Voices (ISL Stories)

Meet Arnita Hallerstrom

Learn more about Arnita Hallerstrom, Alumni Parent
Arnita Hallerstrom

Number of children who attended ISL:

Years of your children’s attendance:
All 3 boys attended ISL from Pre-K to 12. So, my ISL life started in 1999.
Where are your children now and what are they doing? 
Karl graduated ISL in 2014 and is working for PricewaterhouseCoopers in NYC. Erik graduated ISL in 2016 and will attend University College Dublin Smurfit Graduate Business School in September 2020 and Mark, who graduated ISL in 2019, will attend University of Amsterdam in September 2020.
Do you feel that ISL prepared them for what they are currently doing?
I think that ISL was a great fit for my boys coming from two different cultures. Luxembourg is a small country, but with ISL being so international, my boys were able to fit in anywhere. Having taken the IB program, they were prepared academically to be competitive at their chosen universities. ISL offers more IB choices now, which would have been even better, but they seemed to have managed well.
Do you consider the tuition fees paid a valuable investment for your children’s future?
Yes. Once we made the decision to put our boys in ISL, we knew it would be an investment in their education. The love and support my boys received from ISL's teachers and staff over the years could never be expressed monetarily. 

While your children were studying at ISL, did you volunteer with the school in some way? Yes! 
If yes, what did you do?
Every year in Lower School I volunteered to be a Room Parent. I served on the PTO, Booster Club and along with several other parents started the Eagle's Cafe. I also started the ISL Spirit Squad with two other moms.
Do you feel there are enough volunteer opportunities for parents within ISL? 
Several years back, ISL had an open-door policy for parents to volunteer. It was a special opportunity that you couldn't find in many schools, especially here in Luxembourg. It allowed parents from all nationalities to work together, which made magic for the kids. Nowadays, the school has grown so much, that I feel this opportunity is lacking.

Do you have any suggestions for new activities?
ISL is not lacking when it comes to activities. As a matter a fact, they have so many that it's hard to find space on campus.
Have you remained connected to ISL in some way since your child(ren) graduated? Yes!
If yes, what are you doing?
This past school year, I was still training the Spirit Squad.
Why have you made the decision to stay connected to the school? 
After being a part of ISL for so long, it's just a part of my soul. It's hard to turn off something that's been a part of your everyday life for so many years. Also, it's a place where I have met some of my closest friends. Most important is that ISL has helped to shape my three young men, which is why it's important to me that ISL continues to thrive and be an integral part of Luxembourg. 
What advice would you give to prospective families thinking about joining ISL?
My best advice is to get involved. Be a vocal part of the decision making, so that you know what's going on. I know it's a larger school now, but it's important that ISL and parents work hard to keep the closeness alive and well at ISL.

What advice would you give to ISL to better prepare students for independent life at University and elsewhere?
I think ISL needs to start a Home Economics course. It will allow students to learn about banking, credit cards, budgeting, and basic household care. These techniques are essential in college and in life. Also, I think ISL needs to find creative ways for the students to be more fluent in the languages that are taught in school. An exchange program with the local school that's sharing the campus could be an interesting idea (I'm told that finally ISL is offering Luxembourgish, something that I have been pushing to have for many years). Being fluent in languages allows the students a level of confidence when they leave ISL and travel the world.
What advice would you give ISL going forward? 
My advice would be to give the students a chance to review their teacher's performance. Not to downplay a teacher, but to find the teaching techniques that are working best and those that are not working so well. ISL has some great teachers that really have the "Midas touch" and we need to make sure that quality is spread amongst all the teachers.
Also, we need to keep a strong sport's program. ISL's sports is definitely one of the advantages that is provided to students that no other school in Luxembourg has. NECIS gives the students a wonderful opportunity to play competitive sports and interact with other international students from all over the world going to international schools in this area of Europe.
Describe what makes ISL unique?
What makes ISL unique for me is that it allows parents and staff to interact. Having this interaction between these two groups creates a wonderful line of communication. As I've mentioned before, this unique quality is starting to fade a bit, but I think this is a vital asset that ISL needs to keep. Also, having fun and open-minded teachers is another vital key. We need to keep our teachers happy and motivated, because if they don't love what they're doing, it will show.

Describe ISL in 5 words:
A school that promotes togetherness!

Arnita Hallerstrom
Arnita Hallerstrom
  • Parent