School Blog

Principal's Letter - June 2021

Dear Parents and Guardians,


As I write this we have just celebrated our second graduating class of Grade 9 students here at IES Årsta. The number of our IES Årsta alumni is growing and something we are very proud of. The class of 2021 has shown grit and resilience throughout what has been a challenging year for all. I want to congratulate our Grade 9 students for their hard work and dedication upholding our IES values and setting a positive example for the rest of our student body. We wish the class of 2021 all the best in the future! 


This year has been a challenge for all of us due to the ongoing global pandemic which we are all affected by in various ways. Here at IES Årsta we have tried to maintain a stable and consistent education for our students throughout the year to ensure they do not miss out on crucial learning opportunities. We are proud of the high expectations the students have been held to and worked diligently towards. They should be proud of their learning progress and the academic results they have achieved this year. 


It has been tough for our students individually, our team here at school as I am sure it has been for you as parents, but I want to thank you for your continued support throughout this year as it continues to be crucial to work together for your children. As we look towards the future we hope to be able to welcome you back into the school building next year and strengthen our resolve to support your children and ensure we work to maintain the positive, calm and safe school culture, which has suffered throughout this pandemic.


I wish you a restful summer and look forward to seeing you in the Autumn. 


First day of Autumn Term 2021/22

Grade 4: Tuesday 17 August 2021

Grades 5-9: Wednesday 18 August 2021


School Calendar 2021/2022

This can now be found on Schoolsoft for your planning purposes under files and links.


Happy Summer! 


Julian Dent



Reflecting on May's Mentor Theme: Reflecting and Planning Ahead

Reflecting on May's Mentor Theme: Reflecting and Planning Ahead

May Mentor Theme: Reflecting and Planning Ahead

As the school year comes to a close, one of the most important life skills to teach our students is how to reflect, plan ahead, and set goals to improve!

Of course, throughout the school year in our lessons, we are constantly reminding our students of goal setting and time management. At the end of the school year, it is then important to take some extra time to think about our successes, struggles, and how to improve. Over the month of May, we have given our mentor students the opportunity to practice this important skill by providing them with strategies and tools for preparing themselves for the next step in their academics. 

An example of this is ensuring that we update our students' academic calendars in the classroom so that they can use this to reference their responsibilities and plan their work for the week. This is a strategy that is now enforced across year groups, helping our students to improve with planning and time management of their tasks. Keeping track of assignments, homeworks and assessments is an important skill to develop. Our goal is to prepare our students for working life, where meeting deadlines and responsibilites contributes to our quality of work ethic.

Another example of how we enforce this in the classroom is with goal setting. For example, in this week's (V22) year 4 technology lessons, students were given a sheet with five questions. Their task was to reflect on the year by answering questons like "What went well for you?", "What could you have improved on?", "Based on your progress this year, what should you focus on next year?". Students were required to think about their successes, struggles and determine an appropriate goal for year 5. These goals with then be returned to our students at the beginning of year 5, reminding them of their previous progress and their current goals. Goal setting is an important part of academic progress, as it can motivate our students to achieve their best work, and ultimately generate a sense of accomplishment and academic achievement. 

Some other strategies for keeping our students engaged and planning for their academics are to encourage them to incorporate their academic subjects into their free time over the sommarlov/holiday. For example, Ms Giordano (year 6 science) is creating a task for the year 6 students, who will be transitioning into year 7 with a new curriculum, to incorporate science subjects into their sommarlov in order to maintain their level going into year 7.

We as teachers have a responsibility to ensure our students have the skills they need to succeed in life independently. These skills are essential to the stability and structure of ones working life. We feel that our students are equipped to handle the next steps in their education, and we cannot wait to see what they accomplish next year!

IES Årsta - Skräpplockardagarna 2021

IES Årsta - Skräpplockardagarna 2021

In week 17 IES Årsta proudly participated in Skräpplockardagarna 2021!

