IST newsletter no 3

We are glad to share the latest developments at IST with you. It´s been half a year since we launched our brand new school. We truly hope that you are satisfied with the journey so far. Currently, IST is evolving from startup phase into the intense pedagogical development phase.

The IST basis of curriculum development, learning practices, and assessment will be directly linked to the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP), its standards and practices in 2018 and to the Middle Years Programme (MYP) in 2019. It provides a systematic and holistic framework for the all-around development of students, endorses harmonized planning and teaching between teachers, supports multidisciplinary learning and establishes school practices and standards.

From January to March our school is undergoing a rigorous feasibility study as a mandatory part of consideration phase for applying for the PYP candidacy status. We expect to submit the application for candidacy by the end of March, receive the PYP candidacy status in summer and start as an IB candidate school from September 2018. The status enables us the access to IB professional workshops, consultations, online resources, a network sharing practices and know-how.

The school is already setting up its own practices and standards aligned with PYP framework. It requires hard work of school staff and also an open collaboration with the school community.

The IB standards require that a school appoints a PYP coordinator who has a key role to lead pedagogical development activities. The IST has entrusted this responsibility to Mr. Ryan Calupas, our Grade 3-4 homeroom teacher with a previous IB experience including the authorization process. The introduction of his part-time responsibilities as the PYP coordinator gives you an idea of what needs to contact him.

The PYP Coordinator Job Description in brief:

1. Pedagogical leadership: development and implementation of the programme; the PYP is planned, taught and assessed collaboratively

2. Documentation: a record of PYP planners, PYP archive; understanding/use of PYP documents by staff; IB publications available to the school community.

3. Communication: collaboration system of PYP staff, parent information sessions and newsletters a liasion between the IB office and IST, documentation for authorization and evaluation.

4. Professional development (PD) of teachers: informs PD opportunities and keeps PD records, assists, and guides on PYP issues.

5. Resource management: recommendations to purchase the resources to support the PYP; the establishment of an inventory of resource.

We are sure that by appointing the PYP Coordinator we are taking a big step forward in supporting the quality of learning at IST according to the IB standards.

IST Newsletter no 2

Dear IST Parents!

We are very excited that the school year is almost upon us. We would like to provide you with additional information that we believe to be important to communicate prior to Opening Ceremony.

First and foremost, our daily schedule:

Period 1 – 09:00-09:45
Period 2 – 09:45-10:30
Period 3 – 10:40-11:25
Lunch – 11:30-12:00
Recess – 12:00-12:30
Period 4 – 12:30-13:15
Period 5 – 13:15-14:00
Period 6 – 14:10-14:55

While lessons do not begin until 9:00 due to parental/guardian preference, the school doors will open to you and your students at 8:30. You are advised to stay with your student(s) until 8:45, at which the students then become the teachers’ responsibility. We want to be flexible for drop-off time, but still need to be sensitive of the time that teachers will need to prepare for their daily lesson(s).

As well as recess/play time at 12:00-12:30, two additional 10 minute breaks have been worked into the schedule.

We also have a working time-table that will provide more specific information about what subjects/specials will take place on what day; however, as we are still waiting for schedule availability from other teachers, we are unable to provide a concrete document as of right now. Furthermore, we will also need to know how many students will be picked up directly after lessons end—grades 1-3 at 2:00 and grades 4-6 at 3:00, and how many students will be staying for after school care—ending at 5:00 at the latest. If you plan on putting your student(s) in after school care, there is an additional cost per child:
Every day – 40 euros per month
Part time – 20 euros per month

We will consider a family discount on families with 3+ students going into after care, inquired by the parent(s)/guardian(s).
In addition to after care, the school grounds are open until 6:30 on a required basis by teachers, if needed.

Parking and drop-off/pick-up:
If you wish to come in to the school and stay for a few minutes, you may park behind the building. This can be accessed from the left side of the building. If you wish to drop-off or pick-up your student, you can do that out in the front of the school.
As the tram line 4 is being completed, a side entrance will be available for direct entrance and exit to the IST portion of the building. We will make parents aware when this is available – which will also bring changes to drop-off and pick-up location/parking. When all construction is complete, parking will be accessed from the right side of the building where there will be a gate and a number for you to call to access the parking. We will inform you of this in advance.

