Madeleine Bystrom, Director of Curriculum & PD, Elementary


Master of Curriculum and Instruction, Michigan State University
Master of Educational Administration, University of San Francisco
Bachelor of Science, Economics, Stockholm University

This is my 14th year at RIS, although I have lived in Thailand for 25 years and have been working in the field of education for longer than that. I first came to RIS as an elementary classroom teacher, and my other previous roles at RIS have included Literacy Coach and Head of Department for English Language Arts.

I have two sons who graduated from RIS and have gone on to do wonderful things. My older son recently graduated from Medical School at Western Michigan University and is embarking on his residency. My younger son is currently pursuing a master's degree in Microbiology at Tulane University in New Orleans. Before coming to RIS, I was an elementary school teacher and an ELD teacher. I grew up in two places: California and Sweden, but I'm happy to now call Thailand home. I love being part of the RIS community! It's a wonderful place to be, and I hope to be here for many years to come.

Curriculum and Innovation Overview

RIS Ratchapruek is committed to excellence through creativity and inspiration. We strive to develop balanced, successful, and compassionate thinkers who seek to make a difference in the world around them.

RIS Ratchapruek believes that students learn best in an environment where classes and programs are structured around an intellectually stimulating curriculum that is suited to each student’s ability, achievement, motivation, and interest.

Professional Development and Research

We pay more than lip service to the concept of educational excellence and lifelong learning. We actively promote and support the professional growth of our faculty. The primary goal of professional growth is to strengthen our Student Learning Outcomes, also known as our Principles of Phoenix, or PoPs.

We know that an active professional development program is essential in creating a high-quality learning environment. Our staff members take pride in staying current in their skills and knowledge, continually striving to improve their performance, and working to achieve schoolwide, divisional, and personal goals. This consistent improvement requires an extensive variety of professional growth opportunities, including workshops, seminars, and courses, as well as a professional culture of collaborative sharing and support.

RIS Ratchapruek supplies both annual and monthly funds for each teacher to pursue professional growth experiences to enhance the teaching and learning at RIS Ratchapruek. Our sister school, RIS Minburi, regularly hosts on-site workshops and sends teachers to national, regional, and international conferences. RIS teachers travel all over the world for NESA, EARCOS, and other regional conferences and workshops on topics that focus on an inquiry-approach to problem-based learning, visible thinking strategies, and the development of Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) centered on the needs of each learner.

Research plays a valuable role in informing our teaching practices and can contribute greatly to improving our approaches to learning. External research serves two functions: educational literature helps inform our teaching practices, and, beyond that, research supports our innovation initiatives and helps teachers and school leaders address key educational issues.

We use internal and external sources of data to research and support our initiatives and practices. Internally, the evidence we gather is used to monitor the development of our students, classes, grade levels, and other sections in our school to be sure we are working toward and meeting our stated outcomes.

Instructional Technology

RIS Ratchapruek promotes instructional and extracurricular activities that use innovative approaches and technological resources to nurture students’ development. We care how our students grow and mature, therefore we seek to understand the impact that technology has on our students’ lives, both in the classroom and outside of it. While RIS Ratchapruek views technology as an essential resource, we endeavor to instill a sense of responsibility for its use in our students’ lives—one full of opportunity and distraction. One way we do this is by defining purposeful and proper use of technology through Learning Innovation Markers. These markers outline a comprehensive framework that enables students to identify the purposes and skills behind the technology and strategies they use in their learning and in their daily lives. Innovation markers integrate and reinforce existing RIS Ratchapruek programs and values, such as the schoolwide Principles of Phoenix.

We further define the proper use of technology through our Responsible Use Policy, known as RIS-CARES. This unique policy seeks to guide students’ growth and maturity by building constructive dialogue with students and parents at each grade level and in each class. Our goal is to help families negotiate and practice appropriate digital health so that when our students leave RIS Ratchapruek, they have a concrete understanding of how to use available resources and innovative tools in creative ways to contribute unique, long-lasting solutions for their own communities and wherever they go.