Our students are passionate about the environment and when Ms Masson (Head of the Swedish Department) signed our school up to participate in Skräpplockardagarna 2021, our students were buzzing with excitment at the opportunity to help our planet! Students in year 4 and 5 participated in week 17.

In mentor time lessons leading up to the event, our students learned about littering and the impact of human waste on the environment. They learned about why recycling is not enough because rubbish can still end up in animal habitats and oceans. "Clean Oceans" was the theme of the event this year, and students saw value in learning about how to keep our oceans clean by reducing use of plastic and being mindful about how we dispose of our products. 

Our students collected trash from the school yard and parks around the Årsta community. As one of just a few IES school's participating, our students walked away from the day with much pride in what they accomplished. See pictured 4D, excited about their clean up at a local park!

Stay tuned for more upcoming events, such as Walk for Water, that our students will be participating in this month!

Reflecting on April's Mentor Theme: The School Environment

Reflecting on April's Mentor Theme: The School Environment

As we reflect on the month of April here at IES Årsta, we acknowledge the many opportunities we've had to enforce a positive and welcoming environment for our students. More than ever, it is important that both our students and staff come to school and feel like they are in a place that supports them, where they can learn and grow with ambition. 

Through our mentorship program, student groups, PD sessions and classroom lessons we have been able to establish a wonderful working environment for both students and staff this year. It starts with us. We asked our year 9 students if they could describe the environment of IES Årsta in one word. One student said "supportive", another said "caring". 

Enforcing a positive school environment in the mentorship program:

Throughout the year our students have been supported through the mentorship program on Monday and Friday mornings to recognize what makes a positive environment at school. They learn that the power to control the environment is with them- the students. In order to uphold a positive school environment we must all work together to ensure that we are developing and maintaining positive working relationships with one another, respecting one another by following our rules and responsibilities, and developing skills and strategies for dealing with our emotions as well as respectfully responding to the emotions of others. Our students were introduced to many executable strategies that they can use to do their part in enforcing a positive environment for all. Some of these stragies included embracing the power of positive thinking, having a growth mindset, paying it forward, and practicing empathy. In addition, students have been challenged to practice self relflection and have been empowered by their Klassråd lessons where students work together to ensure that a positive and healthy school environment is maintained based on student feedback and suggestions. 

Enforcing a positive environment in the classroom:

As teachers, we must ensure that we are facilitating a learning environment where students can learn and feel they have power to achieve whatever they set their minds to. Often times, we face challenges in the classroom that test us- our teachers explain that it is essential that we uphold a positive and caring approach to dealing with behaviour, academic decline, or conflict. Our teachers do many things to create a positive and exciting classroom environment such as point systems for encouraging positive behaviour and academic progress, peer feedback, and praise. One on one meetings with students are also executed to help build a positive relationship and enforce a sense of support for our students. We always greet our students with a smile, and constantly remind them of how proud we are of their efforts. They need this encouragement to feel motivated to improve!

Enforcing a positive environment through professional development:

Our staff have had many fantastic professional development opportunities this year with topics ranging from Differentiation to Gamification in the classroom. Afterall, teaching is the career of long-term learning! Many of our professional development sessions require us to reflect on what is going well in our school and what needs to be improved or modified. In one particular PD session runned by Mr Coulter (Head of Middle School), we discussed visibility of values and how this contributes to a sense of belonging for all, no matter the context. It doesn't matter if you stand for the purest of values if it is not visible to those who are influenced by your presence. For this reason we created the "Make our Values Visible" initiative. This initiative will be challenging our students to create posters that highlight our school values such as a sense of belonging for all, compassion, safety, and support. Student work will be chosen to create more visibility of these values throughout our school in the form of art, posters, stickers, and banners. We wanted to give our students the power in showing each other that we all belong. Students are excited about the opportunity and want to help facilitate a positive environment for all. We are warmed that their passion for community is so evident. 

As we move ahead to May we will be focusing on Reflection and Planning ahead. Stay tuned for our school wide reflection on this theme. 