For students riding public transportation, until the tram line is complete, bus 15 comes from city center and ends very close to the IST building. When the construction and tram line is complete, tram 4 will end very close to the school building—which will be the closest line of transportation to IST.

We are asking that you provide a pair of indoor shoes/slippers for your student(s) to wear inside of the classroom—this helps us keep the classrooms/carpets clean. We will specify what additional clothing items students will need for physical education at a later time.
Physical education:
P.E. will not be held inside the IST building, but rather in other facilities close to school grounds. More information will be provided soon.

Lunch and snack:
The cost of lunches, 2 euro, is included in the tuition price, but we do need to know additional information from parents about student dietary needs. If your student is vegetarian, vegan, lactose intolerant, gluten free, etc., we need to be aware so that we can accommodate those needs.

To be efficient with school lunches, we ask that you let teachers know at least 24 hours in advance if your student(s) will be missing school. Due to the fact that lunches are made on a student-by-student basis, the company providing the meals needs to know one day in advance that they will not be providing a meal for your student(s). Any notice from you to a teacher less than 24 hours in advance causes the company to have already prepared the meal for your student(s) for that day. IST will cover the cost of one meal in case of an absence, but if your student(s) misses more than one day without notice in advance, you will be expected to cover the 2 euro cost for every day in addition to, but not including, the first day missed for the student(s).

There is a possibility to have an additional snack, 1 euro, provided at 4:00 for students staying in aftercare.

School rules:
School rules and regulations are drafted but is still a working document. We will provide a completed packet to you within the first few weeks of school. The document will become an appendix to the school contract. All organizations require a set of rules and regulations to moderate behavior and outline expectations of student, parent, and staff conduct. The school rules and regulations will reflect the culture of International School of Tallinn. Some of the topics covered in the rules and regulations include: attendance policy, communication tools, expectations for behavior, etc. These rules will be a general overview, but will become more detailed with time. In addition, this document will also be available on our school website when it is complete.

IST will apply the web-based system eKool to connect parent(s)/guardian(s), students, and teachers. eKool helps you to keep up with your student’s progress. You are also encouraged to use the eKool mobile app Mkool, which is free. For a more complete eKool experience, you may also purchase the Family Premium Package which starts at 1,65 euros per month. We also advise that you read all the benefits that the eKool system offers. eKool is one of the main official tools used to communicate with our families, report absences, lesson descriptions, homework assignments, timetables, study resources, etc. eKool contains the data concerning student grades and study reports. Because of the aforementioned, we expect all the parent(s)/guardian(s) and teachers to use the eKool online platform on a regular basis. As soon as the system is in place, we will notify all parent(s)/guardian(s).

If you have any questions regarding what you have read, or additional topics, please let us know on Friday during the informational session after Opening Ceremony.

You can find supply list from our web page –

Sincerely yours,

Olavi Otepalu
Director of International School of Tallinn

IST Newsletter


We are happy to share updates and information about developments at IST in our first newsletter. IST is in a successful and exciting “start-up phase,” working out the fundamentals to ensure fluent high-level teaching and operations in our day-to-day practices.

IST has been preparing all summer for the opening of our school.

  1. The accreditation. IST has obtained official recognition by receiving our schooling license from the Ministry of Education and Research. More detailed news is attached here.
  2. The school facilities. IST is actively setting up a well-equipped learning environment, including, but not limited to, school furniture, IT tools, and study and reading materials. The majority of things are already in place, but we are working to complete other aspects. Also, we will use various facilities nearby for sports and other activities.
  3. Teachers. Our primary class teachers have arrived in Estonia from abroad and are working daily to plan and prepare for the first school year. The biographies of the class teachers can be found here.
  4. Establishing the most urgent policies and procedures. We are aiming to create a full range of procedures to support administrative and pedagogical performance, and also to communicate and collaborate with families.

