Autonomy and Impact at YIS

Autonomy and Impact at YIS

by Jos Hartley, Elementary School Vice Principal / IB Primary Years Program Coordinator, and Giles Pinto, High School Vice Principal / IB Diploma Program Coordinator

For many reasons, this is an exciting time in the history of our school. Following an extensive set of engagements within our community, we are now preparing for the full rollout of our new Impact Strategy. One of the core components we have identified — based upon our understanding of student growth and development and preparedness for life — has to do with building a sense of autonomy for our students.

In order to determine what exactly this could mean for YIS students now and in the future, we developed a set of four evidence of impact statements in collaboration with six highly experienced educators from all sections of the school: Irma Amuriza, Secondary School Spanish Language teacher; Taryn Berghuis, Kindergarten teacher; Nikki Brass, Kindergarten teacher; Chanelle Cox, ELC co-Lead teacher; Ian Meekcoms, MS/HS Leaning Support teacher, and Krista Quint, Secondary School English teacher. Through our intensive conversations and data collection from within our school community, we successfully refined our thinking on how we could help all YIS students to have greater autonomy in their learning. It gives us great pleasure to share the impact statements here that will guide our future thinking and shape learning opportunities in and beyond our classrooms:

  • Students have opportunities to co-design their learning.
  • Students have opportunities to make choices about how they demonstrate their learning.
  • Students take responsibility for wellbeing in their lives and their connections with others.
  • Students intentionally transfer and apply their learning in the YIS context and beyond.
Girl of Indian descent poses with plastic components of a pill dispenser printed by a 3D printer

IBDP student Sanjoli poses with the components of the pill dispenser she designed for her grandfather. The components were printed by one of the four 3D-printers in our Art and Design wing.

As we implement our Impact Strategy, we look forward to engaging productively with all of our community members and external partners in order to achieve our autonomy-focused success criteria for the domains mentioned above. This will allow YIS to once again show progressive leadership as a future-facing international school, and it is also worth noting that our impact statements align with the latest research findings published by the Council of International Schools. As you can see in the linked research summary, future-ready schools will be those that prioritize “learning resources and infrastructure” as well as “student voice” — which are both key aspects of our impact statements. With our focus on autonomy within our Impact Strategy and other related initiatives, such as the Wellbeing in Schools action research project, we believe that YIS will continue to light the way for best practices to benefit learning and young people.

3 elementary school students and a teacher sort through fruit collected at a school

Students in Gr. 5 sort through the fruit donated by ES families on our weekly Wonderfruit Wednesdays for the Chiku Center food program.


This is the second article in a series of five about the five pillars of our Impact Strategy.
Read the third article, Fostering a Sense of Belonging.