From the Principal

Principal's Letter - April 2021

Dear Parents and Guardians,


Thank you for your participation in the Subject Teacher Evening recently and I hope you also made some time to sit down with your children and discuss their mid term reports which were published on Schoolsoft before the Easter break. Our team of teachers work hard to provide this formal academic feedback. This academic feedback is critical for our students' learning process. By taking the time to discuss and reflect on it at home, you support the process so that our students can improve in all their subjects and reach the goals they have set during their development talks earlier this term. 


Students Being Heard

In my September 2020 Principals letters I outlined one of our main school goals for this school year was to ensure our students were heard more. This goal was formulated based on the feedback from the students last school year. We have worked throughout the year to improve the student voice and influence in all areas of our school and so far have made some positive changes for them. We now have our four elected student leaders in each class from each house who carry out various tasks on behalf of their class. This includes regular klassråd to bring ideas forward from our students, monthly food council with our chef focussed on food quality and safety committee meetings with our student care team focussed on school safety and anti-bullying. Our student leaders also participate as break monitors to increase the presence of student leaders during break times. Each week we have also given the students the opportunity to vote for a lunch of their choice every Thursday, which has been appreciated by our students. While for the Grade 9 students we have also implemented breaks off site which have been appreciated.  As we move onto next school year we have already heard from our students through their student leaders and they have themselves chosen new play equipment to install in our schoolyard over summer break to improve the outdoor environment for our students. I encourage you to discuss the ‘be heard’ goal with your children, to hear their feedback and if they have appreciated the changes so far and if they have any other suggestions to improve our school. 



TikTok Challenges

The social media app TikTok which is widely used by our students has been in the news for the wrong reasons. Frequently on this app certain ‘challenges’ become popular and widespread among users and promote destructive and illegal behaviours. A few months ago it was setting fires in toilets, filming it and sharing it. This week a new challenge is being promoted where boys are challenged to physically touch girls and film it. There are several dates going around when this should happen and 15th of April is one of them. Please speak to your children about the appropriate use of social media and in particular how the behaviour in challenges such as these is illegal and they will be reported to the police if they participate. Thank you for your support with this to ensure we keep our school safe for our students. 


IES Quality Survey

As the students reflect on their progress with their learning, it is also important for us as a school to reflect on how we have performed and how we can improve the education of your children. A critical part of that process is getting your feedback on what is working well and what can be improved. This is formally called our systematic quality work. To support us with this we ask you to please complete the IES Survey on Schoolsoft by May 9, 2021 to ensure we get your honest feedback to improve our school for your children. 


Covid-19 Actions

Again, I would like to remind all in our school community that it is critical that we all follow the Covid-19 guidelines in place in society and at IES Årsta. If students have any symptoms at all they should stay home until symptom free for two full days. If students take a COVID-19 test, students should stay home until they receive the result of that test. Even if they are symptom free. If your child does test positive, as part of the contact tracing procedure you should contact us to inform us of the positive test so we can complete the contact tracing here at school. Thank you for your support and cooperation on this very important matter. If we stick together and follow these guidelines we can ensure a stable educational environment for all our students. 


Traffic Safety Information 

I understand during these times many more of you are dropping off your children by car. However, the traffic situation out the front of school has been quite dangerous recently due to parents dropping off students in the wrong location. For safety reasons please only drop off your children on Vättersvägen, then students walk along the footpath to school. Do not park or stop on Sköntorpsvägen out the front of school as it creates a dangerous traffic situation for your children. It is also forbidden to drop off your children in the school’s ‘vändingsplan’ as this is only reserved for Samtrans vehicles or emergency services. Thank you for contributing to the safety of our students.


School Calendar 2021/2022

This can now be found on Schoolsoft for your planning purposes under files and links.



When: 13 & 14 May, 2021


Study Day

When: Monday, 17 May 2021


Mentor Phone Call Week

When: Week 21


Last Day of Spring Term

When: Friday, 11 June 2021


Kind Regards


Julian Dent