneering Global Service Program.
Recent projects have included running a donation drive for a local toy hospital, learning about microloans and putting them into action, tracking food waste on campus and learning how to compost, working with a local association for the blind, and teaming up with a charity that brightens the lives of terminally ill children by sending cards and letters.
As parents, you are strongly encouraged to be involved in your child’s education and to be in regular dialogue with your child’s teachers. Weekly bulletins help keep you informed about your child’s classes and upcoming school events, and you will have the opportunity to attend regular Parent Coffees hosted by the Elementary School Head.
You are also invited to join the excellent TASIS Parent Association, which is committed to building a strong community by fostering a spirit of inclusion and cooperation; promoting open communication between parents, teachers, and administrators; connecting the community through social events to make all families feel welcome; and enhancing the school environment through fundraising activities.
Your interest in what your child is learning and your support in developing good study habits at home are crucial for the successful education of your child. Our curriculum is a contract—and an invitation.