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Blog: ISA’s Seamless Transition Process Helps Families Feel Right at Home

Can you think back to how you felt on your first day at a new school or on the first day of a new job?

Yes, we’ve all been that new kid, the one all eyes are fixed on. We can all relate to the nerves and excitement of a new experience and the hope that we’ll ‘fit in’ and make a good first impression.

At ISA, we strive to make this transition as simple and painless as possible for all our new families – we say families because parents are as much a part of this transition process as the student/s themselves. As ISA ambassadors, it’s our job to allay those first day of school fears to ensure everyone is welcomed into our school community and feels a sense of belonging.

As an international school (Scotland’s first in fact!) we are uniquely placed to support children through the ups and downs of life. I believe we have all learned important lessons from living (and learning) in lockdown, not least that sticking together and connecting on an emotional level has never been more important.

How does the transition process work at ISA?

When you join ISA as a new student, you are immediately welcomed by ISA’s two full-time counsellors (we have one dedicated to elementary and middle school students and another counsellor for high school students) who will personally see you through the process of transition.

Our amazing Parent Teacher Organisation (PTO) is also involved in helping new families feel supported whether you are local to Aberdeen, a UK resident or relocating from overseas.

Our student population today sits at around 500 with half of those coming from the UK and the other 50% from 45 different nationalities. The process of transitioning to ISA is very similar whether you’re an expat or a local family.

We know that when you join us, you are not just moving to a new school, but a whole new way of doing things. The PTO will assign support for parents (as an option if you so wish) to ensure you are assisted in all areas of settling into a new school and, in some circumstances, what may be a new city and entirely different culture.

For example, some of our expat families may not speak English as their first language so our PTO will make every effort to match up families from the same country which is invaluable in helping with the familiarisation and settling in process. Issues such as - where do I do the weekly food shop? Where’s the best place to buy a new car? Where’s the best place to buy my children’s school supplies? – are all typical questions playing on the minds of many an expat parent!

If students are joining at the beginning of a new term, we help prepare them by holding a New Family Orientation two days before the first day of school where students and parents can visit the classrooms and meet their teachers. We also assign new students with a Student Ambassador, who will bring them to their classes those first few weeks.

Student wellbeing sits at the heart of everything we do and everything ISA stands for. Our transition process will continue to focus on wellbeing, friendship and inclusion.

One parent recently fed back to us, “ISA is not just our school, it is our family and our community.”

We look forward to giving you a warm welcome to ISA!

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