At IST, our teachers are our primary assets

At the International School of Tallinn, we understand that great teachers are our primary asset and we leave no stone unturned to find such people who will make a lasting impact on the lives of the students entrusted in our care. This week we introduce you to two such teachers.

Carlos Moreno-Romero who joins IST in the role of History/Geography teacher.

Growing in a family environment connected to teaching and research, I have been closely related to education from an early age. That’s why my personal, educational and professional experiences have convinced me of the importance of treating everyone – especially children – with respect, care and dignity; especially, while supporting their development in their own terms and facilitating the needed tools to explore and develop their passions through self-directed learning strategies. In my view, autonomy, curiosity, creativity and divergent thinking are not only interesting, but also essential concepts when promoting the skills and attitudes children need to deal with the social, cultural, political and economic challenges they will face in the future. In other words, I believe each one of us has inner potential and value that can only emerge when surrounded by supportive people who are ready to connect emotionally. My expectations at IST is to focus, on the one hand, on supporting children’s learning of the historical, social, economic and political aspects of our globalised world; and, on the other hand, providing the appropriate tools and mechanisms to foster children’s democratic participation in their classroom and broader communities.

Charlie holds a B.A. IN PEDAGOGY, PHILOLOGY AND LANGUAGES from Universidad Nacional de Colombia an M.A. IN SOCIAL AND CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY and we wish him well in his defence of his PhD IN EDUCATION at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain tomorrow, 20 July. PhD candidate to Education. Research areas: democratic education, education for social justice and inclusion, multicultural education, self-directed learning.

A wealth of experience:

The IBO THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE COORDINATOR Audentes International School. Tallinn, Estonia IBO teacher of social and cultural anthropology, Spanish language for foreigners, and coordinator of the debate club.

SOCIAL AND CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY LECTURER Riga Stradins University. Riga, Latvia. A lecturer of the course “Kinship systems” to students of the MA program on social and cultural anthropology.

IBO HISTORY AND HUMAN SCIENCES TEACHER International School of Integral Education – CIEDI History teacher – 20th Century, History of Colombia and America.

SOCIAL AND CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY LECTURER Estonian Institute of Humanities. Tallinn, Estonia. Lecturer of the following courses: anthropology of education, media ethnographies, kinship systems, and BS seminar.

SPANISH AND ENGLISH TEACHER Keila School. Estonia High school English and Spanish teacher.

Heddy Kivine (Estonian Teacher) began her career in education as an Estonian teacher in Finland, in 1991. She gained experience in teaching Estonian as a second language overseas in a multicultural environment of foreign language tutoring. In Finland, she taught Estonian for employees of Finnish Public Administration, diplomats, private sector clients, students in university and community college level.

She holds an MA in Estonian language and literature from the University of Tartu, Estonia. Improving her proficiency in teaching Estonian as a second language, she has taken part in several additional trainings on the topic. She built another career working for the media corporation Äripäev as a project manager and a senior editor of business handbooks. While moving with her family to the United States of America, she went through another transition and worked as a translation editor for the National Geographic Magazine.

As an avid learner herself she values lifelong learning and is open to new experiences in life. She earned an Open Learning Diploma in Garden Design from the KLC School of Design, United Kingdom, in 2017. Gardening and teaching are actually alike and are the two passions in her life. Both need attentiveness, care and patience.

Diverse professional and learning experiences and carrying my own children in different cultures and school systems have taught her the important role a teacher can hold in a student´s life. I believe that the secret of education lies in respecting the pupil, as R.W. Emerson has put it. Each student should be recognised, welcomed and supported, especially during the transition period in the new school environment. Respecting individual needs and allowing everyone to develop at their own pace boosts enthusiasm and participation. Having experiences of accomplishments at school breeds confidence and leads to a balanced and happy life. Above all, I believe that learning is a cooperative effort between a teacher and a student that bears fruit only when you hear what their eyes are telling you.

IST awarded IB candidacy!

The International School of Tallinn (IST) became a candidate school for the Primary Years Programme of the International Baccalaureate

The International Baccalaureate Organisation recognised the status of the International School of Tallinn as a candidate school of the IB (International Baccalaureate) to implement the primary level study programme PYP (Primary Years Programme).

In the application to become a candidate, the IST provided a detailed overview on how the school has applied the IB principles in running the school, allocating resources, training teachers, and implementing study programmes. Also, the IST provided an in-depth plan of action on how the school will develop the IB further in study programmes over the next years.