Practical matters to consider before the start of the school year:

  • The first school day. We will start the first school day with an Opening Ceremony on Friday, 1 September at 10:00. The ceremony will mainly include speeches and musical performances. Parents will be informed if any changes are made to our initial program or schedule. After the ceremony, we will continue with a short orientation day to bring together our school community and introduce important details about the school life and agenda.
  • Daily schedule. The current daily schedule can be found here. According to our initial planning, the first lesson will start at 08:40, and the lessons will end between 14:00 and 15:00 depending on the timetable of year level (pupils at lower levels may end at 13:00). A more concrete timetable will be provided at the beginning of the school year; however, some parents have requested a later start of the school day (from 09:00 at the earliest). We are open to reconsidering the schedule of our school day if this suggestion is suitable for the majority of our families. Parents are expected to submit their opinions by 20 August to and let us know your preferred latest possible start time. After daily lessons are completed, until 17:00, there will be plans for extracurricular activities or/and aftercare.
  • Calendar of school year.

The duration of school year: 1 September 2017–11 June 2018

The school periods:   

1 Sept.–20 Oct. (period 1)

30 Oct.–22 Dec. (period 2)

8 Jan.–23 Feb. (period 3)

5 March–20 April (period 4)

2 May–11 June (period 5)

The school holidays:

21–29 Oct. (autumn holiday)

23 Dec.–7 Jan. (Christmas holiday)

24 Feb.–4 March (winter holiday)

21 April–1 May (spring holiday)

You can check the national holidays list to see when pupils have additional days off: https://riigipü

  • Stationery items. We have compiled the IST school supply list for parents, which consists of items to purchase for your child. You may visit any shopping center in Tallinn, ecausut all items can be purchased at once at Büroomaailm.
  • Placement of the students. We have decided to conduct placement tests during the first two weeks in September. Our primary class teachers will verify the actual level of every child during regular lesson activities in the classroom. Thereafter, more individual teaching strategies and differentiated instruction will be established considering each pupil’s strengths, abilities, and needs.
  • Extracurricular activities. Generally, these activities will take place between 14h00–16h50 every weekday afternoon. Activities will include sports, arts, music, et cetera. This would also be a convenient time to use the school library, attend tutoring, or complete homework. Up to 18h30 at the latest, the school facilities can be used for hobby activities. We will organize extracurricular activities based off of the most preferred interests of the children. The cost will depend on the popularity and nature of the activity and may vary between 20€ and 60€ per month.
  • School Kitchen. The school will provide one hot meal every day of the week. We have adopted the principle of no vending machines. The cost of school meals is included in the tuition fee.
  • Payments of schooling fees. We have introduced payment options on our website. All details regarding payment schedules have been included in the contract. The first tuition payment is expected to be transferred no later than 30 August.

Shortly before the school year, you will receive updated information via newsletter concerning all relevant issues.


Sincerely yours,
Olavi Otepalu
Director of International School of Tallinn

Tallinn’s new English language IB school got their licence

Press release
28 June 2017

Tallinn’s new English language IB school got their licence

Estonian Ministry of Education and Research issued an education licence to the International School of Tallinn that will start providing English speaking school based on the globally recognized International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum in the Ülemiste City campus this autumn.

“We established the international English language based IB school in Ülemiste City because we saw a clear need for it in the market. People from more than 50 nationalities work in Ülemiste City every day and in addition to that, Estonian migration statistics have been positive in the last couple of years and we expect significant growth in immigration,” explained Kadi Pärnits, the chairman of the management board of Mainor AS, founder of the school.

The aim of the International School of Tallinn in perspective is to provide a full cycle by providing education from primary classes until the end of upper secondary school to ensure that children of all ages who have come to Estonia due to their family migrating have the possibility to receive international education.

The new school has placed a lot of emphasis on multidisciplinary integration, developing general competences, problem solving skills and creative and science-based teaching. To create additional motivation for studying, different digital solutions will be used.

In 2017, the school will start with two composite classes on the first floor of the Estonian Entrepreneurship University of Applied Sciences building. In 2018 two new classes will be opened and the school will move to a new building in Ülemiste City.

The school is developing a joint action plan with Ülemiste City campus to establish a modern and innovative school complex to Ülemiste City in the near future. The complex would host International School of Tallinn as well as Kalli-Kalli kindergarten and Emili school.

„Foundation Innove and the Ministry of Education and Research have played a significant role in the fast start of our school. They gave us quick feedback, constructive proposals and had a positive attitude towards our endeavour,” Kadi Pärnits said, adding that Estonian general policies on foreign workforce still play an important role in the successful development of the school.

