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middle school news

International School of Panama’s Dolphins are always up to something good, and we want to share it with you. Catch all the good news and important announcements for our middle school right here.

A Note from the MS Counselor

Thank you to the parents who attended the "Alcohol and Drug Prevention Counselor´s Coffee." We all benefited from sharing important information as well as tips on how to keep our students healthy. Be sure to check out our presentation; please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or concerns regarding this important topic.

As the school year finishes, and we have four weeks of school left, we have a sense of accomplishment and also look at the year to come. About 30 students will be moving to other countries and other schools. As an international community, the end of the year brings transitions not only to the ones that leave, but for the ones that stay. If you are leaving the country or school or if your child has a close friend moving, it is important to monitor any changes on behavior. As we do every year, we will invite departing students to a special lunch where there will be time to share stories, feelings, and looking forward to a new start. Please reach out if you find that you or your child would benefit from extra support during this time of transition or if you would like to learn about available resources for you and your child. 



Social Studies - Grade 6 Debate Update

Students in Grade 6 Social Studies take a trip around the world where modern society and trends are investigated and explored. Currently, Ms. Broeckel's Grade 6 class has prepared for a debate on discussions focusing on Europe, our current unit. 

Prior to the debate, we spoke about demography and population trends in Europe, comparing it to other countries we've most recently learned about. As a class, we also looked at the European Union and the role they play in the world. Once we finished these discussions, students in each class came up with topics that they wished to debate on, voted on those topics, and then chose the topic that they wanted to research. Ms. Broeckel arranged the groups.

Students then had three class periods to collaborate, find research, and practice with their team members. All students were asked to research both sides of the debate to ensure that other perspectives could be seen. Topics such as Borders in Europe should be more secure or The Euro should be the only currency in Europe had to be researched by both sides to better prepare the students for any counter-arguments.

Then, each class had a mock debate to help the students see the format that would be done in their debates. The mock debates themselves were simplistic enough so the students could focus solely on the format.

A flip of a coin before the debate this week unveiled what side the students would be on Once students know their side, they have five minutes to speak to one another and prepare for their debate. Each student takes on the role of Opening Statement, First Argument, Second Argument, Rebuttal or Conclusion. in some cases, one student may have more than one role depending on the size of their team.

Judges from the Middle School, and in particular 6th grade, have volunteered to help judge the debates. Each debate has three judges. After the debate, feedback is given from the judges to help them in future debates.

Middle School Connects Photography To Writing

On Tuesday, April 24, 2018, sixth-graders were treated to a special talk with ISP’s in-house photographer, Nelson Hackin, to deepen their understanding about the way and reasons behind why photographs are taken. Mr. Hackin very skillfully related photography to writing as the way in which an artist draws with light. This is all part of an interdisciplinary project between the fields of photography and English. The sixth-grade English team had been hard at work taking students on a journey into writer’s workshop with a focus on personal narratives.

Students were given a glimpse of pictures Mr. Hackin used in his photography exhibit of the Guna culture as well as his latest shots centered around different aspects of his Guna background. The message, purpose, and connection were clear to students and served as a good foundation for their own writing projects which will be based on pictures they will take themselves and write about.

Mr. Hackin will be having an exhibit of his latest photography collection on June 11 at the library of the University of Panama. The purpose behind his work is mainly to give the people of his culture a voice. We are sure it will be a success as was his lecture.

Middle School - Making Transitions Successful

During this time of year, many of our students are making efforts to maintain focus on the present while also wondering about what lies ahead, especially for those who will be making a major transition into elementary school, middle school, or high school. For these students and their parents, there are many curiosities and questions about things big and small: academic rigor, managing a social life, handling coursework, and even worries about using a combination lock. Fortunately, ISP provides a variety of opportunities for parents and students to help support a successful transition to the next major stepping-stone. We strive to eliminate as much stress as possible and provide the tools needed to ensure a smooth transition. Below you will find specific events and activities to assist your child with their upcoming transition.

Successful Transition Plan for Grade 5 to Grade 6


  1. Grade 5 students will be invited to bring their own devices to school in February.
  2. Grade 5 classrooms will be visited by the MS counselor and MS administrators to introduce them to the environment and general overview of middle school in April.
  3. Grade 5 students will work with our technology department and the ES technology integrationists to register students with Office 365 and also ensure Google accounts are functioning in early May.
  4. Grade 5 students will work with our MS technology integrationist and counselor and the ES technology integrationists to register students with Canvas. Students will practice logging on and explore the software in early May. 
  5. Grade 5 students will participate in a half-day orientation on Wednesday, May 23 from 12:00-3:00 p.m. Students will stay in the afternoon and will go to classrooms, meet teachers, and follow their actual schedule for next year.
  6. Grade 5 students will join the middle school in a team-building activity in late May.
  7. Grade 5 students will visit grade 6 classes to learn more about middle school from a student’s perspective in late May.

Note: The counselor and administrators from the middle school will also have conversations with the elementary counselors, learning support teachers, EAL teachers, and administration to make sure all students are supported through the transition.


    1. Parents will be invited to an initial transition coffee to discuss logistics and an overview of MS in April.
    2. Parents will be invited to an additional coffee that will include VAPA and athletics directors, grade 6 team leaders, and administration to address specific questions and topics (technology, sports, schedules, etc.). This coffee will be organized based on feedback from the initial parent coffee in May.
    3. Parents will be invited to meet individually with our learning support and EAL teachers to discuss children’s needs.
    4. Parents will be invited to a Canvas and Renweb training led by our MS Canvas coordinator and technology integrationist in May.

    Successful Transition Plan for Grade 8 to Grade 9


    1. Grade 8 student transition to high school and grade 8 course registration early in semester two.
    2. Grade 8 course selection questions and answers during Advisory, semester two.
    3. Grade 8 elective course requests entered into RenWeb during Advisory, semester two.
    4. MS Advisory - 30 minutes - 2-3 LINK leaders will be assigned to each MS Advisory during April/May.
    5. LINK leaders facilitate icebreaker with MS Advisory.
    6. LINK leaders lead activity to debunk myths about HS and HS students.
    7. MS Advisory - 30 minutes - 2-3 LINK leaders assigned to each MS Advisory during April/May.
      1. LINK leaders facilitate icebreaker with MS Advisory.
      2. LINK leaders lead brainstorming activity, "Top Skills for Success in HS.”
      3. Groups in Advisory share aloud top three skills, and HS students will share personal examples.
    8. LINK leaders encourage students to start practicing these skills now and finish grade 8 strong.
    9. Grade 9 student orientation (LINK program) on Tuesday, August 7. Students must attend student orientation prior to the start of school with LINK Crew.
    10. Grade 9 parent meeting on August 7 from 8:00-10:00 a.m.

    Note: Counselors from the high school will also have conversations with the MS counselor and administration to make sure all students are supported through the transition.


    1. Make sure to schedule your summer return prior to August 7. See #9 above.
    2. There will be two grade 8 parent transition coffees in semester two.
    3. Grade 8 parents transition to high school and grade 8 course registration will be early during semester two.

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