By Sarah McGinley, IBDP Coordinator


We all know that high school can be a shock to the system! Everything seems to become more difficult and at times overwhelming.  Add to that moving schools, perhaps changing educational systems and also in some cases studying in English for the first time, it is easy to see why some students may feel as if they are drowning not waving! This article is about how to support students especially those who have transitioned from a different system and to show them that they are not alone and they will make it! What can parents do to support their child if they are experiencing anxiety during this time?  This was the International Diploma Programme Coordinator, Sarah McGinley’s thoughts were on this subject.


Honesty– When applying to our school please tell us everything we need to know to support your child.  This information will be kept and treated as confidential, but awareness of identified learning difficulties and perhaps known anxiety issues are much easier to deal with, if the school has all the information.  We are an inclusive school, that is to say we are committed to meeting the needs of all the students in our care.  The more we know about your children, the more we can do to help them to reach their potential.


Communication– Please communicate with the teachers.  They are always available to answer emails, and more than happy to have prearranged meetings with both parents and students. This is one aspect of life that has actually become easier as we are all at ease with video conferencing through Google Meet or Zoom.  Please always make sure that you establish and maintain open dialogue with your child’s teachers.  Maximum success can only be achieved if there is good, transparent communication.  A strong connection between home and school is essential to your child’s success and happiness.


Language– it is not a barrier.  If you are a parent who does not have strong English language skills this should not deter you from contacting the school. We will always find someone to translate.  We have many faculty and also administrative staff who are bilingual English/ Latvian, English/ Russian, English/French, English/German, English/Spanish- and the list goes on.  We will also find a way to facilitate a conversation.  We need to hear your voice.


Advisory and Pastoral Framework. We work hard at ISR to support the students in a holistic manner, that is academically but also socially and emotionally.  Students all have an advisory teacher who knows them well. We have a daily check in time and also one lesson per week for the sole purpose of promoting the wellbeing of our students.  We want to help to raise well-rounded, confident young people who have compassion and empathy for others.  We also look to challenge their ideas and open their eyes to the world around them, with an understanding that it is our differences which enrich our community. We base this programme around the Learner Profile Traits and also in line with the school’s mission statement.


In conclusion, we are in this together to help all our students to keep afloat!  ISR is a caring and nurturing community.   We have adopted the Internal Baccalaureate Diploma Programme for the last two years of high school because we know that it helps our students to be college ready.  It is a broad curriculum, which also emphasises the value of being an ethical person and someone who sees value in giving back to the community.  Our students graduate from our school, college ready and confident. They will change the world and make it a better place.


If you would like to know more, or  would like to meet with Sarah  for more information, please email her  at:  If you would like to have the conversation in a language other than English or French please indicate your language of comfort  and I will arrange for translation.