According to Pärnits, internal resources of Estonia’s labour market are mostly exhausted and it is inevitable that people from outside the country have to be involved. According to her, so far right steps have been taken to address the problem, but to achieve considerable results, a more forceful and systematic approach has to be adopted. “We need a smart and productive migration policy which would enable to involve people into Estonia whose expertise we are lacking, who would help to support our country and who would carry our culture here as well as in the whole world.”

She said that more attention should be given to how the adaption of the people who have arrived in Estonia has been organized, because right now, there are many shortcomings in this field. “It is important to agree on common purposes and to join forces in the public and private sector, so that the foreign specialists who have arrived in Estonia and their families would feel welcomed in Estonia – only that way they will stay with us for a longer period of time and will contribute to the development of our country,” commented Kadi Pärnits, the chairman of the management board of Mainor Group, saying that the new international IB school is a step towards this goal.

Mainor Group is taking part in an independent citizens’ initiative work group which seeks solutions to the challenges arising from the decrease of the Estonian population and tries to find ways to make Estonia more open. The participants of the work group are Open Estonia Foundation, The Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Estonian Employers’ Confederation, Mainor AS, Tallinn University of Technology, Network of Estonian Non-profit Organizations.

For additional information, please contact:

Kadi Pärnits
Chairman of the management board of Mainor AS
Tel: +372 551 3572

Olavi Otepalu
Director of the International School of Tallinn
Tel: +372 56282 9331

New International School in Tallinn

International School of Tallinn, an English language school for foreign children, founded by Mainor last year will be ready to take on the first 20 students this autumn.


According to head of the new school Olavi Otepalu, they came up with the idea of establishing a school because in order for Ülemiste City, their biggest development, to be successful they needed to attract to Estonia high value-added companies and build the infrastructure that the foreign specialists working in those companies would require. “Given that convenience and access to all the necessary services on the spot are key to the development of the campus, it is important to have an English language school of general education there as well, in addition to the Estonian language Kalli-Kalli Kindergarten and Emili School”, Otepalu explained.

“There are other schools in Tallinn offering international education, but there was a need for a new school in Ülemiste City, because even today it hosts a large number of international companies with foreign specialists from 50 different nationalities”, said Otepalu, who used to be head of Tallinn European School. According to Otepalu, an international school is structured on three important pillars: international environment, provision of highly regarded and globally recognized education and affordable tuition fees.

During the first three years the school is going to offer general education in English, based on the Estonian national curriculum, thereafter the school shall switch to the internationally recognised IB or International Baccalaureate curriculum. Over the long term the International School of Tallinn plans to combine two very strong curricula – the Estonian national curriculum, which has proved its worth in the remarkable results Estonian students have achieved in PISA tests, and the internationally recognised IB curriculum, which would allow the students carry on their studies in other countries, if need be. “This is an important option for families, who have to move from country to country because of work”, he added.

The school shall pay great attention to inter-disciplinary integration, developing general competences, problem solving skills, group assignments, creative learning and research based learning. In order to make the children more motivated, various digital solutions shall be used, and a personalised approach shall be applied in teaching, taking into account the specific needs and performance of every student.

By integrating the two curricula the International School of Tallinn hopes to make of its students successful, happy, helpful and tolerant world citizens.

“Clearly in the first years the owner of the school must invest a lot, but in the long run it is important for the state to make the sustainability of the school its priority and consider it as a necessary tool for improving the social environment and faster integration of the foreign employees”, noted Otepalu and added that Mainor has decided to cover 25% of all the tuition fees this year, thus offering more favourable terms for the first students who enter the school.

Brisk expansion is planned for subsequent years and eventually the school is scheduled to cover the full study cycle from primary years to the end of upper secondary school. To achieve this, plans are already under way for building modern premises for the school in the centre of Ülemiste City.

The Mainor Group has been established in the educational market since 1992, when today’s Mainor Estonian Entrepreneurship University of Applied Sciences started out as the Mainor School of Economics. Over time Mainor has been engaged in training, consulting and development related activities. In addition, Mainor was involved in establishing the Kalli-Kalli kindergarten and Emili School, an Estonian language school of general education in Ülemiste City.