For foreigners residing in Estonia, IB signifies global recognition and reliable study programmes in international education, which allows children to continue their education smoothly when they move from one country to another, as the philosophy and mission of the IB are to focus on international mindedness. Parents feel confident in knowing that the quality of the educational activity of the school is monitored and regularly assessed by an international organisation. As a candidate school, the International School of Tallinn has direct access to IB professional development, materials, resources and consulting. As IB programmes are based on the best teaching practices of the last decades, the IST will contribute to enriching the Estonian education system as a whole.

In Tallinn, the International School of Estonia (ISE) and the Tallinn English College (TEC) have previously received the PYP accreditation. The International School of Tallinn (IST) diversifies educational options as a school that offers international education, especially due to its strategic location in the fast developing Smart City in Ülemiste, where the number of international talents and companies is constantly increasing.

You can find additional information about the International School of Tallinn at

IST newsletter

Charles Dickens once wrote that Spring is the time of year when it is summer in the sun and winter in the shade. Many of you might have experienced this phenomenon to be especially true in Estonia.

Someone also once wrote that Spring is a lovely reminder of how beautiful change can truly be. Well, spring has sprung and with it brings changes and a time for renewal.

Our management team and IB coordinator were hard at work in preparing the initial documents towards the PYP Candidacy application and we are happy to announce that based on the timeline, the documents were sent off in good time. We are expecting to receive approval by June and start as a PYP Candidate School in September 2018. Below you will find a brief summary of the application process.

The International School of Tallinn (IST) was founded in 2016 with a purpose to become an IB school (International Baccalaureate) that will offer all IB programmes:

  • PYP (Primary Years Programme)
  • MYP (Middle Years Programme)
  • DP (Diploma Programme)

Before applying for the PYP Candidacy the school had to align a number of practices and standards with the IB. We revised our mission statement and refined our school values in order to reflect the IB philosophy which can be found on our website. We aligned the syllabuses of core subjects with the IB scope and sequence documents ensuring vertical articulation along all those subjects for a purpose of full learning continuum. As IB emphasizes the importance of ongoing professional development, our management team and all homeroom teachers attended the required IB workshops. At collaborative meetings, our teachers are more actively integrating the inquiry themes with subject-specific teaching throughout the unit.

The benefits of the PYP:

First, the implementation of the PYP will ensure a systematically harmonized approach to curriculum development, assessment, teaching, and learning.

Second, it will support the development of the quality system in the primary school based on the IB standards and requirements.

Third, it will foster the professional development of the teachers and pedagogical leaders via access to IB workshops and resources.

Fourth, it will support the mobility of international families by providing a smooth transition for their children from one school to another due to the similar study programme.

Fifth, it will promote the reputation of the school as the PYP is a globally recognized educational programme.

New Premises

As we ponder on the lessons learned during the first part of the year at IST, we are simultaneously looking at the road ahead. One of the changes occurring right now is the renewal of our new premises for the new academic year 2018/2019.

Workman is preparing the building in Keevise 2 and we will equip the building during summer to be ready when your children return to school.

This section of the building, facing SuurSõjamäe Street, is currently under renovation in preparation for the 2018/2019 academic year

The picture below is the wing of the building which we recently restored to its former glory

Next School Year

The demand for quality international education in English is growing in Estonia and the owners of the school, Mainor, has understood this very clearly right from the start. Growing a Smart City, Ülemiste City, brings with it the need for a high-quality English education available to the families from abroad and locally, who sees Tallinn as a hub of opportunity.

We have experienced good growth during our first year and the current number of new applications for the new academic year is an indication of similar and even better growth prospects. We will open the next two classes, grades 7 and 8.

This implies a need for new teachers as PYP homeroom teachers as well as the following subjects:

English (Gr 6-8), French (Gr 3-8), Russian (Gr 3-8), Math (Gr 6-8), Science (Gr 6) Biology (Gr 7-8) Chemistry (Gr 7-8), Physics (Gr 7-8), History (Gr 6-8), Social Sciences (Gr 6-8), Art (Gr 1-8), Physical Education (Gr 1-8)

Candidates need to have a higher pedagogical education or equivalent qualifications, a very good command of English language and a willingness to contribute to the development of the school.

Work experience in the PYP (Primary Years Program) or in the MYP (Middle Years Program) as a teacher or coordinator will be in advantageous, as well as competencies to teach several of the courses offered above.

Our Mission encapsulates the true spirit of IST: We believe that we can create a better and more peaceful world through education by supporting the holistic development of every individual to become responsible global citizens and independent life-long learners by providing a rigorous, inquiring and multicultural learning environment.

If you feel that you want to be part of inspiring new responsible global citizens to contact us by

Other News:

Applications are now open for new students to join the International School of Tallinn from grade 1 to grade 8. For more information and online applications visit our website:

For a personal meeting to discuss the educational needs of your child, you may contact our
Director of Marketing and Communications,
Paul Senosi

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.

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.